Now, here is a thing I would like to understand. Not having shared this predicament with my ilk so far, all insights are welcome.
There being a mirror on the wall in front of which I pass after I get up each morning to reach the exit door, I am treated to different horrors everyday. I don’t believe I have the ability, so far, to change avatars, but my hair definitely does. I am compelled to attribute the shocking mirror reflections to my unruly locks. (D has a simple solution to this……just don’t look in the mirror!! I wish it was as easy, sigh.)
I am sure that when I close my eyes every night, my hairs have a group discussion about the nature of their avatar the next day. Sometimes, I get the better of them by smothering them with hair oil. This prevents them from rising to the occasion of the said discussion. Ah! But they seek sweet revenge the very next day.
The state of my tresses ranges from the wispy look (all hair scattered in different directions with a deep groove. Probably no co…
Pentax just celebrated 60 years in the image capture business and how! Like this! Speaking of cameras, they are such wonderful things. I mean like wow with three exclamation marks.
Without those around would just leave so much to imagination. Not that it’s a bad thing, but imagine this: Tom weds Katie, no pictures; the Twin Towers reduced to rubble, no pictures; Pamela A caught topless on beach, sorry, no pictures; Mr. Politician caught accepting bribe, oops, no pictures; Shahid-Kareena exchange more than a liplock, grrrr no pictures; yours truly seen adorned in a sari, DAMN!!!! DAMN!!!!, NO PICTURES???? Don't you wish you had something..something handy that'd just snap the moment for you??
No, I was not born with a passion for cameras and stills. Nor did my parents *discover* my skills on ‘gharguti’ type subjects/events for them to gift me a gadget and say, “Here, go forth and shoot”. I just happened to pick my Grandpa’s old (and I mean really old) ‘Baby Brownie’ camera and ‘ex…
Recently, I had a chance to watch “Shall we dance Mr. Clark?” It was quite a while after the image of Mr. Gere, in a sleek and well fitting tuxedo, a solitary long stemmed red rose in hand and eyes that said it all, disappeared from my mind that I could breathe again. As the got blood flowing into my neurons again, my brain began unscrambling the messages that I was sending. I realized I was thinking, actually. (Like Pooh bear on a blustery day)
Mr. Clark’s life had become routine: a simple but disoriented and empty life as a faithful husband and father, a brilliant and overworked lawyer, a man without any wish or passion. During a poignant moment in the movie, Mr. Clark tells the missus that dancing makes him happy and that this derived happiness has filled the space occupied earlier by something monotonous. It has nothing to do with Mrs. Clark really, he insists and the fact that he loves her truly is displayed through their slow dance in the shop.
My gaze followed the ripples as they widened on the deep blue waters of the Pangong lake. They had a long way to travel before they succumbed to surface pressure. The water in this world’s highest salt water lake recognizes no boundaries, boundaries that my mind is forced to acknowledge. Of the 70 km length, the better part (40 km) lies in china and the rest in India. The lake is the closest we can come to a pristine water body within human access.
A grueling 5 hour ride, passing through Chang-La found us on the banks of this lake, a wondrous creation of nature. The Chang-la is the world’s third highest motorable pass.
The road rough was perpetually rough, the snow and frequent landslides ruining every effort the BRO takes to keep it smooth. We took a tea break at Chang-La. This area is not frequented by ‘regular’ tourists. It’s those in search of the unusual who brave the distance to venture to the Pangong. We hardly met any cars either ways. The military trucks though, were plentiful.
I’d just parked my byk after coming home from gym, when I heard a faint meowing. I tried to locate the owner of this sound. A lot of cars were parked around on the road, so it took me a while to look under each one. The meowing continued, infrequent and faint. I was not sure where to look. Suddenly a small body appeared in between two cars.
The cat was a badly mangled fellow, just about managing to stand on his feet. They were bent at awkward places, and fur sparsely covered the tiny body. There was a sign of an old wound on his torso. He could barely get any sound out and seemed to be one his last legs.
Poor sod, I thought, if the dogs don’t get him, the crows will. Yet, the fellow definitely had lots of dignity for he was moving his tongue over the non existent whiskers and grooming himself like cats usually do. He’d let out a whimper in between licking himself allover. The tail swayed in rhythm. The grooming over, he finally sat down. The act of sitting itself was an achievement for …
Imagine you're in London's Heathrow Airport. While you're waiting for your flight, you notice a kiosk selling cookies. You buy a box, put them in your traveling bag and then you patiently search for an available seat so you can sit down and enjoy your cookies. Finally you find a seat next to a gentleman. You reach down into your traveling bag and pull out your box of cookies. As you do so, you notice that the gentleman starts watching you intensely. He stares as you open the box and his eyes follow your hand as you pick up the cookie and bring it to your mouth. Just then he reaches over and takes one of your cookies from the box, and eats it! You're more than a little surprised at this. Actually, you're at a loss for words.
