Magical ride with a royal touch

For a long time I have been longing to see the land of royal families of India. Rajasthan. The reason this state attracts tourists from all over the globe the same reason it attracted me for years. But I could never get a chance to visit the state.

Suddenly an opportunity came to me like magic. It was during a Dusserah time when I got one week leave from my work. Nowadays even my leisure is governed by my work and family’s convenience.

Rajasthan had always been very costly for the average middle class Indians. The land that has attracted maximum foreign tourists over the years has always been a place of desire to many Indians including me and my parents. So I was convinced about the right time to travel to Rajasthan I have quickly chalked down a plan and booked the air tickets fast.

When I searched the internet for booking air ticket, I found a lot of sites giving different offers. It was so difficult. Finally I came across the website http://www.Skycanner.co.in. A website that gives me the best rates available online after comparing prices from different websites.

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I had to choose the best option suiting my requirement and it was so easy. The website gives best possible rates of flights and I have chosen the Jet Airways option.  Since my parents will travel from Kolkata by Train I had to book tickets only for me and I got the best deal there.

After flight tickets my need was to book car for hire for all ten days. I searched the website and they have a section for car hire as well. –

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One an average the car came with a price tag of Rs 2000 per day. It was ok for me and I did not want to explore other options.

Since we need to travel to a lot of places in every city in Rajasthan I have no other option but to have a car at my disposal. Since the booking was for ten days I got some discount on overall package.

Then my challenge was to book hotels in different cities. My plan was to visit Jaipur, Ajmer, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur and Jodhpur. So it was critical for me to book hotels there as my understanding was that it would be very costly.

To my surprise the first hotel I booked in Jaipur was Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur that came up with an amazing price tag of just Rs. 13, 141 per night for two rooms.

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I knew that Jaipur hotels will be costly so I booked a place with a good rating from the travelers. I have also opted only for three nights and planned the fourth day for sight seeing In Jaipur but get a transfer to my next destination Ajmer. My night stay plan was at Ajmer. Hotel Regal came a price tag of Rs. 2417 only.  By this time the website had become my friend as I started seeing a great value of getting easy discounts for every booking I make through this website. At Regal I got the best deal from MakeMytrip –

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I had to have a stopover at Chittaurgarh as well as there are a lot of places to be seen. My parents are old so I had no option but to choose a hotel there. Also I wanted to avoid one more night stay at Udaipur which is costlier compared to Chittaur. The price was very comfortable 2600 per night –

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Hotel Dev Nivas had good rating as I found good value for my money by booking there.

Rajasthan has many things to offer. The royal palaces spread across the state offers unique value for all travelers but all of them come with a higher price tag. Udaipur too is no exception. Since I needed two rooms I could not go for a highly rated hotel here. I have chosen a simple hotel called Mewar Inn as that was within my budget.

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Udaipur has so many thing to offer us I could not still reduce my stay there from three days. But it is worth staying. The magical monuments of Udaipur and the city market gave us enough solace and reason to stay longer there. Skycanner had really been useful for me in selecting the right choice of hotel and the best deal at that city.

My last destination Jodhpur was another costly destination. I have chosen Hem Guest House near Mehrangarh fort. I heard a lot about the fort and wanted to stay lose by. Apart from the cost being a major factor for choosing the same –

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Overall my ten days tour plan with all major sightseeing completed came to around One Lakh Rupees –

Expenses

What I liked about this experience of http://www.Skycanner.co.in website and its easy search feature is that it could give me some amazing discounts in booking my entire itinerary.

To experience any new destination to the fullest it is imperative that we make a great cost effective plan that can help us in enjoying the destination as well as acquire great value from the experience of life.

***

 

A tryst with nature

Sun rise

 

When the sun kisses the earth

When the cool breeze embraces us with love

When the cuckoos start singing

My little one wakes up and embraces his papa

A sweet little peck, that says – ‘good morning’!

Morning Sun

Each day brings such moments of joy –

to give a reason or two to celebrate a new beginning,

The smiling sun peeps through the windowpanes

becomes his first playmate of the day.

The morning breeze tickles him to giggle in joy,

Its time to be playful and naughty with nature !!

Kissanpur

He turns aside and pokes his finger in papa’s nose

as he explores why papa snores at night!

Then he suddenly gets up and sits on papa’s back

he is then the fearless explorer on a horseback!!

The daylight brightens and we get up to go out

The little kid loves going out with his papa,

He knows its time to see new flowers –

the flowers that bring butterflies

the flowers that splashes color to life

flowers that bring new smell and new joy everyday.

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He runs away to catch the butterflies

We run behind to catch him

the butterflies plays with him, sit on his nose,

it is a new flower for them.

