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For the "Untitled", Constructive criticism most welcome and honestly appreciated

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Right lane or not?

We were driving back home from a long drive and were stuck in traffic jam just a few hours away from home. After snail-ing for half hour, there came a diversion. We went with the flow and kept in the passing (right) lane, fastest in UK and India.

What a great man was Murphy that his laws get applied to almost everybody, or we remember him in such times only. You may have figured out by now that the other two lanes on other side of diversion were moving faster than us. My friend who was driving us through this mess around road construction doesn’t speak much but after being hammered by Murphy for 15 minutes, he did. While we were taking out our frustration on being in the slow lane through arguments concluding to grass beeing greener on the other side, I remember one of the lines he said (apologies to only English reading people, may a future version of Google translator help you): Zindagi mein bhi hum aise hi kabhi kabhi galat lane pakad lete hain aur baju wali lane pakad ke log age nila jaate hain.
For the next half hour, sometimes we were moving faster and sometimes the cars in other lane. My friend was counting on passing a car in other lane which was his benchmark if we were in the right (or faster) lane. As far as I remember, we were probably in the wrong lane that day.
If I expand this to multiple such occasions, at times we are in the right lane and at times we are not. Although we try our best to be in the lane that’s moving faster, we generally have no control over it unless we pass through that every day and know some break through it that others don’t. Which lane should we be in general circumstances then? I think that’s the dilemma Lord Krishna tried to address when he said – “Karm kiye ja, Fal ki chinta mat kar”, with a translation this time – “Give your best effort, whatever the result be”.
Disclaimer: I've just picked a line from some conversation to relate the conclusion to a real incident. Reader is requested not to read into anyone's personality, except the author's (if at all).

Life or Business - There is a selfish ask

On a sunny day - a rare occasion in London, a random thought crossed my mind. I started thinking of how relationships start and grow / shrink.

Doing a rewind on some of my relationships, I realized that it always started with some “selfish ask”, regardless of the nature of relationship - friend, relative, distant relative, community member, colleague, superior or any ABC XYZ. I could not find an example of relationship with self-less roots. There may eventually be selfless behavior in intimate relationships like a Guru - Disciples, Parents – Children, Husband-Wife.

The magnitude of benefit or the selfish ask may be very small but that’s how it start. It could be as simple as asking for 5 Rupees when you want to pay some Rickshaw-wala when you don’t have it. Or it could be as simple a thing as somebody proxy-ing you in the class. Or it may be someone asking for a change of 10 pence for using a machine while he has a 20 Pound note in pocket. Considering the non-financial aspect, a casual talk in the bar falls under this category as well. It’s triggered by the basic instincts of the social animal. Some of these relationships that start small become legendary as well, like most love and hate stories. Needless to say it would be very strong in life-saving occasions.

So what am I trying to conclude here? I think that if there was a currency to measure the selfish ask, life is business, isn’t it? For those of you who are going to comment relating this to my job, you may be right I don’t know. One might also think why compare life with business whereas all we talked about are relations. Well, I couldn’t imagine a life without relations; after all I’m not a Rock and who knows even if Rocks socialize.

Now that I’ve finished writing this article, let’s think of an exception.  If you find one, please let me know...

Monday, August 16, 2010

First non-weekend tourist vacation in India after wedding...

