Friday, October 30, 2009

The Tata Nano

Bayer manager and the medical representative visited the clinic today. After their detailing was over, they requested me to see a surprise outside--instinctively I asked whether it was a car , which the rep or manager might have bought. They said it was a Nano and would like me to drive it. Bayer has been alloted 1 car and after another manager used it for a few days, he handed it over to this manager, who stays at Airoli and on his visits to Thane, has made it a point to make the first call at my clinic and then proceed to the others on his list. This was one of those days.

So I drove it from my clinic, giving smiles to all people staring at it, to the service road and took a u-turn at 3 haat naka and came back. Wheel turn is fabulous.

The height is good just like the Wagon R, which I have at present , wheels are small -- scooter or rick size, quite roomy in front, don't know about the rear seats, front seats are reclining, gear and hand brake same as wagon r . Dashboard is basic-- speedometer on top at windscreen level, below are the 2 AC outlets with the controls below it, single wiper , accelerator, brake and clutch placed comfortably as the Wagon R and not at an angle to accommodate the right front wheel hump inside like the Maruti 800 or the Santro. Steering though powered felt very stiff. It was also a bumpy ride -- could be comfortable if loaded. It has power windows.

This was the advanced model 186000/= on road. basic model 126000/= on road. He was telling me that one has to take good care in avoiding potholes. He had taken a ride on a climb near Nerul with total 4 people , but had to shift to 2nd and even 1st gear. Felt less power. Should be good in cities but with good roads.

Marigold for the Festival

We had gone to the market on Friday, a day before Diwali. There were heaps of marigold all around and one enterprising vendor had this novel idea of attending to customers from all directions by sitting in the center if the mound. Couldn't help clicking as we passed him .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chokhi Dhani

I had an occasion to recently visit Chokhi Dhani, a resort showing the life in Rajasthan. Right from the welcome till the time we exited, we experienced the traditional warmth of Rajasthani culture. This place is on the Bhiwandi-Kalyan Road, off the National Highway going to Nashik and beyond.

A traditional welcome with aarti and to the beats of drums and a dancing ' horse '

Many stalls with folk music and dance.

The ladies are very graceful in their performance and balancing acts.

They also invite the guests to be part of the dance and it so relaxing to join them, watch their movements very closely and dance with them to the fascinating rhythm.

Also there was a performance by a flame thrower and fire eater. I knew that they use kerosene or petrol, but here I got no smell of either.

Was curious to know what he had used.

Next we visited a typical ' mahal ' , where we were treated to a delicious jowar roti with butter and jaggeri , a traditional mix.

On our way back we were fascinated with the ' champi malish ' stall. A professional masseur was attending to a visitor using traditional oils and methods to give him a nice massage.

We then did shopping, buying bangles made of sealing wax, in the traditional Rajasthani method and design. He would patiently attend to the clients, answering queries and remodeling the bangles to the desired shape and size, on hot charcoals.

The final attraction was the Rajasthani menu in the dinner, served sitting down and with the plate put on a small decorated stool. From afar we could not see anyone in the dining area, as all were sitting down and I was under the impression that the mess was yet to open.

Food was really tasty, but with lots of butter and oil and many sinfully heavy sweets.

We are not really used to eating this kind of stuff, but it is excused for a day to savor such items.

Returned home with memories of a good time spent on a weekend.

Ride to Lonavla

A great idea planned extempore . After a few months of hectic work in the clinic, I was on breaking point and desperately wanted a change.

We decided to drive to Lonavla on Sunday, 5th October and visit the beautiful Durgeshwari temple, just off the old highway on the road going to Karla caves, do a bit of exploring of Lonavla and revive memories and then return back. To get more information about this Karla Durgaparmeshwari Math , visit this site,

We left at about 8 in the morning and after a breakfast of ' wada pav ' at the food mall reached the temple at about 10.45.

We spent sometime there and went to the Tungarli area for a nostalgic visit. The area has changed totally from the times we stayed there in the late sixties. We saw the Varsha bungalow where we stayed, then towards the Tungarli dam area. It used to be an open countryside and now it is full of bunglows with little greenery left. Next we turned back and on to the road going to my school Don Bosco, which now has so many buildings, and so many houses in front. I used to walk or cycle to and from the school and home.

We then came back to the old highway and to the east to buy chikki and farsan from the famous National Chikki. The taste has not changed over the years and one just cannot like any chikki other than National's, once you have a taste of this.

We then came back to the west for lunch at the famous Chandralok .

This hotel was a small place in those days on the road leading to the VPS high school and the level crossing. There used to be a book store, owned by a Parsi lady, next to Chandralok and she used to resemble Indira Gandhi a lot--looks wise. Our family Physician, Dr. Rashingkar, had his clinic next to this store.

The Chandralok Hotel has a new look but its hospitality and food has not changed. It has a big dining area and a big waiting lobby.

The menu is typical Gujju food , very tasty and piping hot. Waiters always on their toes to attend with a big smile on.

We were fortunate not to have typical big weekend crowds in Lonavla as probably the school exams were still on. I was surprised with the ease with which we crossed to the east and found ample parking places everywhere.

On the way back . a slight drizzle and thick fog greeted us near Khandala. We had put off the AC and opened the windows to let the freshness in.

We returned by 3.30pm refreshed and eager to go back to work for the next week. The feeling was of having come back from a big vacation.

Bandra Foot Overbridge

I had read about this foot over bridge, connecting Bandra east Kalanagar to Bandra west across the railway, crossing the Dharavi - Bandra road and the Western Express way, being thrown open for pedestrians. Often I have passed below it and talked about going over it, just to satisfy my curiosity of its route and extent.

One Sunday, Shami and I decided to make the trip. It was best to use public transport, so we hunted out the shortest route from Thane on the BEST website. We took a bus to Vikhroli depot and a connecting one to Kalanagar. We went across and saw the traffic below, a beautiful garden near the fly over. From above it looked like a well cared for garden, a rare sight in Mumbai.

The bridge is quite wide as it must be catering to the huge rush coming out of Bandra station towards the offices in Bandra-Kurla complex. It crosses the expressway, then curves along the offices to the west of the highway and on to the station.

Here it joins the old railway bridges. Now it is a problem for people like us , who just wanted to cross over without entering the platforms. We read a notice saying ' Do not enter without a valid ticket '. We took a chance and fortunately no TC came our way. There should be an independent bridge going across with connections to the old railway bridges going on to the platforms.

Another good thing seen on the bridge were a few benches with bucket seats kept at regular intervals for people to sit, if tired. These seats of plastic were in a very bad shape as most had their backs broken. This a problem seen everywhere---no funds for maintenance and a destructive mentality in the people. A public toilet is also available at the Kalanagar end though one dare not enter it !!

Sahara Star

A seminar was organized by Merck of USA, a pharmaceutical company, at Sahara Star Hotel, formerly, The Centaur, near the Santacruz Airport. I was very eager to see it as on many of my visits to the airport, I could see some renovation going on to the old Centaur, under huge blue colored sheets. It used to be an eyesore, seeing the mess right in the middle of the road.

The entrance is facing the airport and a very complicated drive way almost to the rear of the hotel takes you to the reception area. The look here is very deceptive, as it is small compared to other star hotels and then on entering the main door, the majestic view enfolds before the eyes.

It is circular with all room balconies facing the central part, which has a garden, waterfalls and a small lake. In the balconies we could see people relaxing in chairs and looking down on what must be a great sight. I have made plans to stay there sometime.

Our talk was on the first floor mezzanine and the buffet was laid on the open space facing the central garden. On either side of the walkway from the seminar area to the garden are the hotel's restaurants. It was a grand evening