Machli Jungle Ki Rani Hai

Once upon a time, there was a boy, who was fascinated by story books, comics and tales by his Naani. He lived in that fantasy world of so many characters and stories. One day, whilst he lived in Mumbai, came a movie opposite to his house, The Jungle Book, an animated movie, based on the book by Rudyard Kipling. The boy starry eyed went for the movie, during the course of the movie they also were selling the comic book with the same name. Fortunately, the kids parents bought one for him.

 

All of a sudden, the Indian jungle was alive in front of his eyes everyday, Kaa, Bagheera, Baloo, King Louie, Col Haathi, Mowgli all would dance around all day in his imagination. He would re-read that comic endless times. Somehow, the negative character in the movie, for this kid, Sher Khan was also a hero. Some fascination for the mighty, arrogant, cunning lord of the jungle kind of remained in his mind.

 

As life progressed, for a brief period, this kid was left at his maternal uncle for about 3 months time in Baroda, interestingly, that phase was a very good one. His uncle had made an arrangement with their office help Pandubhai to take this kid to the local zoo(Kamatibaug) everyday. So sitting on the little seat on the rod of the huge Atlas cycle this kid would everyday lap up the chance to go to the zoo and see his favourite animals. Apparently, retold by Pandubhai, the kid would daily sit in front of a tiger cage, the tiger’s name was Vitthal, for almost an hour talking to Vitthal. 

 

Time flew and the kid grew, his life was more involved in studying and trying to escape from studying both which didn’t quite work out well. Amazingly even though he always loved the woods and read books about the jungles and forests and saw programs on Nat Geo or Discovery, this kid actually never made it to the jungles. He did get one chance during a school trip to Gir but that was a 2 hour routine and nothing more.

 

Eventually the little kid grew up into a man and decided to marry, when you marry atleast you get to go for a honeymoon, so as luck would have it the kid’s lass and the kid planned a honeymoon in Uttar Pradesh(Now Uttarakhand) and as luck turned out one of the two places that they were visiting was Jim Corbett National Park.

 

The kid and his lass both were actually having their first real fling with the jungle. Little did they know it was a triangular love affair. The forest around Dhikala in Jim Corbett National Park has never left the kid’s memory till date, 14+ years have passed, but he swears he still remembers the smell of the jungle. The tree’s so tall that he had never seen before, the introduction to Jim Corbett’s book (Man Eater’s of Kumaon) happened then and that kind of increased the whole fantasy game even more. No, they didn’t see a tiger there, they didn’t even spot herds of Elephants, as far as sighting was concerned it was kind of poor, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, wild hogs, a hornbill, a few parakeets was just about all that they spotted yet the jungle sorry the experience left a lasting effect.

 

For many years they didn’t travel much and life’s other routines took over, then once again a trip was scheduled to a tiger reserve in Ranthambore. By then that kid, that is me had a kid who was 8 years old. :) Time flies I tell you.

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Ranthambore has got many relics mingling with the woods and vegetation that is growing all over it. All this adds up to the viewing experience.

 

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A full grown adult male spotted deer

 

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A Sambar baby looks us up!

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A pair of wooly necked strok were busy feasting on an algae infested pond

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A crocodile soaks up the sun on a cold morning.

 

The wait to spot a tiger in the wild was just getting longer and longer. For those who have never gone to spot a tiger let me just describe the whole fervour.

 

Apparently, most tigers are not social unless during mating season, tigers are usually alone. Female tigers have smaller territories depending on its strength anywhere from 6-14 square kilometers. Male tigers have even bigger territories of 15-25 square kilometers and there might be some 3-4 female tiger’s being in the vicinity of the male tiger. Apart from some very rare instances most of the times the male tiger and the female tiger are never together apart from a few weeks when they are mating.

 

So challenge no.1 is to locate one tiger, unlike lion’s who are in a pride you have to search for one tiger who has a significantly large territory. Usually these animals are nocturnal and move more during colder periods of the day rather than during hot periods. So either your chances are good early morning or late in the evening before it gets so dark we can’t see.

