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Kasauli yet again…

July 20, 2009 2 comments

Ok I have written enough about Kasauli and you have all got either bored of it or a little zealous or have added it on to your travel list or a have become little wishful… but hang on … there is still some more left to tell!!!

And being a foodie it has all to do with yummy delicious mouth watering dishes…

As said earlier, Kasauli is a small city and as such has very few eating places… barring the elegant restaurant at the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Hotel it is more of a Momo and noodles place!

But there is one place here which if missed would be a loss … to your taste buds.

The place is a small shop called ‘Daily Needs’… bang opposite to the gate of the hotel R. Maidens and sells everything from fruit juice to ice cream to band aids to local wine. But its specialty is something else … which we discovered by chance… the place serves amazing ‘Mint Kebabs’ … cut into rings shelled out with hot red sauce. The kebabs are mind blowing and certainly leave you asking for more. (we ordered two servings on the second day)

They also make various kinds of sandwiches and burgers and have been doing so for … guess what … eighty nine years… yes 89 yrs. The shop is 89 years old and would be completing its 100 years in 2020!!! Currently it is being managed by the fourth generation of the family and seems to be going pretty strong. In the honour of the kebabs, I’ll like to remember it as ‘Kebabs- a Daily Need’

In our malls shops change with seasons so it was quite an experience to see that at same places things still last forever!

Olrite now done with Kasauli (for time being … !!!) and over to yet another place which left us with a taste to remember.

On our way back, we came across a small roadside dhaba… very close to the ‘Hanging Mc Donalds’ near Dharampur.

This dhaba was a small non-descript place with nothing fancy… in fact it was pretty bare minimum standards but the food was simply delicious. The menu is restricted … it serves only Razma rice, Chole Rice and Mutton curry rice!

We ordered one Razma rice and one Mutton curry rice and were served both the dishes in a piping hot state… with steam coming out of them.

Both the preparations were simply amazing and could compare (and excel!) with any fine dining restaurant. The mutton curry was just perfect – spicy hot and the rice was fresh and rightly cooked. Giving the credit to Mutton Curry rice I ll like to call it the ‘Mutton Curry Dhaba’

In toto we had an amazing lunch at throw away prices … once again confirming my view that all good things don’t come at a price!

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Hanging Mc Donald

July 17, 2009 Leave a comment

On the way to Kasauli I came across a food joint… a rather common site for all metros. But there was nothing common about the Mc Donald which I saw near Dharampur.

We had had a Punjabi breakfast – Paranthas at Murthal in the morning and were looking for something to make us active again by noon. But we were in two minds – whether to stop somewhere in between and eat or eat when we stop in Kasauli. We were still wondering when we saw a familiar logo…Mc Donald. Now I know u must be thinking that I have gone nuts … going gaga over Mc Donald… but wait till u hear what I saw.

The Mc Donald here is same from inside but it is not on a plain surface rather is hanging in between two hill sides … on an old style bridge, with arches and no pillar in between, which is connecting the two parts of a mountain, with water flowing beneath it. Try remembering the video of Marc Antony’s song ‘Deep Blue Skies’ and you’ll get a view of the bridge I am talking about!

Green Mc Donald

Green Mc Donald

We can also call it a green Donald as there is a lush green garden just underneath the place maintained by the joint.

It was a treat for eyes and of course the steaming hot coffee and the French fries added the right flavor. A perfect setting for a day out… in our case enhanced further by the drizzling rain which followed us all the way back and forth.

I would like to call it the Hanging Mc Donalds…which was feast both for our stomach and eyes…it would be good to just sit and spend some time there gazing out….or reading a book…sipping coffee!!!

Some facts

Mc Donalds is very close to Dharampur and can be missed only if you are sleeping which would be a crime in itself on such a route.

A social networking site for senior Indians

July 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Times have changed and age is no longer a deterrent for anything!

At an age when earlier people thought of retiring, going on honeymoon is becoming a fashion.