Not only does he take one cookie, but also alternates with you. For every one cookie you take, he takes one. Now, what's your immediate impression of this guy? Crazy? Greedy? He's got some nerve! Can you imagine the words you might use to…
It takes two to tango…we’ve formed a pattern, this friend, T, and I. Once every month, we search, find and research the ‘bestest’ restaurants in town. After zeroing upon the one that suits our fancy, we go stuff ourselves to our respective hearts content. Boozing is moderate since we have to drive home.
Gastronomic delights are hard to come by for her, since she cooks her own food (if she reads this, it’ll be my last post ever :P). As for me, I have her enchanting company and a gastronomic adventure to look forward to. Also, it fortifies amy appreciation of home food all the more (Thanks Ma! :) ). Our choice of places leans heavily towards the casual types. And since we go directly from office, we are ready to bark at the slightest hint of formality.
As we wait for the valet to hand over the counter coupon, we are eager with anticipation. There is so much to catch up on and the smells have already enticed our noses.
A couple minutes later, we are seated. Our tongues start the warm up dan…
We had left Leh behind us now. The road traversed towards the Khardung-La. We were proceeding to the Nubra valley which is about 100 kms away from the Siachen glacier. This trip necessitated a night’s stay at Nubra. One reason for this is that it’s a long drive away from Leh and second, cars which cross the Khardung-La cannot return to the pass on the same day. The ongoing road work demands that traffic moves one way in the first half of the day and the other way in the second half.
The beacon like presence of the Shanti Stupa was the only way we could tell where Leh was. This radiant white Stupa disappeared from view only after we reached the Pass. Someone with a lot of imagination has painted a green yellow frog on a huge rock of frog-like proportions. Tourist riding to the Pass can see it on the road side.
It took us a good 2 hours to reach the height of 18,000 ft. The road snaked from one mountain to another, but we never lost sight of the ice laden peak we wanted to reach. But for …
Before I start with Day 6, sample these roadside warnings about speeding on various highways in Ladakh, all courtesy the BRO. Some are funny, while some are plain howlarious!! I admire the humour and the attempt at rhyming to get the message across. :)
“Darling I want you but not so fast”
“The journey of life is long and the path unknown.”
“Whether you’re African or American, we’re all human.”
“Life is precious, avoid speed.”
“Make today an accident free day.”
“Peep, peep, don’t sleep.”
“If you’re married, divorce speed.”
“Accidents are prohibited on this road.”
“Do your dozing in bed.”
“AAAA = Always Alert Avoid Accidents.”
“Please drive slowly, someone is waiting for you.”
“Take heed, don’t speed.”
“No race, no rally, enjoy the beauty of the valley.”
“Don’t be a gamma (Indian wrestler) in the land of the lama.”
“Drive on muscle power, not rum power.”
“After whiskey, driving’s risky.”
“If you drink bourbon, you’ll lose your turban.”
“Mountains are pleasure if you drive with leisure.”
We started day three hovering over Leh in a helicopter. Father had made this arrangement so that we would have the best sights. We traversed the Indus through the sky and I got some great shots at extreme angles. The pilot indulged all my requests to hover the craft at different angles so that I could get my shots. The chopper’s sides almost kissed a few pinnacles in that process. We got so carried away during these stunts that we almost reached the Kargil army camp further up the Indus. Since that area is a no-fly zone, they actually though we were an intruding aircraft and trained guns on us. Things started going crazy just then. Before the pilot could even establish our identity, one of the missiles zoomed towards the chopper blades ……..
Do I have your attention? (Tee hee hee!!..I know.. that’s a mean trick to play…and yes, maybe I should be a full time writer. Just my 2 cents of fantasy.)
Ok..now to the real travelogue.
August 22nd was going to be a long day. We were going to travel …
Sorry to interrupt the travelogue but this post cannot wait.
The right honourable P. D. Kode pronounced the court's verdict on 4 of the 123 accused who faced trial in the 1993 Mumbai Serial blasts case.
257 Dead700 Injured13 years and 6 months of trial123 Accused4 Convicted so far4 Acquitted so far686 Witnesses13,000 pages of evidence1 Court1 Act (TADA) Statistics pregnant with a lot of possibilities.
So have we learnt our lessons?
Mumbai Riots - 1993 Gujarat Riots - 2002 Ongoing blasts in J and K Blasts in Varanasi - 2006 Mumbai train serial blasts - 2006 Malegoan serial blasts - 2006
And these are just the milestones....
Year 2056: Court to finally give verdict in the 2006 Mumbai trains serial blasts case.......
A fulfilling meal later, we were back on the circuit. The Stok Palace was the first location we drove towards. It is a bit further from Leh and on the way we encountered a dilapidated bridge. Mr. Jolly Driver, in his inimitable style and heavy accent described how the original bridge was washed away in the floods this year. Leh experienced more than its normal share of rainfall and as a result the predominantly mud structures came crashing down. One of those was the bridge. The wonder that our Army is, they restored it in a day using girders and heavy forks. Behind the well maintained network of roads in that region is the Army’s need for reach and rapid communication. They need to move supplies, equipment and men at a moment’s notice.
The structure of the Stok Palace is not as attractive as the museum it houses. The Royal belongings are preserved there. The typical finery, articles of daily use like pouches, padlocks, paintings and other works of art are displayed in well lit rooms wi…