Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Does A Monument Stand For?

Earlier this month, my friends had stayed over at our place in Delhi. Over the weekend, we went out for a bit of sight seeing and one of the places we visited was India Gate. It was very crowded and noisy but the monument itself was very impressive. We walked around it, took pictures and read the inscriptions - the usual touristy things. From there, we went on to have lunch and visit other places. All in all, a fun day!

I have been passing by India Gate for almost a year and a half now as it falls on the way to work. There is a traffic signal bang opposite it and after a couple of days after our visit there, I had to stop for the signal. I turned to look at India Gate and I started remembering our little trip, the jokes we cracked and the awesome lunch that followed it. A few days back,  while having a late lunch with a friend at a restaurant overlooking the Hauz Khas tank, I described to him the history of the place. Basically, a few snippets that I remembered from the heritage walk my parents and I had participated in (October).  

That is when it struck me - while Hauz Khaz was built as a Royal Tank by the Khilji dynasty and the India Gate stands as a war memorial; for me, these monuments are symbolic beyond their history. They also signify the great times that I was lucky to share with people who are important to me.

I must confess that I then went into a bit of an overdrive in trying to recollect other places that would qualify as a ‘monument’, to the extent that I labeled the country of Sri Lanka as a monument to one of the most romantic getaways that my wife and I have had (she would say we haven't had too many). That one week of superb hotels, peaceful beaches, lovely meals will always stand out for me. The list is long - Mysore place with my in-laws, places in Calcutta with all relatives before the wedding - I can go on and on.

I wonder if the Kings of yore realised that when they built these superb structures, somebody somewhere in the future will be thanking them, while carving their own personal moments around them. Until the next ‘monument’ trip then....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dear Departed Flatness

For those of you who have it enjoy it while it lasts. For the rest - of us - we know it ain't coming back. No sirree, its tossed its head, kicked up its heels and run away into the sunset. I am talking about the body part called the stomach aka the abs aka the six pack area....

I was luckier than my peers because I have always been thin and that stood me in good stead for a longer period. Just to clarify when I mean thin, I don't mean in a lanky, long distance runner with sinewy muscles way. So it was in the last two years that my paunch (shudder shudder) started growing. At first I ignored it and why not? I was going regularly to the gym, I was never a big eater and ..... well I was dead sure that was enough. Even in the gym, I would rarely do abs because I was busy sculpting the rest of my body. 

Then I moved to Delhi and my regularity to the gym instead became an erratic schedule. What my namesake St Matthew said - 'Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak' totally applied to me. Well, the partial truth is that my old gym sucked big  time but let bygones be bygones....

Unlike King Henry, I couldn't just say 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest... errr... paunch?' but two events strengthened my resolve to rid me . One (minor) was that my gym membership expired and I had the opportunity to join a much better gym with less testosterone laden Punjabis, which was also walking distance from my house. The other (MAJOR) was that my wife started grabbing my paunch and calling it by all kinds of names. ENOUGH my body screamed. I strode out to hit the gym (in March)...... but the rest is not history my friends. If I may, I would like to compare this story to the movie 300 - Unlike the soldiers there my stomach still remains rotund and that is the similarity with the movie, an unhappy ending. Wait, is there a possibility of a sequel? Over the last week, my wife has grudgingly admitted that the lovable / evil paunch (depends on which way you look at it)  has gone down. Watch this space for more.... and if you are a true fan, write to me for contributions to my gym fund.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Park Outside Our Apartment

If you are familiar with colonies in New Delhi, you would know that they all have parks within them. Usually more than one - our colony has, I think, four of them. I am familiar with only one of them (not the one featured here) and that too only how they look at night because I did quite a few rounds of the colony while training for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. I would come back from work, change and head out. I could not use the park opposite my place (the one featured here :) as the lights were off. It was only last weekend that I stepped into it because I wanted to figure out our Nikon DSLR 5000. The photos in the link are a mix of pics taken last weekend and again today and my first attempt at a photo blog.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Where You Are When It Rains

It does matter you know. The rain feels good or bad depending on where you are. Have a look at the normal associations people have with rains. Probably the only good association that comes to mind is the smell of the wet earth. Other than that, its probably traffic jams, screwed up schedules, sitting in your hotel room waiting for the rain to ease up so you can continue your holiday. Ever been in a Bombay local train during or after a shower? Trust me, its one memory you don't want.

