Saturday, April 30, 2016

We are a Nation of Zero Accountability

We are a nation of totally callous people with no accountability. Every passing day it becomes even more and more evident.

In every state, young vulnerable children of very small age (and thus size) fall in the tube wells that were sunk but did not yield water. It has become a routine affair in this nation without touching any one's conscious. To rescue that child, a race against time starts with locals, police, fire brigade, NDRF and finally Army rush in. Some times the fate wins and the efforts fail. Some other times the fate wills better and the efforts succeed with the child rescued safe and sound.

Isn't it a very common story? but then what happens to that firm or individuals, who, in the first place, left a dead bore well uncapped / unfilled in callous manner. I don't remember reading / hearing anything about who left the bore well uncapped and what was done to them.

On another front, manholes covers regularly are removed and not replaced. sometimes they are stolen but new one are not put back. In city like Mumbai which sees a deluge of water on its streets resulting in massive flooding almost every alternate year, people fall in open manhole and die. I have never heard of a municipal officer or worker responsible for leaving a manhole open, who has lost his job or faced any punishment.

As soon as a road is laid, there is a race among departments of state government / Local body as to who will dig this newly laid road first. All departments, water supply, electricity and what not, immediately after road laying, start digging it on some or the other pretext. May be they did not anticipate just a week ago, prior to laying the road that they need to lay something under the road or across it. I grant it to them.

What is not understood is, after digging, why that digged hole or patch remains unrepaired for moths or years together. I am sure, when the digging contract is given, repair of digged patch is also covered in the cost of the contract. Why is then either the contractor or the govt official supervising the job not penalised. In fact the officials should have, in the first place, been penalised for not anticipating the work prior to road laying.

For years, railway passengers have been falling between the train and the platform because for some inexplicable reason, the gap between the train and the platform is excessive. None of the railwaymen seem to be answerable. May be, they think, merely providing train for commute is a great favour done by them to the nation. In Mumbai Suburban section of both WR and CR, if I remember correctly, the gaps between train and the platforms have been corrected only after Mumbai HC orders. Where is this accountability, which has been long dead, buried, I have no clue.

People die regularly in this nation. Some of them die due to callous attitude shown by those responsible to act. Loss of life is just accepted as fate and the person who should have acted to keep roads, streets, footpath, digged hole, bore wells and Railwasy safe merely shrugs it away and goes on to keep doing similar things ensuring that people meet the Yamraj ahead of their time. Accountability? Do not fear it, it is merely a word in English dictionary as far as this nation is concerned. We are indeed a nation of zero accountability.

Kashmir 9 days Trip - Enjoyment report day 3

Day 3- Charar - e - Sharif and Yusmarg

11 Apr 16

It was a day that made us worried. It was raining since morning and by the time we finished the breakfast and got ready to go on our day trip, the rain became heavy. It got us worried but we behaved like brave soldiers and decided to press on as per plan.

The plan was to visit Charar E Sharif and then to proceed to Yusmarg. Yusmarg is a place where Lord Jesus is said to have lived post he was crucification and resurrection when he has supposed to have travelled to Kashmir.

Charar E SHarif is a very revered place, a dargah (final resting place) of Sheikh Nooruddin Noorani, a sufi saint who is known as Sheikh ul Alam and Sahazanamd (to hindus) and is also called Nund Rishi (interesting). Surprisingly, there is a whole series of Rishi order of sufi saints in Kashmir (remember, Hindu hermits are known as Rishis). In fact a Shaiviate Yogani and a Sufi Lal Ded had maximum influence on Nund Rishi.

We loaded the cars with necessary things like umbrellas, etc and left by about 1000. as mentioned earlier, it was  pouring but we had to take chances. As we left Srinagar and pressed on after about 30 minutes the rain left us alone. enjoying the scenery soon we were going through climbs and troughs over various hills and then the town of Charar E Sharif was in sight. Passing through the town we reached the Mazar proper in the centre of the town by about 1115. Here it was majestic and beautiful. It was not Grand to say but it made up for that for the peace and serenity that one felt looking at it.

