Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bike ride to Portsmouth

So yeah, been dreaming about going on a bike ride. So many mental blocks, so many other obstacles. Par, saari kaaynaat ek ho gayi thi.. this Saturday, when I rode out on my bike.

Weather conditions were favorable.. a decent 16-18 degrees, with winds not blowing above 12-14 mph, and a full sunny day. Domestic conditions, all of them fell in place one by one, by around 1 am. You don't want me to elaborate more on domestic conditions, do you? :)
First mental block was to start going on rides, ride on my own. Another one was my huge dependence on navigation gadget. So chose a route, which didn't have many turns and confusing directions. Luckily, it also turned out to be a very nice route for me - sights wise.

Yes, I would recommend going from west London to Portsmouth using A3 (n that's what google maps recommend too ). The route has national speed limits, 2 lanes (3 for some miles), lots of greenery on either side once you are around South Downs national park. Not much of traffic (or at least not on my day). And a very good choice for anyone's first ride day out.

The ride began at around 1 pm, M3, a bit of M25, A3, scenic A3 and finally M275. 70 miles one way. Back home by 730 pm, so not too bad for a saturday ride. The first stop was at Eashing, which happened to be a very old village. Nice views, and a promise to myself, the next time I am on this route, I will have my lunch/dinner at 'The stag on the river' public house.

Arrived on the pebble beach by quarter to 4, spent about an hour n then it was time to ride back.

Sandwich n chai latte at Costa on way back at Liphook services on A3.

A nice ride, with a promise of more to come.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Letter of Consent from Parents for UK family visitor visa

Am posting a letter of consent from parents needed for a child's visa, if he is travelling to UK on family visitor visa with his grandparents(other relative), but not with his parents.

I had obtained UK visa with this format, but I know its not available on google and so was skeptical of the format.

Posting it here for Jan-Seva :) :P

The British High Commission then issues the visa, and this visa is valid only if the child is travelling with his relatives named in the letter of consent.

This format was used in April 2011. The letter is as below -

                                                                        Parent’s full address with date, mob number


The British High Commission, Mumbai

Subject : Letter of consent for our son’s UK family visitor visa for travelling with grandparents to visit his uncle in UK

Dear Sir/Madam,

My brother, () has invited and willing to sponsor our son (Passport Number – X NNNNNNN) over to UK for holidays.

My brother has invited and sponsored my parents () as well, so that they all can have a good family holiday in UK. We confirm that we are happy and pleased to give our consent to the arrangements for ’s travel, reception and care in the UK.

It is anyways school summer holidays for during that period, so he will be rejuvenated when he comes back from UK to re-start his next level in school. A letter from ’s school is enclosed for additional details.

In case required, please feel free to contact us at the following phone numbers if there are any doubts –

’s Father – Mobile number –
’s Mother – Mobile number –

Many Thanks!

Both parent’s signature with date and location.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chak de...

This life always has had perfect timings of things till date. Its been 31 years this way. And I think, I have had my high of the life. All this while I had the 'paras' with me, so whichever stone I was picking and touching, it was getting converted to Gold. I was counting on whatever Gold bars I had converted from stones.

And now, time has changed. Its not mine anymore. I am no more the dog, who is having his day. I think, its the 'anti-paras' phase of my life. Whatever gold bars I am picking to encash, is getting converted back to worthless stone. Guess, its testing time for me!

Chak de, Aj!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aaa gayee re....

Those were the days when I didn't exactly knew what stress meant. Neither did I cared if there is something called insomnia. Thanks to all the laughter I used to have then. Thanks to people around me. Most laughter were sourced from the people who never suspected their action would result in this much of laughter, and for this long. When I am at my logical best, I fail to understand, why was all the laughter about? If Bawa was living in a shared room on a cot basis, and his landlords are a bit weird, what's there to laugh?

Having heard Bawa's cassette for long about how they all laugh for no reason when the buddhi enters their room, and having confirmed this with Amol (Bawa's close accomplice in a crime called 'Laughter'), I had this urge to see her atleast once. Bawa in his classic way used to describe all the incidences and trigger all of us for stomach aching laughters.

One fine day, I went to meet Bawa at his room. Bawa used to live with 3 other friends in the same shared hall. And all of them had this disease of laughing. Upon entering, he introduced me to his mates. Amol being one of them. (I dont remember the names of other two). But, it was kinda 11 am'ish in the morning on a bright summer sunday. Amol was reading newspaper (The Sunday Times), Bawa was talking to me, the guy with black T shirt was checking his new helmet, and another one was still in his bed - awake but lazing off. The hall had 4 beds(cots), and in between 2 beds there was a iron bar at a height, which everyone used to hang their clothes. This iron rod was close to Bawa's bed (AFAIR correctly).