I love being at home when the rains come in, especially if it is a weekend. To laze around in bed or in the balcony with a cup of coffee in hand and a book to read - divine! Only need a hound curled up at ones feet to complete the picture. It feels very cozy and nice. An additional benefit is I can avoid going out to do the chores by making like Milli Vanilli - Blame it on the rain. Even if we have to go out for dinner or a movie, it feels good to drive through the rain (provided it is a short distance). Get into the theatre, eat some popcorn and when you are out the rain probably has stopped and the streets are nice and empty.

When I'm in office, it feels just the opposite. Especially if there are a couple of meetings to be done. Just the thought of driving through traffic, find a parking spot, walking through the rain (because an umbrella is never handy when you need it) and then sitting in an office when your clothes are wet and the ac is blowing - brrr, sends a chill down my spine.

One of the terrible-est experiences I had was being stuck in the massive rain that took place in July 2005 in Bombay. I had to walk from Borivali to Vile Parle, a distance of about 25 kms. I took me about 7 hours to complete that journey. Luckily, one of my colleagues who stayed close to my place was with me and we managed to brave the rains together. Man, it was a mess. At certain points, the water on the road was flowing so strongly that we nearly got swept off our feet. People were stranded everywhere, be it pregnant women or children staring out of school buses. We finally made it to my colleagues home late at night, to find that there was no power and there wasn't even enough water to drink, let alone shower. The power came on the day after that and finally the wine shops opened :) After a long shower and a couple of beers, we headed out for a movie and some hot food. Talk about coming back to life.

In different places, the rains come in different forms. Many times, Bombay showers come out of nowhere, soak you completely and just before you head into shelter they stop. In Kerala, the rain keeps 'crying' non-stop. Never more or less in consistency, it keeps pouring consistently till you get sick of it. In Delhi, its like a threat. The skies remain dark and the humidity reaches an all time high but no sir, no relief from the sky. I think Chennai showers are still more 'normal' than the others but the massive puddles on the roads remain long after, even when the sun has been blazing. Its just where you are when it rains baby and how you feel....

I had the privilege of doing my graduation in a college with a huge lush campus of 365 acres, covered with a zillion trees. When it rained, we used to head for 'campus walks' sometimes. It is a completely different feeling, getting totally soaked, walking through slush among trees that keep dripping down with water. Once we were lucky to see a monitor lizard which was caught in a drain. We left a tree limb for it to climb out and safely moved away. I recently tried to re-capture the feeling when I was headed back from the gym. I had already called ahead to tell my wife to put the geyser on so that I could dive into the shower after my long walk of 200 meters. It was barely drizzling and I took my cap off after 50 meters because I just could not feel the rain. Maybe I didn't get wet enough. Maybe I was too jaded to get that 'close to nature' feeling, especially with all trappings of a crowded colony. I just wasn't satisfied but man after I took a shower and sat down to read with a cup of coffee and a book -, it did feel DIVINE!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Digital Cameras = Instant Gratification

Gratification - the state of being gratified; great satisfaction
Gratify - to give pleasure to (a person or persons) by satisfying desires or humoring inclinations or feelings

I read an article that said that the sales of DSLR cameras has jumped to 80000 units last year from 40000 the year before. This year it is expected to touch 200000 units. Initially I wasn't very happy that my wife had contributed to the 80000 mark because it meant an outlay of Rs 33000 (she argues that I have no right to be unhappy because I never contributed).

I love the camera though. I got up on a rainy morning, took a cup of coffee and sat in the balcony. I turned my head and suddenly saw raindrops just about to drip off our 'X'mas tree plant'.

I jumped out of the chair, got out our Nikon and clicked off about ten snaps from various angles. I also took a couple of more snaps from our balcony as the whole scene looked so nice and green.

You ever used a DSLR? Its got a really nice heft to it. It doesn't feel flimsy like a digicam. It feels like a real camera. Lots of dials and symbols on it and if you are feeling lost, just pull up the menu. Well I haven't gone beyond the auto function - what they call point and shoot :) The pictures come out real good. Click click click and if you don't like what you got click click click again.

