Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Travelogue: Ratnagiri-Ganapati Pule!!!

When I went to Ratnagiri-Ganapati Pule for the first time I immediately made plans for a second visit. So beautiful is the place that you cant stop visiting it. First time I want to Ratnagiri with my wife and aai-baba on first weekend of the year for the function of our cousin Parikshit dada's new born son 'Janmejay'. Ratnagiri is well known for superb quality Alphonso Mangoes. GanapatiPule is some 40-45 kms from Ratnagiri. It is well known for a Ganapati temple. A hill is considered as Lord Ganesha. Pradikshina of 1km is around the hill just opposite to a beautiful, clean beach. There is an amazing MTDC resort just opposite to the temple. There is a real life size museum called Prachin Kokan just 1 km from the resort. I must say this is the best place to be with friends or family. I was so much amazed by the place that we planned to come here again with mummy-papa, didi-jijaji and kids. And luck favored, the plan went as planned (And that was a back to back plan, we came from a week long Kokan-Darshan just 4 days back). Its better if I mention people about the plan as this could be best travel plan near Bombay/Pune that takes just 2 days.
1) Leave Bombay Friday Night by Konkan-Kanya Express
2) Reach Ratnagiri at 5 AM
3) Ratnagiri to GPule:
option1) take a Rickshaw @350/3-4 persons
option2) take ST bus that takes not more than an hour and a half
option3) take a cab @700/6-7 persons
4) GPule: Book MTDC resort for Saturday, must say should book Konkani Huts. These are beautiful cottages decorated by Bamboos. All the rooms are sea facing.
5) Prachin Konkan: The life size museum that showcase the style of living of old Kokan village.
6) Enjoy evening at the lovely beach
7) Leave Resort and Book a cab for sight seeing in and around Ratnagiri
8) Cab drops you to Ratnagiri station at 5PM, you get Janshatabdi @5:30 PM
9) By 10:30PM you reach Mumbai.

Travelogue: Hyderabad !!!!

There was not a single city I liked a lot after being in Mumbai for 8 years. Just to mention I went to Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Pondicherry, Ratnagiri, Pune, Kolhapur in last couple of years. But either I dint liked the city at all (namely Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi) or I liked the city for once but could not think even of settling (namely Delhi, Pune, Ratnagiri) or I have no view at all (Kolhapur, Puducherry)
After a planning and ditching several times for visiting Hyderabad, as we have some of our wonderful relatives and best friends in Hyderabad, we finally decided to make a 3 day visit to the city. Before going to Hyderabad I was excited about few things: Biryani, Relatives and Friends. Dint have any expectation at all for the city as I knew I had very bad experience with South Indian cities. Couple of days before some of my Hyderabadi friends gave me a must visit, must do and must eat list. I was amazed to know that there is so much to do in Hyderabad!
We started our journey from Mumbai airport at 5AM on 21st Feb and reached Hyderabad by 6. Hyderabad Airport is 25km out of the city. But, But.. is it an Airport? Its a 5* hotel cum commercial complex cum 5* Mall and an Airport !! I think Hyderabad Airport should be in the must visit list even for people who are traveling by train should take a visit to airport once :-). Its awesome. Since its February, mornings are little cold. And from here I began enjoying Hyderabad. Our aatya and her two lovely daughters Chaitrali and Tanmayi came to pick us up (35km from their home at Secundarabad and 6 in the morning). In 45-50 min we reached their home behind Anand theatre, Secundrabad. On our way we saw so many restaraunts, malls, shopping complexes and good roads.
Now begins our first day of toursim in Hyderabad. We inaugrated it with the famous Charminaar.
From our school days we study one thing in our General Knowledge classes for sure: Where is Charminaar? Ans. Hyderabad. Charminaar gives a view of old Hyderabad. With a huge market surrounding. You can find here hawkers, stalls, petty traders, shops of shoes, sherwanis, bangles, more bangles and yet more bangles. Then we went for routine shopping to Begum Bazaar. After some jewellary shopping we went for lunch. There are unbelievable number of options for food in Hyderabad. After heavy lunch at a roof top restaraunt we went to meet our friends in High Tech city, almost the other corner of Hyderabad. Here I got chance to interact with local people, the autowallas, the passer bys to ask for direction sometimes when we miss our friend who was leading us ahead in a bike. Here I realised Hyderabad is so easy to live. There is no language problem unlike Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. People talk easily in Hindi, Hyderabadi Hindi.
We met our best friends Shobhit-Malabika and Dhammo. Its always fun to be with friends like them. We went to Shilpa Ramam, an exhibition place like Pragati Maidaan. With Shobhit-Malabika, Dhammo and Surbhi, its fun to be anywhere :-)
After dinner and night walk on city centre road our day ended. No wait our day ended after a wonderful Pan. Hyderabadi Pan is awesome, No one can eat just One..

