I feel like amputating my legs! – A bitter truth revealed

A dream destination for most of the Indians…..came true for me and my family this summer (2017). Yes, it has been a childhood dream and fascination for me to visit Darjeeling, a hill station in West Bengal, India. This wonderful place also boasts the title “Queen of the Hills” for its pristine beauty and splendor.

Queen of Hills - Darjeeling

Queen of Hills – Darjeeling

I started using the weather predictor websites 15 days before our departure to see how Darjeeling would treat me while we are there. Results from the predictor was indeed very pleasant and this only increased my anxiety….

First leg of our tour was Darjeeling, the Queen of Hills. A beautiful and serene place which certainly justified and lived up to its title. Very cold mornings and even colder evenings were the norm of the day in Darjeeling. The majestic view of Kanchenjunga (third highest mountain in the world) from our resort was an added delight during our stay.

Kangchenjunga (third highest mountain in the world)

Kanchenjunga (third highest mountain in the world)

Expectations were slowly building up for our last leg of tour which was Gangtok, a Himalayan range in the East of India. Much hyped and publicized place of must visit site was the famous Nathu la pass which is a mountain pass that connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous region. The pass is located at 14,140 feet above the sea level and therefore we left no stone unturned to prepare for this big trip.

I made sure that I charged all my gears (Camcorder, Mobile camera, Power banks, etc) the previous night itself. Our trip started at 8 am and the expected travel time was 2 hours to reach the peak. There were huge traffic jams right through our journey. We were almost used to this because of our stay in Darjeeling prior to Gangtok. We reached the peak around 12:30 pm after a brief sojourn on the way to relax our legs and to use the restroom. Tourism is so good in this place, yet I was wondering why there was no good restrooms to use. We somehow managed our natures call in that chill weather (around 8.6° C) and proceeded towards the peak.

Once in the peak the temperature was 4.2° C and therefore we could not avoid wearing our hand gloves to protect ourselves. It was such a beautiful visual treat for all of us including the thousands of tourist who had thronged to have a glimpse of this historic place. Several warnings were given to us on the lack of oxygen at the peak which worried us a bit. But we took a brave move and reached the apex. We were not allowed to use our cameras or mobiles which was a bit disappointing though.

Nathu la pass

Nathu la pass

Also to our dismay was the lack of any medical help by the Indian Government to the tourists who were suffering from breathlessness. There was no sight of emergency aid or first aid and it was only the fellow tourists who were helping each other by passing on some camphor pieces to sniff and alleviate the breathlessness problem. Little were we aware of the most dreadful thing which we were about to experience during our descent.

Tranquil setting of the mountain pass was indeed a delight to watch and it certainly got registered in our memories even though not in my camera. But the freezing cold weather forced us to look for a washroom with some urgency. Eventually we saw one, not through any sign board but because of the huge crowd flocking at that place. I could see two distinct queue for men and women. My wife joined the long queue which was serving only one toilet for the so many tourists who had come to this place after paying a good sum of money to the authorities (legal). I was waiting patiently with my kids for her to return.

There she came after a while with so much of tears in her eyes and started to vent out all her frustrations and anger on me for using ONE OF THE WORST TOILETS IN HER LIFE TIME. Yes, it was so appalling it seems that she came and told me “I feel like amputating my legs!” for treading on such a nasty and dirty toilet. She was visibly perturbed and was becoming sick by the minute recounting her experience and her inability to have used such a (in) convenience provided by the Indian Government.

To me, Nathu la pass, was till then considered as India’s Pride but it turned out to be a shame on the Indians to been made to use such a filthy facility in a prime tourist spot. Glad this spot is not allowed for the foreigners…..

Swach Bharath (Clean India) program is such a revolutionary movement by our Prime Minister which deserves a lot of Kudos, but we seem to be thousands of miles away from reaching our goal.

 

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What next? – A man who inspired the whole nation!