Day 0 (Jun 23, 2010):
Left Jaipur for Delhi from Narayan Singh Circle, Jaipur @ 3:00 PM
Reached Bikaner House @ 9:15 PM
Reached Delhi Station @ 9:50 PM
It was a very tight schedule to start with.
Day 1:
Reached Pathankot by Dhauladhar Express @ 9:00 AM
Booked Taxi (@ 1200 per day + 100 per day for driver) through Himachal Tourism office outside railway station, bought a map and brochure there, which we lost even before reaching Dalhousie.
We had our breakfast @ Dhar @ around 11:00 AM. It took more than 30 minutes to get an omlet and tea. :-)
Reached Dalhousie @ 12:30 PM
We looked @ 4-5 hotels close to downtown (Gandhi Chowk). Stayed @ the one we looked first – Hotel Bombay Place. Thackeray magic didn’t work in Dalhousie, they didn’t change name (Bombay -> Mumbai) here.
After getting ready, we slept a bit and left the hotel @ 3:30 PM for local site seeing. We had our late lunch @ Kwality Restaurant @ Gandhi Chowk.
Panchpulla was our first formal tourist site, which is supposed to be a waterfall after a small hike along with Samadhi of Bhagat Singh’s uncle. One tourist like us made a great comparison – “Hamare Nal mein isse tej pani behta hai” (the tap in his house gets more water than this). On our hike down, we bought a package of carpets, blankets and shawls for 6600, which we found very reasonable, especially when they were doing home delivery and charged only 1000 Rs. there. Then we went to Subhash Baoli /Bawdi (supposed to be a small pond of water with a labyrinth of steps), which was empty in its 2X2 feet dimension. It had supposedly cured Subhash Chandra Bose’s TB.
In Dalhousie there are two roads that connect Gandhi Chowk and Subhash Chowk, they are named Thandi sadak (Cold Road) and Garam Sadak (Hot Road). We went walking on Thandi Sadak looking for a sunset point. After passing through few roadside spots, we finally found one and watched sun set over lots of fog from a bench on road. I’m surprised they don’t have a good sunset point in a beautiful hill station like that. Although we couldn’t enjoy those, we walked to Subhash Chowk after sun set that offers some scenic views. In search of an ATM, we walked some length into a local street, had a 15 Rs Nescafe and tea out of machine there.
We came back to Gandhi Chowk via Garam Sadak, which is for pedestrians only and then had chowmein dinner @ Lovely restaurant. After dinner, we walked down to the Hotel, downloaded pictures and charged (our) batteries.
Day 2:
On second day, we realized that we chose the right room. The view was so refreshing that you would spend hours without complaining, could be ideal location for solitary confinements. We left Dalhousie for Khajiyar @ 10:00 AM after a paratha in hotel.
On our way to Kajiyar, we found a few very good views of snow covered peaks mixed with clouds. There was a temple on the way with a grand Shiva statue that we didn’t go inside. We clicked a few pictures and took a couple of stops to enjoy the beauty of Himachal Pradesh. Our first planned stop was at the famous Kahjiyar park, a large land of grass surrounded by high tree-covered hills. They call this mini-Switzerland in India. Few horse-owners outside the park told us about a little apple-farm that gave Fati an excitement burst. After lunch, Fati chose to take a horse ride and I was taking a stroll by her side, for which many relatives gave me a hard time. While eating lunch, I asked my doctor-Dad if it’s safe for Fati to do a horse-ride, he responded negative and then positive after I mentioned she was insisting.
We got some more panoramic views on the way to apple farm, one of which was of Mt. Kailash, which of course was covered in clouds at a very far distance. Fati loved horse-ride, apple-picking and eating apples as well. The horse owner was very kind and took good care of Fati. He also shared some details about the life of people living in that area. Like how much they hate summer and they earn over 1000 Rs. A day during season and tourist do come in winters also.
Chamba was our next destination for the day, where some of Taal movie was shot, a very beautiful journey downhill. In Chamba, there is nothing great to see, it’s like any other big town. Since we were there, we went to Laxminath temple, path for which is very steep 100 m long road. I offered Fati 500 Rs if she walk the road without taking a stop. To my surprise she did, after taking a break in first three 3 steps before announcing the award. Just mentioned to prove it again that women are greedy. ;-)
After a stroll in couple of streets, we left for Dalhousie through another route. On the way we stopped @ Ravi river, had lunch @ a river-view dhaba, a tea on the way overlooking a dam and spent some time in a garden of scattered rocks – Rock garden.
After returning to Dalhousie, we spent time @ Subhash chowk, this time enjoying the views. We explored Tibetian market, bought a couple of things, ate dinner @ economic and crowded Sharma Dhaba and came back to the hotel.
It’s the views of Himachal that makes it beautiful, not the towns, like any other hill station.
Day 3:
We had two sites left for last day, Dain Kund and Kala tope. Our driver Surjeet Singh had realized by now that we were nature lovers and liked clicking pictures. He recommended Dain Kund over Kala tope, as it was the highest peak in the region and offered some gorgeous views. In his Punjabi accent– “Upar ja ke aa jao, photu–shotu khench lena, 3 baje nikalenge”. We were very happy by his recommendation as we hiked up. I got some great shots of crow and hawk flights in valley, apart from the scenic views that mountains, trees and valleys in the area offered. There were small stretches of flowers over green grass, which locals named as Valley of Flowers. After a 1.5 km walk, we reached the temple of a goddess, where 4 shops served snacks, most popular of which was Maggi noddles.
There was another peak besides the temple, which I hiked alone as Fati was already exhausted by now. I enjoyed the brief solitude in my 10 minute long kingdom on highest peak that I shared with nobody while I stood there. I took a pee break and some pictures all around.
On our hike down, we were just talking about how much we enjoyed the hike and the entire trip so far. We also were thinking when we would be enjoying time like this again. Kalatop, which according to Surjeet was a mis-managed place that charged a lot of money (Rs 200) for nothing. Fati and I walked for a km on an unpaved road surrounded by Deodar trees. Since our camping expedition to Murshet on the eve of New Year 20101, Fati gets attracted and always gets a shorter nature call in the woods, which of course I’ve to arrange for, both place and security.
Returning from here, we were both not in the best of our moods, but we didn’t fight.  Fati ate late lunch cum dinner at a dhaba on the way, where I had tea and a short power nap to get rid of the headache. We reached Pathankot well in time to catch our train. I had dinner in Pathankot.

