मेरा वाला लखनऊ

Nostalgia..

कोलाहल

एक दिन था जब हम चढ़ान पे
बस्ते को दरकिनार कर
रिक्शे पे धक्का लगाते थे,
एक दिन था जब पोस्ट ऑफिस की
पूड़ियों में हम घर बसाते थे,
और थके तो किसी गुमनाम मस्जिद की
दीवार से सट के सो जाते थे।

दो रूपये के कनकैये पे
टिकती थी हैसियत हमारी
उड़ी तो हम शहंशाह
कटी तो फ़जीहत हमारी।

वकार, वसीम जब क्रिकेटर नहीं
दोस्तों के नाम हुआ करते थे
जब मीलों दूर वही दोस्त
पुलिया के नीचे सिगरेट पीने पे
बदनाम हुआ करते थे।

एक दिन था जब टुंडे के कबाब
हशीश की लत बन चुके थे
और लोरेटो के सामने पेडल रोकना
आदत बन चुके थे।

इमामबाड़ा बगल से निकलता था
पर हमें सरोकार नहीं था
रूमी दरवाजा भी बेपरवाह था
हमें भी कोई ख़ास प्यार नहीं था
भूल भुल्लैया भूली बिसरी चीज़ बन चुकी थी
रेसीडेंसी की भी हमसे ठन चुकी थी
न इसने कभी हमे…

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Oscars 2014 Predictions: My Picks For This Year’s Academy Award

Welcome march with Academy awards celebration less than 48 hours away, lets get to nook crossing your fingers and praying hard for all the amount floating over bets. This is the third year when I would be making up my predictions for Academy Awards, Lot many years the predictions had been brainy but at times you make decision through your hearts. This year has few obvious and few not so obvious winners

With long debates and arguments specially in Best Picture and Best actor category, this is gonna one of the most interesting and controversial Oscars ever (Leave their hosting apart)

Here are my picks for winners in the major categories, with a brief explanation as to why.

Gravity  Dallas Buyers Club Wolf Of Wall Street Inside Llewyn Davis12 Years A Slave

Best Picture –

  • “American Hustle”
  • “Captain Phillips”
  • “Dallas Buyers Club”
  • “Gravity”
  • “Her”
  • “Nebraska”
  • “Philomena”
  • “12 Years A Slave”
  • “The Wolf of Wall Street”

For the first time in years, even the most seasoned awards watchers are sweating the best-picture race, an unusually tight contest .I only wish Inside Llewyn Davis would have made to list. If by history Academy has always preferred History over Technology whether it was Argo over Life Of Pi, Artist Over Hugo, Kings Speech over Inception. So going by obvious choice and being “Realistic” (What academy terms) ’12 Years Slave’ is obvious winner with ‘Gravity’ and ‘American Hustle’ in close second. If Gravity wins it would be definitely the wind of Change.  

What Would Win – 12 Years A Slave

What Could Win – Gravity

What Should Win – Inside Llewyn Davis 

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
  • Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years A Slave”
  •  Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Controversial and closest of all, this would be the award of the ceremony with electrifying performance of Ejiofor and in close shave by DiCaprio its all messed up for movie buffs. Where Ejiofor had been neglected throughout the year until Bafta, the fight is on between Dicaprio and McConaughey. If Dicaprio wins,(what every fan wish) he might win it for a wrong movie, he deserved it more for Titanic, Departed or even Django Unchained but this has been McConaughey year.

Would Win – Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Could Win – Close Tie between Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years A Slave” – Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Should Win – Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
  • Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
  • Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
  • Judi Dench, “Philomena”
  • Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

Until the Academy do not go by Public Favor Cate Blanchett has no competition over this much deserved prize. In other case Adams or Bullock both being mainline could be preferred with close tie.