I came across something similar in a mail some time back…

We are all part of Facebook,Orkut, Linked In, etc etc…the social networking sites…but what i stumbled upon is something different.

A social networking site for senior Indians (aged 55 years and above)!!!

It is run by an organisation called Verdurez.

The website http://www.verdurez.com offers senior citizens opportunity to network with like-minded people through forums, groups, regular discussions, blogs, chat room and book club and it has members from India and NRIs from Europe, North America, Middle East and Australasia.

These members have come together to be together, share and have some good time and also if possible to find work post retirement. Their reasons to continue working are primarily non-financial.

The site has active members in the following locations:

Ahmedabad
Bangalore
Bhopal
Bombay
Chandigarh
Chennai
Coimbatore
Gurgaon
Hyderabad
Calcutta
New Delhi
Visakhapatnam

This seems pretty interesting, enterprising and daring too!

So hats off to all those involved in this and a big  salute to all the members who though have fulfilled their responsibilities and duties but still wanna contribute more!

People who may want to take their services (any NGOs/companies etc ) can get in touch at info@verdurez.com and visit http://www.verdurez.com

Categories: Trivia Tags: , ,

A trip to Kasauli

July 16, 2009 4 comments

Getting away form the heat crowd mundane chores was the idea and as it got piled away and kept on being postponed the wish became a priority. Some might think of it as a luxury – to go out of town… but to me it was a necessity or rather it became one. To get away – from the entire chaos that engulfs all of us at all points of time … the routine which is important to succeed… the everyday process of home to home called life – was my only hope to stop existing and start living once again.

Thought of many places but all turned out to be either too busy or non-accessible and I was almost at the verge of giving up and postponing once again when my sister suggested KASAULI. And as it turned out it was neither busy nor non-accessible.

The plan was proposed on Thursday and Friday morning we were on the way to Kasauli.

Some facts

Kasauli is in Himachal Pradesh, about 316 kms from Delhi and can be reached both by train and by road. It is 61 kms from Chandigarh.

We took the road route and started off early morning at 5 am…well we aimed for 5 and did manage to leave the Delhi city boundaries by 5:45 am… not bad at all. The road is excellent at most of the places … though if some of the flyovers could have been completed by now (we had taken the same route last year also) we could have covered more distance. But anyways … it wasn’t bad… infact a drive through the Panipat Flyover that bypasses the entire Panipat city was a marvel. We had a Punjabi breakfast – Paranthas at Murthal and then carried on.

We continued till we reached Dharampur from where we took the left cut from the main highway for Kasauli. Now there are two ways of going to Kasauli from Dharampur; one which has a pointer saying Lawrence and the other one a little ahead… don’t take the Lawrence one.

The road is fine but the scenery is just beautiful … nothing to be missed on both sides. We reached Kasauli at around 1pm and after some hotel hunting checked in to R.Maidens.  Now the place is too small and the main Kasauli boasts of just a handful of hotels. There are 4 hotels in the lower mall which is like the heart of the city and few more scattered just before the main entrance of the city.

After checking in and making sure all was well we left the hotel and started our sojourn on foot.

As I said before the city is too small… it’s divided into Upper Mall and Lower Mall. Upper Mall is more like a cantonment area with military offices and residences and the lower mall has market, hotels and local residences. There is an air force station also which is located towards the lower mall.

Any ways so we left the hotel and went for an evening stroll towards the … yes the upper mall…the cant. Area. It was a good walk … the road playing a game … sometimes going up and then going down…sometimes we were looking at beautiful valley and sometimes at far away high peaks…sometimes the clouds would hide everything from view and sometimes they would be all around us soaking us completely! And in between all this the pride of Cant Area… the green shiny gypsies zoomed in and out all around with their silver like shining wipers!

We are not always looking for non conventional things to do but just land up doing them … while walking through the upper mall road we came to a small picnic point and realised that we have reached the Sunrise Point at the Sunset Time! But it was still beautiful and the place had some tourist families and some local couples. (easy to make out the difference!)