Kalam

I have so much to write about this great personality, yet nothing to write because the media has said it all in various forms. The press is simply overwhelmed with the tributes and condolences for this great citizen of India to whom any title would only belittle him. If you think anybody can be as simple as Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam in this modern world, you need not even think beyond him. Simply there is only one A.P.J.

We have celebrated him many times for all his achievements and felt proud of us being an Indian citizen during his presidency period during 2002 – 2007. I have been listening to a lot of fond memories from various personalities recollecting their precious moments with the Late. Dr.A.P.J. It only makes me to ponder if somebody could create such an enormous impact in the whole of India.

Kalam

I have seen a lot of celebrities die in the past and even recently a great music genius Mr. M.S.Viswanathan who was celebrated like a god by the music fraternity and the Tamil people worldwide. Certainly these departed souls have left a legacy behind and even I have felt quite emotional when I hear the contribution made by them to our society. Though I feel emotional for the demise of Dr.A.P.J somehow a feeling of pride overcomes my emotion when I see the way India is celebrating the life of this gentlemen. I have never seen a common man conducting a candle light vigil for any personality even though many of them have given them a lot of tangible asset in the form of music, cinema, sports etc.

I did see flocks of people congregated all through the journey from my work to home standing in front of big banners with the charming face of Dr. A.P.J and people expressing their deep sorrow and respect by lighting candles and standing in silence with stagnant tears in their eyes. Simply moved by this, I thought I should atleast register this blog on his memory and humbly claim this to be a tribute to him.

Tribute to Abdul Kalam

I heard the Director of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recollecting his experience with Dr.A.P.J. He was in all praise about the late President and simply summed it up by saying that it was only because of APJ that we are able to proclaim to the world on our prowess in the Space research, Missile technology, Mission to the Moon and Mars. He was very proud in saying that US could achieve a mission to the Mars only after 4 failed attempts and so was Russia which succeeded only after 8 attempts. But with APJ’s brain we were able to succeed in the first attempt. He told that APJ would always ask him “What Next?” which was one thing which inspired him a big way. 

A man with a noble road map for India to become a developed nation by 2020.

A man who proudly confessed that he would wish to be reborn in a developed India.

A man who worked towards achieving the goal and vision he had set.

A man who had inspired millions of people both in India and abroad.

A man revered for his simplicity and his humility.

A man who lives in the heart of all of us.

A sincere and honest SALUTE to you Sir.

RIP (Return If Possible)

Kalam RIP

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I just peed in my water bottle – November 23rd 2015

At 5:33pm one of my friend calls me at work and says, “Hey Raja, it’s raining bloody crazy outside and you should better leave now to avoid any flooding”.

Having braced so much of rain in the last 10 days, I took his advice with a pinch of salt and left the office sharp at 6pm with drenched clothes (the rain was so intense that before I could reach my car, I was soaked). My office exit was a trailer of what was about to unfold in the next few hours.

Traffic Jam in Chennai

Traffic Jam in Chennai

I hit the main road pretty soon and saw the traffic was already chaotic and the rain was intensifying by the minute. “Flooding” would be a slightly exaggerated word to describe what I saw in the first 15 minutes of my travel before I hit the signal. But the atmosphere around me and the tensed people on the road was slowly making me a bit grim.

Twenty five (25) minutes into my drive I hit one of the busiest market place in Chennai called Pondy Bazar. The scene I witnessed there made me to contemplate whether this was an illusion or reality. Vehicles were already under one (1) feet of water. Yes, now I could proclaim that this was flooding.  Vehicles were moving at snail pace when I frantically rang my wife to check the news update. She confirmed that Chennai is being battered by very heavy rain for the last 1 hour.

Flooding at the market place

Flooding at the market place

Hundreds and thousands of commuters from all directions trying to reach home after work were taken aback by the cruelty of nature and its ferocity. I was quite cool listening to the radio, but not really within. Trying to take my usual route to home was the first mistake I did because it was through one of the subway. My mental agony started when I was diverted from there. This  put me into a spin. I was already 50 minutes into my journey.  By this time I am already home normally.

