Dharamshala-Mcleodganj

Another trip which I would like to cherish for lifetime… Dalhousie- Dharamshala.

I always get lured towards Himalayas. Totally in bliss when I am accompanied by them …So whenever I need a break I think of getting a powerful Nature Spa.

Me and one of my friend Netra who is also Travel Maniac like me decided to go for it … Dalhousie- Dharamshala.

Day 1: 19th March 2016

We reached Pathankot and booked a private car to Dalhousie. Nothing to worry about last minute transportation as the assisted transportation representative are always available there near Pathankot station.

4 hours’ journey from Pathankot and we reached Dalhousie.

We planned 2 days’ trip over here in Dalhousie. – The Scenic beauty with colonial touch is the USP of Dalhousie.

On day 1 we just explored the Mall road over there and did shopping.

What not to miss over there?

Dainkund peak, Sachpass, Panchpula, Satdhara falls- Ahead of Panchpula, Kalatop- we missed due to time constraint. Subhash Baoli, Chamera Lake, HPCA Ground.

Day 2 –

On Day 2 we visited Dainkund peak, Panchpula- The lifeline of Dalhousie, Chamera Lake and Subhash Bowli.  We also enjoyed good food in local restaurant…Momos,Ginger lemon honey tea and what not…

Dainkund Peak –

15 mins small hike from where you can view panoramic view of Pir Panjal range. There is a small temple of Pholani Devi where the hike ends, you can take darshan and come back. You can also view Kailash ranges over there. I felt that as a perfect place to spend time with your family and friends at the top of the hill with breathtaking view.

Panchpula-

As the name suggests Panchpula is the 5 bridges over the streams. It’s a good picnic spot for local people over there with good view of waterfall but still not that properly maintained.

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Chamera Lake-

We didn’t go much closer to see this lake but we were able to see it on our way from Dalhousie .Midst of the dense pine and deodhar this lake does give you a scenic view.

Subhash Bowli-

This is a popular spot named after Subhash Chandra bhose. The spring water over here is considered to be medicated. It is believed that Subhash Chandra bose rested over here for several months to cure his illness.

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Day 3:

We checked out from Dalhousie today and covered Khajjiar, HPCA ground, Dal Lake on our way to Bhagsu Nag. (135 kms)

Khajjiar-

India’s Mini Switzerland located between Dalhousie and chamba, is surrounded with deodar, pine trees and green meadows. kajjiar gives a good spot to get your pictures clicked.

Also there are many activities which you can do over there like paragliding, Horse riding, Photoshoot with Rabbits, Zorbing etc

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HPCA Ground-

You will be the luckiest one if you get to see that as they don’t allow you to visit if the ground is booked for any matches. I vouch this is the most beautiful playground with scenic view.

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Dal Lake –

There is nothing much to say about Dal Lake as they haven’t maintained it properly. You can just click pictures and can do boating over there.

Bhagsu Nag Temple-

This temple is dedicated to snake god & Lord shiva which is around 2 kms from McLeodganj . There is a waterfall very next to Bhagsunag temple which is one of the major tourist attraction spot in Dharamshala.

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Day 4 and 5 was all about Triund trek experience written in previous blog .You can read it by clicking below link .

https://nehamanavi.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/triund/

After completing 1.5 days’ trek to Triund we came back to Mcleodganj. We stayed at a hotel which was close to market area- M hotel.

Mcleod is a peppy place to explore. You can see chain of shops and cafés over there. Good place to shop and don’t miss to try Ginger Lemon Honey Tea.

We were completely exhausted to explore that area after trek so we just had dinner at nearby restaurant over there and went to sleep.

Day 6-

Next day we visited The Dalai Lama Temple.

When u just take the name Dharmshala it automatically connects me to His Holiness Dalai Lama who is epitome of Peace and spiritual Grace.

Unfortunately, when we went to visit the temple he was away for treatment in Austrialia.

We visited the temple and we were getting positive vibes from everywhere. People over there are very kind.

I was spinning the Tibetan prayer wheel which you will normally find in any monastery “om mani padme hum” written over it.

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According to the Tibetan Buddhist, spinning such a wheel will have much the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers.