Continuing further we realised that we have reached a point beyond which there is no entry for us – the civilians and thus started back. But as I said no conventional things for us … so instead of taking the same road … we decided to do some trekking and take the un-traveled road back. We had reached a point which was the tapering end of the city and where there was just little distance left between the upper & the lower mall road – a small bushy area with damp mud, cactus like plants on a steep and steep slope part of the mountain and so we took the challenge and climbed down from there. It was not as easy as it looked from above and all three of us had our moment of glory during that half hour trek to the lower mall. But it was worth it …its moments like this that makes us realize how much more we are capable of … its just the matter of pushing a little more and not only taking the first step but also ensuring to keep the steady last step too.

View from Hotel

View from Hotel

After the big achievement there was nothing to do but to celebrate and so we headed back to the hotel and found a nice enough place on the terrace which overlooked the mountains. We could see at least 7 – 8 layers of mountains one after the other … a breath taking view good enough to keep us engaged till late night.

Here if I don’t mention the TV tower it would be unfair … well there is a TV Tower which stands tall on one side of the city but coz of its height it looks like its stemming out of the middle of the city and touching the sky. Actually the tower looked different at different points … at night it looked as if the sky has folded a little and was resting on its shoulders and all the stars had gathered around the tower to be in vicinity; early morning the tower looked further away from the blue sky and gave an impression as if it was growing in height in west just as the sun was rising in east! I have some more connotations for the tower and stars but I ll leave it for now…

Way to Manki Point

Way to Manki Point

The next morning we set out to do what all tourists do there… visit the ‘Manki Point’. Now just like others we also thought that the place is known as ‘Manki Point’ since it has a Hanumanji (Monkey God) Temple. But ‘Manki Point’ is literally Man Ki Point which means ‘As per your wish’. Its an old temple perched on the top of a hill and can be reached only after crossing the air force station … a high security area. The entire drive way which takes to the temple, has to be crossed on foot, is spick and span, has enough places to sit and is alive with loudspeakers playing good old music, courtesy Worldspace Radio! Good music and the cool breeze was enough to keep us going.

But just as the old proverb goes that it’s not easy to get anything … the trek up to the temple is a steep one and goes on and on… trying the patience, the courage and the drive. We had another distraction – the rain … which kept on pouring through out our journey up towards the peak … but we were determined and didn’t let it stop us or dissuade in any manner. And believe me it all became worthwhile once we reached the top.

The temple is a neat and decent one, good enough to make a person go down on his knees, sit and contemplate and communicate with the almighty directly. May be it’s the surroundings or the fact that there was no crowd or the mere serenity of the place which does make one feel like praying … a distant cry from the crowded, dirty, full of greedy middlemen (pandits) city temples.

It is quite an old one and as per mythology the temple came into existence when Hanumanji touched the mountain with his feet on his way back from Himalayas carrying the Illustrious life saving Sanjeevani Buti for Lakshman the younger brother of God Ram. Sine then the hill top has taken the shape of His foot and has remained so. The story goes so … that his foot touched at two places one in Shimla and the other here in Kasauli.

True or not the place is awesome with some magnificent views and being a Hanumanji’s devotee it was a feast for me through out!

Some facts

The temple is inside the air force station and hence the security is very high and nothing can be taken inside except for wallet. Everyone is thoroughly frisked. The place also has two café’s with some seating arrangement.

The trek up and down made us hungry and we attacked the nearest place to eat … a restaurant at the Himachal Pradesh tourism hotel. The place has terrace seating with panoramic view of the mountain range and good food. The combination was lethal and we spent some good three hours there itself. The rest of the day was spent roaming around the small market on the lower mall, doing some shopping and once again sitting on the terrace looking out to the mountains. This time the view was not as clear as the previous day because of clouds. But if clouds marred our view of mountains they made the moon even more beautiful… just as they always do. The everlasting game of hide and seek between the clouds and moon was at its zenith giving us some of the best scenes … wherein the moon would be sometimes glowing, shining, retreating, coming out of the shadows … each time more beautiful and endearing then before!

