Highway On My Plate


 

 

DHABA…… The very word is enough to make the mouth water.

 

A dhaba conjures up an image of a rustic eatery with a charpoy( cot made with woven ropes) and  platefuls of fresh scrumptious dishes which  scores of itinerant truck drivers  enjoy..

Traditionally Dhabas were made of mud structures and a wooden plank was placed across the width of the cot(charpai) to keep the dishes.

The dhabas with time have become more comfortable and cater to all kinds of people, who look out for low cost food with no overhead costs . There are no constraints, no dress codes or fine dining rules, one can lick the fingers and belch ,with no one objecting. It is basically a no frills eating joint  for the common man .

 

A dhaba can be a simple shack which sells two three dishes like dal (lentil), rice ,rotis(Indian bread) and a seasonal veggie ,or it can have a large menu which can consist of various cottage cheese preparations like Kadhai paneer ,matar panner ,shahi paneer ,Kadhi chawal  seasonal green vegies like sarson(mustard) ka sag and makki ki roti (in winter) ,scrambled egg or egg curry , butter chicken ,or kadhai chicken etc. One can sum up the Dhaba food in three words :Buttery, spicy and hot.

 

Almost all the dhabas, especially the highway Dhabas serve large glasses of lassi (sweet n salted), curds, onion slices and pickles which are part of all dhaba meals.

Most of the dhabas serve Panjabi cuisine, as the Dhaba culture has originated from Punjab.

The mouth-watering rich aroma rising from the cauldron full of boiling mah ki dal (black lentil), the freshly made hot rotis straight from the tandoor(clay oven), oodles of butter on stuffed parathas and strong Adrak wali 500 miles chai(strong ,sweet tea), malaidar lassi (thick creamy curds drink), and, if you are a non vegetation, then there is no end to what Dhabas can offer you .All this, combined with the Panjabi warmth of the owner, is enough to lure any hard core foodie to the roadside dhaba.

 

Eating out in a dhaba can be a heart-warming experience. Usually dotted along the highways, dhabas dole out hearty rustic fare. They are  India’s Mecca for food lovers, and equivalent to the British transport café. This place is the true example of national integration and cross cultural exchange.

 

To watch the sweet smiling person in a string vest, artistically churn out rotis from the tandoor with his bare hands, is a sight to enjoy.

 They make a great show working their trade, kneading and slapping fist sized balls of dough with pomp and flair, churning out dozens of flat chapatis(breads) in a blur of motion. In fact the whole process of dishing out food from the containers into the plates in remarkable .It just adds to your hunger and makes the wait impossible.

 

The moment the car hits the national highway, dhabas decorated with colourful signboards, lights, flags and mouth-watering specialties are the first sights one notices. . It’s an amazing glimpse into the world of entrepreneurs who have created a food cult with quality & hygiene.

 

The Dhabas on highways, generally have a small pan n cigarette shop nearby or a local liquor shop called Theka , selling chilled bear sometimes written as ‘child bear’. With huge signs all along the highway .That attracts a large number of  travellers and drivers .

 

On our various trips, we discovered some of the finest dhabas strategically located on G.T.Road. Most of the Dhaba’s have their secret recipes to attract customers. These dhabas may look rustic, but as far as the menu is concerned they are at par with any other multi-cuisine restaurant in the city. Though Tandoori and Punjabi menus are the hot favourites, they also serve Chinese dishes like noodles and chilli chicken.

Some of our favourite stopping joints are Puran ka dhaba near Ambala cant. A must stop for all who love their food.

There is one on way to Mandi, which takes pride in having catered to the likes of Bollywood  actor Salman Khan and some film unit members. They even have pictures and autograph comment book to prove it .The food is excellent and the ambience very good. It is worth a stop.

There are many others on way to Shimla, Mussourie and Manali.

 

On our  way to Ranikhet , we discovered Amritsariya dhaba .What made this place special was, the location .Just ahead of Rudrapur, comes a green and not so congested Bilaspur and this dhaba is in the very beginning .Owned by an old sardarji, the place is dotted with plastic chairs, wooden tables, a tube well and a hand pump which doles out chilled clean water at all times. Surrounded by paddy fields this place is one of our favourite places.

The old man is a perfect example of Indian hospitality and friendliness .The staff, very efficient and clean.

As our visit became regular, the old man became a part of our family, he would ask for our wellbeing and, about my elder one, who was studding in a residential school, way up in Ranikhet .He would always wrap up some parathas for us in nice packs with pickles and, never charge for them. They were a part of his blessings for the kid and our safe journey. He even shared the magic masala of his delicious pepper chicken, with me and packed a generous amount, in a small plastic bag for us along with the recipe. Now that our visits have become rare, we recommend all our friends going that way, to stop there and darji always remember us fondly.

