Tag Archives: Travel

and my travel karma continues…

2 Mar

This is a hate mail for the unnecessary inconvenience that your unscrupulous team of AIR INDIA caused at the International CSIA airport on 1st March.

Against all intelligent advice, I went ahead and made the mistake of booking myself on an AIR INDIA EXPRESS flight to Mangalore from Mumbai (IX208) which is at 14.45pm.
I reached at 13.46pm on the counter and was informed that I cant check in. 1stly every national flight check in time is 45min prior to departure and no where did I get any intimation to be 3hrs before the required time, which is stupid by itself! I am a frequent flyer with another airline and fly nationally atleast 3 times a month.
 
There were 20 other passengers who were held back not to mention 50 other passengers who were held back for the earlier 14.30pm flight to hyderabad. 
after a lot of requesting, pleading, yelling (in that order); the 50 Hyderabad passegers were allowed to check in at 14.30pm! God knows why. The idea was to get rid of them I guess. But the Mangalore bunch was left behind and the uncouth, disgusting team of AIR INDIA, specifically : D.SATISH KUMAR, B.SAHA, S.FERNANDES, P. CARDOZ told us that they dint know we existed! We weren’t given our boarding pass because out of the 10 counters, NONE had any living beings on them cos all had absconded due to the chaos w.r.t the Hyderabad passengers. We bore the brunt of your pathetic team’s non-show and were detained in the International airport till 5pm with no hope whatsoever.
 
I found out that Air India and Jet Air has a tie-up and suggested a solution to the deaf and dumb team of people mentioned above, who then made a few calls to “higher ups” who I am safely assuming lead the way to insensitive behaviour of the rest of the gang at AIR INDIA. We were told that AIR INDIA EXPRESS is a step child of AIR INDIA and they cannot afford to shift us to  the JET AIR flight which I enquired was empty and was to leave at 6pm. After I personally got in touch with Reji Fernandes at AIR INDIA EXPRESS, I was informed that we can APPLY to get our money back or fly the next day. But I had a very important meeting with the Dean of a prestigious college, another family had to go for their father’s last rites…and so on.
We were all ambushed and cheated by our country’s national air line which is governed by you. When I told D. SATISH, that the family needs to go do the final rites of their relative, pat came the reply that in the past 3 months we have not let so many people go for final rites and even their own wedding. Many people have died it seems. ?!?
If you have even an iota of humanity in you, your team should send an apology to all the 20 passengers you inconvenienced and punish the team of 4 who tortured us, and not to mention, re-look into your ways of functioning. I even recommended that every passenger should get an sms a day before their flight intimating them that it’s from the International terminal and we have to be there 1.30 hrs before time. This can be an auto generated sms to every one with a AIR INDIA PNR. But Mr. Stupid B.Saha tells me “Do you know how many passengers fly AIR INDIA? We are under staffed and over worked”.. while he happily ate pan masala that someone offered. 
Soon, you will have no passengers, and Rs. 5000 crores from the Union Budget this year can be utilized to buy lifetimes worth of Pan Masala for every member in team AIR INDIA and of course their Step child EXPRESS.
 
I have taken pictures of what we were made to go through. I will make sure I do my best to make my voice heard in social media and the press. What I am afraid of is, that this mail will not prick your conscience at all cos I am sure your inbox is full of such mails.
As for now, I urgently need my money back. So please make sure you don’t take a lifetime to return my money and save your face.

super maha kumbh 2013!

17 Feb

i was at the maha kumbh people! exactly on mauni amavaasya (v.v.v.v.v.imp day to dip), i took dip right at the sangam spot:) means u shud ideally chase me down n rub ur head at my lotus feet. hehehe:)

ofcourse there is a story behind it all. a divine synthesis of scrupulous spontaneity.

a photographer friend and a marathon runner friend and i were to go initially to the kumbh together. photographer, cos it is paradise for people adept in clicking with those heavy expensive lens; the marathon runner cos walking a minimum of 25kms at the mela is a given; and i…well for no real reason. turned out that i was the only one who went after all! …all alone ( here i am not including the 3 crore people who came from all kinds of civilization)

so when i went to the kumbh, to my great relief i found that there is an art of living camp there. and believe u me, it was the prettiest, village themed camp. all the other baba and mata camps were wastefully flamboyant if the baba/mata was famous, and pathetically messed up if infamous. the entire 38km area was full of flimsy tents which wouldn’t keep u even slightly warm in the biting cold at night and will burn ur body in the harsh sun during the day. i, however, was housed in a cradle of comfort and affection at the prettiest cleanest aol camp:)Image