The kid loves the game and hurriedly catches his nose.

The inset flies to his head!!

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We watch him in amazement

as the kid plays with his new mates

they fall, they rise, rolls over each other

on soft wet grass,

the kid gets mud stained and pure,

as pure as the nature he plays with!!

The sun becomes harsh, as the day passes by

We come home and play indoor games.

Tiger, Elephant, Cheetah and Lion becomes his playmates

Everyday he creates a new world around these animals

they become his new pets.

Malayasia 5

As the sun sets, we go out to play near the lake

He wants to touch the water, swim across the lake,

He watches the fish plays around, comes close and runs away.

They are not as colourful as the ones in the aquarium!!

Aquarium

The lake is a big aquarium for him

he wants to touch the fish, catch them alive as he does at home.

They swim away, he runs after them in vogue.

We return home.

At home, he stares at his small marine world

and weaves millions of colorful dreams

as he crashes into bed.

Only for a new beginning, the next day.

***

**Disclaimer – None of the images used are mine. All are taken from internet. 

 

Painting

I was then an eighth grader. Study in a co-ed school. Since I was never very tall and healthy I used to look younger compared to my class. No girls used to befriend me and I was also scared of talking to them, fearing that they would make me their little brother instead.

Our class monitor Shailesh was a very senior student of the school. He used to compulsorily fail at least twice in each class. Since the school was a small municipal school they have never bothered to expel him from the school. Instead he was made our class monitor  y our teacher.

As it always happens with these adult rogues who are called class monitors, he used to boss over all of us, especially over Manoj, Montu and Krinal. He was very stubborn and whimsical. He used to maintain strict punctuality for other students. He thought only he knew what discipline meant. We used to feel that he thinks he is more powerful than our teachers too. We all used to hate him but never had courage to say anything as he was very close to our teachers for his strict discipline and because he has won many medal in athletics for our school.

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Did you beat Montu??

One day when we were all sitting in the class waiting for our teacher suddenly we saw headmaster Binodbabu coming. Without any introduction he directly asked Shailesh –

–          Did you beat Montu?

–          Yes sir. – He confessed.

–          But why? Did he abuse you?

–          No

–          Did he beat you?

–          No sir

–          Did he frighten you?

–          No sir, he was talking like a fool.

–          Does that mean you will beat him so that he starts bleeding?? – Binodbabu scolded him and also asked him to stand outside the class holding his ears.

All of us who wanted to teach Shailesh a lesson for months were very amused. But I could not understand why he had to beat Montu as Montu was a very simple and down to earth boy. So in the evening I went to Shailesh’s house. –

–          Hey dude, what happened? Why you had to beat Montu? I asked.

In reply, he has taken out a painting and shown it to me and said –

–          For this

–          This? Why he wanted to steal or snatch it anyway?

–          No man..he was commenting like a fool.

Since I was good in studies, I thought let me see the painting and encourage Shailesh so that he forgets the incidence with Montu and the punishment of Binodbabu.

I looked at the painting thoroughly and said –

–          Wow, this is really nice painting dude. So what is it? A man chasing a few rabbits in front of a hut?

–          No, no. This is my painting of Kurukshetra war. These are not rabbit boss, these are horses. – he said

–          Oh ok..but why there are so many trees? Are these the weapons? And why the sun is black in your painting?

–          No man. These are not trees? They are arrows aimed at Arjun and that is not Sun, it is Sri Krishna’s Chakra – he replied.

–          Okay, I understand. Then why you have so many dogs running in the sky? Are these some kinds of weapons too? – I asked.

–          Oh no..they are not dogs. They are angels. They are all observing the war from heaven. They are little far off so I have given them a perspective, you will not understand all that. – He said

Probably I will really not understand. But I couldn’t stop asking another question.

–         Why is that black dressed woman running behind Arjun with a stick? – I asked?

–         Oh, you are sick man! He started screaming. That is not a woman that is black smoke billowing out of war field.

I did not understand that thoroughly and so wanted to give him some better suggestion.

I said, “You know what, I think you can rename this as “Draupadi’s Bastraharan”. That black woman can be Draupadi, you just need to give her some good sari. The dogs in the sky can be angels viewing the sin from heaven, Krishna with the sun sorry with his Chakra can be Mama Sakuni showing victory sign, the rabbits running can be Nokul and Sahadeb running to call Bheem and Arjun in your painting can represent Duryodhan, with raised hands he is snatching her sari. It will be awesome dude.”

He said – ‘Bastraharan!!” haan…you want to see Bastraharan?? He pounced on me to strip me of my clothes with these words.

