Sunday, June 30, 2019

30th June 2019

As usual we were again in the park for morning round.
Best thing what we saw there was a herd of spotted deer about 70-80 but with only two male in it.
What is happening there?? Why the rutt has not started here at all?
My guess is because we saw very high activity of rut in this park in Feb March that's why most of the female are already pregnant. 
This happened only because of the best work which was done in meadow management.
We were told that some people saw the Mangu crossing at Jhhilki nala in the morning. He is back in the area. Since last three days he was forcing Xena to accept his dominance.
Park looked more dirty than ever. Plastic was seen at many place in the park mostly tobacco wrappers. Behaviour of guides and drivers needs to be checked with a heavy hand if the park authorities wants this park to stay in best managed parks.
Drivers do not respect any other vehicle waiting or watching any other animal other than the Tiger. We lost some good images of monkey baby playing, spotted deer fighting and preaching.
I will say that lack of dedicated staff is the one reason for this. In last three months we have seen park deteriorating in tourism zone. Mahavats played a big role in defaming the park. There was no control on them in any way and people thought that this is happening with the consent of park management but it was completely false . Mahavats became rogue.
With the new drivers in the park, who have no knowledge about the park rules,  do let tourists do what they wants. Basically indians still uses it as a Park to do picnic. They have no idea about the wildlife.

It's end of june and we still has not seen a good shower. Most of the meadows looks overgrazed and dry.
Chakradhara meadow which has little moisture looks little green otherwise all other areas looks yellow.
This is the arrival of monsoon but it looks very fake.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Roof was done on 21st June and 8 pommegranate were planted on 25th june.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Visit to UK with Kay & Munmun

Kay's idea was that " She is 18 now. She should have same facilities what the girls in UK will ask."
So start from the beginning Munmun was getting an independent room. When we stayed at Jay Pee Vasant Continental Munmun had her room then in our entire stay in UK she was given an independent room.
We are sure she enjoyed that freedom. It was hard to expect her to sit with us except meal times otherwise she always stayed in her room.
What we saw there was that almost all the girls and boys of 16 yrs of age were working to earn some pocket money. One of our friends daughter works 2 hours a day in a restaurant to earn some money.
Munmun did go to see her.
Taxi dropped us at the station and we boarded the train for our next stay at Hartland quay.
We had to change the train and wait for 12 minutes. Pete Underhay, to whom we have not met for about 15 yrs was waiting for us at the station.
It was really nice of him to drive 30 miles to meet us for few minutes. He saw Munmun when she was a toddler. On the next station Anne and Derek were there to receive us.
Anne and Derek are Kay's friends since her college time. Their daughter Esther came to stay with us in her gap year.
Gap year is the time when students after finishing the school takes a year off from study and do travelling or something else they likes.
We were again in a quiet coach.  All quiet coaches have this noticeboard and people follows it.

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And this system in train coaches which tells you about the reservation of the seat. Think about it? It's easy to do with present day technology. India is not far behind in technology but ideas and execution are missing in our country.
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Train Journey was always very quiet and comfortable.
Anne and Derek's friendship with Kay is solid as a rock. They decided to come to Devon for holiday so we have their company. They booked a cottage where they were staying with their daughter Liz and her partner.
They all are artists. Artists who enjoys life but stay away from all the glitter.
From the station we went straight to their cottage for lunch.Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

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Munmun did not say much but she was happy eating her favorite meal. Daal and Rice. After lunch and Tea they dropped us at Hartland Quay hotel where Kay booked a cottage for us. Three bedroom and two bathroom. One bathroom with bath.
Munmun rushed to see all the bedrooms and chose to stay upstairs where her huge double bed room was attached to a lounge. We stayed downstairs where a window has the sea view.
We were so full with the lunch that we did not feel like to eat anything but Munmun wanted a bowl of Chips.
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View from our room.
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Hartland Quay hotel where our cottage was left side in this building. Two white windows out of four were of our rooms. Where these chairs are there use to be a swimming pool.
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This was the view from Munmun's lounge window.
Evening was quiet except some wind noise.
Here Kay introduced Munmun to bath. She was told to enjoy it as long as possible but don't fell a sleep in it. In the morning she said she came out only when she thought she may fell asleep in bath.
We all slept well.
Breakfast is major meal for us here too. Munmun who never drank juice much at home started liking Apple juice.
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After breakfast Kay took Munmun to show the life rock which she use to climb in her childhood.
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Munmun and Kay looking for shells and rocks.
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What was more interesting here was that sea water quality was constantly checked between May and September for bathing. I just can't imagine these things happening in India. I know people reading this may not believe it, if so, then please read this notice board.
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Next day we went to
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Stones were put for visitors to chose, buy and pay.
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Someone made very good use of wellington shoes.