But that’s my moon… simply speechless and special always…

Now though moon is my favorite but I know Sun is no less… for without the Sun the moon would loose its glow and so I decided to pay my homage. I got up at around five am the next morning and did two remarkable things… saw the Sun rise and went for a morning walk!!!

Looking at the rising sun was beautiful and a memory that I will hold till I see it the next time … ( which would be a fairly long time since I know this wont happen soon again or till I am out on a vacation again!)

And the morning walk was amazing … I went alone as no one else was up yet…

But it was worth it… such silence and such calmness…the stillness…in the beautiful settings. I was out for an hour and they were the best spent 60 minutes in a long time. All I can say is that I came back refreshed more than it’s possible for a spa and a massage to do jointly.

Clearly this was the highest point of the entire trip… those 60 minutes when I was with myself and the nature… communicating silently…nature imparting its qualities of strength, perseverance, patience, sacrifice, love, care and most of all of being grounded in all circumstances to me. I felt an achiever, a hermit… completely at peace… and in harmony.

It just gave me the strength which I was looking for … which I felt had got depleted due to the stress and the strain of the day to day life. It left me feeling truly refreshed and rejuvenated.

This was Day 3 and we left Kasauli and doing a brief tour of Sabathu – an old Gurkha regiment army town and a non existent river… we drove down back to Delhi.

The entire trip was amazing. I had promised myself two things before starting… one that I will enjoy it upto the brim and not let my eternal enemy Mr. Doubt enter anywhere in scene… and second that I will think less and just be there… living every moment and voila I succeeded in both.

Not once did I let myself down!

Thus a truly encouraging, refreshing, engaging, learning journey both within and outside.

The three men I have fallen in love with

July 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Was watching IIFA… finally after more than a month of seeing the glimpses here and there…got to see the full thing though it was also edited… but still Rithik looked cool enough!

So were Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Deshmukh, Boman Irani etc etc.

They were all dressed in black the official colour of all the award functions and oh my they all looked mind boggling, amazing (those who saw the IIFA would know these adjectives and those who didn’t will get to see it for the channels make the money out of reruns!)

But out of the whole lot of the guys there were just three guys who stood out of the rest… way above the crowd and I fell in love once again with all three of them!!!

in no order for there is no order for them and I for sure cant put them in any ranking…so…here they are…the best three …

Mr. Amitabh Bacchan… the eternal smart handsome guy…one of the most romantic guy… who can woo any one with his impeccable manners, extensive knowledge, variety of talents, ability to mix with all ages, non judgmental attitude and above all the rock steady yet sensuous voice!

I can never get out of my infatuation with him in Sharaabi…his formal dressing, the semi drunk stage and the casual yet clear dialogues…

or with Neela Aasman sung in his deep voice with emotions playing on each and every word…

or with his ever green forever lasting romantic dialogue ‘Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein yeh khayal aata hai…

Mr. Rithik Roshan… the boy next door who changed into this hot looking Greek God…with acting skills to match…his commitment to work, family, friends  –  a complete man!

I didn’t like him in his early movies … but what he did in Dhoom 2 was amazing…his looks could put any one to shame… there is something about his eyes which compels all to wait and watch what he is just about to deliver an almost always perfect act.

Mr. Rahul Bose… what to say about him… the silent one … believes firmly in “actions speak louder than words”…once again a multi talented guy…acting, writing, sports and social activist…a package worth exploring…

His fame might have come from movies like Mr. & Mrs. Iyyer but to me he is always going to be Sid…Siddharth… who just doesn’t understand the need to get married so what if he has been committed for 3 years or so…the eternal bachelor character played in Pyar Ke Side Effects…one of the characters which cant be more closer to reality … and essayed more perfectly by Mr. Bose…

What adds on is his sensitivity towards the social causes… be it environment or education… the man is ready to pull on his socks and play along and fight every inch for the cause… n I love him just for that!

The awesome three

Categories: Trivia