Sunday, June 28, 2015

Camping out at Gwalior Fort

For one whose search within reflects outside in the exploration of the unknown, the challenges are but many, for the territory is never known, nor studied in books and internet before. Gwalior was one such for me. All I knew was I wanted to go there to visit.

Travelling out from Mathura on what we call a ‘chaloo ticket’, I sat in the reserved compartment for the two and a half hours to Gwalior from Mathura, on the Goa Express. Needless to say, the ticket collector was unhappy but let it pass with the fine. He was duly rewarded with a Cup Of Railway Coffee, which if you are not on the Indian Train, you would never have drunk it with so much joy.  Once in Gwalior, I hastened to book my reservation back to Delhi, but no sooner than I was near the counter, a sight attracted me so much, that instead of buying a ticket, I was off to the Sound & Light Show on top of the Gwalior Fort, an autorickshow having dropped me to the bottom of the massive stone on which is carved the impressive and beautiful Gwalior Fort. Stranded at the bottom of the Fort, on a dark night when the sky threatened to break into rain, I was saved at the nick of time by a young man on a motorbike, who very kindly took me as a pillion rider up the 2 kms rough ride up to the top, where the Sound & Light Show would take place. As I walked without a torch, in pitch darkness to the counter selling tickets, I wondered, how I was going to come down after the show, to the base camp, at the foot of the Fort.

“He provides,” the man at the counter said, “there is a Gurudwara here on top, where you might like to stay the night?”

Gwalior Fort and its surroundings are not lit in the night, perhaps for security reasons. After the 45 minutes Show, me and two others, who were the only viewers of this show, we found our way, using our mobile phones to light up the way to the Gurudwara at a walking distance from the main Fort area, where we were there.

“A room for the night for a single woman? Where am I going to manage that?” the perplexed sevak at the entry asked.

“I can sleep on a charpoy in the courtyard.” I suggested.

But he would not have it and offered to put me up in his room. All three of us ate at the langar and then my friends left on a motorbike, which they had come up too on.

I had put an alarm on my mobile for 4 am. I wanted to take some early morning shots of the fort, before dawn. But the Granth Sahib is chanted from 3 am and I woke up naturally at 4 am, to the sound of the recitation.

“Wahe Guru!” I muttered as the door flung open. It was the sevak. He walked into the room and I said, “Sardar ji, bus nikal hi rahi thi – I am leaving just now.”

Gently refusing his request to stay one more night, I went into the group shower for ladies and found many women already taking their bath under taps which were high on the wall. I joined them, naked in my birth suit. How empowering a homosocial feeling, this, when women are all naked without a shred of clothing on their bodies, having a bath together! Bliss!

Yet, it did cross my mind even as I bathed, are the women looking at my body or are they looking at the new face, among them? I turned to look at the one next to me, a beautiful earth colour body, with wet hair glistening in the morning water.

I was done soon and rushed out first to the Gurudwara and then to my photo session.

To See the Pictures CLICK HERE

About Gwalior Fort Click Here 

More information and personal guide: Dr Pramesh Dutt Sharma, Email;

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

India - Horny, O K, Please!

Worry Warts for India Travel
Despite the numerous bad mouthing you have heard on Social Media and by word-of-mouth, nay, fingers typing away, you have once again let all warnings to go unheard, as the devil-may-dare attitude took over your mind and at last you have gone and done the worst – booked to come to India!

This is like Hotel California – you can come in, but mind you, you might never leave!

I am not one of those pessimists who think India is a bad country for travelers to stop by. Indeed not! But I certainly wonder, what drives their groins and pushes them to come here, after hearing all about the Uber case, random rapes, causing India to be #4 in the list of rape countries in the world, Maggi stories that have been doing their rounds ever since the year began. I guess it is just a wild side of each one of us – what you most dread, you also want to experience.

So go ahead. Sample this. Most men will address your breast, instead of your face. If you think that is awesome, then beware. Men in India have a fixation for the breast. What! Did I hear you say, it is a worldwide phenomenon? I won’t agree or disagree but elsewhere you can report offensive behavior; here you only get few more eyes to stare at your breasts, if you go to report it at the police station.

So you may ask, as to why you can’t intervene and tell them to look directly in your eyes, when speaking to you. The fact is, they can’t! And please to remember, you too, don’t! Don’t stare at men in their eyes, because, for you it might mean you are coming from your truth, but for him, it might mean that you are inviting him to nocturnal delights, in broad daylight. Besides, if you are white, you definitely stand a high risk, because Indians are racist and they haven’t yet forgotten the British Raj! In fact, they are obsessed with white. Look at the number of men who use that fairness cream – Fair & Lovely!

However, now that you have decided to enter the forbidden country – remember your mother, grandmother, grandfather and grand uncle, had warned you against such perilous paths, be prepared with a few TIPs while you are here.

Touch, can mean many things, but most of all, here it is sexual. Hence, if you are about to fall into a great big hug, remember, you might be even thought to be making a pass. Therefore, do wear your English gloves and do a plain Namaste, or a gentle handshake, using only the tip of your fingers to shake the other’s hand.

Eating out on the street is an absolute No! No! They are hot and delicious but your intestines are not going to like it! So beware!

Buy whole fruits, put them in water for an hour at least. Then cut with a knife and eat little by little. Get your own nuts from your own country to fill you up, if you are suddenly hungry. Get lots of nuts – lots!

If you are using a Public Toilet, even in a Five Star hotel, don’t sit on the seat, just hang over it and be done with it! After all, all gymnastics don’t have to be done in the Gym only.

Wash your hands as many times as you can. Use sanitizer all the time. Which is why I say, wear your English gloves!

Drink only bottled water! Lots and lots of it! If nothing else, it will wash the tension off your worry warts.

Stay close to your friends when out on the street or in the night. Indians think the night is the only time they can do the ‘unmentionable’ because sex is such a taboo here.  Believe me, you need to watch this video here below.

 Picture of Worry Warts: Credit Here