Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weekend Getaway: Awesome Amritsar

The mere mention of Amritsar may evoke mixed feelings. Some may just bow down with devotion while others may think of it like a cultural trip. For me, it was both. Me (along with family folks) headed to the holy city last weekend. We planned this tip in a jiffy and must say that place was worth all the efforts. We drove from Chandigarh to Amritsar by car. It took us 4 hours (including one quick breakfast break) to reach there. This, of course, comes after you’ve braved the maddening traffic. It’s not the pace of the traffic but the unregulated traffic movement that causes the frustration. You’ll have to race with rickshawpullers, auto-walls, BMWs, Volvo buses and may be even carts to get ahead on the road. 

Things get better once you are out of Ropar. On your way to Nawan Shahar, you’ll come across lush green fields laden across wide highway. It’s a delight for drivers as they have a chance to test their speed limits here. Mustard fields and virginal villages along this highway will invariably remind you of DDLJ. There are numerous dhabas (street side eating shops) serving awesome food. However, you can only expect north-Indian delicacies here. Must haves are aloo parathas with white butter in any of these joints. Besides them, there are few urban eating joints which may serve better platters. But on personal note, I would suggest dump fancy restaurants for dhabas ….. at least in Punjab. Food is good and they’ll serve it with gratitude. And you wont come across this sense of hospitality in Delhi at least.

Once you reach 
Amritsar city limits, the battle for driving space will start all again. The city is currently upgrading its infrastructure. Hence there is lot of construction activity going on all over. This may bring delight to travelers in near future. However, at this point of time construction activities are nothing more than a hindrance. The city authorities need to do something very very quickly to save themselves from this mess. 

Once you brave all this and reach the temple complex, you'll feel as if time has stopped here. The temple complex is amazing. This place has something magical about it. You actually get to feel that you are so closer to the almighty. I'm not one of those religious fanatics, but must admit that the sober and somber environs here can heal any wounded soul. Guess that is why we call God 'THE ALMIGHTY'. May be he is present everywhere on earth but in places like these you can feel him in evey bit - in every breath you take, in every thing that you touch around. Things like ego and pride melt in thin air. I felt like this crazy kid who's lost his game and runs home to get patted by his folks. It’s a heavenly feeling. It's as if someone reassures you that things will be alright. You have to be there to get this feeling. 

You can plan a getaway any time of the yaer. A must visit place. And if any of you have been there, you can share your experience in the 'comments' sections.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life without fuel. What would it be like?

Year 2009 has started with some startling realisations about what may become of us when the oil reserves finish??? 

Last week life of hundreds of citizens in Delhi came to a standstill when workers of prominent oil companies called for a strike. The city was reeling under acute oil crisis as many gas stations reported no stock left. Officials from 14 Indian state-run oil companies, seeking higher salaries, stayed away from work. As a result many people ran from pillar to post, drove to city limits to fuel their vehicles. Many discussed options like traveling by public transport (which is a big no-no for snooty Delhiites as owning a vehicle is a symbol of affluence for many), still others thought about car-pool and some preferred to work from home as this strike was perceived to be an indefinite one. Thankfully, the government got cracking and the protest was called off in two days itself.

This was one random case. But what will happen when one day every natural resource will come to an end? There’s no oil, no gas. What we do then? There will be no car pool or public transport options. What would you do then? Will ‘work or study from home’ become the norm? Will the world come to a standstill then?

Think about it? Would love to hear some innovative ideas.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Survive recession. Here’s how…

Recession…. The dreaded ‘R’ word. Almost everyone is talking about it. Be it economy, manufacturing segment or service sector - every section of the society is feeling the heat of current economic gloom. (I would rather call it ‘gloom’ than its more diplomatic version called – slowdown). And its impact is visible in every part of the globe; be it Boston or Bengaluru.

We may have heard some friends losing jobs, some associates losing money in stock market/business transactions. Instead nodding in grief, it would be good if we could think about the brighter prospects for them. Think of how to make the most of this time. Economic bodies all over are tying to put things order. Till that happens, you could: 

  • Update your resumes in relevant job sites

  • Touch-base with your past colleagues and bosses to see if there’s some full time/part-time opportunity for you

  • Save Save Save. Avoid partying/clubbing even if it is to get rid of your anguish

  • Look for part-time jobs/assignments if full time/proper jobs are not materialising

  • Think of innovative techniques to make money. I read in NYT that a lady who was heading operations with Deutsche Bank lost her job to recession. She has now taken up the job of a pet keeper. She has a pet and understands how people who have long office hours find no time for their pets. She got in touch with few of them and offered her services. So while these people are busy working, she takes care of their pets. She got her way out of the gloom. And she found a new employment.

  • And be positive. That’s the most important tactic to stay happy in these tough times.
  • Remember: ‘Tough times don’t last, but tough people do’.