taken : 55fiction

55 Fiction. One example of drabble is 55 Fiction, which is a form of micro-fiction that refers to the works of fiction that are either limited to a maximum of 55 words or have a requirement of exactly 55 words.

Their eyes met.

He almost murmured hesitantly,”is this seat taken?”

“I hope not” She replied smiling . To start a conversation which went on …

 

#Me & #Manali – 2

Transit is way of life – a permanent one

Last time I wrote about Manali it actually wanted to write about Laddakh & Leh. Thinking about Manali makes me emotional I guess. Last time I went to Manali was for Cycling with in Manali and Manali was the base camp, however this time it was just transit, I had to reach Leh for another cycling expedition and I stayed in Manali for less then 24 hours.

The time one spends on #the #MALLROAD can give you an experience in itself and lessons as well. Talking about Mall Road, it has become fashionable name as most famous hill station has a Mall Road of their own. The trend originally started in Shimla and due to popularity of the road other towns in Himalayan region got one main road with same name.

During those hours, by the way hawkers approached tourist, I realised few things like:

Indian Men need “Shilajit” or Desi version of viagra

Indian Men definitely need this thing if they are with a girl roaming about Mall Road

Everybody must eat & shop

Consistent pestering of hawkers can be as irritating & tiring as dogs are for monkeys.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 14

Mall Road on a Rainy Day|Picture Courtesy: TripAdvisor

Passing time and observing around I happen to encounter couple of people playing musical instruments on road (which is not allow anymore for reasons best understood by Manali Police). Music was amazing and I stood there listening to them and in some time crowd gathered for the same. They kept playing & people kept listening peacefully. That was one of most peaceful road concert I have ever been part of.

I had made a mistake however which was to eat a sumptuous dinner and I was unaware to how was it a mistake till I boarded the mini bus that night round 2am for Leh. I threw each and every drop/morsel of fluid I might have had in my stomach in next few hours.

This visit made me see Manali I did not see last time, The one which tourist see as introduction, the one which makes you eat “softy” & buy “Shilajeet”. The one which is like  a mini carnival with all the colors scattered around. The one which is selling itself to survive that season. The one which sees much more Indian crowd then otherwise.

I bade my good bye for this one that night…. and boarded the bus for Leh.

Let’s Fly…..!

IMG_4638

This picture had been taken at village Tedagaon near Jim Corbett National Tiger Reserve, India while I was cycling there with a group of amateur cycling enthusiasts, the things on the branches are Not leaves but parakeets which are common in this region.

World on Two Wheels!

Do you look for inspiration or for excuses? Because you will find whatever you look for.

Life would have been deprived of stories and experiences for this couple who met me during their journey towards their Home, that is, New Zealand. I hope you would guys would like to meet this inspiration couple and fabulous human beings who goes by names Don Abbey and Robyn Abbey.

This story has drama, anxiety, exasperation, danger, bravery, uncertainty, compassion, kindness, dedication & love to say the least.This is a story of a couple in their golden years cycling across the continents from England to New Zealand via EU, Turkey, Iran, UAE, India, Thailand to name a few. Goodbye_New_Zealand

Their courage for taking this adventure is commendable and inspiration as the pictures they have share on their blog  which will guide you through their journey, a long one. In case you get a chance to talk to them, they will tell you their life stories as well which are really great.

 P1030155

These two pictures tell their stories in many ways I think if you care to observe. You can read more about them on their blog.

Thank you Robyn & Don for being wonderful people you are!

P.S. : Picture Courtesy Robyn & Don Abbey

Jungle, People, Escape & Tamasha 

You might be wondering what kind of title is that! Well, its some what as incoherent as my thoughts are but don’t worry I would try to make these edible for you but in case I fail to manage ( not that I passed in that earlier post!!) please  cut me some slack and read it anyway. So coming to the main theme….

I have spent last few weeks in Himalayan foothills, cycling in and around Jim Corbett National Tiger Reserve along with couple of hundred more people while helping them out with various knick knacks of mountain biking and jungle as and when required and was fortunate enough to have a direct or indirect conversation with some of these people.

IMG_4764

During these conversations interesting phenomena came out. Many were behaving totally differently then they do in their regular lives. Notable point here is almost all the people were practically strangers to each other or most of others in this gathering of wanna be off road cyclists and they had an opportunity to portray themselves whatever way they would like and no body would know in their regular lives about it.

Whatever happens in jungle stays in jungle

People tried to engage in conversations at their will and possibly argued/ talked in more free way then they would do compared to their regular settings.

They cracked jokes, exchanged pleasantries, ate, slept, cycled, laughed, cried , loved, be loved, roamed, practically Lived their lives more as they wanted to and less as they were supposed to.

It felt like they were living an alternate reality , an alternate life.

An Escapade!

