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Road to Raigad Fort

The Idea of Going to Raigad Fort

Have you ever wondered why people choose to do different life-threatening activities like rock climbing, big wave surfing, bull riding, etc.? Does not the risk of death or severe bodily injury seem too dreadful to those who venture into performing those adventures? I have seen people try to get out of their everyday state by doing something as simple as throwing their cycles in the river from a bridge, and if that doesn’t seem to get them out of their blues, they throw themselves from the bridge. 

The risk of death for the people who pursue such daredevil acts (or tomfooleries, if one would call that), I think, is comparatively lower than the risk of death by boredom. When exposed to an uncharted territory, the body and mind adjust to the new environment, which brings some excitement, some setbacks, some unknown to be known, some fear to be conquered.

When life, including mine and that of others, becomes a series of mundane actions, one has to do something and spice it up a little. So, it was quite interesting to hear my colleague Paven suggest a rather adventurous trip to his hometown where a famous fort of great significance was located, namely the Raigad Fort. His suggestion, his excited narration of life in the village and the picture he painted of some mouth-watering food, popti, for instance, intrigued me.

Popti. Courtesy: Pavan

Popti is a special dish made in a pot by adding some well-chosen spices, fresh vegetables, country eggs, chicken, beans, etc. Pavan was going to add fish in it because I don’t eat chicken but relish well-cooked fishes.

Most people who come to Maharashtra primarily live in Mumbai (or Pune) and its suburbs, while they hardly have any idea or seem keen to know about life in the village of Maharashtra. That is an area where I, as much as the people I put the blame on, have to reconsider and improve upon. What also intrigued me was the idea of going up the Raigad Fort, about which I have heard a great deal, and to which politicians and the general mass of Maharashtra (and people interested in the Maratha culture and history) make a point of going.

The Original Plan

Pavan had already put forward the plan of going to his hometown to a few more colleagues (Onkar, Ankit, Siddesh, and Rahul), all of whom seemed equally enthusiastic about the visit. Siddesh’s native, Dapoli, a town by the seaside, happens to be close by. The water around Dapoli beach, I have heard, is pretty clear and clean. So, we made a few alterations and added Dapoli in our itinerary. 

Dapoli Beach
Beachfront at Dapoli. Image courtesy: Siddesh

The plan now was to spend the first day in Raigad, and the next day from morning to late afternoon at Dapoli. On the first day we planned on seeing the Raigad Fort, Pavan’s old house in the village called Shivthar, and in the evening we would go to a cottage (for staying the night), and enjoy relishing popti with whiskey. The plan was thus ready, and we booked the tickets online. 

The Modified Plan

As the day of the visit approached, like all things, the plan seemed to be falling apart. Siddesh had mentioned that he won’t be able to make it (and he had his valid reason for it, so it would be unwise to pick fault with him). Onkar had stated that he had some presentation to do in his college, therefore he won’t be staying for the second day at Dapoli. Seeing this change of plan, I suddenly remembered that I had my own plan on the second day and I decided to drop the plan for the second day to Dapoli, but the plan for the first day (about visiting Pavan’s hometown and the fort) was still on. Pavan added another member (a cousin of his) to the plan.

The Day before Going to Raigad

A few days before the actual day of traveling to a particular place, one’s thoughts often revolve around what essential stuff one has to carry to make the journey a smooth one. 

  • No sunburns, no heartburns: If you have to travel during the daytime and if the day happens to be hot, you should carry something like a packet of sunscreen, a cap, a hat or an umbrella. My wife lent me her sunscreen. She said that if I look any worse than I was, I should be ready for heartburns. Aside from the sunscreen, I took out a cap that was lying cold in some corner of my wardrobe. 
  • Keep the energy high: To keep yourself hydrated and your energy high,  energy drinks can help, and in my case I got a can of Budweiser that was actually an energy drink and had no alcohol. There is a funny incident related to this, and it will be revealed as we progress further in this post. 
  • Eye for eye: If you think you will be helpless without your spectacles, as I think I will be, it is worth carrying an extra pair of spectacles, who knows when the one you are wearing will fall as you suddenly skid, stumble or fall. 
  • The only bank you can own: If you are like me, who clicks 10 photos in five seconds with the phone, consider carrying a power bank to ensure your phone is juiced up, because the chance is high that the phone’s battery would exhaust fast. You can think of some other knickknacks that would be essential in your journey. 
  • Scarf: Covid taught us the importance of wearing masks, but before the popularity of masks, people used their scarves for various purposes. Now the danger of Covid is waning, and so is the usage of masks. But the old scarf is back in action. Scarves can be a lifesaver. On our journey, scarves helped us to block the dust from the road and smoke from the vehicles that crossed us by.

