Tag Archives: travelling

Ladakh – A Romantic Saga ||Episode 1 || Delhi – Sonmarg (Kashmir)

Day-1 (Delhi – Sonmarg) route details: Delhi – Sonipat-Panipat-Karnal-Ambala-Ludhiana-Phagwara-Jalandhar-Mukerian-Pathankot-Sujanpur-Kathua-Ghagwal-Samba-Jammu-Pulwara-Sringar-Ganderbal-Kullan-Sonmarg.
Total distance: 990kms.

The plan was pretty simple, really, or atleast so it seemed. Start driving late night and drive as far as we possibly could so that the 2nd day could be a relatively easy drive to Leh from wherever we would be at the end of 1st day’s drive. And since we were four guys and we all know how to drive, it pretty much should turn out to be an easy affair or atleast that’s how we thought it should be.

Now, the vehicle of choice was a SUV since we pretty much knew the terrains we would encounter woudn’t really be what you call ‘smooth’ in real sense. Yes, there would ofcourse be stretches where we would find some awesome tarmac to go “crazy” on, but then there would also be roads (or the lack thereof!), where we would pretty much crawl, to put it mildly. The stuff that we had packed for this 6-day long expedition to #Ladakh were:

  1. Camera gear (first & foremost, and for ME, most important)
  2. Warm clothes, although it turned out to be pretty much not needed (more on that later)
  3. Engine oil & a 5 litre extra jerry-can filled with diesel for the vehicle since finding diesel might just be an issue enroute
  4. Cash and bank ATM cards
  5. Snacks & chocolate bars for instant energy
  6. Miscellaneous knick-knacks.

We met at the now famous Taj CCD around 1am from where we were supposed to begin this journey. Now, driving on the straight stretches of highway is pretty much something which anyone with a sense of judgement and a patient and cool mind can easily do all night. Getting out of the Capital at that time of the night was a no-brainer and we were cruising happily on the National Highway-1 (or rather AH-1, as it is now officially known) in about 30 minutes time after leaving Delhi. Now, I am what everyone calls, a very patient driver and somebody who would NEVER take a risk while on the road, and since it was well past midnight, I decided to take it real easy and we took a couple of breaks here and there to pick up some energy drinks and just generally relieve ourselves and stuff.

The night was pretty much uneventful and with a driver change in between somewhere passed Chandigarh, we were in the hills by dawn. Now, once you cross into Jammu & Kashmir (at the Lakhanpur border), the prepaid mobile connections seize to work and that is because of the security concerns. Out of the four guys, two (me & another friend) had prepaid connections while the other two had postpaid ones. So, essentially, once we entered J&K after paying the toll-tax at the Lakhanpur border, the prepaid mobile networks were gone, and I pretty much switched off my mobile phone and kept it inside my camera bag, both, to conserve the battery (as if I’d need it in the next 6 days, except, perhaps, to surf the internet & check for emails/ whatsapp/ Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter over hotel wifi at different locations) and also, I just wanted to feel light. I wanted to feel free.

You see, mobile phones are good; I am not against them. But, there are days when you wish you wouldn’t have them but you cannot help it. So, Ladakh presented me an opportunity to be without my cell-phone for a period of 6 days at a stretch and somewhere deep down, I was pretty satisfied with this.

Nonetheless, this – the first day’s drive was pretty much uneventful, and although we had to drive constantly for more than 18 hours, we finally reached Sonmarg (which is about 990kms from Delhi) by night; if I remember, it was around 9:30pm or so that we checked into a nice, small, cozy hotel and relaxed for the night.

Kashmir Valley

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As tired as we were, while eating our dinner and even after going to bed, I constantly kept thinking and visualizing about the kind of high-passes & the terrains that we would encounter the next day. I had been to Ladakh on earlier occasions but the sheer excitement just doesn’t abate, no matter how many times you visit that magical place. I had also pretty much visualized the kind of shots that I wanted – both for my still album and for the film that I was there to shoot.

