Smell of the green

IIT Campus at Kamand is located 15 km off Mandi in himachal pradesh. I am one among the large number of engineers who did not make it to IIT, through the entrance Exam. Mandi is on the national  highway enroute, an hour and half from Kulu, famous tourist towns Kulu Manali.

General mode of travel is by road from Delhi or Chandigarh, good Volvo buses of HP government or taxi

From Mandi we take a taxi to Kamand, you Zig Zag up a hill and Zag Zig down to the destination.

Why am I going to IIT campus in Kamand ?

Son inlaw is a faculty there, to be with him, daughter and  the 3 year old grandson . Its fascinating to see how kids have their own mind, the way they pick up knowledge and apply them. All of us  were like that once upon a time, wonder why we wonder. Our parents enjoyed our innocence and growth, so did we of our kids. The one difference is for the modern kids, technology has provided  videos  as baby sitters, a dangerous growth leading to lack of interpersonal relationship, a technology dependent life. They identify the you tube icon, right from the age of two and press their way to their favourite videos.

IMG-20160827-WA0044 (1)  future kids

Lessons from kids  and new generation

 

IIT Campus

IITcampus

 

It is an adventurous drive in these hilly terrains.  An error can send you rolling  down into the valley in few minutes where you were an hour ago..

Looking around the beautiful surroundings, I asked  Lekhraj  who is taxiing me,

“what is there in kulu manali, that is not here, this is beautiful”.

He said,” the tourist crowd, expenses and snow in winter”. “Here we may get snow up to that point”, he said,  pointing to a far away hill, which looked a safe distance.

When I saw some stones and mud lying on the road which definitely did not belong there, he said “ that’s landslide. This had happened yesterday night”. Within a few minutes I saw a JCB and a truck, when he said, “they are going to clear it”.

I thought that’s fast work, when he said “they are ustads in clearing and does it as soon as they come to know  about it”. I asked him does this happen only at nights.  “No no it can happen anytime, However, before the real rocking starts,  we get a few small stones and mud as pilots to warn us. .”

landslide

Mini Rock and Roll

We did go to Kulu  & Manali in spite of my decision not to go, after learning, all these places are similar.  We have to impress our friends and relatives back home, went near Manali story will not sell. It did help to  part with some money and add to the list of have been there and done that.

The taxi driver had a strategy to deal with the traffic and parking. He put a board in front of his car that said ” VIP duty” and got priority for right of way and an assured parking. Later he tells me when they asked who the VIP is he told them it is the judge. No body dared to ask me for my ID.

Parashar

Further up,  4000 feet, to a place called  Parashar.  Parashar is  the father of Ved Vyas, the author of the epic Mahabharatha. A small pagoda type temple, nearby  a beautiful pond with a floating island. We cannot step on to it, just watch from the bank,  By end of the day you can notice the island has moved to the other side of the pond.  Rajma and rice at a daba, lunch, simple and yummy.

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Parashar with the temple of pagoda looks and floating island in the pond

 

 

 

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Two father-in-laws, Self and Puru  with Suma, Lakshmi, Sandhya, Aniket and Kavitha

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The photographer, of the above pictures, Govind , with his MIL and spouse

Dharamshala

 

Dharamshala famous for Dalai Lamas adda. My grandson had his head shaved, a mundan with out a ceremony,  a week before our visit. We noticed our kid had similar looks with his hair removed, to the chota dalai lamas there. We had to be extra careful that he does not run in to the crowd and lose himself since it would have been difficult to identify him from the mix. Did not meet the great personality, the Dalai Lama, it required a prior appointment and you need some connection for that. I may not have met him, however can lie saying have seen him since a lot of look alike were moving around. When I told my spouse, there he is, she believed it.

 

We had a home stay arranged, booked through the net, airbnb.co.in. A guy with a poney tail on a bike met us on the highway and led us through a dingy road, took us to the stay. Here again a mallu in a far away place like himachal, you cant beat them, Wow an ancient rickety house, dusty, wooden planks, a narrow steep stairs to the first floor leading into  spacious rooms with beds on the floor. .He has a reason for NOT brightening up the place before the renewal of the lease otherwise he says, the land lord may run the place himself !!!

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The chota Aniket lama upstairs looking out through the window with a view

 

He had two ferocious looking, gentle and friendly dogs. It was a one man show, he cooked a good lunch for us in one hour. He had a customer and his assistant was on leave whom we met the next day when we were leaving. He made his boss do all the job. There was a toilet and bath in isolation to the building, unattached. And a river to boot, just go down this way and turn left, there it was. Went into it, had a dip, made the kid with me scream because the water was cold..