I ran away and said hurriedly – “Ok, ok, dude, take it easy..Don’t make it Bastraharan if you don’t like, change it to “Love story of Raja Dusmanto” instead. You have the trees, I mean the arrows that can be easily made into trees. Those rabbits can be deer running in the forest. Krishna and Arjun can be Raja Dusmanto and his friend. That smoke can be Shakuntala in Raja’s mind, so little dark, unclear. Those angels in the sky can represent birds in sky.”

I have not even stopped this when he almost suddenly started beating me. ‘You idiot, you all are fools, nincompoops”. He caught me by my collar.

I was very astonished by his anger. Immediately I have detached myself from his clutches and said angrily, – “See man, if you don’t like my idea, you can make it something else too. Say, “Sri Ramchandra’s Rajyabhishek”. The chariot of Arjun can be the throne where Arjun is actually Dasaratha giving bow and arrow to Ramachandra who is none other than Sri Krishna in your painting. The rabbits, I mean horses can be onlookers, those trees I mean arrows aimed at Arjun can be buildings. Angels are already observing”

I was about to say how he needed to change that black dressed woman or smoke billowing from the Warfield when he took out a stick and started beating me. I somehow escaped by running. Next day I complained to our Headmaster against him.

You guys tell me, what my fault was if I thought of him as a good friend of mine and wanted to give him some friendly suggestions. How could he be so rude and nasty with his friends? Don’t you guys think I did the right thing by complaining to Headmaster? If you guys get any answer to this, please let me know. I am still thinking…

***

Disclaimer- The image used is not mine. It is linked to the source.

The cab ride that has made my #ConditionSerious

Recently I came across this contest that asks me to write about persons whose condition is serious. The contest definition says those who are always serious in every matter they handle, more punctual than time are categorized as person jinki condition serious hai. I could not think of any other person than myself. Well I am the one who is very punctual, so much so that I have never waited for any girls anywhere. If they were five minutes late I used to go elsewhere. Well, not to mention that is the reason I never had any steady girlfriend too. So I am writing this post for the contest –

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This incidence happened when I was travelling to Shirdi with my family, me, my wife and our little 1 year old kid, Piku. We went to Manmad from Hyderabad and took a cab to Shirdi from Manmad station. Even though there were Tata Sumos available I didn’t want to travel like cattle and hence thought of hiring a Maruti Omni for us – personal vehicle with a personal touch. The driver caught us at the platform before we could see his vehicle and I was okay until I saw his vehicle and got inside.

As soon as I got into the cab I realized that it might have been scrapped by its owner a few years ago. That special vehicle didn’t have a front window pane, the seat covers were cut off and the sponge lining was visible from outside. The whole van was stinking like hell as if it was soaked in mud just the previous day.

Within five minutes I realized that I will repent this trip throughout. I couldn’t believe that for a journey that should have cost me not more than 300 rupees at the most, I am paying double the amount. I felt that I would be happy if we reached Shirdi in good condition without any trouble.

The driver soon started from the station and I got engaged into thinking about our trip. Suddenly the cab came to a screeching halt in the middle of nowhere. Only a few huts were visible at a distance.

 – What happened? I asked the driver. I was worried that he would ask for more money by giving some reason or the other.

 – “The driver will come”. said the man who negotiated the fare with me and whom I thought was our driver.

What the hell. I have booked his cab and negotiated the price with him but he had never told me that someone else was going to drive. I felt like giving a big blow on his face for keeping me stranded in the middle of nowhere, risking all our lives. I was more worried about upsetting that day’s schedule that I had planned meticulously with minute details than anything else.

But almost immediately I realized that if that guy wanted he could have robbed us instead if his intentions were really bad. To add to my dismay, the driver disappeared in one of the huts after being in the cab for 10 minutes. He didn’t even give me a choice to protest or say anything and disappeared suddenly.

Now I had no choice but to wait for the unforeseen driver and didn’t have any choice of taking another cab / bus to my destination as it was a completely deserted place. We were left alone in the middle of nowhere. My wife was also fuming and I was just waiting for another volcano to erupt on me without any fault of mine. That made me even more angry on that guy.

I was almost falling asleep when the original driver appeared from nowhere like a chamatkar after 20 minutes of wait. Those 20 minutes were like two hours to us.

After he appeared the first thing I have done was confirming the price with him. I wanted to make sure that all my initial bargains don’t fail with this new man coming in. To my surprise, he was not bothered at all and seemed to be disinterested in my bargain. So far I was happy with this bargain and thought that I have got a good bargain but slowly I started feeling that the bargain was not good at all.

  – You know there is a village here where we don’t have any lock in our doors as there is no theft or robbery. The driver wanted to start conversation.

–  Oh that’s great. While I said that, I also wondered – what was the need to steal from the villagers when they could rob the tourists daily in broad daylight? I didn’t have courage to utter those words though.

