Covid Experience

It was the day of Holi when we have got the news that my elder brother-in-law passed away due to cardiac arrest, we have rushed to my hometown, Prayagraj. He was sick for some time but we were not expecting that it will turn so bad. The train was not an option I have decided to drive. This was about the time when the covid second wave started picking up. After reaching Allahabad came to know that 3 of my relatives from my parent’s side have already passed away in the gap of few days.

Few days after reaching to hometown, my father, elder brother, and I all fell sick, it was Typhoid as per pathology lab, but it had all the symptoms of Covid, we called a lab to send someone for sample collection but no one turned up, my entire neighborhood stared coughing in few days, luckily all recovered except 3 unlucky ones. All 3 people who died were living not more than 10 feet away from my house.

I was constantly in touch with my friends in Ghaziabad, the situation here was even worst. My building alone had at least 15 deaths in April and May. We were only getting news of the deaths of many close and far relatives, friends, and known people in these 2 months. At one point I have lost hope for my life.

With the grace of God, the covid is slowing down and life is again coming back to normal, but fear of Covid returning is there.

As we have rushed to my hometown unplanned, so could not carry much, just a few sets of clothing, a work laptop, and a mobile, and spend more than 2 months there, the longest since I have left my hometown back in 2002. All these photos were taken from my below-average phone Redmi 6 Pro.

A sadhu is seen at the bank of river Yamuna. Prayagraj
New branches and leaves growing from the cut trunk
An old mansion sighted in Civil Lines, Prayagraj
Brother Balkrishan and Dr. Sharad chilling between berry bushes in the alluvium of Prayagraj
My car condition after returning from alluvium
An air-cooler shop and owner in Katra, Prayagraj
Company (East India) Garden, later renamed as Chandra Shekhar Azad park
Ram-Janki Temple
A couple of temples at the edge of Prayagraj alluvium, approximately 1 KM from my home. It was visible from my home rooftop in my childhood. The entire stretch is now packed with houses.
Flowers on Cactus
An old building in new Katra, Prayagraj
Sangam, Prayagraj
Dr. Sharad on his morning walk
All Saints Cathedral, Allahabad (Prayagraj). A gothic style beautiful building in the Civil Lines area
Keoti Fort, Sirmaur MP
Monsoon and roasted corn, one of the fond memories of childhood
Tea after our morning walks

Ancient water purification

Relying mainly on rainwater for drinking, the people of Mandu have developed a very advanced water cleaning mechanism in the 15th century.
Water collected in Baolies was flown first in a small tank filled with limestone, then it passes through various small tanks filled with different materials like coal, fine sand, coarse sand, gravel, herbs, etc and then finally gets collected in a small solid tank, from where it then gets distributed to royalties for drinking.
Mandu, MP,
January 2021

Baoli in the backdrop and limestone tank in front, first step of water purification

Baoli in the backdrop and limestone tank in front, the first step of water purification

The second step of water purification with other materials

The second step of water purification with other materials

People at work

Earning honest money is important than not doing anything for living, all these people in the photos below have my utmost respect –

Flying Dahi-Vada, Indore, MP, January 2021

If you are Indore, visit Sarafa Market at night and try various street food over there and must try Flying Dahi-Vada of Joshi Ji,
Indore, MP,
January 2021

Preparation of Samosa

Samosas are mostly sold in the evening but preparation starts early morning.
Prayag, UP
January 2021

A footpath barbar shop at Prayag, UP January 2021

A footpath barbershop at Prayag, UP
January 2021

A shoemaker shop at Prayag, UP January 2021

A shoemaker shop at Prayag, UP
January 2021

A cotton candy vendor at Sangam, Prayag January 2021

A cotton candy vendor at Sangam, Prayag
January 2021

A local musician sighted at Sangam, Prayag, January 2021

A local musician sighted at Sangam, Prayag,
January 2021

A snacks seller at Sangam, Prayag, January 2021

A snacks seller at Sangam, Prayag,
January 2021

A tea seller filtering tea surrounded by customers. Prayag, January 2021

A tea seller filtering tea surrounded by customers.
Prayag,
January 2021

For me, it’s important to live a happy life with happy people rather than acquiring all the wealth in this world, I must not regret at the end that I did not live the life.

Religion

While driving an uninhibited stretch of MP we found a tea seller to our surprise. The place was so uninhibited that even a single mobile network was not there in that area. The milk used in the tea was so pure that we were able to get a flavor of herbs grazed by cattle.