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Rehearsal for dalai Lamas birthday celebration

 

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Prema, Sandhya, Aniket, Rajeesh

 

 

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The boss,Prasad, with pony tail, a one man show,  assistant went on leave on our arrival.

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The assistant is back, waiting to join duty as soon as the guests leave.

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Water is coooold….

However this accomodation is recommended to people like me who enjoys a bit of discomfort

Chandigarh

 

We landed in Chandigarh, in the new international airport. Inside the terminal an interesting poster  said SAD-BJP program for development. It took me a few seconds to realise I am in Punjab and SAD is a political party, Shiromai Akali Dal and BJP are allies, nothing to do with happiness. Did not  take a picture, since photography was prohibited in the airport. The airport is in Mohali and on the way asked the driver where is Chandigarh ? “It is ahead”, he said. After some time again I asked him, he said “its behind”.  He took a bypass and made me miss the city. May be on the return…

 

Chandigarh was planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. Picturesquely located at the foothills of Shivaliks, it is known as one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in the twentieth century in India. This is what I had read in the net.

 

On our return from Mandi, we stayed over at Chandigarh. Went to a market, Shastri market in sector 22. Nice to know ,something is also named after a very humble and sincere ex prime minister of India, Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri. A big shock, the market of a modern city begins from the foot path and continues into a huge maze inside a complex.

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A market with the origin in the footpath of a busy street. Part of the design ?

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A catchy shop name in Sector 22

 

Another shocker was to see  Cycle Rikshaws in a modern environment. Lots of them making a living on that. Reluctantly took a ride back to the hotel on it, giving all sorts of justification, well I can help him with his earnings, the roads are flat and straight without any gradients, easier than my school days in Ranchi where the guys had to get down and pull our weights up the slope. While he was pedalling through the traffic, with occasional coughs, they all end up that way in the middle of their life, I was almost standing with my butt hardly touching the seat, with guilt. He was from Bhagalpur, Kanhaya, his name, touched my feet in disbelief, when I paid him twice of what he had asked for. It was one senti ride.

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A picture of the cycle Rikshaws from the net. Stats says 25,000 Rikshaws saving 75,000 litres of fuel per day. Will they be able to afford solar Rikshaws, when they come up.

 

Jibhi

Made a two day trip to Jibhi. It took us three hours to reach and the accommodation was at  Rana swiss cottage.  Hmm.. Swiss.  Mr Rana, the owner, an ex-army, had a few acres going up and down with vegetables, and fruits like apple grown, and a few wooden cottages for the stay. His passion and love for what he is doing reflects in the entire environment. He gets invited to Europe by the foreign tourists, who falls in love with him and he says his favourite is Switzerland. And that’s from  where this place got the Swiss looks and name. During winter, it snows here. He is assisted by his two lovable sons Guda and Narendra

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Switching off the camera to do some quality site seeing in front of the Rana’s swiss cottage

Rana is an important cog in the local efforts to protect the valley’s nature and wildlife. He knows the area thoroughly and advises the tourists  on lone treks; assisted treks of few days  into the great himalayan national park.

We have places, across our country, where nature has been extremely generous with magnificence. We come across simple, honest, happy and moneylessly rich folks in these regions eager to share about the riches of the place.

.We spent time to walk to near by village which  was around 5 kilometres, on lonely roads through thick growths of pine trees. A strange feeling of security creeps in while walking on these paths.

 

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The Jibhi  gang, col Naik, standing next, the only uncle in the group,  Bhakthi, Arnab,Padmanabhan, all doctors, Anoop, dr in the making, Sandhya, mother Arnab, mother Anoop, Aniket, Prema, with Dr Dileep behind the camera

 

 

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Here the change is Dr Dileep with Sandhya behind the camera

 

Col Naik

Col Naik  told me an interesting meeting he had with a  father and his two daughters, he met during his visit to one of the villages here..They used to carry huge cans of milk on their back  from the valley, walk up to their home  and next day return with cheese to sell and the daughters attends school after that. This back breaking trek is a daily enjoyable routine for them.  Her only complain in life is that there are not enough teachers in the school.

Col Naik is a philanthropist, he takes care of the children from the nearby village every week end, teaching them, showing them around, introducing them to some of the modern gadgets, gym, oh it was a pleasure to have met him and hear  some of the stories of his army days.

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Col Naik, his two pets( kitty, gatu),  airline pilot daughter, my daughter sandhya with her kid Aniket’s hand and  Prema. The stick helps for trekking, to move the plants aside.

