Monday, December 28, 2009


To start off - it's a good movie to watch.

I went into this movie with a lot of apprehension reading all those not-so-flattering-reviews, about how it was a long-drawn love story; about nothing too much about effects and all; about how James Cameron went a little bit overboard etc.. But as millions of movie goers have proved, it's a good one - one to be watched at least one more time.

To start with, the bad news:
1. It's a good thing to watch an extra terrestrial species talk about Zen philosophy. They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place. They are wrong. It did at Fame Lido. Remember the cup is full/empty. Can we get on with precious life Hollywood - Next time you folks want to use this story in a movie, say something like "The full cup thingie". We will get it.

2. Unobtainium - The name of the precious mineral sounded like an old joke. Ask anyone in the theatre yesterday, they would have come up with a better term. (Trivia: If anyone wondered what this gizmo mineral is gonna do, it helps transfer energy with zero loss at room temperature - a super conductor at normal temperature.)

3. I would have liked it, if the men came back and had another go at the Na'vi. But it was not meant to be. Believe me, this movie smacks of a sequel. "Avatar - The Return of the Unobtainians" I would watch it, but if it takes another 12 years, James, my son may laugh at you. The fighting Colonel shouldn’t have died, his scars notwithstanding. His part should have been played by Hugo weaving, but who listens to us these days.

4. Hollywood scriptwriters conveniently eliminate the Hero's only competition. Tsu'Tey - remember, the unfortunate would-have-been leader of the clan? He had to die, and I hate it. He was more human than Na'vi. Fierce, trigger-happy, and envious - all too human. C’mon guys, he spoke English without an MTI.
(On second thoughts, he could have been Judas Iscariot in a sequel. May be, as Saurav-one of my colleagues said, he ain't dead coz he just falls off, we never see him die die, and may be he will make a come back with some cock-and-bull story. Or may be, the name sounds Chinese, so they just decided to bump him off.)

5. The Heroine Neytiri. Her name means “a burning wick dipped in ghee” in my tongue. Actually I liked her a lot. She's Zoe Saldana or something, and I would find it hard to imagine her in real life. The only give-away scene was where she put up a big fuss about training our Hero. She was snarling, hissing, canine and all. Gimme a break, we all saw your body language when all those fluffy phosphorescent things sat on Jake. He had you at hello. We're not Na'vi, but we know the playing-hard-to-get in front of folks game. We invented it.

6. Think about it. Paolini meets Wachovski Brothers and Tolkien in a park called Jurassic.

7. This movie should have been launched on June 5th.

And for the good:
1. That cross between a hammerhead whale and a Jurassic park breed. I loved them. Good species to have on project feedback sessions.

2. The war speech. I was wondering, why Tsu'Tey's translation in between. But it was a good ploy. It gave my goose bumps time to settle down, before they rose again. "But we'll send them a message" all rise "Iswha kfeklwfj sms" all settle "That this…………………..this is our land" rise rise rise “lando dsaldasd”. who cares. Man I wanted to go out there and fight.

3. You cannot live without India these days. Max, the guy in the Avatar program is an Indian. I doubted it initially, as he looked like a cross. But yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's official…he is Indian, and his full name is Max (bated breath) Pateeeeeeeeel (applause). Our own Gujju Bhai. The sad part is Indians are being stereotyped as scientists, instead of the old snake charmer types. Next time you get introduced to a firang in real life, just say e=mc3.

4. Effects: Give it to them buddies. The dirt that fell on your faces while Jake runs out for the first time as an Avatar is still wet. And the fires should have touched you. And this is the story behind that:

5. The whole thing about Eywa (Pandora's spirit). Read more about Gaia (earth’s spirit) when you get a chance.

6. Colors: Everything was good. Every color to exhaust a woman's vocab. Na'vi body color discussion must have been something like this:

James: So what color do we give the natives? Brown? Indians will claim that they are being portrayed as monkeys. Black? Stevie Wonder would have a problem. White? That would be politically incorrect western hegemony. Guys, I don't know what to do.
Intern: James? James? Over here.
James: Yes?
Intern: We can go with blue.
James: Yesss. Why didn't I think of it before? Blue it shall be!!!! We can never go wrong with blue!!!

7. Toruk Makto. Just Awesome.

Verdict: The goods and the bads more-or-less even out. If you've been a kid ever and liked a roller ...a kaleidoscope, you may like it. Remember the myriad colors that change when you turn it around a wee bit? At USD 300 million +, this is the biggest -beep-ing kaleidoscope that you’ll ever see.

To sign off, here's a poster to kill for:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

App Economy/Social Gaming


A small intro. My college education was more or less ruined by (among other minor irritants)two strategy games , both from Blizzard: Warcraft and Starcraft. I swore to myself that I would never get addicted to games again, and has been successful for 12 years. So far, so good.

Enter Mafia Wars. The app game. Companies like Zynga (of the Farmwille fame, that relies on peer pressure more than anything else, according to one of my friends) and Playdom are making it big. I just tried Mafia Wars because a colleague was heavily into it, and I wanted to figure out why. I kind of figured out, but I am hooked now.
Moral: Never trust colleagues.

It's big money, with these companies raking in millions from the power of their ideas. (Question: Can you make a million or so in two weeks by selling virtual potato seeds?)

It's a little irritating too - these games will make you want to shell out solid cash for some of the features - the other option is to play for hours and get there. Anyway, the games are awesome, and I haven't heard anyone complain so far.

Is this a fad, like pet rocks? Time will tell. For now, the answer is no. At least until something better takes over.
Here's a good read:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Flight 2010 - US to Dubai via Greece

The stock markets across the world seem to be celebrating 2009 in style. However, the surprise one in that pack is ATHENS SE GENERAL INDEX (Greece), up 28% for the year, outperforming most other markets during the year.

Greece had borrowed 60 billion Euros in 2009 to make up for its fiscal deficit. They recently announced their intention to borrow another 54 billion Euros next year. Greek bonds have been downgraded multiple times this year by rating agencies, and the country is sure to be EUs most indebted nation with debt levels expected to exceed 120 percent of GDP next year (and 135% for 2011). The socialist government headed by Prime minister George Papandreou is also facing the looming threat of social unrest, as well as industrial strike. Apparently, Niarchos is dead and so is Onassis.