Day 0 again:
We stayed at my uncle’s (Chacha’s) house in Gurgaon. Bargaining with ricshaw-walas was an experience in Delhi. Fati comments – Where do you get all this energy for bargaining?  In Delhi, we met a good friend of mine, Faninder. The same day, Chacha-Chachi returned from Jaipur. We had lunch together and then headed back for railway station to catch our train to Mumbai in the evening. We reached Mumbai on 28th morning. I joined back work and Fati got busy in her daily routine with home, health and entertainment. That brought to end our first formal non-weekend vacation in India, since 4 years of our wedding.
Life as usual:
After our return, I wish to go deeper into the mountains of Himalayas to increase intimacy. I wish to hike more, when I go next time. Till then, work hard, party harder and enjoy weekends!
Pictures @ http://picasaweb.google.com/purohit.hemendra/DalhousieJun24To262010

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Conflict Within

Many a times, our self created image of an ideal personality responds to the external world, as opposed to what the true self wants to say. We unknowingly completely ignore our true self. The more the difference between these two, more is this behavior demonstrated. This makes a person restless from within and reasons difficult to find. One personality responds with personality defined by environment/society, which has to a good extent the element of fear, whereas, the true self who is hidden deep within respond with freedom, whenever it does.

For example, you may hear people saying many a times that "I never hide anything, I'm an honest person", whereas such a person doesn't exist in India generally, because of the environment we're in. It's taught to us that we should be honest but we culturally don't even promote if the truth comes out as-is, like somebody's desire to become a barber. The freedom of expressing this desire has such a strong implicit opposition, that once won’t dare say it. A barber may earn 50,000 or even more a month but that’s not something that someone should do in the country of talented engineers, doctors, MBAs, CAs and what-nots.

Another interesting example is of the lover boys saying - "I love her, not for the physical pleasure, but because of the way she is, like understanding, simple, traditional and what not", now that's another famous conflicting fact, because Indian society creates an ideal inside us which doesn't promote physical pleasure, whereas the desire is so strong within, results only create conflicts, sometimes even fatal. A friend of mine gave a good analogy here – In US, “I like you” or not even that can get you what you are looking for, whereas in India you have to say the three magic words and then make a lot of effort even after that. :-)

The root I believe lies in upbringing of a person, which in turn depends on the environmental circumstances or the society. It depends a lot on how much a society promotes freedom as opposed to fear. I’ve seen only two cultures and on the scale of conflicts within, the bar is considerably low in US, as compared to India, and that's where I draw these conclusions from. In India-like societies, you are made to believe that the decisions made for you on your behalf by somebody are for your good. A certain things, a few idols always come as a package.
To bridge the gap between the ideal and the self, a lot of introspection is required. Talking to self, be honest and to not fool our-self are some ways I can think of. We do need a society that promotes freedom, “how” is the problem.
From the examples above, one thing that may also come to your mind is the incentive or “Fayda” which lets a person represent the self differently. The difference there though is that of a conscious decision versus unknown decision. A person can think of incentive even while being completely ignorant of the personality he is exhibiting.

