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Decoding the women in the Delhi Metro’s Ladies Coach.

This piece has been triggered by an observation made by a male colleague of mine who said that women in the Delhi Metro tend to cling to each other far more than men. Although at that point of time, I vehemently denied it; on retrospection I realized it was absolutely true!

Picture this, any bench inside the Delhi metro can seat up to seven people. But the moment an empty Metro enters the platform; a mob of womankind darts ahead to wiggle and wag, twist and turn, almost throwing you into the ‘mind the gap’ territory that they keep warning you about. In the end, at least nine of them fit into one single bench. This only means that each of the girls sitting on the bench has one butt-cheek up in the air and is in far worse shape than the ones standing. It also means that the girls have a much lower size assessment of their behinds. Come on girls, your asses are not as small as you think. I mean those demarcations on the benches are there for a reason.

If for some reason, one of them doesn’t get a seat, they simply stand hovering over you, silently willing you to shrink in size. Or simply glaring and staring till you get off at your metro station. Some of them will demand outright “thoda adjust kar lo”, which basically means you have to adjust her bum, her laptop bag, her lunch bag as well as some shopping bags. Few minutes into the journey, when one of your butt has already been mid-air for some time, your shoulder has got used to stooping over your bag simply because there isn’t enough space to adjust both the shoulders, your lunch bag been kicked around some and you have overheard the choicest Honey Singh songs on your neighbour’s phone, begins the game of bhutta eating. No matter what, there will be one woman who is eating bhutta in the Delhi Metro while you are busy trying to breathe and banging you on your face.

Now the question arises, why is there such a huge overwhelming mind-boggling passion to sit down? Most of these women are either going to or coming from their office or home or college. At any of the given places, they were obviously already sitting for few hours at a stretch. Then why this huge urge to sit down again?

It also makes me think, what actually happens when you are standing. If it is a very crowded metro, you are clearly pushed and pulled about, and you obviously can’t sit. But what if it is not that crowded? What is the desperation then to sit down? I mean do you get an instant heart attack or something like a meteor comes and strikes you down if are standing?

Often these women might be the ones who carry salads in their tiffin dabbas and hit the gym regularly. Haven’t you people heard that by simply standing, you can burn so much of calories?
There is this other problem that women in the metro have. They very conveniently tend to forget that they have elbows. I, hereby, declare that we womenfolk do have a necessary bendable part residing in the middle of our hands, known as, and referred to hereinafter as ‘elbows’.

When there is just a centimeter of space between you and the girl next to you, you can’t fold your elbows. Not to watsapp, not to fiddle with your bag, definitely not to stuff chips in your mouth and not even to remove that errant strand of hair. Your elbows need to be ram rod straight, under any circumstance in a crowded metro.

On second thoughts, add your ass to that list as well. Bending down to pick up your bag every now and then, unmindful of where your ass is, is simply unacceptable.


Goa as a place is full of character. It can be throbbing with music one moment and poignantly serene the next moment. It is like light reflected on a drop of water, shinning with many colours.

Much has already been said about this captivating place of sun, sand and surf. What more could I possibly say to add to its glory? As I mulled over this, it struck me that even now a lot of people are confused as to which part of Goa they should head to – North or South.

An ideal trip would be one which includes a stay at both North and South. For such a trip anything between 5 nights to a week would suffice. But if time and budget are a constraint, you will be better off if you plan ahead.

To begin with, Goa with its numerous beaches has something for everyone. However, it is important to figure out what you are expecting from the trip beforehand. If you are a party and action loving person, North Goa is the place to be. On the other hand, if you want tranquility away from the maddening crowds, head straight to the picturesque South Goa.

Now let’s look at both these parts of Goa at some length.

Lighthouse at Fort Aguada

North Goa
Calangute, Candolim, Baga and Vagator are the must visit beaches in North Goa. If you love water sports, staying close to Baga or Calangute makes sense. Both the beaches are speckled with many budget friendly shacks which come for as low as Rs. 500 during the off season.

Get up early in the morning and hit the beach to try your luck at jet skiing, para sailing, kayaking, boat rides, etc. It is best to start early for a number of reasons. Firstly, the rates for the rides are not fixed and we were quoted different prices on different days. By starting early, you get to recce the rates a bit and strike a good bargain. Also as the day proceeds, the rates become more and more steeper.

