Monday, 28 May 2012

Drivers of Official Cars

CMD - Chief Manager Cum Driver

Ours is a large set-up & therefore has heavy luggage of :
GM -------02 nos.
DGM -----03 nos.
AGM -----03 nos. 
Chief -----04  nos.
Total -----12  nos.

Of course you know, these chaps are to be provided with official cars whether they deserve it or not. And drivers too. Good that only top 5 need drivers others can take care of themselves. In fact one Chief who drives the car, calls himself a CMD meaning Chief-cum-Motor-Driver. What a sense of humour I must say but he will stop smiling if this word goes up to real CMD & this fellow Chief-cum-Motor-Driver lands up in Jhumri Talliya.

Our distribution system is simple-best car goes to top man, worst car goes to last man. Distribution of drivers is complex you know. Opinions of officials, that of their madams, those of drivers, mother tongue of official & of respected madam also play a role. Some times mother-in-law of Saab or Memsaab is  also there adding to the complexities. But we brief them in advance & drivers are known to balance it out between Saab & Memsaab on one hand & Saab & office on other hand while keeping both hands on steering wheel. Our drivers are all experienced & well versed in their jobs. They are:

Ramesh Chand: Quiet-type & no-fuss-type. He knows expenditure power of the Saab & of the vehicle also. He does not believe in 'puncture bills' being presented every week. Once in a month or so his fat repair bill comes with high tech sounding problems-like 'second gear teeth broken got replaced', "clutch plate touching top gear got replaced', 'exhaust pipe giving exhaust in the middle got replaced' etc & bills always got thru & thru. So were his overtime bills- thru & thru. He takes no interest in dialogues going on in the back seat of car. Liked by bosses. 

Ramesh Singh: He is extrovert & outspoken but technically sound. Offer him a cup of tea & he will gladly come out as to why Saab had a bad evening yesterday. Memsaab did not like Saab taking beer on a Tuesday. She kept on talking virtues of Tuesday & Saab kept on sipping beer. Ultimately dinner had to be brought from Haldiram. He said that Memsaab was always right & Saab may be right in the office! He had a suggestion that in forthcoming interview Yours Truly should meet Memsaab with  own Memsaab prior to interview. GM Memsaab is fond of silver statues for pooja. Yours Truly immediately cleared his pending bill. 

Ramesh Mahto: We call him Ramesh but he calls himself as Rames in Bihari ishtyle! He had knack of getting 'puncture bill' 
every other day & even tried to puncture the vested passing power of Saab! Though we attached him to GM Saab but he attached himself to GM Memsaab because Haakim bhi Patna ke nahina hain! He knew all the temples in & around Delhi which got him closer to Memsaab & his bills never stopped coming & who are we to stop the payments anyways.

Ramesh Kumar: Better known as Kumar Saab for he is physically fit, always neatly dressed, pen in the pocket, sun glasses & cap on. He had a regret that he was not born in Bollywood. He made several attempts to jump over the Bollywood gate but could not. Lot of dogs there at the gate! For a while he remained driver of Amjad Khan & he has his share of filmi anecdotes etc. He participates in all cultural programmes held here in his colony & in Ramlila he was a permanent fixture as Laxman. Hence his absenteeism. Now this is where you get jammed. And this is where Yours Truly appreciates Chief-cum-Motor-Driver.   

RameshaNand: He is a new recruit & has joined recently. He is so far not a member of the driver biradari & has still to learn tricks of the trade. He however, is not satisfied in driving Ambassador of GM Saab as he expected to drive BMW or Merc. He calls Amby a khatara. He feels there are too many locks in this car- steering lock, ignition lock, dashboard lock, door lock, petrol tank lock, dicky lock etc. Although our Org. is large & profitable but Oldies rule & therefore old Ambassador rules. In any case Memsaabs love this vehicle more than the Saabs. Paisa vasool!

View from the Official Car !

Saturday, 26 May 2012

List of Office Bearers

Those were the heydays of union activities. Govt had decided to place a union representative as director in the Board. Workman director became privy to crucial decisions & policy matters & hence he & consequently unions became more powerful. Celebrations all around on appointment as director - meetings, felicitations & slogan shouting.