Next day was specially reserved for Biryaani. We went to the most famous Biryaani Restaurant-Paradise. They say that it started in 1953 as a Tea Stall. And now its an industry on its own. Its a full fledged 4 storeyed building. And the food is awesomee... I dont have words to describe the food, the smell of Hyderabadi food.

And the waiters are so wi-fied, they take orders on PDA and the message goes to corresponding kitchen by wi-fi. Now, will you believe that. Thats not even in 5 stars of Mumbai. After a heavy lunch, theres no possibility of sight seeing at that time.
So we went to our relatives place and after a brief meeting we went for shopping!! Now how crazy is that we are almost full to our mouth and we are shopping. Only because theres so much to do and so many places to go. In the evening we went to Lumbini Park for the very famour Laser Show. It was the most amazing laser and fountain show I have ever seen. Even the Laser show in Techfest of IITB is not this good. I am in love with Hyderbadi songs:
RimJhim RimJhim Haiiderabad
I city, YOU city, Our City welcome to Haiiderabad !!
Then we went for evening boat ride on Hussain Sagar to Buddha Statue standing in between of the lake. Then we went for Hyderabadi Chaat followed by 10:30 PM movie show of - Delhi6. We reached home by 2 and so decided to put the next day for chill out only.
So our third day begin and chill out doesn't mean that we"ll be at home. Chill out means we wont go to RamojiRao film city but would go for more peaceful Salar-e-Jung museum. It showcase the Nawabi life of Nizaams. And really, how lavishly they lived. Theres a musical clock where every hour a puppet-man comes out and hit the drum as many number of times as number of hours. This clock is so old and its still working! We saw Nawab's swords, armours, clothes, lifestyle stuff, ivory stuff and so much more. Wish I was a Nawab!
Then we took our lunch at another famous restaraunt: Angeethi. That was almost time for our return. After couple of hours relaxation, playing Risk, Scrabble it was time we leave.
As I said I never liked any Indian City after Mumbai. I Loved Hyderabad. This is one city I am sure I will visit again and may be many times. There are various reasons (all equal):
Hyderabad is slow (suits my lazy nature :-) )
No Language Problem, Hindi is as accepted as Telugu (rather more) and Urdu
Amazing Food
Amazing Relatives
Amazing Friends
Amazing places to go
Its Happening, theres everything you need to enjoy in Hyderabad.

I love Hyderabad!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ram Sena

Everyone knows of moral policing that 'anti'-social organisations are doing in India. Ram Sena is doing exactly what their contemporary are doing in Maharashtra for so long. This time self proclaimed protectors of Indian culture have attacked women going pubs in Mangalore. First of all my question is who allows them to govern Indian culture and secondly which part of Indian 'culture' and 'tradition' lets its followers attack women. For all the years I have always known that Indian culture asks us to respect women. A true Indian would never attack a women. Everyone knows why Great Bhishma Pitamah died as he refused to raise his hands to attack shikhandi-a woman. So how come Sri Ram Sena warriors getting cues to attack women. 

First of all, any culture and tradition is not a set guideline. Its a self evolving, never ending process. Every culture gets rich by growing. By learning goods from other cultures and rejecting bad from its own existing cultures. We know, our Indian culture is rich because it has gained so much from Mughals, British and from diversities in our own. In due course of time we have done our best to leave behind evils like child marriage, sati and other atrocities to women. Women in India enjoy their independence more than before and still there is more to happen as compared to western world. Today, we see higher percentage of girls in schools, colleges and offices. There is so much done for men-women equality in India. With all this developments shouldn't women be  allowed to enjoy the same lifestyle as man? 

Our politicians, CM of Rajasthan, Mr. Kailash Vijayvargiya-minister from MP supports this agenda of anti-pub culture. But why the anti-pub culture protestors attack women specially? Continuing their in-human activities they protested against Valentine day. V-day protest is anyways not new to us. Our great Hindutva Sena is doing this for so long in Mumbai and Maharashtra. What I mean to say is this organisations are not protecting cultures but they are favoring our long lost evils in the culture. They are male chauvinist against the freedom of women. 

There is so much to do for our culture. Still we are not completely evolved from the evils of past. Why dont such organisations put their energies in more useful and fruitful activities rather than being destructive? It will help to enrich our culture!