 

Murthal is a Mecca for Dhabas lovers .located on NH-1 near Sonepat; this place has a vast variety of delicious food. People especially go to eat food there during weekends.

The city Dhabas are not as colourful as the highway ones and each one has its own specialty. Most of the Dhaba workers stay, in and around the joint, so they are able to keep up with the odd working hours. Many of them are open from early morning till very late in the night.

 

In Delhi also we have some of the best known dhabas like, Kake ka dhaba in Chandni Chawk. The owner Mr. Lovely Singh is a foodie himself and has tremendous knowledge about the stuff .He has gone for a number of food fests in India and abroad.

 

Rajender da dhaba in Safdarjang Enclave is one of my favourites. If looking for great food in the middle of the night; this place is where one should go.

The Delhi – Gurgaon border and the Kapashera border are also two great places for authentic dhaba food .Most of the places are open throughout the night and a hub for all the young people working late nights.

 

 Dhabas have undergone a makeover and the complexion of the clientele has also changed. It is no longer a roadside pit stop where truckers can fill their tummies.

One can see the hep call center and BPO crowd and the night revellers frequenting these places very often.

 Unfortunately most of these eating joints have lost their charm of traditional dhabas and have become a roadside restaurant for the youth. Gone are the fried parathas , there place has been taken by tandoori parathas .

The new health conscious generation prefers fat-free food and dhabas which were never known for this variety of food are now giving in to the whims of customers. The young new owners want their swanky young “always in a hurry young customers” to be happy , and, gladly serve, anything from chowmein and chilly cheese to fruit juices, coke etc .These hybrid dhabas have mushroomed all over the city. Even the highway dhabas have become modern in more than one ways .Some of them have mobile charging facilities ,A small T.V. set or a S.T.D. calling facility .Some have small but clean restrooms to attract more travellers .

 People travel short distances from Delhi just to eat at their favourite highway dhaba.

WE often drive down to moolchand’s paranthewala or the Jain’s dhaba in Connaught Place for a late night binge.

 

A few friends, winter nights, dhaba food, a  lot of laughter and chit chat and the warmth and joy of being together …..

 

 

There are some things that money can’t buy.

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Let Me Rant …….


 Yesterday was a day which should go down in the history of my life as a Black Day . A day when it seems that the entire universe is conspiring against you .when unusual number of bad things happen .

Boy!! the day started on wrong foot I guess .

I felt tired, cranky, down right grumpy.

I was in one of my “do not mess with me ” moods and that made things even worse for me and for those who came anywhere near me even the workers .

And to top it all ,my 17year old boy decided to argue on some issue which we both knew will add fuel to the already raging fire within .

Gosh ! How do these kids behave !!1. Unbelievable . Ungrateful buggers …

I often feel raising two teenage boys is experiencing Hell on earth .The cute bundles of joy sometimes turn into dementors ,sucking the soul out of your body .Yesterday was such a day .

Was I being overtly critical and over reacting to little things ???    Absolutely not .

Thought a cup of strong Black coffee will make some difference but found the bottle almost empty .

I hit the roof   …

By the evening  I felt spent . I had done my share of yelling ,accusing,criticising ,everything that was against my inherent nature  and now came the time to wallow in self pity .

Trying to hold back the tears swelling up in my lovely eyes , I went into a soliloquy .

Now when I think of it ,it looks like the best theatrical performance I must have given .

words like ..inadequate mom ,looser to the core ,life sucks ,enough is enough blended with the choicest of cuss words , came easily to a person who is normally just the opposite to this .

The water had really gone over my head .

But , at that time, I was completely pissed off and needed to let the steam off .

The amazing thing is that during such times the entire past opens in front of you like a slide show and you remember all the hurt and pain and every wrong done to you knowingly or unknowingly .Even the ones you made up yourself .

I guess the deadly PMS virus had stuck me resulting in my grouchy mood swings lately.The monthly blood donation got a bit too much to handle  ..that’s one donation I  HATE .

Slowly I slipped into silent mode and heated all the leftovers made some rice and after making myself a huge mug of camomile tea ,locked myself from the world .

Today is a happy day .

Life goes on ……

I want to break free ..


Time :5 in the morning ..

 I try to locate the vibrating mobile somewhere under my pile of pillows .Manage to find it and switch the darn thing off ..Though I would  love to snooze for a while but the luck is not on my side today .. dragging myself out from the comfort of my bed , I look around my once neat n cozy home ,which resembles an ancient  ruin these days .

 Bricks, bottles ,boxes ,ladder ,all kinds of construction material and an eye sore of a platform staring  back at me from the window of the kid’s room.