What do societies do differently that promote freedom? I think that if things are liberal since inception, it’s easier to promote freedom as opposed to drive a reform later. Changing mindset of billions take much more than starting a society of few thousands. For us, it’s a huge mindset change, methods for which are not straightforward. Got any idea to drive the reform or is there even a need?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Deriving Price

Here is a small conversation between me and a friend of mine on derivation of price.
H to A:
Price determination is primarily based upon:
- How much the customer is willing to pay (Value)
- How much the optimization will save customer, which in turn boils down to how much customer is willing to pay (Value)
- Adding the profit margin on top of the real cost (Cost)
Between Value and Cost, I feel that if things were Cost based, those will be more logical than emotional and would reduce the financial mess today to a great extent. This is a very primitive 5-minute though that occurred to me. What do you think?
A to H:
I don't know if there is any specific perspective to this discussion/idea. But my best guess is this is a random thought.

You are right - about value and cost. Price is (generally, but not always) in between these two extremes.

I tend to incline towards your thinking that cost-based pricing (as against value-based) will produce less trouble - but I don't entirely agree with it. Two reasons:

a. value based is not illogical. The cost of a plate of vada-paav is probably 1.5 Rs, even with decent margin of say 100% profit, vendor may price it at 3 Rs. But if it's only one vada pav in market, and two hungry people - howz vendor going to choose whom to sell? The only answer apart from 'checking who is more hungry' is first come first serve. But that seems more illogical than value based. The more hungry is most likely to have more value and most likely pay more.

b. The cost and value based discussion about price is not complete in itself. Demand and Supply play a very crucial role. This is rational economic discussion. Some of the goods - at certain time period - are in excess supply or short supply. Onions when we were in college touched 40rs/kg. Cost was definitely not more than a single digit number. Value- again I never felt it gave me more value to eat a 40 rs kg onion. But the demand was normal, while supply was almost vanished - price ballooned.

H to A:
Yeah, this was random.

On Value, picking the Vada Pao example, it may not be necessary that the person who is hungrier will end up paying more. A poor person also has the right to be hungry. People pay more because there are no other options.

At first thought, First come first serve sounds better than inflation of price based on demand, at least the person who came first planned for it and reflects the need. It may not be the best solution though.

Price inflation based on demand is a way of giving privileges to the rich, who in turn may have grown rich with same fundamentals of price inflation based on demand. If there were better way to measure the “need” as opposed to someone’s ability to pay higher, the society would be a different.

The basis for paying higher than cost+profit comes from different kind of emotions:
- I want to possess what is rare and I’ll pay whatever it takes
- I want to have it before someone else
- I should be the first one to get it

There is nothing wrong in having such emotions, we all have it and hence we do pay inflated prices. The price inflation model I believe works well with the so called “tamasik” aspect of a human being, which is pretty dominant in this “Yug”.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From 2009 to 2010...

Since more than a month before beginning of 2010, Pulak has been talking about plans to celebrate beginning of 2010 at a place away from civilization in the lap of nature. As usual, we didn't plan until Abhinav, Pulak and I got on a 15 minutes call on 28th Dec and decided to go to Sandhan Valley for camping. We discussed other alternatives like Tarkarli, some tiger sanctury, Rayling plateau etc. Bachelor for this long weekend, Pulak had to welcome 2010 without Ashka's physical presence. "Five point somestuff" left on bikes on 31st - Abhivan, Pulak, Abhishek, Fati and I.

