Monday, 27 August 2012

Delhi in a Day

Planning to travel in India? This movie is something you should look for as preparation for your trip. Recently released in India, Delhi in a Day tells the story of Jasper (Lee Williams) visiting the Bhatia family who live in a farmhouse in Delhi with their entourage of servants. He only has one day to see Delhi but when he returns from a morning drive, he finds all his life’s savings stolen.
Brought to the attention of his host, their needle of suspicion falls on their servants who are grilled till the blame is put on one who has until morning to return the money. As Jasper observes the dynamics of the family and their relationship with those who serve them, a day is enough for him to see the essence of not just Delhi, but India.

Delhi In A Day is a curious mix of a Whodunit and a character study of people who make the country what it is — the business-savvy upper class that's quick to let the poor take the blame, the low income working class who may crib about their masters but are loyal and hardworking, the rich kids who are increasingly getting alienated from the family unit, the older generation that finds it hard to connect to the idea of socialising, the spirited migrant workers who live an adventure everyday fighting the language barrier, etc.
It's a fascinating expose of the economic divide, one that resists the temptation to go all out dark and keeps the proceedings mostly light-hearted, despite the stakes. 

 source reviews: The Hindu

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Arrival Indian Style

Indians who have to be the worst air travelers In The World. Their reputation precedes, if you are flying in from SE Asis you will find that the Asians find Indians very difficult to deal with and have their own way of dealing with them.
First they won’t let you wait in the departure lounge, preferring instead for us to clog up the hallway with the usual five grannies in a wheel chair, the screaming brats and the utter confusion that always accompanies Indians on the move. Invariably Indians travel en masse with a minimum of three generations. We carry too much luggage and tend to treat the airline staff like servants and the plane like an Indian railway carriage.
 We rush and push and queue jump to get on the plane as if we hadn’t already been assigned seats and as if we didn’t know that there was absolutely no advantage to that. Once on board there is the inevitable seat issue and we will merrily rearrange the whole seating plan of the plane until told otherwise by the airline staff.

Departure is delayed so that the stash of overweight cabin luggage they had confiscated is loaded into the hold. One woman blames the cabin crew for her crying baby, everything baby needed was in the confiscated bag she announces to one and all. Seems we are all going to pay the price of her unhappy baby as she is content to let it scream like a beggar brat at a car window just to make her point. 
During the flight the passengers press the button with outrageous abandon demanding first class service for their economy seats.
The best part of the whole flight is when the plane touches down and its not the view from the window that makes you know you are in India but the sound of five hundred seat belts clicking open simultaneously 
and the sight of some cheeky buggars leaping up to start unloading the overhead lockers before the plane has even braked accompanied by an orchestra of cell phone start ups. Everyone is lined up ready to get off the plane before the sky bridge is even attached. The air stewards are nowhere to be seen during this process, having been exhausted by the previous demands of all and sundry they are hiding out the back somewhere and leave it to the first class staff to offer us a polished smile of thanks as we depart stumbling, tripping and pushing each other out of our way.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Delhi to Agra Expressway Open!

Here at Real-India by Kalka Travels, we love our drivers. We take a lot of care in choosing our drivers and look after them, a happy employee is the face of every company. Anything that can make their life easier on the road is a cause for celebration!
The recently opened Yamuna Expressway from Delhi to Agra opened a week ago and will cut travel time between the cities by a record two and a half hours! Which gives you more time to explore the city of the Taj Mahal! A win win situation for sightseeing in India!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Coffee Love in India

The first thing a LOT of visitors to India as is "Where can I get a decent coffee?" Coffee and and cafe culture is booming in India but when you are on vacation in India, its sometimes difficult to know where to go to get your fix, right?
Cafe Coffee Day in India has made it lots easier for you with their store locator at the push of a button.
All you need to do is SMS "CCD near <AREA> to 90889088 and they will get back to you faster than an espresso machine! CCD as it is called by locals just about has the country covered with outlets everywhere,
we love it!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Celebrating Krishna

Today in India we are celebrating the birth of Krishna who is an avatar of the Creator God, Vishnu. The extraordinary story of the life of Krishna is like a many petaled lotus, this is the story of his divine birth. 
Old King Ugrasena of Mathura had two children, Prince Kamsa and Princess Devaki. While King Ugrasena was a good king, Prince Kamsa was a ruthless tyrant. Now Princess Devaki was to wed a nobleman named Vasudeva. 
Kamsa out of the love he bore for his sister decided to be the bride and groom's charioteer for the day. While Kamsa drove the chariot bearing Devaki and Vasudeva out of the wedding hall a voice from the heavens boomed informing Kamsa that Devaki's eight child would be his slayer.