I notice that the night breeze has settled  another fine layer of dust over everything …Sigh !!!! 😦

I have been eating more dust than food these days I feel . 😦

Taking my tea , I step out carefully, in the remains of what used to be a balcony and stand looking at the refreshing green of the swaying Neem tree ..It is breezy n nice .There is a slight nip in the air .. and I take a deep breath .The fragrance of roses , fill my entire being and I feel blessed .I smile at the little beauties and thank the universe for these little bundles of joy .The sky is turning into a shade of pink behind the matchbox like buildings and it feels great . My morning  friends are around, busy with their stuff .

The group of around  eight squirrels are scurrying  around gathering the bits n pieces of the leftover  bread someone has thrown .It is  a joy to watch these furry wonders and their gymnastics  ..  🙂

The pigeons ,mynas and other birds have gathered, to a feast of bajra and water at the edge of the park . The noise they all make is deafening but somehow today it doesn’t bother me much . At Least it is better than the thak thak that goes on all day at my place .

Thinking of that , I realise that  the workers are due by 10 and I have a lot to do .

Unwillingly, I walk back in and wonder from where I should start .The house is uncannily silent .I decide to setup a good working environment and put on the radio at a little higher than usual  volume .It blares the latest Himesh Reshmya song and  I curse under my breath at the choice of Radio Mirchi . Certainly not a good way to start but anyways .. 😦 

I begin  the cleaning routine, knowing it is a waste of time n energy ,as within no time the things will be back to square one.But the habit to clean n scrub is a little difficult to let go ..Am I getting obsessed with “wash ’em clean ” thing ???..   Guess I am  😦

By the time I am through, it is around 9:30 and a quick look in the mirror tells me  that it’s time for a  bath,before the door bell starts ringing .15 minutes and I am out ,fresh and ready for another challenging day .

This is the 5th day since the work started and I feel as if  I am also a part of the Thekedar’s gang .At least by the end of the day my face n clothes looks exactly like them .And I am sure, I work as much as they do .

I wonder what will happen when I start building my dream home ..Did I tell you about it ?? …  NO….well ! maybe I should .Later .

Just now my mind is filled with just one thought “God ,give these men more strength to finish the work as soon as possible “.

NETADDICTION


When I started my journey into the virtual world, I had no idea how addictive it was going to be. At first it was limited to just simple emailing ,then the whole new world of e-cards opened up and as I explored the endless possibilities of the internet ,I  simply kept getting more n more  entangled into the web .

Slowly I discovered chat sites, social networking sites, and the tremendous desire to have more n more gripped me.I couldn’t stay away from the computer .I realized at that time that I was completely powerless in front of the magical web.

Whatever spare time that we used to spend meeting old pals, reading books, playing family games, going out to parks and various other places, including just simply walking down to the library or a theater, took a backseat. Making beautiful birthday greeting, anniversary cards seemed like a thing of past as the entire collection of what you wanted was available at a click.

A call from an old friend ,made me realize ,I had not spoken to her in ages ,not even remembered her birthday because she unfortunately was not it my computer birthday reminder list .

Is it a mental need or a want to be accepted in the new world known as the internet?  To escape the sometimes cold realities that surrounds us on a daily basis? We feel inclined to share our feelings with thousands of people we don’t know, and drift away from those we’ve known all our lives.

 

Sad 😦 , but true. Made me feel guilty, but then the craving to write a blog about it brought me back to the good old PC .The day I demanded that I needed a laptop I was rebuked in chorus by all the elders.

“You will then hang it around your neck and cook with one hand and chat with other”, was my hubby’s remark.

So a laptop became a complete NO NO.

 

I love my computer because I have all my friends in it … So true …  🙂

 

Then came the worse part

 

As if Orkut , Facebook ,Hi5 were not enough, the blogging bug also bit me and the in curable  itch to write that it caused, was too much for the family to handle .

 

One day after spending an entire day online I was forced to call me quits .cursing under my breath, I slumped myself in the bed ,dreaming of what to do next and where .. When, a kick on my butt made me jump. 😦

“What the F**k   !!!!!,” I shouted in half awakened  state .

“You crazy or what,”yelled my hubby,”you think my hand is F***ing   key board?” “You wanna go back to your bloody computer, GO .Let me sleep in peace for God’s sake “.

I looked at the man apologetically .Muttering a quick sorry I realized it was time to take a break from the virtual world.

 

So ,first thing in the morn at 6 O’clock ,I, along with my freshly made green tea, parked myself in front of the comp ,to send scraps to all ,saying ,I will be away for a while .

On opening my mail account I found game, scraps, blog comments

Notifications smiling at me, and I started to open them one by one.

 

By the time I was through, my remaining half cup of tea had become cold; I was past breakfast time and missed my morning exercise routine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am too sexy for my ….