There are so many footpaths around Hartland quay for people to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
One day Liz and her partner did a long walk of about 15 miles and were so tired that they did nothing next day.
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 Munmun having cream tea at Watersmeet house.
Rail track
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Today we went to see this railway wagon which runs on weight system. Easy technology used very effectively.
Later on Liz Crow came to meet us so that was a very good meeting after almost 20 years.
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Today on our walk we saw this grey heron fishing in river. He looks so tame that I could walk about 40 feet to him and he still concentrating on his target.
Grey Heron
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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Visit to UK with Kay and Munmun

Last night we repacked to travel light but Munmun still travelling with her suitcase.
Today on 26th we left Durrance, Bromsgrove for Wotton-under-edge to stay with Iain + Ruth Green.
When Iain stayed with us first time then Munmun was about 2 years old.
Later on she started remembering him as Papita uncle because of his liking for Papaya fruits from the garden.
Almost all the trains in UK have Quiet coach which means talking is not allowed. Here quiet means quiet. People rely on texting while sitting in train. Not unlike India where mobile phone never stops ringing or parents handover their mobile phones to kids to get rid of their parental responsibilities. Believe me this kind of kids are real nuisance in A/C compartments of Indian train.
Ruth and Iain were waiting for us at the station. Iain took us home through a scenic route of countryside than motorway.
Last time when I stayed with Iain he was living in different village. There his house was next to a stream where he use to look for dipper.
Iain + Ruth did more than what they could do to make us feel more comfortable in their house. They moved kids so Munmun and us could have independent rooms. Although I slept on Sofa.
 Weather was not so good to go for a walk but even than a small window of sunshine was there to walk in woods. I stayed at home. Munmun enjoyed talking to kids and playing with Iain's dog.
Kay had some thorn in her toe which was making her difficult to walk. Iain offered her a lift to hospital and got it sorted. Probably it was Barleriya thorn which broke inside.
Next morning Iain has to go to London so after breakfast a Taxi dropped us at the station.
Certainly Ruth and kids made Munmun feel at home.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Visit to U.K. with Kay and Munmun

Worcester city : Railway station furniture is probably 100 yrs old or so. If you remember wooden benches on our railway stations which were painted with grey paints years after year. We saw a very similar bench here in worcester and it reminded me the furniture I saw at Budhni, Hoshangabad and few years back in Nainpur railway station.
Train journey back to Bromsgrove was good. Munmun had all her shopping bags so she used lift and we took the healthier route.

Today we again had a walk in the Chaddesley woods and walk through rapseed oil fields to reach Sue's house for tea and stayed for dinner. Sue and Pete are real farmer means meat eaters but today it was all vegetarian.  Munmun loved her beans on toast.
Staying at Durrance was the best for sleep quality. We had an extra bedroom with us and kitchen full of goodies which no one used.
Again I cooked the omelette for Munmun and we had usual our fruits cereal toast and tea.
Today we walk to Monica's house.. She makes variety of jams and every year we gets some bottles from her.
Monica and her husband liked Munmun . Monica lives in such a beautiful place that she never wants to go out on any holiday. Her husband does all sorts of things to keep himself busy. Engineering is his hobby. Old cars, Mini, Beetle, Rolls Royce and god knows which were there. You press a button and car will appear.
He wanted to show us his lorry with all the farming equipments and fighter planes but it was on show somewhere in the country. Some other day was the promise.
From their we walk in to woods to reach Dodford Inn where Andy and Esther were coming to meet us.
It's such a small community that everyone knows everyone. Pub was not open yet and we reached there from the back gate which opens in backfield footpath.
Kay introduced herself and Oh oh yes please take your seat and be comfortable.
We think she was the Pub owner who was cleaning the windows. In India owner will never do that kind of work but here all these things are everyday routine.
Munmun was fascinated travelling in Range Rover, Land Rover, Mercedes, BMW. I don't think we travelled in Jaguar there. One Land Rover which we used was not washed for months and Range Rover had farmers tools in the boot. These are the people who uses vehicle as a tool. Some of them thinks buying is cheaper and safer than getting it repaired.
When you see these people then you realise that these are the real workers who knows how to enjoy money.
Andy came with his wife to hand over some pictures for our rooms. He was in a hurry.
Esther brought the album from the days she stayed with us in Tala when Munmun was only 3 years old. That cheered up Munmun. She ate her first egg at Raja cafe on that visit to Khajuraho.
It was nice to see Esther.
Esther dropped us at the Durrance and left after a cup of tea.
I stopped eating biscuits in Sep 2017 but here temptation for Ginger biscuits was too strong than my will.
Even we never had Magnum ice cream on this trip??    

