It’s not just about the place, it’s how being there including the prep time to reach there, makes you feel, that makes it all so special.
Visit to any religious place is a divine experience on its own that cannot be compiled in words. But a place restrained with political boundaries and cultural differences makes the visit even more enchanting or rather overwhelming.
Right from registration process through the Government of India Portal,to police and intelligence verifications and then medical reports, owing to Covid protocols, the countdown to our day of visit was worth it all.
We started from Delhi and reached Amritsar by Shatabdi train. Keeping in mind, the senior citizen parents along, kept day 1 just for travel and rest, starting the journey in second half of the day.
After enjoying the hot karha parshad and the bliss of shopping across the colourful streets, along the Gurudwara we reached Jallianwala Bagh. It’s a mix of feelings at this place, both pride yet sadness witnessing the remains of the massacre, the wounds and cries of which can still be felt in it’s aura, that took place more than 100 years before.
Now that’s what makes Amritsar special. It’s as historic as mystic, as patriotic as religious.
The historical importance of this place goes to as back as Treta Yug. The Pracheen Bara Hanuman Temple (Langoor wala), at Goal Bagh, (around 2 km from Harmandir Sahib) marks one such event of our cultural history where Luv, Kush tied Shree Hanuman while captivating the horse of the Ashwamedha Yagya being performed by their father, Lord Shree Ram at that time. This place also witnesses the ‘Langoor mela’ at the time of Navratris.
It’s is located just beside the Durgiana Mandir which is another holy temple, architecturally a replica of Golden Temple, originally built in the 16th century and rebuilt in 1921.
Spoilt for choices, by evening we conveniently allowed ourselves the privilege of collective cheat days and enjoyed the Amritsari cuisine.
Though Amritsar food itself deserves a separate detailed blog, yet just to mention few of my favourites, when here, you just cannot afford to miss Kesar Da Dhaba, Bhrawan Da Dhaba and The Kultcha Land.
Day 3 – The D day
Important Things to know before starting the journey.
1. One needs to have the physical copy of the ETA form. After the verification process is over, one receives a confirmatory SMS max before 48 hours of the travel and then the ETA – Electronic Travel Authorisation can be downloaded from the MHA website.
2. Original Passports ( although it’s no where stamped )
3. COVID RTPCR negative report (not older than 72 hours).
4. Fully COVID vaccinated certificate.
5. The fee of 20$ levied by Government of Pakistan.
6. Not more than Rs 11000/- INR per individual as per RBI guidelines.
7. One need to vacate the premises of the Gurudware max by 4.30 pm Pakistan Time (5pm IST)
8. The maximum permissible weight each person can carry across the border is 7 kg including water bottles.
9. One can bring along the water from the ‘Khoo sahib’ – holy well of Guru Nanak ji and the soil from the fields (there is a small area along the Gurudwara,where Indians can visit) that Guru ji used to plough.
10. One can take ‘Rumala sahib’ along if one wishes to offer the same to the Darbar Sahib.
We started at 9 am from Amritsar and after an hour’s drive reached Kartarpur Corridor, at Dera Baba Nanak at 10 am.
I was impressed with the splendid architecture with marvellous ambiance and courteous staff at the Corridor. This initiative by Government of India is highly appreciated as maintaining a corridor like this that too at a point which is not an official border, and with a country with which we share controversial relationship is not an easy task.
On arrival, the first thing we were given was the Polio Drops (Rest assured, I had verified the drops being given 😊) as Pakistan is yet to eradicate the disease from its land.
The process of document verification, security checks and biometrics took almost 40 minutes and from there a golf cart took us to the Zero line. It’s worth mentioning here that for people with limited mobility, utmost care was being taken even at the other side of the border with support of wheel chair and helper staff, which is really appreciated.
After the third level of document verification we were dropped at zero line to cross the border on foot.
I must admit that this was the time when I actually reconsidered my decision as those few steps were the toughest to take.😊
When I looked back the boldly engraved words on Indian boundary walls- “Your BSF is on guard” boosted my confidence back up and I crossed the border.
After reaching the other side of the zero line our negative RTPCR reports were checked and from there another cart took us to Pakistan’s immigration centre.
There we deposited the 20$ fee that Government of Pakistan charges for each Indian visitor and then our passports were verified and we got our the currencies exchanged.