 

The tracking is usually done by drivers and guides who take you on a safari and whilst in the early morning they might be guided by pug marks more often than not they depend on a call by a langur or a deer. Now this is a very interesting way of spotting a tiger. The guide hears a call and raises his hand signalling everyone to be quiet. Everyone stops, the jeep also is shut, everyone tries to listen, the sound of the jungle reverberates in your ears. Pin drop silence, fresh air of the jungle, a small chi chi by a bird somewhere, a fly buzzing by your ear, the rustle of dead leaves as the deer walk on them, you can hear the jungle come alive!

 

Cooo…

 

You whisper to the guide

kaun hai?

us taraf ped pe se koi langur awaz de raha hai..

Apparently, when the tiger is on the move, a langur or a deer who ever spots it keeps giving an alarm call to all others alerting them that the Big Boss is on the move. The whole experience of keeping quiet, listening to that one hoot from a distance, tracking that hoot and seeing which direction it is being relayed is by what the guides gauge the location of the tiger. This whole exercise when there is pin drop silence and you actually absorb the jungle just by your eyes, ears and nose is what makes the whole experience quite fascinating and unreal for me.

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Mornings be so wonderful in the woods! Dawn at Ranthambore

Okay so back to my story, after the first safari was unsuccessful, the second day’s morning safari was pretty eventful as we managed to actually spot a leopard of all people. Amazingly, there was no alarm call, there was no evidence we were going to see it and all of a sudden it was me who thought he saw a deer walk and asked the jeep to stop and we realised it was a leopard. Early morning the leopard seemed to be walking back up the hill, as the guides would generalise, leopards spend the day in higher ground away from the tiger ground. This fellow was quietly walking away, he crossed the road whilst we stood there transfixed, he paused for a second looking at us and then as if we didn’t matter kept on walking on his merry path.

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This fellow posed just for a second! Terrible shot I know, but the excitement of having spotted a predator!

No tiger, but hell a lot of excitement, Bagheera’s fair cousin after all :D

 

The next safari we got into a zone that was special, it belonged to the legendary & the most famous tigress of the country and apparently she had killed something in the morning and our guide and driver excitedly took us to the spot. Machli, the tigress, is probably the most photographed and most well documented tigress amongst all Indian tiger’s not just that but infact a  report says that India had earned about USD10 million per year due to tourists attracted by the tigress for the last ten years!!!!  She has stories galore, they call her the Park ki Naani as she was 17 year old then in the last stage of her life and many of the powerful tigers in Ranthambore were her kids! So we stood at that spot where she had been seen in the morning for an hour, I was transfixed and did not want to move even if that meant 4 hours of waiting. Eventually, whilst we were busy shooting a mongoose some movement was noted below a banyan tree it was dark and far she was moving, she was spotted, but, as most tiger’s are, she was lazy and in the noon at 3 pm she was in no mood to move she actually lied in some nullah (waterbody) where we couldn’t see it.

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The first sighting!!!! Albeit quiet far and zoomed up!!!

After so many years, so much of a wait, a glimpse from miles away, I didn’t want to go or give up but my driver and guide took me around teaching me to enjoy the jungle and all other aspects and not be crazy about the tiger. They were right, but, it was my first time! Sigh… after about 2 hours of zipping about we came back to the same spot hoping that now that it was a bit of late evening and considerably cooler she would probably make a move. The fact that she had some kill around there made our chances bleak. As the time went by, the exit time was nearing and most of the other jeeps started to go, I was feeling gutted, I didn’t want to go. We were the last jeep and I requested by driver, last 5 mins then we will go away.

 

Just as my driver’s patience was wearing thin and late exit fine looming on us our guide excitedly gushed in a whisper….

woh hili

woh hili… 

jhadiya hil rahi hai….

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Finally she emerged! Her snooze was perhaps over! Yay… she was moving!

Those two minutes when you try to spot the movement are like crazy, you feel you are blind, then eventually we saw her moving, she was still quite far, but she came out of the bushes and climbed a rock and sat down, we could see her in full but she was quite far.

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She sat down at a vantage point, probably eyeing her kill and whiled a few minutes before flies ensured she didn’t stay there!

We gaped, looked in our binoculars and soaked the feeling of watching a tiger, free and on its own, not a care or worry in the world she sat there, yawned, shook her head to get rid of the flies, gaze about and allowed us for a minute to understand what her world was like.