“The first word Om is a sacred syllable found in Indian religions. The word Mani means “jewel” or “bead”, Padme is the “lotus flower” (the Buddhist sacred flower), and Hum represents the spirit of enlightenment.” As mentioned in Wikipedia.

We spend some time in temple enjoying the positive vibes around and I feel the same vibes describing it over here.

After that we explored the Tibetan market. I picked up this Tibetan prayer wheel. We shopped Tibetan handicrafts like singing bowl which the monks use for meditation / inner peace. If you listen carefully to the sound of singing bowl you can hear the sound of OM. I also picked up manjira clash cymbals with dragon design over it (known as Brass Dragon Tingshas). The dragon embodies strength, goodness and the spirit of change or transformation.

Do spend some time reading Dalai Lama’s teachings which you will find in most of these handicrafts shop, It will definitely transcend your thought process.

Don’t forget to get a rough idea of the price before you buy anything over there. This will help you to bargain at a good price.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Much awaited Solo Trip #Singapore

Eat, Pray, Love did inspire me. I really wanted to explore outside world…Just a thought came in my mind and as the secret says “what you think you will attract it towards you” …The opportunity just came on my way which I grabbed instantly …And so here I went to explore the outer world…yeah …Singapore it was…

I did little R&D about tourist places in Singapore … Already knew the fact that Singapore is safe to travel all alone.

Before you plan out all alone it’s better to double check with the local travel agencies over there. Sometimes they actually have great deals to offer you. Even they provide you tickets at a very lower rate.

Also the public transportation system is awesome so you avoid taxi services as it is expensive.

Day 1:

I visited SEA Aquarium the very first day in Sentosa. Majority of the tourist attractions are in Sentosa Island. Totally man-made but very beautiful and delightful.

What you can see in Sentosa?

  • Universal Studios.
  • E.A Aquarium.
  • Beach City.
  • Wings of Time.
  • Skyline Luge
  • Madame Tussauds.

You can travel either by cable car or by MRT Service.

MRT Service is quite cheap.

How to get in Sentosa by MRT?

All you need to do is find a metro map at the station and figure out which is the nearest station to you. From this station, make your way to Harbour front Station on the North-East Line.

From Harbourfront Station, enter Vivo City Mall.

Go to the third floor (Level 3) of the mall to board the sentosa express.

Sentosa Express Monorail is open from 7 Am to 11:45 PM, and follows an operation interval of every 5-8 minutes. It stops at four main stations, one being the Sentosa Express Station at VivoCity. The other succeeding stops include, Waterfront Station, Imbiah, and Beach Station.

How to Get in Sentosa via Cable Car?

Go to HarbourFront MRT station.

Take Exit B, labelled as Harbourfront Centre.

Follow the signs that lead to the Harbourfront Tower II. The Singapore Cable Car Station is at the top of this tower.

S.E.A. Aquarium (South East Asia Aquarium) is the world’s largest aquarium. I haven’t seen so many different species in marine life till now. I must say they have maintained it amazingly.

Marin Life @ S.E.A Aquarium 

@Sentosa Merlion

My Day 1 was all about knowing things and exploring.

Day 2:

The next day I went to Universal studio by MRT.

The rides are thrilling. The only worst part is the wait time which I experienced during Transformer ride. As I was solo rider I was able to enjoy rest of the rides quickly, hardly 10 to 15 mins wait time for me and for others it was 100 to 120 mins.

Rides which you cannot dare to miss.

  • Transformer
  • Jurassic Park
  • Mummy
  • The 4 D show.
  • The Red and blue Roller coaster (Human and Cylon).
  • The Water Show – Must see

I met one Chinese gal during my trip to Universal studio who was also solo traveller like me. She joined me for rest of the day. We had great conversation sharing our traditions and culture. I got to know from her that people in China think there are no proper provisions of toilets at public places in India. I wasn’t sure what to reply over it I just told her “it’s not like that and I am very sure when you come to India you will not face any problems “.