A Brief History of Raigad Fort?

Raigad Fort, also called Rajgad Fort (Royal Fort) lies in the Raigad district of Maharashtra and forms a part of the Western Ghats. 

Raigad Fort

Before being called Raigad Fort, it was known as Rairi Fort, situated in the jungle of Jawali. Chandrarao More ruled the jungle of Jawali. When Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha empire, first saw the fort of Rairi, he was greatly impressed by its formidable height. One way to keep the enemy at bay is to ensure that you have as much advanced ammunition that will last till the enemy has exhausted his own ammunition and surrendered; another way is to choose a strategic location that would naturally hinder the enemy from reaching you. The fort of Rairi provided one such natural advantage.

Shivaji Maharaj tried to form an alliance with the then king of Jawali and expressed his thoughts through correspondence, but the king refused to be a part of Shivaji Maharaj’s notion of a Hindavi Swaraj, and instead offered him insults. Shivaji Maharaj was left with no option but to usurp power from Chandrarao More. After winning the battle with Chandrarao More and taking control of the mountains, Shivaji Maharaj changed the name Rairi to Raigad.

Shivaji Maharaj’s Rajyabhisek (coronation) took place at the Raigad Fort, upon which the suffix Chhatrapati (king of kings) was added to his name. 

As one of the tallest forts in Maharashtra, Raigad Fort offers one a panoramic view of the landscape in the Konkan region. In fact, it is said that many other forts that were under the possession of Shivaji Maharaj could be seen and kept a watch on from the Raigad Fort. Shivaji Maharaj further expanded and fortified the fort with his chief architect, Hiroji Indulkar, and made it one of the strongest forts in the Deccan plateau. During this time, Shivaji Maharaj oversaw the making of numerous ponds and over 300 stone houses. This fort, unlike many other forts in India, has very difficult terrains, and it’s a wonder how the gifted architect Hiroji Indulkar made such magnificent temples, marketplaces, lakes, palaces here.

Shivaji Maharaj made this fort the capital of the Maratha empire in 1674 and the fort remained a stronghold of the Marathas until 1689. Thereafter, the Mughals overpowered the Marathas, captured the fort and changed the name to Islamgad. But it could not be with the Mughals for too long, and came into the possession of the Marathas again. In 1818, the fort became a target of the British East India company who had come to India, and the British mostly destroyed the fort by bombardment. The structure of the fort was made from stone and wood. While wood has gone due to being burnt from bombardment by the British, the stone remains. 

Besides being a great administrator, one can assume, from the way he acquired one after another forts, that Shivaji Maharaj had great fondness for forts. He was born in a fort called Shivnari. At the age of 16, while others could not make up their minds as to what they wanted to do for the day, Shivaji Maharaj had captured his first fort. During his lifetime, over 365 forts came under his possession. At the Raigad Fort, he lived from 1670 to his last breath on 3rd April, 1680. 

The Raigad Fort served as a safe and secure base for the Maratha army, and today it stands as a symbol of Maratha pride, and reminds one of how visionary and great Shivaji Maharaj was.

How Do You Go to Raigad Fort?

Raigad does not have an airport or a railway station, which leaves only one option for the traveler: the road. It is equally convenient to go to Raigad either from Mumbai or Pune. The cheapest mode of going there would be to get in the State Transport (ST) Bus. You can take your own vehicle if you like, but if you are a tourist, you can hire or rent one. 

How Did We Travel?

We followed the following route: Thane, Belapur, Birwadi (Mahad), Raigad Fort.

We went by bus. The colleagues got on the bus at Thane, while I waited for them (and for the bus) at Belapur bus stop, because the bus had to go through Belapur, where I live. 

The time was 12:54 AM. While I stood in the bus depot, I saw other passengers get on the bus and go to their destinations, such as Kolhapur and Satara. The buses for Bangalore, and further down south, have to pass through the same route.

The temperature was 24 degrees Celsius, which was relatively hot for a winter night and during midnight at that. I was sweating and yet had my jacket on, which was in anticipation of the bus that was to come soon and the prospect of the cool air one would be subjected to in the bus in the Konkan region.

Bus Stop at Belapur
Bus Stop at Belapur

After a few minutes, Pavan rings me up and says that the bus is reaching my location now. A bus arrives and I see some of my colleagues’ hands waving at me from the window. It was a surprise to see that the bus was not the infamous ‘lal dabba’, but a rather comfortable one. From what I have heard, traveling in the lal dabba was akin to getting on a roller coaster. On the bus, I met my colleagues and Pavan’s cousin called Amar. Whatever uneasiness I had about the addition of a new person melted away when we actually met Amar, who, I should say, made the journey all the more interesting and lively with his humor and easygoing attitude.