Our resources including human were 4 male, 1 female, 2 owned and 1 borrowed bike, 2 tents, 2 sleeping mats, 2 large and 3 small rucksacks. Rucksacks had our food and clothing related stuff and the extras. With an mutual agreement on starting the ride at 9 am on 31st, we didn't actually gather and leave together until 11 am. Fati was my companion and we of course had the best bike of the 3. It was a 200 CC Pulsar with relatively comfortable seats, only 10K kms on it and I touched my highest speed on a bike - 120 kmph for a couple of seconds. Abhishek was sitting behind the slow rider - Abhinav. Abhinav had recently bought a bike, which Pulak was riding and this was probably his first long ride on a national highway. For the sake of Einstein (relativity) and Newton (relative speed), in the first 75 minutes, he was more than 25 minutes behind me. When I read Nashik - 37 km, he read 73. Pulak was the "hammal", carrying all the weight in two rucksacks and two light weight sleeping mats.

We had our lunch at Siddhu da Dhaba, a small place 40 km en route. Main diversions to remember on our route were at villages named Gothi, Bhandardara and Ghatghar. From Ghatghar, we had to do a survey of perfect spot to camp. It was around 5:15 PM when Pulak stopped the bike roadside and said that this is a right spot and we should stay here. My instant reaction was negative because I had a fixed destination in mind. However, we stopped and surveyed the place. After going a couple 100 feet further, Pulak saw something that he wanted Abhinav and me to see. There was a nice little isloated island, connected by land via a small strip. It was a perfect spot as our bikes and us would not be visible from roadside. With Fati around, safety was our major deciding criterion. Mumbai alone consumed from than a million litres of alcohol; there of course were lot of drunk people supposed to be driving the roads of country.

We checked with an old man who was out on a walk with his bull, who advised us not to stay there and suggested a place few minutes down the road. However, we were not happy with the advise as he didn't sound authentic. At that moment however, we decided to validate what he suggested.

Within 100 metres of that place, we met Nandu who gave us a positive advise. He suggested us to stay on another similar island on the other side close to his hut. He also offered us shelter in his house, food and taking care of our vehicles. We found isolation and he offered us security; there was nothing more to ask for. Everybody made a U-turn and parked the motorbikes. In a straight line of sight from the road, we could see Nandu's hut, few fields, a narrow passage that had opened up recently, the island where we stayed and the Bhandardara lake. To Fati's excitement, it wasn't a long hike either. Its nice to be back home. I wouldn't have dared to camp outside a designated campsite in US.

Nandu's kids came running to us in excitement and made inquiries. Their father explained that we were camping overnight. Nandu told me that the hamlet's name was Murshet, whcih was approximately 160 kms from my house in Navi Mumbai. There weren't more than 2-3 huts in the area and those too were scattered. India's population density for once seemed to be miscalculated.

After a quick survey, we decided to put the tent on the farther flat end at around 10 meters from water. By the time we reached there, it was time for Sun to go to bed and for us to take pictures. Sunset behind the mountains and over the lake was one of the few panoramic views that we captured. After sunset, we started putting the tents, while enjoying the different shades of sky, mountains and water. It was also a a full moon night or at least close. There was also a eclipse between 10:35 PM and approx 1 AM, visible only 7% from where we were.

Sun was gone, tents were set and we were not running behind time. Hunger was the call of body. Abhishek was the junior most enginner and our resident cook as well. Fati always get VIP treatment on such trips and more this this time because of her eye infection! Abhishek has this quality of observing the likings of people and remembering them as well. He started playing favorite songs for each one of us one by one. In the meantime, he also set up his kitchen and made "Bhel" and "Chai" for evening snacks. He called the Bhel with some Bihari name that I don't remember. He had also collected wood from Nandu to cook the dinner, breakfast and lunch. Wind and Water remixed the music and gave all of us our first few refreshing moments of solitude! Moon was so bright that we didn't need any light to roam around. Moon's reflection in water was another reward for the place we accidenatlly chose. With a full moon, 5 of us on a lonely island, great music playing and fire buring on the side, water and wind talking a different language, it was a perfect night!