What does the first and second para above indicate? It cannot be a case of "irrational exuberance," because there's precious little to be exuberant about.

The theme for 2009 was simple. Borrow, let a few things fall, cover up your mistakes, give discounts to new car purchases, announce a few austerity measure, reduce interest rates, let the financial markets rejoice, and claim that economies are back on track. Is it really that simple?

Countries like Spain (real estate again) and UK could also come under the hammer in 2010. Will next year go down in history as the year of sovereign default, one in which governments refused to pay up their dues?

Is the recession really over? Or was it just a trailer-a sneak preview-of something far more ominous that is lying in wait? If it happens, who will be the villain? Interest rates? May be yes. But a lot of people have a faint feeling that the dragon could be the ONE.

Monday, December 21, 2009

To the bloody dogs

Just read this. The url gives it away.

Is there justice in our land?

Chro: Nov 6 2007

Doc, there's some condition that refers to "I have everyone, but I have none-feeling."

None that I know of.

It should be there. Loneliness in a crowd - rings a bell?


At least call it chronic loneliness, will you?

Listen buddy, I have failed - and miserably so at treating you.

No you have not. You have not. It's me. It's always been me. I have failed you...doc..., isn't that right doc? As a patient. Your faults as a doctor is MY failure as a loon. I must be one of those lone patients that must have failed you. I feel even more lonely.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aruna Shanbaug

Aruna Shanbaug. Never heard about her except today when she was in the news. Brain dead since 1973 - that's almost 4 years before I was born and I am 32. 36 years in a vegetative comatose state!!! She was a nurse and her state is the outcome of a rape attack. There is a petition in the apex court of this land for mercy killing.

The link below tells me that her parents are no more and her brothers and sisters don't care.

Aruna Shanbaug has a new brother - me. I care, and I hope the court grants permission to end her life, once again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chro: Nov 5 2007



Have you ever stabbed people in the back?

No. But I'm sure you have.

What makes you think like that? I may be a bit awkward, pissopraynic n all, but that does not make me thaaat, you see.

I see.

Being sarcastic, aren't you?

No, just doin my job.

Actually, I've never stabbed people in the back. They thought I did it, when I was doing from the front. It's interesting.

What's interesting in that?

Studies reveal that 99% of the people who claim that they were stabbed in the back were living in a false world. They always saw it coming. They just refused to believe it would happen. Something like cognitive dissonance. And when it finally happens they weep, and say stuff like "How could he do that? I mean, how could he of all people."


And then they come to the obvious-and easy to make-but faulty conclusion that he was always like that. But the fact is, there are just a few backstabbers, not even enough ones for this world, and that excludes Brutus-the debatable father of this art, but a large number of hopeless idiots who push people to the edge, and then stick it on backstabbers.


Ok. Let me put it this way. Has someone ever stabbed you in the back?

No, never...hey listen, I gotta go.



You would watch out next time you turn around to pick up the medicines from the lower cabinet, wouldn't you?

He gave a dirty look, and as usual left without another word. I don't know what's wrong with him. Btw, he did not seem interested in my conversation. All through it, he was scribbling some crap in his notebook. I'm sure he'll stab me from behind one of these days.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you lower your standards a bit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chro: Nov 4 2007 Night

The true meaning of "Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?" came to me in my dreams. I made a mental note before I drifted off to sleep.

When you're apprehensive about a voluptuos woman, quiz her whether she has been molested. And consequently, has her voluptuousness been nullified by some faggot

Shleep Mister...Shleee

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Say What? Seh Wag?

I'm no big fan of cricket. The true fan in me died, alongside millions of Indians, during the days of the match-fixing controversy. Along with a few of my friends, I had gone to watch the India-SA cricket match (one that India won), riding on bikes for 6 hours-nothing great there, except, those 12 hours up-and-down was for the plain love of cricket. To come to know that India's win that day was fixed was hard to digest. To see Azza and Jadeja fall, to read about Hansie's death a few years down the line, and Woolmer's mysterious demise - the sum total was that cricket had become something that it was never meant to be. Of course we all saw snaps of Dawood and starlets in Sharjah long before all of this happened, but we came to understand cricket in a new light-or rather a new darkness.

As the morning of the third day of the Ind-SL test match started, I woke up from bed with nothing on my mind. I went to office, and sometime in the afternoon realized that Sehwag may have done it. I ran up to the pantry where the TV is located and tried to figure out if one of the batsmen on the crease is HIM. But it was not meant to be. He was out, in what must have been true agony for those watching - six runs short of a landmark, like Mallory possibly in his attempt to scale Everest. Sehwag lives on for another day. He might make it, or he may not. If not, there will be a Tenzing. But remember, we were privileged to watch Mallory fall.

There is hope for Indian cricket. A few of the old fans have started switching channels looking for some cricket action. The new young ones - well they never felt our shame and disbelief, and keep on coming - that was never a problem.

The problem is that there's too much of cricket. But if it's of the variety dished out by the man whose English halts a bit, but whose willow does not, I'm game - to believe in our religion once more.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chro: Nov 3 2007

Doc was giving me an injection (some tranqui stuff to calm my innards) when I decided to speak.

Me: You know that I only speak to you these days?

Yes, I guess.

And only a few words. But yesterday, after you left I spoke 598 words.

Really! That's some improvement. What did you speak?

Actually it was only 26 words. I repeated it 23 times.

Well what was it?

Excuse my Latin: "Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?"

And that means?

"But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?"

Doc: And I understand that you don't know Latin?

Bingo, doc!!! You're psychic. How did you guess?

Well. Let's put it this way. Newton saw the apple coming. Didn't he?

Oh yes....oh yes. I understand...I understand...I under stand where the apple falls. Eppur si muove. no, what would Galil have said? Eppur si fall. You and your tranq..