Yours Truly is however, yet to understand the job-card of workman director in the Board but perks are well understood.

Shouting slogans was an art in itself alas this is dying out.  Slogans were used at the beginning, occasionally in between the speeches & finally at the end of the meetings. Slogan Shouter would call upon the gathering to raise the slogan so high that it reaches Parliament House. But passive participants like Yours Truly hardly opened their throats & therefore  Parliament House and UN Head Quarters remain safe!

Style & wordings of the slogans changed with slogan shouter. Certain words like -Zindabad, Murdabad, Amar Rahe, Workeres of the world-unite- unite etc are immortal. Some  shouters used colourful language- Hum na Bank Kholenge to Bank me Ulloo Bolenge, Chamchon ka Naash ho, Jo Hamse Takraega Choor Choor ho Jaega, E ki hoya Phalana Moya. Once Com Gupta got confused & instead of AIEBA Zindabad shouted CAIIB Zindabad much to the amusement of all present there. Com Sehgal shouted 'Director Special' - Zindabad ( hinting to a brand of whiskey ) which led to  laughter all around.
After recent elections of our union following list of office bearers was displayed on the Notice Board:

Com Gupta -- President. Fit personality for a President for he had an extra large tummy, thin patch of hair, black spects & loud booming voice. Avoided by ladies staff & therefore lesser problems for union. He maintained that ladies are good for nothing & should stay at home. Successful negotiater as he could threaten, abuse & cajole Manager. 

Com Goel -- Vice. Thin like a pencil always remains as a shadow of President. Never had any independent opinion of his own on any subject. If President says beer com Goyal says beer & if President says whiskey com Goyal says whiskey. As simple as that.

Com Bansal- Secy. Smart guy can be found hovering around  ladies. Balding on the top but frequently combing his coloured hair. He knew which group to join for lunch & which lady prepares which dish better. He often asked ladies about their requirement of house hold items like pillows, bed sheets, tiffin boxes for kids etc so that he could organise supply thru his contacts & a little commission did not do any harm.

Com Hari Haran -- Jt secy. Bearded, short cropped hair,  usually dressed in blacks, frowning with mean looking eyes. More of a Shani Dev accommodated for being sub-staff & a sevadar. Always kept a blank receipt book of 5th Vishal Jagran in his mohalla. Usually collected money from ladies or Sr officers. His slogan - Jo dar gaya vo de gayaa ! 

Com Kansal -- Treasurer. Real treasure trove of market info --where to get butter chicken at odd hours, where to go for tangri kebabs, how to get a bottle from army canteen etc. Soft spoken & pleasant to talk to, he was liked by all sections of society.

Post of Adviser remains vacant. Wish to join?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Part Time Jobs

I gave appointment letter to Manager who was engrossed in discussion with a bearded gentleman. He read my letter & looked at my face & handed over the letter to the bearded gentleman. Gentleman read the letter, looked at my face, smiled & said welcome to the branch, come along for introduction. By evening I understood him as comrade branch secy equivalent to branch manager. By next week I understood that com. branch secy was more than the manager. By next month I understood that com. branch secy managed the show & some people in the staff were having part time jobs under his umbrella. If you could keep com. branch secy in good humour you could go & see a movie in Regal  during the day or enjoy a beer or two with him in happy hours & resume duties. 

Those were glory days of the bank employees unions.I recall a few examples wherein blessings of com.secy are visible.

Com. Gopal Kishen after finishing days job by  2 o'clock discreetly obtained orders for stainless steel ware for your kitchen. Ordered items were brought next day in a jute bag on his cycle & delivered under Pipal tree in front of the branch as & when you left for home. Some spoons are still in use with me. Not sure if he achieved financial moksha under this Pipal tree.

Com. Sudesh Kapoor practised his homoeopathy neem hakim skills on unsuspecting patients against payment. Ask him for medicine for simple cold or  jukam he would say no no first have bath in cold water & get pneumonia so that he could start proper & long treatment for cure of your body & pocket. 

Com. Naveen Kumar used to live in Pahar Ganj & was expert
3-wheeler driver. While coming to & going from office he ferried passengers. Must have made a packet as he usually catered to foreigners staying in Pahar Ganj budget hotels during holidays. 