The tea stall in uninhibited stretch

The tea stall in uninhibited stretchbelief

While enjoying our tea, met a group of 4 men, coming all the way from Sagar, and were going to Allahabad (now Prayagraj) on foot for a holy dip in Ganga. They were using a bicycle to carry their belongings. A 400+ KM distance which they were planning to cover in 20 days by foot.

4 Men going to Prayag from Sagar by foot

4 Men going to Prayag from Sagar by foot

Despite so much advancement in technology, religious belief in humans is still strong. Many religious philosophies are not relevant in today’s world or there is a great disconnect between how those were created and what they have become over time, but people are still so attached to them. After observing human life for so many years, I think we all are living identical life. A farmer is a farmer whether he is in an Indian village or Cambodia or England, and the same applies to the middle class doing 9 to 6 jobs. Though we say that we follow a particular religion but most of the time we don’t follow what is written in our religious books. This may be because those teachings do not fit in today’s world or too difficult to follow, but we still claim to belongs to a certain religion.

Thinking, do we need to update the religious texts as per today’s society or scientific advancements? if it is updated will it still be the same religion? Will we still follow the religion religiously after the update? Will the word religiously be still relevant?

Freedom Trip 2021

It’s like hormonal change starts to happen at the beginning of every winter, which triggers a natural urge to go on a road trip. This road trip is only limited to Madhya Pradesh so far. This year, due to the board exams of our kids, it was near impossible to maintain that tradition which we were following for the last 11 years. Thanks to the delays caused by lockdown exams were postponed and our trip plan switched on.

We have decided to touch an ancient but important city Mandu in MP and visit the nearby holy city of Ujjain. As it was a long trip from Allahabad, we took a halt at Vidisha while going and Sagar while returning back.

Our route was

Prayag (Allahabad) -> Vidisha -> Mandu -> Indore -> Ujjain -> Sagar -> Prayag  (Allahabad) (Dates 24-29 Jan 2021)

Due to fog on plains, we have decided to remain in Vindyachal while going and returning back, else we could have taken the national highway.

A couple sighted at Vidisha

A couple sighted at Vidisha

Baoli: People of MP and many other parts of the country where groundwater is very low rely mainly on rainwater. Collecting and conserving is a practice being followed in these places since long time.

Baoli: People of MP and many other parts of the country where groundwater is very low rely mainly on rainwater. Collecting and conserving is a practice being followed in these places for a long time.

A women filling her bucket from a water storage

A woman filling her bucket from water storage. Mandu

A tribal women selling berries and carrying slingshot in Mandu, MP. She had tattoed face, like many other tribes have tradition of tattooing face.

A tribal woman selling berries and carrying slingshot in Mandu, MP. She had tattoed face like many other tribes have a tradition of tattooing face.

The tree on right is known as the Baobab tree (Adansonia) also known as Khorasani Imli found only in Mandu within India. Other than India it can be only found in 3 other countries in the world including Madagascar where it is a national tree.

The tree in this picture is known as the Baobab tree (Adansonia) also known as Khorasani Imli found only in Mandu within India. Other than India it can be only found in 3 other countries in the world including Madagascar where it is a national tree.

Baobab tree

Baobab tree with ruins. Mandu

State of MP is known for it's low population density and this is what fascinates travellers. One can travel miles without seeing anyone or been seen, there is nothing other than nature around. Mostly based on Vindhyachal plateau and have very rocky terrain. Not much suitable for growing crops, so mainly cattle farming being done here. If you are sick of chaos around you this is the place where you want to be. It has it's own magic in every season.

The state of MP is known for its low population density and this is what fascinates travelers. One can travel miles without seeing anyone or been seen, there is nothing other than nature around. Mostly based on the Vindhyachal plateau and have very rocky terrain. Not much suitable for growing crops, so mainly cattle farming being done here. If you are sick of chaos around you this is the place where you want to be. It has its own magic in every season.

Vindyachal range is a plateau, which predates the even Himalayas by a huge margin. Fossils of many prehistoric bacteria and even dinosaurs are found on this.

Vindyachal range is a plateau, which predates the even Himalayas by a huge margin. Fossils of many prehistoric bacteria and even dinosaurs are found on this. Sunset Point, Mandu

Met a couple from Ujjain in Mandu, made friends :)

Met a couple from Ujjain in Mandu, made friends :). Sunset Point, Mandu

My big bro BK, I like his royal look

My big bro BK, I like his royal look

Rani Roopmati Pavilion

Rani Roopmati Pavilion, Mandu

Baz Bahadur Palace

Baz Bahadur Palace, Mandu

Dr Sharad At Baz Bahadur Palace, Mandu

Dr Sharad At Baz Bahadur Palace, Mandu

A soft drink stall near Rani Roopmati Pavilion, Mandu

A soft drink stall near Rani Roopmati Pavilion, Mandu

A boy selling sugar-apple or sweetsop along with tamarind near Baz Bahadur Palace, Mandu

A boy selling sugar-apple or sweetsop along with tamarind near Baz Bahadur Palace, Mandu

House of head maid, Mandu MP (apporx 1500 AD). They were so respected and got high rank in society that kings use to provide them big houses and servent. Their main job was to groom kids of royal family.

