Category Archives: travel

Here we go (& will not come)

Here Maps will no longer be available on Windows 10 mobile phones. Starting from 30 June 2016 the mapping & navigation software from Nokia will be discontinued on Windows 10 mobile devices. If you happen to have updated here maps app on windowsphone 8.1 you would receive this message.
Thank me, hopefully it wont affect as I would still have WP8.1 since earlier Lumia Phones are not eligible for Windows 10 upgrade.

These guys fool around on TV. You wont take'em seriously until you read their bio!

HOMP fame duo, Rocky and Mayur, the host of NDTV Goodtimes’ TV show “Highway on my Plate (aka HOMP)” have been running food and travel series and covered all corners of India. These guys fool around on TV, try some poor poetry, make fun and pull each others’ leg while traveling and eating at thela, dhaba, college canteens, and restaurants across the nation. Unlike other TV show anchors/models whose only skill is ‘looking good in front of camera’, the HOMP duo are smart and full of talent. You know this for sure when you see them on one of the TED (TEDx) videos.

And you wont take them seriously until you read their brief bio (below):

Introducing the Highwaymen

Mayur Sharma believes that life is about finding your special gift and sharing it with the world. He loves red wine, paneer, ice-cream, and gaajar halwa all of which taste best when shared with someone. An avid bookworm, wildlife enthusiast, passionate rock climber, and mountain trekker, Mayur is always ready to dive into anything for a laugh.

rocky-mayur-ndtv-homp

Mayur Sharma (left) and Rocky Singh

Mayur is based out of Delhi and the ‘out of Delhi’ is so true. He is an outdoor experiential educator and works with children and corporate clients in developing interpersonal relationships and productive group dynamics. An avid traveller Mayur has lived, worked, played, backpacked his way across over 65 countries in the past decade before returning home to the best food in the world. A keen sportsman he plays squash and enjoys rock climbing and high altitude trekking. Mayur has climbed Kilimanjaro and survived an unexpected swim in the Tsunami of 2004 but finds the adventures on the highways of India just as exciting.
Rocky Singh is 38 years old and married with two kids. After running a restaurant, gas distributorship, working with British Airways and finally heading a multinational as the CEO, Rocky retired in 2005. He is now an internationally certified consultant in HR and business process fields and works as the GM for a corporate training organisation. Rocky is a wild life enthusiast and an ornithologist (bird-man), scuba dive master, single handicap golfer and traveler. His passion is food and traveling. His mantra “The difference between a wise man and a fool is that a wise man will learn, even from the fool.”
‘Make food not war’ is the mantra that drives Rocky Singh. His passion for Indian street food has taken him across the country and the world. He spent five years travelling through India’s amazing foodscape for pleasure and another four for Highway on my plate”. A junior national hokey player, state level boxer, and footballer, he now scubadives across the globe and indulges in his passion for street food and travel. He lives in Delhi with his wife , daughter, and son. He believes that life, like food is best when it’s shared. So pass around some and love and joy! He always comes back for seconds. 🙂

GeoCaching, the adventure

So, the other day I stumbled upon the website of adventure filled game called ‘Geocaching’. It’s a real-life treasure hunt game for grown-ups. (check the official website for more info). Anyone can play and be part of the community; all you need is a GPS device and the curious mind.
Out of curiosity I downloaded its mobile app to see if we have any caches stored nearby. I’d be surprised if I find one in this area of the world. I learned that one is in ‘Elephanta caves’ and couple more in Mumbai city. That’s it. Upon searching other area (through the mobile app), I found one in Dadara & Nagar Haveli!! Yes, on the hill island in that big Dudhani water-reservoir (Madhuban dam)! What more interesting is the story of the couple who stored that geo-cache there. Mr. Thane Richard has excellent narrating skills and a gripping story. I couldn’t put down my mobile reading his 4 part series of blogposts till (4:00am) I finished it. I must confess, I’ve had no time reading thriller novels or adventure short-stories for last few years. But this is nothing less than a masterpiece, something hard to put down that you read in one sitting. It is worth checking out both the story and the phenomena, called “GeoCaching”.

