Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Delhiwalas

Barbaade gulistan karne ko ek hi ullu kaafi hai..
Har Shaakh pe ullu baithe hain..anjame gulistan kya hoga..

(one owl is the harbringer of destruction of the garden...with one owl sitting on everybranch of the wonders what will be the state of the garden)

There are a very few guys from Delhi I knew before I joined Navy and I got to know a few after I joined the Navy. To tell the truth I found them extremely vulgar and loud. Infact I wondered why are they so? I mean was it just a coincindence or maybe Delhi has got something to do with it? I almost got an answer when I visited Delhi for the fourth time this winter. It WAS doubt , which accounted for the vulgar nature of its citizens. While I was almost pained to see that the Capital of our country was nothing more than a hilly billy village on steroids ...I started collating the common nature of this crappy city which it passed on to its citizens.

1. Never accept responsibility/defeat/blame- The ground rule of a traffic etiquette in Delhi is this "if u hit a car ...before you get out to survey the damage ..start blaming the other guy" . This centrel philosophy translates into the fact that "watever I did ..its not my fault". Perhaps this is a direct cultural passover from the large political mass that inhabit this space . One can never make a delhi citizen accept that he is wrong. A Delhite is NEVER wrong. So when two Delhites are at loggerheads this presents a problem..becos u see none of them is wrong ,and yet a mistake has been commited. So how does the Delhites go about delegating responsiblity..Simple. The man with least "jugad" loses. The outcome of this topsy turvy logis is that no Delhite ever tries to correct himself..he tries to get more "jugaad".

2. Meddle in everything - A delhite is the self appointed empty vessel of India. He knows about everything and anything he doesnt know about is noyt worth knowing. For example a truck owner is the self appointed messiah of not only his truck but also the unofficial advisor to Transport Minister and arranger of the "best" wedding in delhi. A delhite it even a lowly labourer will take unnecessary interest in your love life and tell you baba ramdsevs latest tantric sex poses..its immaterial to him that you have been giving him dirty looks for the last half an hour. A delhite's way of showing love is trying to poke his nose into your personal affairs ..and then get hurt when you refuse him his this "basic " right.

3. Louder is better- A Delhite believes in "management by decibels". His way of going through life is to shout his enemies into submission. If he is right he shouts and if he is wrong he shouts louder. This works with non-delhites as they just oblige to keep him quiet..but heaven forbid when the opponent is another delhite . The shouting match spinsd out of control till one of them is killed by ilegal firearm.

4. Rules are made to be broken- A delhite sincerely believes that rules are minor inconvineinces that are a hurdle to daily living. So one will find Delhites breaking traffic rules(even when there is no need), dirtying airports , railway stations and roads. Somehow the guards are always missing from their place of duty , somehow no one seems to know any procedure and somehow there is tremendous lack of self discipline. The corollary to this ruke(that rules are made to be broken) is that the bigger jugaad you have the bigger rule you can break.

5. Superb Self delusion - Despite contrary feed back from the entire nation a delhite is sure that the rest of hindustan is just jealous of him because he has the widest roads, best eateries and T3 terminal. He seriously believes that its impossible for someone not to respect his "jugaad" and his connections. No wonder that outside delhi he is a terribly hated and lost character.

Apart from all this the typical delhite is a conglomeration of the worst of the Punjabi,Jat and U.P cultures. He doesnt have any cultural etiquettes or roots. His entire life is spent making life miserable for other Delhites who in turn do the same to him. His car is a mess of dents which other delhites have given him(despite the "best roads"), his day is spent quarelling with his fellow Dehlites for every simple thing and his spare time is spent admiring his family pack pot belly and planning of spending(and dirtying) hill stations of India.

The best part is that when a Delhite comes out to the "rest of India" he is beaten ,bruised and slapped into getting out of his "delhi culture" ...A painful process which no doubt troubles him but is somehow quite therauputic to the rest of India . And then he starts missing Delhi ki Ga(a)liyaan ;)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mountain cycling

When Life gives you a lemon - Make a lemonade.....!!

