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रंगीलो राजस्थान

Did a road trip recently. Visited the great Rajasthan. This is a brief account of the places we touched, the little that I saw and some random stuff.

The plan:
@r_kb arrived, as usual, late by about 12 hours (which is a huge improvement)
It was not decided as to where we’d be headed – till late in the night, it was mutually, non-verbally assumed that it would be somewhere towards the hills.

Wanted to do some new place this time – so probably somewhere in Himachal?

Jaisalmer has always been a fascination in my head – with legends of drivers placing a brick on the accelerator and folding their feet (ok, that basically means looong, straight, traffic-free roads). But Jaisalmer would be a bit too much – that’s far far away. Technology comes into play – a few google maps, google searches later it did seem a good destination. And so it was Rajasthan. Now since we are going Jaisalmer, we’d probably have to go via Bikaner. A few routes were scanned, a few reviews read and destination Bikaner it was – early next morning.

 

Day 1 route – Gurgaon – Bikaner – about 350 kms

Woke up at around 0730 hrs, packed bag & got ready in about 30 mins. Just as we were off to Bikaner from Gurgaon, it came to me a few things that I’d forgotten. Anyway, first stop was Mc Donald’s Manesar – had that shitty burger – no really, it was shitty and I really don’t plan having that ever – it actually messed up my throat more than anything. The drive to Bikaner was pretty good all through – except a very bad patch of 50 kms, which was due to our bad choice of route. Those 50 kms took about 2 hours to cover & were a real downer. Reached Bikaner at around 2000 hrs, went to a hotel near Junagarh fort – Metro hotel. Went out for a stroll in Bikaner – it’s a city I’ve lived in for 2 years, although I was too young to remember anything – had some paneer kofta (pakodas/pakoras) bought some rasgullas. Nothing much left for the day.

 

Day 2 route – Bikaner – Jaisalmer – about 330 kms

Woke up to find Raghvendra in the room. Checked out of the hotel, went with RR to his office. Got started out of the city of Bikaner at around 1400 hrs. Now this was one of the best drive of the entire trip – the roads were very much like they had been legendized – straight, almost zero traffic, nice – you see, I’m not really used to such roads.
Stopped over at a dhaba to have some delicious food. Witnessed an awesome sunset on the way – couldn’t really capture it well. We were about 20 kms from Jaisalmer when a bike rider came along (we were at about 75-80kmph) and slid his business/hotel card inside while elaborating the facilities of his stay-palace. Reached Jaisalmer at about 2130 hrs – no bad patch on the road at all.
RR had arrangements made in a hotel – Priya hotel – put our stuff there. Went to the hotel lawn where there was local folk songs being played by these very talented artists. 4-5 members in that group and they could all play all the instruments – i was amazed. Nothing much to do post that, tomorrow would be spent in Jaisalmer.

 

Day 3 – Jaisalmer – the Golden city

Woke up late (which, I tell you, kills the trip when you are travelling. Raka, however, claimed to have woken up early and gone out for a stroll ) – breakfast done, we headed off to the Jaisalmer fort – Sunargarh fort.
Jaisalmer was all yellow stone. Everywhere. The fort is majestic, and I’m told is the only one which people still live in. After circling the fort a few times, cause we got disoriented on the way out, had to search for the famous Bhang shop that raka had seen on Nat Geo. Had a glass each and headed off to jawain sa‘s handicraft showroom – had nice, tasty lunch there. Ajit bana was there and then after a while we headed to the sand dunes – no, not sam - it’s too polluted and commercialised we were advised. Windmills were all along the way. Reached the village where we had a refreshing cup/glass of tea. Camels had arrived and atop them we headed to the sand dunes (not trot, just walk).

Witnessed another awesome sunset – walked on the sand, headed back to the village. A colourful folk song, dance program awaited us. Mutton was being cooked by RR. I came out a few times to sit on the sand and see the bright lit sky. The night went long, with dance by our party. Headed back to the hotel late in the night. Woke up late next day.

 

Day 4 route – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur ~ 300 kms

It took us exceptionally long to get ready for the road and after saying good byes to the nice people, we started on our way to Jodhpur. Had a few stops on the way – to see the migratory birds that we spotted on way, for lunch at ashapurna restaurant, another stop to see the birds at a pond. And then came a patch of bad road that took us a while to get over with. What did we witness on our way – Yep, another sunset. Finally reached Jodhpur at about 2030 hrs.