We reached Shirdi in approximately two hours. We were approaching the temple and I was thinking that my wife will be satisfied after we reach the serviced apartment that I have booked for us. This apartment was half a kilometre away from the temple. Our plan was to visit the temple in the afternoon when there was no crowd.

At a first glance, I felt that Shirdi is an upcoming town and the signs of a village turning into a town were evident everywhere. There were some malls and shops and a lot of hotels on both sides of the main road.

Serious 1The bumpy ride

My hotel was in front of the water park. I wanted to visit the water park after the temple visit. I started imagining how much fun we would have in the park when suddenly the driver took a left turn from the main road and shattered my string of thoughts.

–  Where are you going? You need to go to the ‘Silver Oak Holiday Home’ just opposite to the water park. – I screamed.

I tried to confirm the location as he was driving into a muddy area full of big craters and all of them filled with muddy water. I have never seen this kind of road in my lifetime. Even the prehistoric roads as I have seen them in my history books were better.

–  Yes, I am going in the right direction –  he replied calmly

–  What are you saying? I have booked a three star accommodation. At least from the room rent I felt so.

–  Sir, there is a five star hotel on this road, too – pat came the reply.

His reply came as a direct blow on my face. All my dreams were shattered in no time. I couldn’t believe that they had five star hotel in a muddy and bumpy road full of craters. I was never so dejected even when I was rejected by my first love.

Serious 4

 –  Oh shit, is this the place you have booked? You always try to save money in small things and never take care of our comfort. I don’t know what my father has seen in you when he had chosen a worthless fellow like you – my wife started her usual complaining

 –  My bad… I didn’t have information on the approach road of our hotel on net. I tried to be bold.

As we went in I could only see water on all sides of the car. The big holes under my feet made the situation scary. I started praying in all possible languages to Baba that the car should not stop there. I started imagining the vehicle stopped in the middle of the road and I was asked to push the vehicle. As we progressed in the road and there was no sight of our hotel that possibility of me pushing the vehicle seemed more.

  –  See your hotel there. It is only another turn away. Driver pointed to something towards the left.

  – Oh, that’s ok. You concentrate on driving… I almost screamed. I didn’t want him to lose focus and go into deeper water or even worse – to turn turtle.

I will never forget the vicious smile he had on his face after seeing me scared. I felt like kicking his ass and throwing him out of the window, but restrained myself considering the greater danger of getting down and pushing the car to my destination.

He took another left turn through a bushy area. I never wanted this trip to be so adventurous. Already taking the one year old baby in Indian train was enough of adventure for me.

No, the last part was not so bad. The final 10 yards was free of any water or craters and we reached an apparently new building with a cute school for toddlers in front.
It was 8 am by my watch. My hope of having a good holiday at Shirdi has died down by that time.

Before paying the driver off I got off from the cab to meet the manager.

As I entered the premises I could see one table with a huge register kept on it but nobody was in site. The table was probably taken from an old furniture shop as a reject. The chair was one of the typical chairs used in govt. offices and this one was repaired several times but still put to use. I was looking for the manager when one person came out of the watchman’s room.

  – May I see the manager please! I urged.

  – Yes, tell me. The fellow replied.

Serious 6

To my utter shock, the person who seemed like room servant or at the best the watchman of the premises turned out to be the manager, too. Good money saving tactic huh…

  – I have booked a room online. Can you please check if this is confirmed?

I wanted to confirm first as I couldn’t believe that I have booked this hotel online with price of a three star hotel.

At the back of my mind, for the first time ever I was thinking that may this turn out to be the wrong hotel. I didn’t want to take the risk of staying at an island in Shirdi and definitely I didn’t pay the premium price for an area like that.

  – Yes, this is confirmed.

Oh god! What a shock with this confirmation. I couldn’t show my true emotion to him. Instead, I smiled and went back to pay the driver.

  –  One more thing. Our check-in time is at 12 noon – Pat came another shocker from the manager.

  –  What! Do you mean I need to wait for four hours to get a room now?

  –  Yes

  – See I plan to vacate your room by tomorrow 8 am. Why don’t you adjust? – I tried to calm down and show patience.

  – Ummmm well, I can do one thing. I will not give you generator back up for four hours in the morning.

  – Four hours! What do you mean? Don’t you have any electricity? I almost screamed as I continued to get shocks from this man.

  – Sir, we have daily six hours of power cut. Four in the morning and two in the……

By this time I remembered that I already read it somewhere on the web but I was not prepared for these shockers in a three star hotel.

  – But can’t you adjust this little bit as we are planning to visit the temple in a while and you can put the lights off then.

I tried to negotiate again.

This time he agreed. I patted my own back. I am mastering negotiation skills.