Com. Inder Bhagat ran a marriage bureau for which he kept a register under lock & key. This also facilitated large no. of freshers joining the bank at that time. He took full payment only after marriage was announced. For bank employees he offered  handsome discount as well. Social cum income making service it was. He was also known as shadi-wala-Sharma!

Com. Surinder Singh was a stage artist, writer, producer, director all in one. Very familiar with & having contacts in Mandi House circuit. He did not accept Yours Truly as a hero in his play but no regrets. His shows never got telecast. But he did arrange passes for the bosses. It was learnt later that he was actually a supplier of costumes for stage shows & was making a few dollars more!

Com. Varma a steno, ran off from the office at 3o'clock punctually to relieve his father who was running typo/stenography school. You could join his school on discounted fee & become a steno. After all steno allowance is lucrative I must admit & you remain close to power houses!

Com. Chatterjee had more sophisticated part time job in hand. His expertise lay in making Friendship Societies using the word Indo. He managed to create Societies with strange sounding names such as Indo-Albania, Indo-Andorra, Indo-Brunei Friendship  Societies. He had a knack of becoming some or the other office bearer in these & even visited such planets! In various functions relating to these he would invite our worthy CEO & thus remained on-off-duty at his will.

Com. Ms. Sudha was a singer having specialization in bhajans & jagrans. The sweet singer lady would normally be on  leave after sundays & holidays that is to say after jagrans. Com.secy would take care of her interests after sharing of prasad. It is understood she did not accept cash. In kind was ok.

GDP is going up no wonder.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Transfer as Punishment


I learnt the story of Najaf Garh when i got posted there. During the reign of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar two brothers had served him as his subedars. One of them was Najaf Khan & the other Bahadar Khan & they were awarded villages now known as Najaf Garh & Bahadar Garh respectively. Both had their forts constructed which have now disappeared by ever increasing pressure of population. Another landmark of Najaf Garh is Viru the cricketer. Interestingly a very small portion of the population here is known as moole jaat. They have names such as Sultan Singh, Meharban Singh, Malkhan Singh etc. A unique combination this!

Like the two brothers Najaf & Bahadar, there are two Asstt' s here in this office. One is an old man about to retire shortly & the other is a young man who has joined the bank recently. But similarity ends here. Najaf & Bahadar fought for the  Emperor but here the two Asstt's fight with each other. This fact had been reported to higher authorities & Netaji of union & both are well aware. Both the higher authority & Netaji also try to push each other to a corner some times. You see in the history of last 5000 years of humanity only 500 years are reported to be peaceful. Rest of the times man fought man. So did all these characters listed above.

On Monday at about  4 o'clock Asstt-1 threw keys of the office at the table of Asstt-2 & curtly announced that he had urgent work & had to go. Asstt-2 frowned & declined to comply, picked up the keys & threw back the keys which fell on the floor. Asstt-1 picked up keys from the floor, threw back & the keys banged the nose of Asstt-2. Now Asstt-2 red faced with rage,  picked up the keys & threw them towards Asstt-1 & the keys banged on the spects. The keys & the spects & the Asstt-1 all fell down on the ground. Now was the turn of final physical  round between King Kong & Dara Singh so to say. Commotion & shouts & claps & laughter all went up in one go. Staff & a few customers keenly watched the circus. Landlord of the office, who always was on good terms with higher authorities by supplying agri produce from his farm, discreetly informed the higher authorities. As luck would have it Yours Truly was sitting with the higher authorities at that moment away from the branch. Instructions were issued there & then to Yours Truly to rush back to the branch & ascertain full facts & submit report. 
Next day Yours Truly presented the report & informed the higher authorities that both the Asstt ' s have tarnished the image of the bank & vitiated the atmosphere of the branch. Complete let down in the public. Higher authorities wanted to know views & recommendations about further steps. Yours Truly bluntly informed that both  Asstt' s be transferred. Now the higher authorities wanted that i say the same thing with same force in presence of Netaji who was to be called in the cabin. Another half an hour discussion took place over a cup of tea wherein Yours Truly held fast that both the Asstt' s be removed from the branch notwithstanding the stare of the Netaji. The meeting remained indecisive but ended with thanks to the chair.