60yr old super dynamic roshni aunty who had come all the way from fiji island, and a nameless boy from pune joined me for the dip on d-day. we left at 8.30am in silence. (cos thats how it is to be done ideally, ‘mauni’ amavasya remember?) after 7kms, we reached sangam ka bank. there weren’t any boats plying earlier in the day but we got tremendously lucky and got a boat to the exact sangam spot for our dip! it was an exhilarating feeling and my eyes welled up. as i sat in the boat and turned my head, i saw oceans of people in all directions waiting for there super special chance. it was even more alleviating to realize how immaculately miscible the sangam is. so at any spot really, it’s perfect.

Image

when guruji was asked abt what the importance of the sangam snaan is, he said, our paap is so easy to wash away cos its simply like dirt on the surface of the body. so dipping in sangam is a prateek of that. meaning we are so pure within… no matter what. guruji added, ganga stands for knowledge, yamuna for love and when they meet, saraswati which is “gupt” ,manifests i.e. wisdom. epic explanation!

more than my legs which were giving way, it was more of a mind thing to get back to the camp after claustrophobically walking for total of 15kms to and fro.

the 3 of us, got back at 1.30pm. now, i had a train at 5pm. we were inside the kumbh area on the day of the biggest snaan, so not one vehicle is allowed to leave or enter the 38km zone. so i had to hurry to the station…WALKING. easily about another 15kms away. but i was no fierce bhakt like the 3 crore others whose avg. age was 60yrs., and had travelled in inhuman, adverse conditions to get here with tearing bags precariously balancing on their head supported by a frail yet committed body. i am a mumbai girl who goes to taj for dinner on her birthday. so i had to get a ride if i were to reach the station. i walked a km and hitch hiked with a local college boy who was super excited that i was of the opp. sex and from mumbai. double whammy. so we waded through the masses on his bike until he found me a cycle rickshaw. i knew he wud go to any extent to prove his machismo:) good for me! so this unknown guy who was clearly my knight in shining armor wrt kumbh, rode a good 10kms to get me out of that mad mad chakraview.

seriously. the kumbh seems like a place warped in time. i don’t know if it’s the tremendously high energy levels of the place because of the bhakts or something else..but one definitely gets a slight fear of being sucked into that energy forever. some alternate zone it is from where there is no way out literally and metaphorically, both!

nevertheless, when i got onto the rickshaw, my knight promptly asked for my ph.no and said he wud call me if he ever came to mumbai. 🙂 but i gave him a wrong number. still feel slightly bad abt it… i blessed him with all my heart though! …by now it was 4.30pm. the rickshaw guy was my grandpa’s age, if he were still around. i really had to keep a rock in my heart and keep telling him to ride a little faster while the world of people who were walking to the station were way faster than his rickety rickshaw!

luckily i got to allahabad station just in time. here i realized it dint matter whether i was before,on,or after time. nothing mattered actually. except saving dear life. cos i had entered the epicenter of a freaking concentration camp where i was sure to collapse out of lack of oxygen simply because all the people spread out in the 38km kumbh zone were now in one mini station. but i was determined to leave. so i invoked the jhansi in me and reached platform 10 where my train was supposed to be. there was no train yet. and for a while. there were people sitting even on the tracks.. and it was announced that u can get into any train if it goes to where u wish to go. with or without a ticket. in essence, they wanted us to just get lost. as fast as possible. are u at least getting a faint idea of the helpless breakdown of what i consider our fairly efficient rail duniya?