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For a minute she looked into my lens! Zoomed image but boy she looks magnificient doesn’t she?

The most powerful beast was all alone actually, every one stayed miles away and yet as she again got up and made a move Cooo went a langur, for a change, human’s had spotted it before the monkey’s! As she moved down from the hill the langur shrieked harder. The jungle suddenly seemed to be coming alive as she moved and then it struck us, it was moving towards a road crossing.

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Some how in this image she looks quite short and actually like a long lost kitten!

Our guide took us to a spot where he reckoned the tigress would come out, for a few anxious minutes we lost it, we wondered if we might not see her again and then a few bushes moved, and like the cutest of kitties, she emerged, cutest she looked from a distance, but, as fast as lightning it dawned upon you, as she walked and walked towards us, decreasing the distance to about 6-7 feet of our jeep we actually experienced how enormous and how terrifying the feeling can be. She never for an instance indicated or even took notice of us apart from a casual two moment glance. No even an iota of threat was issued by her, we were a total non event for her. Perhaps she was so used to having camera’s chasing her for so many years she stopped taking notice. But boy when she came really near our jeep, before it crossed it, this was not something we were used to and it was certainly a first for all of us, we had frozen, I had stopped clicking and grabbed by son close to me. DSC_0238That moment was indescribable, fear, joy, ecstacy, excitement, nervousness everything in one and you dared not shriek at that moment. Something that you have wanted to experience for so long in your life suddenly happens like a blur in front of you and you don’t even know how to react!

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That blur of a moment is still alive in my eyes, she went a little away from our bushes and lazily plonked herself on the floor again. In those 5 minutes of activity it had given memories of a lifetime to a few people. The beast as some would call it was beautiful, graceful, light footed, arrogant but above all was free to its own will! Yes, this wasn’t a tiger in a cage, it was in its own free world, where she could sleep all day or walk miles if she wished. Yup that was my first tiger in the wild.

 

Machli I guess was worth the wait of 35 years! The queen of Ranthambore, Park ki Naani, Lady of the lake are some of the names of her but none appeals to me more than Machli. Apparently Machli was the trigger point for many more encounters in the future to come, which I am all going to recount in the next few posts. Here are a few pictures of the most picturesque Ranthambore, for a reserve in Rajasthan you will be surprised by the number of water bodies it has and all of my pictures are from March!!

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Nothing and I repeat nothing can compare to this experience of stalking the biggest stalker of them all in his own backyard! Yes spotting a tiger in its natural habitat is an experience one can only comprehend once they experience.

 

 

 

Asus ZenPad 7.0 Review

So here is one more entrant in the already getting popular 7 inch tab category. So after Christmas cheer spread by Asus I was also given a product to use and review in the new year. :) :)

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The ASUS ZenPad 7.0 Z370CG is the latest mainstream 7″ tab from ASUS. It claims to be the world’s first tablet to have interchangeable rear elements allowing you to add a longer lasting battery or an integrated speaker within a protective tablet cover. Premium design, high specification technology in an affordable price. Whats more is that it features a fantastic DTS HD Premium sound to give you a wonderful gaming and movie watching experience.

 

Remember after all Asus built both the versions of Nexus – 7 which remain one of the best Android Tablets ever built. This Zenpad 7.0 is powered by the 64-bit Intel processor, Android 5.0 Lollipop OS, 3G network compatibility and a HD Screen!! You can get the complete specifications and feature description on the Asus site here. 

 

Okay so we now go about my experience of using the tablet. Without its flip cover it looks like your standard tablet, but once you apply the flip cover that is powered by Dts Sound the whole scenario changes, be it music, gaming or movies they suddenly look that much more watchable on a tablet than otherwise. It has 6 speakers including one sub woofer to provide not just clarity but depth to the sound system. The flip cover can be separately charged and delivers for over 5 hours of continuous performance. I watched a couple of episodes of Sherlock on it and the resolution of the HD screen is brilliant and the sound system give you a great experience. Youtube streaming on the phone was also pretty upto the mark. Apparently now a days we sit on the dining table to eat dinner with a youtube video playing. Its like our own portable tv!

 

The touch seemed quite responsive and left nothing to be desired, the side panel has the volume and power buttons which help when you have placed the screen attached to the speakers and are watching. Very easy to handle.

