A blog on various topics related to Home and Living, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Relationships, Self Help, Fiction and Spirituality. I love to share some of my life incidences too on this blog, so if you want to know me more, just grab a cup of coffee and go through my life here!

My Idea of a Perfect Road Trip goes from Barmana to Manali

One of the most amazing childhood memories that I have is the one in which my dad used to take me on long drive at night, especially after dinner. He used to take me to the petrol pump nearest to our house (around 2-3 KMs away from our home, on the Shimla-Manali National highway!), get me an ice cream (because that was the only place near to our home where we could get ice cream!) and then take me to the bridge crossing Satluj river.

The whole place just looked thousand times more majestic, grand and out of the world at night. Small lights twinkling from houses on the dark hills would look like jewels and crystals scattered on a super huge pitch dark magical flying carpet! The view of the river from the bridge was indeed scary at night, but equally breathtaking and awesome too!

Night view of a valley in Himachal
Night view of a valley in Himachal

Add to all this, the soft car fragrance lingering in the interiors of the car (I remember my dad had always kept a soft and relaxing car fragrance, irrespective of how many cars he changed to!), lovely music blaring the car's speakers and my dad's smooth and amazing driving skills, I was bound to have the best time always. The trend continued for years and no matter how many times I'd go on those roads in his Hyundai Santro car, the whole experience always used to make me immensely happy and at peace. The feeling was tantamount to having a session of meditation!

Now, fast forwarding my life to present, I still love to sit on the navigation seat of my car in front, more than actually driving the car. Even after learning the driving, getting my own license and doing a good job till date, I somehow never enjoyed driving much. I feel more at peace in seeing the world outside from the navigator's seat. My dad drives a Chervrolet Cruz now and my husband has a Hyundai FluidicVerna and I love travelling in both of them.

My perfect idea of a road trip
My perfect idea of starting a road trip (I took this pic while sitting on my fav seat in the car! )

Me relaxing a bit! :)

I've traveled a lot both in India and abroad, going from Himachal Pradesh, to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka , to a few places in United States of America (New York, New Jersey, San Francisco and Las Vegas) to some places in Germany (Ulm, Stuttgart & Esslingen).

Even though I've traveled across all these places in possibly all means of transport one can think of, the road trip from my childhood hometown - "Barmana (a small town in Bilaspur District, Himachal Pradesh) to Manali which is approximately 150 kms away, always takes the cake for an idea of a "Perfect Road Trip".  The whole journey just brings peace, awesome scenic beauty, relaxation and romance to you, no matter what time of year you take it! The memory of my fabulous last road trip from Barmana to Manali (which happened some 4 years back) is still so alive in my mind that whenever I get a smell of lavender,the trip just comes into my mind by default. Here is an account of it:

Road trip from NTPC Koldam to Manali
Road trip from NTPC Koldam to Manali

It was May 2009, and I'd started dating a guy who I'd known from my childhood. We used to spend a lot of time jamming in the club; I used to play piano, and he used to play guitar. The weather in Himachal Pradesh is always quite mushy and just gets extra romantic during Feb to June months. We fell in love and our parents weren't very supportive of our relationship that time. Those were the days when even a single day meeting used to be a big adventure and accomplishment for us.

One fine day his Dad had to go to Manali for an official trip and he decided to take his family along, in his car (he had Hyundai i10 that time!). There were certain new management trainees of his company too accompanying them in the trip on another vehicle. My boyfriend smartly roped me in the trip to go with the girls, and somehow managed to shift me from the other vehicle to his dad's car with his family after driving for 2-3 kilometers and of course he was driving the car!

The whole trip from NTPC Koldam bridge to the gorgeous terrains of Manali was one of a kind experience filled with all mixed feelings. There was obviously the most beautiful scenery to bring your mind at peace. The view from the car on whole road trip to Manali looks like a gorgeous painting, where you see the most amazingly crafted mountains on one side, and the beautiful rafting waves of the river on the other side. I usually don't enjoy drives on mountainous regions mostly because of winding roads and growing heights that tend to reduce your speed and make you feel sick. The road trip to Manali however is one plain and smooth journey that can definitely bring smile, enjoyment and peace to your mind, body and soul.

So, there I was enjoying the view, sitting just behind my dear boyfriend who was driving the car. Beside me were seated his mother and his brother, and his dad was sitting on the front navigator seat. The trip took around 5 hours for us to reach Manali and in between we halted at two local dhabas (there are tonnes of roadside dhabas that serve really yummy foods. You must try their kadhi, rice, roti and daal makhni *yumm*), where we had our refreshments. The trip was kind of a perfect road trip for me because of many reasons, some of which are listed below:

  • Perfect weather. It was cool and breezy; neither too hot nor too cold.
  • The smooth drive - thanks to the driver and the car! :)
  • The spell bounding scenic view, with nature at its best that you get to see all the time right from the start till you reach Manali. Of course, you get to see more beautiful things at Manali, but the journey definitely makes the visit more enjoyable, satisfying and complete.
  • I got a chance to mingle with my boyfriend's family. It was the first time I was spending some amount of quality time with them. The trip gave a great chance for us to know each other more.
  • Lovely songs of Shammi Kapoor's movies being played all along the trip! He has been my all time favorite and I absolutely adore his songs, dances and movies. Some of my favourites being - "Deewana mujh sa nahi", "O haseena zulfon waali", "Tum se accha kaun hai', and the list goes on!
  • The relaxing interiors of the car, along with its soft lavender fragrance from Ambi pur . I usually get sick of breathing in air conditioners and I get sick of the smoke and pollution as well, if I keep the windows open. I am really thankful to these amazing car fragrances that make life of people like me, so easy!
  • Some stolen romantic moments with my boyfriend. :)
I think it might be the glory of first love or whatever you want to call that made the trip even more exciting. To think of a moment that worked as a cherry on top of the cake, was when we halted at a place nearing Kullu. It was a bliss to sip some hot masala tea while munching on hot samosas, watching the course of wild flowing river, feeling the cool breeze and just letting the glorious rays of setting sun fall on us. 

All in all, no matter how many times I think of the trip, I always smile and feel elated. It was a trip, I'd definitely call perfect for me as it made me experience peace, anxiety, excitement, beauty, relaxation, love, warmth and above all the joy of travelling at its best!

P.S. This post is a contest entry for Indiblogger-Ambipur contest. To know more about the contest check HERE
To know more about Ambipur car fragrances, check HERE

Trying to Catch Water...Can you?

Life has been going on a quite rapid pace, and as I see my son Abhiraj growing up so fast, time certainly feels like a blur! Anyways, I've got a new camera and have been experimenting a lot with it, mostly to catch my son in action. I wonder why babies do everything so fast. My son moves his legs so fast that I can bet any adult would never be able to keep up the pace with him for more than 5 minutes. Seems like, this is the way babies vent out their burst of energy.

Keeping this energy part aside, what Abhiraj enjoys most in the entire day is his bath time. These days, he is able to sit on his own in his bath tub and enjoys being splashed with water. I had most fun when he tried to catch the flowing water for the first time. Its always so much fun to see his fascination towards the flowing water and how he tries to catch it with his fingers again and again, every day. I captured a few shots of him doing this. Check them out below:

Baby playing with water
Abhiraj...Happiest in water

Baby playing with water
Trying to catch water droplets

Baby playing with water
All falling down

Baby playing with water
Lets have another try

Baby playing with water
Oops..missed again

Baby playing with water
I think I'll just play with them for a while, and will try catching them again tomorrow

Baby playing with water
Tata... :D

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