We both went to beach and had a peaceful evening over there watching beautiful sunset. From there we explored Vivo City and then I was on my way to Little India. This is what I like the most in solo trips. You meet different people and get to know their opinions about the world. How they see at world…How they think… and where we lack…

I explored Mustafa Market at Little India… Huge 3 storey building where you get almost everything…

Day 3:

The next day I went for this Hop in Hop off ride which is best for sight-seeing. Excellent service by Singapore Tourism

There are total 5 lines (Blue /violet/brown /green/yellow) where you can travel (Map as given below) which starts around 9 am from Suntech City and ends approx. 7pm.

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It Covers everything. The best part is if you want to just get down and explore one particular place you can do that and again hop into the next bus. The bus service is available in every 15mins.

Initially I wasn’t aware that I was able to Hop in and hop off on all the 4 lines so I missed Yellow partially, green and brown line completely but I managed to complete other 3 lines.

Places I covered during Hop in and Hop off –

  • China Town- Shopping and visit to Buddha Tooth Relic temple and Mariamman temple
  • Clarke Quay
  • Merlion Park
  • Marina Bay
  • National Museum
  • Gardens by the Bay
  • Singapore Flyer

@China Town

@Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

@Merlion Park

Day 4:

Singapore surprised me every day. As the days were passing during my trip I felt as why can’t we develop our tourism in this way. Lots of amazing places to explore in India which people aren’t aware of.

So today I was on my way to Gardens by the bay.

How to get there through MRT?

Take downtown Line from Little India, Get down at Bay front. Start heading towards Exit B and you reach there.

I was out of the station and started exploring the heritage garden heading towards the dome. In few meters you will be able see an enchanting view of Fountain, super tree groves, dome and Singapore flyer in one frame.

Day and night view from Gardens by the bay ( All in one frame )

What not to miss in Gardens by the Bay?

  • Super tree groves
  • The Dome- Flower dome & Cloud forest
  • Exhilarating musical night show.
  • View from marina bay sands next to gardens by the bay.
  • OCBC Skyway. (I missed this)

I have pictures to tell a lot about the above.

Singapore night view from Marina Bay Sands 

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Super tree groves are 20-25 m tall which dominates the garden view. I must say super tree has super view on both day and night. At day it does act as a shade and at night it comes alive with the spectacular display of musical light and sound show.

Supertree Groves 

Marina Bay sands will show you panoramic view of the whole city at night. Also don’t miss to see again the light and sound show at 9 pm from the there. Both the views of the show from the garden and from marina bay is very different. Don’t miss that.

Day 5:

Last day at Singapore- Jurong Bird Park:

Unlike other bird park I must say this bird park did astonish me.

Different species of birds- Cute ones, The dino- birds’ ones… I really had fun spending half of the day over here.

Birds @ Jurong

What I liked the most is the amazing bird show which is for approx. 30 mins but you will love it to the core.

Bird Show 

There are so many species of birds which we actually are not aware of and this bird park has tried its best to showcase most of it.

There is a place over there where you can also feed the Lory birds. You get the Lory food at $3 per cup and get your photos clicked with them which is worth to spend .

Feeding Lory Birds

There is also a show called Lunch with Birds where you can have lunch with all birds around you which costed around $20. I didn’t find it worth but guess what fortunately when I was having lunch birds came besides me. Luckily I had lunch with birds free of cost.

Finally dont miss Butterfly Garden @Changi Airport.

My Singapore experience was all about knowing and meeting different people, realizing there is so much to learn from the world, dealing with few things on own and analyzing self where I can improve more.

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

Triund

A short 1.5-day trek to Triund which is very much popular in Dharmshala. If u ever plan for Dharmshala then don’t ever miss this.

Total Expenditure for trek 1500 to 3000/-  per head.

Triund is a small hill in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh. We hired a local guide and started our trek from Dharamkot. This is a quite easy trek, 4 hours hike and you reach there.

The panoramic view of Dhauladhar Range from the summit with each shade itself is breathtaking. DHAULADHAR is derived from “DHAULA” meaning WHITE and “DHAR” meaning MOUNTAIN RANGE. The mountains are always crowned with snow throughout the year hence called Dhauladhar (White Mountain Range ).

Panoramic view of Dhauladhar Range

The above picture is the panoramic view of Dhauladhar range. Though the whole range would not be visible from Triund, The Peak which you can see in the extreme right is visible from there.