Bus to Mahad, Raigad

From Belapur, the bus leaves around 1:30 AM. The bus makes a few stops for refreshment and bio breaks. The vehicle makes many turns, which makes it impossible for one to sleep. However, when I saw how peacefully my colleague Rahul was sleeping (and for a while Onkar also did) I questioned myself and thought I was not making enough efforts to get some sleep. But everyone is not Rahul, and no matter how hard I tried, I got no sleep at all.

At 5 AM, we got off the bus at a place called Birwadi, which is a small town in Mahad. We walked for a few minutes to Pavan’s house. The moon was still up, and the air was cold. It’s a good thing we got our warm clothes. Some dogs were barking at us, and Amar shouted back at them. As we reached Pavan’s house, we found his cousin and uncle waiting for us.

Morning view at Mahad
Morning view at Mahad

We decided to catch some sleep and a few mattresses and chadars were arranged for us. Sleep came to the others almost as soon as they laid down, while I could not get even a wink of sleep. I could have gotten some sleep, but the collective snoring of the colleagues kept me from doing so. I would have snored as well had I but slept.

A Sunny Morning

Without a wink of sleep in the night,

Surrendering to human snore and mosquito bite,

The time was finally ripe to get the morning view,

And the view was so sunny and the day so new
Pavan’s native house

Upon getting up, I took a small walk to look in and around Pavan’s house. Next to his house was a rather lavish and imposing house, which, Pavan told me, belonged to the son-in-law of the MLA of Mahad. 

MLA’s son-in-law’s house

The sun was up in its glory, which is what I needed in the morning’s coldness (vitamin D was an unintentional bonus, of course).

Pavan’s aunt arranged the water for our usage in the morning. Each of the colleagues took a quick bath. The bath was necessary because on top of the Raigad Fort (to which we were heading in a few minutes) was a temple of lord Shiva and we were going to pay a visit there. They looked at me and seemed surprised that I was not taking a bath. The morning was cold, which discouraged me from bathing. Moreover, I had taken a bath last night before leaving the house. The colleagues sighed and called me an impure person. I was not bothered.

Fresh selfie

We Hit the Road

After having refreshing cups of tea and bowls of poha, prepared by Pavan’s aunt, we move out of the house. Two bikes were arranged while heading out from the house, and then another one was added on our way out. Pavan arranged the bikes well in advance by speaking to his cousin and, I think, a friend. Apart from the fuel charges, we did not have to pay any extra charges for the bikes.

The roads in Mahad are pretty good. The surroundings, as far as I could see, were quite clean. The region is buttressed by the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Two rivers flow through the region, called Savatri and Kal. Savatri is the larger river and Kal meets with Savatri at a certain point. Pavan narrated how most of the portion of his town came under water due to flood water from Savatri.

Savitri River
Savitri River

Metalled, Stony and Dusty

Although the highway at Mahad is good, as you take a turn on the road towards the Fort, most of the road is under construction.

Road to Raigad Fort
Road to Raigad Fort
Road to Raigad Fort
Road to Raigad Fort
Dust rises as the bus passes through us

If anyone intends to travel anywhere, it is advisable that one get the proper gear for the body such as legs and arm guards, helmets. We did not wear helmets, but wearing helmets is important. An untrained rider will have some difficulty in traveling through the roads. As most of the road is under construction, every time another vehicle, in particular when the four wheelers pass through, a great layer of dust rises and fully covers the rider (and the pillion) who comes from the opposite side. It is similar to how one’s situation would have been if one were to participate in a battle of sand and gravel; the enemy has an advantage over you as the enemy is fully armed, and the moment you go anywhere near the enemy, you are fired upon. Taken by surprise, all you see is dust and smoke. We had our handkerchiefs (an important accessory that one should carry while traveling) and we covered our mouth and nose with that. I saw some riders on their Royal Enfield Himalayan bikes (good choice for such roads) and had the proper gear for their bodies.

For the convenience of the homo sapiens, the roads were being broadened, and it was the trees that had to suffer. The mountains of the Konkan region are rugged and stony and seem unshakeable. Making roads in these regions must be very difficult. But humans are ingenious beings and can always find a way, and humans have found a way by inventing heavy machineries. So, here we are, paving our way with the human operated machines, jolting, jerking the peacefully sleeping boulders.