Not very long back there was a hindi movie released on similar theme with the title Tamasha, featuring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone as lead pair. Just it was taken more towards a happy ending where patrogonist is sucrssfully able to breakfree from his life and covert his alternate reality into the main stream reality with the help of his lady love. Cherry on the cake was everybody ( family, friend and other not so insignificant people in his life) understood his actions snd approved in one way or another. What did you say?! Unimaginable in real life? Ofcourse why do you think its called reel life?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

However lets hope everybody is able to live their alternate reality daily at least in bits and pieces to keep their mind sane and heart from exploding!

P.S. : The observations and thoughts completely belong to the author and are completely made up and has no gaurantee of being real/ facts whatsoever. People in the mentioned gathering ……..oh one minute? Which gathering?

P.P.S : Picture Courtesy : Cycles : Nitin, Riders : Shanil, Rest : Mrigank

Me, Cycle & Tiger Reserve

It is interesting to see sometimes that how much difference is there in perception & reality. With each passing day and people a mole becomes a mountain and then wise people make a saying on that. We, as human race, seems to be self obsessed specie. Are n’t we?

So I have searched and read about Jim Corbett National Tiger Reserve many times ( in hope to just pick my bag and leave for the place ). I heard a lot about it from travellers, friends & traveller friends which led to some sort of imagery in my mind about the place. Indian film industry popularly known as Bollywood also fed some dramatics in my already hyper dramatic mind ( no, it is not my assumption but I have been informed by lovely people around me about the same, I just embraced it with fervour , coming back to main theme), so you get the picture, don’t you?

IMG_4703

The Jungle

This is what this jungle offers you when there nothing else to offer which include picturesque sights, Tiger, Leopard, Elephant Tuskers and other wild animal species & a lot of wait if you are just interested in Tiger as King is not easy to spot. In our case it was more interesting case as we wanted to spot Tiger before he spots us as we were riding our cycles in this jungles and just in case Tiger spot is first and make up his mind to have a quick snack, we did not stand any chance, in theory at least.

IMG_4642

Tiger Pug Mark, Wrist Watch & Tyre Marks

I spent almost 15 days in the jungle and cycling in and around the region and it was meditation for me as I was doing two of my favourite things together that is being in jungle and cycling.

Every day was filled with anticipation of danger and thrill of spotting wildlife.

The moment when you are taking a leak in jungle and hoping that any wild life wont prefer this time to meet you in person.

Looking at pass by safari jeeps as they watch us in horrid expressions and extra open eyes riding out cycles.

Getting cycle puncture in the middle of jungle and fixing it on the spot anxiously.

Appreciating the life every moment as it can be your last moment any time.

Crossing water streams riding on cycle.

Eating at river bank and drinking fresh water after lunch.

Looking at Sun Rise & Sun Set from different angle every day.

Spotting flora and fauna and learning new things about them.

Camp Fire and fun at night.

I can keep writing like this and this post would never end.

Thank You Jim Corbett National Park for a wonderful time.

IMG_4477.JPG

Sunset

Jyväskylä – A Quaint Little, Superb, Town

When you are thrown a question like what time do you like most in your lifetime?

Generally people remember moments and not the whole period because every period holds something special, when we go through our time we realise we have left our pug- marks every where. We as an individual might not be significant for world to know, we might not have long fan following or beat it, we might have really closed attitude towards our surrounding but, as usual this “but” always comes I guess, so but,

these lesser known individuals are what make this world what it is.

Ain’t they? Similarly this lesser known town of Finland where not every body goes but sometimes might pass by on their way to Northern Finland (for watching Northern Lights) carries a history, a geography and last but not least ( though surprisingly for a Finland country – side town) social science.

DSCN1083

History

Did you think I am going to tell you about the history of the city? oh c’mon certainly not, that job is very well done by the 4 museums and couple of art galleries those are prominent feature of city and can be reach by walking around the town, it is pleasure walking around the town marked with so many lakes, you cant count by going around as you never know when one started and other went by on your other side. If you are done with the museums then comes the Railways Station which looks like an old patriarch waiting for your to come and get blessings.

DSCN1163

Character

When you land by air at Jyvaskyla airport, you would be lucky if you see more then 15 people including flight crew and airport staff. So if you are looking to spend a quite time away from any noise this place might only be beaten by “The Outer Space”. A twenty mins drive to city lends you in heart of the city and you can book or pre book any kind of stay which ranges from luxury hotel to hostels. People, if at all you spot them on roads, are reserved but friendly. You start to feel the character of the city right there, when its architecture which is more prominent than number of people, Finland’s majority population lives in the capital Helsinki and rest of the country is sparsely populated, red brick buildings which line the main market which is just big enough to make you feel this place is habitable and you are still not in tundra apart from catering to local social needs. Most public places and restaurant are decorated with bright colour to fend of gloomy feel which natives feel due to really long winters which last 7 – 9 months of a year.

