Sunday, September 6, 2009

The joy of discovering!

There is a strong sense of joy in discovering simple things. I realise it everytime I spend a day with my wife and kids. Since the kids are growing up fast, the quality of interaction is different each time.

Today we decided to drive down to a historic place called Mandav (also known as Mandu, around 100 kms from Indore). We got late in deciding this, and then I got late on some conference calls (bad things these conference calls!!) and started at 12 noon. But we were back home by 8 pm, with everyone totally delighted with the experience! (I did not expect that initially)

I discovered several simple things today.

A large patch of the NH3 (Agra Bombay road) - which earlier was rickety, patchwork-laden, and hardly a highway - has undergone massive transformation. It now resembles a proper 6 lane international standard highway. I had not driven down this road for some months, and did not realise that a replica of my favourite Mumbai-Pune expressway has been created right in my backyard! Great job NHAI.

I love driving on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. The maintenance of the greenery along the dividers is so good it's deligtful always. Flowers of all colours! (that is something I am afraid will not be repeated in my region as my experience with the Mhow-Dewas concrete bypass of 40 km length dictates.. the green belt inside the divider has been reduced to weeds. Funds had been allocated for proper greening of the entire divider belt, it never happened. It was a scam reported by local newspapers, but all officers responsible got away scotfree.)

The natural beauty of Mandav is outstanding, more so in this season. All shades of green are visible. I have tried to capture some pictures to share that. For a nature-lover or a Green-lover, Mandav is a paradise. It almost makes one wish he were a herbivore! Oohhh... chomp, chomp, chomp, regurgitate!

There is this curious fruit you find in Mandav, exceptionally different tasting, called Mandu-ki-imli. Gorge yourself on it because you are not likely to find it anywhere else. Techincally, it is Baobab seeds, locally known as Mandu's tamarind (or Mandu ki Imli). Mandav is the only place in the whole of Asia where these can be found, they say. Here are pictures of the fruit and the tree as well.

Being a teacher is a bad idea during such vacations as you are distracted by wrong use of langauge everywhere :-) An example is this signboard. The words "pedal" and "nauka" are wrongly spelt in Hindi.

The MP Tourism has a healthy circuit running across the state. Mandu is a favourite desitnation of tourists, both Indian and Foreign. They have upgraded their facility here recently. The lake is pristine - simple, raw and untarnished. But with each passing year, I fear (like I do for my favourite destination Goa) that construction and/or commercial activity may pick up.

Here are some more pictures of the beautiful roads (that seem to never-end), and the surrounding hills, some of which are breathtakingly beautiful and virgin.

Playing with the monkeys at the lakeside was fun. I regret we are destroying their natural feeding habits. Fortunately, the monkeys at Mandu were not aggressive, like their bretheren I have encountered at many other places of pilgrimage or hill-stations (some are so dangerous they may pose a threat to babies left untended.) 


Here is a video link as well, of the encounter with the monkeys!

Mandu is a beautiful destination (of historic value - I won't delve into all that, as that's a very long story).

You will expect no private party to get rights to aggressive marketing on the streets and trees. I was surprised to find enterpreneurial zeal going on rampage in Mandu through the main street. It is hugely distracting as the only signboards you expect in a place like Mandu are direction boards put up by the government. Honestly, anything else is a letdown. An example of what I mean is shown here. Tourism authorities - are you listening?

Around 8 years ago, I had visited Mandu when a BEAUTIFUL fossil museum - reportedly funded by local MP's fund and created by a renowned craftsman /artist -was just inaugurated. I was thrilled to visit "Ashmadha" museum then. It was beautiful. Great models of what the Dhar district (Mandu lies in Dhar district) region was like crores of years ago. The fossil remains of sea-creatures of that age and documentary descriptions etc. were all neatly displayed inside the building, even as two huge concrete dinosaurs stood sentinel in the garden outside.
The very next year, I was horrified to find the museum fall into disrepair due to almost zero maintenance.

We Indians are excellent at creation, superb at inaugurations, and horrible at maintenance.
We need to really improve on "maintenance" in everything we do. Everything.

While driving back, I always prefer taking a less-travelled kachha road almost 20 kms long. It winds its way through very small villages, towns and farmlands - the real India. It ultimately connects to the highway.
You see lots of activity even on a Sunday evening - tractors plying, young men in groups standing and chit-chatting, farmers carrying their produce, women tending to kids / carrying water, etc. This truly is the real India - in the heartland.


Sometimes, it is best for some places to be left untouched. That's the best development one should contemplate for such places. Their natural existence is their joy.
Mandav is one such place. It's a fantastic experience at minimal cost. Highly recommended!


Vidit Shah said...

Good Evening Sir,
It was a great insight by you. Even we would like to go to some of these places to enrich our local history.

Bhupendra said...

I had planned a trip to mandu
with friends on this diwali vacation.. nice to see a post on it .. i believe we are gonna enjoy it

It is nice to see roads in MP are improving .. once it was said "Road me Gadhaa hai ya Gadhay mein Road"


Bhupendra said...

Another nugget


shashank said...

What I learned from this post is our thinking and analyzing abilities makes the things more beautiful.I am happy because we are being trained on the same parameters.

Test said...

Vidit, Shashank, Bhpendra - thanks for reading, and commenting!

Roads on major patches have truly improved. It's a nice feeling. Ab gaddhey mey road nahin hai!

Unknown said...