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Elephants and Tigers in Central India.

Using elephants for Shikar was a part of every royal hunt in India. Most of the Maharajas, even when they did not had enough forest for keeping elephants in , kept the elephants. I think there must have been some ego also involved in it like the Gun salute in England. More you pay better you get the respect.
Kanha got their first elephant from one of the Maharaja and in Bandhavgarh Maharaja of Rewa had an elephant kept in tala for his visit to fort and for hunting Tigers.
Presently most of the national parks in M.P. are using elephants for patrolling and for tourism. Even when elephant is used by Tourist they do some sort of patrolling in the park. Finding some tigers in the park while sitting on elephant back ensures
the survival of that particular Tiger till that day.
In India Bandhavgarh and Ranthambhore are the two parks where most of the Tigers comes under weekly patrolling and forest department knows about their wherabouts for sure.
When we asked them about Tulsi which was not seen in the park for two years we were told that she is surviving in Buffer but we never believed it only because our thinking was that if alive then some day this tigress would have come in core area, in her old territory.
After two years when we saw her inside the park, in her old territory we believed them. This time she came only to look for a mate. Once her purpose was solved she again went out and next we heard was that she has three cubs in buffer zone.
Elephants were sent constantly for whole monsoon to patrol her area and that ensured her cubs survival.
It's the patrolling in last three years time which has put Bandhavgarh as one of the most important park in the country. Tiger numbers here are the best in the history of Bandhavgarh and best in India too.
Last season total number of tigers (including cubs) seen by tourists were about 90 and the figure for this season should not be less than that.
Which other National park in the country can claim it???
Visiting UK is my nightmare only for one reason that in some nights I just can't sleep and then my mental condition goes worst. Whether I can slepp or not is not the question but my brain tells me that I can't sleep here.
I dont feel claustrophobic in plane or train or anywhere else but in those houses thats my problem.  My other problem there is those soft beds. I cant sleep in them.
Luckily this time in our 24 days stay I had problem only twice and both the times it was solved quickly.
Munmun was always chosey or lucky to have the best room all the time.
At farm house she had the room with best view of the fields where she use to sit on window sill to watch rabbits and cats in the lawn. One morning we saw Ginger cat carrying a baby rabbit.
 We landed at Birmingham by Air India flight. Air India system is a complete mess. Now when you book your flight ticket you need to pay for your seat also otherwise if you are more than one person flying together then there is no guarantee that you both will be sitting together. This is now an  International Cheating through legal system. Previously when you are booking your ticket at the same time you can book your seat too but now even after paying for ticket they want money from you for your preferable seat.
We had arguement after arguement with Air India staff for not being able to provide us the seat which we booked and for which we already paid in advance.
Their silly excuse was that the flight came from Amritsar and Amritsar booking clerk has already alotted these seats to someone else.
How it can be possible. Once we have paid and booked the seat through their system only then how come their staff didn't see that these seats are already booked from Delhi.
Our situation was that plane door was closed, some staff still holding our boarding pass and our passports and we three were standing near the pantry.
This was Munmun's first National or International flight which started with a chaos. Poor girl has no clue about the system and me and Kay were damn mad.
At last when plane started rolling the air hostess gave Kay the boarding pass and our passports with an excuse that our problem could not be solved so Kay and Munmun sat together on ther seats which has enough leg room and I sat away from them in a different row.
I am not biased about Air India but I know how good and cost affecting food can be served in air lines. We (M.P.Tourism) have run airport canteen for years in Bhopal and when I was Manager Hotel Panchanan often the Menu for different airlines food were decided there.
Air India served us a packet of Chana Murmura with tea. When you are serving food to an unknown gentry then food served should be palatable to all. I could not eat that Chana Murmura pkt and so the Munmun only because it was too spicy then question doesn't arise for Kay to touch it.
Meal was very poor. We had potato curry with jeera fried rice with few green pea rolling in them. Sweet was some in between of Rasgulla and Gulab jamun, hard that could not be cut by that plastic spoon. Only thing good in that meal was a pkt of yoghurt.
Looks like some A+++ class idiot must be looking after the catering department of Air India.
Air Hostess gave us the embarkation cards to be filled by all foreigners landing in UK so we also filled it but no one asked for these cards at immigration counter.
Reply was UK has stopped it. Its all digital now, we already have your information.
Munmun had to face few questions at immigration desk. Simple routine questions why you have come and how long you are staying. She said I have come to meet my aunts family and this is my holiday.
At Delhi airport I bought a Vodafone sim for UK. That was the best decision and best buy. I changed my sim in my phone at Birmingham airport itself and called the taxi man. We used Bromsgrove Taxi service where we met Turkish Pakistani and Indian drivers. They provided us good service.
It was still day light at 1900 and Munmun was just watching road traffic and speedy cars. Later on we found that she fascinated by sheeps. First ten days every time she saw them she use to shout sheeeeep.