Deheradun Express burns near Gholvad Dahanu Station

19019 Mumbai Bandra Terminus Deheradun Expres caught fire between Dahanu and Gholvad railway stations of western railway. The train was scheduled to halt at Dahanu Road on 2:17am in the morning.
I live in Gholvad, so I could get first hand information. I got up early in morning at 4:30 due to police siren. This is very unusual for small and calm village. I thought of police chase, but later came to know about the accident (the siren must be of ambulance). Three boogies caught fire, the train came to halt promptly, thanks to gateman’s on level-crossing between Dahanu & Gholvad who quickly reported this to driver.
All national news channels on TV are covering this incident. They should better know.
I may update this post, as I get more first hand information. Still, watch TV for latest news.

top 5 things I noticed about Delhi [part: II] Transport

PS: The article has become very long, so I split it in two parts. Please continue reading from part 1
Transportation Cars & Roads:
Delhi’s road infrastructure is stunning. They say if you’re city driving enthusiast, you got to be in Delhi. It looks impressive especially when you come from other parts of India. Roads are smooth, broad, and there are cars for these wide roads to fill. There are cars, plenty of cars and variety of cars. Unlike other cities, where you see one types of cars dominating roads in a city, (which define the city’s culture;) in Delhi there’re cars of all price range; and they are big in numbers. I heard that Number of cars in NCR (New Delhi & surrounding area) are more than the total sum of all cars present in other Indian metro cities (Mumbai + Chennai + Kolkata). I thought it’s unrealistic claim, but after visiting Delhi I realised that it’s not equal to sum of other 3 metros, (but a lot more!!) it’s more than sum of all top 10 cities combined!! yeah! go ahead and add Bangalore, Hydrabad, Ahemdabad, Pune in the list & NCR would still beat them all alone. (yes, go google it & check the stats!). I see Toyota Camry & Honda Accord on Delhi’s road as often as I can see Maruti Suzuki’s Swift in Mumbai.
I cannot say it’s good or bad, having your own car, or having higher ‘cars per thousand people’ ratio for city, it could be one of the measures of prosperity. But it can also indicate the lack of good public transport system. Seriously, as a visitor, you’re completely helpless in Delhi. It’s inconvient and expensive. There’re no cabs/taxi (four wheeler car, fiat or ambassador) roaming around city, no cool cabs (A/C taxis) seen too, well! at least I didnot see them. (my friend claimed that there’re few). I hope there’re enough rickshaws but they dont follow the meter and charge passengers way more than they should. It’s the case with EVERY rickshaw, I dont understand why there’s meter system if nobody follows it in first place. Either increase meter rate or control rickshaw mafia. This is at full scale, illegal, cancerous and not right for the BIG city like Delhi. Public transport is SERIOUS problem in Delhi. Let’s not talk about Delhi’s buses. Privatising the city bus service is the biggest mistake government have done. Buses also doesnt travel through inner roads and lacks ‘reach’. I’ve been hearing about metro since a decade. And dilli junta is very optimistic, always saying ‘metro ane ke baad sab thik hoga‘…. lo aa gayi metro, kuch pharak pada?
I just hope they increase the rail network and the frequecy of metro trains.