Day ..Sunday October 12….time …2:30PM

Kid 1 had a worried look on his face .Something was bothering this young man.He had been in and out of the room twenty times ,sometimes stopping to examine his reflection in the mirror in a very critical manner .I looked up from my Ghost Stories and asked Kid 2 what was biting his elder bro .

He shrugged and showed no desire to speak any further,but when he saw that I would not budge without an answer ,he said with a bored expression ,”School reopens tomorrow .”

I did not get it . “so?  I asked .

HE was exasperated .”Mom ,YOU ARE SO DUMB AT TIMES ..SCHOOL REOPENS TOMORROW …School =Girls .. there must be something wrong and that’s why he is bugged ,Big deal .Don’t worry “.And with that he buried himself back into his book .

I couldn’t resist myself .

“Maybe you should go for a hair cut today , ” I said to Kid 1,as he walked into the room.

“Hmmm..I know ,will go in a while “. “Dad can take you when he goes for work “I offered .”NO WAY “He suddenly came into action ..”Mom ,I don’t wanna go with him ,he always goes to that f###kng TOUCH N FEEL” .

Kid 2 fell off the bed, laughing .

Kid 1 looked pained ..I assured  him and requested my hubby to take him somewhere he wanted . After a little argument about how low the pant should be , they went and I confronted the younger one ,”Now tell me what’s this all about ?,I demanded .

After some persuasion and a little bribe ,I knew the reason .

An hour later Kid 1 was back looking more civilised than he ever looked in his whole life .Hair trimmed short ,nice clean shave and a glowing face .      But he was still brooding .

I looked lovingly at my first born . At 17 he looked just great .

I remarked casually ,”you look kinda tanned Adi ,how about putting a face mask or something ,that will cut some of the tan and maybe help heal that pimple “.

Am sure he did not expect this.

“Sorry”??

“you can use the face mask” I said .

“So ,you too noticed “, He remarked .

Within minutes he was gone and I could hear the cabinet door open n close ..

“Beauty queen ” 

Said Kid 2 with disgust .”I don’t know why he is so into impressing girls .Mad .”

At13 Kid 2 also had a lot of girls drooling over him .I smiled ,He was cute and had lovely dimples .

But unlike his elder ,he was not obssesed with beauty regime and looks ,clothes etc .

He had that I AM COOL air around him .

“Wait till you are his age,buddy,” I thought .

I found Kid 1 spread over the bed ,eyes closed ,his arms ,face neck ,sh older all covered with the fragrant sandelwood mask .

He opened his eyes and gave a dimpled smile .I smiled back .

One hour later ,all fresh after a bath, he emerged with styled hair and ,low waist denims and his black tee.

There was a glow of happiness on his face .

I remembered the time he was a small cuddly baby  and now ,a smart teenager .No wonder he has such a lovely GF .How time flies ..kids growup and before you know they have their own little world .

Life at forty Rocks !!!


“One of the many things nobody ever tells you about middle age is that it’s such a nice change from being young”

 

Dorothy Fisher.

 

 

For many people especially women , turning forty is a difficult time, a dead man’s curve on the road from youth to old age but I will always feel that you may not FEEL  young AT FORTY  but u can remain youthful…..youthfulness is eternal..

 For me it was a whole new beginning of an adventure as I started to discover the joy life held in its treasure trove .I began to explore, reinvent and accept myself.

I felt that now was the time to live for oneself, with children all grownup and able to look after themselves, I could spend more time in doing things I wanted to do and the way I wanted to do .

 Suddenly there was a tremendous desire to LIVE fully, completely.

I realized that as I grew older my kids did too and there they were young handsome boys towering over me ,my friends ,with whom I started to form a very special bond  of friendship .

At forty I found my voice too. I don’t look like I’m getting older. Why the hell does everyone else? In fact I feel I look sexy and stylish now in more that one ways and get noticed and admired, than before. Those few strands of grey hair, which I thought would be the ultimate nightmare, gave me a kind of graceful look and of course an opportunity to experiment with colors from burgundy to deep brown and various others. Apart from some health issues life simply rocks at forty .

 I feel way younger at 40 than I thought I would and at the same time I finally feel like a real adult.

 

As a friend who has known me over the last 20yrs said, ‘Tiku was a pinnanoire grape then and now she is a matured vintage wine. Amazing texture, aroma, flavor and taste for life.” It really thrilled me

 

 

I wont say turning forty  made me  more mature ,wise and mellow but it certainly added more charm to my plain Jane routine mundane life .

I keep the child me alive n kicking, still love to climb trees, play pranks, fight for the chocolate bar and much more but the childishness is gone.

 I found that all those years before this point I just lived playing a role .either of a mother ,sister ,daughter ,wife ,lover  but now I could connect with my true self ..The real ME .and do what SHE wanted to do.

 This time in life also provided a great opportunity to catch up with activities and interests that I had put aside for many years. And that makes for a whole new world!!

