The Indian Me

 As an Indian and like most I would believe there are many things I would think and grieve for every day. Everything from pollution to pitiable state of roads and infrastructure, lack of proper medical facilities, bureaucracy at every level of existence and many more issues that a common man faces each day of survival

???????????????????????????????Yet with all these issues, the last two weeks drew me more close to this country in a peculiar manner. I enjoyed the company of two ladies from two corners of this globe visiting India for the first time on a business visit. Most guests visiting our country for the first time have inhibitions and pre conceived notions of what India would look like. I do not blame them for believing India is all about poverty, impoverished kids, congested roads, poor public transport system among others.

My first meeting with them left me with no different feeling. They seemed hesitant to try many things here, unsure of people they would meet, recollecting their experiences with whatever they saw already. Somehow it all sounded too similar to other expats I have known who are careful of what they eat, the water they use for brushing their teeth, who find sparkling water more hygienic, many who found Indian food spicy owing to the chilies used while cooking. There are many such pre conceived notions of what India is all about, things they should do and things they should avoid. Unfortunately that’s what most media portray India as and perceptions get built on experiences from people who may have never made it to our shores before

Amazingly the Indian gut allows using tap water to feed and cook food for millions daily. I adored the beauty a salwar could bring out from people who were so comfortable in short dresses all life. Calling any food spicy was more to describe the variety of spices used in a complex preparation.

Changing their perception was important and my friends were receptive to many such occasions. After all our food was still healthier than an array raw meat and fish served around the globe in various forms. They were visiting a country which was one of the fastest growing economies today and hosted by Ahmedabad, which has been put on the global map by Modi government for the pace of its development and rich culture. India was still one of those countries where citizens did not need firearms to be safe while walking on streets or have children being gunned down while in schools. It wasn’t surprising to see that development of a country for many is limited to better roads, public places, cleaner air, better infrastructure etc. Yet most made way to Indian shores in search of knowledge, spirituality, peace and a better life. India has probably surpassed many cultures by being developed through its culture, history and spirituality. Development for Indians is possibly evident through developed minds employed in most coveted jobs, mastery in chess, multi skilled in various tasks or a spiritual awakening pursued by many    ???????????????????????????????

What transpired over the next two weeks possibly changed the way they looked towards India. The hotel completely outdid their expectations. The staff was excellent with their service, warmth and friendliness. Indian food in most meals left them wanting to try more each day. A leisure day from our busy schedule helped visit city streets full of warm and smiling people. Unlike many global cities I know, people and children on the street were excited to see them and not wanting to steal or fleece them. DSC04870The temple elephant strolling in the middle of the road of a busy market place never seemed unusual just like those various cows which were our citizens using the streets. In a way this coexistence and sharing of space with those animals does not lower our level in society. A visit to Sabarmati ashram followed and held our guests and myself in total admiration of what a single man could achieve in a non violent way. A single day packed ample experiences and memories for our guests here???????????????????????????????

Having spent time with them made me realize why it was so important not to have a pre-conceived notion or a perception towards any community. These can close your mind and heart to all the good things waiting to be experienced.
Bunch of children in the ashramThe curries they devoured, the kids they met, and the peace they felt in the Ashram only makes the Indian Me believe, India has much more to offer then a dirty street or a poor beggar. There still is our rich culture, a history of episodes and struggle, mystic things and spiritual experiences, and a confident generation of people who are investing their time in learning, excelling and preparing for a developed India of tomorrow 


Andaman & Nicobar – travelog


“Over looking the sea at Port Blair, Andaman”

Andaman & Nicobar Islands, an archipelago or a collection of various small islands; Very little is known about this beautiful union territory of India and most surprisingly Indians form a small percentage of tourism to these islands. Located close to Chenai coast, the place can be accessed by flight or by sea journey. Nicobar islands are not accessible to tourists considering they are still occupied by native tribes



Many reasonable accommodations are available and can be booked through various reputed travel agents like @Make My Trip or @Yatra. However quality of accommodations should be expected to be average considering the islands depend on daily supplies from Indian coast

We were fortunate however to find accommodation at “Megapode” which overlooks the majestic Indian ocean at Port Blair. The bugle sound of the cargo ships give an early morning wake up call along with the clutter of birds outside your rooms. Megapode is a name of a local bird found in Andamans, full of mischief and capable of running top speeds on ground


Among the various tourist locations in Andamans, Indian history records the suffering of prisoners during the British rule in India. These are the famous “Central Jail” also known to many as “Kalapaani Jail”


Legend has it that these jails never allowed a prisoner to escape being surrounded by Indian ocean on all sides. The waters possible devoured many dead trying to escape.

The corridors here have an eerie feeling. Our hearts sank in those corridors with the mind painting the horrific image of prisoners being confined to dark dungeons, death altars and gallows where prisoners were given the death sentence. It also houses a room specially created in that era for lashing prisoners on bare skin. A testimony to the struggle put up for our dear freedom 


There are endless options of beautiful white sand beaches. Little wonder these islands are a top choice for honeymooners


Do expect a tropical climate for most months in the year. These islands play host to foreign campers and tourists for most months in a year. Monsoons can be choppy in some parts. Our chosen month for travel was July which is in midst of monsoon for Andamans. Though a few places were beyond our reach, what came as a boon was a rainforest and crocodile sanctuary close to Havelock islands.

Best advice is not to stick out your hand from the speed boats which take you to the little marooned island through a series of thick vegetation and mangroves 


Deep within the rainforest area lie these amazing creation of nature. These limestone caves are in formation since the dinosaur age adding a few mm each year


Most foreign tourists leave the Andaman island almost as soon as they arrive to another island nearby called “Havelock”.

Government transport to this island is by Ramanujam ship which carries passengers once a day each way. Private transport is available but expensive. Be careful to have to plan a day in between traveling back to Port Blair and catching a flight. Transport to and from Havelock is often suspended due to weather and sea conditions 


Havelock is scarcely populated and there are beaches where you may be the only human species around. The water is clear and calm and you can walk through corals and fish until a few hundred meters off shore. Options of scuba, fishing, snorkeling etc are available

Andaman and Nicobar are home to some of the oldest tribes of this world. Among the main five tribes, The Jarawa tribe has still not crossed over to civilization while government programs are ongoing

Tourists are asked to be cautious when passing through Jarawa tribe areas. However I was lucky to have spotted a few and missed a near death experience with a jarawa ready with an arrow. Jarawas are mainly hunters and mainly depend on hunting and farming for their survival 


Andaman islands are a bundle of adventure and peace. Plan a trip lasting a week to enjoy most parts of these islands. Tag your tent, camping gear and a camera along

Coral reefs, rainforest, scuba diving, Asia’s largest timber cutting factory, or a peaceful retreat to Havelock and other islands, Andaman islands offers an experience and memories for a lifetime