Kamsa being the superstitious type would take no chances. He wanted to strike down Devaki that very moment. Vasudeva intervened, he begged Kamsa not to slay Devaki and show her some mercy. He further promised Kamsa that he would hand over any child born to them, if he would let Devaki live. Now Kamsa not wanting to have the blood of his sister on his hands agreed and instead placed them under house arrest.
Every time a child was born,the guards would inform Kamsa and he would take the child and kill it. Six of Devaki and Vasudev's children met their death this way. It so happened that the seventh child was born at night, and Devaki and Vasudeva seeing the opportunity decided to try to save the child.
The guards were asleep, so Vasudeva easily slid out of the palace undetected. He went to neighboring Gokul and left the child with his second wife Rohini and quickly returned to the palace (this child was named Balrama). In the morning he sent word to Kamsa that the child was still born.
Kamsa was pleased, he knew the next child was prophesized to be his slayer. Not wanting to take chances with the birth of the eight child, Kamsa had Vasudeva and Devaki thrown into the dungeon chained.
The eight child was born on the eight night of the month of Shravan. It was raining heavily and the skies thundered as if the Gods were trying to pay homage to the new born child. Then the miracle happened, Vasudevas chains fell off and the prison door opened by itself. Vasudeva found the guards to be asleep, so he decided that he would escape with the child and leave him at his friend Nanda's place in Gokul.
Picking up the child, Vasudeva placed him in a basket. He then carried the basket on his head and made his way to Gokul. Now Gokul was on the opposite bank of the river Yamuna. Because of the thundering and the rain, the river Yamuna was in a state of turmoil. Vasudeva, wondering how he would cross the river prayed for a miracle. Then it happened!. The waters of the Yamuna parted and made way for him. Vasudeva then crossed the Yamuna and reached Gokul.
On reaching Nanda's house in Gokul, Vasudeva realised that Nanda's wife Yashoda had given birth to a baby girl. While Nanda and Yashoda were asleep, he placed his child in the cradle and took Nanda's daughter instead. He presumed that since it was a baby girl, Kamsa would not kill her. He then made the journey back to Mathura and he took the baby girl with him. As soon as Vasudeva reached the dungeon, the dungeon doors closed behind him and the baby girl started to cry. Awakened by the cries, the guards rushed to tell Kamsa of the birth of the eight child.
Hearing the news, Kamsa rushed to the dungeon and picked up the child and was about to dash it to the ground. Vasudeva begged Kamsa not to kill the child as it was only a girl and that a girl could do him no harm. The wicked Kamsa paid no heed and dashed the baby to the floor.
As the baby was about to hit the floor, it suddenly flew up and told Kamsa that the one who was born to kill him still lives and is in Gokul.  Then she disappeared.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

He ain't heavy, he's my brother. Celebrating Brothers and Sisters in India

The festival season is upon us in India. One of our sweetest festivals is the Raksha Bandhan Festival celebrated this year on the 2nd of August on the moon of Rakhi Purnima.
Raksha Bandhan means the bond of protection  and Rakhi is all about celebrating the bond between brother and sister. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on's wrist. This symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her.

The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread, which comes in many colors and designs, by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her as she presents sweets to him. The brother usually presents his sister with an envelope filled with money however, other presents such as saris and clothing can be given. The brother and sister traditionally feed one another sweets. These sweets include anything from Jalebi, Kaju Katli, and Burfi. Since north Indiankinship practices give cousins a status similar to siblings, girls and women often tie the rakhi to their male cousins as well (referred to as "cousin-brothers" in regional parlance) in several communities.
Unrelated boys and men who are considered to be brothers (munh-bola bhai or adopted brothers) can be tied rakhis, provided they commit to a lifelong obligation to provide protection to the woman or girl.