With all that excitement and adrenaline flowing through my veins, even at 2 in the night, I couldn’t really fall asleep while everyone else was fast asleep. Finally, after calming my nerves down, I went to sleep, for the next day had some amazing stories which were to unfold…

 

…to be continued.

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Ladakh, 2016 – Episode 1: Prologue

Ladakh is a dream destination for many, and as I start penning down the travelogue, I realize, there is so much to share, so much to write. And a barrage of emotions just batter me. Here is the first part (the prologue, really)  – Ladakh – A Romantic Saga: Prologue that I’ve managed to pen down. A lot of story-telling to be done, a myriad of emotions and memories to share. Stay hooked! 🙂

Kashmir – the first date

Kashmir – the first date is an account of a young & beautiful girl from an urban town who visits Kashmir for the first time & falls in love with the entire valley. I hope you guys enjoy watching this as much as I enjoyed filming it. smile emoticon

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24 Hours in the City of Joy – Kolkata

Today is Monday, and I just realized that this Kolkata video does not exist on my channel! Hence, I am re-sharing this 2 minute travel video on Kolkata, but this time it is up on my ‪#‎YouTube‬ channel. Please do Like, Share & Subscribe to my channel for interesting weekly (Monday) updates. smile emoticon Some awesome videos coming up in the coming weeks!

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India Gate at first light

Unlike many, I am a morning person. I never had any problems getting up in the morning just so I could catch the first light of the day, for light like that and pictures like this one you see below can only be created during the ‘Golden Hours’.

India Gate at dawn

 

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24 hours in Kolkata…

Kolkata is an amazing city. It is a city filled with a rich culture, and such rich history that it is almost impossible to experience the city in its entirety in just 24 odd hours.

Well, I was in Kolkata recently for a photo-assignment, and took some time out to film this. I hope you all enjoy looking at this 2-minute tribute to this ‘City of Joy’.

 

Travel As Much As You Can

I have been travelling since I could basically remember. My first ever trip started when my father moved his base from the place I was born. Since he had a transferrable service (defense forces), we all had to keep moving from one city to another every 2 to 3 years. My parents never were avid travellers so to speak, but I feel privileged that it is because of them that I got the opportunity to travel so much, and it is only because of them that this bug bit me. And bit me so hard!

I totally believe that there are so many important aspects to travelling. I can understand that you might not be able to travel so far and so frequently as I do, given the regular jobs that most people have. But, whenever you get this chance, please embrace it with both arms. I’ve, over the last many years, felt that travelling impacts how a person’s entire character is developed. You are basically not enclosed inside that bubble of yours; rather, you get outside your comfort zone. Travelling is something you cannot learn about reading in a book.

When you travel, you discover. You discover new, beautiful, interesting places that make you want to come back and experience different cultures that you weren’t even aware of. I think it has always been a part of me, and I am absolutely determined to keep on travelling for the rest of my life. There is just so much to see. So much to explore; but so little time.

Travel as much as you can throughout your entire life, for travelling will broaden your horizon, it will make you realize a lot of things in life. And remember, it does not need to be an expensive out of the country trip. A simple road-trip will be just as liberating, trust me. After all, you only live once.

P.S: I am off to another travel adventure day-after, and this time I’m exploring the South India. Starting from Bangalore, I’ll be renting a self-driven car, and exploring some wonderful places like Ooty, Munnar, Valparai and the likes and shall bring back a lot of memories in the shape of photographs and ofcourse these travel blog entries. 🙂 So excited! Cannot wait for the trip to start.

Remembering Mom…

Today, I feel really sad. I don’t really know any other way how to start this blog entry than to just put it bluntly – I miss my mom. It has been 2 years that she passed away but I just cannot stop mourning. Nobody wants their parents to outlive their children, I am sure. The thought of any parent having to bury or burn their child is just so awful & bleak. Yet that doesn’t make it any more esy to lose your mom. My mom passed away two years back in a sudden heart-stroke. Yes, I know it has been 2 long years without her, but the feeling of bereavement is so intense that it’s virtually unbearable.