PS: The INR exchange rate here is not very favourable so it’s better to have your currency in US dollars before hand.
After exchanging our Gandhi Ji notes with Jinnah stamped notes we headed towards security checks and in another 15-20 minutes we boarded the bus that covered the 4 km drive till Darbar KartarPur Sahib.
It took around 70-75 minutes for us to reach from Indian point of the Corridor till the Gurudwara Sahib at Pakistan.
With warm greetings we were briefed about the map and the Do’s and Don’ts of the premises.
The Darbar Sahib is built on a vast campus and it has a Mazar just at the entrance, and a Langar Hall (Community kitchen) , Sarovar, Khoo Sahib (Holy well from where Guru Nanak Dev ji used to irrigate his fields) and Angeethi Sahib ( Guru Nanak ‘s kitchen, which is though a sorry state of affairs with treacherous lane and ill kept premises).
There also stands one pillar strategically placed near Khoo Sahib, claiming that a bomb shell had been thrown by Indian Air Force during the 1971 war and the place was saved as ‘Blessing of Waheguru (Allah)’ to quote the exact words.
Of course, the place is blessed by Waheguru but the allegation on our Indian Air Force is a totally false and baseless claim placed with reasons best known to all of us- to radicalise and mislead the Sikh youth and this act of theirs should not be a surprise for us.
The true facts can be checked at News article by Times Now. People visiting the place, especially the younger generation to check the facts before doubting their own guarding Forces.
There is also a small market with just a handful of shops to buy souvenirs etc. However if you actually wish to buy any Pakistan item for usage, you can get much better deals online 😊. But sentiments sometimes make you do stupid things and so did I.
After spending the day we headed back at around 3.30 pm at the security counter where carts/ buses were waiting to take us back to immigration checks where again the biometrics were tallied to ensure the person entered was the same leaving the country. After that we exchanged the balance Pakistani notes for our beloved Gandhiji notes and headed back to the zero point.
With smiles and the last round of selfies at the foreign land we came back to our Homeland.
After another around of scrutinous checks which took almost 15-20 minutes we came out of the corridor and it was at this point I noticed the majestic architecture of the premises giving a glimpse of entire life time span of Guru Nanak. Photography and videography is strictly prohibited in this area. Could click just a few memoirs at the exit before heading to the Dera Baba Nanak Gurudwara.
We headed back to home via morning flight to Delhi. You can also plan the return on day 3 itself via late night flight.
Important: Non-Turban people please ensure to keep rumala / handkerchiefs with you as there are no arrangements at the Kartarpur Sahib for the same. Only thing they offer to cover the head is green plastic baskets .
I hope I was able to answer the queries that most of you, who are planning to visit, must be having. In case I missed anything or if you have any questions/ comments please do add your valuable inputs.
Also, please feel free to share if your find it helpful.
Summer time is back .This word ‘summer’ has different meanings for different people.
While for most of us, it means scorching heat waves, sunny and exhausted long days and so on.
But for one , a very important section, this word bring lots and lots of joy. For them it means ice cream , cold drink, milk shakes; it means outings , Nani ka Ghar; it means swimming , cycling ; it means hours of play without mom asking them every now and them to revise their lessons.
Yes, the kids. The kids have their best of their childhood memories at this part of the year. Isn’t it ? What’s your favourite childhood memory ? Preparing for final exams ? Spending days in cold shivering days inside a blanket OR your summer vacations?
But .. But this summer is different. For reasons we all know. This time is different. We all are coping against this time in our own ways. While we adults are trying to adjust with increased loads of household chores, the new way of working from home without the routine tea time and lunch time gup-shup at office and on top of it, the uncertainty of the longevity of all this.
Amidst all this, again this very important section of the society adjusted the best of all.
How could I miss saying it before? The very beginning of summer used to bring new smiles to their faces. The smell of new books, the design of new bags, the colour of new water bottles all these things used to makes their eyes shine! The joy of entering into the new ‘senior’ class room with your friends is a feeling that cannot be described in words.
They missed it all .. this time.
They had all these new words ‘online class’ , ‘zoom’ , ‘meeting ids’ added to their vocabulary and to their life all of a sudden. They, like all of us, never imagined their classes this way. Their school this way. Their life this way. But they all adapted it so well.