Pressure started to build in me gradually. Flood alert is something which I felt was a badly missed out feature in the GPS system, I felt like that WATER has invaded the city of Chennai and showing its absolute destructive strength. Continuous rains made the situation even more desperate. It was indeed so pathetic to see a lot of two wheelers pushing their vehicle in one feet of water and it was so sad to see the ladies going through this ordeal. I was exactly 95 minutes into the journey and still nowhere close to home.

Heavy rains in Chennai

Heavy rains in Chennai

Vehicle with boiling radiators, failed two wheelers, bemused and stranded public, chaotic traffic, helpless traffic police, desperate ladies, worried families, homeless people finding refuge, erratic driving, desolate street kids, confused cattle, disappointed shopkeepers, street vendors despair, some caring Samaritans, tensed long distance travelers, was what I could see all around me. But being inside the car did not absolutely make me proud, happy or safe at any time because of the non-stop rain and the rising water levels.

Kept broadcasting my location coordinates to my family every few minutes. 150 minutes (2.5hrs) into the journey, I was almost floating in 1.5 feet of water. I was at an intersection about to take the straight road when one erratic driver made me to take a right instead. Guess what? He probably guided me in the right direction (blessing in disguise). But my relief did not last long…I quickly caught up with the majority of them in the traffic jam. Slowly news started to trickle in that a lot of my family members and friends were stranded at different places.

Flooding in Chennai

Flooding in Chennai

I honestly felt that I might have to either stay put in the car or check in into a hotel to avoid further risk to my life and damage to my car. Almost 3.2 hours into the journey I was only 2 kms away from my house. All of us on the road wanted only one thing in common. “To reach the finish line (HOME)”

With the phone battery getting depleted every minute, I called my friend who gave the wise advice to leave immediately. The guy who promptly picks up the call took a while to answer, making me a bit worried. Finally he picked up the call and sounded very relieved. I was glad that at least he reached home safe. But he told me “Hey Raja, sorry da, I just peed in my water bottle as I was damn bloody desperate holding it for more than 4 hours. I am yet to reach my home.” I got a shock of my life and only then realized that this is one another dimension of suffering which people were going through at that point in time. I felt very sorry for the women, kids and others in their stranded vehicles.

After 4 hours and 42 minutes I reached home and was glad to see my well-wishers and my family waiting for me in the finish line and cheering me as soon as I entered. I will never forget this experience in my life time.

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Kids being drugged – Next level of crime in Chennai, India

One of the top crime incident in Chennai, India

Yet did not get the TOP attention in the media.

Innocent kids are being drugged through one of their most enticing edible products which is the CHOCOLATE.

I can hear you asking…….Why do you want to add any drug to this already addictive chocolates?

Attractive & Addictive Chocolates

Attractive & Addictive Chocolates

Yes, poor kids and even the adults are slowly coming to grips about this next level of crime which has just unfolded in Chennai, India recently. Just sparing the arrest of a few of the culprits there is not much media attention and protest about this most horrendous crime.

As a citizen of this country, I am still not able to contemplate on this incident. This kind of act to me is yet another form of corruption which has become an incurable disease. Well, if these kind of activities could not be eradicated from the system, I feel that we should embrace it as a constitutional right and frame some guidelines and rules for corruption. This way we at least would have some law, guidelines, etc and possibly some punishment for any violation.

Chocolates

Chocolates

This recent incident of drug-laced chocolates is such a brutal act of crime against the innocent kids and the hard-working parents. These parents already have a big struggle to make the ends meet and provide their family with a decent food and living. Now they have been deceived by the Food Safety department which has allowed these kind of imports or locally made chocolates to be on sale without any quality check.

What were the concerned authorities doing?

Who are all involved in this shameful act?

How long has this been going on and how far it has spread?

Why are these governing bodies not pro-active? 

