A drive till neemrana 1

The first 4.5 months of this year went in coping with the kneecap dislocation and the subsequent MPFL reconstruction surgery I had to get done to fix the ligament that got ruptured. This included intensive physiotherapy for 2 months and even though I am not 100% ok yet, I am at least “kaam chalau” ok. Good enough to go out and be social again. I’ll write more about the MPFL reconstruction journey later. For now I shall talk about another journey – one from Gurgaon to Neemrana, while driving myself (yes, a big deal after surgery) and that too in a brand new car – the new Tata bolt! I got invited by Blogadda to join in on this drive that was happening on 10th May. Even though I was a bit apprehensive about my driving a long distance after surgery as well as climbing stairs – after talking to Harish from Blogadda, I was assured that there were many other drivers and it wasn’t mandatory to drive. It was as per comfort level. In fact there was a participant who didn’t know how to drive, but I digress :).  As for the stairs, well some were to be climbed to get to our destination for the day, but I could skip anything else that seemed physically taxing for my knee for now. So off I set on Sunday morning, reached Galaxy hotel at the pre-decided time and was assigned to team no 1.  We were to drive the petrol version (revotron) of the car first, followed by an exchange with the diesel version at a pit stop.

After an intro round and some appetisers, Mr Sethi  from Tata Motors shared some of the features of the Tata bolt. They also announced a contest – the best picture of the day would win flipkart vouchers. After lunch, we got ready to leave. All the cars had an ice box that was filled with cold water, juices, lassi, lemonade and some assorted snacks. Much needed on the hot searing sunny day that was the 10th of May! They were also equipped with Samsung tabs using the “connectnext” technology, through which we were constantly in touch with “Captain Bolt” – for all practical purposes a mysterious voice that kept tabs on us, our whereabouts and our requirements 🙂 .. In reality a person of the Tata Bolt team who wasn’t a part of the cavalcade & also provided us some media to play during our long drive. All cars were RED in colour except the pilot car. Boy I love that colour! My team mates were Prasad – an angel investor amongst other things and Alok – An SEO specialist. Alok didn’t know how to drive … and then there were two :). Accompanying us was Anuja from the blogadda team. Since we were team no 1, we were the first ones to be flagged off. I decided to drive first for as long as I could drive and then hand over the car to Prasad. We first went to leisure valley grounds, where a track had been set up to test the suspension of the car. Once we were through that, we set out for Neemrana Fort Palace. The “Revotron” version has 3 modes of driving in the city – Sport (power), Eco (Mileage), City (Mix of both). We mostly drove in the city mode. Even on the highway on sports mode, the difference could not be discerned because of constant traffic jams. It felt great going for a long drive after a gap of more than 4 months. I didn’t feel the level of discomfort I had expected due to my knee and drove till the pit stop. Once there, we exchanged our car for the Diesel version and Prasad got behind the wheel. The hi-tech music system and the voice of Captain bolt kept us entertained throughout the drive. Soon we reached Neemrana. The heat was unbearable and I slowly troddled up to Jalgiri Mahal which overlooked the superlicious swimming pool! We had some refreshments and then it was time for a tour. The group went ahead while I decided to skip this part. However, I did venture out on my own and caught a glimpse of the Hawa mahal.

The place was seeped in history, and sounds of birdcalls & their echoes. Parrots and peacocks roamed around unafraid of human contact. It was strange seeing huge trees growing over by the stairs and what not. Small little peepholes in the parapets of the fort had been converted to toilets with a view! Bougainvillea creepers adorned the palace and in some parts they covered whole walls like ivy. There were tiny little manmade ponds all over the property at various heights. And a swimming pool of course. Wonder what it would have been like in ancient times.

The inviting pool on a sweltering day!

The superlicious inviting pool in the sweltering heat! #neemrana #boltdrives @tatabolt @blogadda #cinemagram

A video posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on


Soon the tour ended and the entire gang came back. We all had high tea and watched a folk performance. I was still uploading my instagram images from the day and making Cinemagraphs (Animated GIFs made with short video clips) when the prizes were announced. I shouldn’t have worried cos the only image I had managed to upload by then, won me the best image of the day award! 🙂 The prize was flipkart vouchers worth 4K. But the bigger surprise of the day was yet to come when Tata Motors announced the results of a blogging contest that had already happened a month or so back. And one of the bloggers  – Ragini – won a brand new Tata Bolt! I am sure everyone wanted to be in her place at that moment :).

My winning image!


  Eye of the tiger! @tatabolt @blogadda #boltdrives   A photo posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on

Cinemagraph of the folk performance

Soon it was time to leave and although this was a touch and go trip, it was still worthwhile. I clicked some more images of the fort palace that were appreciated by Neemrana properties as well.