Boulders are pushed aside, making room for the vehicles

The road snakes around the mountain and the vehicle can go considerably up, and the best part: the road around the mountain is in excellent condition, offering one a sigh of relief. As I looked at myself using the phone’s selfie camera, I saw that the color of my hair, which was supposed to be pure black, turned golden, which was a result of dust accumulation from the dusty road. 

Getting down from the bike, I further observed that it was not only the hair, but even the clothes, the spectacles, had a good layer of dust (Amar’s clothes seemed to have attracted the most amount of dust). We moved ahead, shrugging the dust.

Many schools in Maharashtra arrange a tour of the Raigad Fort for their students, and we saw some buses carrying the students. As we went further up, several vehicles lined up, and several people marched to the base of the fort. The fort is a good spot for a one day picnic. Those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city can find some solace in the Raigad Fort.

The Base of the Fort

As we reached the base of the fort and got down from the bike, layers of dust had to be wiped from the spectacles. Our body had to be shaken, and the hair dusted.

Once a person reaches the base of the fort, one can find two options to go to the top of the fort: one that is super easy, and one that is very taxing. The easy option is getting to the top of the mountain through the ropeway in less than five minutes, and the difficult option is going by the steps, which, for the untrained legs, could take over two to three hours. The base of the steps and the base of the ropeway are in different locations, about 20 to 25 minutes away. The ticket price of the ropeway per person to and from the fort is Rs. 310, while a single way ticket (either to or from the fort) costs Rs. 190. The timing of the ropeway is from 8 am to 5 pm. 

Ropeway or Steps?

We spent a considerable amount of time discussing whether we should go by the ropeway or by the steps before going to Raigad Fort, but could not come to a final decision. 

When we reached the base of the fort, we were still unsure. Pavan, Rahul, and I walk every day to the office, and on Saturdays and Sundays, I tend to walk about 15000 to 20000 steps. But the fort was a different matter; it was all uphill. We were not very sure of Ankit and Onkar. And, what’s funny, they were not sure of themselves. 

The base of Raigad Fort
The base of Raigad Fort

There were a few small eateries near the base of the fort, which seemed rather tempting, so we decided to go in and eat, for that’s more important than prolonging our discussion on an empty stomach. “While we eat,” we said unanimously, “we can discuss and come to a conclusion”. We ordered vada pav and tea. The vada pav was really delicious, so we ordered one more plate. Then another plate was proposed, but this time, except for two people, most of our stomachs were full, so only the two of them, who still had some appetite, ordered.

Vada Pav and chilies

Food does good not only to the stomach but, it seems, also to the brain, because we were finally clear about going by the steps, which will be a tiring, time-consuming affair, but surely more adventurous than going by the ropeway.

On the Way, Up the Fort

I heard a guide state that there are 2300 steps that lead one from the base to the top of the fort. While many travel bloggers and travel portals state that there are about 1700 steps. The best way to verify this information would be for oneself to count the number of steps as one goes up the fort. I tried doing that, but after counting some steps, I lost count of the number, which gave me a chance to focus on the scenic view instead. 

The climb up the fort is a truly arduous activity, in particular when your normal physical activity is limited to walking from one room to another or just taking a stroll. The ordeal became evident from the faces of Onkar and Ankit, who now, from their body language, seemed unsure if they had it in them to go up further. It seemed they were going to suggest that it was better to choose the ropeway, but we had already come to about 250 steps, and now going by the steps means undoing the effort of going up so many steps. With the will to do, and some encouragement from others, humans can surprise themselves with what they can do. Every time Onkar and Ankit went up a little, their efforts were appreciated, and they were encouraged. With every word of encouragement, they found a reason to move their way up.

Difficulty of going up increases

On the way up, one can find small shops where one can take a little rest under the shade of the shops, have something to drink such as cold lemon juice (which we did) and keep yourself hydrated. 

Shops on the way
Lemon juice

We made a mistake by going to the fort in the afternoon when the sun was blazing, so there was more sweating, more need to quench our trust than would have been if we had made the move to the fort early in the morning.

Some portions of the way are plain surfaces, walking on which is easier. Instead of walls, one can see iron railings in that portion.

Plain path

Some steps are smaller than the rest and are highly elevated, which makes one tired easily.

While on the way, some portions of giant rocks protrude out.

The higher up we went, the better the view became.

View from Raigad Fort
Photo courtesy: Ankit

What to See at Raigad Fort?

The question should not be so much about what you can see at Raigad Fort, but it should be about what you can see from Raigad Fort. While what you can see at Raigad is surely historical and important, what you can see from Raigad will be one of a kind of experience that you will always remember. Nonetheless, here are a few things we saw while we were going up to the top of the fort. 