Holding candle light vigil for people who are sacrificing their lives or compensating the affected victims can only bring a temporary solace. The Government should be very tough in adhering and enforcing the guidelines framed for Food Safety and protect its citizens from any outright breaches like this. Also the punishment for these offenders should be very severe irrespective of whether they are officials or criminals.

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A unique condition I suffer from – Revelation soon

Raja

Raja

Seven (7) years back, I vividly remember the day. It was a very pleasant morning. Rays from the sun slowly passed through the window curtains and gave me a warmth feeling. Woke up and geared up for what the day was to unfold. Getting my daughter ready for the school was a joint exercise myself and my wife did each morning which is a nostalgia when I think about it now. Infact I have written a blog on My daughters (Ramya) first day at school which could give you some insight on what I am alluding to….

Father and Daughter all set for the morning drive in my sporty Mirage. Work and school starts at 8 am and hence we were in synchrony in timing. My little daughter was always expecting a lot from me and I never disappointed her during those 20 minutes’ drive. Like a DJ in the club, I was constantly playing her favorite songs. I would even excite her by revving up my engine now and then to create an illusion of speeding like a super hero. Sometimes I switch on to the roller-coaster drive mode where I used to stamp on the clutch unnecessarily to create that jerky effect. She enjoyed every bit of it.

Bye, bye…… she said happily and ran to her class and I stepped into my office 14 minutes later. I could never forget that day in my life when…..

 

 

 

 

 

I will be coming up with my complete blog on this. Maybe it will take some time. But my main objective here is to create an awareness among you all on this and not for any other reason.

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A playboy and his two victims – Real incident

Stop said the red signal when I was at least 100 meters away in my car. Reducing the speed and slowly getting it to a halt was no big feat. I did so on the morning of 4th April 2016 while on my way to work.

One person caught my attention while doing so. He was a very old (75 years approx.), skinny guy who was well dressed in a formal wear with shirts tucked in. He was attempting to cross the road when I started wondering about this old man’s dressing. He had a strange round winter cap on his head which was bright yellow in color with something written on it. All the while I was thinking why such a strange combination of a formal wear and a winter cap.

While he was just crossing the road, he almost collided against a lady who was crossing in the other direction. Felt sorry for him being an old man. When he just came nearby he stumbled upon on another young girl and walked away as if nothing happened.

Only at that point in time I could read the saying in the cap which said “I am a PLAYBOY

Well it made me to laugh and gaze at him more closely.

Pondering on how many more victims for this playboy until he reaches his destination.

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Sexual abuse in the bus – Chennai, India

Sexual abuse in bus

A Crowded bus in Chennai

My blog titled “A bus journey in Chennai, India – An hour of abuse in route 27c” has received a lot of reviews / comments from people all over the world. In fact it has been statistically proven that it was the most visited blog of mine last year (2015). Click here to read the blog…… http://wp.me/pXMJX-e

In the midst of so many social blogs I write, I was pondering why this blog is receiving so much of traffic and that too from various parts of the world. Well, anyone could infer that these kind of indecorous activities are either prevalent all over the world or India is becoming one hot spot for this.

Recently the Punjab and Haryana court had ordered the state authorities to check any incident of sexual harassment happening in their public transport. Of course this action came only after the loss of a 13 year old girl who jumped of the bus near Punjab fearing molestation by some youth inside the bus. Also who can forget the horrific incident of Nirbhaya in Delhi a few years back who died after fighting a losing battle.

These incidents are grim reminders for us to realize that there are some daemons who are still out at large and preying on young girls and ladies who travel by bus on a daily basis.

Like the Government being ineffective on many public issues, this is yet another needle in the haystack. I recently wrote a poem in Hindi which specifically deals with such abuses and I share with you the catch line of the poem in which a girl says “This is my body and what right do you have on that

Yeh jism hei mera – This is my body!

Is mei hak kya hei tera! – What right you have on this?

Wish the girls/ladies become more brave and courageous to expose these bad elements in the bus.

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