At that time, Dad was an amateur photographer. He still has two beautifully leather encased cameras, one a Japanese Ricoh and the other a Russian Kiev (I think). I called him today cause I wanted some details about the cameras and he started to wax lyrical. He told me the difference between the two of them, that one was an SLR and the other was a Range Finder. One of them had a 'leaf shutter', the other (I was lost by then) was to be used carefully because when the flash function was used, there was a danger of too much light leaking in because the shutter speed was to be reduced from 1/1000 to 1/30 ........ I begged forgiveness and cut the call because my reduced attention span was not capable of taking all this in.

Unlike us, my Dad had to buy the Ricoh second hand. He had to be pretty careful while clicking the snap because he couldn't just hook the camera to the laptop to see the result. Also, the moment he tried to capture wasn't waiting around for a laptop to boot up. He had to pay the photo shop the development charges and then wait for a couple of days to see the results of his 'click click click'. The funniest was when he took the initial snaps with the Russian camera only to realise that he could only correct himself through trial and error - cause all the instructions were in Russian.

I can rationalise this when I think that technology has progressed since then to make things better and more convenient so I shouldn't be a sap who moans that things were better in the old days. Also our generation is placed better financially with a hell of a lot more 'purchasing power'. Dad left me with an apt anecdote which I will leave with you as well. He was taking photography classes and he went to show his teacher a snap of a group of children. The teacher said "If you were closer to the children, it would have turned out to be a much better photo". Dad got angry and replied "Do you really think that the children would be waiting around for me to take their picture?" The teacher answered (Zen-like) "That is why there are only a few great photographers in the world". I hope I have made my point.......

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Of College Interests And Careers

Nothing new to say here. In fact, there must be a gazillion English movies around this theme. Hero / Heroine was really good at something in college. Life forced them to move on to something staid, normal and uninteresting. The event that forced the move was something spectacular or tragic or tragically spectacular. After 5, 10, 20 years another event forces them to look back, reconsider and then pursue their interest. Happy Ending and the credits roll.

This fact of life really struck me last night when I was over at a friends place for dinner. In college, he had started something with a group of friends. The venture had a decent run and had garnered good publicity. The friends could not continue with it and moved on to other things. My friend went on to do his MBA. Recently, he had quit his job of 7 years and joined another company in the same space as his earlier venture.

So yesterday he took out some old newspaper clippings where his venture was featured (like in the movies, his mom had compiled it :). Lots of stories came pouring out - some told with pride, some a little ruefully but nevertheless I could see the enthusiasm with which the friends had pursued it and the challenges they must have faced as young trailblazers. The good thing was that he had kept in touch with how that particular industry was progressing and now he was in a place where he could do more work with experience and maturity.

Briefly, I reflected on the stuff that had interested me (other than the lovely lasses :). Well, I was a member of the 'Western Dance' team and had represented college. About 8 months back, I had joined dance classes. It did feel great to shake a leg and I was on a high after each class. The whole teaching format sucked though and the instructors were really young. After four classes, we went for a holiday and I came back with a badly injured big toe. Using this as an excuse, I never went back. I also liked playing sports, was a decent enough Table Tennis player. I still try to be physically active and drag my a** to the gym thrice a week. I read books then also and continue to read actively. I am a member of a library here and trust me, no work of fiction in the murder / action thriller genre escapes me.

What I want to say here is that unlike the movies, the majority of us didn't have an event that pushed us out of our interests. We followed the mainstream, got an education, joined work where we got a break or where our parents wanted to see us. What I want is for you to take that pause and reflect on what interested you earlier. It need not be something that will take you down a new career path but could at least rekindle a passion that keeps you occupied in the otherwise free time after which you moan that you didn't do anything satisfying at all. Or maybe you would end up doing something that becomes a theme for a movie and then you will say on Oprah that - 'Y'know I read a blog that inspired me to start this thing off.....'. You'll never know till you don't tread that path.