Since we planned leaving for Udaipur the next day, went off to see Mehrangarh fort. What a majestic fort it is – Huge. RR wanted to show us a place there – OTR, on the rocks – nice concept & beautifully designed. Loafed around for a while, headed to Hotel Regent palace where we’d be staying for the night. Raka was on hot water diet.

 

Day 5 route – Jodhpur – Udaipur ~ 270 kms

Started the day with a few teas and we were on the road by 0900 hrs. First stop was after about 40 kms, for Mirchi vada, kachori & tea. Awesome mirchi vadas & kachoris & the tea! Next we stopped at this place called Om bana bullet baba mandir 

- legend has it that there was this guy ‘Om (bana)’ who died in an accident on his bullet in ’88. The Bullet, however, would start up automatically occasionally! – after the bullet changed a few hands – from Police to family of Om bana to a new buyer – and still kept its weird phenomenon of starting up automatically, it was decided to create a sthapana for it. And thus a temple/shrine exists for this Bullet motorcycle.

 A few stops were made when we spotted a pond or lake, which were many on the way to Udaipur. The route to Udaipur is different with hills, jungles, lakes marble-cities. next major stop was at Srinath ji temple, which was closed when we reached there, at about 1400 hrs – and we were told that it’ll open at 1600 hrs for only 15 mins. Tried some street food, which was being highly recommended by users on foursquare – Mirchi vada was quite different here, with the outer layer fluffy & no masala inside. There was a bhang wala right next to where we were eating, so Raka & me had a glass each. Raka wanted more and had another. Now we wanted to reach Udaipur asap – it was not very far from there.

After visiting haldighati & getting slightly de-routed, we reached Udaipur via some villages, narrow lanes at about 1630 hrs. Thanks to RR, we stayed at an awesome place – Karohi haveli - had evening tea, like a sir – went to the rooftop to see the great sunset. Raka was uneasy and people around assured him it was the bhang that he had and his condition only worsened as the night progressed. Had drinks and dinner on rooftop restaurant, with awesome view of the awesome city of Udaipur. The day was well spent.

Day 6 Udaipur – the city of lakes & palaces.

Woke up at the usual time and saw that RR & Rkb were not in the room. Did my business, went for a stroll near the lake. Saw a decently big fish being caught.

Came back to the room and then Raka & I headed to the city palace. It is huge – would take about 3-4 hours to see it completely. I just wrapped it up in about 90 mins and waited outside for raka – rr & vivek joined in the waiting – raka couldn’t be contacted, of course. When he finally did come out, had a beer and then planned to go Sajjangarh fort – the one that’s atop a high hill. Vivek took over as our guide for the city.

View from Sajjangarh fortDrove to the fort – it’s really really high up (slope would be crazy) – gazed for a while and then to Fatehsagar Lake – chaupati for lunch. Had nice pav-bhaji and really good cold coffee. Kids were jumping/diving into the lake – a nice sight. Back to Karohi haveli and then I just wanted to take a walk in the city.

 

Went to Bagore ki Haveli - saw the daily-festival that happens there from 1900-2000 hrs. It was quite interesting and so non-boring, unlike what I’d initially thought. I’d recommend that to anyone going to Udaipur. Sat next to the lake for a while and it was time to head back to Karohi haveli. Roof-top drinks, dinner – a lot of babble about heading to Daman & diu next morning (you know, those plans, energetic-ambitious plans that need little push once you are a few drinks through – Mr. Nataraj pumped us enough to agree that we’ll leave tomm morning – possibly via Gir forest). Vivek insisted that we go Sheraton discotheque – at 0100 hrs. Went, it was over they said. Sat down near the bank of the lake – I’d say that was the most beautiful spot of the city where we were sitting – or maybe it was the OH molecules. Anyway, the day was quite nicely spent in Udaipur.

 

Day 7 – Udaipur – Chittorgarh – Bhilwara ~ 150 kms

Of course the last night’s plan did not materialise, woke up late – naturally. Breakfast was had at Karohi Haveli and then we were on our way out of Udaipur. The roads were fantastic. On the way Raka proposed and we agreed, that we visit Chittorgarh – it’ll take an hour extra maybe.

 

Raka and I picked up a beer and rr was on wheel. Chittorgarh fort is the biggest fort i’ve seen – to see it entirely would take about a week. Visited a few monuments there – Vijay stambh being the most prominent one. RR went to a few temples. Did the alto-safari in the deer habitat and by the time we came out it had been about 3 hours in the fort. On our way back decided to stop for another 15-20 mins to see another beautiful sunset. Another great sunset this was.

