travel India with one common ticket

Some months from now, you will be able to travel on a variety of modes of public transport – buses, local trains, the Metro – in select cities, using just one smart card.

The common mobility card, called the ‘One India Card’, that the urban development ministry is currently working on, will be introduced in Delhi, shortly before the Commonwealth Games start in October.  After the trial run in Delhi, it will then be introduced to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chandigarh.

With a single card – and without buying any ticket – a commuter will be able to access trains and buses in all these cities once transport operators computerise their fleet to make them compatible for use with smart cards.

It will be a multipurpose card, valid for all operators – government as well as private – and on all modes of local travel. It can be extended to taxis too at a later stage. In time, it will be possible to buy inter-city travel tickets and utility items as well using the card.

No long lines, early bookings, paying extra to ticket checkers on the train or travelling anxiety perhaps.

What are these mobility cards? Where did the conecpt come from and why?

The overall objective of the project is to reduce individual car use in cities and tourist destinations which will lead to a reduction in energy consumption and traffic load. The aim is to improve the attractiveness of public transport and sustainable transport modes


Easy access to all kinds of sustainable transport with only one type of customer card

The concept comes from Europe. If you wish to know more you could go to the mobility card dot net site I linked above. In India, it is just on paper right now, expected to hit the market in Kolkata city in another two years or so? Perhaps.

How did this come about?

On October 19, 2009 Ministry of Urban Development Governement of India Metro Rail cell sent this circular to all chief secretaries. In it was said that “one of the bottlenecks in promotinguse of public transport is lack of seamless connectivity”. Since, the letter said, telescoping and combining fares is more difficult, integrating the ticket is what was suggested as feasible.

Preening, Courting Peacock Family

The Prince Dances – First View August 09

The first morning at my new place am gifte with this gorgeous sight. First time ever in my life I spot a peacock outside a zoo znd watch it dance! Very happy, very excited, wonderfilled with nature’s welcome to me…ran inside to grab the camera…my first video shoot too with a Nikon 5.0 megapixel digital, the distance is too great I think. Don’t have the software to render – so just wanted to share the rush with the world for those like me – that have never seen a peacock dance. Hope you like it.

One curious thing is Prince calls me when he comes in on that roof. Then when I come out he begins. The first day there was no pea hen in sight – so I presume he danced for ME! Now, when he calls to wake me up, I go out say “Hi” and feed him a banana or bread.He prefers the fruit. Other members in the family are not that friendly. They fly about – I didnt know peacocks couldfly that much!

A moment alone together before the family flies in

Prince Preening

Gottacha: a moment alone together before the family flies in

Foursome – Peacock Style September 09

Here is the whole family. They come together for their family time only once,  early morning, on the roof of the pumphouse across from my building. My room is on the terrace, so I get a good view 🙂

Notnowbaby – Peacock Dance September 09

He has been trying for over four weeks with her now. Perseverence, my boy, Prince needs to keep at it I guess, he really likes her a lot, won’t even look at any other – there are three females in our compound.

Prince’s love: this is the one he fancies

Prince loves her

wish – 2live

Someday soon, I want to be able to walk right up to some man I admire and say to him, “Shudhi, bless me with a child!”

I should be free to marry when I will. At age fifty-two, if that is when I find a man I wish to serve and share and spend my whole life with. Didn’t mention love here because that is obvious. You dont want to serve people you do not love, do you? Well I don’t.

I should be free to marry who I will.

I should be free to use my womb as I will and should not be forced into an arranged marriage with a gay man just because they think he has to be hidden under ‘cover’ of a ‘normal’ marriage, and then together with him, suffer the ignominy of either being unloved or be a ‘divorcee’ for no fault of ours.

Someday soon I should be able to enjoy all the individual rights my predecessors had thousands of years ago, as I am as competent, as intelligent, as sensitive and in every way as capable as any of them. And also because I live in times that we are made to believe have ‘progressed’…

If Kunti could have had IVF babies from four different able men she had chosen herself, if Madri could have had two, living in the twenty first century, I should be able to have atleast one from the man I want it from?

I harbour such dreams because I am true to the culture and ethos of my country, I have the courage and conviction to nurture such a wish especially since I am an Indian? But I rue the fact that my dreams would continue to be dreams for another – well, how many fifty years still, till we are really freed?

If you care to know more, please refer to the great Indian novel, The Mahabharata, our myths and legends and you would see what I mean. (to post links later)

Sarahan Visited

s.jpg The first time I saw it this way on the net.

bhimkali-temple.jpg This is the way it was before the King, who is also the CM of the State of Himachal Pradesh had the jungle cleared to restore the view of the temple and planted an apple orchard in the courtyard

My first view of the temple from the HTDC Srikhand Hotel

This is what I call the definitive view of the famous Sarahan Temple :the centuries old Bhimakali Temple built in the Indo – Tibetan style, for goddess Durga.

The main temple showing one of the twin towers that tilted during the devastating earthquake of 1905.

The inherent elasticity of the interlocked wooden beams encasing Ashlars worked stone structure prevented major damage and a later earthquake straightened the plumb to an extent.