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

To the Dogs

Source PTI:
[The helicopter, which ferried AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh here today, was attacked by a mob after they came to know that actress Nagma who was to accompany the Congress leader for a road show did not turn up. SDO Sadar Sanjay Singh said a large crowd was waiting at the helipad to see Nagma and when they did not find her they hurled slippers and stones at the helicopter. The pilot left with the helicopter on safety grounds, but returned an hour later to pick up Singh.]

Sole comment: Next time, try Russian or Egyptian belly dancers. Lower cost, more bang for the buck. Call it "navel arbitrage" if you please.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chro: Nov 2 2007

Nov 2 2007
Doc, you know something, for years I peddled the same lines to girls that I met.

And that would be?
Here, read it. I have scribbled it again for you.

I love you like rain, like the sunshine, like a moon in her prime, like the last wind that blows before you close the doors.
I love you like venom, like everything that's taboo.
I love you like the mountains, like the snow that it brings, and the thankful blanket that protects me from all that is cold
I love you like desert, like the dry sand that flows, to the ocean of thirst on a lonely traveler's mouth
I love you like life and death
And if one of us passes away sooner, I would die if it were you. If it was me I would want you to cry - once, when no one sees. where no one can see.
And when the years pass,
In heaven or hell, wherever it is, I'll seek and find you.

I love you like age loves youth, like tomorrow would crave yesterday
I love you like nicotine, like tar, and all the carcines that cause cancer
I love you like no other, for there never was one, and you were -after all- a distant feather

Interesting. And what came of it?

Nothing. Someone told me it's the last two lines had a profound impact on girls.

I think so too, I think you should stop at the first para.

I will. Would you read it your wife tonight? It will be fun.

Doc didn't respond. He just picked up his scopes and left.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chro: Nov 1 2007

Does October have a 31st? I think it does. My Diary looks empty. They must have drugged me for a whole day.

M: Doc. Do you know there was a wise man who once said that shit stares at us all? And all a man can do is piss back.

D: Never heard.

M: You must have. It was your father.

D: No way.

M: You didn't have one?

D: Of course I had one. I mean I still have. But he never said that. And what would a fre.., I mean a person like you know of my family anyway?

M: I heard you right doc. You broke a rule in the book. It doesn't matter anyway. In fact there's more that I know that you don't. You don't even know that he told your mom when you were a sick kid that "he would have been better off being a girl.

D: Shut up

M: Or that he you used to call you "Dipsie" when you were still in the womb.

D: I said just shut upppp, he fumed.

That just did it. I lost it completely at that point.
I don't like taking orders.
I just don't like them.
In one swift motion, my lips pursed and I fell silent.
I obey them nonetheless.
These days, at least.

Chro: Oct 30 2007

Doc appeared to be a bit tired after the holiday. Didn't bother to ask why. He asked:

D: So how did the doc treat you?

M: She was fine, can't complain.

D: She said she found you unnerving.

M: Did she say unnerving or unveining?...hahahaha

D: What was that all about?

M: Oh that was nothing. One of those "you had to be there" jokes. Have you read Love in time of Cholera?

D: No, why?

M: It's amazing that everyone has heard about it, but too few have actually read it.

D: Have you?

M: No

He didn't prod further. Thankfully.

Chro: Oct 29 2007

I don't feel no physical pain. Which is why I do inane things. When I was four or five I chopped of the top bit of the crown of my left thumb. It was really funny, watching the way blood oozed out, wondering all the while why everyone was screaming.
I could fight and win any battle (well, almost - once or twice guys had knocked me senseless.) mainly because I couldn't feel pain. Once a guy broke my left arm and with that crooked arm I pummelled the fellow. I threw my hand at him. The bone that stuck out from my broken arm apparently got into one of his vitals. I don't remember which one, becuase I had hit him in a couple. I think he was in a morgue for a long time, because there were no takers.

Btw, quack came and left, without even making eye contact. I brazenly checked out her veins again.

Chro: Oct 28 2007

Listened to Janis Joplin 97 times. Oh Lord, won't you give me a Merecedez Benz.
Doc was on leave today. A junior quack came to see me, and prescribed an injection. She tried to make conversation to confirm that I'm loony. I remained silent, all the while looking at the prominent veins in her neck. She was very fair which made them stand out. That look must have spooked her, he he. She said the injection would have a therapeutic effect. As though that would make me feel better...I was hoping for something more like a Tera Patrick effect. She pricked and left. "Tera Patrick", I mouthed.

Chro: Oct 27 2007

There was a time, when I was a kid, when I even made made my teacher cry. But forget it. Today I was more pacifist. I seemed to be at ease with myself. I looked at a wilting flower at the window and imagined it to be her. I was happy. She was there. Right next to me in my room.

Doc: Why're you so happy today?
Me: "You mean gay?"
D: No I mean happy?
M: That's what I meant too. In my times gay meant happy. Actually I'm always happy. The only times that I'm not is when I'm sad. That's how you tell a happy man from a sad man. The sad man is always sad. The happy man is happy except when he's sad.Know what I mean?
D: Yeah, kind off. Where did you pick up that trash dialogue from?
M: From a guy called Philip. We used to call him Phil. He had a girlfriend-name was Sophy or something. Whenever he went on a date, we used to say philo-fucking-sophy. hahaha.

Doc smiled and left. He must be thinkin I'm sane.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Engraving

Guess what's the engraving you will find on the block where your member will be chopped off, if ever you're guilty of rape or assault on females in Saudi Arabia?

Well, loosely translated from Old Arabic, it reads "the fuck stops here"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The end of it all

I had posted this on Sulekha some years back. After the recent doomsday talk, thought of posting it again here.

The end of it all

The snakes were a bit tentative. "Are you sure this is going to work?" A little viper barely half a feet long asked it's neighbor. "Yes, perhaps," hissed its cousin a few feet away. Every snake in the planet, lethal or otherwise had started crawling to places where the walkers dwelled. They were the vanguard of the army of everything that lived on this planet, save the walkers1. One mission to bring an end to all the commotion created in the last 5000 years when the walkers multiplied in large numbers. Walkers, that's what they called members of a 6 billion strong species.

Everyone had a role in this assault. Alligators crept out of marsh lands and moved into the open, where they could see lights inside the homes. Moving in the dust meant a lot of pain for these beings, but they were determined to play their part. They had the collective consciousness.