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart - Buddha

Sadi Gali - Tanu Weds Manu

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sevilla At Claridges

We had gone over to Sevilla at Claridges for dinner with friends, Claridges Hotel is very conveniently located at the posh Aurangzeb Road, especially convenient if you are working at CP. It doesn't look very big from the outside.

As per the description on the hotels website - Named after Seville, the artistic and cultural capital of southern Spain, and inspired by the blue seas, azure skies and lucid landscape of the Mediterranean, Sevilla offers a dining experience that delights the senses. Sevilla's picturesque indoor-outdoor ambience, with the indoor and outdoor areas merging to provide a free flowing, casual dining experience has a style of its own, reflecting the enchanting Spanish Riviera.

The restaurant is set outside the hotel, towards the back and you have to walk around the main building to get there. The ambiance is superb and it hits you just after you walk in and start making sense of the arrangement. Most of the tables are set outdoors, with tent like tops and curtains on the side (always reminds of stories of Arabian camps :) There are two enclosures, which are air-conditioned and we had booked one of these. Since it had rained in the noon, it was very pleasant outside and we actually asked for another table but they didn't have a free one. At one point, we took our drinks and sat outside for a brief while. It was then that I realised that there were such tall trees planted all across and around that it no longer felt we were in the heart of Delhi. The other thing I realised was that the tables were set fairly apart, quite private. Almost forgot, there was a duet going on - man and lady, sang some of the old numbers, really good.

The food is supposed to European / Mediterranean. The wine selection seemed to be extensive.  I didn't like the food too much especially the starters. The main course was decent and we enjoyed the dessert especially the mango sunny side up. Of course the waiter kept recommending the specialities which none of us ordered so maybe you can try them - paella, wood fired pizza and the house special sangrias. I would love to go over in the winter after an early dinner, catch a couple of drinks. Hope the singers will still be there....

Check out the pics at The Sevilla, Claridges

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin - Dare I Call It A Bollywood Classic?

Last evening (Friday), I finished work at around 9.30 pm, took a shower, poured myself a drink and switched on the TV to unwind a bit. I prefer watching English movies and was hoping there would be a good action movie, recent release but the channels were predictably boring and were showing the same movies for the 10th to 100th time. While surfing channels, I realised that Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (henceforth referred to as DHKMN) was just starting off (the opening credits were rolling). I decided to stick with it, thinking that I have always missed the beginning and I could at least watch the comedy part.

After the first 5 minutes or so, the song Galyan Sankali Sonyachi started and I started humming along as the thought passed through my mind that 'Thank God, Hindi movies seem to be less prone to breaking into songs these days'. Then Aamir Khan enters the scene, does a comedy sequence where he argues with the bus conductor, Pooja Bhatt takes his seat and the movies takes off.... 

My memory of the movies of that period is the endlessly crass stuff that used to be overbearing on any one angle - action meant extreme violence and rape scenes, family dramas killed it with complications and comedy was just too stretched out. The reason why I would like to call DHKMN a classic is that it has all the elements that make it a good Bollywood picture
- Great chemistry between Aamir and Pooja Bhatt (she looks very brash and cute despite the horrible hairstyle)
- Super soundtrack composed by Nadeem Shravan - dil hai ke manta nahin, adain bhi hai, sapnon ke saudagar, dil tujhpe aagaya. I must confess that towards the end I got a little tired of them bursting into song once too many times but the songs made up. Click on this link for the soundtrack
- Good comedy by all the characters. Personally I am very happy that Anupam Kher was fairly restrained in terms of length of his scenes
- The storyline is not very different and quite predictable but at least it is fairly fast paced and does not prolong any scene

I'm kinda thinking of stuff to add here but nothing is coming to my mind so thats it folks. Don't break a sweat but watch it again if you get a chance. Cheers.

For the DVD, click on Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin

Saturday, June 4, 2011

In The Still Of The Night - Boyz II Men

Mamagoto - Khan Market South Delhi

When Indrani told me that lets go to Mamagoto in Khan Market, I was not sure what the name of the place was. I was thinking in my mind - is it like Mama Grotto? Anyway we had just finished casing GK-I and didn't find anything interesting. So we decided we will head out to Khan Market and check out the joints there.