Mountain Cycling is something I had heard of and in the finest traditions of my life..I decided that it was that time of year when one certainly makes an effort at insanity..! So I embarked on a 10 day /500 kms / 8 hrs a day ..trip on a cycle that costs as much as a scooterate...

What I describe below is somewat an official summary of things that followed...only for the fact that I do not forget it ...

Please bear with the official language ...

Day 1 (5 Jan 11) This day consisted of arrival of all participants. The base camp was at Kaudiyala. Mr Amit Bhatia from Great Northern Himalayas greeted the participants and welcomed them to the expedition. The team was briefed as to the camp rules and etiquettes. Post a simple but nutritious lunch the team enjoyed the serene Ganga beach scenery and had a game of volleyball to refresh themselves. A campfire was held in the evening where a round of informal chit chat bonded the team as a unit before the start of the expedition.

Day 2 (6 Jan 11) This was the first day of m/cycling expedition and consisted of introduction to the specialist CANNONDALE/HERCULES mountain Bikes. The team was introduced to these bikes by Mr Ramesh Rawat. He brought out the specifics of a mountain bike into the fore and pointed out the various subtle differences and qualities of gears and other features with “road bikes”. He emphasized on use of special helmets and apparels while riding terrains so as to minimise risks to self and others . The team used the bikes provided to get a hands on feeling. The team also cycled a 8 km stretch near Kaudiyala base camp to familiarize themselves with the bikes. A few minor hitches and problems were solved en route. Evening consisted of volleyball and campfire.

Day3 (7th Jan 11) This day consisted of a cycling trek from Laxman Jhulla to Chilla. The team followed Mr Ramesh towards Chilla (approx 40kms) and back. A detour was taken towards Rajaji National Park to acquaint the team with rough mountain tracks. This detour ended with the temple of Vindhyavasiini. Lunch was served at the base of the temple at 1600 hrs. Post lunch the team loaded the cycles onto the truck and returned to base camp.

Day 4 (8th Jan 11) The start of the main expedition took place on this day. Hands were called at 0630 hrs and post a quick breakfast and kit up the team left by vehichle towards Laxmanjhula. The team members carried packed lunch and two bottles of juice /clean water. A final checks for helmets and clothings were carried out. As we went to the base of the start the team was presented with new AVALANCHE cycles which were brand new. It was exciting for the team but then a few minor hitches were there as they were brand new and had to be fine-tuned.

The first day had a 40 Km tough climb and some few teething problems were expected. Enroute the team reached a village called Bijni where a break was taken as few members were quite exhausted. Nitesh Sharma had developed dehydration symptoms hence the Oic took a decision that he should rest and travel in the support vehicle. The climb was daunting post Bijni however the morale of the team did not let down and continued cycling towards the base camp at DEVIKHAL. However by 1630 hrs light was fading and it was not considered safe to ride post loss of light. A decision was taken to stop at 1630 hrs and pick up by the support vehicle was arranged for others who had yet not reached the base camp. By 1700 hrs the camp was put up at Devikhal and the team had a well deserved rest.

Day 5 (9th Jan 11) The second day we started towards Vyasghat. At Shilogi the group was interviewed by the local news paper Dainik Jagran they also took group photos.

1115hrs- Ehrausain-dist-29km-we stopped for lunch and interacted with friendly locals.

1400hrs- Gumkhal-dist-40km-this is the place where down slope of 20 km started.

1500hrs- Satpauli-dist-60km-we reached this town quickly as there was totally down hill.

1610hrs- Bilkhet-dist-70km-the ride to this small vilage was comfortable as the terrain was flat and the surrounding was beautiful.

1700hrs Vyasghat-dist-84kms-the entire team reached the campsite near the bank of river Ganga and thus successfully completed the 2nd day of the expedition.

Day 6th, (10 Jan 11) Having spent 5 days in the course our bodies were already used to the cold, sudden jerks and the speeding downhill thrills. Today was the 6th day and we were yearning for more. The routine was as follows.

0700hrs- hands call

0800hrs- hands to breakfast

0900hrs- the team departs from Vyasghat camp. The route began with gradual up and provided a perfect warm-up for the day. Then we faced a real rocky terrain with various landslides enroute and many waterfalls. The team stopped at various scenic places for photography and to take refreshments.