The temple complex is almost an acre, includes buildings, courtyards and this is the royal palace.

This is the main entrance.

In Hindu myths Sarahan is known as Shonitpur and there are beautiful legends about this little hamlet dating back from the vedic era, nestled in the foot of the Srikhand Peak (the peculiarity of this Himalayan peak is, it is the only one, whose tip remains uncovered with snow).

One tale is about a war between Lord Krishna and Banasura, one of Prahlad’s hundred sons, on account of Banasura’s daughter, Usha’s love for Krishna’s son Aniruddha. Krishna defeated him but later returned Bushair as dowry for Usha. Sarahan is in Bushahr of Rampur district of Himachal Pradesh.

Another tale is of how a bengali devotee called Bhimagiri, set out from Bengal with a staff, on pilgrimmage, at Sarahan his staff sank deep into the soil. When he looked he found buried there was Bhimakali’s image. She appeared to him in a dream and said this was her home and this is where she would live. So the temple came into being.

sarahan Lovely Kinnauri girls who had befriended me. Legend has it that Kinnaur-Kinnauris epitomising beauty adorned Indra’s court in heaven!

Sarahan is the base for some of Himachal’s finest treks to Badahal, Sangla and Shrikhand Peak. The treks are however open only between April and June and September-October.

f1000015.jpg From the circuit house compound which was under construction when I visited in April 2006, you get this view of the HTDC run Srikhand hotel (with green roofs), built like the temple itself. You get typical Himachali warm reception here, and all the other 3star(?!) comforts such places provide at 7150 feet (“well used and basic” as one traveller* remarked), the most important and useful of which, for a lonely trekker, is perhaps security, hot water, made to order dinner and electricity in the room.


The road leading up from the circuit house and  lined with these straight tall beautiful himalayan juniper

leads to the Apiary housing the world’s most colourful bird – the western Tragopan, which seemed even more beautiful than a peacock to me.

The Nathpa-Jhakri Dam here feeds hydel power to the entire northern grid and it’s amzing to listen to the stories from the resident engineer about how electric lines were laid in the mountains. The CPWD quarters look nice too from the bus/car while entering the village. I couldn’t stick the picture here as I lost it. Sorry 🙂

Sarahan is 177 km and six hours drive from Shimla on the NH22 upto Jeori thereafter bifurcating to Sarahan with the other road leading to Rekong Peo. From infront of the HTDC office near Mandi House in New Delhi, a Volvo service leaves at 7 p.m. daily and reaches Shimla via Chandigarh at 4 a.m. The bus to Jeori starts at 5 a.m. reaches Sarahan at 11 a.m.

* (blog name Twin Tower, dtd 2007) (for ‘hiccup’ experiences – 2give u an idea of what to watch out for) (for ITBP passes from Sarahan for further forays towards the I/Tibet border)

Pictures were taken by the author except the Juniper Trees and the old view that are netscavenged material.

east and west

new_first_flush_tea_leaves.jpg In my country there is a very-very definite N-E-W-S cultural dis-tinc-tion.

I had read about this in geography books in school. They tell you on TV, in ad copies. Now I am certain. I mean now I know.

Take Tea for instance.   2leaves-n-abud.jpg

It’s amazing what happens to a simple cup of tea as you change directions within the same country.

Here’s how they make it in the East, where it is grown: A Bengali would let the water boil very well before adding the tea-leaves. Thereafter the leaves would be allowed to soak until the flavour is released. It would be either on simmer or if the leaf is fine, the stove would be turned off. The pot would be covered to protect and hold the flavour. Only a dash of preheated milk would be added to neutralise the slight natural pungence of the tea. Sugar would be added in the pot while boiling the water or while the brew is soaking in the lidded pot. In formal occasions sugar is served seperately but that is only a formality. The  stirring with the sugar cools the tea. So it is avoided. So, you have a nice aromatic cup of Darjeeling tea in your hands. Nestle the silky smooth bone china in the cup of your hands if you like and enjoy your tea with your eyes, your tongue, your nose and your mindgolden-brew.jpg

Come over to the West now, how tea is brewed here: Boil the milk mixed with water (more milk, only a dash of water is preferred) and sugar. Add the leaves. Add cardamom, elaichi, bay-leaves, ginger and whatever other spices that you can lay your hands on. Let all of it simmer together on the burner without cover until it’s heavy and thick. Strain and serve hot. In a steel glass or a cup, any cup, could be a thick rimmed coffee mug. Now you have a thick, heavily spiced, creamy concoction that tastes more like sweet broth meant for the old and the convalescent than tea as we know it in the east.


Culture meter reading: in the west they are hard working and less finicky and more happy-go-lucky with life. Everything has to make sense, even a cup of tea should taste like something more substantial than just tea (leaves). Nobody would waste a quarter of an hour just soaking tea.


In the east, life is easy, with the fertile gangetic plains, abundance of rainfall and plenty of river water. The general idea here is everybody would live for a hundred years atleast. So there is no hurry. The practise is to take their own time over everything, be it making a cup of tea or working through a file or composing poetry.