As per fax message received just now,  Yours Truly stands transferred to Conn Place office with immediate effect. Come will have a talk in Coffee House.

See you after transfer

Cow at Bank's Gate

Big Fight
This branch was situated on top of a hillock overlooking tea plantation. Paanchmile village was allotted to us for financing agro & dairy activities. This village was actually at a distance of 5 miles & hence the name Paanchmile. Simple. You know how these villages get their names ? Take for example those two hills there-they are called Hilara & Bilara because twin sisters Hilara & Bilara lived there! Simple nomenclature indeed.
In Paanchmile village a number of milch cattle were financed under this or that scheme. Whenever I requested for a visit to this village the loans Asstt will murmur katideb-katideb meaning that they will cut u to the size. This village was a muslim dominated area & the Asstt was a brahmin & a veggie & always counting his tulsi beads. Not to be treated as coward I took another Asstt , kick started my bike & we went to Paanchmile. It was a beautiful lush green village on the bank of a seasonal river & with lots of coconut, beetle nut & bamboo trees & thatched huts. Naked kids were playing around chasing hens, men in green lungis lazily chewing tamul / beetle nuts & puffing at hukka once in a while. Met village head -called Gaon Booda in local lingo- exchanged pleasantries & discussed non repayment of loan by a few borrowers of the village. After having assurances on repayment & fresh cool nariyal paani we came back to office. No katideb -katideb happened.

Next Monday some good amount of money was received but nothing in the account of Yaseen. Verbal reminder was sent again to village head & Yaseen. Next day an old man wearing thick lenses & shabbily dressed came to Yours Truly & narrated some blah-bla-blah which was not understood. He started to talk to every body & even walls of the branch. Asstt was called who interpreted that this fellow Yaseen is not able to repay the loan as milk yield is practically nil & he is unable to sell any milk. I insisted that loan has to be repaid milk or no milk. Why did he take the loan after all? No discussion on this milk issue- no sir.

On Saturday -as u banker friends on rural postings know- airbag is kept ready & 2 o'clock air-dash to family is must. One is in a different frame of mind away from work. Just 10 minutes to 2, old man Yaseen enters the branch. Loudly speaking & gesticulating at every body he started a commotion. What was the commotion & laughter about? The Asstt came running & informed that cow purchased by Yaseen was not getting pregnant & there was no milk for sale. He therefore wants that either bank may get her pregnant or bank may keep her.
"He has brought the cow & tied up to our channel gate Sir".

Hmm. Refer the case to higher authorities?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Old Pensioner


Coins & Yours Truly
An old pensioner (O P) wanted to come in with Pass Book & Pay-in-Slip in the cabin of Yours Truly(Y T). O God looks like another complaint -CEO shall transfer this time-puccaa. Time to be tactful ! 
Y T - Please, please come in Sir.
O P - Your cashier is not accepting cash.
Y T - What does he say?
O P- He says no coins.
Y T - What Coins ? Show me the pay-in-slip. Oh only 35 paise?
Why do u want to deposit 35 paise? Your Pass Book shows a healthy balance of Rs.32,570.65 & pension has also been credited. 
O P - Round figure I want round figure.
Y T - Wot?
O P - Balance should always be only in round figures -rupees only & no paise.
For next 15 minutes O P spoke on virtues of round figures on which he had been working as accountant for all his life & refused to accept any of my pleas. I cited petrol prices, mobile bills etc which show odd paise but to no avail. O P sipped tea & extolled on the virtues of 0 invented by ancient Indians. How zero helped in advancing humanity.
Meantime intercom rang & my Asstt  spoke that if O P had finished his tea he be sent.Fine I said slightly relieved & sent O P to Asstt. In the evening I asked Asstt how he tackled O P? Simple he said.
'I transferred 35 paise from my personal account to his account'.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Motorcycle Rides on the Hills

Kotdwar is situated on the foothills of Shivalik range of Himalayas & is gateway to Pauri, Srinagar, Kedarnath & Badrinath. It is situated on seasonal rivers-Khoh, Malini & Sukhro. It was also known as Khohdwara or Kotdwara. Its elevation is approx 450 metres. Distance to Lansdowne is approx 40 kms.