Some of them have already taken their online PTMs and online assessments !!
Just imagine !!
We used to ask our kids to make their bag, sharpen their pencils and keep eraser, sharpener ready before the assessment days and now we ask them to check if the phone or laptop is charged, to keep the passwords handy !! We all have adapted already !!
This most important section of our society, the most protected, yet the most vulnerable section of our society, is doing so well !!
Of course a great deal of credit goes to the teachers for making this online academic process work. Without them none of this would have been possible.
But at the same time, don’t we think that it’s already enough and we can allow our kids to have a sigh of relief.
This summer is different and we can’t make it same for our kids. We can’t let them play outdoors, we can’t take them to swimming pool, we can’t take them for an outing, movie, restaurant.
But we can atleast give them their breathing space. We can just let them relax at home without worrying of connecting to the class . Without looking out for meeting ids and passwords , without worrying of whether their classroom-cum-gadgets are charged or not, sparing them the chaos of teacher’s broken voice over exploited internet bandwidth.
This year is definitely very hard for them as with all of us. Let us not make it harder.
There is no academic emergency. Let’s not drain them further. Let them breathe.
Goa, we all know, is known for its party mood. and people hit this place to unwind. But then there are lot of other holiday destinations that aim to serve the same purpose. Then what’s so different about Goa ?
Let’s check out..
The Sea effect… water has this effect of calming your senses and we all know that. The scenic beauty and cleanliness of its beaches ( as far as efforts made by the inhabitants of the place ) definitely adds to its charm.
Let’s stick to the basics.. Talking about its inhabitants, they had really played a big role in preserving the originality of its place in contrast to people of many other tourist spots who had literally ruined their place just to accommodate more tourists. You may face mobile network issue here and that is because people here do not permit putting up mobile towers especially in residential areas and choose to go for landline instead. Even big names in Hotel Industry has this thing in common. Saying no to Ola or Über is another stand that their people have taken to check on additional traffic and it’s associated mess.
The Dil Chahta Hai effect.. I strongly believe that it’s when Aamir and his team did those memorable shots in Fort Agauda, Goa , that was the time they must have occurred with this tittle for their movie. This place has this energy of letting you flow in your own way. You can really be the true you.
I don’t care.. when I say the ‘true you’, it means this place allows you to be ‘unpresentable’ in terms of today’s ‘over-civilised’ norms and yet not feel from belonging to Pre historic Age. I could see people (read girls) with messy hair and dark eye circles clearly indicating their late night parties and yet enjoying the cruise in slippers and you can get to have all those wired prints or jwelery that you know you are never ever going to wear again, of course except in Goa.
Damn it.. when I say you can just wear that I don’t care attitude, credit must also be given to the people who also wear this same attitude towards yourself and these people include not only Native people of this place but other tourists like you, who on any given day , I am sure won’t spare you without judging you. Had u been k a different place.
The Night life .. This place gives you the freedom to you enjoy peaceful sunset and nights with melody music playing at shacks on sea side or have a loud party all night. You can just holiday the way you choose.
The beauty of cross culture. Goa, popular for its old churches has not missed to preserve the ancient culture also. I couldn’t miss to notice the sacred Tulsi plant planted in a gracious manner in almost all houses in North Goa.
This all makes this place a must visit for all atleast once. This place is broadly divided into two parts: North Goa and South Goa. While North Goa is bit congested (and affordable) South Goa boasts of luxurious resorts, thereby it welcomes every tourist and his vacation specifications.
Apart from enjoying its mesmerising beaches, Goa also has Zoo, Spice Plantation and Temple .
Speech delay is very common amongst kids these days.
It is not a rare sight of kids as old as 2 or 3 years using hardly few words and dependant mainly on sign language for most of their communication.
I feel, the major road block for kids not being able to pick up age appropriate speech is the ‘Its OK’ attitude of the family members.
“It’s OK .. he would start speaking soon”
“It’s OK, some kids pick up speech late”
I strongly contradict here.. yes he would start speaking soon and yes it’s correct that some kids do pick up speech late.. but it’s NOT OK to just leave him and his delay on its own.
If you are to catch a flight or attend an important meeting and you get to know you are running late than your scheduled time, what would you do ?
