The Final Battle… India VS Pakistan, Champions Trophy 2017, England

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The final would be played at The Oval. Seeing the 5 ICC Champions Trophy matches; one cant decide whether its a batsman-friendly or a bowler friendly pitch.
Rain is 4:1 here.
In Today’s match, India had a steady yet irregular luster in Bowling and Fielding, and shone magnificently in Batting. I dearly hope India merge the best of all its Champion trophy performances; as its not to forget that Pakistan TWICE bitterly defeated India in Champions trophy; out of the 4 confrontations till date (2004, England; 2009, South Africa).

Previous matches at The Oval:

Bangladesh 305/6 (50 overs) v England 308/2 (47.2 overs)
Bangladesh 182 (44.3 overs) v Australia 83/1 (16 overs) – Rain
South Africa 299/6 (50 overs) v Sri Lanka 203 (41.3 overs)
India 321/6 (50 overs) v Sri Lanka 322/3 (48.4 overs)
South Africa 191 (44.3 overs) v India 193/2 (38 overs)

A Day Well Spent in DILLI…!!!..

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I had gone to visit DILLI to get the plate for my tripod, and ended up visiting some places in wishlist.

First stop- Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi
Met an Old Friend. Devoured plates of Dahi Bhalla at Natraj Dahi Bhalla Corner. Absolutely loved them.

Next Stop: Red Fort….
The Serenity destroyed due to security and too big a crowd. The Place has become a museum piece over time. Not liked it… Also, I absolutely hated that people were mugging foreigners into clicking pictures with them.

Next Stop: Sishganj Gurudwra, New Delhi
A holy place where an encounter with the God can get you dizzy. Not to forget the Yum Kadha Prasad.

Lunch Time: Haldiram’s. Loved its Halwa and rabdi… (Have got a sweet tooth you know)

Last Stop: Agrasen ki Baoli (Barakhamba Road metro station)
An Old Ruin of a well located in the posh areas of new delhi, It has evolved in a lover’s point and a jogging track over the time, with free entry. Also; a fairly nice place to click insanely crazy pictures, read something uninterrupted for hours, and Get shit-scared due to the bats…!!

And then back to my den… PHEW!!!

PS: Qutub Minar and Jahaz Mahal closes at 5.. otherwise this column would have been longer…

The Lone Journey Uphill…!!

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The solo trip to Rishikesh-Chamba on 29th-30th of April (my first trip itself) was planned a long back. Finally, I went around living it quite recently. The trip, however conventional, has been a spot of relaxation from the hustle of the cities.
PS: Hadn’t opted for any camp, and was looking forward to roam around the city, soaking it in.

Day 1 (28-04-2017)

On 28th, I literally raced after the bus to Rishikesh to board it, and later realized it wont depart for another hour. The bus was occupied with people from many parts of out land. Slowly, sleep took over me and everyone else; compensating for the super bumpy ride to the hilly district.

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Finally….
After lots of goof-ups due to rescheduling of bus stops…
Getting down on wrong metro stations…
And literally running between buses…😓😓
I departed to Rishikesh…!!!!

Day 2 (29-04-2017)

After a brief halt at Haridwar, the bus reached Rishikesh. Unfortunately, the trusted Google Map proved untrustworthy; marking the auto stand as the bus-stand; whereas the actual bus stand is 12 KM outside the city. I caught the tuk-tuk to Tapovan, then trudged to the hostel Bunk Stay, which was across the Lakshman Jhula.

The suspension bridge, one of the two suspension bridge named after the mythical brothers of Ramayan; offer a scenic view to the Ganga, and the landscape surroundings. The bunk stay is a hostel located on quite a height, thus offering a view to quite a number of landmarks.

After a brief halt at Haridwar, the bus reached Rishikesh. Unfortunately, the trusted Google Map proved untrustworthy; marking the auto stand as the bus-stand; whereas the actual bus stand is 12 KM outside the city. I caught the tuk-tuk to Tapovan, then trudged to the hostel Bunk Stay, which was across the Lakshman Jhula.

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West and East In North… Students from Gangtok, Sikkim

The suspension bridge, one of the two suspension bridge named after the mythical brothers of Ramayan; offer a scenic view to the Ganga, and the landscape surroundings. The bunk stay is a hostel located on quite a height, thus offering a view to quite a number of landmarks.