Maha Darwaja

One would not know that in the middle of the steps leading to the top of the fort, there is a Maha Darwaja or Great Door. It has two bastions and serves as the main entrance point of the fort. The Maha Darwaja seems solid and imposing, and seems as robust as it always was. In the past, guards were always present to keep a check on who was entering the fort and who was going out. Today as well, guards are present, but they are unarmed and their main job is collecting entrance fees from the tourist.

Maha Darwaja at Raigad Fort
We pose for a photo in front of the Maha Darwaja

The Maha Darwaja has a smaller door within the larger door, which was made to let individuals pass through. While the large door was opened only when the going and coming involved riding on horsebacks or when the royal ladies had to be brought on the palanquin.

A small door within the large door
A small door within the large door

Affixed to the door are many pointed spearlike rods which kept elephants from damaging the door. In the past, elephants were used to break into big doors which proved too much for the humans. 

If, by any chance, the enemy manages to get past the Maha Darwaja, the puzzling curve in the steps and walls would have made it difficult for the enemies to move ahead, because while the enemies could not have seen what was above them, but who were above could see the enemies, and they could easily drop boiling hot oils on the enemies, forcing them to step back.

While we sat for a while on the steps in front of the Maha Darwaja, posing for photos, Amar spoke to almost every tourist and everyone seemed to entertain him. Amar approached one person and asked him what he did for a living. The person said that he was an English teacher. Amar suddenly pointed his finger at me and said to the men, “He is Ramu Das, from north-east, and only understands English and no other language. Let’s have some English sessions.” I smiled. The English teacher smiled. Amar laughed.

Hatti Talav
Hatti Talav

Hatti Talav

As we kept walking, we came across a pond called Hatti Talav (elephant tank), which had very little water. A description board near the talav states that the talav has suffered from water leakage issues and work was going on to make it leakage proof. This talav was used for elephants’ bathing. How did elephants come to such an elevated hilltop where humans had such difficulty getting to? You might wonder. This question puzzled others as well. The answer is that Shivaji Maharaj had brought baby elephants when the elephants had puny physiques.

Shirkai Devi Temple

As we move further up, we come across a small temple called Shirkai Devi Temple. Shirkai Devi is a village deity and a fierce form of goddess Shakti.

Shirkai Devi Temple
Shirkai Devi Temple

We Reach the Top

While coming up to the fort, and seeing what an arduous thing it was to do, I wondered who in their right minds would ever think of invading this hill. Yet several powers and empires made repeated attempts to capture it. The British, who were frustrated by the might of the Marathas, resorted to bombarding it, leaving ruins behind them.

The fatigue and physical discomfort on the way up suddenly vanished a few minutes after reaching the top. The challenge of getting up the stairs finally borne fruit. The fort is one of a kind and provides a panoramic view of the picturesque landscape, and this, and the material treasure that was in the fort, was the reason many powers and empires made their attempts to take the fort.

Holi Cha Mal

This is a spacious site where the annual Holi festival used to take place. I have heard that the burning of Holika used to be an occasion of fun activity in which a coconut would be thrown on fire, and as it burnt, it had to be pulled out by the bare hands. Whoever pulled the coconut out of the fire was rewarded with a gold ring.

Near Holi Cha Mal is a statue of Shivaji Maharaj sitting on his throne on a pedestal.

Holi Cha Mal
Holi Cha Mal

Bazar Peth

Next to Holi Cha Mal, opposite the statue, is the Bazar Peth (market place). The Bazar Peth is a long line of raised concrete blocks in two columns. There are 22 shops on each side. The shops were made on high plinths and had inward steps which enabled the soldiers on horses and the women on the palanquin to shop without getting down. The inward steps allowed more space for the horses to move. However, some refute the claim that these were actually shops; they say that these were resting places for the soldiers.

Bazar Peth
Bazar Peth
Shops of the Maratha empire
Shops of the Maratha empire

Jagdishwara Temple

As we keep moving from the Bazar Peth towards the Jagdishwara Temple, to the left at some distance, we see a spot called Takmak Tok (more about this in a while) where many people were heading to. We decided we will go to Takmak Tak while coming back from the Jagdishwara Temple and the Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, an adherent of the Hindu faith, ordered the construction of the temple and it is said that he visited the temple every day. The temple, like the markets, lakes, pillars, and the palaces, among many other things, was built by Hiroji Indulkar.