DSCN1195

Feel 

After spending couple of days which is enough to make you feel quite, relaxed and peaceful, you start to get a grip on the city pulse which tells you ain’t ready yet, as you need to go around the city, spend some time by lakes or may be any art gallery, eat your heart out, specially if you are fish lover as the city is home to numerous fresh water lakes those are home to number of fishes, big or small. If you are lucky you might get a invite to a local party where youngster throng the place, new relations blossoms and some get new meanings. This will be a golden chance to make local friends and feel the city pulse more alive.

DSCN1271

Rhythm  

Jyvaskyla, makes you fall in love with her, not instantly but this is the love which matures with days you spend there and reach its peak when you are about to leave. Having experienced this city, you feel the rhythm of yourself as you are most near to yourself, your own thoughts, your own soul. City gives you enough space to live and never burdens your senses with anything which you have sensed in any other big cities. It does not need a reason to go to Jyvaskyla as you would never have one beside just being. So just be….

DSCN1172

Sikkim & Bhutan – Epilogue & Acknowledgement

It had been great time during these two weeks when we kept exploring one place after another and Himalayan beauty kept us mesmerised and shocked me at some points when I could not even my eyes open for some time due to abundance of sun light and all over reflection by snow.

Sikkim is one of least explored region in India is seems and as and when one approach Northern parts of Sikkim, it goes on to become more and more tranquil and peaceful. I envisioned to do cycling in this region someday.

Simplistic life style but great awareness of nature in Bhutanese people is admirable, I saw couple of cleanliness drives where people were picking plastics from road side to keep area clean. It is mandatory for government officials to wear national dress of Bhutan and that make it more beautiful.

I heard Bhutanese music sometimes during our taxi drives and like quite few of the track though I dont understand them.

Sikkim & Bhutan was not our plan initially but thats what was fated to us. Yes, you have read it right, it was not a solo journey. It would be stupid of me to finish this series with out writing about my dear friend, great writer, amazing photographer, not so regular blogger,  and travel partner on this journey.

Insignia or Bindu is the person who made this journey possible in first place. When we came to about fall out of Philippines plan, it was not a good feeling to say the least but then shit happens.

We discussed many destinations in few days and after going through I-dont-know-how-many-places Bhutan is what we could book tickets for. At this point I did not know a things about Bhutan as it was a last moment decision.

She took it in her hands probably to make most out it and I have already had my faith placed in her when it comes to travel, after who would not do that with a person who has already travelled 15+ countries and 160+ cities.

During whole journey she had been always ahead of the time and knew where are we going next day and covering what all destinations along with at least preliminary information about the places.

I know I can not thank her enough for all that she has done however I hope for more journey with her as my thank you gesture. 🙂

Insignia!

Insignia!

             You can read more about her travelogue and other stuffs here

Sikkim & Bhutan -11

We reached back to Gangtok last time after spending two nights and three days in North Sikkim

Planning & Research Courtesy : Insignia

Next day morning we started for Nathula apprehensively as two days before it was closed for civilian and visitors. However driver of this cab was positive and assured us that we would be able to make it to Nathula!

On the way to Nathula it was decided that we will first go Nathula and then while retuning back will cover other places like Baba Mandir, Lake etc. Excitement is an understatement for the feeling I felt because of many reason, Seeing India – China Border was one them.

On the way we stopped at one place, small market, where we rented snow boots,glows, jackets etc to be ready to enter into snow, well, we did not realise by that time it was more then 4 feet at some places.

Lake!

Lake!

Taking pictures is not allowed at Nathula but I can paint picture for you. It was all snow and so much snow that whole barbed wire fence had gone into it and we were walking like we could cross the Border, had not there been Indian Army guarding the place and on the other side Chinese troops are deployed.

We could not see many Chinese soldiers but only one and he returned a favour of shaking hands with us. I tried asking his name but no response and We spent almost 20 mins at last point of Nathula.

We started climbing down as we started to freeze and we came to know, we can get certificates signed by Army Personal about visiting Nathula, of course we got it. We also got to know about cross border business/ markets and flag meetings and where do they takes place.

After coming down we headed to Baba Mandir ( Temple)  which is in the name of  a soldier of Indian Army who had been martyred on his duty. It is common knowledge in the region that spirit of the soldier still patrol the border and help army personal in their duty. The temple has canteen where food for Baba get ready three times a day and Army treats him as real soldier i.e. all regular uniforms, food etc goes to this temple. They have made one more temple which is rather on road for ease of reach of tourist, however we went to original temple.

We visited Elephant Lake after this and saw Bhutan ( which is distantly visible) on the way back to Gangtok. We saw many trained Yak and Tsongu Lake as well. We reached Gangtok by evening to get ready to start for Bhutan next day!

Keep Reading, Keep Sharing, Stay Happy

Visual Delights – 7

THE YAK.

THE YAK.

This magnificent creature has been trained to ferry people. However normally Yak is shy animal and like tomaintain a distance as far they don’t know you.

For more of Visual Delights, Please visit these:

Visual Delights -1, Visual Delights – 2, Visual Delights -3, Visual Delights – 4, Visual Delights – 5, Visual Delights – 6