Charar E Sharif, The Dargah
 We walked into the compound and then split in to two parts in honur of the tradition there. Men have a different entrance and women have another entrance. While men go up to (and not inside) the inner sanctrium women also can take Darshan of the Mazar but from behind another Kashmiri Woodwork Jali.

After paying our respect we took inside round of the building including a deck floor inside, The Khidmatgar in the complex gave us tabrukh (similar to Prasad).

Mazar Block Photographed from the Deck inside

Inside the Dargah, Mazar block is seen straight ahead

After visiting the mazar we toured the complex which has a under construction (or may be under renovation or upgrade) Mosque, which seem to be grander compared to the mazar itself. Also some people utilised restroom (fancy word for local toilets) available as one exits the mazar complex from its gate on the left behind corner.
In the Compound

This Mazar was originally a wooden structure of Kashmiri style which got gutted in a fire fight between terrorist and security forces during a hole up by militants in the Dargah.

Once outside the complex we got talking to locals who were very proud of being from this place. they told us about celebrations that take place once in a year (may be Urs). we also talked to shopkeepers selling Sweetmeat and savoury of local liking and there were many things. However for sweet, it was suji halva (they call it Sheera as we too call it that way in Marathi) to be eaten with some kind of Rumali roti size fried roti.

kangari is always welcome in Kashmir - In the Charar E Sharif Market

After a cup of tea we started off for Yusmarg by about 1215 and reached there by 1300 hrs. The sky was overcast but there was no rain. As soon as the car was parked and we came out, the sheer beauti of this place with rolling meadows and hills full of conifers surrounding them was evident. It was our second moment of WoW.

All of us said the same thing - WOW

Beautiful Local Mosque, Right Next to Parking Lot

Rolling Meadows - I

Look at The Sheer Beauty
The children decided to head off to a lake about four Km away on foot (and horsemen were after them to take horses) and we decided to take a stroll towards Meadows (in difference to my mother of 80 years age who felt she can not take horse ride.

All Smile

Attempting Horse ride - Only for Photo purpose

When the Heart is Happy - It shows on your Face

Even this simple two km walk in the meadows itself was enjoyable. the pathway leading to meadow though was part broken part slushy and muddy. This pathway also leads to major treks of yusmarg.

Sorry State of the Pathway - May be rain is to be blamed but we braved it

Post this trip, it was tea time followed by wait for children to return. We had lunch thereafter and returned to Srinagar by about 1700 hrs while rain clouds were gathering at Yusmarg. It was fun to be at Yusmarg.
Barkha Rani Jara Jam Ke Barso

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kashmir 9 days Trip - Enjoyment Report - Day 2

Day Two - Sonamarg

10 Apr 16

Sonamarg is a snow bound area where one is likely to find snow at lesser distance from the road, even during summer, unlike Gulmarg where it may not be so at that time. Literally translating it means Meadow of Gold, possibly because the slope and the area being snowbound through the year the reflection of sun rays must be making the snow mass look golden (and it is my guess without any backing of wikipedia, etc).

This place is about 80 odd Km from Srinagar. Our journey started post Breakfast at about 0945. After crossing Srinagar city we were on Srinagar Leh highway. The drive was very scenic takings us through villages full of Mustard fields. There were also some fields which had some other crop and they looked lush green. The mosaic of Yellow riot of Mustard fields and green carpet of other fields created a very distinct and attractive pattern.

It was difficult to resist the call of the Mustard fields and that made us stop, for what else but photo ops. The result is for you to see.
Green and yellow fields along the Road

Always by my side (And I love it)

Competing Two Beauties in one Frame

Family Time

Our journey continued and soon the River Sind or Sindh ( I am told it is not river Sindhu of Indus valley fame but a tributary of Jehlam) or Nullah Sind (as some times it is called) started giving us company. Sind river, with its melodious flowing sound follows the highway to Leh over a long distance. Technically, Sonamarg is also on the bank of Sind. We found a beautiful spot on the road along sind and stopped the vehicle. Went down to the river, enjoyed its fresh, sweet and chilled water and captured its beauty. I want my blog readers to also enjoy the beauty.