Cows had already begun the work in a subtle manner, a few moons ago. Unaware of the looming threat, the walkers just called it "Bovine spongiform encephalitis" or the "Mad Cow Disease." When the plan was first hatched, there were many who said.."but it won't kill the walkers." The little ones2 said, "yes, but we can kill the cows. It will be the first blow to their food resources."

Many who attended the conclave were apprehensive of killing their own kind, but this opposition was dealt with by a long winded answer from the lone bovine participant, "we are already being killed. They even have a fancy name for us...beef...and the truth is everyone will perish once this is over. Or even otherwise, at this rate. Let's be the ones to start it. We will die for this place which we all call home." And then her voice rang out loud...

"Milk might be a thing of the moo,
Udders might fallllllllll...
But the kind that moves on legs two
will be the first ones to crawlllll"

Yesssss...."Death to walkers" cried all of them. The collective consciousness of the planet was in motion. The chain could not be broken now. The spirit of Mother Gaia3 felt pain for the first time in millions of years. It never felt this bad, when the walkers first started mining, blowing up, hunting, killing and raping its crust. "It had to be done. Everything would have to go. Fresh life would take its place, even it meant a long wait."

Gaia shivered, and tall water waves spread out from the oceans to different parts of the world. She let out steam through the cones of hills that the walkers had long deemed to be dormant or dead. Tremors rocked the little planet at regular intervals of days.
The little ones struck again later, this time on chickens. Billions of chicken, virtually manufactured for consumption, had to be culled. This was followed up by an attack on plants, the willing conspirators. They started to wilt. No fertilizer, no pesticide seemed to work. Food baskets of the world were in danger of being barren wastelands. Then there came the uncountable number of dead fish floating on the water bodies of the world. Boats found it difficult to wade through foot thick layers of dead fishes. Stench filled the air as they started to rot. The winds carried the foul reminder deep into the hinterlands. The walkers went around covering their noses with wet cloth to avoid the stinging smell.

At the final meeting, the mood was sombre. "Today is the end, and we have planned it good. They themselves would help us a bit," said the spirit. "Can we have one more of the water waves?" asked a tiny dog, the best friend of the walkers. "One?" she replied and smiled.

Tremors rocked the planet. The germ warfare research center in Kazakhsthan and Biological Weapons Institute at Fort Detrick4, Maryland were the firsts to be ripped apart by the strength of the tremors. Then the snakes started crawling.

1 Men
2 Virus
3 Spirit of the planet Earth
4 Random un-researched crap

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The movie has India all over it - a young Indian Astrophysicist who connects the dots and realizes how the D-day is going to unfold. Without him we would all be sitting ducks. Just one scene in the movie when he sounded odd …. when he said something like "Hamaara Saaman Pack Karo" like Tom Alter (or any firang) would say in old DD serials. There was no subtitle for that, and I’m still wondering what the world would make out of that. India's brilliance also comes into the forefront when all the satellite networks in the world are down, and the scientist in the Arc or the ship in a godforsaken corner of Tibet, gets a call from this guy. Guess what????? Indian mobile networks are still functioning. What an Idea Sirjiii...

I liked the Russian - Yuri. And it's good to see an Antonov aircraft once in a while, when we only get to hear about Boeing and Airbus these days. One of the most poignant scenes in the movie is when Yuri walks off from the boxing match (being fought by his protégé) so that he could board the ship. One of the underlying themes in the movie is Karma. This guy ditches everyone and pays for it by falling off the concrete cliff while trying to board the ship. And for his girlfriend, the poignancy was displayed in the finger-raising scene. For that one bad karma, she had to pay…in water.

And then there was Gordon - the guy who took care of the Hero's (yawn) family for all these years when he had been writing pulp. He comes in as the savior again by doing some stunning aircraft stunts which where never done since the Wrong brothers. He saved them not once, not twice, but a gazillion times - and in the end dies an inglorious death. Where's the cosmic justice in that? May be none was needed, as the audience was also doing the "hmmm-ouch, that must have hurt...ok...whatever...let's get on with the movie" rout as he fell into an average mechanical engineer's dream death between huge gearwheels.

And then there was the hero's family. Can you believe it? The once estranged wife wouldn't let him be when he was the last hope for the planet. They had to do emo stuff. And his kid, that brat had the audacity to swim underwater leaving his mom and sis to help his dad (when daddy had rationally explained to the six year old kid that he needs to stay behind and take care of his sis). Wifey wasn't too bad either…she was about to go underwater searching for hubby and kid, when someone sitting near me thankfully remarked "poora family haraami hai yaar."

And those cardboard signs "The end is nigh" is so passé. And you expect more from the D Lama look-alike. Guess what the Zen story he had to tell his disciple was? "Your cup is full..overflow..keep it empty...learn." Grow up Hollywood.

Charlie (the radio guy – remember?) is good. And so is his blog video on U Tbe (

The President had to be good. So he stayed back (they had to bring in the captain sinking ship analogy…aaargh), and a lot us thought he would make it, when he came back alive twice, once after his transmission conked, and once after the whatchamacallit tower came down. He came back only to be royally done by USS Kennedy washing ashore. The script of his finale speech was bad, pathetic compared to the Independence Day President, if that was some sort of movie standard. He could have said, considering the pathetic situation, "No, we cannot" and asked everyone to repeat (yes we can, anyone?). Incidentally, I’m told that that's the same line that every distributor is using when someone asks him/her about breaking even.

If you get the drift of the movie, it reflects our times: Brazil as some sort of a country that deserves mention; Russia as the more-or-less “yes-Mr. US President” but still a force; India as the techno place; China as the manufacturing hub; UK, Germany, and specifically Italy as the goners, and the rest of the world as whatever. BRIC

Verdict: Don't watch it even if in-laws don’t pay for it.