It was the beginning of the month and I had gotten off work early. Suddenly, Indrani suggested that we head out for dinner and I was like - Perfect. Got home, took a shower, intercepted her downstairs only so we didn't waste much time :) Anyway we reached Mamagoto at around 9ish. They have proudly displayed a board of Times Food Guide outside which was quite comforting. We walked up to the first floor and found the place decent. A bit of a haphazard arrangement but you cant get better in South Delhi. Attentive waiters, decent ambiance, I began to get comfortable.

Anyways, I ordered a pint of Fosters and Indrani ordered a mint based refreshment. As starters we ordered some corn fritters. It was very good and served with some yummy red chilli sauce. At this point in time, I was bit worried that they may serve the food really fast but they were very very decently timed. So in the main course, I ordered Sticky rice with Teriyaki sauce, served with lamb and Indrani ordered stir fried vegetables. I really enjoyed the food and would encourage y'all to head there for a quite dinner. The whole thing - two pints of beer, one refresher, starter and two main courses cost us Rs 1700. Pretttty decent I think.

By the way, Mamagoto means "to play with food" in Japanese. Nice name. No wild parties though where you can throw stuff at each other ;) Heard their cocktails are good and I really liked the food so go, PLAY.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meditation And I

1. the act of meditating.
2. continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation.

1. to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.
2. to engage in transcendental meditation, devout religious contemplation, or quiescent spiritual introspection.

At the outset, I must say that i am one of the least qualified people to give gyaan on meditation. I am a very infrequent practitioner, with no formal training whatsoever (as you can see above, any state of inebriation doe not qualify :). Nonetheless, I am fascinated by it and believe a lot of good can be done to oneself if you make it a part of your routine.

My exposure to meditation has been as much as any other Indian kid, either on TV or coming across Yoga classes. Add to that a healthy interest in kung fu movies - yes lots of exposure. I am sure all of you can conjure up images of Bruce Lee, Van Damne, Chow Yun-fat. The first time I did any in depth reading of mediation was when I was reading up on Zen Buddhism. I cant find the article now but that was the only reading that I have ever done on meditation techniques. I think it had the basics pretty much pat and I shall try and reproduce them
- Sit on a mat (not too cushioned). It should be placed close to a wall
- Sit in a cross-legged position, with your right leg over the left leg. Keep your back straight and face and shoulders aligned
- Close your eyes, not fully but barely opened
- Breathe in and out deeply
- In order to empty your mind of thought, start by counting your breath
- After you master the art of the emptying your mind, give up on the counting up part and only focus on breathing in and out
- After you master this also, just focus on emptying your mind of thought

The Zen Masters also had certain riddles or parables called koans, which they used to tell their disciples and asked them to meditate on. This was to help them on their path to Enlightenment. Here is a list that I, as your master, want to pass on Do I hear you questioning me? Then here is a dialogue from The Karate Kid to help you along. Me - Miyagi, you - Daniel, capish?

Miyagi: First, wash all car. Then wax. Wax on...
Daniel: Hey, why do I have to...?
Miyagi: Ah ah! Remember deal! No questions!
Daniel: Yeah, but...
Miyagi: Hai!
[makes circular gestures with each hand]
Miyagi: Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important.
[walks away, still making circular motions with hands]
Miyagi: Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off.

On a serious note, I have started meditation again. Work has been really hectic and more than often, I was coming home late, having dinner and crashing out without much time for unwinding. When my sleep would break in the morning, I would start thinking about work and the tasks I have to complete which was at best a little unnerving. I started meditating before sleeping. At first, I couldn't even reach a count of 65 but I have now slowly 200. I couple it with the Lords Prayer in between and after that get into bed. I am out like a light and thankfully, get up peacefully in the morning. I forgot to mention one more technique - whenever a thought comes to you, recognise it and say goodbye to it. If it persists, then ask it to park itself next to you for a while (hope I got that right, Lisa). I hope I am able to continue this and discover something better, maybe enlighten myself. Till then All Izz Well.

