Time goes by so quickly, it feels like not so long ago when I was writing my new year post. And the first quarter of the 2015 is already over. It has been very mixed 3 months for me. The months have been more painful for the number of trips I ended up saying say no to. These trips either clashed with my teaching schedule or they clashed with each other. Two of these were international trips. I want less of this in the remaining nine months and more of travel!
But then my travel did take me to a few interesting places as well. The high point of the first quarter has been two mom and daughter trips! But without any further delay here is a roundup of the trips till March.
1. Sirpur, Chhattisgarh (January with Chhattisgarh Tourism Board)
The Sirpur trip was special for two reasons. First, I met Sanotsh Misra, the MD Chhatisgarh Tourism Board. It was such a pleasant surprise as we both studied at IIT Kanpur. Even then he was a big shot, more so when he secured 2nd rank in IAS! But he is still so easy to talk to.
You might have noticed that I do not write about music (or culture in general) much on this blog. People who know me will not call me a very cultured person! And yet I so enjoyed the Sirpur Dance and Music Festival. It was a privilege to watch Birju Maharaj perform at the event. There is something very addictive about live music, even to someone like me, who does not appreciate finer nuances of music.
Sirpur was the first trip of the year 2015 and it started with a 2 hour flight delay. I hope this is not going to be indicative of the whole year to come.
2. Kareri Village, Himachal Pradesh (January, Personal Trip)
I had one week of planned holidays in January. I tried booking a vacation to Kenya and Bali. For Kenya I had too little time for yellow fever vaccination and by the time I came to booking Bali the travel agent said the trip on my dates were not available.
So, I decided to trek in January! The trek did not happen because the route was snowed out but I had a cozy stay at Kamlesh’s homestay at Kareri Village. It was really cold, I witnessed a mild snowfall as well. I did day hikes to compensate for the lost trek. It was a peaceful vacation.
3. Surajkund Crafts Mela (February, Personal Visit)
I should strictly not consider Surajkund as a trip as it is in Haryana itself but it was one heck of an experience. In spite of living in the proximity of Surajkund for 14 years now this was my first attempt to check out the mela. Chhattisgarh was the theme state for this year. A I had come back from the state recently it acted as an extra incentive to check out the event.
The crowd was massive and I chickened out after an hour or so. But it is incredibly colorful event. The venue brims with energy. But as I am not much of a crowd person, I ran away quickly. Will I go again? I do not know, I may, I may not.
4. Fagu, Himachal Pradesh (February, Personal Trip)
All my trips with Chhavi are so much fun. Fagu was the first one, where we discovered snow together. Chhavi had seen snow before this, so have I but finding it together was so much fun! This trip of ours got featured on Baggout as well! We had snow fights, we went for walks, we ate Maggi together and we had a blast!
5. Discover Thainess 2015 at Palladuim Hotel, Mumbai (February, with TAT New Delhi)
Thailand is one of my absolute favorite countries. So, even though I was not traveling to Thailand, I was attending the colorful Discover Thainess 2015 event at a beautiful hotel, Palladium Mumbai. The Thai Tourism Minister was there to inaugurate the event. It was fun to experience thainess in middle of Mumbai. The event was a visual delight.
6. MHE Beach Camp and Bull’s Retreat, Shivpuri, Uttarakhand (March, with MHE Adventure)
MHE Adventure was really kind to host both Chhavi and I at their beach camp by the Ganges in Shivpuri and at the Bull’s Retreat also in Shivpuri. I had a relaxing 5 nights stay with them. We could not do rafting as Chhavi is below the age limit but we had a lot of fun trying our hands at kayaking in shallow waters. Wait till I write my account of Bull’s Retreat, it is difficult to say who had a better time, Chhavi or me!
When I look at my travels till March after writing this post, I feel I should actually count my blessings. Traveling with Chhavi has been the highlight of the year so far.
But then even though I hardly ever crib about missed trips, I am going to do so this time. It is no fun to miss out on two international trips.