Jagdishwara Temple
Jagdishwara Temple

The exterior of the temple resembles a mosque and has six minarets. Some say that the resemblance to a mosque was a deliberate attempt to protect it from Aurangzeb and his force or similar forces who intended to wipe out the Hindu culture, overthrow the Maratha empire and dominate the length and breadth of the Deccan Plateau, and that of Hindustan. The appearance of a mosque would have halted such people from attacking the temple. Some, on the other hand, say that Shivaji Maharaj was influenced by the Islamic scholars and the temple was constructed to look like a mosque to depict the unity between the Hindus and the Muslims.  

In front of the temple is a statue of a mouthless Nandi (the bull of lord Shiva).


As we entered the temple, we saw a group of people chanting ‘Om’ and doing yoga. Without disturbing them, we silently went inside the sanctum, knelled down before the Shiv linga.

Shiv linga
Shiv linga

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi

The Samadhi (memorial) is situated on a high platform opposite the Jagdishwara Temple. The site is considered to be sacred and is visited by thousands of people every year to pay their respects to the great warrior king. This is the area where the Maharaj’s last rites were performed. There were many people here, and it was difficult to get a proper picture of the Samadhi because of the flow of people.

Statue of Waghya

Statue of Waghya
Statue of Waghya

If you know me, you would know how much I love animals, especially dogs, so when I heard about the story of Waghya, my sentiment for dogs got an added booster. It is said that the dog was a constant companion of Shivaji Maharaj in his military campaigns and was known for his bravery and loyalty. Legend has it that the dog proved its loyalty to the last breath, and when the Maharaj’s pyre was burning, the dog jumped to the fire and sacrificed itself, following his master into the afterlife.

Takmak Tok

 Takmak Tok
Takmak Tok

After seeing the temple, the Samadhi and the statue of Waghya, we make a return towards the Bazar Peth, but on the way we had to go to a very infamous site called Takmak Tok (I just love the sound of those two words, and find myself repeating them). Takmak Tok (punishing point) is a cliff, and it was used for throwing traitors and criminals down to thier death. “Takmak”, a Marathi friend told me, means “blood-stained”.

Before going to Takmak Tok, we took a short rest under the shade of a shop. Pavan, Rahul and I were done resting, but Onkar, Ankit, and Amar took some more rest. While the three of them were resting, Pavan, Rahul and I went up to a small hill to locate Takmak Tok. When we saw it, we tried to go closer to find the way that leads to it, but as we went ahead, we lost sight of it. We went several steps away from the trio, and they could not see us, nor could we see them as the view was blocked by some rocks and some wild plants.

“Where is it?” asked Pavan.

“You would know better,” I said. Pavan and Rahul had already been to the fort a few times before.

We were unsuccessful in locating Takmak Tok. It seemed to be just here, but now it was gone. We went back to where Onkar, Ankit, and Amar were sitting, but they were gone from there. Now, our task had increased, as we not only had to locate the way to Takmak Tok but also find the colleagues who were gone missing. Rahul began calling out, ‘Ankit, Ankit!’

Finally, as we were still unsure of the way to Takmak Tok, we asked a shopkeeper, and she showed us the direction. We stood on a hill and saw Ankit, Amar and Onkar almost reaching the cliff.

They have found what we were looking for, so it was us who were lost, and not them. Amar was speaking aloud from a good distance (about 700 to 800 feet away) and we heard him clearly. He was telling us: “Not this direction, come from the other direction.” We did, and we reached Takmak Tok. While at one point, people would have dreaded the name Takmak Tok, and it would have painted a gory picture, but today it is a wonderful tourist spot that offers a breathtaking view of the landscape.

Nagarkhana Darwaja

The Nagarkhana Darwaja looks somewhat similar to the Gate of India (but the Nagarkhana Darwaja came much before the gateway of India did, so, if there is any connection, then it has to be said that the architect of the Gateway of India took inspiration from the Nagarkhana Darwaja, and not the other way round).

Nagarkhana Darwaj
Nagarkhana Darwaj

The Nagarkhana Darwaja is the entrance to the King’s Court or Raj Durbar. As one goes straight about 200 feet from the Nagarkhana Darwaja, one sees the throne of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which is a replica of the original. The original golden throne, which was studded with precious stones, is lost, but to whom, where, when, remains a mystery.

Throne of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Throne of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Throne of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Throne of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj

One very interesting feature of the King’s Court is that when one makes a small sound, like a whisper, the sound can be heard from the throne. A demonstration of this was given to the tourist. A guide whispered “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki” from the Nagarkhana Darwaja, and over 200 feet away near the throne, the tourist, among whom we were included, answered back with a loud “Jay”. Then the guide said that he was going to tear a paper and if we could hear the tearing of the paper, we should clap our hands for Hiroji Indulkar, the one because of whom the magnificent durbar had this acoustic sound quality. We heard the tearing sound, and we clapped our hands.