While I was just 5-7 mins in the place, there she was. An old lady in white saree at the door, to which Amol announced - "Aaa gayee re". (She was suffering from some weak ear, and couldn't hear if the sound is low). The bed owned by the guy with black T shirt (playing with helmet) was the one directly infront of the hall door. God is so smart, he gave amazing reflex mechanism to all of us. This guy wore his helmet to hide his laughter behind the dark shades of the flap. But he was laughing so much, his body rhythm had changed indicating he was either laughing hysterically, or sobbing :P

Amol put his newspaper so much close to his eyes, that no normal human eye can read from such a short distance, and trying to hide his laughter. Buddhi came to him asking - "Why are you holding the newspaper so close?" Thereby trying to move the newspaper a bit away from his face, but only to find out that he's laughing. Amol, being a smarty, replied that he's laughing at a joke published in the newspaper, when Buddhi asked. How I wish, newspaper really had such amazing jokes published.

Bawa instantly picked a magazine and pretended to read it (yeah, you know the reason was just to hide behind the book). Thankfully Buddhi didnt' come to his side, otherwise would have definitely found him laughing. And I was so shocked, that Bawa completely deserted me because of 'THE FEAR'. He was not paying me any attention (I was his guest). I had already seen the other 2 guys laughing hysterically, and not able to stop. And this triggered my own laughter. I had to take shelter near the clothes hanger. AFAIR correctly, I was just looking at those clothes for over 12-15 minutes for all the time that the Buddhi was in the hall; with my back facing the buddhi.

While talking to Amol, Buddhi found that the other guy is still sleeping in his bed with his head covered in the blanket, and his body moving (because of laughter). She asked - "How come someone sleep so long? And with his face,head covered in this peak summer at this time? And why is he shivering?" Someone answered her - that "he's sleeping because he's got fever, and he is shivering because he's cold"; just to take care of the situation. And this triggered another laughter for everyone. Thankfully, Buddhi left. All of us were still holding our stomaches. Still laughing.

This remains one of the best laughter memories to me till date. So many times, we still laugh remembering this one incident. Thanks to you Bawa, and convey my Thanks to the Buddhi as well :P

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aisa bhi hota hai...

Aisa bhi hota hai...

Yesterday, when I went to meet the advisor at the property agent office, he was busy texting on his mobile phone. Once he was done, he apologised about the busyness with mobile. I was having no shortage of time, and was in no hurry to jump onto discussion about property so, I began enquiring about how is he doing and blah blah. We discussed about his personal life for a few minutes and the outcome was -

His mom's in the hospital in some town in Wales, and is dying of cancer. He actually used these words "dying of cancer" in his first statement. Well! And that he tries to visit his mom twice a month over the weekend, but its too difficult for him. His mom is all by herself in the hospital fighting cancer, but cancer is having an upper hand, as its in the final stage. He has a sister who also lives in London, with her family. And this sister can't visit more than once a month.

Me being desi, and with my 'some' family values, still not able to get over the discussion even now. The thought of the old lady alone in hospital trying to fight cancer (or may be just trying to die) with her two grown up children just a couple of hundred kilometers away, but not able to spend time with her. I can't stop wondering, what she would be thinking all day, lying on her hospital bed. The weak body, the bald hair, and lonely eyes.

May be, that I am over-reacting (over-analysing) some situation, which I do not have complete understanding of, and its absolutely none of my business, but still can't help it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Long weekend to North East England

So, finally I made the bookings for North East UK. Me being Aj, booked at the last moment with the travel cost itself making up for the travel + stay, had it been the more thoughtful and advance booking. Anyways.. I was super excited to meet Thakur (Sagar M) and Gatur (Rahul S). Ever since I moved to UK, Sagar and I have been talking in terms of Sholay. Ab aayega maja! :)

The journey started at 920 from my flat to the Victoria Coach Station, and befriending an African infant by making faces - the holiday started with a bang. The National Express Coach bus was scheduled to depart at 2330 and reach New castle at 6 am. The bus journey was good except for the fact that I could sleep only for an hour or so. Thanks to the comforts of non-pushback nature of the seats. How I miss the sleeper coaches of luxury buses or railways of India!

