So the holidays end



Finally the last weekend of the Diwali vacation is here, its been pretty eventful you know, a honeymoon trip, a long drive, a casino visited, unbelievable party invites, tonnes of food, no exercise, no alarms to wake me up, some more gluttony, weight gain (errr if all is well kahi nazar na lag jaaye isliye) and above all so much fun!


All that almost now wants me to fall into a routine for a bit, that is a huge change if you know me! I loathe, hate routines and yet, I actually dread when I see an invite for eating out! Its just been too much, maybe I need to keep myself to the ‘Gareeb Khichdi’ and humble ‘Curd Rice’ for a week to be able to want to actually eat out again. For a change I think this Monday will be welcome! :) Thats what holidays, vacations do to you! Gear you up! Don’t they?


Plus the evil fact that I have a tiger safari planned and booked for next month is added incentive, if only life came with a fast forward button I say! :D :D :D :mrgreen:


Dudhsagar Water Falls

Disclaimer : This is the non adventurous, touristy way of reaching the falls!


When Aamir Khan flew that plane over Pangong Tso in 3 idiots we all loved it, infact I felt finally some Indian films were finally actually exploring India’s most beautiful places. Little did we imagine that the very next year there would be traffic jams on the road to Pangong and there would be packets of Lay’s wafers and Bisleri bottles floating in the waters of Pangong! The curse of Bollywood if you may call it now, not their fault mind you, but our people (tourists) and our govt who fail to see the coming number of people and do not prepare adequately to arrange for the trash that we will bring along.


A few years later, a Deepika Shahrukh Khan starrer makes another such wonderful natural location of India famous, Dudhsagar Falls, result : flocks and flocks of Indian tourists arrive on the scene. What was once a place were only a few people went is now flocked with people. The result should be good, more people get to see the beautiful place, the rain forest can be protected from being cut as it now suddenly generates revenue, the locals also suddenly have a source of employment that they had not forseen.


I hope in a while from now that will be the case. As of now I must confess though at my surprise the forest is still pristine and clean, no plastic, no bottles, no dirt anywhere, not that we spotted. The crowd is huge, they have now limited the admittance into the park to 225 jeeps, each jeep carries 7 people charging Rs. 400 p/p from Collem plus the driver into the Dudhsagar Falls, they have made life jackets compulsory for all to avoid any mishaps, there were people around the waterfall to ensure no one was at a risk of losing lives, some volunteers were even clearing water bottles from the water on a surf board which were dropped by a few irresponsible tourists.


Inside the park its awesome, the jungle is super dense, absolutely like you would imagine a rain forest to be like, the route that the jeeps drive through is adventurous, super bumpy and awe inspiring, the water is clean, albeit a few too many people at the main pond below the falls with everyone wanting to bathe, the dip is every bit worth it as I went in, the scary part for me was my feet didn’t touch the bottom, I can’t swim and the fact that fishes as big as almost 2-3 feet swam about around me, not that they harmed but they kinda scared me, when I look back now I find that super cool and wonderful to be able to swim with fishes! The fishes are all friendly and actually tried to keep away, accidentally sometimes they would brush your leg or stomach and to me it gave chilly creeps. I am a total waste I know, some people tried to catch them but the fish were pretty agile for them! All said and done, with the life jacket you need to take that plunge in that pool! The swim is amazingly soothing!


The only two drawbacks I felt were one, the jeeps should be open gypsies not closed jeeps, the viewing could be so much better and second the queue to get in, it is as chaotic as it can get, almost driving some people to wanting to return from there without visiting. My advice, be patient, bear the pain and enter the park, once inside its calm, peaceful, beautiful and fun. Amazingly its not littered up despite so many people visiting which is a tribute to the people visiting and the local officials.


On our way back we also saw some people trekking the route our jeeps plied and I was devastated to learn that you could actually trek and I had opted for the jeep. I am not aware how you get that permission, but do look for it before going for the jeep like an idiot which I apparently was. Walking takes 2.5 hours one way, drive is 45 minutes one way. Walking in a rain forest would certainly be a most wonderful experience.


From what I learnt is the trek through the train tracks has been disallowed, although some people still do undertake it, if spotted by railway officials you could be fined. I guess Indian ways would certainly work anyways if you are wanting to go through that way regardless.