When I went for jet skiing, the life guard offered me to ride the boat by myself for an extra 200Rs. Don’t be fooled by this ruse, as he will only allow you to hold the steering of the boat and not ride it.

While in Goa water sports seems to be the thing to do. However, I would highly recommend you to try your hands at go karting. You can have a taste of go karting on the way to Fort Chapora and it is the best that I have experienced till date.

If you are not a sports lover, don’t fret. Baga beach is also frequented by temporary tattoo artists, masseurs and sea shell trinket sellers.

North Goa is famous for its pulsating nightlife. Right from Club Tito’s to Café Mambo, North Goa is abuzz with activity. What’s amazing is that even the small timers, hidden in the lanes behind Calangute come alive with music in the evening.

If you like alfresco arrangements try one of the shacks on the beaches or the Calangute Towers, which is located on the main road behind Calangute Beach. They play awesome live music on the weekends.
While in Goa don’t forget to try some of the mouth watering delicacies like King Prawns, Chicken Xacuti, Grilled Pomfrets, Prawn Vindaloo, Sea Food platters, etc.

You can also take a short river cruise at river Mandovi, Panjim. The area is also famous for its casinos.
A Chapel at Old Goa

Sight Seeing
Very close to Calangute is Fort Aguada with the lighthouse. Visit it on a sunny day to click some great snaps. Another place that is a must visit is Fort Chapora of Dil Chahta Hai fame. The fort being at a little height, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes for the short trek.

The drive down to the Fort  was truly memorable with yellow fields soaked in sunlight strewn on both sides. The sight that awaited us at the top is one of the best things that I have seen in my life. The sunset seen from the fort was breathtaking and definitely not something you would want to miss. In fact, we liked the place so much that we decided to revisit it again the next day.

North Goa is also close to old Goa which the home to Basilica Bom Jesus, Church of St Francis of Assisi and the museum within it. Both these places are marvels of Portuguese architecture. A word of caution though that old Goa doesn’t have good eateries and it is better to eat in advance.

View of Vagator Beach

Tourists at Calanguate Beach

South Goa
South Goa is an ideal destination for couples and those who want an idyllic and laid back trip. The most popular beaches of South Goa are Palolem, Agonda, Varca and Cola beach. Go for long walks along the coastline, read a book, watch the sun set and spend some time in the company of silence.

The beautiful Palolem beach surrounded by coconut trees is a great place to spend half a day. It offers a number of competitively priced water sports. However, do not venture too far into the water as the beaches in South Goa are not safe for swimming.

If you don’t mind spending a bit of money, then book a sea facing cottage at H2O Agonda. These spacious and tastefully done cottages are the kind of places which are in itself complete. You just arrive and spend all your time enjoying the beauty around you.

The place has a live bar and also a beach restaurant which provides good food. Another good news is that they are soon starting a spa in their premises.

There are a lot of other budget-friendly cottages available at Palolem beach. You can also explore a variety of cuisines in the restaurant lined close to the beach.

Entrance of the Plantation

Visitors taking the Plantation tour
Close to Palolem, about 9km south is Cotiago Wildlife Sanctuary. Don’t expect to bump into its more exotic residents (including gaurs, sambars, leopards and spotted deer), but you can easily spot plumed birds, frogs, snakes and monkeys at the scenic santuacry. Set off early morning for the best sighting prospects from one of the sanctuary’s two forest watchtowers, 6km and 9km from the entrance.

Although I wanted to visit the sanctuary I couldn’t manage the time. In its place, I chose the Tropical Spice Plantation. I will talk about it in detail in the next segment.

A tourist enjoying the elephant bath

Sunset at the beach restaurant of H2O Agonda

Sight Seeing
Besides spending time in the beautiful beaches , you could also visit Fort Cabo Da Rama. While the drive to the spot is through hilly lanes and fields of rice, the fort itself is not much to look forward to. The fort is not well maintained and is quite deserted. However, if you have the time and want to ride around in a scooty this could be a good place to head to.