 

Kids will love handling this piece of machine

Kids will love handling this piece of machine

Perhaps slightly bulky is the flip cover owing to the speakers yielding Dts sound, however, when moving and not listening to music, games or movies you can detach the flip cover and apply the other normal cover and get on the move.

 

The screen is brilliant, the sharpness, contrast, colour and brightness left me pretty satisfied.

 

Ideally tablets are not for photography, however, if you are intent on using this well the Zenpad 7.0 Z370CG comes with a 8 mega pixel rear camera, powerful yet not as powerful as your smart phone camera’s would be. Here is one picture I took with the tab.

 

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It holds quite well in the hand and the look resembles an elegant diary in hand or more like what you would call a clutch-style case. The display in sunlight is only apt for use without being significantly better than most other phones I have used.

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Overall I would say in the kind of budget that it seems to have been placed it works up pretty well. The fact that it has a wonderful speaker system that is detachable makes it more than the usual tab’s and probably one feature that will probably make me select it over some of the other tablets in the same price range.

 

 

Asus Zenfone 2 Laser review

A bloggers life is always full of surprises, emails come from you don’t know where and you have some or the other person reaching you, which you might not even have thought would be reading your blog but then that is the beauty of blogging.

 

So this Christmas Asus played santa and sent me a Zenfone 2 Laser wanting me to use it and review the product.

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Looks

At the outset I must say the phone looks beautiful, its back which is golden metal makes the phone look really posh and the curvy back makes it very comfortable to hold and the grip seems much better. Holding it in the hand does attract questions from people, the golden back certainly draws attention and I have been having a field day explaining people that I didn’t buy it but got a phone to review, kinda Christmas cheer. :) Very thin on the edges and looks quite sleek. So as far as the looks go this one is a winner.

The volume buttons are given on the back, which for me is a first and whilst its easier to lower or increase the volume whilst we are on a call whilst watching a video I guess the one volume buttons on the side would be more convenient. I guess with time you get used to it.

The power button is at the top of the device. Touch gestures within the user interface however allow you to wake the device with a double tap and launch certain apps, so you dont really require to touch the power key unless you are looking to switch off the device or switch on.

 

The screen

The screen resolution is brilliant, powered with (5.5) HD IPS the resolution is great to play games and to watch videos. We just transferred an original print of Harry Potter in the mobile and watching it on it the 5.5 inch screen made the movie look even more crystal clear. The volume of the phone although they claim is superior still leaves a bit to be desired. On the earphones though the sound is brilliant no complains there. I guess on most phones that is the case though.

 

Specs

As far as the performance of the phone goes,  ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE550KL) is powered by a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 processor, ample power for your daily tasks and activities. Featuring LTE Category 4 for download speeds up to 150Mbps, for me this has been very satisfactory in this aspect. We downloaded a movie on it and it happened faster than it did on the pc.

The Camera

It also has a 13 mp rear camera and 5 mp front camera, which works nicely, above all there are innumerable features to aid you in your photography, the fact that there are so many other presets and edit options completely ensures that the photographer in me is hooked to the many features of the camera. The best editing feature for me was the fact that I could even reduce the size of my cheeks! Finally I don’t have to have very round selfies! :D Loved the camera and its features. One plus for that aspect! The camera itself is decent in both well lighted and even in dark indoor places. The colour range, sharpness and detail is good bearing in mind the price range of this device. The camera modes are really comfortable to use and you can quickly change options and settings once you get used to it. There are way too many features, I particularly loved the depth of field, miniature and the GIF creator. There also is a manual mode and it has a long list of options, if you have been used to using SLR in a manual mode you know you want to shift features and this camera will let you do that also there is an indicator which ensures you take straight shots. All in all these features in this price range are a steal. Laser auto focus technology in a sub 12k device is certainly worth grabbing. Here are some pics I took with it :

This one taken indoors at night in kind of low lights

This one taken indoors at night in kind of low lights

 

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That again is a nofilter, natural unedited picture

That again is a nofilter, natural unedited picture

 

Battery 

The battery life was also pretty decent, I am no expert but I didn’t have to charge it for almost 29 hours and I use the mobile quite fairly so that seemed good to me.