Verdict for the unconvinced - Script: Yuri: You know Curtis, I wasn’t always businessman. I am a boxer. Was my only playing when I was a boy, back in Murmansk. My coach...... his name also Yuri... He always said: ‘Someone wants to beat you... he has to kill you first’. Kannada Translation: Thuuu

And this was brought to my attention by a friend at a sober party last week: "California is going down! Pack up the kids!"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Finding Meeno

Main Entry: Meen
Pronunciation: \ˈmēn\
Function: noun
Etymology: Malayalam

Means: Fish, of all types

If there's a punishment in hell for me, it's sure going to be the curse of possibly thousands of fishes that I have devoured over the last 30 odd years. Not just those purchased from the market, they seem to find me even when I'm not expecting them.

Couple of weeks back, we drove down to Kannur to visit my wife's family. After idling away most of the first day, Jithettan came up with the news of fishing nets and paraphernalia that's been set up waiting for us. Off we went to the marshlands adjoining Valapattanam river. The journey look us through some gothic terrain before we finally reached our destination - Swampland. Thorny thistles greeted us the entire way..and scratching and stumbling we reached by around 7 in the evening. It's not a perilous journey, but an icky one (if you are going there the first time and are not sure of the output). Mosquitoes swarm the place at nightfall. I was also introduced to a new life form - Anangu in local lingo - the species bites the hell out of you and it's so small to see. Guaranteed Itching.

Modus Operandi
The exercise of catching fish is elaborate. In the afternoon, during high tide, water enters these marshes. One of the gangsters plod through the muck and water and fastens a huge fishing net at the small exit. Almost all the big fishes are trapped inside, as most of the water is drained away during low tide. In the evening our folks come in, and using fishing nets, virtually pick up the fish from the small pockets of water.

We were greeted by the sight of three men with nets and assortments catching fish in the slush - Rajeev, Sri, and a new trainee (:-)) whose name I forgot. The high point of the evening was a bone chilling scream. During the escapade, a big crab had managed to get even by biting one of our crew. It took some effort to break off his (or her) leg, and thankfully not too much of a damage was done. While untying the high-tide net we also saw a poor water snake that had gotten entangled- to its death in it. I did not carry the camera the first day, and was sorry about it.
Anyway we managed to take some snaps after coming back at around 10 in the night.
This is Sree taking out the last of the Pisceans from the net.

Treasure troves:

Spoils getting partitioned between the crusaders.

Gothic scenario - Where crabs meet their doom.

Part 2 can be found here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

They found water on the moon!

If you like Man on the moon by REM, here’s a poor spoof. Still working on it.

Man the Mohan and the Game of strife. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Som Devarmann in a tennis match. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Horse trade anyone, cricket, and sex. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Minister lands up in a Twitter mess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Let's play Holy, let's play Frisk. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
See you in heaven if you make the list. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey Dhoni, did you hear about this one? Tell me, have you looked at the bench?
Hey Dhoni, are you goofing on Mendis? Hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they found ale on the moon, ale on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

Shiney went walking with the staff of wood. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Lotus got banged by the Hand so good. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Rakhi was troubled by the audible gasp. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Mister Bhai Chung had the ball to pass. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey Dhoni, did you hear about this one? Tell me, have you looked at the bench?
Hey Dhoni, are you goofing on Mendis? Hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they found ale on the moon, ale on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

Here's a little agit for the never-believer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Here's a little bomb for the offering. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Here's a muck stop instead of the nuclear club. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey Dhoni, did you hear about this one? Tell me, have you looked at the bench?
Hey Dhoni, are you goofing on Mendis? Hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they found ale on the moon, ale on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

If you believed they found ale on the moon, ale on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool
If you believed they found ale on the moon, ale on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Journey to Satopanth Lake

About the place: Satopanth Tal is a lake 22 km from Badrinath, in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. The trek starts 3 kilometers from Badrinath, from a place called Mana (3800 m), officially the last Indian village. Mythology has it that the Pandavas undertook the journey along this route on what was their last sojourn. Beyond the lake is Swargarohan Mountain from where Yudhistir (the eldest of the Pandavas) apparently ascended to heaven (the rest of the crew fell by the wayside).

Starting the proceedings
We reached Delhi Interstate Bus Terminus (Kashmir Gate) at around 1.00 A.M. Buses to Haridwar are available round the clock. There's a loo where the board says its free if you're just taking a leak, but you gotta pay for further indulgences. There's a shirtless rough-looking fellow who sits/lies down next to the board to collect money. Last time around I was here, he (or someone like him) wanted a rupee or two for taking a leak - right below the board which says it is FREE. I decided to test if that was still the case. I asked the fellow and he says it costs a rupee. To irritate him, I pointed at the board (just like I did last time) and told him it was free. Typical response - "board and all is there, but you better pay up if you gotta go".

Satisfied with the minor tiff, I returned to bus hunting. Shailendran, an old and very good friend was my travel partner for the trip. Surprisingly, all buses to Haridwar or Rishikesh were coming in to the bus terminus filled with passengers. A Sardarji offered a taxi for 3,500 (bus - Rs. 150). Politely refused, and the fare dropped like NIFTY last year - to Rs. 2,500. Refused again for whatever reason running through our minds. We stood around waiting for buses, every time disappointed to see them coming in full. There were seats on buses to places like Dehradun, Kotdwar etc.

Obviously people were getting into the buses before they even came in to the terminus. We decided to move on in the direction where the buses were coming from. Soon enough we saw a bus coming in and it had no destination board. There were only three or four passengers inside. People were banging against its doors. The conductor sat inside, seemingly oblivious to all this noise. People were asking him about the destination of the bus but he was silent. Shailendran checked with one of the passengers already on board and discovered that the bus was in fact going to Haridwar. People were getting impatient..and the conversation went like bus jaatha kithar hai? (Where the hell does this bus go?)....Conductor: Aapko kithar jaana hai (Where do you want to go?). Almost all of them said Haridwar/Rishikesh. He seemed to think for a while and replied that the bus was going to Kotdwar. Disappointed, the crowd left murmuring (Pehle kyun nahin bola, saala). Shailandran confirmed again with the passenger that the bus was in fact bound for Haridwar. We just stood near the closed door and I asked the conductor where the bus was headed. He repeated the question..."where do you want to go?" I said "Kotdwar" with a smile. He had a smirk in his face, looked around to confirm if the people had dispersed, opened the door saying...chalo Kotdwarwaale aa jao.