                                                         Campsite at Triund

Dhauladhar in different shades .. Daylight, Twilight and Moonrise

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Twilight view from Triund on the other side.

What not to miss at the pinnacle

  • Jaw dropping view of Dhauladhar mountains on one side and Kangra valley on the other side.
  • Don’t miss the shades of nature from dusk to dawn.
  • Don’t miss the Night view. Do stay there for a day as at night it becomes even more beautiful …you will be amazed to see beautiful Dark blue sky with twinkling stars and beautiful moon.
  • Do enjoy bonfire at night.
  • If you are a Tea lover, then don’t miss Ginger Lemon Honey Tea.

           

Rann of kutch.

Just a random conference call with my friends and the plan was made. The idea of Kutch came in to our minds from the movie Mohenjo Daro from where we linked Dolavira and so Kutch. The casual discussion and a quick offbeat plan was made.

I booked the tickets of Bhuj Express which we (Group of 6) had to board from Bandra Terminus around 5.30 pm which halts at Bhuj at around 11.30 am which was around 16 hours’ journey.

Day 1(Dec – 2016)

One of my friend pre booked Vehicle for 2 days from pick up point to our scheduled plan ahead. We started heading to our hotel Shaan-e-sarhad which was actually a traditional mud house known as Bhungas at Hodka Village, 2 hours’ journey from Bhuj.

 Camel Ride at Kala Dungur

We just loved the traditional rooms and tents which made us feel like flash back. We quickly got ready, had our lunch and headed towards Kala Dungar, Highest point in Kutch from where you can see magnificent view of Great Rann of Kutch. On our way to Kala Dungar we did experience a magnetic field on magnetic hill where in our vehicle was pulled back against the flow. We felt as if we are attracted by some invisible power.  We enjoyed camel ride over there, view of course, clicked many pics and then went to the last destination for the day – The GREAT RANN OF KUTCH- the largest white desert in the world which is only visible from Nov to March.
We reached Rann and were delighted to see the beautiful white desert and the golden rays over it making it a panoramic view; Amazed with the Natures Miracle thinking how other months it is filled with salty water 15 meters above sea level and how for this particular period there is nothing but just the White desert. When initially we stepped over the Rann we realized it’s still not completely dry. None of the people stepped over it  but we desperately wanted to go and click pictures. So without thinking we all walked over it. Our feet were sinking but it didn’t bother us. We clicked pictures and waited till night enjoying each shades of nature. At night the view was more fascinating as the salt shines beneath moon light. We just missed the full moon view by a week but were contented with the view we got to see.

  @Rann of Kutch 

   Twilight View 

We headed back to our hotel and had our dinner simultaneously enjoying traditional folk music performance by the localities and so the day 1 was spent well.

 Traditional folk music

Day 2

The next day we checked out from Hodka and now the places to be covered on day 2 were Prag Mahal, Aina Mahal, Vijay Vilas Mahal and Mandavi Beach.

   Prag mahal

  Aina Mahal

 Partly ruined in 2001 earthquake

Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal are just next to each other. We hired a guide so that we can get to know well about its history. After visiting I feel though it has been restored after the damage of 2001 Earthquake both the Mahal’s can still be improved and maintained properly.

Later on we headed towards Vijay Vilas palace. Lovely Palace and lovely place to click beautiful pictures…They have really maintained it properly .I got to know many movie shootings have been done earlier over there.

So now our last tourist attraction for the day was Mandavi Beach. For me that was the best attraction for the day … yes nature does attract me a lot. We sat over shacks at twilight gazing at the sky to see the beautiful sunset.

 Sunset @ Mandavi Beach

After a quite relaxation we had sumptuous dinner – Gujrati thali at Viram Garden Restaurant and then checked in to our hotel – Divya Jyoti Residency.

Day 3

We got up early as we had to cover 4-hour journey – From Bhuj to Dolavira and then we had to board train from Bachau station at around 7 pm.

Dholavira is a historical place which was all about Harappa civilization. It is the most prominent excavation sites in the Indus valley civilization. Also, one of the 5th largest sites in Indus valley civilization and the largest one in India.