Nagarkhana Darwaja, and over 200 feet away, throne

Nearby, we come across a rectangular plinth, and to the right of that is where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is believed to have taken his last breath.

Queen’s Palace (Bed Room)

The Queen’s Palace has six rooms for the six queens of Shivaji Maharaj (he had married 8 women in total, the reason for which was more than just love for the women; it was love for his kingdom which he wanted to strengthen and extend, to curtail any rebellion against his kingdom, and to get support of the people from different regions). Designed to provide the queen with privacy and comfort, the rooms are very large and have attached toilets.

Queen's Palace
Queen’s Palace
Bedroom in one of the chambers for the Queens

The Watch Tower

The Watch Tower, most of which is in ruins today, was an important part of the fort’s defense system and played a crucial role in warning the fort’s occupants of any approaching enemy attacks. It was also used to send signals to other watchtowers in the region and to communicate with other forts in the Maratha Empire.

Watch Tower

Granaries: These are three underground chambers used to store large quantities of food and other supplies to support the fort’s inhabitants during times of war or famine. I have heard that the granaries were used by the Peshwas, after the death of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, to jail the traitors and criminals for 7 days. On the eighth day, if the traitor/criminal did not confess to the crime, he/she used to be thrown down from Takmak Tok.

Other Attractions We Missed Seeing

There were a few more attractions at the Raigad Fort which we missed seeing because of the shortage of time. The places we missed are equally interesting and have thier own stories. For instance, there is a chamber for secret discussion, which is eleven steps underground. Many confidential discussions used to happen there.

There was a Mint room that was used for manufacturing coins which were used as currency in the empire and facilitated trade and commerce.

The story of Hirkani Buruj is in awe-inspiring. Hirkani was a milkmaid and lived in a village at the foothills of Raigad Fort. One day, Hirkani found herself trapped on top of the fort as the gates of the fort were closed after sunset. She had gone to the fort to sell milk and had lost track of time. She had an infant child that had to be taken care of, and she imagined the worst might happen to her infant if she did not get home. She then climbed down the steep cliff of the fort using a rope and made it back to her village safely. Her bravery and determination earned her the respect and admiration of Shivaji Maharaj, who built a tower in her honor called Hirkani Buruj. The tower stands at the spot where Hirkani is believed to have descended from the cliff.

As we were going down by a door, which I think was the Mena Darwaja, I saw a few boys desperately asking a celebrity to click some photographs with them. The celebrity happened to be someone who came with us: Amar.

Some by Ropeway Car, Some by the Steps

Some of my colleagues had become more tired than the others, and they decided to go by the ropeway. Aside from tiredness, the prospect of experiencing the ropeway was enticing. As far as I was concerned, I considered coming up to the fort through the steps was a difficult and time-consuming task, which is when the need for the ropeway is higher; while going down, the downward slope would not be very difficult and would not take as long as it took to come upwards. For that reason, I decided to go by the steps. We went along to the ropeway station to drop some of the colleagues off. We saw a huge number of people sitting there, waiting for their turn to get in the ropeway cable car. It looked very crowded and would have taken more than half an hour when the colleague’s turn would come to get in the cable car. We had to be on time to board the bus that was leaving from Mahad for Thane. I tried telling Onkar that we might miss the bus if he waits for the ropeway car. He had enough of walking for the day, and he was okay to miss the bus if that was the case, but he won’t walk anymore. Thus Onkar, Ankit and Amar went down by the ropeway car, while Pavan, Rahul and I went down by the steps.

While getting down the steps we had to increase our pace (to reach on time and board the bus), and with one stride we moved two to three steps forward (but such a thing is not recommended to others, for if you lose control and trip, you will roll down several steps and cause grave injury to yourself). Many a time, we simply had to jump a few steps ahead because of the pulling effect of the downward slope of the hill.

We grew tired. Suddenly, Pavan remembered that I had a can of energy drink, which I had completely forgotten. I unzipped my bag, opened the can and was about to drink when I saw Pavan made his eyes wide open and seemed to be shocked.

“Any problem?” I asked.

“How can you bring such a thing here?”

“What thing?” I ask, confused.

“This beer,” he says, and seems disappointed. I explained that it was a non-alcoholic drink meant to provide instant energy like Redbull. He was sceptical.