Twilight at the Neemrana fort, clicked by twilight at the Neemrana fort 😉


The magnificent sun set as viewed from #neemrana fort. #boltdrives @tatabolt @blogadda #ipadography #panorama


A photo posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on

On the way back we had the diesel car with us throughout and since I had not driven that variant I decided to drive for as long as was comfortable. The journey back was again full of laughter, jokes, friendly jibes and of course Captain bolt’s announcements. He also conducted a quiz about the features of the car and we all won Bookmyshow vouchers. If only, we had won cars instead ;). Around halfway, I again did an exchange with Prasad and sat in the backseat. The car is comfortable and has enough leg room. We reached Galaxy hotels at 9:30 pm and after the entire gang bade farewell (which almost drowned the sound of a shaadi band) we all headed home with new experiences and friends. It was a Sunday well spent at #Boltdrives with BOLT from Tata Motors and Blogadda especially since there were prizes involved 🙂

Gurgaon-Jaipur Women’s car rally on 21st! 12

Someone put a pamphlet about a Women’s car rally under the wiper of my car. I was quite amused since I did not see it on any of the other cars parked near by! 🙂 It sounds like quite a fun opportunity. Since this event has practically no web presence, I thought I would promote it on my own blog. So here goes!

“Any vehicle which has 4 wheels, an engine, a steering wheel and a lady behind it, can participate in the rally”

This event is being organised by an NGO called Uthaan in partnership with Ibis, Power Grid, Indian Oil, Radio Mirchi, Desert trails, Avenues travel services etc. The flag off is from Ibis Hotel, Gurgaon.

DATE of Event : 21st March 2009

Uthaan is conducting the IIIrd Women’s Car rally which is an annual National Event hosted in Gurgaon 3rd year in succession. They hold this event each year with a Social Theme to create awareness in Social segments through participation & involvement . They have got support of Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Indian Oil , Rajasthan Tourism, India Today group, NDTV, Radio Mirchi, Dainik Jagran, Times Of India & Hindustan Times & Limca Book of Records.


They have earlier created a record by Holding the women Car rally. It is listed in the LIMCA BOOK OF RECORDS as

( Page 476 Limca Book Of Records 2007 )

This year this event is being organized in a much bigger way from Gurgaon to Jaipur ( To create another NATIONAL RECORD ). Another FIRST in this Rally is that they’re encouraging participants to bring their Pets too.

In case you are interested you can register as an individual for 4000/- (all inclusive) [and for 6K as a corporate] for this rally. It is a fun rally, not meant to be a race. The Boarding, lodging & food for all participants will be arranged by the Organizers. The List of Number of Prizes will be given at the time of Registration. It will be a Time, Speed & Distance rally with point deduction on OVER SPEEDING. The maximum speed allowed is 75Kmph. Violation of Traffic Rules will be penalized by point deduction. A separate navigation chart with full rules will be given to participants after registration. Different events during the rally will be held & informed about beforehand to all participants. There will be a prize distribution event on 21st evening at Desert trails, Jaipur. Participants will be given lodging & breakfast at either Desert Trails or Hotel Amer View. You can get your family also along with you. They can pay directly to the hotels. You can register a navigator along with you. The navigator can be a man or a woman. However in case of a tie, the preference would be given to an all women team.

The proceeds from this event will go to an Animal rescue centre on NH-8. All interested people may contact the following:

Sanjay Kaushik
102, Sector 46

Home alone

It’s been quite some time since I have been staying alone now. When I shifted out 3-4 months back, I was practically spending 75% time with my parents and 25% time in my own house. On every festival I would be back with them. In case of every slight (and major) ailment I would be back in Delhi. But for now the balance has shifted. At least now since 1-2 months the %age of time that I spend at Delhi has come down. But then even after so many months I am still “settling down”. I still feel like a vagabond, living out of plastic packets (not even suitcases). There are ‘n’ number of unfinished jobs pending. Lots of things have changed in the meantime. I have my own emotional battles to conquer. Some new decisions have been taken and some really old ones are finally being implemented. It’s yet to be seen whether they were good or bad. I still need to come to terms with some of my decisions. I am at that point in my life when I know that destiny is playing a game with me and I can do nothing except flow with it. Life is but a combination of choices and if I made the wrong ones, I am doomed. It scares me to no end.

Anyhow the “home alone” stint has been quite full of things. The typical reactions that I would get from ppl when I informed them that I am shifting to my own house (and leaving my “nest” at that) would be:

1. “Are you crazy?” – No, I very well know what I am doing. Just because you never dared to do it doesnt mean it has to be crazy.
2. “But why are u shifting? What will you do?” – Huh? Dont ppl live independently anyway when they are working away from home? There’re ‘n’ number of things that one does with ones life, and those are what I’ll also do!
3. “Get married.”/”It’s time you got married.” – GOD help all those overzealous (read poke ur nose in my private affair) souls around me. Thanks but no thanks. I already know it’s time I got married. Doesnt mean I get married just so that I dont have to stay “alone”. Or are you just plainly green with “grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome and hence want to drag me into your side of the pasture?
4. “Is it safe for a female to be staying alone?” – well what’s safe in today’s date? Nothing.
5. “Won’t you be scared?” – No.

and some very atypical reactions would be
6. “Wow! that’s cool!” – gee, thanks, at last someone identifies with me!
7. “Hey let me in on this real estate stuff too” – ok, I charge one month rent as brokerage for that.