 

Verdict

All in all I am quite happy with the phone, infact I have discarded my old phone and have actually started using this one so that says something about the phone doesn’t it? The price range that it is featured I think it is a steal. You can check out the phone price this link here. Let me just list a few of the technical specifications of the phone for those who read more into it to save you the trouble :

 

Key Features of Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE550KL

  • Android v5 (Lollipop) OS
  • 13 MP Primary Camera
  • 5 MP Secondary Camera
  • Dual Sim (LTE + LTE)
  • 5.5 inch Capacitive Touchscreen
  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916 Quad Core Processor
  • Expandable Storage Capacity of 128 GB

 

As far as I am concerned if you are tight on your budget and yet want a powerful camera smart phone this is the one you go for. The camera seals the deal for me as it is in this price range.

 

P.S. This review is written solely on my experiences in response to a give away by Asus.

 

 

 

Where has the cold disappeared?

Suddenly since almost a week now the winter seems to have taken a break, no sweaters needed, fans reaching full speed, on the verge of switching on the air conditioners, whats happened all of a sudden!? Someone took the wind out of winter or what?!

 

These are 4 months of bliss here in the western plains of Gujarat, the cold weather is precious here you know, we have it so hot all year round!

 

This time last year we were in Leh and when we would wake up in the mornings our windows would be like this :

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Full of ice flakes, that would melt slowly as the sun rose. It was a wonderful thing to be sitting inside the room and sipping hot tea and watching the sun slowly melt the ice and the window pane become clean.

 

I love the winter, especially the one that we have here, its pleasant mostly, slightly chilly late in the night and early in the morning but nothing over the top. Working out in such weather is so much more pleasure, hogging is natural in any case for me but it feels so fulfilling in this weather.

 

Come on O Mighty Himalaya’s let some wind through from the north, let the chills be spread around here, we aren’t done yet, its just January and I want some more cold weather!

Stuck in a snow storm!

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“All Heaven and Earth
Flowered white obliterate…
Snow…unceasing snow”
Hashin, Japanese Haiku

For people like us from the plains, who are used to hot weather and pleasant winters snow is but exotic, its like something we yearn for, we look forward to seeing, touching, feeling atleast once in our lives. We look forward to going to the Himalaya’s once, above all the thing that is most on our minds is to see snow, atleast for the first time, we have never seen it, we are not sure how we will react, how it will feel and what all naughty things we will do. On my first trip to the Himalaya’s the first sign of snow from miles away on the road to Manali, we stopped and started taking pictures although it was so far and yet, we gushed excitedly, look snow!

When finally we did touch snow it was like carved ice, cold, very cold, making the hand numb-er than it already was whilst we were on our way to Rohtang Pass. As we slowly soaked the feeling of being there and actually having millions of tons of snow all around us began the fun of playing with it, making a ball and throwing it at someone, my son, my wife, my mom we all were having our first experience of snow! It was fun, like a young 10 year old I was rolling on the ground, my 60 year old mom was carving snow filling her hands and flinging it at us! We would marvel at the snow, blow air from the mouth that we could see and actually for a while we didn’t feel cold.

I am sure you can imagine how excitement overpowers your feelings and you don’t even feel cold! We had all seen snow, on another trip my wife and son experienced a snow fall, I sadly was not a part of that trip. Then came this trip to Leh, in December, on our journey back from Nubra to Leh during our ascent to the Khardungla Pass the weather as they said it was bad and we were going to get snow.

Snowfall!? Hang on, there was one person in the jeep who was not at all dreading it, he was looking forward to it! Then it slowly came, we could see flakes on the glass of the windshield, it was 4.30 pm, we were late, we had to cross Khardungla soon and get to Leh before it got really dark. So they wouldn’t stop to enjoy the snow, the Kashmiri driver, our guide from Nubra all said lets not waste time and lets do what is safe. I obliged, sitting on the window, I would roll down the glass from time to time, try to catch some flakes, marvel and sigh! Phew!

Eventually, at one bend, the Innova wouldn’t climb, it would slide, that was scary I must admit, it didn’t look like the car was under control. The temperature must have been I am quite sure less than -30 degree celsius and it was decided the car tyre needs to be applied with chains. Everyone eventually got out, no points for guessing who was the first one out! I had to feel the snow, falling on my face! Whilst most of the people were busy getting the chains on the tyre, a herculean task I tell you, I was busy absorbing my first snow fall, soaking it all in, clicking pictures and just dwelling in the moment. A cigarette came out and I smoked to glory!

