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Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Lansdowne Holiday

Lansdowne is a beautiful hill station in the state of Uttaranchal, about 230 km from Delhi. The distance was just perfect , for in the 3 days and 3 nights we had  at our disposal we definitely didn't want to spend a whole lot of time traveling. The base town is Kotdwar and Lansdowne is a 45 minutes drive on a winding hilly road lined with pine trees.

Thanks to the restrictions placed by the army the town does not have many hotels and even the ones that are there are very non pretentious, basic ones. The place we had booked ourselves in , The Garhwali Inn, is a small sweet spartan place jutting out from the edge of the road. Most of the  13 rooms in  the inn face the green mountains making the experience of staying there worth every penny.
                                                             The town
                                                 The hotel terrace outside the room

                                                      A  view from the terrace

                                                               Another view
After a calorie laden breakfast we walked to town . One hour later we realised that we had 'done' Lansdowne. Yes, it is certainly not a place for the typical tourist . There is no Mall Road, no bakery, no place to strut around, no place to loiter, none at all to sit( the jawan on duty rounds one up with an over energetic use of his whistle) no lover's point - no honking of cars,no nothing. What it does have is plenty of beauty, cleanliness, silence and an overwhelming presence of the army in the form of the Garhwali regiment.
And it also has the sweetest of  ducks and the most  playful rabbits one has seen.

 The town has two churches, St John's Church and St Mary's Church, located on the same road. The former was open and we went in to an absolute haven of calm, silence and memories of the school chapel.
                                             Don't miss the yellow flowers and the hanging pots!
                                            The graveled path leading to the church

The best thing to do while in Lansdowne is to walk on any of the roads leading from and to town. My daughter's smart phone kept us in the loop about the number of steps we were taking each day- on one day we clocked in 12 kms. Look at the cactus we spotted while on a walk- have you ever seen such a big cactus  plant?

The food  highlight of the trip was the Garhwali dinner we had at our hotel on the last night of our stay.
The thali menu was :
                                      rotis made from  mandwe ka atta (and dipped in desi ghee- sinful!)
                                      Gahat ( a special local dal)
                                       a spicy green chutney ( made from bhang leaves)
                                       Jakhiya veg
                                       and a potato bhaji

The food was finger licking good and the chef had to be called from the kitchen and congratulated for the repast.

Lansdowne is a lovely clean town- ironically the only time we spotted empty chips packets, frooti tetra packs etc was at the government( Garhwal Vikas Mandal Nigam) run Tip and Top. However, it is not meant for those who go to a hill station to do the touristy spots. Go if you like spending time in the lap of nature with zilch distractions.

Some more of Lansdowne:

Friday, May 22, 2015

You start dying slowly ....

                                       You start dying slowly

 The beauty of these lines lies in their truth and simplicity. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t agree with Pablo Neruda?

You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.

You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice…

Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Learning Idioms through the Kumar Vishwas Saga /Sex Escapade

Kumar Vishwas has travelled a long distance from Pilkhuwa, Uttar Pradesh, to the front pages of Indian newspapers. The poster boy of the Aam Aadmi Party is making and breaking news for a saga that seems to have come straight from the stables of Balaji Telefilms. The story is not only immensely riveting but also educative. One can learn a whole battery of idioms through it. Here are a few :

In the eye of the storm: No prizes for who is in the eye of the storm- Kumar Vishwas .
Hell hath no fury like a woman ( neglected) scorned : This one is for the wife- apparently the one who spilled the beans.

The lady doth protest too much: Not really an idiom but a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet.It means  that a person's  vehement attempts to convince others of something , ironically, help to convince the others that the opposite is true. Do you still want to know who the lady in question here is ?

The Vultures are circling:If the vultures are circling, then something / someone  is in danger and its enemies are getting ready for the kill. The idiom can be used both for the man and the party.

Putting up a brave front:  The poet himself.

Attack is the best form of defence: Vishwas again. He has very effectively used airtime to blame  everyone- the media, the BJP, Shazia Ilmi, his detractors ....

Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather : It is the equivalent of " Where there's smoke, there's fire."

Discretion is the better part of valour : something so not happening in the saga of Amethi.

Can you all think of some more? Do share if you do.