1215hrs- we took a stop at umraos,a small village for tea and lunch. At another 03km of flat terrain we reached Saud, from where we took mettaled road at another 04kms we reached Devpryag.

1300hrs- the team reached till Devprayag where we could see the meeting of rivers Alknanda and Bhagirathi.

1315hrs- the team departed for Kandi. we had a long stretch of uphill cycling with elevation up to 25 degrees and climbed as much as 1000mts for today.

1630 hrs- the team reached Hindolakhal; where today’s expedition stopped due to dim light and dangerous terrain.

1800hrs- after boarding the transport we arrived at Anjanisain, our destination at 1400mtrs, the highest we have encountered till now.

Day 7, (11th Jan 11) The routine of the day was as follows:

0700 hours - Hands Call

0800 hours - Breakfast

0900 hours - We started from Ajanisain and we crossed the market area around 0930 hours.

1000 hours- we crossed Lamidhar in Tehri Garhwal

1030 hours- we took a little bit of rest and had some snacks and tea. Then we reached Jakridhar.

1115 hours- we reached Chauriyadhar School and took pictures of beautiful school kids.

1235 hours- Tipri Dam was beautiful and we took lots of group photos.

1445 hours - we reached Bhagirathipuram where we had our lunch.

1515 hours - we crossed Koti which is a small town of Tehri Garhwal.

1645 hours - Due to low light expedition was stopped and participants were picked up in the bus. We stayed the night at Hotel Siddharth Residency.

Day 8 (12th Jan 11) The routine of the day was as follows:

0700 hours - Hands Call

0800 hours - Breakfast

0900 hours - Aniket Kumar, Sea I had to quit due to some unfortunate family problem. However the team started on time

1000 hours - We started our journey from the hotel at Chamba. The roads were mostly tarmac but not exactly flat but a gradual ascent.

1130 hours - We reached Chaurikhal where we filled our empty water bottles to keep ourselves hydrated.

1300 hours - We reached Tangadhar where we saw thin layers of snow. Few riders took lunch in that beautiful place.

1430 hours - This was the time when our team riders were escorted by thick snow clad roads and mountains. Dhanaulti which is very famous for its panoramic views and snow covered mountains. Riding on the snow covered roads were exciting. Few riders met with mild accidents but they were safe and not at all hurt. Slippery snowy roads made us more cautious. But off course keeping the bike on the side of the road and throwing snow balls towards each other was really priceless.

1500 hours - we crossed the famous Eco- Park of Dhanaulti.

1530 hours - We saw the bifurcation of Mussorie and Thatyur and as per our expedition route we took Thatyur route

1615 hours - The curvy downhill of Thatyur started. It was very easy to reach 45 kmph without even pedaling. The sharp hairpin bends made us feel the Adrenalin Rush. While downhilling the temperature and the wind was making us shiver. But somehow everybody reached the hotel safely and stayed overnight.

. Day 9 (13th Jan 11) The routine of the day was as follows:

0700 hours - Hands Call

0800 hours - Breakfast

0900 hours - Day starts with steep climb. All of us are not so happy because of the climb that we have to cover from the starting of the journey. But with new energy and josh we started our day. As, time passed our speed increased.

1330hours - We reached at Garkhet where we take a short tea break and now the roads were mostly flat and down. Our bikes picked up the speed gradually. But the down hill roads were in a bad condition. They were rocky and in many places rocks fall down on the roads but still we moved safely.

1430 hours - We reached at Yamuna Bridge

1530 hours - Camping at the camp site. The site very close to the hill and Yamuna river. Small children were playing cricket at the camp site which was great.

Day 10 (14th Jan 11) The next day due to bad weather, landslides and roads the plan was amended by the organizers and cycling was cancelled . We moved towards Chakrata on the support vehicle. We reached Chakrata in the afternoon and stayed at a hotel. At night the team got together and shared experiences about the trip.

Day 11 (15th Jan 11) Although the team was supposed to cycle from Chakratha towards Dakpathar, due to heavy snowing the plan was cancelled and the team moved by vehicle towards Dehradun where the expedition ended safely.

With our respective bums having strangely converted into kevlar ..;)