 

Age is reflected in attitudes. A 25 yr old “older” than many 60 yr olds!

 

 

I became tech savvy almost around this time and that brought a revolution in my life. It may sound funny but for a woman living a life behind the closed doors, it was a passage to freedom, to fly in the fast sky which held tremendous scope for her. It expanded my horizons .Meeting different people, joining different groups online interactions helped me get over some preconceived ideas and preconceptions about people. It was a new learning process.

I was also the star of my blogging itch .before this I wrote for my own pleasure and many a times thoughts and ideas, just kept floating inside my mind struggling to fin a small open space to come out n breath but with blogging, a whole new world opened in front of me .For that I am thankful to two wonderful women friends of mine Aparna and Ritu .Two women whom I befriended online on a social networking site and formed an instant bond .I owe a lot to you girls. Thank You so much for helping me find my lost self.

 

I am encountering many great things about being older and looking at life from a more emotionally mature perspective.I have far better friends at 40 than I did at 20 or 30, and I value them more than I did then as well. I have been able to focus on the wonderful friends I have. Friends, who were living in some corner of the world and were just names for me, till they became an essential part of my being .I met them online and slowly formed a bond that joined our heartstrings .some of them I met others are still on SMS, calls, chats and emails but I never felt the physical distance .Each one of them enriched my life in some special way, bringing in a lot of joy n love.

 

In Rabindranath Tagore’s words,” Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance”.

 Today, both my shyness and diffidence have reduced substantially, my self confidence has increased, which amazes me too and I know my negative and positive traits inside out. Am better equipped to deal with situations than before and take the correct decision when needed. I listen to my inner and do what my heart feel right .I was never the one for social moralities

They made me befriend myself once again and that mattered. I am thankful for my circle of amazing friends. . I feel incredibly blessed.

One of the most satisfying things that happened to me is, finally gaining the ability to de-clutter my relationships. I have been able to get to a point in which I have learned to distinguish friendships that drag me down emotionally and I am able to check myself before they cast their dark shadows over me. Have decided to set my boundaries and stick to them.

 

I feel at forty plus I am still young enough to learn a few new tricks and old enough to have experienced almost everything.

 

As someone said

 

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

 

And I, for one, am enjoying lot more such moments every day. I turned forty one yesterday and last one year has been the most memorable one for me.

 

Avery special thank you hug to some of my amazing online   friends ….. Sujatha .Jayshree, Ritu (I feel like writing a separate blog post for her), Arun and Sita.

There are some very special people who also need to be mentioned Amit and Neeti (my God Parents)

A few others are part of me in a very personal way. And will always remain so.

 

 

 

The Festive Foodies


One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote all our attention to Food .

 

KaBoom!  The countdown for Deepawali (the festival of lights) has begun.

The month of October is loaded with festivities ,with Eid ,durga puja ,navratras all happening at the same time .The markets are buzzing with shoppers ,the Mithayi shops (sweet shops)churning out scrumptious mithais n namkeens .Apart from the usual traditional motichoor ladoo, kaju katli, soan papdi, karachi halwa, barfi and peda,


Sweets for the calorie conscious are also available. Even sugar-free ones for those unfortunate one’s who are diabetic.

For those who like things with a pinch of salt the variety is immense, the aroma of the fresh samosas, kachoris and such sinfully delightful things is too much to resist. Dandiyas, puja pandals, festive sales…You name it and it’s happening here.

This post is not about the usual festive happenings …..It’s just a bit different

There is another aspect to this festive season .The Navratra and Ramadan fasting aka feasting which never ceases to amaze me.

NINE DAYS OF FASTING where you are supposed to eat a specific kind of diet .and boy what  assortment of delectable dishes it is.

I watch with amazement as the five-star hotels, restaurants, chat walas prepare to lure the fasting community.

The women who are non working , gorge on the delicacies all through the day and still pretend they are fasting .The working women are less fortunate yet they grab whatever n when something comes their way .

A neighbor starts her day with juice followed by continues snacking of wafers ,potato chat , special vrat snacks and then at lunch it assortment of things from sabudana kheer to kuttu puris n two types of veggies ,fruits ,curds etc .

The evening is spent again munching something or the other and the night brings another round of choicest of delights.On asking she said, “Oh! You know I hardly eat these days..vrat hai na (am fasting na ) feel so weak”.

I sympathized with her and commented on how pale she looked, forming an instant bond with her .I gave her some healthy recipes to try and she gave the brightest of smiles I had ever seen.

You will wonder how I came to know of her all day hogging.Well that’s thanks to the human network chain (The Maids).