Its a small cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal district. Original name of this place was
  Kalu-daanda (Black hill) in local lingo. It was founded in 1886 & named after Viceroy of  
   India, Lord Henry Lansdowne. First battalion of Garhwal Rifles moved into Lansdowne
    in 1887. Now it is Training Center of Garhwal Rifles Regiment.Its height is approx 1400 meters quite steep from Kotdwar with height of 450 meters. All photos / videos shot on BlackBerry by Gayatri Wardhan on pillion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Published also on youtube --

Monday, 14 May 2012

Of Charges & Of Sheets

City branch was on red alert as there was to be a visit of CEO -affectionately called (with due apologies) as the LH or the Lame Horse. All preparations were in place --branch spruced up, corporate ties in proper knots, roasted masala cashew, kaju burfi, cold drinks & coffee. Beer was out of question during office hours. Of course folder of facts & figures was ready without which LH is likely to start kicking & trampling.
Master Administrator

At the appointed time however there was disappointment- this Baldy, third in command to LH walked in. What a let down. Roasted masala cashew & kaju burfi were not to be served now & were placed back in drawer & only cold drink was to be served that too in a hot glass. After exchange of artificial smiles & pleasantries, said he -Saab waj biji & haij asked me to vijit your office & submit the report. Said I -Come on Baldy Sir you are as great a Saab to us & even more than LH! 

Baldy had a round of office & office files, 2 rounds of cold drinks &  2 rounds of coffee & left after an hour or so. He presented his report to the LH next day. On third day LH & Baldy had a dialogue on the report which proceeded on the following lines. This information has been gathered from a very authentic source in the office of LH & it's rating may be considered very reliable. 

Baldy: Sir this City branch fellow ij super clever Sir.
LH:     Wot?
Baldy: I saw his travel bill Sir. He has gone to Delhi & has charged
           expenses for New Delhi Sir.
LH:     Wot? Hmm...Charge him.
Baldy: Sir he ij using gold plated pen Sir gold plated !
LH:     Wot? Hmm... Charge him. Vigilance overtones.
Baldy: Sir i gathered news that he has 2 expensive safari suits
            white & brown Sir! By using white pant with brown shirt &
            brown pant with white shirt he has made four safari suits   
            Sir. Super clever Sir!
Yours truly
LH:     Wot? Hmm... Charge 
            him. Issue show cause
            notice for indecent 

Presently Baldy is sitting with h r d Manager fully charged. Both have wasted several sheets in preparing Charge Sheet on above 3 imputations.
Would you like to Present or Defend?                                                                            

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Eggs & Circles

A few days back Jamie Dimon, CEO, JP Morgan Chase said that the firm suffered $2bn trading loss. He said "...there were many errors, sloppiness & bad judgement" etc. Upon this Prof of finance Craig Pirrong at University of Houston remarked "... he's got a lot of egg on his face right now."

Well while having breakfast & reading the paper it seemed to me that egg should not be on any face but on hot plate.
Prof throwing egg on a face of a CEO is unheard of in our circle. Our circle uses more sophisticated, modernized & sweeter language & does not throw eggs on faces of CEO's. Though CEO may do so once in a while out of love & affection for his sub-ordinates. If you receive one full egg on your face from our worthy CEO as against none on my face, chances are you will get better marks in your annual appraisal. And if you can manage one egg + one egg on your face be sure of reaching higher scale or at least a good posting. If you can make a habit of receiving eggs on your face from our  worthy CEO's as your Swabhav, rest assured, your future is bright.

But I am told that egg on his face is actually a phrase or muhavara
So it's (phunny) language problem!

Some time back a language problem occurred in office also.  Re-mix of our Zonal Offices & Regional Offices was made resulting into creation of Circle Offices. Nomenclature of Circle Manager became a debatable point. I recall conversation with the CEO of the Circle at that time. It proceeded somewhat on following lines:

me:   Good Morning Sir
boss: Wot? O hello Branch Head
me:   Sir?
boss: Wot? You see now on you are Branch Head & I am
          Circle Head.
me:   Sir this nomenclature is a bit odd. Sir?
boss: Wot?
me:   Will there be Branch Tail & Circle Tail? Sir?
boss: Wot?
me:   Sir will h r d Manger be called Circle Eyes & inspection
          Manager be called Circle Nose? Sir?
boss: Wot? Deposit pe dhyan do.
me:   Jee Sir. May I suggest fresh nomenclature sir?
boss: Wot? Bhejo bhejo aur Deposit pe dhyan do deposit pe.     