After I did shift and spent some time at home, most ppl who said points 1-5 treated me like I am off my rocker and kept to themselves. Some would ask me what I “do” (as if I had suddenly developed some alien receptacles on my head which prohibited normal mundane activities) especially since I didnt even have a cable connection or a proper music system at home. Well to be honest I didnt watch TV for 2-3 months and I just didnt feel as if I missed *anything*. I read a whole lot (nothing technical though I had plans). I listened to a lot of radio (on my walkman). I attended my piano/guitar classes. I cooked. I indulged in gardening. I drove between Gurgaon and Delhi. I contemplated. And did they forget that I work for a living? Anyhow running a house independently is no mean feat. And neither is staying alone. Especially if all the houses above yours, behind yours, across yours are empty too.

So far I think it was good to shift out. There have been myriad experiences all of which I wouldn’t care to write. But some notable things are:

1. From no cooking (omlet/maggi/sandwiches don’t count), I have graduated to good cooking. And surprisingly I even enjoy it. I have made various dishes now including pasta and “love filled” rotis. No, I am not inviting you all for a meal.
2. There were some thefts around the colony. Some ppl lost precious stuff whilst some lost the gutter lids in their premises. I lost all the gutter lids in my premises one after another (10 in all). It may sound funny to those who haven’t experienced but it just isnt funny when someone trespasses through your area, climbs through walls/locked gates and steals gutter lids even when you are *inside* the house. The next thing as you know could be anything.
3. I have had the pleasure of calling the police at the spot of the “crime” twice. Haryana police or rather anywhere is full of useless bastards especially if you dont know anyone in the upper echelons. All that they can do is tell you that they wont go search the umpteen jhuggi/jhompdi clusters right across your house, because some poor “mazdoor” couple might be copulating! HA!
4. I am an employer now apart from being an employee. It’s not as if there were no maids working at home earlier, but then the employer was my mom and not me. I have already changed 3 maids so far. The first one would keep cribbing to no one in particular even when I wasnt around. Within 10 days she asked me for a raise even though I was paying her full pay after having spent 75% time at Delhi. The second one would keep telling me to get married (she should be employed at the places of those ppl who uttered these responses earlier). When it came to work, she would shy off from most of it. “It’s dirty/It smells” she would say. Does she have this choice if she’s chosen to be a maid? She wasn’t even clear about her scope of work, forget objectives. But she was very clear that she wanted “baksheesh” on Holi etc. The third one is just fine. She isnt gossipy/doesn’t crib. She’s proactive and does things on her own. She doesn’t require close supervision. In fact now I have started taking the liberty of promptly going back to sleep after letting her in at 6:45 am till the time she has to leave. So far so good.

As I wrote, staying alone is no mean feat. It sure gets to you when you have to unlock a fortress every morning and lock yourself inside a fortress every night. One of the standing instructions from my parents is to keep mirchi powder or some chaaku at hand. Egad! They should know, I don’t take kindly to unwanted visitors. Anyone daring to step past my doorstep without my permission suffers the consequences. I already have blood on my hands after having killed some 450+ mosquitoes so far in a span of maybe a month. Some ppl actually changed their stand and now tell me “you are very brave to be staying alone”. Yeah well right, now if only I would get a plaque for it too. May be I can cover up some gutter with it.

An outing 7

Today I went to Tango, a restaurant in DLF. The ppl who accompanied me were Ish, Rohit, Mini, Bonda and Manoj – all from the PPG team. It was a small place with hardly any seating space on the ground floor. The cooking was done on the first floor, with a spiral staircase leading upto the cooking area. By now the waiters would have had enough of practice to avoid toppling dishes from that dizzying height :-). We all ordered our individual items and juices. The juices were surprisingly good and were freshly made instead of being tossed out of tins into stylish glasses. So the long wait was not minded much. The rest of the fare took quite some time to come though.
The first lucky recipient of his meal was Rohit. He had ordered a Chicken Sandwich and a Chicken Salad to go with it. Everyone dug into it except Mini who’s a vegetarian. After much wait, came the next item, Manoj’s Veg steak which had some kinda cutlet with garlic sauce on it. That was good too. The infinite amount of time being taken between orders could probably be accounted for, by the gas cylinder we saw, being “smuggled” up the spiralling staircase. One after another, all dishes came with the last one being Ish’s Macaroni florentine. Bonda didn’t like his Chicken Shashlik sizzler and found my Chicken Satellite sizzler better (dunno the funda behind the satellites though). In between Rohit tried all kind of antics (now that he was vela) with the water in the plastic glasses, managing to spill it all over himself, thankfully not in any strategic places :P. The food was good overall but the wait had been too much. Eventually it was time for payment of the 900+ bill. When we asked for corporate discount we were asked which company we are from and then told that there was no corporate discount policy in that restaurant. Wonder why the company’s name was asked for with such efficacy. We gave a credit card for payment and were told that the machine is out of order. Somehow managed to churn out 1000 bucks amongst ourselves and left.