Get Started!

February 4, 2012

The main part of any journey is to start. Sometimes we hesitate, sometimes we make excuses, but we must not give in to these thoughts. When we accept the challenge to try, the journey begins. When we agree to take the first steps, success is there waiting for us. Faith in ourselves brings optimism to what we do. Optimism and faith open the Horizon of Possibility, and I begin to see what good could be there on the spiritual path, which as yet, I cannot see, or even imagine.

It is said, ‘Nothing ventured (attempted), nothing gained.’ So why not venture? Why not gain?

E-Z pass only

January 27, 2012




How to tell where a driver is from?

November 21, 2011

One hand on wheel, one hand out of window : Chicago

One hand on wheel, one hand on horn : New York

One hand on wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator : Boston

Booth hands on wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering in terror  : Ohio, but driving in California

Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned to talk to someone in back seat : Italy

One hand on horn, one hand on greeting, one ear on dell phone, one ear listening to loud music, foot on accelerator, eyes on female pedestrians, in conversation with someone in the next car : Welcome to India

:) :)

If you visit a good Dhaba on Highway

November 12, 2011

Visualize this : You are cruising along in your car along the wide lanes of a highway, feeling slightly weary from the strain of travel. Suddenly a tantalizingly familiar smell hits your nose as you pass by. You hit the brakes and enter a ramshackle place with plastic chairs arranged around a few half broken tables, with a boy or two running around to do your bidding. Welcome to this place and  this is none other than the Dhaba.

The ‘Dhaba culture’ has enchanted everyone at some point or another. Be it the peace of resting your head on the ‘khatiya’ or the enthusiastic gulping down of ‘chaach’ and of course, beer and chicken and tandoori roti.  Vegetarian do not miss out on the pleasure of a Dhaba either; the paneer and dals fascinate everybody.

The Dhaba tradition began with the intention of helping out truck drivers rest, eat meals and refill their trucks. They served Punjabi food on wooden cots and catered to truck drivers constantly plying outside city limits. Soon this popular habit turned into a tourist attraction. Now, we have students taking road trips to go and eat at that one Dhaba that serves hot parathas on that chilly highway! The food still remains as tasty as ever and yet continues to be inexpensive. Enthralling isn’t it?

Dhabas price their food much cheaper than any other restaurants on the highways. Businesses of the dhabas spike up on weekends and those are the busy days. Business and work is low on all other days. Dhabas are now noticing recurring customers. Such a culture never existed before. Students and families have now become loyal customers and Dhaba owners pride over such visitors.

One of the show Highway on my plate depicts the food culture on highways



ITS Guys Take On Khardung La Pass !

November 1, 2011

Us folks in the Transportation Industry, particularly in ITS and Toll Roads are often overlooked in the Adventure Department of life. I know what you’re thinking as you read this. You’re thinking, “hey wait a minute, I’m in the transpo biz and I’ve done adventurous things.”

But let’s be honest here. We are professionals and business people, educated and desk-oriented. That’s what we do. Maybe we played hockey or cricket once upon a time. And maybe we rank above swashbuckling accountants on the excitement scale, but most of the time we talk about roads, toll lanes, congestion mitigation, and all the gadgets that make our systems work. A site visit to a road project doesn’t exactly make a riveting story.

Ah, but once in a while we have an opportunity to do something “outside the box”. Something adventurous…a little dangerous, even. And when opportunity knocks, sometimes wonderful things happen when we answer the door.

Senior management from Ledstar Inc., Neolite ZKW Lightings Pvt. Ltd. and Metro Infrasys Pvt. Ltd. answered, and walked through that door last month, when they took a trip to northern India. Casting aside the comforts of home, hotels, personal drivers and central a/c and heating, they ventured to Leh, where they slept in yurts, toured ancient monasteries, and climbed and hiked along peaks ranging from 4,000 to 4,800 meters.

But the highlight of the trip was an excursion from Leh to Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world.
The group rented motorcycles in town, gassed up and were ready to go! But wait; one of the group was having trouble with a new pair of gloves bought from a nearby shop. What was going on? Struggle, pull, struggle, tug… no luck. No fear, however: With the amount of collective engineering, business, and financial brainpower in the group they were certain to get to the bottom of the problem. Eureka! The shop owner has sold two left-hand gloves! After tracking down the shop, exchanging the offending glove, and a bit of zany antics to keep the convoy of motorcycles together through town (and trying not to get lost), the intrepid gang of five made it out of town and upward along the Leh-Khardung road.

The initial going was easy and pleasant, with beautiful panoramic views of the valley below and smooth dry pavement under the wheels. The road got a bit more rough nearing the South Pollu, where the group stopped at the checkpoint. Permits were checked and identifications were verified by friendly military personnel, cups of hot chai were enjoyed, and then it was back in the saddle once more.

A few hundred meters past the checkpoint, the pavement ended and the potholes began, and the going got a lot bumpier and slower. Constant vigilance was essential, because as you are bouncing over the rough road, you have to make sure your motorcycle doesn’t stray too close to the edge of the road. There are no high curbs, fences or guiderails so a wrong move can send you down, down, down. At the same time, you have to be very careful going around the hair-pin turns –as one of the group found out! He shall remain nameless here, but while rounding a corner he met an oncoming vehicle, skidded, and dumped the motorcycle just in time. Fortunately, he, his motorcycle, and the oncoming Scorpio stayed on the road and (also important) didn’t hit each other. The only injuries sustained were a slightly bruised ego and a sprained self-confidence.

The temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and the air got thinner. The brave gang of fellows pressed on, and a couple of hours later, like an apparition coming into focus, there was the top of the pass! The road leveled out and the group parked along the ridge of Khardung La. At that elevation (18,380 feet, or 5,600m), there is only about half the oxygen in the air compared to sea level. So walking up the slight incline and climbing on the wall to have pictures taken next to the official Khardung La sign felt like a strenuous hike! High fives all around, then into the warmth of the restaurant (well, a little café, really). Steaming hot ramen noodles and chai never tasted so good!

More pictures, high-fives, and a few long moments of quiet appreciation of the breath-taking majesty of the mountains, and it was time to head back down.

A side note here for the curious: When one is at the top of Khardung La and is compelled to answer nature’s call, there is a long line of portable toilets lashed together behind a small military building and secured with aircraft cable. If you are sensitive to heights, do not to look down when inside the porta-potty: they actually jut out over a cliff and it’s a long, long way down…

Back down our brave five went, motorcycles not needing much throttle for this half of the trip, avoiding a few convoys of trucks and the occasional freshly fallen rock in the road. By the time they reached the paved portion of the roadway, a certain member of the group could no longer contain his enthusiasm and began racing downhill, the goal of which was to reach 100km/hr. Disappointingly, the straight-aways were too short and the bike was too underpowered, and a maximum speed of 98km/hr was recorded for posterity. Then, having left his fellow travellers behind, he turned around and raced back up at top speed, hurtling around corners at such a low angle that foot pegs were scuffed a few times. Not being satisfied with the near-one-hundred mark, the same cycle was repeated again and again, until the outskirts of Leh beckoned and sanity had to be restored.

Who said transportation guys were boring?


Author’s Note: I wish to thank Sachin Bhatia of Metro Infrasys for organizing this fantastic trip. He’s a supreme gentleman with a ready laugh and spirit of adventure. Thanks, Sachin, for memories to last a lifetime.

Source: Mr. Greg Bartlett (Guest Editor)

Improved Car Seat Belt 40% Less Accidents

August 18, 2010

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