Here are a few pictures of that place, few coz we were more busy bathing than clicking! :)


whilst the trees and foliage across the road is cut for easy access, the jungle besides is so dense you need to see to believe!


Thats just one of the 3 water bodies that you cross on the way! :) Fun eh??



Whilst we saw one monitor lizard on the way, the closed jeeps don’t really allow you to look about a lot, what you cannot miss though is this fella! They are in thousands!


They keep falling throughout the year! Four tiered water fall it is!!!! The sight is to behold and soak, a passing train makes the whole scene kinda unreal!


I think this is said to be India’s 5th tallest Waterfall!


Bathing here is one thing you do not want to miss out on! Even if you can’t swim, put on the float jacket and go in the water! Take my word for it!



Now you know why they call it Dudhsagar don’t you?? Totally foamy milky falls!



Thats me splashing happily :) :) :)



Chicken Xacuti!


Finally, I can claim I have tasted this Goan delicacy and as it is fair to say it lived up to what all it was talked about! We eventually ordered it at the restaurant Mango Grove in Candolim and it lived up to our expectations! We absolutely loved it and scraped the plate so much so as to in the end I dropped all the remaining rice in the Xacuti (pronounced Shakuti) bowl and wiped it clean! :) :)


Many a times I feel I may not be able to appreciate coconut milk gravies as much and I was so happy to learn that my pre-conceived notions were totally wrong and I am hoping to make more journeys in the south Indian food world!! :)




We downed this wonderful dish with a Watermelon Cooler (cocktail) which was so wonderfully made that even a non drinker like me enjoyed it and even felt mildly delirious after it. :)





The best part about road trips is you get numerous opportunities to stop and click, having taken a liking to photography I see frames all the time, the flip side is I never reach any place on schedule, but then that is the not the idea of a holiday anyways is it?

Who wants to keep schedules when you are passing such places at sunset time?? Wouldn’t you want to stop here for a minute or two, look around, absorb, get lost in the moment??

Celebrating Diwali Goa style!


It is usual for me to be at home during Diwali, this year though was different as we ventured out to Goa. Diwali here is slightly muted, perhaps it has a lesser hindu population I guess. However, we saw huge Demon like structures being built everywhere whilst we were trying to find our house that we had booked in Nerul. Upon checking out in the night we came to know that these people actually had built huge Effigies of the Asura named Narakasura who as per the legend dictated to us by one lady at the bakery terrorised, exploited and killed the locals. Eventually Lord Krishna came to the rescue of the people and killed this demon, this day incidentally falls a day before Lakshmi Pooja.

The lady was keen enough to inform us that the statues of Narakasura are made of dry leaves, wood, paper and fire crackers. The made statues are then carried out in a procession whilst they abuse and taunt the demon and burn it post nightfall.

A lot of people, including non Indians found these statues quite interesting and would be seen photographing them or taking selfies with them!

Here are a couple of other such statues that we saw..



Building sand castles and embracing waves!


Goa for a long time was very low on my list, I was always more of a guy who opted for Mountains and jungles to the sand and water. Not knowing swimming and being petrified of any water higher than my chest I kind of kept away. Two years back a free trip to Goa during August told me one thing for sure, Goa has a lot more to offer than just beaches and the ocean.

On my last trip since it was Monsoon and the sea was rough we didn’t really take to the beach for a long time, this time though the visit in November meant there was not much rough weather, it was warm during the day and you actually wanted to take a dip in the water. For a change on this trip we spent so much time in the water I don’t think I ever have spent as much time in water in my entire life’s vacations!

I completely now comprehend why kids love playing in the waves so much and why people are crazy about the ocean so much! The clean beaches of Baga, Candolim and Palolem did not give any reason for me to resist them.

Amazingly, inspite of it being Diwali, Goa was surprisingly empty, Monday to Thursday we almost had most restaurants, shacks, beaches to us or shared it with very few people and that was a big plus for sucking me in.

Wave after wave, we soaked up the wonderfully friendly warm water of the Indian Ocean, like small kids jumping, staining the sand, building castles, burying ourselves in the sand! I seriously felt like I had gone back to my kid days almost during this trip. Rediscovering the fun of doing things and absolutely forgetting what it seemed to people who might be looking is one of the most important supplement you get from the Goa air!