I burst out laughing the moment she was out of sight and narrated the whole thing to my hubby, who too was fasting. The story he told  had all of us roaring with laughter .A group of fat panju (Panjabi) ladies, all decked up and looking like ‘chalta phirta’ makeup kit , came to the 24hour coffee shop (he works for a five star) and demanded the navratra special thali(which contains 4 kuttu puris , two veggies ,sawan rice ,kheer or kaddu ka meetha ,sabudana vada ,buttermilk and chef’s special for the day ).

Some of them were regulars and on asking, my hubby found that they were all on a Diwali shopping spree .None of them looked famished or tired .the team leader asked the steward to give them all, a round of juice and some fasting snack, by the time the food arrived.

After having  some starchy snacks ,they attacked the main course as  like hungry cats .Each of them digging into the massive thali full of exotic delights .None of them uttered a word .The entire process took not less than 45 min. and then she called out , “puttar , sanu diet coke dena please ,you know normal wale vich badi calories hondi hai”(son ,give us diet coke please as the normal one has too many calories ).After paying a hefty sum they managed to move their mighty asses ,happy and content, ready to spend the rest of the day ransacking some mall.

It is the same story with those keeping the Roza for Ramdan .A visit to old Delhi after sunset , during Iftar ,or a Iftar party ,which are a rage in Delhi ,will make your mouth water as the aromas of Haleem, kormas, kebabs, sheermal ,sewaiyan , gosht biryanis , phirni and much more, fill your entire being .

Talking of food reminds me of the food stalls specially the chat stalls which are the, oh so important part of Durga puja Pandals and Ramlila pandals in the city.

Delhi loves its food and the variety is astonishing. I often wonder how these women manage to tuck that all in. as I watch them with a felling of awe and horror I sometimes feel one of them surely will explode after the next bite she takes but the bottom less pit takes it all in and the fried snacks, chat pakodas, sweets, cokes n juices all go miraculously in their allotted compartments.

All I can say is three cheers to the foodies of Delhi.

Heartbeat : A Collection Of Poems


************

A TEEN PARTY
A shining stud on the chin
a ring on each brow
short hair spiked like thorns
in a row
with jeans about to fall
at the slightest nudge
he leaned at the front door refusing to budge
“move this thing from here ”
I shouted over the din.
“hey Frisky, give her way” said a girl ,paper thin .
The “thing”turned around
and gave a toothy smile .
To digest the whole scenario
it took me a while .
I looked over his shoulder
and spotted my son.
with pretty lasses all around
he was all for fun .
The hard rock played
AND the room looked wrecked
silly giggly girls with dumb guys, hand pecked .
This is a hep teen party,
these things are “in”
my little one educated me as if
not knowing was a sin.
He too had a SWEET girl
tagging along.
and the night of the aliens went on
with dance n song
I pinched myself and realized
it wasn’t some dream
and the only Persian rug i had
was flooded with ice cream
I locked myself in my room
with my cherries n plums
thinking of how the world will look
if tomorrow comes .
************
THE GAME OF CHESS
************
APRIL SHOWERS
gracefully the rain descends
embracing the warm earth
the trees sway slowly with the rhythm divine
and the sun stays in the clouds behind
oh!how wonderful it feels
as it cleanses and heals
the tiny drops of sparking crystal
nestle deep in the heart of lovely flowers
the magic continues with the
unexpected unusual April showers.
lazily drifting whirling silently through space
The translucent orbs of different shapes
Face up,Eyes closed
with a smile on my face
I flood myself in the blissful rain
*************
FREE AS A BIRD
I set my mind free today
it’s the right thing to do,
as they say it’s wandering
in the wildest of wild ,
just like a little gypsy girl child .
gathering blooms of love n joy,
flowing with streams ,
soaring as eagle ,
rolling from hill tops ,
with freedom as toy.
it’s a beautiful feeling ,
to let go ,
to watch it laugh n smile n glow
I intend to keep it ,just this way
would set the heart free too
what do u say
will watch them go wild
and have a little fun
who ever got anything
from caging someone !
****************

Breathtaking Jageshwar


 

With a passion for driving and a desire to explore new places, we decided to explore some untouched places around Ranikhet and Almora, region.
The whole area is dotted with remote picturesque places which can leave you asking for more .
We made Ranikhet as our base. The place has some power to hold you, be it any time of the season .It also is a second home to us so we could relax and workout which destination to select for a day trip .Jageshwar in Almora district came as a unanimous choice. A temple town buried deep in the heart of Himalayas.RANIKHET
AT 1829meters above sea level Ranikhet has the best combination of majestic Himalayas, lush green forests, hidden nature trails and lot of places of interest to visit. A
Perfect balance of old and new. It also offers an interesting mix of hill and military cultures. One can spend hours just admiring the majestic Bhagirathi peaks in the west to Nanda Kot in the east. The place has preserved its virginity and pristine charm
In every season there is something to come back to in this place ,be it the riot of colors in the skies during the sunset, variety of local flowers or trees laden with fruits of the season. The air is fresh and cool and one can enjoy the scenic beauty through mist and clouds and sun playing hide n seek among tall pine trees. Or one can add to the excitement with an evening of power packed volleyball or football matches between one of the stationed regiments, cheered by the local crowd.
An half an hour drive will take you to Chaubatia. The orchards famous for variety of exotic flora and delicious apples. The view is scintillating. The evenings are made even more serene by ringing bells of Herakhan and ancient Jhoola devi temples. A few kilometers from Ranikhet are the magnificent Kalika golf course.
The nights are also beautiful especially if it’s a full moon night. It casts a spell on you.
We decided to start early and packed some sandwiches for our two very exited kids. it was a great day for driving and we had a long way to go. We took the instructions from our army friends and set off to Almora reroute to Jageshwar.