Brrrr…. eventually the cold bit through bringing me back to reality, the toes inside the shoes and two pairs of soaks seemed to have gone numb, I couldn’t feel them. The other hard working parties had successfully applied chain to one tyre but it seemed the chain on the other tyre was just not long enough, the fingers so numb and trying to pull iron in such weather was no mean a job! It just wasn’t happening and everyone was freezing, it was almost 5pm now. Our guide fired the driver for not having proper chains and not putting them on earlier when he asked him to do so eventually said we must return.

Khardungla was just about 10 kms away, we had to go back 125 kms and yet, that was the smart thing to do, go back and come back again the next day. In high altitudes, sensibility and not bravado is what makes you survive. We all returned, I must admit not at sadly, but actually pretty thrilled about the fact that we got stuck in a snow storm, braved it and actually came back to tell the tale! :) For us it was an experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives!

Here are a few more pictures from that day in the Snow at an altitude of approx 15000 feet in -30 degrees celsius :D :D :D and folks those smiles are warm I can assure you that! :D

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This is where the car gave up and refused to go any further and we had to get the chains on!

 

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and that is how you apply chains!

 

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Men at work in snow!

 

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There was nothing or no-one around!

 

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In a matter of minutes! The car was covered with snow!

 

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Fresh snow that was like powder, Ladakh is pretty dry and hence the snow doesn’t melt at all! That is all fresh snow I am standing in!

 

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a selfie with snow! :D Thats a first for me!

 

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Zor Laga ke Haisha!

 

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Finally we reached North Pullu a check post and from there on the snow was less, you can see the snow on the car glass yet! Phew

I am here always!

The journey in the virtual world is endless I guess, beginning from the asl chat’s from the yahoo chat rooms it has taken endless turns and twists. For a long while my station was betapet.com a scrabble game site that suddenly one day became swedish from english and we were orphaned and then when a friend directed me to blogging, blogger was my home all the time, eventually I migrated to wordpress and I am here still, however, the frequency has been reducing over time, facebook hooked me and then twitter. Off late though I am almost omnipresent on Instagram! I am always there and there abouts. Its ideal for me, few words, photographs and in general no view sharing!

 

If you are wondering what the post is about, its to advertise my Instagram account, follow me if you aren’t already! :D I promise to post pictures that will be droolworthy! :D

 

Follow me on Instagram here! 

Randomness rules

For a change I have been working hard, avoiding distractions and focussing on work, that though is now a passe, it was the past fortnight, now that I have achieved some success the easy go lucky guy in me is back in action. Sigh… only if I had some more appetite for success, somewhat like the space I can make when I see delicious food coming my way. Its quite amazing how my body can actually take in all those quantities and thankfully not bloat or explode!!

 

The month of December is bad that way, way too many parties and weddings and everywhere you kind of find one or the other food item that gets you drooling and salivating and then you indulge and then err.. geez food just makes me digress, lets stop the food topic for a while.

 

I  came to the blog to write something about the new movie released yesterday which I have not seen so far, Baji Rao Mastani, I am not a Sanjay Leela Bhansali fan, for long I have believed he packs mundane stories in sort of grand gift wrap papers, where in the gift wrapper is more beautiful than the actual gift. I till AIB Roast of Ranveer happened could not even stand him, now am actually looking forward to seeing him. The guy is cool, the guy is actually enviable, perhaps that is why that dislike was there. I am actually wanting to watch a SLB movie that is featuring Ranveer Singh and no, I am not wanting to watch it just for Deepika, mind it! The movie has a story and since I actually googled Baji Rao Peshwa and his story I was feeling kinda ashamed that I knew so little about perhaps one of the greatest warrior’s in India’s history.