He was fooling people, but it was his way to ensure that there was no stampede in his bus. Must be a real pacifist. The journey of a 100 miles thus started with a single lie.

We reached Haridwar by around 7 in the morning. Thanks to rucksacks that we kept on our laps, it was relatively easier to sleep during the journey. We were headed to Joshimath that day. We negotiated at the taxi stand, then went to another private fellow, and then came back to the taxi stand to settle for 3,500 bucks to take us to Joshimath. We quickly went to Har Ki Pauri, had a refreshing bath in the Ganges and came back by around 8 to start our journey.

Rishi was our driver, pretty smart chap at that. Elections were going on and he predicted that Harish Rawat would win from Haridwar. There was a BJP opponent Swami XYZ, and I asked him why a Swami would not win from a place like Haridwar. His reply was succint "Haridwar mein to sadhu log bhare hain" meaning Haridwar is filled with Swamis.

Uttarakhand was earlier known as Uttaranchal (the name was changed in January 2007). Before AD 2000, this region was part of the state of Uttar Pradesh. You'll find all three registrations UA(for Uttaranchal), UK(for Uttarakhand), and UP (for Uttar Pradesh). It's a little bit odd to see a UK registration number plate in India.

We had our lunch somewhere near Srinagar and reached Joshimath by around 6.30 in the evening. Here's a sweet color diarrhea on the way.

We had our first sight of the snow clad mountains a few kilometers before Joshimath. We were a bit upset before the trip, because the winter this year was relatively light, and snowfall had been scant. There was little chance of walking on ice or snow - a bit depressing for people from the southern part of the country where the only ice ever encountered is inside a refrigerator.

We stayed at the Nagendra Lodge in Joshimath, an inexpensive option. Given below is their tariff board with interesting options for a linguistic connoisseur. You choose the Dormatri option only if you're Russian; and the last option is for you if your idea is to create lots of noise and possibly bring in hookers:-).

We were greeted the next day morning by fresh snowfall in the distant mountains.
Here's a Joshimath morning video:

Elated, we went out to get the inner line permit from the SDM at Joshimath. Certain weird things happened w.r.t to permits and I would not want to write about it here.
Election rallies were going on. Here's Khanduri (Uttarakhand Chief Minister), addressing an election rally.

People from above watching the election rally.

We called up our guide, Mannu Raawat, who sounded a bit upset with the fresh snowfall, but anyway asked us to come up quickly (we wouldn't have delayed anyway:-)).

It was raining heavily by the time we left from Joshimath. We took a shared jeep that cost us something to the tune of 150 per head. The rate sounded a bit steep, but it was raining, and a small killing can be overlooked. The only problem was that there were 10 people and 2-3 kids in the crowded jeep. The front row seated four of us including the driver. Every time he had to change gears, he would literally push me, and I would lift my right leg, feeling the uncomfortable gear moving this way and that, right beneath my leg.

The crowded jeep pic. I never realized that a Jesus look-alike (no offence meant please) was there behind me.

Light snowfall greeted us at Badrinath. We checked into an ashram, and quickly came out to do some shopping and exploring. Snowfall had given way to a light drizzle. We picked up two pairs of shoes from a shop run by a Tibetan lady. The price was ok, but we realized during the trip that we needed something better.

We then moved on to pick up some second hand jackets. Two guys were running the shop. We picked up all the stuff we needed, called up Mannu from their mobile phone, had tea inside their shop and topped it off with a smoke. Customer service doesn't get better than that - no I think it was a sort of camaraderie, they really wanted to talk.

The next day morning we had a bit of scuffle, as I felt the Ashram fellow had gone back on the verbal commitment about room rates. It was double. The rates to start off were low, but sometimes it's not a question of the quantum, it's about ethics - usool.

Morning views were uber cool.

We went near the temple, took a bath in Tapt Kund (a hot water geyser). Its scalding hot in that weather, but the moment you enter fully, it's manageable - in fact it's enjoyable. It's a sulphur spring, so it's better to avoid flipping and floating in it for long. Had darshan in the temple. In my excitement to try and ring a bell tied at some height, I accidentally spilled the contents of the pooja plate from a lady standing behind me. Should've seen her face. I immediately gave her my Pooja stuff and pacified her.

After the darshan, we checked out of the Ashram and started the 3  kilometer walk toward Mana village. Vehicles ply till this village. The "last village" designation, has done good for the place in the last few years from tourists looking for photo-ops. Mannu Rawat had arranged for our accomodation. The weather had cleared, it wasn't cloudy or snowy anymore.

We had met at least five or six people who offered to be our guides to Satopanth Tal. They must have gauged from our backpacks, that we were probably on our way to something long. Shrugging everyone of, we reached a coffee house and we called up Mannu from a local phone, and presto, the place where we had stopped was in fact our accommodation. A small decent room, right at the cross roads between the small trails to Vyas Gupha (cave) and Bhim Pul (bridge). We met Mannu in a few minutes - first time, after months of phone calls, bookings, and other arrangements. He is a sturdy looking fellow -very healthy and lean for his age.

After discussions, we went for the short walk to Bhim Pul. Here's Saraswathi river from the top of the bridge. Spurred by the pristine look of the water, we decided to go downhill to get a better look. Here's the river, up, close and personal.

The video:

On the little climb back, we noticed a cow that had fallen to it's death.

Plastic is toxic:

And here are a few dwellings of the village from a distance.

After a walk with Mannu to Ganesh Gupha, Vyas Gupha (where the Mahabharath was apparently delivered), and the last tea shop in the country, we went back to our room to start an anticipatory night of tossing and turning. Dinner was served in the room. There was loud music playing some where in the background, but we shrugged it off and went to a quiet night's sleep in the last village in the Indian territory.

Part 2 can be found here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The ghost of Kandahar

Everyone is gung-ho about the IC-814 hijack. From our PM to Rahul G, everyone is using this to take a dig at the BJP.

