Happiness is in the Himalayas-2

Happiness in Himalayas is the sight of sky turning red on your right.

Happiness in Himalayas seeing the whole range of Gangotri and Bandarpoonch mountains in front of you, all of them slowly waking up from their slumber, and sunlight bursting through them like sharp needles.

Happiness is in the Himalayas -1

Happiness is in the Himalayas -1

O Dear Himalayas, why are you so amazing?

Can I kiss your peak or can i just let your silence speak?

You are so wild and so stark and so very beautiful that I wanted to cry.

What I got from this adventure is sheer joy, And joy is after all the end of life…

Homage to an outstanding photojournalist…

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.

(from For the fallen by Laurence Binnyon)

Death of pulizter award winner Indian photojournalist Danish Sidiqui while covering clashes between Afghan Security and Taliban is a stern reminder of the great risks “BRAVE” journalists take to report from the frontline of conflict. Danish a brave photojournalist who showed the world, the marginalized and the oppressed through his lens always said he  shoot for the common man who wants to see and feel a story from a place where they can’t be present himself. His pictures spoke a thousand words. The courage in journalism is sticking up for the unpopular, not the popular and it was this courage that raised the blood of life in his pictures.

From the warfront (Photo from world wide web)

The photos he captured provided an adversarial check on those who wield the greatest power, by shining a light on what they do in the dark, and informing the public about those acts. Information and Broadcast minister Anurag Thakur said that Danish left behind an extraordinary body of work. Deepti Asthana, an internationally acclaimed India-based independent documentary photographer says “Danish would always inspire photographers to come; not by his iconic images, but how he felt about injustice and how he chose to express it. Certainly the best way possible, with bravery empathy and truthfulness.”

A security personnel paying homage to Danish (Original photo fro www)

Fake news is cheap to produce. Genuine journalism is expensive and is meant for the brave, so expensive that it might cost your life. Yes, Danish was a brave journalist, who didn’t belong to the genre of journalists who screamed and howled from their air-conditioned studios in Noida, Bombay and other Indian cities, but one who spoke, and spoke immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror were still in the air. He might not have left a legacy behind, but will surely be remembered for the way he did his work, with wakefulness and truthfulness.

Danish resting during his assignement in Afghanistan (Source: A tweet by Danish)

Corbett never disappoints…

Though Jim Corbett Tiger reserve is famous for its tiger population, Dhikala zone in corbett reserve with mesmerising stretches of grasslands, garlanded by a lake that extends till the horizon, is the most striking place for hard core wildlife lovers and the grasslands are one of the best locations for elephant photography.


The Dhikala ecotourism zone has the most picturesque landscape in the Corbett National Park. Dhikala zone is the largest among the five zones of the Corbett tiger reserve with having the most beautiful landscape which consists of dense Sal forest, large grassland, narrow valley and various channels of the Ramganga river

With the mercury soaring in summer month’s elephant’s herds start marching to the lake adjacent to the grasslands and the river Ramganga which is considered as the lifeline of Corbett tiger reserve.


Today its our second day at Corbett. Since the attempt to sight a tiger in the morning safari was in vain, in spite of hours spent waiting, we decided to move towards the grasslands for the evening safari. Hemu our guide and driver and one of the most sought after tiger tracking expert in the park, comfortably maneuvered the Gypsy through the bumpy mud tracks heading to the grasslands and was also in full alert looking for a possible striped cat in the grassland. As our jeep inched towards the lake we could see a small group marching out of the dense forest towards the water body.


Unlike some other Safari jeeps, Hemu parked the jeep at a safe distance from the elephants, but well within the reach of our camera. Maybe be he was well aware of the speed and power of the jumbos.

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What a beautiful sight!  Herds  of elephants led by the matriach parading through the grassland towards the lake; Calfs encircled by the members of the herd, trying to come out of the protective ring and walk freely. In between the group trumpets annoucning their arrival. It seemed like they were issuing a warning “Keep away, don’t try to mess with us.”


The finally hit the lake splashing and spraying water all over the body, pushing the hesitant calves to the lake. Now the lake is all theirs.

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Nothing more enjoyable than watching elephants playing in the river on a very hot day, surprisingly they were good swimmers and sight of them coming up after submerging completely made my day.


I was always yearning to capture elephants playing with water like this and finally i could do it. After cooling and cleaning themselves, they gradually started heading back to the woods.


The time seemed to pass so quickly and we were supposed to reach our campsite by 6:30. By now sun was gradually descending behind the hills, painting the lake and the surrounds in glowing crimson colour. A herd of elephant were still moving close to the lake.


Though we were devoid of tiger sighting, elephants really made our day. Hemu was always punctual and was in a hurry to drop us back. As the last rays of sunlight gradually disappeard  we raced down the dust filled dirt track towards the forest camp.

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Adventures at Corbett park never ends. I shall be back with my adventures in corbett tiger reserve. Till then good bye.