On the way to South Goa, we also stopped over at Tropical Spice Plantation. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see some of the plants and trees inside the plantation. The tour of the plantation was slightly disappointing as I was expecting a much longer trek. Also I was already familiar with most of the plants as they are commonly found in my hometown.

The tour was however, compensated by the tasty traditional Goan lunch at the plantation. You can also try elephant rides, horse rides and elephant bath at the plantation.

In conclusion, I would say that both North and South Goa has its own charms. What are you looking for? 

Note: This article was first published on The Thumprint Mag


For a long time, Mcleodganj has been overshadowed by the more popular hill stations like Shimla, Manali and even Nainital. What couples tend to miss is that Mcleodganj along with Dharamshala has a lot more to offer in terms of things to do as well as see. While it has some claim to fame as far as adventure tourism is concerned, its scenic beauty, quaint cafes, spiritual atmosphere deserves a special mention.
To begin with, most hotels and home stays in Mcleodganj are adorned with beautiful rooftop terraces. It is the perfect way to spend hours lazing over a delicious breakfast. In the evening, the balconies that open out into the hills prove to be the ideal place to spend some quality time with your loved one. An impromptu round of antakshari can also be fun. Those who want to explore the place better can head on a directionless walk around the town. You will find many warm cafes with happy music awaiting you.

Some interesting ways to spend time with your beloved are summed up below.
A tourist taking a closer look of the Dhauladhar at the Naddi View Point

Dharamshala Stadium flanked by the Dhauladhar Range

Take a day trip to Dharamshala Stadium – If your better half is into sports, he or she will totally dig this. On the other hand, don’t worry if you, yourself aren’t much into sports. The sights at the top of the stadium will more than make up for everything. Situated 1,457m above sea level and set against the backdrop of the picturesque Dhauladhar range, this is a stadium you will never forget. No wonder Dharamshala is Aussie cricketer Mathew Hayden’s favourite holiday destination.
A small section of the stadium is open to tourists and offers a delightful view. You can spend a couple of hours in the gallery, simply gazing at the lush green field and the snowy mountain tops. By the end of it, don’t be surprised if your partner ends up thanking you profusely for suggesting this place.

Learn a skill together at Norbulingka Institute – For couples who love trying out new things together, a day trip to Norbulingka is a must. Named after a palace of the same name in Tibet, Norbulingka Institute brings together the best of Tibetan hospitality, spirituality, craftsmanship, tours and workshops. Within its premises, you will be able to enroll together for different short courses, right from wood crafting to finishing your own thangka painting. You can also take guided tours of varied types, visit a doll’s museum, sample local delicacies at their restaurant, shop artifacts and spent some peaceful moments in their monastery.

The Golden Buddha at the Norbulingka Monastery

Tribal Tibetan couple at the Doll's Museum, Norbulingka

Spend a day in the open, War Memorial – Built in memory of Indian soldiers who martyred in 1971 war with China and the Kargil war, War Memorial is placed within a pretty park in Dharamshala. The place is lined with beautiful trees and small artificial rivulets. Spend a couple of hours sitting on the benches doing absolutely nothing. Try the canteen for basic snacks.

Pray for something nice at St John’s Church in the Wilderness – Little outside the market of Mcleodganj is the beautiful neo gothic Church of St John, built in dedication to John the Baptist. This is a perfect place to spend some quiet leisurely time, resting in the dreamy sunlight. Stroll around the campus, click some photographs at sunset and walk back to the town at dusk.

Conquer a waterfall at Bhagsu – If you are the kind of couple who love hitting the gym together or playing a sport together, this is for you. Set out early for the Bhagsu Falls located right beside the Bhagsunath temple. Come prepared to walk a bit and be surrounded by a touristy crowd. At the top of the falls, you can dip your feet in the water and savour piping hot Maggi.

Spend a night under the stars at Triund – The trek to Triund can easily be one of the highlights of the trip. The best way to reach Triund is to save some energy by taking a taxi till Galu from Mcleodganj and then start on the 7km trek. The trek is medium to easy except for the last 1km. It can be a delightful way to spend time with your loved one. There are many places to spend the night at top, be it a bungalow with modern facilities or a camp with basic amenities. But it is better if you plan something ahead. 