We were excited to see the other side of the Kutch i.e. the historical side of Kutch. We decided not to waste our time on food breaks so we quickly grabbed Hot Jalebis, Fafda with raw papaya chutney and had in the car. On our way we came across this beautiful extension of Rann of Kutch which was more divine compared to the popular site of Great Rann of Kutch.

   Extension of Great Rann of Kutch

 The walk at extension

 Clicked while returning at dusk

We decided to take halt over there to enjoy this heavenly scenario. A plain road surrounded by beautiful sheet of salt on both the sides looked amazing. Since many people are not aware of this, it seemed to be untapped ones. The salt sheet over the plain marshy land looked like as if the land is covered with fresh snow. We got down over it to click pictures over there and noticed that this extension of Ran was much harder than the Great ran of Kutch which we visited on day 1 and that we were able to walk easily over it. Due to time constraint we quickly had to move ahead for Dolavira.

Dolavira is the most prominent site of Indus valley civilization in India. It was occupied for 550 years from 2650 BC to 2100 BC and again was occupied for small duration on 1400 BC.

This was arguably first site where terracotta ornaments were used.

We hired a guide over there to gain more knowledge about it. We were amused by the fact that in those days even in this dry arid desert there was abundance of water. They had a fabulous water conservation system during Harrapan times. The structure was built in a systematic manner because of which there was never scarcity of water.

It was a well-planned town divided into three parts where the prominent people with higher authority stayed in Citadel which was at the higher level. The other side of the citadel was divided into Lower town and middletown. The artisans and the Merchants used to stay in the middle town and the workers in the lower town.

 @Dolavira

 Terracotta seals

After a knowledgeable session we had our lunch and left for Bachau station on our way to Mumbai.

We enjoyed this offbeat trip which was worth a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bhrigu Trek

Day 1:

Very much excited as I am heading towards Himalayas …The much needed break…

Seems like it’s been ages since I have gone for a trek …

I took my flight to Delhi from Mumbai and from there my journey starts.

The journey itself started with lot of adventures. From almost missing our bus to Manali to meeting unpleasant people in trip.

This is the first time we were going for trek through India Hikes. We were informed to report at Nehru Park and India hikes seemed to be very much professional in terms of their list which was provided to us.

As this was my 5th Himalayan trek I had a very casual attitude; so much casual that I ended up taking fancy reebok shoes which I can use regularly instead of taking huge trekking shoes which I might not use later on.

So here my journey to Gulaba Base Camp started from Manali.

Manali has become overcrowded place these days. It took 2.5 hrs for us to reach Gulaba were one should take hardly 30 mins.

So from here we are supposed to reach our first base camp which was 20 mins trail…hold on not the normal trail. We were supposed to climb a 70-degree steep mountain.

And during that trail I realised why it is important to do warm up and to work out before going any of the trek.

For 20 mins trail we took an hour.

What is the difference in India hikes and YHA from my perspective?

I did 4 Himalayan treks through YHA and there we used to warm up for 3 days in base camp so that our body gets acclimated for the higher treks.

On the other hand, India hikes will directly take you to higher camps as they expect you to be completely fit for the treks. You are supposed to walk daily and send them screenshots on daily basis which is good idea.

So finally we reached our Day 1 location at Gulaba (10,370 ft.). We had our refreshments ,then  introduction and later on we were told about Medication, Go green Campaign and Overall trek info.

Fortunately, we had very good trek leaders with us. We proceeded for dinner then to our tent. The tents were little small and we were told to keep our bags outside the tent still under coverage of tent but not really inside as there were two coverings of the tent.

Around 2 at night it started raining heavily, I just popped out of the tent quickly kept our shoes under coverage and then slipped inside my sleeping bag.

So here our day one ends …

                                                      Our Group at Gulaba Camp

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Day 2:

The next morning, we woke up at 5am and as we opened our tent we were fascinated with the lovely view outside …Totally chilled out climate… Clouds and Himalayas …Wow…The feeling lasted only for few minutes until I realised that my bag and my shoes got completely drenched …I was very much irritated. Every trek gives different experience and this was different as my only fresh stock of clothes got wet which is generally very much essential for high altitude treks.