A Song For His Soul..

It’s been a long night, I sat soaked in freezing January gale

There you lay in peace, clad in white cloth

Eyes closed and face calm, half smiling

As if in a happy dream…


I felt your spiriti soaring in freedom

From the fears that gripped you so tight

I know you found the peace you searched for

As you wandered, lost, in the night.


Now your tortured mind is clear and calm

And your tender heart is warm

There’s no need of strength now

Because heaven is your home.


As I weep and grieve from inside

I remember the good old days

There have been many times that we disagreed,

but lasting forever are memories of you.


The ache within my heart, will never go away

But I know you will be happy now, Resting in the arm of angels

Parting is hell, but life goes on

For everything that begins has an end…

My First Tiger Sighting

It is my second day in Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarkhand, India – home to above 200 tigers. The previous day evening a Tiger tricked us walking across the road through the rear side of our Gypsy.


Corbett Reserve-Entrance

This morning tracking the fresh pug marks and listening carefully to the alarm calls,  Hemu one of the most skilled tiger tracker in Corbett, parked his Maruti Gypsy in a position where he anticipated the tiger to cross the road. A barking deer started giving frantic alarm calls continuously-Yes a tiger was very close to us. Hemu climbed on top of the jeep and looked around. No signs of a tiger yet. Idhar se hee nikalega he said, meaning it will definitely come this way.


Hemu-The Tiger Tracker

We waited and waited. The rising temperature touched my skin but it could not remove my focus from the direction in which we were anticipating the tiger to emerge from. Another alarm call, this time of a Spotted deer and the langurs on the nearby trees went restless hoping between branches.  Suddenly Hemu, in an excited voice said -” Tiger nikal aya“, meaning Tiger has come out and pointed towards the bushes. A beautiful tigress slowly protruded its head slowly out of the thick bushes. Orange, white and black all blended perfectly and placing each step carefully with her massive paws,  she started moving across the jeep track and slowly disappeared in the bushes on the other side of the road.

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First Click of Paarwaali

I was temporarily lost for words and found myself trembling at magnitude of the moment. My mouth went dry and I started sweating profusely and I could feel the adrenaline rush all over me. I pinched my arms-was it in dreams?

It was Paarwaali (means one who resides on other side of the river) the tigress, who was lovingly called Paru by our tiger tracker Hemu. Paarwaali had given birth to three cubs 3 weeks back and so she looked a bit tired.


Second click

The complete environment had become silent, all the deer were alert. The barking deer on the other side of the road was standing tall with its tail straight up and the langurs were attentively looking at the direction of Paarwaali.

The sound of shutters clicking continuously woke me up. I steadied my camera with my trembling hands and tried to capture the moment. My very first tiger photograph!

Wo kill keliye jaa rahi hey. Chalo dekunga (she is out for a kill, let us move)  said Hemu and started the Gypsy and headed to the next spot, but a charging jumbo spoilt the chance of watching a tiger kill.

The sighting was short, but ever so sweet! It was a special moment when I was at my happiest  and I was in tears. That magical joy will stay for a lifetime and brings me back again and again to try and see Tigers; perhaps an Annual pilgrimage to Corbett.

The Shooting Star…An Internal Rollercoaster..

Our long time friend Shivya Nath recently published a beautiful book “The Shooting Star“, about her solo journeys around the world. The Shooting Star has already sold 10,000+ copies in a little over a month of its release and acquired the status of a National Bestseller in India..

Years ago when Shivya stayed with us and explored Wayanad, we never thought in our wildest dreams Shivya will be penning down her story in such a beautiful way. This is not a review but a humble attempt to say what this book is all about.

The Shooting Star  is all about little things…

How a 23 year girl from a little village in Dehra Dun, leaves the safety of her family, the town she knows and her well paid  job to put her faith in total strangers and starts backpacking. In a world full of material possessions, Shivya decided to build life-long memories through exploration. It’s a well-written memoir of a hitchhiker that covers the different emotions, positive and negative, that come to play during solo trips.

It addresses a topic a lot of people are at least curious about; “Female traveling Solo.” This is an internal roller coaster spread across different continents. This is not an epic adventure or a travel diary. This is not a story about defeating fear and being courageous. This is real life.

After the first chapter which is a bit freaky or hallucinating realism, Shivya takes us to the magical land of Spiti where she watches shooting stars. From here the journey unfolds. 

So, do I think you should read The Shooting Star? Well, yes. Shivya has written down her story in a fluent way, not only taking us along on her trip but also forcing us to think about some of the questions she poses herself along the way. 


(Picture Credits: The Shooting Star blog)

Stand With Wayanad-An Appeal



Wayanad is coming to terms with a once-in-a-generation calamity. Torrential rains, landslides, overflowing dams and flooding rivers have devastated many parts of this hill district in North Kerala.