Day1 Begins. Called Sagar to say - "Tanga sahi samay par Ramgadh pahuch gaya. Tum humein lene aa jao." Thakur received us and we went to his flat after a good 30 mins walk thru the town centre. Angrez were good at creating nice town centres. The massiveness of the structures and the neatness of the streets make you feel organised and small. A nice English breakfast at Sagar's place, and we were off to Sunderland on the Metro. Reached Sunderland University by around noon. Rahul came to receive us at the station and his house is just a 4 mins walk from the station. Such a bliss. Day 1 was spent in relaxing at home, eating daal-baati for lunch, followed by a birth day party in the evening.

Day 2, we had decided to go to Durham and see the Durham Cathedral. This cathedral was being built for 40 years sometimes in 1000-1100 AD. Such an architectural beauty, with the Organ music playing in the background. Spent close to 2 hours at the cathedral. While seating alone at the bench, I couldn't get off the feeling that "somehow I am connected to history". This is the same feeling which I get while trekking the forts of Maharashtra or books/movies of the pre-independence era about north India. Ok. Ok. Okay. Arnav too had his high - enjoying the bunjee jumping, while Ojal was sad, not being allowed cause she is still under-3. The same old distraction technic was used to make her forget n smile again. All the ladies had a gala time visiting the shopping malls and later munching on the ice cream.

Day 3, we started our journey back to New Castle. Thakur came to receive us at the Monument- ate some pret-a-manger stuff and we off loaded our lugguage at his haveli. A walk around the city centre, a few mins talk at the museum lawns, followed by visits to the bridges. Those who lived in Pune (with so many bridges) would sure love this city for the bridges. Some dialoguebaazi again at the Millenium bridge (remember, Jay died at a bridge with a blast triggered with his revolver). It was so difficult to control the beer-urge. I distracted my mind with the thought that the standard English dictionary should now have this new word 'beerurge'. :P Back to his flat. It was time to let our feets relax. The food was nicely cooked - and I had the chance to eat 'the indian egg curry' after a long 12-14 months. Thanks to the amazing cooks. Lots of talks and discussions about problems in India (yeah yeah, the typical NRI thing).

Day 4, early breakfast and the journey backwards. I intentionally kept this journey to be in the day time, so that I get to see the roadside while on the bus. And me being the luckiest ass on earth, it was a bright n sunny day with good visibility. All I did during the entire journey was keep Oj occupied or sleeping, so that I get to see outside the window. The view outside of the window was good. How I wish it had the Sholay theme music in background (Jay's organ play) Nice British house roofs, green trees, green lawns, green fields with yellow flowers, horse farms, cow farms and what not. One advantage of a developed country is that, every inch of the land is owned and managed. But, my heart still beats for my very own Sahyadris...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another challenge that lies ahead...

You know some things, as in 'Theories' or known facts, but you don't have the "knowledge" unless you experience that 'some thing' on your own. Well, I am talking about a very sensitive aspect of my life at this moment (finally, I think, I have something going on in my life, which is 'sensible' :P). It's got to do with me as a parent. I am realising, that I can't be a kid, and be a parent at the same time. However, the most beautiful option could be - be a kid, and grow up with my daughter, but then, there's another problem here, that she would grow faster and smarter, and I would be left behind, again causing a generation gap :D

It gives all the parents immense pleasures, when the kids start using new words. One such incidence being - at a shopping mall Goldie asking me to buy something, but the word and the sentence she used as - "Papa, aap ke liye kuch T-shirt WAGERE lena kya". Well, WAGERE is such a routine word in Hindi, but it has an importance and a mention here, because it was used for the first time by 2.5 yr old Goldie when we were least expecting it.

Me being a bolly movie n song freak, I have introduced Goldie to all the actors as - Shammi Kapoor Uncle or Aamir Khan uncle or Sharmila Aunty or Kareena Aunty. Just for the fun out of it. But its been over 6 months this way, and its kinda protocol for her. She was in a bad mood yesterday after being broken off her afternoon nap. In a bid to pacify her, I asked her which song/rhyme/bhajan she wants to listen to, she was constantly crying. I named a few of them, which she all declined, finally asking me - 'Sheila aunty ka song sun na hai'. It was me who introduced the 'Sheila ki Jawaani' song to her as 'Sheila aunty ka song'.

One such incidence goes like this. Me being me, have started mentioning Anushka Sharma as 'Sharmaji ki beti' (She being my latest bolly crush ;) ). I don't remember, when did Goldie heard me mentioning this. Last eve, when I was discussing which song to play, Goldie made her suggestion while playing with her color crayons - "Sharmaji ki beti ka song lagao".

It might feel cute at this moment, but I think, its yet another challenge for me to watch my language and phrases very closely and to use proper words with correct judgement.