IMG_20130210_174445goes without saying, all trains were indefinitely delayed. cos they let every train fill to its brim before it left the station. now my e-ticket was wait listed at 5, so i technically was ticketless. but so were the other 20lakh people. i heard another train ready to leave for mumbai from platform 6. i fought for my life to climb up stairs from pt.10 to the bridge. i was very close to losing my right hand in the crowd cos my bag was stuck in the middle of a stampede. i reached the bridge half dead. turned left to walk to pt.6. but i got this sudden queer intuition that i shud go back to pt.10. it was strange cos i had a train waiting to leave for mumbai. still i immediately turned and walked back heeding to my inner voice which was starkly clear though the body it came from, was about to collapse. all the bsf and raf jawans i came across while i was clambering through hoards of people, told me to go back and stay in allahabad for the night if i cud, cos i was to travel alone. i did leave and i stayed with a new friend i made 2 days ago in the city. while her mum fed me hot rajma chawal at night, she watched in the news that pt.6 collapsed and 20 people died. it was more or less the same time that i was at the station.

that moment it was downright incontestable that throughout the odyssey of the maha kumbh, i was clandestinely taken care of at every inch i moved. an angel was assigned and it did its job exquisitely.

thanks angel.
thanks provider of angel.
i owe u one.
jai guru dev!

P.S: i went to kumbh the next day cos guruji was scheduled to come. spent super cute time with him. after 2 days, left kumbh in a car. felt uneasy. came back. missed flight. spent more time with guruji and managed to leave only in my 3rd attempt. believe u me, it was like this magnetic force which wanted to keep me there till the end of time. i am finally back to the wifi world. i m still figuring out if i am happy or sad~

from vegas, with love.

24 May

so 13 days into my maiden trip to usa i have a bunch of things to share; some good. some bad.  

– rude people exist here, seriously nasty. new york tops the chart. congrats, u work in the ticket counter at times square, but cut it out, u venomous prick. i am talking to both you venomous pricks. 

– broadway is gorgeous. so larger than life that i believe i can fly! brilliant sets, brilliant orchestra, brilliant performers adorning brilliant costumes, brilliant theaters! Have seen 5 so far in my time on this planet. beauty and the beast in london tops the charts; lion king in french in paris was well, interesting and in french !?!; chicago the musical at broadway was fantastic, mary poppins at broadway had great sets and magic but was like a never ending hindi movie (spcl mention- the new amsterdam theatre at broadway. lord. breath taking.) the 5th was the one i saw in bangalore, the name of which i forget. but comparisons to broadway is just unfair. 

– usa blesses even visitors with obesity. i have put on few pounds in the wrong places though i struggle for veg food and end up eating everyone in the bread family. the ham eaters i think will simply collapse on their own weight. obesity is so jarring, that i wonder what “go veg” education will help when gut-wrenching visual examples don’t suffice.

– BODIES exhibition. real bodies carved out to show us every system in our body. nervous/urinary/reproductive/digestive/bone structure/birth of baby…UN-FREAKING FATHOMABLE. we are walking talking magic. spiritual experience.

– blue man group, over rated. 

– niagara falls, desperately over rated. like hell i say. victoria falls. heard of it? in the border of zimbabwe and south africa, is the goddamn baap of niagara. easily 20-fold. but not half as famous. cos usa knows how to make its presence felt, though its not so much of a presence anyway. ouch, was i lil. too shrewd here. hey hey hey! u get what u give! 

– malibu, sunset boulevard, beverly hills, the pacific ocean view is so gorgeous. and i checked, a small home along the stretch is affordable for many many mumbaikars.!!  should be somewhere about a crore. only. also heard that the most expensive house in the universe is very very far away from the HOLLYWOOD sign…and closer to my home:) any guesses?? the sahi jawab is mr. mukesh ambani & fly’s holy residence at peddar road which is prized at one billion dollars. what they inhale gold flakes in there?

– just got to vegas, in the middle of the desert. already 10 times i have been told by various people that “what happens in vegas, stays in vegas”. well, i am really ok even if it doesn’t in my case 🙂 the tee totallar, non gambler, non interested in random wedlock me, is blogging, out of all things in vegas. i find that strange myself. haha.