 

I wonder why our history books showed so little of him or taught us so little, though I must confess as I live longer I always feel our school history books taught us very little, thank God for Amar Chitra Katha’s which actually in someways helped satiate my fascination for historical characters. I don’t think there is anything more fascinating than reading history or hearing stories about it. Be it the Alan Turing story in The Imitation Games or reading about the Bangladeshi turmoil and their liberation from Pakistan  history in more ways than one makes you wonder about human behaviour and always questions your conclusions about certain things. I am a complete student of history and will keep on reading more and more and hope to learn more and more about this world of ours, in many ways history tells you why we are, how we are!

 

 

Winter meals

 

There is something about winter meals here in Gujarat, I dunno about all the other places but there are so many more options of vegetables available in winters unlike other seasons. If you have to ever visit Gujarat you have to visit it in the winters. The food then is like sigh…. droolworthy, lustworthy and what not!

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This was last night’s dinner turned into breakfast today morning, I am born in a family that has ancestors in Kutch and the most common food there is Bajra Ka Rotla (Pearl millet bread) this is made by the hand and no rolling pin is used. My mom makes awesome rotla’s and she is quite generous in applying ghee on it and honestly it is so sweet that it can be eaten plain without anything else. Just the ghee and rotla also tastes wonderful especially when its piping hot and served straight from the pan.

 

But then there was Baigan ka bharta (Brinjal subzi) to go along side with green freshly chopped garlic and coriander along with coriander chutney to spice things up a little more! This was simply divine, satisfying and so delicious I still am drooling typing about this! :D :D

 

*The pic was taken by my Redmi Note  and I kinda like how it has come out inspite of not using the SLR.

Agashiye

So I had heard a lot about this place and so I went about to check it out.

 

Agashiye (in gujarati it means on the terrace) the gujarati diner at The House of MG  boasted of being the most talked about food place off late in Ahmedabad. The place is pretty much in the heart of the town, at Laal Darwaja, nicely kept, with a rustic, ancient historical feel to the whole place. I reckon their hotel is also used pretty much as much as their diner and hence the whole place was pretty much kept neat and tidy and readily decorated.

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The lamp at the entrance

 

Pricey is one thing that hits you first, a thali for 850 and a delux thali for 1150 is expensive, no matter what, we have eaten pretty delicious thali’s all around and never have had to shell out more than 300-350 bucks. But then I had to check this place out once.

 

They have a pretty systematic way of taking you to the restaurant, a tad odd thing is that you have to pay before you enter the restaurant, but well thats how things are here, so whilst you are paying, they convey a message to the restaurant about your arrival and when you reach the restaurant by elevator your table is ready and someone will escort and seat you on your table.

 

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The thali as it was ready and waiting for us

 

They had our table for three ready and they have this unique way of making you wash your hand on the table, where a guy comes with utensils and makes sure you wash your hands clean before you indulge in.

 

Their menu’s for each day are pretty much well defined and updated on their website, they serve quite earnestly and the one thing most thali joints falter at is over serving, almost to the end of constantly asking you if you want something and never letting you have a conversation whilst you are eating and almost pushing you out of their restaurant so that their table is empty to serve another round. Thankfully, none of that, whilst they were always a glance away, they never bothered unnecessarily unlike most thali joints.

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The thali once fully served.

 

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The papaya salad that was brilliant!

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Golden fried samosa’s, looked delicious and tasted even better

 

The food is absolutely sumptuous, although I was disappointed with their Sukhi Aloo Subzi, the rest everything was pretty much delicious, their Papdi muthiya nu shaak was the best I have ever had in my life. There were three desserts, Gajar ka Halwa, Rabdi and Ice cream to perk up the mood. The main course had 4 subzi’s and daal and kadhi, the farsaan was samosa and they had 3 types of bread (roti) and also served buttermilk (chhas) and a fruit juice Ganga Jamna (sweet lime and orange) alongside.

 

I loved the juice and took a special liking to it. We did indulge and were full to the brim.

 

The food is great, ambience nice and service is wonderful, I must confess though that when we went not all their tables were full. I wonder if they could maintain the same standards of serving when full.

 

I would say its a bit over priced, perhaps they could add a few more options in Farsaan and some more dessert options to choose from, but then apart from the wonderful food you pay for the service and the ambience, plus their reputation, I wouldn’t mind going there again and shelling out that money as we pretty much enjoyed the meal and the setting.

 

Go there when you want to splurge and also stuff yourself, weight gain after a visit here is a given.

 

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Full to the brim after the lunch