top 5 things I noticed about Delhi [part: I] Culture & People

Last week I had a quick business trip to New Delhi & I couldn’t help but write here few astonishing, surprising and stuffs worth sharing on blog things. As a Mumbaikar to the core, it’s quite obvious for me to compare any city I visit with the Maximum City (ie. Mumbai) and Delhi is no exception. However, I’d try not to be biased (& I’d try not to sound like Suketu Mehta 😮 ) & try not to bore you.
I’ve always been attracted to Delhi, maybe it’s because Hindi language, nation’s capital, great history & legacy or Punjabi pop music influence on bollywood; it doesn’t matter, the point is I always ^tried to love^ Delhi….. whenever I go there. Yes, it’s not the first time I been there, so here we go. In red bold words are the top things I noticed in Delhi
Society, Culture & People:
If I visit new place, I love to get lost! (but fortunately/unfortunately I never got lost!) I love to explore cities, & when I went Delhi I see no beggars. There’re no beggars. At least nobody begged me! and it’s not that I wondered only in ^posh areas^ of city.  On bus station, auto rickshaw stand, railway stations, in the train, all possible public places, I never seen a beggar, it could be that everytime I went Delhi it was cold winter, but what would beggars do in cold? where do they go? & why should they come in summers anyways? it’s unbearable in New Delhi during any month of the year. I guess that is the reason why there’re no beggars, you cannot afford to be shelter-less in Delhi. Winter is freezing cold, summer is boiling hot & negligible rain during monsoon. Forget about beggars I wonder how normal people can live in that city! I observed very odd pattern and lifestyle at residential areas. In Delhi you buy a plot and build your own house. For instance, you want to decorate your bathroom with frameless mirrors, look for majesticglass.com.au. Sometimes, no frame, no decoration, no finishes and just a simple mirror is the best. Landlord most of the cases gives on floor of the house/building for rent/lease. There’s no concept of equal people living together in a building owning flats like co-operative housing society, have common area, facilities like an apartment or sharing toilet and gallery like a chawl. Thus, every plot owner thinks selfish way. They have colonies consisting lots of grid-plots, where one plot ends and other starts sharing same compound fence. To utilise the avail land fully, they build house (?) corner to corner compromising greatly on ventilation. I would not call them houses they are actually small concrete boxes in a big city. There’re no skyscrapers for residents. I rarely seen high-rise buildings but those were corporate offices. I see it more like London than Mumbai. Still it cannot be compared with London, as it’s not a cosmopolitan city.  In Delhi, all people speak in Hindi, (including the staff at the American Library) yes true! I hear haanji (yes sir!), sirji, ji, all the time. Really, once you’re outside your home, all people from boy at tea-stall to rickhaw-wala everybody address you with “sir” or “sirji“, that’s such awkward for Mumbaikar like me, c’mon, sir? oh, & if you want to know how they address here in Mumbai, just watch Taxi No. 9211. In fact most of the bollywood movies are filmed in Mumbai, has Mumbai in its theme and demonstrate Mumbai culture and style. Very rarely, a film is produced with Delhi-theme e.g. Khosla ka Ghosla. Same is with advertising be it print or TV media, since most of the ad agencies that work in Indian advertising industry are located in Mumbai, they have Mumbai flavour in their ads. Anyways before I lose my track, the point is if you don’t live near NCR area, or Northern India in general, you’re not exposed to Delhi culture well; whereas you get glimpse of Mumbai’s lifestyle and culture by watching TV & Bollywood movies. For instance I was not aware of Delhi’s clothing sense, fashion etc. & I must tell you I’m impressed. Not just girls are good looking they dress well, I think girls from Pune should learn something Delhi and Chandigargh. Sigh!
to be continued read part-2 transportation

starting social tourism

Tomorrow I’m going on trip to attend Agricultural Expo by Kisan.in at Pune with my father. By its advertising and marketing efforts I’m sure that it’s going to be India’s largest agri-show. It’s a 5-day expo with lots of programs and agro-products promotion. We’ll be visiting the venue on 17th, the 2nd last day of the exhibition.
The reason I’m writing this post and mentioning my travel details is we’re doing something interesting here. No, no, we dont have any stalls there… And I’ve no big interest in such exhibitions anyways. But we’re going to visit few more places nearby.
We are planning to visit आधुनिक उर्जा ग्राम Adhunik Urja Gram (The Mordern Energy Park) by Mr. Chandrakant Pathak. It’s located on Bombay-Bangalore Highway NH-4 between Lonavala & Pune. I’m looking forward visiting the place and meeting him in person. I’ll be travelling and meeting such people who’re involved in rural development, social services, alternative technology, environmental issues much in coming year. Yeah! didnt I tell you in my last post, coming year is going to be exciting! You may call it “social tourism” in Marathi I call it Samajik Paryatan सामाजिक पर्यटन!
I think I’d have more to write once I personally visit it, mean time dont forget to check my biking routes and other details… I have made special post for that using Google Map

biking 300

I’m going to drive more than 300 km tomorrow on motorbike. Well! it’s not that I am doing it for the first time. I’m sure my last scooter journey was longer than tomorrow’s. But this time it’s gonna be different. Firstuff: I’m blogging about it; I’m on motorbike CD-100 & not on my scooter; I’m not alone, yes I’m going with my Dad.
Following map has our journey details and remarks.

View My trip to Pune, Kisan exhibition. in a larger map