13 more days to go in this super power nation. excited. cousins in google & microsoft; here i come! xoxo

 

 

10 places I saw before I died (…title courtesy “10 places to see before you die” :)) – PART 1

14 Nov

1. The International Art of Living Center, Bangalore!!
For all practical purposes (and extreme good luck!) this has been my heavenly abode for the past 2+ years.
This place is akin to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! No kidding!
Around here, the difference in energy levels is so palpable. And magic is so thick in the air 😉
Whenever I come back to ashram after a trip, I am hyper for atleast an hour.
I jump. I bite. I smile till my jaws hurt. I am so happy for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Best time to visit: New Year Celeb (a 2500 youth silence program called Winter Break)/ Chandi Homa day during Navratri/ Or whenever guruji is in ashram (cos the satsangs and the QnA sessions with him are simply EPIC!).

2. Kapu Light House
This quiet beach is some half hour by bus from Udupi, Karnataka.
Mostly virgin (if that’s a possibility:)) and supremely rocky, the view from the petite light house at Kapu is elevating. The view from the top consists of the orange sun and the magnanimous sea on one side and a never ending stretch of rock & sand beach bordered by palm/coconut trees on the other. Means you have no idea. 7-course meal for the soul! Infact if you stay on till little later in the evening, you can see the light house’s light rays rotating and attacking the deep blue sky much like a ghost movie:). By the way, even the walk to the beach through a pseudo village is pleasurable if you have less or hand-picked company.
Best time to visit: 4pm-5pm, on any not-so-hot-day.

3. Boat ride in the Ganga at Varanasi
Now at the cost of sounding very show-offy I confess that I have been to some real cool countries including Switzerland with its Lake Lucerne (holy shrine to all Bollywood romantic lake view songs) and Italy which houses Venice. Venice is allegedly the most romantic place in the history of all romantic places offering hot Italian singer as boatsman who rows you and your soul mate slowly around the place. They even have a specific bridge under which you are expected to exchange saliva:). But I say, once your done playing with the little ones, then you come to their mommy! Voila! A boat ride in the ganga at varanasi. Oh my lord! The personality of ganga in varanasi is serene and poised as opposed to her ferocity and flamboyance when she’s housed in haridwar-rishikesh. and here’s an interesting ‘did-u-know’- though the ganga flows from north to south; in varanasi alone, her direction changes and she flows northwards!
It was a near full moon, a day before guru poornima, 7ish in the evening, and we sailed from assi ghat to dhasashwamedh ghat where the evening aarthi is a sight to behold. while the boatsman gently rowed, i saw families performing the last rights of their loved ones on one of the ghats; and in another, people lighting diyas and letting it go in the ganga perhaps with a secret wish in their heart. Background score to the enchanting surroundings was provided by this co-sailor singing melodies on his guitar. i thought to myself, this is how god must be watching the show…the colorful little game we call life.
Best time to visit: full moon nights, 6pm onwards.

6.30pm

6.40pm

7pm

..to be contd.

what is so romantic about it?

15 Feb

valentine’s day-clearly the most overrated day for all the single people in the world (me included);).
i had one hell of a day, nevertheless.
basically i have gathered some massively sucky train karma. i must’ve been an aeroplane in my last birth and the trains have been jealous ever since.

little flashback to prove this point- so last week i got into a train though i was wait listed 7. and the tc oblidged by giving me his seat. ofcourse i was so darn sleepy (which is my ground state of consciousness;)) that i woke up half hr after mysore (my then desired desitnation). it was 5am and my phone had died. so the alarm dint go off. murphy’s law. and i have tremendous fear of the dark. and men. in the dark.;) but i had a course to rush to, so i had to get off at the next, very weary station, mandya. now mandya is a village which wishes it were a town. well, coming back to the extremely isolated mandya station at 5am in pitch darkness, i spotted one happy autorickshaw man. there was exactly one. i was like “guruji, come on man, show me your presence, you said your always around, where the bloody hell are youuu, i need proof !!” so the auto guy drops me to an imaginary bus stop and tells me fiercely that bus to mysore will arrive shortly. and as he left, right opposite the so called bus stop in mandya, at 5.10am in continued pitch darkness, what do my eyes spot? exactly, and i meant it, right in front of my face, on the opposite side of the road, is a huge hoarding. it has pictures of many random people and a huge full size picture of a smiling HIS HOLINESS SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR. finish, one tear each eye;)

