Thursday, August 22, 2013

Misty Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar - A charming little weekend getaway from the madness of Mumbai. Situated some 250 kms from Mumbai, its a beautiful hill station located in the Western Ghats.

During the monsoons, it gives a feeling of being literally walking in the clouds. There is an all prevalent mist which breaks up only when it rains. The driving conditions are not great and its best to use a local tourist taxi for the local visits. All charges are fixed by local authorities

Places to visit - Not too many. A couple of local temples, multiple vantage points providing their own breath-taking view of the same valley (But a spectacular view, one must say), an old Maratha fort in Pratapgarh, multiple waterfalls along the roadside.

The area is known for its Strawberry farms (though not in season during the monsoons).

Must-have - Strawberry lassi served in clay containers.

Advise - Pack enough warm clothes. It gets really cold there.

In short a perfect place to relax and getaway from the hustle-bustle of daily life

Here is a little photo-log of Misty Mahabaleshwar. 
And the Mist Lifts - to reveal this breath-taking view

A family portrait- of our ancestors

The beginnings of many a river

The Misty Lanes - Perfect settings for a horror movie

Strawberry Lassi - A must have drink served in clay glasses

Shivaji's Statue (Pratapgarh Fort) - The mist makes it singularly impressive

A waterfall along the road side - One of the plenty

Can there be an excess of greenery ever?

Misty Mahabaleshwar - I liked you.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

India @ 66

Eve of 15th August. India's Independence Day. In 1947, Pt. Nehru chose this day to make a historical speech (tryst with destiny). To celebrate that speech, Nishantzworld chooses to mark this occasion with an annual rundown of the nation as I see it. (Click here for the 2012 edition).

Like our population, the number of our states has increased with the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh. So instead of one there will be now 2 states with potentially a Union Territory (Hyderabad being joint capital) also thrown in. Meaning new sarkaari jobs (double State government and the associated paraphernalia). Meaning more looters looking for a share of the loot. 

Meanwhile the Rupee is breaking newer and newer grounds alongwith petrol and diesel. A race is on to see who will get to the century first. While the poverty line is shifting lower and lower (at least in $ terms). Amidst all this the Government is hell bent on still being in the planning stage while all action is focused on the coming general elections.

Elections - They can't come sooner. And hopefully regardless of the results, the politicization of social media will be less. I am as tired of the inept UPA government failures as the Narendra Modi fanboyism on the social networks. Once upon a time social media was funny, informative and social. Now its just become a medium of outraging. Agreed there is a lot to outrage about. But venting it out on facebook/twitter is going to be of no avail (Nor will this blog help :P)

Rampant corruption, regular border troubles, Naxal violence, rapes & acid attacks, economy moving towards deep trouble - yet all our so called "leaders" are interested in is trying to preserve their "kursi". A game of oneupmanship is all that is being played between UPA, NDA, and the opportunists of the so-called 3rd Front. We have a Prime minister who says keeping quiet is the best policy (hazaaron jawaabon se acchji khamoshi meri) and an Opposition which believes that a functioning Parliament is not essential for governance.

The Uttarakhand floods showed what happens when nature plays with us. Humans might think that they are the superior beings on this planet. But Nature always has a way of taking control again. Always.

Now to the other national passion - Cricket. Spot-fixing scandal emerged but there was no sense of disbelief, just plain anger at the revelations. Worse was the politicization of team selection. But there was a saving grace. A new hero always emerges. Thank You Shikhar Dhawan.

As for the other sports,  the Indian Olympic Council celebrated a highly successful (by our standards) Olympic performance by getting banned. Enough said.

And finally to the 3rd front of India - Movies. Bollywood has started making biopics & sports films and making good experiments apart from the regular masala fare. But one genre is still untouched. Given how successful Hollywood comic books characters have been on screen, when will we see a movie based on our home-grown superheroes like Super Commando Dhruv.

In all, another terrible year gone by. And nothing much to really look forward to in the year ahead. But after all this, I will still say - Mera Bhaarat Mahaan. Because there is some part of me which still believes in the idea of India.