 

Life is easy if we  enjoy what we do,, that’s the message from  Mr Rana and the daughters who supplies cheese.

Welcome to IIT, freshers

Attended the orientation program for the newcomers to the college by the director and istaff members. Out of 12 lakhs who appeared for joint entrance exam to IIT across the country, 10,000 qualifies and 150 are joining this college. Most of the students had their parents with them in the audience. The parents were given an opportunity to ask questions when one of the parent was worried about the leopards in the hills and how safe is  her son  The director  said in his last 7 years no leopard has eaten any one from the campus. They are interested  only in cattle. There are more deaths in Mumbai and Bangalore on roads than in these forests.

Another parent wanted to know how about the salaries of IIT  Mandi students in comparison with other IITs ? The answer by the director was that he was from IITchennai, then  Madras and is the director here and the students passing out of the college are earning much more than him at the starting itself !!!.

His final advise to the students, the future is all technology based when we will be able to read the other persons thoughts with a few sensors plugged into the brains.

Scary, not the plugging of the brain, its the reading of the thoughts, will have to stop thinking, no more privacy.

 

IITwelcome

The little white  board on the right says cattle trap. It has nothing to do with the students

Curry Leaves

I started my stay here with regular morning walks on roads full of plants on both sides, smelling the greens. Among the plants were the curry leaves (kariyapatha) in plenty,  which we learnt, no body uses here. For my spouse its an important ingredient in her cooking, curry leaves with the discovery of a new item, curry leaves chutney, its yummy. This curry leaves has lot of medicinal properties, we Indians know it, however we are waiting for the US to give someone a doctorate and patent it, to add it to our life style. What I am getting at is, this lead to a new theme for my walk, collections of curry leaves every day morning.

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The curry leaves at the edge of the road

Standing at the edge of the road , stretching to reach these leaves became an adventurous sport because one slip and I can be gone.

 

From the greens of south of India, folks visits to see a greener north and  from north to see a greener south!

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Soninlaw, Dr Padmanabhan, Aniket, Sandhya daughter and Prema. As usual, me in the shadow of these people

 

P.S.

Thank you for reaching this far, I was expecting, to drop out before reading till the end, a bit too long and personal.

You can goggle these places for exciting pictures, also place like Leh, ladakh and others in these areas.

 

 

Published by:

rajmenon

Grateful for the love and respect received so far. Inspire, motivate and enable anybody to achieve their limitless limits-that is my goal for the rest of my life. Cofounder KelpHR, kelphr.com

Categories Travel7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Smell of the green”

  1. I was quite intrigued by the title “Smell of the Greens”, and it turned to be our Curry Leaves, fragrant, medicinal, and a must in most cooking this side of the Vindhyans. Glad to know that even on the other side, even this side of the Himalayas, it grows!

  2. Awesome experience…. I really envy you…I am a big nature lover…. But occasionally I travel…
    Well written…. It gives a visual impact about your keen observations and sense of acceptance wherever you go with nature and people.

  3. I think I missed your prior blog article. Will get to it sooner than later. We are almost in September and I look forward to your visit to our home in Mahim, Mumbai.

    As for the ‘green’ blog, this one is very well illustrated to give the reader the full ambience of the region you visited. The curry leaves connection between the south and north was interesting.

    Was Rohtang pass closed? Going up the pass and playing with snow at the top is an experience. Neeti, our daughter, had her first experience of snow up there. They have almost completed building a tunnel alternative to the road to the pass which will be usable all year around (currently you can go up to the pass only few months of a year). That may make the Mnali route to Leh more attractive compared to via Srinagar and Kargil. But there is a very strategic important because then one can supply to Ladakh all year around. Currently due to short window of access to Ladakh the army runs convoys after convoys to stock Leh with supplies year around for the forward post army there.

    No need to restate my appreciation for your narrative style.

    IIT student induction and the question of salary! I guess the IIT is no different that IAS as a road to bliss and possibly higher dowry in the parts of India where everything is measured in those terms. I am not worried about technology peeping into our brains. Even today if you can lead a life without being a technology slave and those who learn to live such life will remain happy in future while others will suffer from the technology BOSS.

    1. Thank you for the inputs, Dr. I would like to visit Rohtang Pass and Leh in my next visit. In these areas, you can take any road less traveled, beauty and excitement are guaranteed.

    2. Thank you, Dr for your inputs. Planning for Rohtang pass and Leh, in my next visit. In these areas , you can take any road less traveled, beauty and excitement are guaranteed

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