We just had our breakfast and at around 8 am we started heading towards next camp i.e. Rola khuli (12,566 ft.). This we found little easy compared to Day 1 as we were slowly getting used to it. As we were going higher the mesmerizing beauty of nature just changed my mood …From irritated Neha to happy Neha… The music of waterbodies and gusts of wind just takes one to a different level. The lush green meadows and running horses made my eyes delighted. Finally, we reached our next camp at approx. 3. The camp spot was just awesome. The first thing I did when I reached the campsite was just capturing the whole beauty in my memory forever. Nature was showing its different colours of beauty as it was heading towards dusk and I enjoyed all the shades which it showed.

                                                  On our way to Rola Khuli

                                                         Our camp at Rola Kholi

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                                                      View near Campsite

Day 3:

            The next day we woke up at around 4, not willing to get out of the tent as it was raining and temperature had dropped very low. We waited for rain to stop but it didn’t; so finally at 5 am we were compelled to get out of the tent as we had to leave by 6.30 for Bhrigu (altitude – 14,009 ft.). We quickly got ready, packed our lunch and left approximately at 7.30 am. The trail duration was of about 7 to 8 hours where we had to go to summit and had to return at Rola Khuli.  The trail was snowy and foggy but beautiful. Me and my cousin enjoyed this part more as we were able to lead. It was difficult to walk on snow as it’s slippery and you don’t know how deep the patch is as your feet can sink in it. Rains made it more difficult to walk. Finally ,we reached Bhrigu filled with beauty and serene. There is a small story connected with this place because of which this place is considered sacred.

                                                         On our way to bhrigu

                                                             At the summit

                                                                        Bhrigu Lake

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Now from this part we had to descend which people think is the easiest but actually the toughest.

We covered 1/3 rd. of the part by sliding which is more of fun. Roll and roll and then twist and turn… That’s how I slid …hahaha. It is more fun to watch others slide. My cousin bumped herself on the rock but she managed well later on to complete the trek .
We returned to Rola Khuli by 4.  And so day 3 ends later on with fun, chitchatting, pain but rejuvenating memories of scenic at the summit. The next day we descended to Gulaba and then to Shimla. We received rainfall last 2 days constantly which made our trek level more difficult but we enjoyed every bit of it. The fall and rise does teach a lot …Doesn’t it? Had a great time with Himalayas, water bodies, sky, birds …Close to nature …Now on my way to city life …

 

 

The last Conversation

26 year old boy die all of a sudden without even giving a small hint . Never ever thought that conversation on rakshabandhan will be last conversation. I still remember I cracked a stupid joke on that day which erupted in to an argument and made me upset. I thought I will not speak  for a while but never thought that would be our last conversation. There are many such moments which we shared together- Laughter, Joy , Anger , Craziness and many more..

My lil brother.. He was mad ..totally mad.. He had this quality to make anyone laugh.

Today ..all we got is just memories..

I realised after that how a sudden absence of person can change the lives of so many people..Yes I do agree with the fact that death is inevitable but never expected someone close to me would die at such young age .

I realised we have been given certain things in life on temporary basis..When you lose someone, all that has left behind is just the memories . The only way to pacify yourself  is that what you lost was never really yours..it was just given by God to you in trust for a certain period of your life.

Hard to digest but is the only truth. All we really have is the moments to cherish..

                              My Cousins Gang

LittleIndia

I visited Singapore & Malaysia last week and was completely fascinated with the infrastructure – especially with the public transportation system. Thought how good life it will be to settle abroad.

During my trip I got a shocking news of my cousin’s death and I was helpless as I was not around with my family during this bad phase and that I was not able to say him final goodbye.

I came to India and I desperately wanted to meet my family to know what happened …Abroad I was feeling helpless as I was not around my family and today again I am feeling helpless due to poor infrastructure over here…Heavy rainfall has affected train service … Searching Uber …but not a single taxi available…Everything came to standstill.

Sometimes I feel it’s better to settle abroad … But then I think what about our own people, culture and values??What if any emergency occurs??

One of the dreams which I desperately want to come true- The dream of India being at least like Little India of Singapore …with good infrastructure & good connectivity …close to our own people.

I just hope this will happen very soon…