dear pals, i realise i haven’t even begun with the absolutely psychotic event list which took place on valentines day! fine i will keep it cryptic and unexaggerated.;)
13th feb, 9pm- train to mysore from bangalore. waitlisted-1, e-ticket that apparently automatically gets cancelled and refunded, god knows why.
13th feb, 9.15pm- ticketless in train. hanging out with wait list-2 man, also ticketless in train;)
13th feb, 9.30pm to 11pm- tc refuses to help or is rather helpless. so i sit beside the washbasin on the floor of the train outside 2nd ac boggie. i scratch. i facebook. i get sprinkled with water by a man who flutters his hand after his sumptuous dinner.
that very moment i acknowledged; whether or not men love me on this auspicious day, god clearly doesn’t.
13th feb, 11.30pm- get off helplessly at mysore and head to yasha’s house. she is an angel. her mum is god.
13th feb, 12midnight- i begin to sleep
14th feb, 9am- wake up to eat dosa
14th feb, 9.15am- morphined sleep resumes
14th feb, 7pm- wake up to realise that tonight’s ticket is also WAIT LISTED-1!
14th feb, 11.30pm- this time the tc is a darling and though i am ticketless, he gives me 3rd ac seat and says to me “you are one lucky girl” and i think to myself… what a wonderful world!!

ANGER. ANNOYANCE. ANGUISH.

14 Jul

“There is either chaos outside or inside. I prefer it outside.” – guruji
After what i am abt to share, u’ll be in serious denial with the above statement. I SURE AM! grrrhhh.

I am abt to embark a long journey to cool places in karnataka to share some laughter and knowledge. my schedule is precariously timed with just enuf time to pee once in a while. basically i am “doing” a guruji for the next few months. real excited!!
so i leave from banglore ashram intending to head to mysore by a thing called “jaipur express”. whoever called it a train is someone who mistkaes a stray dog for a poodle; kanta ben for an aishwarya rai; south indian panipuri for caviar.
Damn you! (100 times)

When i saw the “general” compartment approach platform no. 5, my eyes popped out n fell on the wet floor. there were drooling drunk men with clothes that exposed their fat belly; some even hung half of their unbathed body out of the train’s window. they slid out of it when the train stopped!! boy oh boy! among other disgusting smells, i could smell trouble sooo strong!

if u know me, u know my huge pink hard top samsonite, my violet bling yoga mat, my lovely black laptop sack, and chamki (i.e. my nikon D60). Just imagine na! all of 47kgs, adorned with these ornaments, coming face to face with the vaanarasena! was a rather romantic sight..
so i cheat, and enter the sleeper section which thankfully, among other things, had exactly 2 women, 2 screeching children (remember for future ref.) and a lot of lemon rice and banana peels acting as carpet in the boggie. oh yes…and traces of vomit. you wudn’t think i cud rest my pink samsonite in such la italiano marblelo flooringo.

the train was running late. late enuf for me to be just in time for my mysore schedule. there is a guru, thus proved.

i waited patiently for the train to move, chanting a few om namah shivayas for the lack of anything more sensible to do. the damn rattle machine began to jiggy wiggy making the most grothesque torture-the-ear drum drone. i thought it was starting trouble. no my dears. this symphony was produced for 4 continuous hours putting any ear plug, why, an iron screw to shame.

let’s go back to those screaming thunder bolt kids now. they were kicking me. for fun. yes. FOR FRIGGING FUN. i smiled with compassion for a good 30sec but then they wouldn’t stop! my compassion did. one of the monsters got a tini wini wound as the train took an ugly turn. there was exactly 1/50th a pin prick of blood oozing out of his foot. so wat does he do?
he begins to give competition to the piercing roar of the jaipur express. he shrieks like a maniac without even a drop of tear pouring out of those smartass eyes. his helpless dad does the ‘foo foo’ action to the clearly non existant wound. as if in fear, the wheels of my samsonite roll all over the train. by now i was in coma. nevertheless i managed to giggle in deep helplessness.

i had wit me for company, bawa’s book ‘everynight, josephine’ which is now out of print. so i was carrying heritage property in these wretched territories. the book is so well written, full of lovely humor. i lolled big time last night. but today no joke made me laugh, cos today, i was the biggest joke of them all.