Would you think “It’s Ok .. we do miss flights some time “.. Or ” It’s fine ..some people do reach late on important events..”
No. We do make extra efforts to reach on time , like hiring a cab rather than taking public transport , checking fastest route etc.
Why ? Because we know it’s not just that flight or meeting. There are other linked events too that shall get impacted by our delay.
Same way it’s not just about the speech. His delay in picking appropriate speech is affecting his other growth parameters.
If a child can’t speak, he wont be able to read too and if he can’t read, his writing skills would be affected.
There are so many interlinked development patterns that get impacted.
So the very important aspect here is the realisation of the fact that we must act and not just assume things will fall back in place on its own.
If we overcome this barrier, half of the target is accomplished.
Now, let us come to the other half of the issue – the core issue.
Speech involves three factors –
willingness to speak ,
ability to speak and
words (vocabulary) to speak .
Willingness involves identifying the factors when the child feels the need to utter words in order to raise his demand.
As a parent or care taker despite having understood the need, we must prompt the child to speak . If we feel he doesn’t know the term , we can give him options.
Now, how you convey these options is also important.
Like Rather than asking , “Do you need milk ?” One may ask “Do you need milk or water ?”
By giving only one correct option , would again lead to a nod .. but giving more than one option.. you provide him with an opportunity to speak .
We must urge him to speak with as many opportunities as possible.
Next comes the ability part . Here we need to understand that our vocal system involves a close coordination between the tongue, cheek muscles, mouth, throat and other involved organs/ muscles.
We can enhance its abilities my giving him activities that involve high usage of these components .. like humming , playing flute , whistles , giving him straws of different widths for drinks.
You can also massage his cheeks gently with almond oil or any other oil to stimulate its muscles.
Touch and massage therapy bear long lasting results not only for the immediate issue in context but also in emotional development of the child.
You can have a fun time with your child by making wierd or funny facial expressions with your mouth in the mirror.
Then comes the vocabulary part. Without having sufficient and appropriate words to speak is like a skilled mechanic without his tools. We need to provide an environment for the child to learn new words as per his learning style .. now since the child is too young you might not yet know his preferred leaning style .
So better to use all. Pick up few frequently used words or alphabets, as per the learning stage of the child. Make sure to focus on a set of words at a time and use all means to promote that set.
You can prepare flash cards for those set of words, one side having that words and in the flip side a pictirial representation of that word.
You can also make him listen audio / video for those set of words ..as there are plenty available on net. But the catch here is to use this only under your close monitoring and just to introduce the concept to the child. I am in no way advocating dependency on mobile / tv / computer or any such gadget at such a tender age .
One can use chart papers and display these set of words / alphabets over his room / play area.
You can also label the part of his room, as far as possible like TV, Mirror, door, window , handle , chair etc .. to give him words for the things around him.
It’s important to develop the association between the word and its meaning .
Because usage comes only when the meaning of the word is quite clear.
To enhance his vocal skills , you can also try these :
– talking in front of mirror . Try talking with him facing the mirror , where he can see himself too.
– recording devices / toys where he can record himself and listen.
– musical instruments have a deep impact on the speech as it help him corelate with the magic of sound.
And last but not the least .. talk talk and talk ..
Talk to him even if he is not listening .. talk to him even if u know he won’t respond.. the idea is to engage with him as much as possible .
PS: Do not hesitate to seek Medical Advice, if needed. He / She might not express but could be in dire need of Help !!!
My son was doing a worksheet about different religions of our country.
Against all other religions columns were named ‘history‘ and ‘founders‘ but against Hinduism , it was ‘Hindu mythology’ and the founder column was missing for the same.
You can precisely find the history and founders of all religions but just because this religion is the oldest of all other, and its complete details are destroyed by the incoming invaders and remains are nowhere taught to the coming generations , I can safely term it as ‘mythology’ and not ‘history’. Myth – wherein Archaeological Survey of India has proof of that era.
And there is no one to question this terminology because its fashion today to make mockery of saints and spirituality and talking about our culture and heritage is against being secular.
We can have monuments and roads in the name of the invaders who looted our country not only of its wealth but it’s heritage and it’s origin too, but talking about protecting cow is being communal.