We dont know how much she grasp from this visit. It could not be a culture shock for her because she was seeing foreigners since her childhood but yes how people live here was far far different than our living. We survive on servants and maids and there people finish the job then and there.
I was wondering that why she did not shown any interest in seeing the dish washer that how it works. Probably she must have been shy to ask.
 First sixr nights we stayed at The Durrance Holiday Farm House. We had a three bedroom Bungalow . A bedroom kitchen and dining hall on ground floor and two bedrooms on first floor.
Ms Helen owns this property. We didn't knew that she knows Kay's sister well. She made a huge Chocolate cake for us.
First night we had some snacks with tea and Chocolate cake. On the last day when we were leaving we asked Munmun to finish the cake because in last 5 days we could not finish it. It was superb. Munmun relish it and so the we.
Kay organised this trip very well. She printed the footpath map from Durrance cottage to Bromsgrove which we explored in next few days.
Sleep quality in Durrance cottage was very good. Munmun had no jet lag problem. She could sleep any where.
Next morning I cooked omellette for Munmun and we had Fruits cereal and toast. Tetley tea in UK is far better in taste then what we get here. Although same company, Tata..
Munmun and Kay loved free range egg served at Durrance cottage. They have few chickens in a pen where Munmun has to feed them with our kitchen waste.

Munmun was amazed to see cow grazing in fields and footpath going through these fields. Once she learnt the footpath sign then quite a few times she found the footpath exit or entry gate.
Footpaths are legal there but still farmers dont like people to walk through their fields. Their fear is all the disease what a walker can bring from other fields in to his.

Munmun liked meeting Sue, Kay's sister. She found Sue a very jolly person. Yes Sue is always smiling. While walking at Sue and Pete's land munmun was just watching all the machinery lying there.
After having some Cake, Chocolate and Tea we walk to Bromsgrove market.
To an Indian standard Munmun was given tons of money by Kay for her shopping in UK.
In fact Munmun's visit to UK was entirely paid off by Kay. Munmun had no clue what to buy and where to buy. She was just walking and window shopping.
She did some shopping here and Kay told her to wait for tomorrow when we go to Worcester.
Next morning we took a train to Worcester city.
Munmun was seeing the time table display and arrival of the train . 10.13 means 10.13 and train moved.She did not speak much in train but amazed to see the clean train and seats. Often we were traveled in quiet coach. Munmun always tried to get the window seat to see her favorite animal sheep.
We walk to the river to see those Bricks which marks the flood marks of different years. Best way to keep the flood record. I knew that one person who was Principal in Saint Johns College Agra was from Worcester and buried here in Worcester Cathedral.
Here only paid cameras are allowed in cathedral.
Munmun had great fun in Worcester. Kay took her in all the shops to look for clothes for her. Her shopping includes Bag, shoes, Jeans and some tops, some for Mahi and something for Mini.
Had a nice meal in M&S and then back to Durrance Cottage for over night.
Munmun enjoyed her shopping in worcester and Kay was busy for whole night thinking What to do tomorrow.