Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Delhi And Shimla Trips

While Rubina couldn't get vacation and accompany us to India on our recent trip, I'm glad that Sheena could do so. Here I'm touching on the Delhi and Shimla legs of our trip with some pictures in the Dec. 28 - 31, '08 period. I seldom think of taking the camera along and using it, and most pics here are thanks to Sheena. A lot of my relatives and close friends are in Delhi, as are close friends and former IAS etc., colleagues in Shimla. Another city we generally visit in north India is Chandigarh, but there wasn't enough time on this trip.

In the late afternoon of Dec. 28th when we flew into Delhi from Pune, I called up my fast friends and IAS batchmates, Rajan Katoch and Jitesh Khosla. True to form they were game to meet over dinner despite the lack of prior notice. Jitesh hosted it in the Delhi 'O' Delhi restaurant of The Habitat Center. It was a fun meeting and great catching up.

The first three pictures in this link are of all of us (Jitesh and wife Rashi, Rajan and wife Kirti, Anita and I, and one includes Sheena who took the other two) after the meal. The remaining five feature Laboni the following morning, the first two with her dad Dharmi, then one by herself and the last two with Sheena. She's amazingly bright and does parents Dharmi and Bidisha proud.

Then Anita, Sheena and I drove up to Shimla. Indu and Yogesh Khanna (IAS '73, retd., now the regulator for the HP Electricity Board) had graciously insisted that we stay with them in Shimla and we spent two very comfortable and enjoyable days with them. On December 30th we visited our still unfinished house in Shimla. Then Anita and Sheena spent the afternoon with Anita's long time friend and former St. Bede's College faculty colleague Anuja Sharma in Theog, and then went shopping in Shimla. I visited friends and former colleagues in the HP Secretariat.

In the evening we headed to a dinner hosted by Yogesh and Indu and attended by old friends who were braving the Shimla winter. (Over half the people we know typically leave for the milder weather of Delhi or other plains.) Again much fun and laughter. In these pictures from our Shimla trip I missed many folks. Among them Anju and Daljit Minhas (our good friend from the IPS) had left our dinner gathering early before we started clicking.

We returned to Delhi late on New Year's eve and hurried to a party in the home of Anu and Ravi Sachdev. Ravi is a good college friend whom Anita and I hadn't met since 1984, and it was even longer since I'd met inveterate world traveler Rahul Sud, another college comrade who was also there. So it was a great reunion. Ravi's son and his daughter-in-law whisked Sheena off to a farm bash attended by about a 150 people and they enjoyed partying past 5 am. Quite remarkable considering that Sheena left for a visit to Sri Lanka that same day.

For Anita and I the remaining two days in Delhi flew by, and included a dinner at the Gymkhana Club with my parents and friends besides smaller gatherings before we returned to Pune on Jan. 4. On our last morning we finally visited the impressive Akshardham Temple in Delhi, currently the largest Hindu Temple in the world. I wish our stay in North India could've been longer but I'm thankful that we can regularly make it there.


Anonymous said...

Does Shimla still have a lot of monkeys jumping around? I remember going there as a kid and it was beautiful, though not as good as Darjeeling or Nainital.


Sandip Madan said...

Yes, Jadra, there are lots of monkeys, including on the roads from Kalka to Shimla.

The monkey menace was bad in my days as the Municipal Commissioner of Shimla. I had asked our animal experts and veterinarians if a catch and release program of sterilizing (now called spaying) female monkeys was a humane way of controlling their numbers. I was emphatically told at that time that this wasn't medically feasible because the monkeys would severely harm themselves by scratching at their surgical wound. But veterinary advances may have changed all that.

Shimla is a lot bigger than Darjeeling or Nainital - it's a large city in the mountains rather than a "hill station" with purer tourist appeal.

Anonymous said...

Come on Sandip, you're only putting on a monkey show. Have you closed down your "shoe factory" now that Bush is gone? When are you going to talk about the tax dodges of the Obama team?


Sandip Madan said...

You're right, Kenrod, I have been off political matters - time to get back to them. Btw, Daschle just withdrew his nomination. Looks like the wimpy Obama team can't hold a candle to the GWB era brashness. :-)