After refreshing and grudgingly renting a non-gear; I departed to the per-booked rafting location given by BiKe Rental Rishikesh.

We eight people on the raft rocked and were rocked by the choppy waters of Ganga, with regularly jumping in the waters and being soaked by the huge water waves. The rafters literally tried to “Wave-rash” with each other by splashing water toward each other. After a bumpy ride on the water, jumping down from a cliff, and me climbing up the cliff again; we reached the shore and parted ways; but not before taking a look of longing towards the river.

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A Look of Longing…

After resting, eating food and chatting up with the assortment of travelers staying at the hostel; I went down to locations I had marked, like the Little Buddha cafe, The Parmarth Niketan etc. At last, I drove a long and narrow way to Triveni Ghat Rishikesh.

Unfortunately the Ganga was quite dried there, but the Aarti was as thought great. By the time the aarti ended, the weather had turned chilly and quite windy due to heavy rains in the mountains. So, after eating a light dinner at a local eatery; one thing was left for the day: Standing in the middle of Ram Jhula and soaking in the chilly wind. The bridge was literally rocking like a lap, with the wind sounding like a lullaby; urging me to stay there a little long. The night was spent on the roof, singing songs with the mixed bag of hostelers; and I didn’t knew when I dozed off.
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Day 3 (30-04-2017)

The next day, while eating breakfast; anecdotes were thrown around about the previous day’s experiences. Two of the hostelers had come down here for four days JUST TO LEARN KAYAKING.

Meanwhile, the Avenger I had booked arrived. Due to the rains the previous night; I was contemplating to cancel the Bike trip to Kanatal with stops at chamba; but somehow I pushed myself to go for it. From the start of the journey; me and my hog were swayed and swung by the Chilly wind like a kite. I was literally averaging 10kmph. The wind was playing hide & seek, with the added thrilling danger of riding at the Tarai side of the road. Fortunately, thanks to the government; the roads were unbelievably smooth. The journey was daunting due to the lashing winds howling like wolves and the deep tarai by the roadside; but enjoyable enough due to meeting people & chatting with them. Every time I honked my bike’s horn, the following Ruskin Bond quote from “Dust on the mountains” came to me:

“A horn blared, shattering the silence of the mountains, and the truck came round a bend in the road. A herd of goats scattered to left and right.”


Although I was driving very slowly in comparison to the legendary jovial Sardar Pritam Singh; and I was not driving a truck!! The sight for sore eyes were the quirky road messages the Indian Army had put up by the side of the road. The mountains had some breathtaking views, making us believe that the natural beauty is still out there.

There is a song by Mohit Chauhan which goes like this:

माये नि मीरिये, शिमले दी राहें, चम्बा कितनी दूर?
ओये शिमले नी बसना, कसौली नी बसना, चम्बे जाना जरूर…
(Oh my friend, How far is Chamba in Shimla’s way?
Neither to Shimla, Nor to Kasauli; I wish to go to Chamba…)

After chugging down glasses of sweet tea and endlessly asking at every short span: चम्बा कितनी दूर?… चम्बा कितनी दूर? I finally reached Chamba. It is a simple quite town, busting with happy people and topped with natural beauty. Unfortunately; my relief was cut short due to the sudden drizzle. So I grudgingly decided to return. The return journey was quite easy and fast; with a strong tinge of lingering nostalgia after passing some strange familiar landmarks; like the lone blue tree looking over the cliff, the lone and spooky Maruti car with no one inside, hung on an on-looking rock (Was there a Ghost story in it??), the toothy tea stall owner who sold excellent chai, and the police man showing me the way-up.


The short-dreamy bike trip came to an abrupt end; but not before visiting the Neer Garh Waterfall. The waterfall is located on the badrinath highway, with a 20/- entry and a priceless view of the jumpy waters. Hikers trudge the height till the end to reach the full height.

It was time to bid Bye-Bye to the town, with memories coming back again and again while chatting up with the fellow passengers, and peering outside the window. Every moment spent chatting, peering through the window or dozing off brought back memories, and making me think… Does this has to End??
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PS:
Got in an accident at Rishikesh border, while returning from Chamba; got my pocket lightened…
Reached Gurgaon Border at 3:AM with no transport to my home (remember EK CHALIS KI LAST LOCAL??), and then reached home by boarding a Newspaper Delivery Van. Some highlights I had omitted.


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