Some pictures

Here are some pictures of the Jeep I’d built (a few years back) – yep it’s the same one that caught fire! 😉

For those who care to know – It was built on a CJ-3B Jeep (right-hand drive) clone manufactured in India by Mahindra & Mahindra to Indian Army specs. The engine used was a 4 cylinder, 2500cc Isuzu diesel (with matched 4 speed gearbox and 4WD transfer case). Both pictures were taken sometime in 2000.

me and my old Jeep
That’s me at our house in the village, had just gotten back from a shoot…

trying to get it going again
My cousin (standing) & me (crawling under the beast) – trying to get it moving again! 😉

Birthday

It’s been a long standing Birthday tradition at home that each year Dad
and I go out and distribute blankets to the poor. Since this is pretty
much the coldest part of the year… it isn’t hard to find people
huddled on the pavements that could use an extra blanket (or
more).  Quite frankly I’ve always been a bit skeptical of the entire
practice – most of the guys on the pavement seem like junkies and in
all probability will go and sell the damn things for an extra fix or
two 😛  But charity of any description seems to please Dad and I
learnt long ago that arguing with him is a fruitless exercise… so I
just go along with it each year – dutifully going through the motions
of helping out the “needy”… Not that I’m some unfeeling cold hearted
person, it’s just that giving hand-outs isn’t my first choice of how to
practice charity.

I’d much rather contribute to a cause which helps people help themselves… Just giving alms to ease your guilt doesn’t quite cut it for me.

Anyway, spent my Birthday (this past Friday) in Hisar and did
not have much time for anything in the way of celebrations, just
cut the cake and ordered in Chinese – some very forgettable
food indeed! Hisar is a gourmet disaster… but no surprises there!!

Am currently back in Delhi for a couple of meetings and will probably
be leaving again (for Hisar) on Friday. So Dad & I picked tonight as the
night for the “blanket distribution” event and it was decided that we
would not go to the slums this time, we’d hand them out to the poor chowkidars (watchmen) on duty in our own locality instead.

The reactions of the watchmen towards us handing out these (unexpected)
“gifts” spanned the entire range from surprise & quiet gratitude
all the way to greed (quite a few asked for “more” – Dickens
would approve). In the slums usually it’s less surprise and more greed,
but then I guess they are used to this sort of thing in those places…

We just got back and I thought I’d blog some of it, especially since I’m not sure when I’ll get time to log in again.

On the Campaign Trail

In the next couple of hours I’ll be leaving for Hisar
– again! This time though the motives are much nobler. I’ll be spending
the next one month there, on the campaign trail for one of my uncle’s
re-election to the state (Haryana) legislature. By the looks of it, this is going to be one tough fight!

His constituency is one of the few “all rural” constituencies in
Haryana with about 42 odd villages. So in all probability will not be
blogging for a while – hell I might not even be checking my mail!
That’ll be a new experience, no e-mail for a month! 😉

The Great Mouse Hunt

Returned home on Monday to find everyone in a tizzy about what seemed
to be a rodent infestation. Everything had been tried (mouse traps,
sprays etc.) and failed; so (as always) I was chosen to FIX IT!! Having
just come back from my trip to Hisar,
it seemed to be a bit of a let down to be designated the official
“Mouse Hunter” 😛  – but no one was willing to enter the kitchen
and I was hungry as hell! So I grudgingly got down to figuring out
where the little buggers were holed up… A little bit of investigation
revealed that the back side of the refrigerator was the most likely
candidate.

So I dragged out the blasted machine, opened up the rear cover and started poking a mop handle into its dark innards.
After much prodding a nice sized brown mouse jumped out from behind and
was easily swatted, a little later his smaller brother met a similar
fate. Once I’d satisfied myself that there weren’t any more of them in
there, I vacuumed the damn thing. The stuff that came out could have
easily fed a Somali family for a year (OK OK lousy joke)! But really,
those little fellas had a pretty decent sized cache in there. No wonder
the mouse traps had failed, they were baited with crusty old rotis
(unleavened bread made Indian style, for the uninitiated) and from a
close examination of their hoard it seemed like they were living almost
exclusively on salted biscuits – talk about a food fetish!

Anyway, I finally got my dinner, may their souls rest in peace! BTW anyone
have an idea if those ultrasonic rodent repellents work as advertised?
I’d rather not have to go through all this trouble again… 😛

Trip to Hisar

Just got back from a 3 day trip to Hisar
(also spelt Hissar). Had promised a few friends that I’d take them for some clay pigeon shooting but the timings never seemed to work out… So this trip had been due for quite some time now (sorry for the delay guys).

We departed from Delhi on Saturday around 2 PM. We were to leave a bit earlier but one of the guys got “the runs” (I won’t say which one) – I guess too much partying on New Year’s Eve 😉 We reached after dusk (it’s a four hour drive) dumped our bags at my uncle’s place and went straight to the fields. The next two days were spent shooting clays and offroading. I didn’t shoot much myself, but I quite enjoyed myself being the designated off road driver. Offroading is
another passion of mine but one that I don’t get much opportunity to pursue, living as I do in the city 😛

The tally of those who made it for the trip was Anand, Christopher, Dennis and Prashant. Christopher had shot a bit earlier, but the rest were all first timers. That said I was truly impressed by the maturity, restraint and diligent observance of gun safety shown by all four. I
have taken many newbies shooting but none have impressed as much as this bunch!  Great going guys!!

We took some time off on Sunday and decided to visit the ruins of an ancient city (dated about 3000 to 5000 years old depending on who you believe) at a place called Agroha. I’d mistakenly told the guys that these were the ruins of an ancient Harappan city (thanks for clearing that one up Dennis & Prashant).  Frankly, the ruins were less than impressive, partly due to the lousy restoration work done by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) but mainly because they haven’t even excavated 2% of the ruins! This in spite of the fact that the ruins
were discovered way back in 1888-1889! We have so much of history in this country that I guess we just take our heritage for granted, not even caring about such priceless monuments.

We returned on Monday night, dog tired and dirty but I think I can safely say that everyone came away fans of the sport, and would want to do it again! 🙂