Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Trip to Delhi, Kanpur & Lucknow: First Glimpses of Hindi Heartland

Having already been twice at Delhi, I had thought I had nothing much to explore or do. But, it indeed had few best things in store to throw at me.
Crisis- when written in Chinese is a two letter word, where first letter denotes ‘Danger’ and the second, an ‘opportunity’
I concluded my talk and walked away leaving audience ponder over deeper philosophical meanings! This was at a recent IEEE conference held at Amity University, Noida where I presented a research paper that I had co-authored. Conference was titled as “INBUSH ERA- 2015: International Conference on Futuristic Trends in Computational Analysis and Knowledge Management”- basic reason for my trip- thanks to SAP for encouraging research work. Presenting in front of Professors, Academicians and PhD students is indeed a challenge, since you need to convince them and any attempt to confuse will cost dearly. This being my third research work, good amount of mistakes already done in past, I worked really hard on my 15min presentation, thanks to my fellowship days, I have learnt a trick or two to get audience engaged! And thankfully, it worked!!
Mughal Garden at President House

Tasting Kulle Chaat or Fruit chaat: I got out of Chawri Bazaar metro station of Delhi, entered a road that had more cycle rickshaws & row-shops leaving hardly any space to walk! It wasn't tough to identify tiny Heera Lal chaat shop famous for it’s Kulle Chaat- innovatively sliced fruits like banana, papaya, watermelon, orange and others, with Indian spices added to it! Hats would go off for the Creativity and no ambience- the real street food!

Jama Masjid is built around 1650 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the best-known mosque in India. I ended up here at around 6pm and what a time to be there! We bought tickets to climb up the narrow pillar and bumped into a Bangladeshi bureaucrat who taught me a lesson or two on our own culture! It did inspire me to learn Bhagavata! Coming back, views of Red Fort & Delhi were just marvelous and every penny worth. Do visit this Masjid for it’s serenity, birds and sacred feelings it invokes!
Jama Masjid

Hauz Khas Village and Deer Park looked like lover’s paradise. Basking on it’s 13th century history, you'll encounter quite a few structures which will tell the tales of past. Walk is quite healthy with best of air and best of cool breeze from lake. Apart from some lake birds, ducks keep sailing in the waters which looked polluted. Park is pretty big and I managed to get out at a random gate, one of many! Hauz Khas village houses many eateries, I had initially planned to try one of them, but getting out at a random gate ended me up at a restaurant in Green Park market area! No complaints!

Mughal Garden at President House or Rashtrapati Bhavan was serene! It is open for public just after Republic Day (Jan 26) for a month. I was thankful for the privilege I got. Taking a walk in this beautiful garden was a dream come true! President's house was FEW yards away. Majestic tri-color kept flaunting! What a feeling! Apart from patriotic feeling that you get, nearly 10,000 Tulips in vivid colors was be the main attraction spread across Spiritual Garden, Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden and Bio-diversity Park. Names of flowers are as well very amusing- few like- Black Lady, Double Delight, Eiffel Tower, Granada, Mr. Lincoln, Sadabahar and Taj Mahal!
Kulle Chaat at Heera Lal chaat 

Jhumroo at Kingdom Of Dreams was my second show at the venue. Now I undoubtedly say that KOD is the bestest of best! Jhumroo was a tribute to Kishore Kumar and seeing him live on stage gave Goosebumps. This show was technically very rich and I have no words for the stage settings & music!

Rahagiri Day, is a unique celebration that is catching up. I got a chance to experience it first hand at Connaught Place in Delhi. Rahagiri Day mostly happens on Sunday mornings where citizens get together to celebrate the fun and freedom to walk, sing, dance, exercise and play on the street! Though the rain screwed up with set up there, enthusiasm of participants & over lookers was infectious! Big salute to people who organize this and who participate on Sunday mornings!

I stayed at Kanpur for 2 days since was there to attend a wedding {held at Hotel Landmark with amazing ambience} of my friend’s{Arpit} brother. It was great to get royally treated and enjoyed super-duper hospitality! Had great time exploring Kanpur and experiencing British leftover culture like Indianised version of British names! Meanwhile, Arpit made sure that I had tea in an earthen pot cup at famous Banarasi Tea Stall and ate some street food like Matka Bread Maakan {a glass of butter milk tasted best with wooden pan fired bread-butter- I was bowled over!} and Chole Bhature.
Hazratganj at Lucknow

My trip to Lucknow was limited to 18th century creation, Hazratganj. I took a quick stroll and grabbed my hands on unique Basket Chaat, Aloo Tikki Chaat at Royal Cafe. Though I caught glimpses of the Legislative assembly and Ambedkar Park, wasn't lucky enough to explore more, thanks to canceled train and quick trip back to Delhi on Uttar Pradesh state govt. run bus that played Bollywood music throughout the night. Lucknow, will come back soon to see you with more luck!

I sincerely thank Arpit, his family, Pranshu, GS team at SAP Labs and Archi for making this trip happen and memorable!