Meanwhile, one servicing person came from inside the watchman’s (sorry manager’s) room. Probably he was the only other person apart from us and the manager in that building.

I was wondering how the building will look like in the middle of the night when there is mandatory power cut. As a positive thinker, I could only think of another adventurous night in a haunted house. I wished that my dream of writing a best-selling novel on a haunted house will come true now.

Serious 3

***

Disclaimer – This post is written only for humour purpose and not to hurt anyone’s feelings. If this anyway hurts anyone’s feeling that is purely unintentional and regretted.

All the images used in this post are taken from internet and none of them belongs to this author.

Study International Political Economy at LSE

The subject to study / specialize

There is a lot of subjects that I can choose from especially when the study destination is UK. There are a lot of finest universities that delivers world class education in UK.

When it comes to the choice of a course I have always been interested in social work. I have always been interested by human development and understanding different factors responsible for Human Development in developing countries like India. From the Human Development Report (HDR) prepared every year by UNDP we come to know about the factors but to achieve some fruitful result out of those factors we need deeper understanding of politics and economics.

As a human rights activist myself, India’s poor performance in terms of Human Development and Gender Equality always amazed me. Even though in many of my earlier analyses I have shown that the real factors of human development is never considered and improved upon to create the perceived difference to the society in India, I need deeper knowledge to create and suggest proper roadmap for our government and social organizations to create that infrastructure. A situation that develops a confidence amongst the citizens of a better and secure future rather than creating only gender biased laws in the name of women empowerment and creating more gender bias in the society.

The study of International Political Economy enables us in understanding the social scenario better and enables us to form effective solutions for development of a country. Hence this course becomes important for me to study to achieve a bigger goal for the country and to me as a visionary.

Choice of the University

When it comes to the choice of University for the subject of International Politics or Economy, London becomes the first choice because of its leadership in global economy and strategic role in international politics. There can be no other better city than London in the globe to study the subject.

London School of Economics (henceforth mentioned as LSE) is known for its global leadership in economic and political courses and does not need any introduction. So when my choice of the course is on international politics and economy, LSE becomes the default choice and I don’t feel any need to check any other course offered by any other University.

The Course Details

This link below gives us more details about the course –

London School of Economics

IPE is the study of world’s dynamic and reciprocal interaction between the wealth and power. This course helps one in understanding the reciprocal relation how world’s economy governs the political decisions and how politics govern our economic choices. It is like the study to understand how International capital markets shaped politics of certain Latin American countries such as Brazil or to understand how Germany’s political situation influenced their economic decisions in Greece.

The course structure comprises of much more historical components in its analysis rather than being mathematical. The course structure and material is more international and interdisciplinary in nature than their M.Sc. in Politics degree.

The course contains understanding of older as well as newer models of political theories to understand the political economic situation. Analysis of historical events and their impact on the political scenario and also on the special factors such as environment, climate change and diplomacy etc. are discussed. This course also discusses the events shaping budgetary policy, fiscal policy, and monetary policy of a country and so on.

Students from various backgrounds such as the humanities departments like Sociology, Anthropology or Management to Engineering graduates can take up this course. The main objective is to create a good mix of students who can create value for others. This is another unique value proposition of this course that attracts me more.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the masters in Politics and Economics is a unique combination offered best by the London School of Economics. This is the best course to understand in depth different socio economic conditions of a country like India. This course is a must complete course for a social worker like me who wants to develop his country and bother about social reforms the most.

Knowledge Is Great 9

***

Reference:

1. http://www.lse.ac.uk/internationalRelations/programmesofstudy/MScIPE.aspx

2. Images from Indiblogger and LSE websites

Recharge my hair – Recharge my life

I am a techie.

To be specific I am a manager in an IT firm.

To be more specific, I need to handle clients and handle senior management staff as well.

Those who think this is cool enough need to know the painful part of it.

I need to maintain myself properly all along I am in office.

People in white color job have this great challenge to keep themselves presentable all the time specially those who are in customer facing roles. I am lucky I am not in hotel industry though. ;P

My life and job is otherwise cool as thought by others around me except the road to it. Since I could never stand on the road to take a snap of the same, I have collected this image from internet to find a nearest match for my road to office.

Hair 1

Well you can imagine some more shops and people in it to just come to a nearly perfect image of the road I need to travel everyday to reach my office.

This is the only dissatisfaction I have in my work and this is not related to my boss, responsibilities or even office politics at all. Well, you can say this is somewhat related to my salary as I could have traveled in a car instead of my bike to evade this dust but well I hope that day comes soon.

It is purely a matter of govt. and maintenance of roads but this road can damage my career for good and this is the sole reason I am scared.