Tell me friends, what would you have differently if the Congress was in power? Sent aircrafts and special ops forces to an airstrip with antiaircraft missiles (with the hijackers inside the plane)? It's a shame that Jaswant Singh travelled with the terrorists (possibly he thought it might be a media op).

WHAT would you have done? Launched an Operation Entebbe?

Terror Stance - Oh my God

Rajnath Singh (BJP president) says that if BJP comes to power it would send its armed forces to Pakistan to crush terrorism. He has been gracious enough to add that we will take international approval.
Are we kidding everyone (the Indian electorate, Pakistani nationals, international community) in one shot? It was another matter if everyone was serious on terror, but this seems like a rather curious posturing. We'll talk to US, EU, take into confidence Middle Eastern countries, and the rest of the world, ask China to sit quiet and THEN we will send our troops.
Going to war is not going to solve any of our problems. Look around. America at least has a geographical security that relatively insulates itself from attacks.
I would rather have the government focus on internal security, revamp and modernize the corrupt Police force, ask traffic cops to do a real job for a living, step up border patrol, track black money movement and detect counterfeits, have a stronger terrorism law, scrutinize the activities of certain semi political bodies operating in India, and most importanly take the whole nation into confidence. But all of this calls for - unfortunately an extremely rare metal in the periodic table India uses today. War is easier (and may be messier) than all of the things mentioned above - and talk of war is the easiest.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Here we go! We (myself and Shiju) planned to visit Kedarnath & Gandhi Sarovar in July '08. We ended up visiting Badri and Mana (the last Indian village) also. 

The trip was planned in a record time. I wanted to take a break and had made up my mind to go. 2 or 3 of the would-have-been travel mates dropped off one by one. Just went to Shiju's place and mentioned in passing that I was going, even if that meant alone. Within 20 minutes we were online - booking tickets to Delhi. We went to Bangalore ( I had to run some errands there), missed the unsympathetic SpiceJet flight (Never will I use that carrier again) to Delhi. Landed the next day in Delhi, and took a bus from ISBT to Haridwar. Thankfully, we got into some good company in Haridwar and booked a cab that will ferry us for the next few days. The driver's name was Manoj Tiwari, from Pithoragarh. Friendly and communicative fellow.

There's quite a lot of activity going on in the hills over here.  Names like NTPC, Alfa Laval, and Indowind Energy stuck.

The tunnel near Rudraprayag. (Prayag is more of a surname. Prayag=confluence=meeting point of two rivers). You have different prayags all along the route like Deoprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag etc.

This is terrace farming - something that I had only read about in geography texts.

It was raining like hell.

It sure was.

If there's one organization that I can vote for, I'll choose the Border Roads Organization (BRO) - love the acronym too. Landslides are a daily (if not hourly) affair in such mountain routes. BRO has men and equipment at different places along the route. Rubble that will otherwise delay the journey for hours, if not more, is usually removed quickly. They make what might seem like critical stoppages for lesser mortals look like child's play. Pick. raise and....

Shove....phooosh to the abyss below!

If there's anyone who's addicted to waterfalls out there - come here and quit. By the time you're done with a trip, you might say "ah...a beautiful waterfall...not again." However the feeling should ideally last for a month or two after the trek, and you will be yearning to go back again. If you open a bigger version of this picture, you'll catch a glimpse a the pastic waste. 

Gaurikund. This is the base point from which the 14km(7.77miles) trek to Kedarnath starts. The path is paved with stones and littered with stalls that provide refreshment and rest. You could walk, take a pony (Rs. 300-500 one-way, add a reasonable premium for a roundtrip), someone could carry you on his back, or be carried in a pallenquin by four sturdy fellows(I think that costs a 1000 Rupees or more).

Two ships, two directions!
A makeshift loo on the trek.

From here, the trek begins.

You could walk the whole distance in 3-4 hours. On our previous visits, we had covered it in 6-8 hours. Slow relaxed pace. 

As you can see, we decided to take ponies this time. On a pony, you could reach Kedarnath in a little over 3 hours. My friend is the lone ranger in the pic.

A typical stall, where you can have food. You could also take rest here. The man in the middle is Prem Singh, our pony guy. Still keeps in touch. Called him last month. He's gotta baby boy, whom he has named Himanshu - meaning Cool rayed, mountain peak, or one of the many interpretations that abound online.  I have a colleague whose name is Himanshu, and he says it means something else altogether - moon.

Ponies need food, like everyone else. They relish jaggery (buy it for them, if you happen to visit this place).

I decided to take a walk toward the end of the route, not out of bravado, but because of my left thigh that quit sitting on a transport that it's quite unaccustomed to. Here's Shiju, with a fellow traveler.

Mandakini river flows past the Kedarnath temple and joins Alaknanda (coming from Badrinath) at Rudraprayag. The source of Mandakini is a couple of kilometers away in the Chorabari glacier. It was 11.30 AM. We decided to just keep our bags in a hotel and walk to Gandhi Sarovar Lake. This move is ill-advised for any trekker, as you need time to acclimatize. Here we were, from an altitude close to sea level to around 3500 meters (11,500 feet) and counting in a span of 2 days.  And from a flight (Trivandrum to Delhi) to a bus (Delhi to Haridwar) to a car (Haridwar to Gaurikund) to a pony (Gaurikund to Kedarnath), our legs haven't had much of an exercise save the fidgeting and shifting.  

But we were raring to go, like two headless chicken, and thankfully, there was nobody to stop us.

The trek to Gandhi Sarovar lake is neatly paved for the first half. There's some work going on in the second half of the trek also. I think the distance from Kedar is 3 kms. No stalls or shops on the way. If it rains or snows, you get wet. Period. Some sort of rain gear is called for.  

That's a pic of Kedarnath township from a distance. The temple is the biggest structure in the middle. Plastic waste dumped into the river is quite an eye sore. The first time we visited this place was in 1998. From then, each visit proved that the deterioration has been fast and dramatic. May all of us have the dignity to avoid dumping water bottles or chocolate wrappers or anything of that kind on these serene locales.

Ugly: offensive to the sight : offensive or unpleasant to any sense. 
Example: A coke bottle on a glacier.