I guess it does something to you, you forget about the world, you get lost in your own fun world, you don’t care what it seems like, all you care about is living in that moment, ducking before the arriving wave and then rising with it floating and riding on it, being thrown back, gushing at how wonderful the water felt, how it feels like the ocean is pulling you when the sand retracts with the receding water that was brought in with the wave.

I wouldn’t ever be seen walking about shirt less (read topless) in my house, suddenly though, after the bath in the ocean, I don’t bother wearing a tshirt whilst I am half wet, infact I decided to drive back home all the way without a shirt and for me that was new. Guess its the air in Goa that does some things to you.

From a guy who always almost looked down upon the idea of Goa, which back then meant to mean guys go there for the sea and the daroo, has completely changed, second trip down there, back home since just two days and I already miss being there, I miss the sea, the sand, the lazy air, the million restaurants and most of all I miss being so care free about what anyone thinks about you! Like seriously the place does have a magnet that I can now completely comprehend! :)

जेवण on the Highway

Kaanda Pithla, Bharla Vange, Shengdana Lassun Chatni, Lassun Mirchi Thecha

Kaanda Pithla, Bharla Vange, Shengdana Lassun Chatni, Lassun Mirchi Thecha

Whats a road trip good for if it doesn’t include some lip smacking food on the highway??

I am a total sucker for road trips, stopping where ever I want to, starting at any insanely hour (like 2.30am) not bother how many stops I am making to take a picture and above all the surprises that await on the highway in terms of food, many times you don’t know what and where to eat and yet from time to time you surprise yourself so very pleasantly.

One such occasion, we were passing through Pune and skipping the city, we have heard of the famous Vaishali restaurant in Pune but have not been able to check it out yet, and so about 45kms before Pune we start seeing boards of Vaishali on the highway. Immediately the stomach has made space for some food, I tell my partner in crime we must stop here.

As we ride into the hotel and park we do realise this doesn’t seem like the original, we enter anyway, ask the guy serving if it is the same Vaishali and he smiles and tell us no, this is different and that is different, yet, tempted by the fact that it offered Maharshtrian Food and not the steady South Indian or Punjabi, we decided to check it out.

The one drawback of being just two travellers is that we can order only so much, but, then my appetite helps anyways. So we ordered Kaanda Pithla, Bharla Vange, Shengdana Lassun Chatni, Lassun Mirchi Thecha, Jowar Roti and Chappati and boy was it delicious!!!

In any case I love spicy food and although the food was not as spicy the Thecha pretty much made up for it! It was an awesomely lip smacking and fulfilling lunch! I recommend anyone passing Vaishali to give this local fare a try.

Like the saying was, when in Maharashtra eat like the Maharashtrians ;)




There must be limits, somewhere, to the human footprint on this earth. When the whole of the world is reduced to nothing but human product, we will have lost the map that can show us how we got here, and can offer our spirits an answer when we ask why. Surely we are capable of declaring sacred some quarters that we dare not enter or possess.


Recently I read a quote somewhere, “The only animal that you should be really petrified of are humans”, aint that so shockingly true? The footprints we will probably leave behind us will be only ours in a few generations. Just as I took this picture of a lemur in Singapore zoo and I watched its legs and fingers I realised how beautiful these little animals were, how little damage they did to the planet, how difficult have we made it for them to survive, very soon the only place all these animals will be left for discovering will be Zoo’s I guess.

Its not just a random thought that just came to mind, I regularly keep observing, most times I keep it to myself but then sometimes it does make me want to voice it out. How much will we consume, how much will we keep growing, how much will be keep capturing, how much will be enough? We humans will never stop will we? Wonder what legacy will we live for the coming generations, perhaps we will have found newer technologies that will enable us to survive in any case although all other eco systems on the planet may not survive.

We must be careful what we use, how much we use, if we could cut down on our consumption in every small little way we can. Each individual can himself probably ration his own consumption, think not of how you may appear to others, think about what is best to sustain this planet.

Think, reduce, reuse, recycle and please keep repeating this! Lets try to leave only footprints.