Pandemic Pastimes

While the shadow of the coronavirus scourge is receding, the virus has managed to ravage large portions of humanity. Covid-19 has brought untold suffering to millions and continues to affect many millions of people even now. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations have started and life has slowly started limping back to a new normal that would have been unrecognizable to most of us just a year back. I have been fortunate enough to still have my job, have my health and also have my family safe.

Challenging as these times have been, they have provided many of us the opportunity to take a step back and do things that we have always wanted to. Things that we always set aside for the lack of time. The virus bought the gift of time for some of us...

Read More

Euro Trip With Friends (Part 3 – Italy)

So after experiencing the amazing Alpine beauty of Switzerland, we were headed to Italy. The drive from Interlaken to Venice was a long but scenic one. The drive through beautiful glaciated Alpine passes just take ones breath away. And there are several tunnels on the way, the longest one being the 15 km long Gotthard tunnel. After one crosses the tunnel, the high mountains of the Alps give way to lower, gentler country.

Lake Como is a comfortable 4-5 hour drive away from Interlaken. And as one enters the vicinity, one becomes suddenly aware that one has arrived in Italy. Narrow lanes, beautiful houses, lazy cafes and driving that’s less scrupulous and gentle as in Switzerland. The relaxed attitude of Italians is on display and so is their amazing sense of aesthetics and architecture...

Read More

Euro Trip With Friends (Part 2 – Switzerland)

So after a largely uneventful stay at Munich, it was time for us to leave for Switzerland. We left Munich on the morning of 24th August and after negotiating some city traffic, we were on the road to Interlaken. The road to Interlaken is peppered with scenic views – first the German countryside and then the Austrian and Swiss alpine beauty. We also passed through Lichtenstein, one of the smallest countries in the world, en-route.

The closer we got to Interlaken, the better the views became. We stopped twice just to soak in the natural beauty. Our first stop was at M├╝hlehorn, a beautiful community set on the shores of a lake with pristine blue waters. After soaking in the serenity we motored onward...

Read More

Euro Trip With Friends (Part 1 Prague and Munich)

We (Shastha, Abhishek and I) had been planning a Euro Trip for quite sometime and now that Shastha has moved to Prague, the plan finally materialized. It took some hectic planning, a few conference calls and we were all set. Out itinerary looked as follows:

  • 21 August – Arrive in Prague
  • 22 August – Explore Prague
  • 23 August – Drive to Munich / Explore Munich
  • 24 August – Drive to Interlaken/ Explore Interlaken
  • 25 August – Explore Lauterbrunnen and Jongfraujoch
  • 25 August – Drive to Venice / Stopover at Lake Como
  • 26 August – Explore Venice
  • 27 August – Drive to Vienna / Explore Vienna
  • 28 August – Drive to Budapest / Stopover at Bratislava
  • 29 August – Explore Budapest
  • 30 August – Drive to Prague
  • 31 August – Fly back to home

As is evident (hopefully) from the itinerary above, the trip was a prett...

Read More

Dudhwa: A Jungle Odyssey

Farewells can almost always be bitter sweet. A long time colleague just resigned. As is the custom, we planned an offsite farewell for him. The place chosen was Dudhwa National Park- primarily because we have been to Corbett so many times. The other thing that worked in Dudhwa’s favour was that it is home to the Great Indian Rhino. We have done umpteen safaris as a team, and the tiger has proven to be elusive except just once. So with high spirits, we set off on the 400+ km journey to Dudhwa.

The route we took

The drive to Dudhwa from Noida is a long, mundane drive but the company of colleagues and friendly banter kept the josh high for most of the drive...

Read More

A Road Trip – Up South

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Mangalore and Udupi for a friend’s wedding. A few of us got together and planned a roadtrip from Bangalore to Udupi. We had heard a lot about the beautiful countryside and landscape that lines the highway. And we were not disappointed. However, what’s a journey without obstacles? We had our fair share of hiccups.

We had booked a rental car from Myles. When we reached the car pick up point, we were told that the vehicle allotted to us had met with an accident and they could not provide us with a vehicle. This was a real bummer. We really insisted on a replacement car and after an hour of haggling, they told us that they could provide us with a car – a Maruti Suzuki Swift. We readily agreed as we didn’t have other real options...

Read More

Trip To Bangalore

I got an opportunity to travel to Bangalore in the first week of March this year.While it was an official trip , I was able to find some time for friends and leisure. Though, it has been more than a month since I returned, I still have fond and vivid recollections of the great time I had there.

The flight from Delhi to Bangalore is a long one (a three hour flight is long for me!). Long mainly because flights can be really boring. Thankfully, I had a window seat and I spent most of my time looking out. While even that can get tedious, I was able to spot this from above!

India’s very own grand canyon – spotted from 35000 feet

Once in Bangalore, most of my time was spent at work but I was able to find time for a little sight seeing...

Read More

Romancing The Western Ghats

I had been yearning for a road-trip with friends for sometime now. So when my friends asked me to join them on a trip to Nasik and Bhandardara from Mumbai, I immediately said yes. And what a trip it was! Being with friends,with whom you can be yourself, without fear of being judged is such a liberating feeling! All the natural beauty that we came across was bonus. Nature has this quality of soothing even the most bruised of souls when you just let your senses free to experience it.

The trip started with a drive to Sula Vineyards in Nashik via Igatpuri. The drive took us through Kasara Ghats and the fog shrouded hills of Igatpuri were a sight to behold. By the time we descended to Nashik, it was bright and sunny again...

Read More

On Big Game Hunting and What Africa Can Learn From India

The recent cold blooded murder of Cecil, the lion, by an American big game hunter has sparked outrage across the world and has taken the social media by storm. The hunter (I prefer to call him murderous coward) has also stated that big game hunting is an activity that he loves and practises “responsibly”.This statement brings to the fore the mindset of a culture that has eradicated most of its wildlife and biodiversity in its quest to pursue “development” and material benefits.

While the social media outrage does show that this mindset is abhorred by the majority even in the west now, it is too little too late. The forests of North America and Europe may once have had a dazzling array of wildlife but  many of the erstwhile  residents of those habitats are now gone forever...

Read More

The Gift Of The Colorado

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the US for the second time. It was a short 2 week jaunt but, as luck would have it, there was the long Memorial Day weekend in between. I tried to make the most of the weekend and managed to do a whirlwind tour of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. All three locations are amazing and I feel lucky to have been able to experience them.

The common thread between the three locations is the river Colorado. Las Vegas exists in the middle of the desert and depends upon this river for its life blood. Colorado supplies the city with water and vital energy from the Hoover dam, without which all the glitz and glamour, that Vegas is famous for, would be impossible...

Read More