A cop on the way. Someone stole a board put up by the government and he had gone to investigate with two of his colleagues. There's only so much investigation that you can do at 3800 meters, and they found that the board is in fact gone. He was friendly. Cops here make close to 10,000 in a month. Liquor and meat is banned in the Char Dham route (:-)). Over here, if you have meat you're caught (pun not intended).

Whoah! One look and you know it's tough to cross. The time was close to 13.00, and we thought we could make it.

Time for some snaps.

We made it across to the other side, at the cost of your you know what getting wet. 

This is the second half of the trek where work is going on. Hopefully, next year's travellers will find it easier to travel. Incidentally, all the four Dhams are closed from the first week of November, because the entire area is covered with ice and snow. The temple deity is worshipped at a place downstream. The Dhams (and the trekking routes) open sometime in the beginning of May. 

We had chosen July, a relatively bad time of the year to visit. It's rainy, cloud covered and all that. Fortunately, the first glimpse of the mountains. The best time would be May/June. After that, you could have a good time in October, as the pilgrim season come to a grinding halt- a.k.a throwaway boarding and lodging and lesser crowds to deal with. That's demand/supply for you.

From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.

From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They're the songs of every man.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.
Julie Gold

A drizzle.  NOBODY... MESSES... WITH THE DO! 

Wet wet wet! 

Finally, the ice snout of Gandhi Sarovar Lake. The first time I came here, I thought this was Vasuki Tal (Tal=Lake). That lake is a lottttttt more work.  Mandakini river starts from the glacier in this region.


This is the lake. I like the next snap better.

Pristine. Crystal clear. With a better camera and a creative head behind the lens, this could have been a good photograph for a mineral water brand. This, L&G, is Gandhi Sarovar. The real name is Chorabari Tal. Gandhji's ashes were immersed here, and it became Gandhi Sarovar. Would Gandhi have appreciated such a name change? 

Flowers are collected from these areas to be used for poojas at the Kedarnath temple. 

This place is packed in snow and ice in the early part of May. For a read and look on how it would be in May you can access: 

I feel that this is a relatively easy trek. Good one for beginners.

On the way back.

I don't know why. I love this place from the cockles of my heart.

aarkkeda illathathu? (Linguistic excuse)

It's closer to 16.oo hrs. The crossing is going to be menacing, as the water flow usually increases during the later part of the day.

Not for the faint hearted.

And we are faint hearted. We take the downstream option. More work.

Botanists can have an orgy here.

Sepia. Me

Sepia. Me-too

Doggie. A few years back, we (Sumesh + yours truly) had come here, and I could not walk. We did not take ponies then...and the last 4 kms to Kedar needed to be covered. I was limping...totally beyond hope, it was late in the evening, and it started to snow. A dog stood by us. Walked all the way till we came to Kedar bridge. When we stopped, he stopped. When we walked he walked - right till the bridge over the river Mandakini. I'd called him "Bernard" then. Here's one of his kind. 

Here's the temple of Shri. Kedarnath. Shiva is the deity worshipped here. Shankaracharya apparently founded this temple. Shankaracharya's samadhi is a stone's throw away from here, behind the temple. We prayed at the temple during the night and left for Gaurikund the next day morning. 

Statement of stockholders equity. Hotel Mama(Uncle) Bhanja (Nephew)

Shiju wanted to see if we could pack Badrinath in our itinary. Manoj Tiwari was waiting in Gaurikund, and we quickly started for Badri. We stayed overnight at Joshimath, and took the first gate to Badri.

I never liked this company (Jaypee group = Jaiprakash Associates plus affiliates like JP Hydro) as an investment. Darling of the bull run, the company's been pummelled in the bear round. 

Badrinath Temple!

Ever seen a crow with a yellow beak? They're plenty here.

Here's SBI's philantrhpsdaical board announcing the LAST INDIAN VILLAGE! 
SBI has an ATM (which is a blessing) at Badrinath.

This is Bhim Pul - the bridge that Bhim laid across river Saraswati to carry his brothers and wife across. You can read more of the  story from the epic Mahabharatha at It's from this bridge that our planned trek to Satopanth Tal will (Insha Allah) happen in May this year. Supratim Roy has a good blog about this trek at

This is river Saraswati. Never heard a roar like this before.

Saraswati meets Alaknanda river immediately after Bhim Pul, and loses its identity. The spot is known as Keshav Prayag.

They say that the waters from Kailash Mansarovar flow in this small stream. 

Mana Village. The last Indian settlement. China beckons beyooond. The people, especially women, dress in a typical mountain way - Tibetan? I asked permission from a group of elderly women for a snap. They snapped - asked me to go take one of myself. :-) Guess they get pestered like that all the time, since their village is a sort of memorabilia spot. The price to pay for living in a place that's treated as a museum by the rest of the world.

The last tea shop in India - in Mana village.

If it's the last tea shop, what are Mallus gonna do? The tea is not that great, but it sells - quite predictably so. There's an opportunity for "India's second last but relatively better tea shop" here.

Mana villager's doggie!

Doggie with family!

Back to Haridwar. The Kaavad (a decorated arch that you carry on your head) yatra was happening at that point in time.

View of the Aarti spot, that millions of us might have watched on TV. You may get fleeced (depending on how you look at things). We almost got into the trap last time, when they sold us the aartis and flowers. A priest helps you perform the poojas. After a few chants, the inevitable question comes "How much would you want to offer for the peace of your ancestors? How much for a good career and job satisfaction?" By what I gave the last time, my ancestors must be cursing me wherever they are. As far as job satisfaction goes, my puny donation has served me right;-)

Commercial street. 
I found Haridwar to be one big market, selling all sorts of good like Om T-shirts, bracelets, small idols, precious stones, the omnipresent Rudraksh, and similar pilgrim paraphernalia. 
By the way, in all of our trips, there's a place next to Haridwar that we visit with a ferocity that equals fanaticism. It's called Sher-e-Punjab - vegetarians excuse - this place gives you the best chicken on the planet.  It's a few kms from Haridwar, the place is called Jwalapur. You can take a rick to reach it. Forget Jwalapur, just tell the rick driver that you want to go to Sher-e-Punjab.