For maintaining my clothes, I always keep an extra pair of clothes with me and change after I reach office and hence my clothes are not a problem for me. But the problem is something else.

My hair.

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I wish I could sport a bald look to save myself from this crisis as like one of my friends. He not only looks smart but he is very famous among the girls too. ;P –

Hair 4

But unfortunately for Bengalis, bald head means someone’s death in the family and hence I can’t have that look. L

So I have no option but to keep my hair and to look good and presentable – I need to keep some good amount of it.

….and with journey back home my hair becomes dull and dead when I reach home at night. Obviously my wife does not like it. I look completely like a daily wage laborer. This takes a complete toll on my personal life as well.

So, for me recharging my hair becomes very important every day, to save my career and my personal life as well. Both these components complete my life without which my life has no meaning.

Creating Immune India

Creating a stronger, healthier and more immune India is not an easy task. It requires a lot of brainstorming and path breaking strategies to implement before we can even think of a naturally strong and healthy nation. Even though it is true that we need a stronger young generation to build a stronger nation but to give birth of a stronger and more immune babies we need more immune parents (good genes) to help create those babies. So to have an immune India we need to have widespread health awareness among all Indian citizens.

For any activity in a country like India that reels under so much superstition achieving anything is a Herculean task. We need to have long term goals and try all different avenues to bring in healthy habits to the citizens.

Health and immunity

Nature is a great leveler. It created living and non living things for a purpose. Our eco-system maintains the equilibrium of natural existence and it is the nature that provides us with the solution to all our problems. However, it is the human beings that is continuously breaking the natural norms and equilibrium and creating danger for all other living creatures.

Immune India 1Immune India 2Immune India 3

Ancient Indian yogis have found out the natural secrets of survival in the practice of Ayurveda. Today the same techniques are shown by prominent international broadcasting channels as ‘Survival Strategies”. The trained daredevils who are mostly trainers of some national army go to any odd and difficult terrains in the world and show the viewers the tricks to survive the adverse forces of nature with the help of nature itself. This is nothing but that traditional knowledge that our yogis have provided over ages. To create a healthy and immune India we need to revive those best practices that our yogis have taught for years to survive even in most difficult conditions. 

Ayurveda tells us about integrating body, mind and spirit rather than focusing on individual ailments and win over nature. Knowledge of yoga teaches us to control our mind and body in adverse conditions.

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However, in this era of open economy where multinationals with deep pockets are vying for consumer mind always, it is difficult to make a considerable dent in the mind of the masses. So getting mass attention for a niche sector like Ayurveda with limited budget is extremely difficult. So to promote good healthy practices in India that is core to creation of an immune India, we need to explore different avenues in innovative ways to reach the masses.

Sports, Consumerism and Health

Jagadhhatri Puja 2013_86

Different sporting events are biggest awareness creators in India. If any sports legend endorses a product the sale of that product increases manifold among the fan followers. However, no endorsement ever comes free of cost. But small budget Ayurveda industry can not sustain this publicity. Hence we need to bring in practices that their coaches adopt and guide them to remain fit in their daily life. Good habits, food habits, daily routine etc. Even though the sports-persons are celebrities, their coaches are not that famous. But every Indian who worship these sports-persons and want to be like them will definitely follow the good practices once they know what these sporting legends do. (Remember that ad with Sachin Tendulkar promoting eating egg everyday to be strong?)

There are simple vegetable juices or herbs that can provide more strength and stamina to them or keep them free of toxins. If these are brought in front of these fans those who want to be like their superheroes will follow suit.

Health through spirituality

Immune India 7

Religion and religious festivals are another two methods of spreading the awareness among Indians. Due to our superstitious nature many Indians follow different religious rituals and listen to what these religious gurus speak. Our festivals, where a lot of people assemble are another great method of propagating awareness and creating good habits. These are two avenues that are not that costly and these avenues need to be adopted to spread good healthy practices. Events like Durga Puja and various other pujas in Kolkata that attract huge crowd can be a good booster for these best practices. In an era of theme puja, the puja organizers look for interesting themes to celebrate and this is the easiest and cheapest method to make anything popular.

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Politics and politicians for health

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Apart from sports and religion, Indians are also moved by politicians and their political agendas. Different social groups have capability to move politicians and form their strategies. Already we have seen how the ‘sons of the soil’ theorists have gained popularity and gained ground in different states. These are the forces that can be used to create and form popular political agendas following Indian traditions and with a motive to promote Indianness.

Movies: the new religion, Actors: the new gods

For many Indians movies are religion and actors and superstars are the gods. These actors are not less than any athletes either. In today’s highly competitive movie industry actors too need to keep them fit and desirable to the masses. They do undergo yoga trainings or take herbal treatment free of any side effect. This is another media that appeals to the masses easily and effectively. To make any sizeable impact on the citizens we need to use movies and movie stars as well.