8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our Trip To Kaziranga - April 2011

It was Bihu time and once again, we were off to Assam to celebrate the harvest festival. One of my wife's brothers was also coming down so it was a good opportunity for the family to be together. Last Bihu, we had made a small trip to Nameri which went off really well. So this time we decided to Kaziranga, home of the unique one horned rhino. From my past experience of talking to people about Assam was that they would start asking - Where else did you go? I have been to Sikkim, Meghalaya, Tawang blah blah blah so it is better to make a trip of your own to counter this :)

My father-in-law got the news that part of the road to Kaziranga (from Guwahati) was not in good shape, so he wisely booked an Innova to ferry us. Later, I realised that having a driver along kinda kills the mood as you are always a little conscious of an outside presence and therefore a little restrained. Anyway, no complaints against Ramesh - he was punctual, drove fairly well, no smart aleck stuff at all. The only problem was that his CD player was not working and he actually had a cassette player with tapes from the late 80s. 

With good intentions we planned to leave before 10.00 am but managed to leave only by 3.30 pm. We decided to go by the State Highway for part of the way before joining the National Highway to avoid traffic. The road was smooth and the route was quite picturesque. Unlike Kerala highways where there is so much traffic and you can easily get stuck behind a lumbering truck, we didn't face that problem here. Just after joining the highway, we stopped at Hotel Aakriti in Jagiroad and had a cup of tea and shingaras (samosas). Really yummy, do stop here if you get a chance. It was slow going on the National Highway as most of it was in stages of completion and then it also started raining. For a brief while, we were stuck in a jam and I was like - we are going to reach only after midnight. It cleared quickly though and we made it to the hotel by 9.30 pm.

IORA was the hotel we stayed in (booked by one of our relatives) and rightly, it has been rated No 1 by Trip Advisor. However, it is a proper proper hotel and so if you are looking for something more rustic or jungle-ey types, please do your research. You could try Bonhabi - couple of my friends stayed there and they recommend it. Anyway, IORA has very comfortable rooms and a nice bathroom. We freshened up and headed to the dining room. Just outside the dining room, they had put up a big screen and were showing the IPL matches. We went in and ordered some Chinese food (pretty good) while my wife ordered Continental (very good). We finally crashed out at 12.00 am, dreading the fact that we had to get up early for the safari.

Some information on Kaziranga (courtesy Wikipedia) - Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. The park hosts two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water.

There are two types of safaris  - Elephant Safari which lasts about 45 minutes, costs Rs 350 per head and the advantage is that you can get really close to the Rhinos. The other is the Jeep Safari that lasts about 2 hours, stays on the beaten path but covers more area. Ideally, you can do one in the evening and the other in the morning. Anyway, we reached the reserve at 5.45 am and climbed on to a horu (small) elephant as there were only four of us. The entry to the reserve is quite pretty, with a bridge over  a river. Almost immediately, we spotted two rhinos and headed over to that side. Quite a sight. They look short but very heavy and imposing. Coloured like white cement, their skin looks very very tough. The horn is not very scary but I sure as hell don't want to be in front of it, ever. We saw a couple more, clustered in small groups. There was a mother-child duo, very cute to see the little one follow his mother. We got quite close too, about four feet before they moved off. 

We saw some bison bathing in the water and some wild boar feeding. Both were too far away to make an impression. We then came back through a slightly different route, a heavily wooded area. As safaris go, it was very average, too crowded and there was not a chance of seeing anything interesting. The rhinos were worth it though but I will never repeat it. We decided not to take the jeep safari as we were a little tired and didn't want to spend two hours, well knowing that we had a long journey back home. We headed back to the hotel and ate some breakfast, buffet style. Being Bihu, they had served the traditional food as well as the normal fare. Decent spread, decent taste. We then stretched our legs around the resort. It is well maintained and at the back overlooks a tea garden. They also rent bikes to go around. We checked out and then stopped at a restaurant in town - Hotel Aashiana for lunch - rice, dal, chicken curry and some yummy fish fry. They also served their own brand of mineral water so we had a good laugh joshing that they must be filling the bottle from a tap at the back. We came back the way we went and again stopped at Hotel Aakriti but this time the samosas were not so good. All in all, a decent getaway but a little rushed. I would like to go again, spend two nights in a resort with cottages and go for safaris which are highly recommended. Maybe a little driving around with a working CD player. Next time, next time....

Some pics of the reserve and the hotel -