House of the head maid, Mandu MP (approx 1500 AD). They were so respected and got a high rank in society that kings use to provide them big houses and servent. Their main job was to groom kids of the royal family.

Mandu has a turbulent history, especially between 1300-1500. This is reflected in its architecture as well. Same buildings that were built with Hindu architecture been modified many times over the years. One needs to look closely to figure out layers of history in these buildings.

Mandu has a turbulent history, especially between 1300-1500. This is reflected in its architecture as well. Same buildings that were built with Hindu architecture been modified many times over the years. One needs to look closely to figure out layers of history in these buildings.

A Sadhu with a puppy sighted near Mahakaal temple at Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

A Sadhu with a puppy sighted near Mahakaal temple at Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

A flower seller sighted at Sangam, Prayag

A flower seller sighted at Sangam, Prayag

Rishikesh

This was the second trip of 2 consecutive trips, the earlier one was to Sariska.

The first was planned earlier and was planned with the family but at the last moment, the family pulls off, did a calculation, and found that a refund will be a great loss. So rather than canceling it decided to go with someone else, asked few friends and one of them agreed. Made few new friends there, they are of the same age group and same taste as me. It was a really amazing time staying within the jungle and spending time with like-minded people who love travel, food, and photography.

Few family friends had planned to go to Rishikesh, but the family was hesitant to ask as they have already canceled one trip. I took initiative and asked the kids if they want to go on this trip, they happily agreed. We did some quick checks and found the same hotel has few rooms, so we booked one for us. This is how our second trip happened. Posting a few photos of the trip.

Laxman Jhoola, Rishikesh

Laxman Jhoola, Rishikesh

Rafting in Ganga

Rafting in Ganga

A young girl playing in sand

A young girl playing in the sand

Sunset over Ganga

Sunset over Ganga

Dusk at bank of Ganga, Rishikesh

Dusk at the bank of Ganga, Rishikesh

A bird found in Himalaya

A bird found in Himalaya

A bird found in Himalaya

A bird found in Himalaya

A bird found in Himalaya

A bird found in Himalaya

Random photos

While searching for my old travel photos, found a few pics, probably unposted.

Dhoopgarh, MP, January 2017

Orchha, MP, January 2016

Orchha, MP, January 2016

Orchha, MP, January 2015

Orchha, MP, January 2015

Orchha, MP, January 2015

Orchha, MP, January 2015

Singapore, March 2012

Singapore, March 2012

Uttarakhand, March 2014

Uttarakhand, March 2014

Sundar Mahal, Orchha, MP, January 2013

Sundar Mahal, Orchha, MP, January 2013

Sangam, Prayag, Januray 2013

Sangam, Prayag, January 2013

Singapore, February 2011

Singapore, February 2011

Madhya Pradesh, November 2010

Madhya Pradesh, November 2010

15th Wedding Anniversary

It was our 15th wedding anniversary on the 5th of December. Planned a lot of things, but failed to do anything. Low budget, corona, and bad condition of the car were the culprits. Anyways date of our marriage written on the invitation cards was 4th December, but the actual marriage happened in the early morning of the 5th. So all guests came on the 4th evening, enjoyed the party and returned. Our marriage took place in presence of our families only. Friends and family wish us on the 4th but we celebrate it on the 5th.

Asked the kids and wife to plan something for The Day, but nothing came up (As expected). Finally we all agreed to go out for a family dinner, nothing fancy. Went to a BBQ restaurant nearby. Food was okay-ish but kids got what they wanted, so not a bad deal.

15th Anniversary dinner with family

15th Anniversary dinner with family

We will get long weekends in December and January will plan to take them out then. As kids are growing up, I am finding it difficult to decide a place to visit, my interest is to visit a place with some historical importance and having good food, on the other hand, kids want to go to where they can buy everything of their choice and have zero interest in historical places, forests or wildlife. Well, it will be their choice which will always take precedence over mine, and this was the history as well. So I am now used to playing the role of a tour operator, a drive, a manger, a collie, and a friendly photographer.

I have mentioned it earlier as well, I will be probably going solo in January and have to fulfill their demand for an outing before that. Let’s see!