And for all those who are thinking this as another ‘Hindu’ Bhagat propaganda, the entry in my Matriculate form against the column religion was NOT HINDUISM.
Am I overreacting ? Is it ok to let my kids not know the complete history of their motherland?
Typhoid was just another term for me, until it hit me with its perfect timing.
When I had planned so many things to do for my job, my blog, my book, my newly launched website and for my kids’s upcoming term exams, I was caught unaware with this!!
As I have been sharing the daily experiences of my Happy go lucky life as a Banker -cum- Parent -turned- Author, I won’t let Typhoid dampen my spirit too.
So here I am sharing my Do’s and Don’t’s when this disease knocks your door.
Causes of Typhoid
Typhoid is said be spread with contaminated water and food. However there is another cause of infection that is, sharing wash rooms with infected person. So, if by bad luck, you or any of your family member gets infected, make sure you let the patient use a separate toilet to stop further spreading of this disease.
To be on the safer side, the family and other close associates may get themselves vaccinated too (if not already done).
You know just before my vitals declared this to me, I was feasting on Chole bhature, samosa, tikki and churma ( Remember the Rangeela Jaipur trip !). Totally opposite to what I should be having.
So it’s utmost important to get yourself diagnosed for the actual cause of illness rather than just blaming it on routine fatigue, the mistake that I made.
The diet that should be followed is that how we start feeding the child on his weaning-off stage. Giving liquid or semi-solid diet like daliya, sooji, banana and yoghurt.
The idea is to least exert your intestine that takes the toll of your typhoid.
Drink plenty of fluids including lemonade and coconut water. Remain hydrated.
Consume boiled water and you can recover pretty fast if you can add Giloy and Tulsi to it. To take care of the acidity part you may add a pinch of saunf to it also.
The antibiotics and multivitamin supplements follow a lengthy routine and make sure you don’t miss it under any chance. Despite your getting the signals of recovery, don’t discontinue the medication as well as health supplements.
Most importantly, (this one is from my mother in law !) take ample amount of rest. As I shared I got this disease when I had a long ‘To-do’ list ahead of me and lying down at this time seemed to me such a waste of time. But to make sure you hit back on your routine soon, it is very important to get proper rest.
The most trouble-some part of it is, the severe headache, the body ache and the stomach ache even after the fever vanishes.
I wish none of my readers ever get sick. But if, by bad luck, you find yourself caught with it, learn from my mistakes and take care of yourself, as we all have a long ‘To-do’ list to complete.
Most Important: This was based on my personal experience. Please consult your doctor in case of any ailment.
When the boredom of the monotonous colours of the citylife surrounds you , you know it’s time to pack your bags.
This time we decided for Jaipur, one of the first entrance cities of the grand state Rajasathan. It ntroduces you to the colourful culture of its state and neighbouring Gujarat, evident enroute itself.
I was glad to hit this city at the time of Teej Festival that although was not planned but I am sure, my travel guiding angel did it on purpose.
Visit this place to give your kids a near-to-real experience of our local games and tricks, be it Fire tricks, Magic Show, Rope walking , Biscope or puppet shows (real thread puppets and not the hand/ finger substitutes).
Our city kids over fed with mall and amusement park visits would cherish Chokhi Dhani for sure.
Then the glamour and flare of the royal culture of Jaipur Rajwaras may be felt by the visit to the palaces here.
The Rajasthan Forts differ from their counterparts in Delhi , Hydrabad and Lucknow. Here you would find a fine blend of Indian Rajwaras and Mughal Dynasty, which is depicted in its architecture.
Traveling to such cities is more like an appetiser that makes your travel diet crave for more.
Thank you Maharaja Jai Singh for giving us this beautiful Pink City and thank you to the people of this city for preserving its colours and culture.
Do’s and Don’t when in Jaipur
Do hire a guide ( this was suggested by my mother-in-law and I am glad we followed her) so that you actually experience the Royal Palaces and the stories hidden within them.
Do visit local street markets for the treat of your eyes ( and wardrobe) with varieties of Lehriya and Bandhini print dresses.
Don’t stay too far away from the main city, so that you don’t miss the night life of this city. People of Rajasthan don’t seem to need a reason to enjoy and celebrate. So you cannot afford to miss the local festivals and dandiya nights.