Watching mom die in my own arms was one of the most horrible experiences I have ever been throigh, though I am grateful for all the times I got to spend with her in the past 30 years. I haven’t been able to write so clearly about my emotions for her in my blog till now. Understandably, I am quite sad, which can also be a big motivation killer. That being said, having my work to concentrate on has been, shall I say, a welcome distraction.

Mom and I were close; although I have a elder brother but mom really and seriously loved me to the core. Because my dad travelled and worked when I was young, I spent most of my time growing up with her. We also shared similar personality traits, I believe including a little bit of sensitivity as well. I completely believe a lot of me is because of my mom. She was the most loving person I have ever known. She is perhaps the best example of “unconditional love” I have ever seen. There were times when she did struggle to make and keep friends but she never really complained about others and had always time for her family. There was this another amazing quality in her; she never pushed me to do things I really did not want to do. As a small kid, I was kind of shy, and a shy kid doesn’t really want to do many things outside by himself. However, there are times I wish she would have pushed me a little harder to do things; maybe I would’ve been a different person altogether, I don’t know.

The day she passed away, I was out working and came home a little late. As I entered the house, she calmly looked at me and asked me to have dinner. I had no idea what was to come. The night did seem to pass by pretty quick and as I was preparing to just work a bit on my laptop, my father called out my name and said there was something wrong with mother. I rushed out of my room, and could see her gasping for air, and she couldn’t really speak. I held her in my arms, while my brother called an ambulance. I took a glass of water and she had one sip before she completely collapsed in my arms. I wasn’t sure at all how to identify death, or I couldn’t believe that she was gone. So, I picked up her hand. It was lifeless, I looked at her face and she looked absolutely lifeless. At that very moment, it stuck me; mom was gone. Forever.

I am, to this day, still coming to terms with what happened. Mom was like that safety blanket growing up as all moms are. Ofcourse, as I grew older, I became more independent and in many ways I started to look after mom like she used to look after me. But, I can sense a change in my after she passed away. I know I am a changed man. She calmed me, when I used to get restless, she loved me without any condition whatsoever and she genuinely thought good about me no matter what the situation was. Since the day she passed away, I am having a hard time even beginning a new phase of life as mom ended her time on this planet. All she ever wanted was for me to be happy, and as I type these lines, my eyes are moist and these tears roll down my cheek. God, I miss her.

I am glad of the fact that she did not have to suffer and was gone in an instant. But, then again, on an personal level, I am sad that she would never be able to see my wife, or her grand-children as all she wanted was for me to get married to a nice girl. This, for me is one of the hardest things to come to term with, that I was not really able to make her happy. Or proud.

Seeing a loved one die infront of your eyes is the most surreal experiences I could ever have. I want to talk to my mom on days, and there are nights I just cannot sleep at all. I want to talk to her and tell her everything about my life that has happened ever since she left me because I would talk to her for anything in life.

You know, to wake up knowing that someone who was always there for you is not there anymore is about as devastating as life gets, besides facing your very own mortality. I cannot keep this a secret anymore, that I have thought about death a lot many times since she left me. I thought about death even last night; but I know she would probably like me to be happy. And I would like to believe she is watching me from above.

Everybody around me believes that I am a bad human being, for I hurt people and say things that I do not always mean. I think my mom’s death has changed me drastically, the entire experience has changed me. All I would like to say at this moment is that one should live life like it was the last day of their life and you may not have as many days as you thought, but that’s not what I really feel. I feel that death is perhaps more closer to me than I have ever felt before. I do not mean to count days, and all that but what I mean is that it is so real. It’s more present now, more solid than ever before.

Till death takes me into her arms, I would try and distract myself with things that I love – photography, a lot of travelling, writing and just be in love with the one woman that I have always loved, no matter she failed to understand and feels that I am the worst person in this entire world.

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