ALMORA

Almora is nestled in the lap of nature with great view of Himalayas and lovely colorful houses built on the slopes, it also has great bio diversity. Famous for the local bal-mithai, Surrounded by thick pine forest, this place is unique in its traditions and culture.
Two lovely rivers Kosi and Suyal flow along Almora making it even more beautiful. Apart from the main Almora town one can go to BINSAR, JAGESHWAR, BAGESHWAR, BAIJNATH, AND GANNATH, known for its natural caves and Shiva temple. Almora is filled with scenic beauty and the town has maintained its ancient tradition which is different from other hill stations.

We filled the petrol tank full, as there is no petrol pump on the way to Jageshwar .The drive past the old Almora town, gliding on the long and winding road, was an experience I will remember for a long time .Lush green pine and fur forest on one side and deep enthralling valley with majestic Himalayan ranges as a backdrop lift us spellbound.
The fresh sweet smelling breeze brushing past the trees made a whistling sound, somewhere some bird call could be heard breaking the silence ,the small villages looked painted in rainbow colors ,full of vibrant seasonal flowers and bubbling brooks filled the us with awe.
A slight drizzle had started and the fragrance of the wet soil, mixed with the mountain air was intoxicating.
JAGESHWAR
It took us approximately three hours to reach pilgrimage town of Jageshwar, 5000 ft up in the Kumaon hills .As we approached the little settlement it seemed we have come in some other mythical world . Cluster of 150 Ancient Shiva temples made of gray stone built centuries ago, stood silently surrounded by the mesmerizing natural beauty.
The whole place gave me a feeling of spiritual calm and peace. Embellished with the tall deciduous deodar trees and winding river Jata Ganga, which finds its way to the side of the temple complex.
Jageshwar is the 8th Jyotirling among the twelve and has great religious value. Giant deodar trees stand as guards all across the area .the temples are of archaeological importance and one can spot signs put up by ASI everywhere.
The architecture of these temples especially the mritunjaya and jyotirlinga temples is worth a look the carvings ,the courtyard and ancient things like pots etc. brought out in excavations can kept us hooked for a long time. The archaeological museum has idols and exquisite statues dating 10th century. One can also take an excursion to virddha Jageshwar which is worth a look.
Apart from the religious aspect of the place one finds the old wooden houses pained carefully with vibrant colors and exquisitely carved panels all add to the glory of this place. The people are helpful and ever smiling. We stayed at Jageshwar for four hours and apart from offering prayers at al the temples, enjoyed the slight drizzle,a magnificent rainbow and cool water of the stream flowing nearby. It’s truly a magical experience which captivates you and holds you to the place.
With a heart filled with serenity, peace and calm we started our drive back to Ranikhet, pledging to return and stay longer.
On the way back we encountered a heavy downpour and driving through the rain on the serpent like road was an experience by itself. Visibility was poor but we had to go on to reach our destination before dark. The rain stopped as suddenly as it had started and we managed to reach Almora without any problem. Here we got some famous local mithai packed and had or much needed cup of sweet tea. As there was still a little time on our hand we decided to go down to Koshi River and spend some time enjoying the cool clear water. Children had great time playing with local kids, who were having a swimming competition .The water glittered with the golden rays of the setting sun and the beauty of the place increased manifolds.
We reached Ranikhet at night just in time for a good, home cooked meal, at the army guest house, where we were staying .The night was beautiful and cool and very quite. Here the nature’s beauty overwhelms you with its sheer abundance.
Though a very short trip we really enjoyed every moment of it .I would love to go back and spend a few days there exploring and reliving the enchanting experience.

Dharamshala Adventure


Summers had set in and we were ready to explore yet another destination. We were offered accommodation in Dharamshala and so, instead of going to the unexplored places, we normally go to, we decided to visit the land of His Holiness Dalai Lama.
We went to Dharamshala from khajjiar which is near Dalhousie. It was a six nights five day trip.