Recently, I was the Chief Guest in Govt ITI College in a small city and was to address 150 plus freshers who were ready to take up challenges after acquiring technical SKILLS and be a part of the workforce. The theme was ‘Motivation for Self Employment’.
The cheerful faces of both boys and girls (I would rather say young graduates) greeted me. Being a hard core banker, I was asked to deliberate on Self employment viz a viz how to start one’s own business or work rather than depending on Govt or private jobs which we all know is limited,
given the size of young, eligible population of our country.
I went on to motivate the young minds with a proper course of action. First and foremost, I told them, was to know their mindset well. They should be sure of the business or the work they would like to do based on the skills they had acquired through their education. This, has to be followed by the preparation of a project report and amount that one is ready to invest. If the amount in hand is not sufficient, then comes the role of Banks.I then tried to educate them about the factors related to granting loan.
I also drove the message home to eager students to be rooted to their home place instead of rooted out in big cities for so called jobs. Finally they could contribute by giving jobs to the needy and generating income for self, family and workers. This way, in paving their own future, they would contribute (Unburden) to society where large unemployment prevails. The message was well received.
There was an officer from Employment exchange office too who initially spoke about freeing oneself from dependency on parents by either getting a job or starting one’s own work. She soon shifted to Govt paying out ‘Berojgar bhatta ‘ ranging from Rs1000 to Rs6500 per month, based on qualification and how to ENROLL for the same.
This was an utterly shocking statement as it was totally contradictory to the purpose of the gathering! And I truly believe such people and such attitude drives young influential minds to run behind easy money! After all Berojgar bhatta is the contribution of the Tax payers. For me, it stands for killing the enthusiasm of young people to work and work hard to earn a living, thereby being a burden on society for ever.
Not long ago, a few young customers visited my branch to open a second account. The reason given was to receive Berojgar bhatta from Govt . When I asked them why they wanted it as they were already receiving salary, the reply given was, “We are on contract and what is the harm when govt is paying?”
Similarly in some states ‘Budapa pension’ is rolled out to senior citizens even if their children/ grandchildren are earning in lakhs p.a. or are settled abroad thereby loading on exchequer. I am not against such provisions but a line has to be drawn so that only the Needy get the money. After all it’s the tax payers’ hard earned money and it should be used judiciously and not as easy money (khairat).
What is actually required is to mould young minds to work to earn a living and children to look after their parents and not to be dependent on freebies. The tax payers’ money is for the development of the Nation and for the benefit of all.
The author, Asha Desai, a regular guest blogger, is presently working as Chief LDM ensuring banking facilities in all villages in District along with administration. Sensitising villagers about different products of Government implemented through banks and other Bank schemes and benefits drawn.
What appealed to her is the formation of SHGs where a group of (illiterate) women come together and cultivate the habit of saving and giving money to needy on interest.
Another powerful yet heart wrenching Post by Mrs Asha Desai .. yes you recalled her right … The Iron Lady !!!!
Over to her now …
An article I read left me not only shocked but pondering over highly depleted morals
Police found the remains of a 70 year old dead woman (preserved by her five unemployed sons) with ink stains on her thumb to avail family pension of 40K which she was drawing after death of her husband.
What kind of life the mother would have lived and what kind of trauma she would have gone through during the last days of her life where all her sons are unemployed including two married ones.
She was earning ‘bread and (not butter but) other essentials’ not only for her sons but their family too.
Despite this, she was not given the due departure which was her right.
How can anyone be so selfish?
To remain unemployed is not a choice if one is ready to labour out.
Is it not for every adult to work and earn a living and not be a parasite on parents for ever ?
No job is small if one does it with dignity.
Isn’t it that society is living on easy money – monthly pension received to sustain so many members in this case.
The demand list of son/ daughter is never ending to satiate the impulses of the mind leaving the parents guilty for not able to provide all.
Where has the society gone wrong? As a parent, it is one’s duty not only for upbringing the kids but also to teach values in life.
Ours is a country having history of values and sanskars, where has it all gone?
Not that parents are not inculcating values, but that has taken a back seat given the OVER EXPOSURE which is not handled by youth. Lack of experience is leading to chaos, unsatisfaction drawing to suicide.
Is there a solution to overcome given scenario?
This guest post was contributed by Mrs Asha Desai.