Would Win – Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Could Win – Sandra Bullock “Gravity”

Should Win – Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Best Director

  • David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
  •  Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
  • Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
  • Steve McQueen, “12 Years A Slave”
  • Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf Of Wall Street”

12 Year a Slave might be everyone’s favorite for best picture but Gravity has been what a movie is to be ‘gripping and enjoyable’. With brilliant direction there should be no argument with Cuaron winning the award, if Scorsese wins it for the Wolf it might please the academy but surely would hurt lot of fans.

Would Win – Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”

Could Win – David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

Should Win – Joel and Ethan Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis”  

Best Supporting Actor and Actress 

  • Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
  • Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
  • Michael Fassbender, “12 Years A Slave”
  • Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Would Win/ Could Win/ Should Win – Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club” 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
  • Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
  • Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years A Slave”
  • Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
  • June Squibb, “Nebraska”

Would Win – Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

Could Win – Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years A Slave”

Should Win –  June Squibb, “Nebraska”

Enjoy the ceremony.

Weekend Drive Around Pune – Balaji temple, Narayanpur

Balaji Temple 

Best Route

Route1 :: Katraj – Kondhwa Road – Bopdev Ghat – Saswad (Take Right, ask for Narayanpur Road or Purander Fort) – Follow the road post Narayanpur Village to Shri Venkateshwar temple (The Balaji Temple)

Other Possible Route –

Route 2 :: Pune – Mumbai Bangalore Highway (NH4) – Kapurhol – Take Left – 4.2 Kms to Shri Venkateshwar Temple (The Balaji Temple )

Best Season

365 Days (Summers get too hot, due to Marble flooring)

Road Condition –

Route 1 – Average , Low on Traffic (except weekends)

Route 2 – Very Good, High Traffic

Image

Timings –

Daily Pooja schedule and timings from Monday to Sunday

05.00 am to 05.30 am : Suprabhatam
06.30 am to 08.15 am : Morning Pooj
10.00 am to 11.15 am : Afternoon Pooja
06.00 pm to 07.15 pm : Evening pooja
08.00 pm Onwards : Shuddhi, Ekantseva

Darshan close timings (approximate)

07.30 am to 08.15 am : Daily Naivedyam
10.30 am to 11.15 am : Daily Naivedyam
09.00 am to 09.30 am : Saliampu – Netradarshan (Thrusday only)
05.00 pm to 05.30 pm : Poolangi Seva (Thrusday only)
08.15 am to 10.15 am : After Abhishekam (Friday only)

Friday special programe
07.30 am to 08.00 am : Abhishekam
05.00 pm to 05.45 pm : Unjalseva

On days of Special functions Pooja timings may alter
There is Annachhatra facility at 12am to 2 pm and evening 8pm to 9 pm.

http://instagram.com/p/Y75WlGLdkJ/

A quick hour drive from Pune takes you to the miniature replica of Tirupati Balaji temple, with a long queue of devotees one could easily guess the possible popularity it has gained in recent years. Bald heads, hand full of ladoos, the south Indian tune makes you believe your visit as dutiful as it would had been in Tirupati.

http://instagram.com/p/Y8JML8LdvB/

Beautifully constructed in the same pattern as its inspiration, the interior of the temple is completely made up of stone. One is not allowed to carry his or her camera & cellphone within temple premises. During summer, it turns out to be a hard run once you leave your slippers for a walk on marbles towards the temple.  If reached early, a small queue leads you to the main deity, but occasionally (usually during evening or weekends) the queue gets never ending. Once inside temple, you are made to rush away from the main statue so that the queue could move on. With other deities surrounding the main temple, it takes around half an hour to enjoy the beautiful sculptures and other carvings upfront. While returning one is given Ladoos or Khicda while returning (Take only if you could eat it, you can always refuse a prasad or ask for less. People are frequently throw it in dustbin)

Image

Rumour goes, that the main statue is an actual part of Tirupati Balaji which was bought here by the priests who actually are from Tirupati. The Temple is completely carved out of stone which is its beauty.

On an average it takes around 2 hour to completely enjoy the vicinity.

It is better to plan your weekend as ::

Katraj – Bopdev Ghat – Kanifnath Temple – Saswad – Purander Fort – Balaji Temple – Kapurhol – NH4 – Pune

So, as to cover all major points on a single drive.

PS:: Do not confuse Narayanpur with Narayan Gaon , Narayangaon is on Nashik Highway .

Pune to Raigad Fort by bike

Pune to Raigad Fort by bike

RAIGAD FORT 

Best Route –
 Pune – Kothrud – Paud Road – Mulshi – Tamhini Ghat – MIDC – Nizampur – Pachad Road (After a sharp left) – Raigad Fort .
Best Season –
July – February
Road Condition –
Mostly Poor / Average
 
 
Its been almost a month since I last visited Raigad. 
This is the second time over the year I visited Raigad fort , this fort has a huge sentimental value for the locals, with Raigad being capital of Shivaji the Great for a large period of time, This fort is the heart to Maratha empire.
Situated on a low height of 2700 ft above sea level, this fort is surrounded by at least eight different forts in the visible range. Being the capital of Maratha empire, this is one interesting fort to visit.
My visit to Raigad was, where once in month of July, the latest was in month of March. I can assure you that March to June (Until the sky pours down) is one of the worst seasons to travel in Maharashtra, where on one side you only see yellow grass and burnt out fields, the other side has dry waterfalls and lakes.
The Route 
Like other places there are atleast 3-4 other common ways to visit Raigad, but I believe the one mentioned above should suits one interest in a better way.
If one starts early from Pune (not before the Sunlight), he/she could spent a good time at Mulshi Lake. The road around the lake has mesmerizing beauty.
After Mulshi you enter Tamhini Ghat, it is said to be one of the best ghats for scenic beauty around Pune (which I personally completely disagree). The road after the Lavasa turn on the Paud Road is drastically bad (Last visted March 2013, with no construction in progress), which shatters down your dream to enjoy the beauty while driving, one may spend his hours riding on the patchy road. This phase lasts almost 40kms until one reaches MIDC.
MULSHI LAKE
TAMHINI GHAT
The road gets slightly better from MIDC, post MIDC when one reaches Nizampur he can take a left to Pachad Road (This route had been recently updated on Maps), the route through this way is completely isolated with patchy tracks, avoid until ain’t in large groups. The benefits lies in the 25kms lesser traveled. The Pachad road takes you straight to the foothills of Raigad fort.
PACHAD ROAD DURING SUMMER
While returning one can take the Road to Mahad,& on the way make sure you visit Shivaji Museum as soon as you leave Raigad to Mahad. From Mahad get on the Mumbai – Goa highway, & after the toll, take first left to Bhor.
The Bhor highway is single lane state highway, with slightly better road to travel. Remember there is no petrol pump over a distance of 72km from National Highway to Bhor. The route is much beautiful when compared to Tamhini Ghat with evening giving it a color of yellow, red and purple towards the sunset. One travels all the way around circumference of Nira Deodhar dam to take a beautiful views. The ghat lengths for around 42kms, with no major steep but continuous slope. AT Bhor again take a left, and after around 13kms run, one meets the Pune Bangalore Highway.
Nira Deodhar Dam and around
Make sure one travels safe on the Tamhini Ghat, cause it is famous for robbery and chain snatching.
At Raigad, one can trek around from the base, the trek takes around 1.5 Hours, with several eateries on its way. The other option is the Rope way, where the last price checked was Rs.190 To and Fro charge.
At the fort Takmak Tok, Horse back shopping arena, the tomb of Shivaji is the must visit place. The fort itself takes around 2 hours to be covered entirely. The best way is to take a rope way while going up and stairs while descending.
TAKMAK TOK
From Pune if one takes the above suggested route it takes around 3-4 hours by Bike, and around 3 by a car.
PS:: If you had frequently visited Mughal Forts, do not expect the grandeur of those forts. But Raigad has its own historical importance and is of great sentimental value to the people.

Kai Po Che – No Mistake Of Life

              I am a book worm who is a movie buff, from my years of watching movies I still do not remember the time I had been in such a foul mood before going for a movie and 3 mistakes of my life had been one of my most disliked book of Chetan Bhagat Franchise. But Kai Po Che made my day, week and the year so far.

           Since Dil Chahta hai there had been n number of movies talking about 3 friends (Ok few more than 3), where the first half dealt with their amazing bond, second half had a clash over misunderstanding, patch up and then merry go happy ending. But this was something different, very different.

           The story not so new (I believe since most of them have already read the book or read the wiki) set  back in 2000 of Ahmedabad, is about 3 friends Omi, Govind and Ishaan who share fevicol bond of friendship. Where Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) is ambitious and responsible, Ishaan is the easy going and lead of the gang & Omi (Amit Sadh)  is friend to die for. When Ishaan (Sushant Singh) who is a diehard cricket fan finds a prodigy Ali after the 3 friends start their own Sports Store and Academy, Govind who is also a tuition teacher carries on his hard work to fulfill his goal, falls in Love with Ishaan’s younger sibling and Omi who to support his friend have to assist his uncle in Politics to support his friend’s dream make the plot for the upcoming events, where  the first half takes a lot much time in emotionalizing the characters ,it’s  the second half which gains the pace when the tragedy of Gujarat earthquake, then India winning Kolkata test match against Australia and finally the Gujarat Riots where the tempo goes high, and gives you the butterfly in the stomach.

             The book loved by many is already a strong script, which relate fictional characters to the real events and display the consequences. It’s the brilliant direction by Abhishek Kapoor, music and acting which stays with you even when you have left the theatre. It does not have any well known established faces of industry; it has no hero no villains. It gives you people whom you could relate to, like the scene where Govind cry over their loss in earthquake, or when Omi in the climax shows his guilt stays long after you get back… I won’t say that I loved a certain character because that would be a definite injustice to others to, but surely I liked them all.

           Like said it’s not the mistake what you do, it’s a lesson which life teaches you. The movie doing all justice to the book, by the end leaves up to you to decide, that whether they really were mistakes or just the call of time and situation.

How foul my mood had been before the movie, it left an impact as severe as I remember last had after watching Rang De Basanti. I could write a lot more over this amazing flick, but better would be if you watch it and review it.

           Rarely comes a movie so beautiful and so impactful, make sure you do not miss it even if few of your known did not enjoyed it, it surely gives different message to every person.

Value For Money – 95% whether you have read the book or not.

Pune to Ratnagiri via Ganpatipule by Bike

While surfing over internet I never found a proper information for a bike ride from Pune to Ganpatipule or Ratnagiri, either no one ever tried it or none paid the heed to share their information. Being back from the same, I decided to just put a small guide for the information I attained during my journey.

           As far as routes are concerned there are N number routes to reach Ganpatipule/Ratnagiri from Pune, where each of these routes joins Mumbai – Goa highway at some or the other point. So, the major choice is to decide through which part you would be crossing the valley to be on NH4 and move onward.

          Below I would be sharing information about the 4 tested routes, which shorten up the distance and are pleasure to drive.

                 Route 1 – Pune – Mahad – Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri

Pune – Shirwal (Turn Towards Bhor)-Bhor – Mahad – NH4 –Khed – Chiplun – 3 Kms After Sangameshwar Railway station (Before a Small Bridge) Turn Left – Follow Asurde Dingani Road to Chafe – From Chafe Turn Right for Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri

The left turn at Sangameshwar saves about 22kms, the roads are ok with few patches, better for a two wheeler drive. Make sure you frequently consult the villagers regarding the turns, even when Google navigates it perfectly.

The Pune – Mahad route is the least enjoyable of all the routes I would be describing with no large valleys, but it is good in terms of frequent traffic which does not hurdle up your speed but ensure safety.

               Route 2 – Pune – Paud – Mangaon – Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri

     Pune – Paud Road – Mulshi Dam – Mangaon – Mahad– NH4 –Khed – Chiplun – 3 Kms After Sangameshwar Railway station (Before a Small Bridge) Turn Left – Follow Asurde Dingani Road to Chafe – From Chafe Turn Right for Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri

LAVASA CITY

Route 2 is one of the most beautiful routes on this particular trip if travelled during rainy season, the only disadvantage is its too deserted even during day.

     The Paud road throughout until Mangaon is full of blobs which actually block your vision from nature to tar on road.

    If on schedule you can spare few hours for LAVASA CITY, or could just turn your ride to see the beautiful Mulshi Dam. Where Lavasa may take some time, due to its large size and several entertaining factors, Mulshi could be covered in an hour or two max.

This is a suggested route during monsoon, but make sure you are traveling in a group or have proper safety kits with you.

        Route 3 – Pune – Mahabaleshwar- Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri

Pune – Mahabaleshwar – Pratapghad – Poladpur – NH4 –Khed – Chiplun – 3 Kms After Sangameshwar Railway station (Before a Small Bridge) Turn Left – Follow Asurde Dingani Road to Chafe – From Chafe Turn Right for Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri 

MAHABALESHWAR

One of the most commonly followed route by four wheeler drivers, this route takes you to one of the most famous hill station of Maharashtra (Mahabaleshwar), and then Pratapgarh fort. Mahabaleshwar itself being a tourist spot has more than 20 major points to be covered, which may consume your entire day, so plan it well. Pratapgarh Fort is beautiful and could be well covered in 2 hours time.

             Where these 2 major tourist points increases the gravity of this route, what it brings is increase in number of Valleys (or Ghats) which take lot of time to be covered & due to high on tourist sometime one may be stuck in traffic jams for hours. 

 

            So, if one is planning to move through this route it’s suggested to leave the city early and try to reach Mahabaleshwar by sunrise, the route is completely safe and the distance could be well covered on Pune – Bangalore highway at good speed.

PS: Mahabaleshwar & Pratapgarh gets really hot during summer, which may bring tiredness. So plan well.

              Route 4 – Pune – Koyna Dam – Ganpatipule- Ratnagiri

Pune – Satara – Turn before Umbraj on Umbraj Patan Road to Chiplun – Koyna Nagar (Koyna Dam) – Chiplun – 3 Kms After Sangameshwar Railway station (Before a Small Bridge) Turn Left – Follow Asurde Dingani Road to Chafe – From Chafe Turn Right for Ganpatipule – Ratnagiri 

KOYNA DAM

This route takes you to Maharashtra largest dam on the Shivsagar Lake, the Koyna dam. While moving from Umbraj to Chiplun a change in route of 4 kms take you to Koyna Dam which is worth the fuel and time. Of all the routes this one had the best roads since last visited, with very few patches on Umraj – Patan Road. The Khumbhrali Ghat after Koyna is one of the most beautiful Ghats on the routes.

If you are following Google Navigation do not turn left after Khumbhrali Ghat before Chiplun for a shortcut, the road is a dead end. Travel all the way to Chiplun and then follow the Mumbai – Goa Highway .

Of all the, Route 4 takes the shortest time to reach the destination.

               In all the routes I have suggested to visit Ratnagiri via Ganpatipule whereas your map or device may suggest you some other routes. The reason very obvious is Ratnagiri – Ganpatipule is a 20kms run, on the coastal line of the district, where you drive with beach on your one side. It’s beautiful and a surely a must have experience of life.

There are several other routes which divert through various other places, but had not been tested over the time. And any help & suggestion for such routes and trips would be most welcomed.

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