Had raka put the sun in his mouth. And off we were from the majestic fort of Chittorgarh.
Bhilwara is not much of a distance from there and the plan was to get to Jaipur by night – say around 9 would also be fine. Well, after a few stops, reached Bhilwara – at about 2030 hrs. Met Monu at RR’s mausi’s place. Then the drinks started at Deep sa’s place. And then it dawned that we’ll not be driving any further today – which seemed a bit logical too. Had Old monk and awesome chicken – I actually overate and knew it. Woke Monu up to drop us back to his place. The day was done.

Day 8 – Bhilwara – Jaipur – Gurgaon ~ 500 kms
Started off early at around 0900 hrs from Bhilwara. Stop 1 at chaans – and then stopped at rr’s relative’s workshop on the way. Tea was had and then off to Jaipur. Reached Jaipur at about 1300 hrs, and raka had convinced me that he had to be dropped there and I was to continue the route to Gurgaon alone. Stopped over after Jaipur for final tank-up. This was the 6th. The route back was fine except for the diversions after every few kilometers. Reached Gurgaon slightly before 1700 hrs – the trip was done.

The trip was as I had imagined or rather better – great roads, great stay, hospitable people. Different . Hukm, bana, sa, kachori, kofte/pakode, mirchi and lot more.

Given the technology of things today, the map of photo-location looks good.

I’m happy  it happened. 8 days, 2100+ kms – Will want to extend it to Gujarat next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Didn’t intend this post to be this big and this – but now that it’s been written, it’ll be posted.

Gangs of Wasseypur 2

I waited for this as eagerly as we all wait for our salary – rather more – cause I knew this is a one time affair, moments like these come not every month.
Gangs of Wasseypur was an awesome treat to the senses. What portrayal of characters, of situations and of general life. It is one of the best movies ever made if you ask me (well, till the fever goes down with another, better movie – maybe not. Just like it will never go down for Dev D). I never thought there would be a better movie than Dev D, and actually Dev D is a class on its own.
The soundtrack of that movie is still better than anything I’ve ever seen bollywood movies pass by – they never touch that street (now this may seem like scratching AK’s but the movies he’s made are totally out of this world — especially the music part of it – take Gulaal for eg.)

So, the thing is that I got to see the much awaited part 2 – last saturday, 4th Aug. – a few days before its release to cinema halls – which is day after tomorrow actually. How is that you ask? Well, it’d would’ve been on 8th that I’d’ve seen the first view of it (which I’m going to go for anyway) had it not been for this tweet by Huma Qureshi (who plays the awesome Mohsina in the movie)

I was @dukaan – working on a saturday – and I just happened to see that tweet – it’s all divine intervention :)

It was almost 3 o’clock by the time I saw Osian site and the schedule and by the time I called them up and made sure that it was not just a celebrities only screening.
By 3:15 I’d resolved I’m going for it and got out of @dukaan and was off to the house – for you know what – to change and stuff you see.

Now it was already 3:30 and the #gow1 show was at 4:15 – I knew I wouldn’t make it for that. I wanted to though.
Picked up a couple of beers – I had to – and zoomed towards the gurgaon toll – ah, it was jam packed – on a saturday afternoon – crazy town this is.

Anyhow, reached siri fort audi 1 at about 5. Parking devoured my next precious 15-20 minutes. Finally after just squeezing it in a spot – after convincing the guard who came running in to say ‘no this is not right parking’ that this indeed wasn’t that hurtful – it was time to get there inside the audi.

I was there, in the line now, hoping that this was the line for GoW – I was looking forward to the 1900 show which was #gow2 (little did i know that it was the same show – gow1 & gow2 in a row – oh I was almost orgasmic and saddened at the same time for missing about 45-50 minutes…wait there’s different plan for me from the one above.

So I ask this guy standing ahead of me ‘hey, I’d get the wasseypur tickets from here, right?’ – he looks at me and puts his hand in his shirt pocket and pulls out a paper-kind-of-thing and says, ‘here, this is the ticket’. Though only for about 2 seconds, I was foxed. Wait what? This is the ticket – why aren’t you watching it? That’s what I wanted to ask – which I didn’t. He understood I guess and said he’s watched it already (although now when I think of it, I ask myself ‘how is that, has he done that in cannes or is he a buddy of AK’)
Anyway, I just asked his name – Arun it was -thanked him and headed towards the auditorium. Just as I’m about to present my ticket I see that the ladies in front of me are being denied entry – It’s house-fucking-full they say. I said I’d stand, no they say ‘there’s no place to stand too’. What a KLPD i thought to myself. But I didn’t leave the place for next 5 minutes, hoping for some magic to happen. Nothing happened.