But this does come with a huge price tag. But creating a documentary may not be that costly. This documentary may be played during intervals. Celebrity endorsement or highlighting their life behind the reels is another method of sharing good practices.

Creating Brand India through traditions

Another popular method is to create brand India through this traditional knowledge and create worldwide popularity of this knowledge. Once we create global brands, this consumerist world is bound to accept these best practices. This will also help formulating different strategies to promote this industry.

Reaching one billion – not easy

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India’s vast landscape and more than a billion populations is a major deterrent for making any activity reach all its citizens. Even if we can reach 70-80% of population in this way that can serve our purpose. Rest we need to depend on this educated population to spread through their word of mouth.

In short, it is not easy to create an Immune India. There is a lot of coordination needed in different fields. A lot of strategies need to be formed before we achieve a completely immune India but these strategies may help us reaching the masses but will never help in achieving the target of getting immune India.

The main problem being the reach of these products and also time to follow best practices like perform yoga on daily basis. Moreover, any such practice will need expert guidance for best results. Hence even though we can reach the masses they may not be able to follow these.

Creating immune India

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So we see that even if we break the hurdles of reaching one billion we will not be able to make them follow these practices due to many reasons. Most critical one is time constraint. In today’s difficult time, every individual is hard pressed for time and hence they will find it difficult to follow any practice unless they get some useful healthy habit for no loss of time. Health drinks and power tablets are solution for that. However, these come with side effects and may not be recommended for all.

The solution lies in products with no side effect and products that help achieve improved immune system with no time wastage. Dabur Chyawanprash is an easy solution for the same. Made from Ayurvedic herbs, this comes in various tasty flavors, and is a favorite for the children. This kind of products and awareness about their easy use will create an immune India. This will ensure that we have industrial growth and development keeping our world in mind. When that happens, we will grow healthy and strong as a nation.

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Shirdi Chamatkar – Planning the visit

Planning the visit

“Forward this mail to 14 friends within 14 days and see his chamatkar, else face bad luck”.
No, I have not forwarded this mail to my friends and spammed their mailbox rather I have sent it back to the same person 14 times for wishing me GOOD (or BAD?) luck. It was a great shocker for him as I have forwarded the mail to his official mail ID. Also I have asked him if he had received all 14 mails else I promised to send this mail 14 times everyday to him. Well, not to mention that he got a shock of his lifetime and I knew for sure that he would never forward any bulk mails to me. I really didn’t know if Baba was angry with my sin so wanted to take his blessings and experience the chamatkar myself.

Our company holiday list is published at the beginning of each year. This is an indication for the employees and their managers to make their holiday plans in advance. The three days weekend in September instigated an urge to plan a small trip. This is the time when the rains will stop and we will have a beautiful weather. I searched for a weekend destination from Hyderabad that could be reached in one night by train. Shirdi scored over many other destinations as the first choice. The only close contender to this place was Tirupati and Horshley hills. However, September being a festive season (Brahmotsav starts at the same time) in Tirupati I decided in favour of Shirdi-Ajanta-Ellora-Aurangabad (later on I came to know that this year there were record pilgrimage in Tirupati during Brahmotsav in September).

As usual my planning started four months in advance by finding out the places to visit in these locations. Accordingly I booked railway tickets three months in advance, to ensure our choice of berths. This being my first travel with our one year old, I was cautious to book all lower berths.

As I began planning, my first consideration was the following constraints and risks –
1. Shirdi to Ajanta road distance is about 150 Km or more than four hours by cab. Train is available but takes a roundabout route. That would have wasted almost the whole of Saturday, increased overall ineffective travel.
2. Ajanta caves need to be visited in the morning for better photography as these caves face eastward. Ellora caves on the other hand need to be visited in the afternoon as these face west.
3. One option was to visit Ajanta first and Shirdi in the end but that was not possible as the connecting train to Jalgaon (nearest station to Ajanta) reaches the station at a very odd hour.
4. I had to include two other historical monuments – the Daulatabad fort and the Bibi-ka-Maqbara in our itinerary.
5. The time limit to cover all these was only three days.
I went back to my planning board for planning this trip and roped in all my project management skills for this.
Initially I was in a dilemma as to how to start the journey. Trains to Ajanta from Hyderabad reaches at odd hours and that automatically made the choice of visiting Shirdi first. My travel experience says Shirdi is worth one night stay. I planned for an early check out from our Shirdi hotel on Saturday. Same day I scheduled a visit to Daulatabad fort in the morning and Ellora caves in the afternoon. The Saturday night stay was booked in Ajanta and the third night was our transfer to Hyderabad by train.