Lone man on the bank of river

River gives the Josh for Victory (sign)
Musically (and Rapidly) Flows the Sind

After a small break on the banks of refreshing Sind, we joined back Leh highway for Sonamarg. Soon we were thereby about 1245  and also the Snow was all around to welcome us.

First Glimpse of Snow
The Parking lot along the snow
Soon enough, we borrowed Gum Boots and set off to conquer the snow hill. Only time would tell if we conquered the hill or the hill overwhelmed us.

United We Stand (on the Gum Boots)
Having geared up (with only gum boots as we did not take coats and thus ended up getting our jeans / Trousers wet on snow) we started our ascend on to the snow capped hill (leading to a glacier). It is possible to go to Glacier by foot, by sledge and also by local taxi (the vehicle that one uses to come from Srinagar can not be used locally). We opted for foot (children), Sledge (others) and only return by Sledge from Glacier. It is tough for the Sledge man to haul it up slow. It is easy to comedown slope using sledge and gravity. here are some more pics.

Kitana Snow hai re Baba! 

Midget Snow Man 

 In Conquering Mood

Yeh Hasin Wadiyan

Beautiful Hills 
 Clouds gathering over the Hills
 Hills Almost covered under clouds

We all enjoyed our tryst with Snow for over 3.5 hours and just did not realise how the time flew. By that time we all were hungry and soon found ourselves enjoying lunch at Sonamarg Glacier Hotel. The hotel also has good restrooms, a vital necessity after visiting snow.

After refreshing ourselves with food and hot tea (as the wind chill had increased) we ventured out on the main road and after a group Photo of the family group, left Sonamarg for Srinagar by about 1700 hrs. 

The Family with the backdrop of snow
(see, all age groups can enjoy, go for it)

What a fun filled day it was. Returning to Blooming Dale hotel it was yet again hospitatility time with tea and cookies. A small trip to market was done. we all ended our day soon afetr the dinner.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Kashmir 9 days trip - The Enjoyment Report

Day One - 09 Apr 16

Mumbai - Srinagar Flight & Visit to Tulip Garden

Embarking on 9 days journey to Kashmir, we flew out of Mumbai by Indigo direct flight and reached Srinagar at about 1400 hrs. It was a smooth and eventful flight.

Our driver Mukhtar and his Innova were waiting for us. We were five and balance five of our family group had already reached Srinagar and had checked in in our accommodation at Blooming Dale off Boulevard road.

We reached the hotel at about 1430 hrs. Lunch for us was ordered by our balance half of the group. We settled down in the rooms, had a quick Kahawa / Tea round in the reception area and after some gap had lunch.

The main objective of this trip happened to be 'the date with Tulips' in Tulip Garden. These Tulips generally bloom by about 20 March and last till 20 Apr or less. This time however they bloomed on 15 March and we were worried that the Tulips might have withered away.

It had been raining in Srinagar that day till we reached Hotel. The weather did clear and mild sunlight returned by the time we left for Tulip Garden.

We were lucky, very lucky. The withering had started but there was still most of the bloom intact. See it for yourself. It is just a riot of Tulips for you to see

The date with Tulips was a spiritual experience. It felt as if the heart & the soul have just opened up to something out of the world and spectacular that was in front of us.

Me, Son and Daughter

Beautiful flowers but not tulips
 Here is a panoramic view of the garden

Post Tulip garden visit, when the euphoria reduced we realised the travel induced tiredness. Returned to Dal Lake. Had a stroll on Boulevard and then returned to the hotel. After a dinner the day of date with tulips ended with sleep time.