Then I heard this guard telling the lady, in a kind of hush hush voice, that she should try the balcony above on the left – it may have some space. Some light at the end of the tunnel I saw and ran towards the balcony – ahead of the lady.

She went somewhere else – I didn’t bother to see where – I just ran towards the direction I thought must be the balcony.
I see a guy over there ‘yes sir?
‘hey, man, Wasseypur (smiling)’
sorry sir, no place, it’s full
‘c’mon man, can’t be happening – there has to be place for me to at least stand and watch’
no sir, there isn’t, even if you do get to stand, you wouldn’t be able to see it‘ (hope goes on an exponential curve)
‘Bhai, I’m just one person, I’ll fit in — I’ll see if I don’t like it or can’t see it, I’ll get out – man, I’m here from gurgaon and have to see this — and YOU are the one who can let me do that’
‘(thinking thinking) ah, ok, you can try — come with me
‘Thanks man, what’s your name?’
Sudhamshu
‘Thanks Sudhamshu, someday I hope I’ll be able to pay it back – or maybe forward’
‘(mutters — whatever)’

And after all this – which was not really much – just that i’ve put it in a 1000 words – I was there!
the placement of the vacant seats was not something that I’d really watch a movie in. It was in the left corner balcony, which actually blocks about 10-15% of the left corner of the screen. And it was that ‘Nasir’ getting the jeep from “JP” scene (not very late into the movie) that I got to see.
It’s a different experience to see a movie in a hall – and something quite different to see it with aficionados.

Part 1 was well enjoyed. Part 2 was crazy — and I wouldn’t do a review here cause frankly, I’d do injustice to it.

Well that’s all I’d end this with – the movie is amazing – @FaizalSKhan , @RamadhirSingh , Definite truly rocked it. Pelpendiculal was funny. Movie was awesome. Hats off to @ankash1009 @humasqureshi Sneha & the whole GoW team – thanks for making this movie.

Waiting for 8th Aug to see it again.
What to look forward to post that?

Gangs of Wasseypur II – eagerly awaited

Having seen this hell of a movie twice in the last week, I’m only raring for more. First it was with @tyagiG , @tarunsingh09 & @oldermonk – just 3 days later, I wanted to go again – went with @R_KB & Geezer (not on twitter)

This is not a review – I’m just not capable of reviewing this movie.
Gangs of Wasseypur

Really can’t remember the last time I came out of the hall with such a content, satisfied and buzzed feeling. No, I really can’t. Not that I’m saying that I’ve just seen bad movies. There have been quite some good ones – animated mostly, comedy, must watch movies (like those pirates of carribean series, which you have to watch) – but rarely does a movie come which just washes you away. This is despite the hype around this movie which, once you see the movie, seems totally justified. @Rohwit had been (and still does) endorsing this – well, the movie certainly deserves that [just hover above his handle and you’ll get it]. It’s not like those awesome trailers you see for a Akshay Kumar movie [nothing in particular about Akshay Kumar that I have against, just that the name popped up] and the movie itself turns out to be a bummer.

#GoW kills at this — the movie itself could become a trailer — it’s that awesome. Ok, maybe I’m trying to justify my double watching it but I just may watch it yet again. Yeah, it’s that good ( wish I was being paid for writing so so good about it)

There is no actor in the movie, except perhaps Sultan who I find not mind-blowing performer – and that too seems like has been done purposefully, to make him seem like a not-so-worthy. I know not much about movies, or direction or screenplay – I do know movies when they affect you.

This would seem like a cliché, but only Anuraag Kashyap could’ve pulled it off the way it has been. He just keeps on getting better – Dev D, Gulaal and now this – awesome.

Just can’t wait for #GoW – II — unless it’s a bummer, @ankash1009 has really made the best movie bollywood stable has ever come out with. Thanks for the awesome movie – to everybody involved. Guys, you have moved film making making forward – that’s a lot.

It may or may not make money, but it has made a statement — movie ho to aisi. I haven’t met or heard a person who didn’t like the movie.

Right from Shahid Khan, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra (brilliant narration as well) to Richa Chadha, Faisal Khan (FK), Danish Khan, Sultan — everyone’s acted brilliantly well – so natural.

If you haven’t watched this, you ought to – movies like these are, if you ask me, national treasure, artifacts.

This will only inspire others to get away from the usual stream that the bollywood flow in.