The final plan looked like this –
Shirdi

The whole planning was completed seventy days in advance. Train tickets were already booked. Next it was time to book our hotel rooms. I booked the “Ajanta T Junction” resort through MTDC website. Thanks to internet the whole world is in our bedroom now. Everything is ‘just a click’ away. Only two of these resorts that can be booked online out of the five present. If you are planning a visit you need to book well in advance for confirmation. There are three resorts available to site people but it depends on the rush and your luck.

Initially, I wanted to stay in Shirdi temple and intentionally did not book any hotel there. The Sai Baba Sansthan has confirmed that booking can be made only after visiting Shirdi. This was only gap that was itching me constantly until I tried to gather more information from other sources. I realized that one needs to have recommendation from some VIPs to stay in the temple.
Unfortunately, I had only 10 days then.
Without any delay, I booked a serviced apartment in Shirdi for one night. We thought that at least we could cook something on our own there, as the food is very costly at Shirdi.

Jayeeta (my wife) was very enthusiastic in this planning. It was three days to our travel when one night I woke up and saw Jayeeta writing something on a writing pad. It was real surprising. I looked at my watch, it was 2 am. I asked her –
– What are you doing at this hour? My voice was shaken and broken, half asleep.
– Nothing. Making a list..
– List, shopping list? I told you I am already out of pocket.
– No. This is a list of the things to be taken to Shirdi. So that we don’t forget anything.
Oh. There was a sigh of relief in me. At last she is doing something useful. I went to sleep again.
Next morning she gave me the list.
– I told you to travel lite..
– But I can’t reduce this any further. Everything on this list is important. Please have a look.
For the first time in our five year married life I saw her doing something voluntarily and for the first time I saw such a big list for a three-day travel. Apart from clothes and other normal stuff, the list also included emergency light (proved useful in Ajanta resort at night and during Shirdi blackouts), medicine, baby diapers, toys, hand-fan (this was for baby – for Shirdi power cut), feeding bottles, flask … So far it was ok but the last entry was a big surprise.
– What is this? I shouted..
– What?
– The last entry… why do you need this? You need the ‘BABY-POTTY’ for these three days?
– Yes. Don’t you realize that he may be young but he needs to be comfortable all these days? Do you understand that his discomfort can make the whole travel a bad experience for us? After all, he is also a human being.
Not to mention, that it was the conclusion of the discussion. I realized we have a very important member with us…our one year old kid, Snehal.

The real excitement of a travel starts when you start packing the bags. As I was travelling with my mini-family I have started packing early. It was no better than shifting our house to a different city. I could not reduce the list to any significant extent and finally agreed to pack four bags for this travel. This was surely more than what was needed.

The D-Day
It was not the perfect day at all. In fact everything was in a mess. None of us was well. Jayeeta was sick, Piklu had running noses and fever and so was I. I thought of cancelling the trip once but later retracted from that decision as everything was booked. Sometimes planning ahead may really become a problem. This risk of falling sick was already in my initial planning and I was ready with all the medicines per the mitigation plan. Surely, project management helps us in every walk of life.

We started at 3:30 pm from our Kondapur home. The train was at 6 from Secundrabad but I wanted to reach the station one hour in advance. This was only to avoid last minute rush for the right compartment and the right seat.

I have booked till Manmad. My plan was to board off peacefully and to avoid all last minute rush with the luggage. We were already tired when we boarded the train and ready to sleep at the earliest. To make things worse, my son started rejecting all types of food. He didn’t drink his favourite baby-food for dinner either. Even worse, he started vomiting with the slightest glimpse of food. My trip was sure to be a bad one.

I could hardly sleep that night.
Next morning I got up early and went to brush my teeth. It was 6 am when some people were getting ready to board off the train. I met Mr. Das among them. After retirement he is now spending his time in visiting places of worship with his wife and in India there is no dearth of them.
– Where are you going? Mr. Das started the conversation in Bengali. He could understand that he has met another Bong there.
– Shirdi. Will board off at Manmad.
– Oh. We are also going there. But we’ll get down at Nagarsol. I guess that is nearest to Shirdi.
This was a surprise to me. I have done enough searching but missed this valuable information. I couldn’t believe that my internet skills were so poor. I hid the feeling to say –
– We are travelling with our kid and huge luggage. I wanted to avoid the last minute rush as the train will stop only for five minutes there.
– No problem at all. The whole train will be empty there. He said.
Now, that was surprising. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t find this information in the early stages of my planning. Obviously, it was not a huge risk as I have collected the information in time rather just-in-time. Nagrsol was 15 minutes away and we had to get ready before that. It was better to start early for Shirdi as that would avoid the heat en-route to the temple.