A woman at the Mcleodganj Market

Few hours before sunset at the Naddi View Point

 Complete a kora around the Monastery – Mcleodganj being the home to the 14th Dalai Lama, most visitors and pilgrims embark on a kora at the Tsuglagkhang complex. A kora is a clockwise walk around the complex beginning at the end of the Temple Road, passing through excellent views of the valley, buzzing of sound of Om Mani Pad Me Hum, a forest strewn with prayer flags and Tibetan shrines.
The monastery can provide a tranquil escape for those couples for whom rejuvenation is a priority. But do keep in mind that this is a religious place, and the best way to enjoy it is to sit on one of the sheltered benches, under the canvas awning, and listen to constant chants of the monks. All in all, it is the perfect place to get nostalgic and weave new memories.

Drive into the tea gardens of Palampur - What could be more romantic than driving down to a picturesque tea garden? The journey itself is the destination in this case. Plan a surprise trip for your beloved without revealing the destination. You can pack your picnic basket in advance and set up your little corner amidst the gardens. However, make sure not to dirty the beautiful surroundings. Spend the day enjoying your surrounding and clicking some wonderful pictures. End the trip by gifting your partner a pack of exotic tea sold at the garden itself. For those who can’t make it to Palampur, Dharamshala too has its own tea garden.

Watch the sunset at Naddi View Point – Away from the hustle and bustle of the town, Naddi offers a beautiful view of the Dhauladhar Mountain range. Consider it as an evening date idea to spend a couple of hours before heading for dinner. You can either trek down to Naddi, a 3km trek or take a ride on one of the taxis plying that way. On arriving, do catch the view with one of the telescopes for just Rs 10. It is amazing to discover what lies hidden on the mountains. And afterwards don’t forget to compare notes with your partner.  
Verdant tea gardens of Dharamshala

Buddha at the Norbulingka Monastery

Constantly spinning Buddhist prayer wheels 

Witness a witty debate at Tsuglagkhang Complex – A great way to strike a conversation to remember is to listen to the monks debate at the Tsuglagkhang Complex. On any given afternoon, you can find them sitting in groups and engaging in a stirring debate in the courtyard. These debates done in good humor are usually conducted with energetic gestures, shouts, clapping and stomping of the foot. While it may not be possible to follow what the debate is actually about, watching the monks in action is an experience in itself.
Embark on a gastronomic journey Mcleodganj is known to be a food lover’s paradise. Apart from the famous roadside potato and chicken momos, the town has a number of cafes which serve delicious Tibetan, Bhutanese and Nepali fares. A few good options would be - the Shiva Café, Khana Nirvana, Café Moonspeak, Café Mc’llo and Café Hummingbird. Head over to Khana Nirvana, located in the main market of Mcleodganj for dinner and listen to lively music as you enjoy a delicious meal. For vegetarians Café Hummingbird at the Norbulingka Institute offers a great spread of Continental and Italian food along with local delicacies. Most of the cafes at the main market have free Wi-Fi too.

Monk with a Mission

Mutton in Apricot Gravy, served hot at Cafe Moonspeak

Chonor House – If you don’t mind spending a bit of money for traditional Tibetan hospitality, book your room way in advance at the Chonor House. It is a branch of Norbulingka Hotels and set amidst tall cedar trees very close to Dalai Lama’s residence.
Norling House – Located within the Norbulingka premises, this guest house provides many advantages. You get easy access to cultural workshops, a chance to be part of many organized tours, access to the in-house monastery and a taste of local life. However, the guest house is located off Dharamshala and main Mcleodganj market.
Deodar Villa – Situated bang at the centre of the Mcleodganj market, Deodar Villa is your best bet for great views in medium budget. Most rooms are accompanied by balconies and the hotel also boasts of a rooftop restaurant.
Mcleodganj Home Stay – If you want to stay in a beautiful private house that has modern amenities yet an earthy feel, go for Mcleodganj home stay. You again need to book your room way in advance to ensure that you actually get one. The place also serves organic home cooked food and has a stand-alone hill-top wooden hut with stellar views.

Note: This article was first published in Zee News India