Currently there are around 19000 inmates in more that 200 relief camps spread across the district. Rescue and relief operations are on and the District Administration along with various voluntary organizations are working round the clock to provide relief and shelter to those affected by this calamity.

The army,  the navy and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF)is doing what it can for Wayanad. Officials from different departments, people’s representatives and NGOs are doing their part for Wayanad. What about YOU?

You can contribute to Wayanad’s cause and help us rebuild our distict in the following ways:

1. Contribute financially to the following account

A/C No.520101255240506

Please contribute to Wayanad’s cause by sending the following materials. You may order your purchase through any online shopping site and direct it to the shipping address listed below.

1. Drinking water
2. New cloths (including innerwear, Night Gown, Dhotis etc)
3. Rice, biscuit (To be ensured that the item is fresh)
4. Note Books, pencil, pen, school bag
5. Sanitary napkins
6. Sanitary items for cleaning (bleaching powder, hand gloves etc)
7. Footwear
8. Mattress, bed sheet, Blanket, sweaters
9. Utensils
10. Bucket, mug, Soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, Detergent
11. Other household items etc.

to our Relief Centre at,

District collector
Civil station
Kalpetta – 673122
Wayanad district
Kerala, India.


For further queries contact,
Sandeep: +91 9745166864, Sebastian: +91 9746239313

Thanking you for your love and constant support.

Together We Will Overcome This Calamity







A heart full of love..

Wandering through the streets of Jew town, brushing past the noisy local tourists, briskly I move towards the tourist boating yard at Mattancherry. Sitting on the dilapidated stone walls along the esplanade, wiping sweat out of my face I glance around. The sight of backwaters was overwhelming. I couldn’t tell where the grey overcast skies ended and the grey waters began. The landscape was every vivid colour, every one of them as fresh as a new painting.

Except for some fruit vendors and a couple of western travelers the place was empty. Most of the vendors were dozing. My eyes fell on an elderly man, seated behind a table of sliced fruit and cucumber.  Our eyes met and instantly he smiled.

After exchanging some pleasantries he pulled out a plastic bag from beneath the table and walked towards pigeons already gathered there. He waves his hand and the flock rises up and begins to fly around him. Sitting on the half wall he scatters the grain from the bag around and waves his hand again at the pigeons to come down for the feast of grains.


As he fed the pigeons I keenly observed him. The map of wrinkles on his face told of the hardships he faced in making ends meet. His eye lines told of laughter, of warm smiles and affection. His forehead told of worries past and worries present. His twinkling eyes were framed by thick white eyebrows and on his chin were white whiskers. A white handkerchief wrapped around his head.


Looking at my camera hanging down from the right shoulder, he says with a smile “You can click the pigeons and me too.”

Now the pigeon’s crowd around him, fluttering their wings, hovering above him, each trying to get his fill. Some jump on his hands, some climb up his back as he goes on scattering grain.


A slow flyer sits on his lap and he feeds it from his hand. “This one is injured and he needs to be fed separately,” he says brushing its forehead gently.


He enjoys himself by scattering the grain in patterns and as the pigeons follow the pattern, they form one by themselves. He was in a meditative state.  In almost no time the grain is all gobbled up and once the pigeons finish the meal, there is not a single grain left on the ground.


As we started a casual chat and getting to know each other he reveals he has been feeding the pigeon for years and hopes he will be able to continue to do so. Hearing the Azaan call he holds my hand firmly and says “It’s time for prayer. Insha Allah, we will meet again. Next time you come please give me the photos you clicked.” As he walked towards the mosque I slowly move towards the bus heading to mainland Kochin. At the end of the day I realize there is lot of love and compassion in this world and surely it will win.

One more sunrise…

I stood at the edge of the electric fenced fields, my face soaking up in damp morning dew, as I overlooked the forest. Darkness had not long surrendered to the light, yet I could see the thick grey clouds that were cast over the sky. Snort of deer’s warned something is not right, peacocks screamed relentlessly, and birds chirped in a relaxing tone. I felt a bit nervous anticipating wild elephants emerging from the forest behind.


The yellow shining sun engulfed by rain clouds started rising from behind the woods. It filled the sky mighty vermillion colour and splashed the clouds with endless rays of pink. It was bright and mesmerizing as it inviting me to stare, deep into the horizon. With breath paused in my lungs, I wished time would halt. The trees shone as if they were wearing golden crowns.


Bright streaks of red, pink, and orange slowly overcame the dark blue and purple of the twilight sky. The sky resembled a prism; all the colors blended perfectly into each other. I stared into the rising sun, its rays burning my eyes. My eyes are glued to the beautiful pink and orange colour the sky was. I had never watched it like this. I never noticed its beauty.



I marveled at the glistening reflection of the sun in the field and a thrilling feeling of awe swept over me. I have been to this place many time and watched the sunrise but every experience was entirely different. Though this is not the right place to watch and capture a sunrise sometimes its nice to close your minds and take a risk.