Hello Sandeep sir,

I am Keyur Joshi. I was the PT student in 2007 in Ahmedabad. Sir, I am the big fan of you. Currently, I am pursuing my MBA in IT(1st year) from Symbiosis (SICSR). I have been the one of the regular visitors of your blogs since it strated.

First of all, Thank you very much sir, the kind of information you are providing through blogsto protons and other college MBAs like me as these kind of information is very useful to us in our day to day life and also in the future. And also through it we can be in direct touch with you.

Furthermore, I am also amazed the great activities are being conducted in PROTON like; Chaupal, Outbound traning, "The Economist" magazine as a subject.. etc. as they are very useful to the students.

I hope the PROTON will be the worlds' best B-school in future and it will be, as you all people are working towards it. I am sure.

My best wishes are with you.

Keyur Joshi.

Test said...

Hi Keyur, thanks for getting back in touch. Good to hear about your progress. I hope you are enjoying the Symbi experience. Also, your good wishes for us (PT and PROTON) are appreciable. Stay in touch!

Yashwant said...

Dear Sir,
You gave realy good analysis and summary about Mandav.We will definetly plan to visit this place.Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Yashwant Chandrawanshi

Aditya said...

Respected Sir,
Great post. While reading I was deep in my thoughts, just as I was actually there, with you. It would be really a dream come true for me to be on an outing with you sometime.
Sir, your efforts are very valuable for me and I will be reading your blog everyday, that's a promise promise. Its a tremendous boost for me.
Good Night.

jauntyankit said...

Hi Sir, it is a great insight of "Mandav" by you and even i am also eager to visit that place soon. Your experience also makes us to learn how to analyse and interpret the situation.

Thanks for providing emmence knoeledge.

Proton Ankit Talera

Test said...

Yeshwant, Aditya, Ankit - thanks for reading and commenting! Wherever you go on an outing/vacation, try to observe things carefully. It's quite enjoyable that way!

Sumit said...

Hello Sandeep Sir ,

Meet another fan of yours , was fortunate to sit in many of your classes and at the end of it was left AMAZED by you.

Even I am a part of Bhupendra's Planned trip to Mandu , your blog has just convinced us completely to visit that place now.



Test said...

Hello Sumit - good to meet you! (Do write in about your Mandav experience whenever you visit). Good luck

vinay said...


Mandu is a great place to visit, specially when you know about the history. As rightly said keen observations make the trip more enjoyable.

Test said...

Thanks Vinay for reading and commenting!

Deepesh Baghela said...

Hello Sir,

Good Morning!
Now i would also like to visit Mandu. I got many chances to visit Mandu but all time I denied by saying that," Choti si to jagah he". But now i realize "Choti" things are important and so beautiful also.

Thank You for sharing sir...

Anonymous said...

The "almost" International Standard 6 lane highway is built by a close friend, interesting to hear the way the project was conceptualized and executed & the logistics involved - If PROTONs are interested, a trip of discovery can be organized - SM

Vipul kothari said...

I have not visited mandu yet but after reading this, i will definitely go to mandu.

Vipul kothari

Anurag Khandekar said...

Respected Sir,
Mandav is indeed one of the best places to visit on a weekend, but according to me the tourism department is not seriously thinking about maintaining such great historical places, and so is the case with some of the tourists. It was nice to see the pictures and it was a recap of memories for me as well. Thank you sir.

Test said...

Deepsh, Vipul, Anurag - thanks for your comments!

Subhro - It will be an excellent idea if Protons can get an insider's perspective on the upgraded NH3 patch. Will speak with you on that. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Respected Sir,
Today with development we are getting addicted to live in the so called "Concrete Jungle". Even the natural green plant are being replaced by the artificial plants. We can't understand the importance of green nature till we don't feel it, and till we don't feel it we can't save it or a day might come when we will say " once upon a time, there was a plant named..."
Thank you Sir, for sharing your green experience.

ashu barjatya said...

Respected Sir,
Nice reading & experience!

Thanks & Regards
Ashu Barjatya (Proton-Indore)

Test said...

Hi Ashu, Milind - thanks for your comments! Truly, the best and deepest spiritual realisations happen in the lap of mother nature. Remember the stories we have read about the saints and rishis of ancient India, meditating in the Himalayas.

Seema said...

Respected Sir,

I appreciate your efforts to write in the blog about a family trip, along with the video and photos. Its now-a-days seen that people visit malls, multiplexes on weekends, but never think of visiting CHOTI SI JAGAH, where one can unfold country life and again compare our lives and theirs. Do you think Sir in this kind of scenario where everything and everyone is changing HEARTLAND of the country will remain unchanged? (in values, simplicity etc)
Seema Patil
Indore campus

Test said...

Dear Seema, you are right. These are quite different experiences. And maybe we should try striking a balance between the two types of experiences!

Juhi Jain said...

Hello Sir,

That was lovely post and the narration made it look so real. Rainy season is the best time especially because it makes earth beautiful. And the best thing is you forget all your tensions,worries and other worldly things when you are in laps of mother earth.

Juhi jain

Divyangana said...

Dear Sir,
I read your article. It was very fascinating. In fact it reminded me of the place i hail from, i.e Guwahati in Assam. The greenery of Assam is it's heritage. It too has these great valleys with the river Bramhaputra flowing across. I would really recommend that place and the places such as Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya to you if you have not visited yet and would like to visit.

Thank you a lot for the article.
Proton Divyangana
Indore Campus

Test said...

Thanks Divyangana.. sure I will love to visit the Eastern states!

Thanks Juhi for commenting.