I did suggest names as Circle Header & Branch Footer in my letter. You see to decide on this is lengthy process because of language problem. But I am informed that decision shall be taken shortly. 

Your's truly!

Friday, 11 May 2012

On Salary & Pension

On the first morning of the month the jingle of SMS from my banker that pension has been credited in my saving account, is sweet music to the ears. Smile gets broadened and sugar-less tea somehow gets sweetened.

Have you considered what is Pension & what is salary? Wikipedia says: A pension is fixed sum paid regularly to a person given following a retirement from service.

A salary is a form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee, which may be specified in an employment contract.

Compare & Contrast

I had always wished & even now do so-that salary & pension should go up & up! But will every one agree to it? Not so it seems. Mukesh Ambani Chief of RIL has drawn same salary for last four successive fiscals- only Rs.15 cr p.a.! As per Annual Report of RIL 2011-2012,  "Compensation has been set at Rs.15 cr as against Rs.38.82 cr that he is eligible as per share holders approval, reflecting his desire to continue to set a personal example for moderation in managerial levels".

Good that this report has not been examined by my MD & Only Share Holder Smt GW.

Incidentally, my first salary for the month of Dec '72 was a princely sum of Rs.364.20. Me & other five boys had joined the bank on same day & received similar salaries. This called for a party & after serious deliberations we decided where else but Hotel Janpath! This was to be a first ever visit to a five star coffee shop! Well with wide open eyes looked around on furniture, chandeliers, liveried waiters, firangi guests & so on. Had pastries one each & tea & then stared at hefty bill of Rs.44. Well, well can't share this with Mukesh Ambani as he is not my friend on facebook.

Ancient Times 

But I wonder what was salary like in say 500 BC or 2500 BC or during Mahabharata? My search on Internet reveals that a clay tablet dated about 3100 BC provides a record of daily beer rations for workers in Mesopotamia! Further, Hebrew Book of Ezra ( 500 BC) mentions salt as pay "as being received from the Palace". There could have been different barter systems prevalent at that time e.g. you cut my hair i give a small fish OK ? Romans are said to have paid "Salarium" linked to employment of the soldiers.

Modern Scene

It is only after industrial revolution that corporates  & companies had come up having offices & managers. Like East India Company. Remuneration then was share holding & some sustenance money or salary. Now a days salary includes perks, bonus, incentives, commissions, Gratuity, Provident Fund etc etc. In India salary is usually paid on monthly basis on first of the month. Some Companies pay on 7th of the month & Godrej group is said to pay on 9th of the month.

Salary in Single Digit

Internet search reveals several foreign names drawing one dollar salary such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Arnold Schwarzenegger etc.
As regards Indian names in Rs.1 salary list,  search did not yield any information. In my incomplete list, Dr. Man Mohan Singh, & Bimal Jalan are there which needs authentication. Can you help?


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Folk Artists of India

1. Drummers of Karnataka: Colourful & charming they keep your eyeballs glued to the stage.  These  Drummers from Karnataka performed at Suraj Kund Mela, New Delhi. Watch their rigorous, energetic action & listen to loud collective thump of drums. Recorded on BlackBerry by Gayatri Wardhan.

2. Assamese Folk Ensemble: This is a glimpse of sweet & melodious Assamese folk dance performed at Suraj Kund Mela , New Delhi. Recorded  on BlackBerry by Gayatri Wardhan.

3. Pudducherry Dancers: This performance of artists from Pudducherry (Pondicherry) was recorded on BlackBerry by Gayatri Wardhan at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Also posted on youtube - -

Visit to Lansdowne, Uttarakhand - On Motor Bike

Parde me rahne do!
Show Stopper!

Distance is approx 250 kms & route is rather straight : New Delhi-Meerut-Kotdwar-Dogadda-Lansdowne. Kotdwar is 41 kms short & at a height of 370 m whereas Lansdowne is at a height of 1800 m thus the elevation is quite steep particularly Dogadda onward but is very scenic with pine jungle on both sides of the road.