After evening snack, it was time to prepare dinner. We all contributed one way or the other by igniting the fire, washing the utensils, filling water bottles from the lake, keeping the fire alive, preparing the dough for "baati", cooking the "Daal" or entertaining others after a few sips of "Old Monk". Our rest of the evening passed in discussions, preparing dinner, drinking and eating. Dal-Baati didn't turn out to be the best but it certainly tasted great in that environment.

Of the two tents, Fati got the preference and hence I also got the master bedroom tent with open toilet all around the tents. The only difference was that we were wearing extra, unlike a normal night in Ghanosli flat. Fati was wearing a jeans, a of socks, a t-shirt, a thin jacket and then a thick warm jacket , a warm hat and a scarf. She did take off the goggles while sleeping.
I was also wearing warm track pants that I bought in the Us for skiing, a pair of socks, a full sleeve T-shirt, a warm sweat shirt, a muffler and a hat. Apart from the thin base of tent, we had a thin carpet and a sleeping bag as your bed. We had a common single-person blanket to make it more romantic with all those clothes on. Nature was testing our resistance against desires! I'm not sure what apart from snoring was going on in the other tent. Boys said that they had a great night, with lot of sleeping space at hand. We weren't cold but the thin tent cover made a lot of noise with the wind entire night, which did cause frequent interruptions in my sleep. Fati slept indisturbed by all voices of nature.

It was before sunrise of first day of new year that I started Pulak and Abhinav chatting outside. Pulak of course was making every attempt to not only wake us up, but also get us out of the tent to enjoy the sunrise beauty. Three of us in order (Abhishek, Fati and I) didn't care much about what nature had to offer so early in the morning. We just needed 5 minutes sleep that lasted 2 hours for Abhishek. I came out of tent soon after 7, next came Fati and then Abhishek at around 9, that too with a bad headache.

Pulak always need to be busy, so he made the morning fire for making tea and breakfast. While he was doing that, Fati and I ate the leftover desert (Churma) from last night. Abhinav and I also did some good photography. Many Indians don't get the nature call until their intestines get some tea; Fati is no one of those million. This camping was different as Fati's potty had never seen rocks before. Yeah, it was a sort of world record! She did it finally! I remember the first camp where we were out from Friday night until Sunday night in Oct 2006, before coming to US. There she would pee once a day and no poop for 2 days in a row. Amazing capacity, isn't it? It takes a different wheat flour in daily meal for 23 years to reach that level and I still haven't figured out where my in-laws got that flour from. I've diluted that effect in 3.5 years though and hence this "on-the-rocks" potty experience! We all (men) also went pooping but it was no adventure for us. I actually needed few sandwiches and a egg-cheese bhurji to make the required pressure, but the golden yellow made me very happy after the rounds.

While all this was happening, Abhishek also woke up and took charge of kitchen. He made remaining sandwiches and very good egg-cheese bhurji. With filled stomach, Pulak and Abhinav went to the other side of lake to take some pictures of our campsite. Abhishek gave me a good massage with Navratna oil, usually used to keep your head cool. Soon after that, I took a power nap, which Abhishek told me was 30 minutes but I didnt even remember. We also had a set of walkie-talkie with us, another gadget that Pulak was fascinated about and desperately wanted to use it and test its range. after they got to the other side, they asked us to go places over the island to get pictures. I also took some jumping-jack pitures for Pulak and Abhinav from the our side. Post photography, three of us went back to campsite and then I gave Abhishek a good massage, I hope. While I was doing that, a fisherman was passing by in his boat, whom I called to inquire about a short boat ride. After some negotiation, he agreed to take 5 of us on annother side of the lake, from where our tents were not even visible in straight line of sight. We all tried our hands on the traditional paddles with no luck in paddling even 5 meters towards desired direction. The old man got happy when Fati took the paddling seat. He really smiled and tried to teach her as well. I've some pictures to prove this. Men are Men, age doesn't matter. When I asked the fisherman about safety of our campsite from thieves, he said - "He Mubai nai. Ikde koni kai lenar nahi", i.e. This is not Mumbai, nobody is going to steal here. What a reputation these big cities have got.

