I have been lucky enough to have got an opportunity to travel across to 35 countries for work & pleasure.Even today, I travel almost 2 weeks a month from Asia to Africa to North America. The list of the countries that I have traveled to can be a tad long but it makes for a very attractive read and makes lot of my friends & acquaintances jealous. It is quite normal for people to come over to me and compare me to Ranbir Kapoor of Yeh Jawani hai Diwani(Bollywood Hot Movie) and particularly to the below song;
While, I appreciate their generosity and kindness- to tell you the truth sometimes during my travels the song that I can best relate to is the below one;
Over the years, I have developed a passion for the following things in my life;
And, if you see closely, the purpose of me having a passion for, each of the above four things is interconnected to each other, I read books because I want to be a better person everyday, I want to learn from experiences of other people, what have they done to be where they are today? how did they achieve what they did?I write because, I want to share whatever little I am learning in my day to day life, so be it on Good reads or on my Linked In or this blog, I continue writing and sharing. I like to travel because well, in my view, travel is one of the best ways in which a person can experience life and learn new perspectives about things that he/she may not even think existed. Travel adds positivity to our life like no other things can and last but not the least I love to drive, I have always loved doing it and every time I need a break from my daily life, I pick up my car and just drive away far from the maddening and crushing city life for my Instant Relief.
So, keeping some of my above passion in perspective, I recently took a Road trip from Faridabad- Badrinath driving my I20 Active all the way and back, a total distance of about 1250 KM. Here are some of the statistics of the journey I undertook;
Vehicle: Hyundai I 20 Active- Petrol
Route: Faridabad-> Noida -> Ghaziabad -> Lansdowne -> Pauri -> Srinagar -> Rudraprayag-> Joshimath -> Badrinath -> Mana Village -> And back via Rishikesh
Total Members: 4 ( My Wife, Parents and Me)
Total Travel Days: 6 Days & 5 Nights ( 2 Nights- Lansdowne, 2 Nights- Joshimath, 1 Night- Rishikesh)
Road Condition: Pretty Good but do note that 40 Kms stretch from Joshimath to Badrinath is in really bad shape with non existent roads and lot of slush/water from landslides. It is an adventure to drive on these roads but caution is order of the day and also on NH58 the stretch around Nagrasu(Around 5-6 KMS) after Karnaprayag is in really bad shape.
Some of the Pictures from the same;
To many such more visits in the future!
In case you are also planning this trip, please feel free to reach out to me, I will be happy to answer any specific questions that you may have.
With regards to the recent unfortunate incidents in Delhi concerning an African National, I was invited to be part ofBBC World Radio Talk Show.
The topic being discussed was how is it to be an African in India? Although, I was happy to be presenting my views on the topic, I was surprised by really sad and unfortunate experiences of couple of speakers.
You can find our full conversation from the show by clicking over here: BBC World Have Your Say! In the link, our discussion starts, at about 33:00 Mins and I chip into the conversation in the last 10 minutes of the show basically summing up my points on this incident from my previous write up on this issue, which you can find by clicking over here.
I do believe that Africa-India relations are centuries old and no matter how many hiccups, we have only one way to go, which is UP! There can be obstacles in the way but we need to take them head on and get them out of the way and we need to do this if not for today but for our future!
Was pleasantly surprised to find the below rendition of a Hit Punjabi pop song Patiala Peg by some of my really talented and musical African Friends. I think this fusion of cultures is the way forward for all of us in IndiAfrica!
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan. I visited the twin cities of Astana and Almaty. Astana is the new upcoming capital of Kazakhstan with Architecture to compete with any global city. Really cold though during this time of the year, temperature in day time hover around 15’C-20’C below 0’C with night time temperature reach even -30′ C. Almaty on the other hand is a little warmer in comparison though only, the average temperature hovers around 5’C-15’C below 0’C. Almaty also is a bigger and a older city in the country with history of its own. If I was to choose between the two cities Almaty will come a notch higher just due to its inviting outlook to people. Astana looks more to me as upcoming Dubai of Central Asia. Below are some of the impressions from my week long visit.
Quick Facts about Kazakhstan
1. Almay is just about 3 hours and 20 minutes from Delhi
If someone is to ask me what are my passions, Driving will come a close second to Books for me. I have been driving for more than 12 years now, started way back when I was 18 years old. I have driven to lot of places since then. The most I drove in 1 day was when I drove down from Ahmedabad to Delhi in 15 Hours non stop. I still remember that day, I was in college 2nd year and we needed to visit Gandhidham in Kutch Gujarat for my cousin sister wedding and while coming back we were supposed to return via Ahmedabad. That was the time when we had just bought our new Hyundai Santro and I just loved driving it around.So, when this opportunity came upon me, I was not the one to let it go. Started from Ahmedabad in the morning around 6 and was in Faridabad (Delhi-NCR) by 9 in the evening. One of my most memorable trips.
Since then I have driven to Mussorie, Shimla, Dharmshala, Amritsar, Chandigrah, Nainital and lot of other places. I have even got a UAE driving license and driven to all the 7 emirates in UAE myself, when I was in Dubai for about 3 years.
This year holidays presented me with an opportunity to plan another road trip to Jaipur and Udaipur which is close to 700 Kms from Delhi. I drove down to Udaipur with my wife and it was a pleasure, the road is quite good although the Gurgaon to Jaipur stretch is full of diversions and jams due to the on going construction activity in the area but the route from Jaipur to Udaipur is a dream, take the Jaipur-Kishangarh expressway and you will not know where the miles went by. It was a memorable trip for both me and my wife.
My friends do ask me, what do I love about driving and how I am able to Drive long hours on Indian roads, without getting into long philosophical answers, I can simply answer it from the picture below.This is from a friendly highway restaurant in Rajasthan, I was looking for a Gents toilet but all I got was the one below, although I must say it worked out for me quite well in the end. 😀
I am a business traveller, work keeps me away from my family for about 3 weeks a month and when you travel you are faced with new challenges everyday. Even the smallest things that we take for granted become a challenge, a task to be achieved. Starting from your breakfast to communicating a simple thing as getting around the town in a Taxi. It is in these situations that you can also find some of the most interesting people around you.It is in these circumstances that I met one die hard Shahrukh Fan Taxi Driver in down town Jakarta.
Really an Indonesian Chaiyya Chaiyya? yes this was my response when my taxi driver told me about it and to top it, the main lead for this Indonesian Chaiyya Chaiyya was a Policeman. He had the video on his mobile and it brought a smile on my face the moment I saw it.
This video got us started and he talked about mind you in really broken English about his visit to his sister who works in Mumbai and how he went to Shahrukh Khan house just to see if he could catch a glimpse of King Khan. Bollywood breaks the ice more often than not in even countries where language is a problem.