Ready for the Road
Ready with Riders!
It's a small cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal district. Original name of this place was Kalu daanda (Black hill) in local lingo. It was founded in 1886 & named after Viceroy of India, Lord Henry Lansdowne. First battalion of Garhwal Rifles moved into Lansdowne in 1887.
Now it is Training Center of Garhwal Rifles Regiment.

View from the Hotel Top
The place is surrounded by thick Oak & Pine forests & is a quiet & peaceful place. Cantonment Board is looking after civic amenities & the place is clean.  But please make sure of petrol in the tank as no petrol pump is available! Hotel rooms are scarce but a number of resorts have come up nearby. Weather is cool & in last week of Dec & Jan you can expect snow.

Lets have a tea break
Tea Break

Ready for the Road after the break
Be gentle
An evening in Lansdowne
Rural roads
Ups & downs
Hills & hillocks
Lansdowne is a good place for a short break & rest. While coming back ring the bells & have prasad at Sidh Bali temple before you hit Kotdwar again.

Siddha Bali Temple near Kotdwar
Bye Lansdowne

Monday, 7 May 2012

Visit to Diu

Diu is a tiny island district near port town of Veraval in Gujrat. Coastal length of Diu is 21 kms & is surrounded by Arabian Sea on three sides. In north it touches Junagarh & Amreli districts of Gujrat.

It is part of union territory of Daman & Diu though they are separated by nearly 700 kms. The island is at sea level & is spread over 40 sq kms. The climate is warm & humid throughout the year. Average rainfall is 60 cms. November to March is bit more comfortable. Hotels & all types of foods are available. 

Diu is approx 90 kms from Veraval, 500 kms from Ahmedabad & 980 kms from Mumbai. It is connected by air, rail (upto Veraval) & roads.

Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli were part of Portugese India for 450 years till 19 Dec 1961 when they were incorporated in India by military conquest named Operation Vijay. There were interesting international observations on this ‘annexation’:
-Portugal termed it as an aggression on their national soil.
-US President Kennedy told Indian ambassador "You spend last fifteen years preaching morality to us...People are saying, the preacher has been caught coming out of brothel!"
-USSR vetoed a UN security council resolution condemning Indian invasion of Goa.
-Khrushchev telegraphed Nehru stating "universal acclaim" from every Soviet citizen for friendly India.
-China neither condemned nor applauded invasion.

Portuguese & Creole languages are still understood by the elderly though it is not taught in schools any more. In 1987 Goa was made a state & Daman & Diu formed into UT. Being UT here you can enjoy beer & liquor unlike neighbouring dry Gujrat!

Welcome to Diu
On borders with Gujrat you find crowded Bars. Travelling by roads is better in Gujrat with highway signages in place & friendly people to guide you just in case.

Sea winds laden with moisture & salt blow throughout the year. First look at the entry gate & the sea waves nearby gave a beautiful impression.

Arabian Sea - Diu
Though a small island spread over an area of approx 40 sq kms it is rich in history. There is a belief that Pandvas spent some time here while in exile in Mani Nagar in Diu which was ruled by Yadavas led by Krishna Vasudeva.

Another mythological ruler was Jallandhar who was a daitya & killed by Sudershan Chakra of Lord Vishnu. There is a temple in the name of Jallandhar & a Chakra Tirth is also situated there.

Diu was ruled by Maurayas during 300 BC when Diu was a trading centre & subsequently by Kshatraps, Guptas, Maitrakas, Chavdas & Chalukyas.

In 1020 AD Mahmud Ghazani attacked & looted but in 1064 AD Chalukyas recaptured it. Subsequently Chavda & Vaghela rajputs ruled. In 1297 Alludin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi dislodged them.

In 1518 Portugese attacked Diu for the first time & continued to do so till 1534 because of strategic importance of Diu as a trading center to get a toehold.

In 1535 Humanyu attacked local ruler Muzaffar Shah who entered into treaty with Portugese & allowed them to construct a fort. In 1546 Diu was finally taken over by Portuguese.

On the Diu Fort Wall

Enter the Fort
Diu Fort- Gun & Gunner
Guns & Gunner
Drive along the sea to Diu
Hotel room with a view
High Tide allows boats to come into the Fort through this channel