After getting to the other side, we decided to do some diving photography. You may have guessed by now who jumped first. Or course, the only frog - Pulak. Boat was his diving board. The only other diver was me and I launched myself form boat too. Since boat was not still, both of us didn't get good thrust and landed flat on water and came out with a burning chest. I later found a better spot on the other side to dive from a stome, hardly a feet or two above water level. I got two perfect dive pictures from there and felt proud of owning a Nikon D90; the pictures won't be as good otherwise. Pulak remained a frog from there as well. After our dive photography, we started back towards our abode and when we were just 20 meters away, Pulak's inner frog jumped again, getting him a great frogy picture in the air. In this jump, he tore his vest apart and gave a macho pose as he was walking from water towards land.

After getting back to the island, Abhishek and Abhinav took a few dips in water close to the shore, which was also bluish-green and clean. Clock was showing 2 and after our swim session, it was natural for stomach to cry. We warmed the left over dal-baati from dinner and really relished the food. All of us wanted a nap afterwards but then it would be dark before we could leave and Abhinav had to do house hunting the next day. He is getting married on Feb 9, 2010. It took us a decent half hour to do the dishes, wrap the tents and our sacks. We left the island in same physical state as we had came but in our minds, we felt some ownership for that piece of land! We stopped at Nandu's hut for a "Chaach". He was expecting some money and we certainly wanted to give. Abhinav and I were on same page to not raise expectations of villagers and offered only 100 ruppees. Nandu of course insisted on more and rest of the group gave expressions in his favor, but we stayed firm. I was giving explanations and Abhinav was signalling us to leave! It was not about our capacity but keeping other hikers in mind and setting the expectations right.

Everything until now was great but we needed some adventure to ensure that "Nazar na lage". The heavy motorbike that I was riding didn't start and we were parked on grassland at least 200 meters from road and it was not a easy task to push-start the bike. This bike was supposed to start with push button which doesn't work and luckily enough, there was no kick. Thanks to designers of Bajaj Pulsar 200! The only way to start the bike was to push it to 10 kmph and then put it in gear. To our stupidity, we realized after 15 minutes of pushing the bike that there is a start engine button which was off and I wasn't aware of it. Finally we all started back towards home. I got some cool pictures of highest mountain range in state over setting sun. Pulak was taking us to show some windmills but it got late and the road was bad too, so we u-turned.

On the way, we ate dinner at a Dhaba opposite to Shahpur railway station, which wasn't as good. On our way back, we were all riding together until 50 kms before Mumbai. I then drove the powerful bike to its capacity and made to home sooner. I Slept from around midninght until 2:30 PM next day. Fati was still sleeping until 7:15 PM, not AM. I was supposed to get pictures taken from Abhinav's camera but till this date (Jan 14), I'm awaiting for Pulak to give those to me.

We were not running for anything and had no time targets. For once, we were at leisure on our mini island in Murshet! It indeed was a good start for the year.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

History of History

One thing I've learnt about history is that there is no single truth. Passed through many hands and flowing past ages has in a sense deteriorated or created multiple versions of history. Be it related to the battle of Alexander and Porus or existence of kings like Ram and Krishna.

There are many factors contributing to this. It depends a lot on the way history has been passed to us. It has flown through centuries in form of stories with addition of human element in every generation it passed through. There is the truth, then there is perception of the story teller and then there is a way the listener understands it and pass it on. What could happen to the fact after it passes through this path doesn't need an explanation.

Many a times, facts are changed or suppressed for the reasons of faith, purity, fear and many such factors. These historical versions are then referred as controversies, but there is always a widely accepted fact promoted by the book. People also sometimes create controversies just to make a difference or the way they feel about the fact.

Religions also has a major part to play in this disturbance. Invasions have caused most harm to history by destroying the documents and pieces of art. Just because the ancient documents preached something that the invader's religion didn't promote was considered false and a threat at the same time. That shows the weakness of the religion and also demonstrates how to
finish something from roots.

As I mentioned that there is no single truth and it's very much evident from examples around, the best approach towards all these versions is to listen to all the and either try to create your version of truth or just make a note of all the versions and confuse others for fun. ;-)