i agree, this is a stressed blog post. but i sure did observe some beautiful things;
– the dad of those 2 monsters was such a lovely dude. he pampered/hugged/kissed them at regular intervals, fed them limbu rice and pyaar se told them not to kick me. he cud see no fault in his lil’ parcels of joy. his love was so thick, i could cut it wit a knife. parents r spcl things man. (ur time to go, awwwww….)
– if one noticed intently, the loud painful rattling of the train had a rhythm to it. after i resigned to my fate, it nearly sounded like music. and when the stations came, and the music died, i felt the meditative silence that prevails after u leave a death metal concert. knowledge struck!
-guruji is right! my mind was so empty, and i felt so light when i disembarked that jaipur obnoxious object. cos the source of chaos was outside. i was untouched. i had laughed at myself, written a blog post, fallen in love with my dad again, but most importantly i had saved my mind…

euro trip- Act 1

31 May

foreword- my trip thankfully bares no resemblance whatsoever to the ridiculous movie ‘euro trip’.

credits- i take full credit for all the pics u will see in the euro trip posts. other people/ things i wud like to credit are mr. lobo (my tour guide), chamki(my nikon D60), dad (for the moolah), my gloves -one green one black (witout them i wud hv frozen fingers which wud hv eventually fallen off).

travelling in europe is akin to a christian pilgrimage. whether or not u hear car horns, u wil definitely hear church bells in every street at regular intervals, as if someone from up there wanted to remind u to behave urself again n again! well, of course, that did not come in the way of scores of followers making out just outside the magnificent churches perhaps built for inner discovery (pun intended;)).

the continent wears its religion on its sleeve. really, 1/10th the pride in our sanathana dharma, and we wud rule the roost. anyway, i am straying as if I really consumed all the free wine and champagne that was offered. hello! i dint ok!
while india is polluted in general, europe is particularly polluted with cigarette smoke. uff! a non-smoker here is like a lady bug perched atop a frog in turn chilling on a crocodile on mt. everest.

in this part of the world, for these few months, the sun is so happily bright until 9pm and beyond. trippy!! and as u drive through the country side, the lil’ yellow flowers of the mustard plant tickle u into poetry consciousness(PC). there r hills and hills for hours and hours strewn with yellow dallops of the divine..see i am slipping into PC already…;)

in my TCCCS(refer earlier post for full form), rome happened 1st. truly, wat a thing to happen! everything in rome is so old that u feel like a 250yr old urself.

the colloseum without russell crowe;)

next, the vatican city, duniya ka smallest country, begins 5 steps before the sistine chapel and ends few feet afterwards. quite funny, visually. the country’s population is that of my building(relatives included). pisa was mostly t.p. the speciality of course was the leaning tower of pisa, which of course, leans.

florence. aahh. now we r talking. as my fb status revealed. ” i was sad. florence. i am happy.” this charming city is full of sculptures, cycles, art, ice-creams, élan and love…we saw the building where leonardo da vinci painted the mona lisa. felt good, dunno why. florence’s cathedral, the magnificent duomo, was, i think, 100 times all the adjectives one uses for the sistine chapel. apologies, pope.
in florence, i felt so much at home and so much in love.

venice, dear venice. warning- donot go there for honeymoon. cos then u cant flirt with the oh-so-irresistable gonodolier with a ravishing body, playful mannerisms, humming u italian tunes while he rows u through his venice. dreamy venice.

innsbruck in austria is a gorgeous quiet town with wooden homes adorned with tulip gardens. the only activity in the town was the church bell which rang every 10 min. i dont even think god knows why? the swarovski museum in innsbruck was the ultimate torture to my eyeballs. half of north india also happened to vacation there with TCCCS and the likes. they very much enjoyed and indulged.

new country. beautifuller. switzerland. its beauty is beyond my command over the english language. its beauty is also beyond what one can enjoy with one’s sense of sight. so i conclude, that switzerland was created by lord almighty for us to realise the purpose of meditation. cos after all my dears, our senses have limitations!

nevertheless; the piercing snow, the mighty alps, the spongy clouds was a sight to behold. but then, in this heaven, u spot something. something so close to u, that u dont know whether to laugh or cry…
guess?
…..
……..
………..
……………
guess karo bhai!!

aaj ke liye bas itna hi;
phir milenge teen din baad;
where the mystery unravels;
until then, adios amigo!


%d bloggers like this: