Journey To Bhopal

By Rahul Desai on 03 Apr, 2006. Topics: City, Bhopal, Poona / Pune, Travel . Comments: 5

Titles can really be deceiving. The ideal article-title here could have been “Traveling by Raj National Express”. I basically wanted to write about my recent journey from Pune to Bhopal by bus. A great new experience altogether! Like okay, I used to have 24 hrs bus-journeys from Bangalore to Mumbai and Pune to Indore and so. But gone are the days. Lately my super-delicate body has left me with no option than train/air route or on occasions, NO route! More than 4-5 hrs, by road, that too in a bus (let it be Volvo whatever), it’s just not my cup of tea any more.

However, beliefs are made to be broken I must say (or was it theories?). I was left with no option, had to take a bus to Bhopal and guess what? I know at least three airlines which offer cheaper air-fares than this bus fare. Against less than two hours journey to Bhopal (for Rs 950Air Decaan, Rs 550 Go Air, Re 1 Air Deccan FF-Bonanza Bid), I opted Raj National Express (formerly Raj Travels) with a 15 hours alternative for Rs 990.18 (inclusive of all taxes). However, it wasn’t NOT worth it.

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Accidentally Witnessed The History

By Rahul Desai on 13 Mar, 2006. Topics: Bhopal, Cricket . Comments: 0

Yet another hot Sunday in Bhopal, Raghu and I were fearsly trying to get some work done at the office. With my typically casual interest in any cricket match, I just peeped into the scorecard. Half-way at the match, the result was quite obvious. 3rd Final of the Australia – South Africa ODI Series, I knew Australia already had it their way. What I didn’t know was that the train of surprises hadn’t even started off.

Those not into cricket, read: You just missed an adrenalin hit! Last 24 hours in the cricketing world have seen some real turmoil.

At lunch, the records as they occurred and the scorecard looked something like this:

  • 434: Australia, the first team ever to score more than 400 in an ODI
  • 256: Maximum runs scored in boundaries by a team in an inning
  • 150: Ricky Ponting scored fastest 150, just in 99 balls
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Of All Places, Why Bhopal?

By Rahul Desai on 06 Mar, 2006. Topics: Career, City, India, Bhopal . Comments: 0

Why Bhopal? The answer is simpler than tougher. However, the issue is severe: Why start a business in Bhopal?

And that makes this article more interesting and complicated, since the facts about the city are flatly unknown to the most of non-Bhopalis. Through this, I also mean to touch the root of the definition of a city. It apparently is the motive behind our local information portal: What is there that we want to bring into Bhopal as a city which it doesn't have (a defined medium), through what it already has (the human and the technological resources). Any ways. Question still exists: what is a 'city'?

Relying on some dictionary-meanings and some definitions from renowned institutions, a ‘city’ stands for: A large and densely populated urban area; includes several independent administrative districts; has cultural diversity; is more politically important than towns and villages; has some degree of self-government; or conglomerations of self-governing units. One very interesting definition read: a city is where you should be able to feel somewhat anonymous, and be able to do things without the whole place knowing about it before your own family knows. Makes complete sense to me. Who wants to live a celebrity life in a small-town? And between this, comes in Bhopal: A city spread over an area of more than 285 sq km, with a large population of almost 15,00,000 (in words, approx one and half million human beings. Or 1.5 M prospective customers?).

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The Best Things In Life Are Free

By Rahul Desai on 05 Mar, 2006. Topics: City, Bhopal, Festival . Comments: 0

I am not talking about talking-for-free to absolutely anyone in any corner of the world (through Skype); nor is it about free Hotmail account you’re using for more than 10 years now. I’m talking about real things in life, which actually count. And they actually happen to be free.

Okay, I am not very good at English vocabulary (or Gujarati or Hindi) and in the public interest, I will keep from being poetic. Still, let me ask you something. Have you ever spent a breezy spring evening, by a lakeside? Let me portray the scene: an amphitheatre by the lakeside, with the audience facing the lake. The artiste sits in front with well-lit stage and the perfect ambience. Trust me, if the word angélique has a meaning, it can’t be better than this: a heavenly sight!

Oh, I can see my non-charismatic words haven't reproduced my zeal, the divine fiesta. The occasion was the celebration of successful 24 years completion of the local cultural activity organization ‘Bharat Bhawan’. Ustad Zakir Hussein on Tabla and Ustad Shultan Khan on Sarangee to inaugurate with, the 12 days long event staged Dr Kanak Rele’s Mohini-attam, Mrs Sharda Sinha’s Bhojpuri classical singing, Swami Ramswaroop Sinha’s Rasleela, and Pandit Ronu Majumdar’s Bansuri-vaadan and Kadri Gopalnath’s Carnatic style Saxophone jugalbandi to conclude: it was a power packed event overflowing with Indian classical music, and the best of the artistes in the field.

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Confusing Hard Work With Struggle

By Rahul Desai on 20 Feb, 2006. Topics: Career, City, Bhopal . Comments: 3

I’ve not referred to the Webster’s, Oxford’s or Gala’s or any other reliable (or even unreliable) dictionary for an absolute meaning of the noun ‘struggle’. Somehow it gives me a negative feeling and therefore, I defy its relation - whatsoever - with the noun ‘success’.

We often hear from our parents, grand-parents, elder siblings, some times even friends (the early-age achievers, talking like 90’s at the age of 20’s) referring our cousin for how hard-working s/he’s been; our senior school-mate how he struggled for the position he’s into today; some nobody on some not-yet-claimed-planet-in-the-galaxy telling how much pain she went through to reach where she is today.

Okay wait: what has ‘pain’ got to do with success or achievements in the first place?? Even the laziest as$ would agree that some sort of hard work is must. But that simply shouldn’t inflict struggle into the picture. In fact, in this jet-age, a struggler (to start with) is most likely to enjoy the rest of his/her life as a successful struggler (by choice) only. Don’t we know it’s a call for smart work, instant money and faster growth today? Of course, this never rules out the importance of hard work, nor can anything else do that.

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Blessed By The Maestros... Twice!

By Rahul Desai on 13 Feb, 2006. Topics: City, Music, Life, Bhopal . Comments: 3

If there's anything like 'luck', then I've been the luckiest. Twice! Twice I've been privileged to see and hear their master-duo. Probably it all happened just to reinforce my strong-old belief that if one isn't into one or the other form of art apart from her/his professional work, s/he's always missing on something. As of me, such a life can never be called complete. Especially for we Indians (at heart, or at least on passport), in the field of art and culture, only the sky is the limit. Rich heritage of thousands of years of art in the form of dance and music (and many other fine arts), nurtured by the best in their field Ustaads and Pandits, it's tougher to find an excuse not to be associated with one.

It was a sheer coincidence since we weren't aware of this grand event till very morning. That is, the last morning. Thanks to our local non-reliable newspaper (which proved us wrong for this case), we realized Ustaad Zakir Hussein would be playing for Bharat-Bhavan in the evening. We reached the venue on time, being prepared for the typical formal event to be carried with bureaucratic formalities like inauguration speech, conclusion, vote of thanks etc. However, it was just the evening of surprises: the inauguration formality didn't last for long, which actually was held by the Honorable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (Mr Shivraj Chauhan), and His Excellency Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Dr Balram Jhakhar. This eventually was my third meeting (encounter?) with the new CM of MP. Any way. The surprising part was that it was not just Ustad Zakir Hussein, there were also Dr Kanak Rele (MohiniAttam Classical Dancer), Mrs Sharda Sinha (Bhojpuri folksinger) and Swami Ramswaroop Sinha (Rasleelacharya) present in the squad!! Quite a bagful, I must say. However, only Ustad Hussein was to play. Still, it certainly was a bonanza!

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