Dharamshala lies on a spur of the Dhauladhar range, the Pir Panjal region of the Outer Himalayas; and commands majestic views of the mighty Dhauladhar ranges above, and the Kangra Valley below.

It is the land of awesome peaks, of Tibetan monasteries, and of meandering streams cascading down the majestic mountains rising up to 4000 feet. The gorges, wild daisies growing like a carpet of yellow n white, the springs leave you asking for more.

The main town is divided into two halves .The lower and the upper Dharamshala.
Upper Dharamshala has a distinct character of its own and is influenced by the Buddhist culture .It is known as McLeodganj and is the seat of Dalai Lama. This place reflects the Tibetan way of life and is tranquil n serene .The crisp breeze is filled with the chanting of hymns n tinkling of prayer wheels. It’s a world in its own. Heavenly, calm and breathtakingly beautiful. The locals are friendly and warm people and one can easily relate to them. The evening prayers, the meditating monks, the laughter of the little children dressed in maroon outfits, the mighty statue of Lord Buddha in gold, just takes your breath away. It was a treat to our spiritually starved soul.

Apart from the spiritual stuff, the place offers some of the mouthwatering Tibetan food, from thupkas and dimsums, to a wide variety of local food, hand woven carpets, artifacts and spiritual music and books. The place is a heaven for food lovers, the constant flow of westerners has added to its flavor with German bakeries offering delicacies, out of this world.
One can spend hours at this captivating place, walking down the trek routes, all along the hills.

The lower Dharamshala is a traveler’s base camp and a place where you can see people from across the world. It’s a busy town dotted with cyber cafes, crowded market place, restaurants, eateries, cafes and local shops.

The place is known for its beauty, elegance and charm that it expresses through the natural scenarios and the mystic ambiance. The coniferous forests and the snow capped mountains are a welcoming treat from the hustle bustle of the city life.

We were in a mood to chill out completely and didn’t want to go to usual places of tourist interest .Both the kids were ecstatic to find video parlors, cyber cafes n their favorite eating joints, and that was a bliss .We were left to do our own bit.
Loaded with ample supply of booze and the task now was to relax and find a good German café .Tucked on a hill side our search ended at a lovely café which not only offered great food but also had board games like Dominos, chess and carom and regular sessions of guitar playing.

The whole day, we explored the spectacular places like Bhagsunag waterfalls; the side of the rocky hill had been cut and paved with stones, to create a walkway to the waterfall. the path is approximately 1.5km. And very steep .it is a place one can spend hours without tiring..The water is fast and cold and one can sit on the huge boulders admiring the beauty surrounding the place.Bhagsunag also has an ancient temple of Shiva and is the ceremonial temple to First Gorkha Rifles. The monasteries and the nature trails in the forests, the local kotwali bazaar, church of St.John nestled between the wilderness and built in Gothic style , war memorial are the other places we explored , and, in the evening we returned to the café for steaks n barbecue, freshly baked breads n cakes. The owner, a young lad from Goa, was a friendly soul and after a little negotiation, allowed us to have our drinks at the far side of the café, dominated by the westerners. These hippies and regular travelers lived in their own world of dope n drinks and had little to do with anyone around .The music from their guitars and flutes floated sweetly in the night air. It was an experience of a life time for us.

Playing chess till the darkness and the cold enveloped us, we were transported to some other world .Slowly the crowd thinned and even our party broke up, but I was not in a mood to give up the intoxicating experience of the night life and persuaded our friend to stay on . Promising rest of the family, to return to the hotel, at dinner time.

It was our last night there at Dharamshala, and we wanted to make the most of it. Walking down the narrow lanes in the starlight, we saw a totally different aspect of the majestic Dhauladhars .Though most of the hill stations look the same at night; here something was captivating the senses. The air was pure n cool mixed with a heady cocktail of incense sticks and aromas coming from various road side food joints. We came across groups of hippies huddled together smoking pot or something similar.
One thing that I regretted, was taking my handy cam and not the digital camera or any other Camera for capturing the enchanting beauty of the place.

The nights are alive in Dharamshala, with so many soul cafés organizing rave nights, full of trance and techno music and dance .there are new events every night and places are mainly frequented by hippies and youngsters visiting the place.
Though I was very excited to go for an adventure of a different kind, the on growing pressure from the two male members of the group made me change my plans.
We reached the hotel well after the dinner time and sneaked into beds, only to be awakened and scolded for being so irresponsible .After a bit of buttering up things calmed down and we offered the angry lot, some scrumptious baked stuff, we had got packed on our way back.
No one was in mood to sleep so we kept chatting till the wee hours and then after a quick nap, packed our bags to say good bye to this celestial place. Getting up at around six we started our drive back to Delhi, full of happy memories and a longing to come back to this heaven on earth as soon as possible