“Well,” I said, “go ahead, try some.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is budweiser-malt-energy-drink-1-sdl512137440-2-55a5e.jpg

He drank a little, kept quiet, and passed the can to Rahul. Rahul drank. They both claimed that it tasted very much like Budweiser beer. That is true; the taste is quite similar. Some energy drinks like Monster, Hurricane, taste like some cough syrup, but the energy drink from Budweiser tastes like the beer they sell.

Pavan gave me a lecture on how people would not know the difference between a Budweiser alcoholic can and a Budweiser non-alcoholic can, as there was hardly any difference in the way both the cans looked. Before the people can understand the difference, Pavan said, they will first raise their hands, and later try to know if there is any real difference between the alcoholic and non-alcoholic cans. But I have paid for it, so brushing his warnings aside, I finished the content of the can.

We finally reach the foothills of the fort (and we did that in just 40 minutes) and met the colleagues who had come by the ropeway car. Once again we had to hit the road, move past the metalled, dusty road. I hop on to the bike that Rahul rides, and for a small man (in terms of physique), he managed the bike very well and rode fast (almost like a professional rider). We reached the Mahad bus depot, from which Onkar and I were leaving for home, almost half an hour ahead of the scheduled time. The bus was late by half an hour. This time the bus, an AC one with more legroom, was even better than the bus by which we came to Mahad. 

Although I haven’t had the chance to visit exactly where my friend wanted me to go, considering the paucity of time. We made a few miscalculations and thought it would be possible to cover the places that we had intended to. But part of the blame for this miscalculation also lies in the fact that the Raigad Fort is so vast that it will hardly be possible to visit it as well as the other places in the short time we had given ourselves. An individual who hails from that area mentioned that one would require at least two days to explore the fort properly and appreciate all that was at the Raigad Fort, and I concur.

If you have come this far, you may also find the following interesting:

Copyright © 2023 RAMU DAS

Resolutions for 2019

I have been telling myself since the last December that when January of 2019 comes (or when I go to January), I shall not think about what most men and women (I am not sure of other animals) would be thinking. And what would they be thinking? If I am not wrong in my thinking, I think they would be thinking about keeping some New Year’s resolution. Now, I was telling that to myself in December, and I have been reminding myself of that since the last four days, because I know from experience that most, if not all, of the resolutions are going to come to naught. Yet, now, my fingers are itching to write something, and my brain is telling me that that something has to be the New Year’s resolution. Well, then, I, because I am my brain and body, I must oblige.

This year I am going to write a great deal, but most of my writing would be out of public view, unless I wish to share. I will start writing my first book this year. I am not sure in which year I will finish writing it, because completing a book is a long process. But starting it is important. It is going to be a non-fiction work, though at first my intention was to write fiction (which, I suppose, can wait for a later time). I have too many interesting and painful and funny experiences to recount.

I will learn a new language. I wanted to learn two languages this year, but I want to be more realistic this time, and do what is, to the best of my ability, considering the available time and resources, more achievable. Bangla is my mother tongue but it does not seem to be so. This year I actually thought of making it seem so as well. However, there is another language which is known to majority of Indians and which I can speak but cannot write or read, and that would be the language I would focus on this year, because considering my present situation and place, and by looking at the growing mass of people who seem to know and talk a great deal in this language, I am sure I would be in trouble if I don’t go with the flow. Yes, I am talking about Hindi.

I will read at least 35 books (fiction and non-fiction) though my aim is to read 50. If I don’t reach the star, I will land on the moon.

A small device that fits in your pocket, seem to be consuming too much of my time, in fact, I would say, it is governing my life, and I must stop this from happening. Therefore, if you haven’t got what I mean, I am going to be smart and use my smartphone less often (or only when I have to).

I will learn to cook some new dishes.

I like to travel, but, this year, I suppose, I will focus on saving my money, and I would rather find out more about the places that is not too far from my dwelling.

I will match at least 200 movies and documentaries.

That’s all I can think of at this moment, and there are some more resolutions which are somewhat private in nature, which are best kept to oneself.

What are your New Year’s resolution?

Copyright © 2019 RAMU DAS

My Travels This Year (2017)

Among all the resolutions I had made at the starting of this year, one was to travel to as many places as I could. Travel, as you know, expands one’s mental horizon. When you travel, whether you like it or not, you would come across new people and new happenings, which would add to your experience. If you are a writer who has been suffering from writer’s block, travel, do, and see how people throw their stories at you.

My country, India, is vast and I have always had the desire to see all the states of India. If one visits the different parts of India (from the most modern to the remotest), perhaps he/she would not need to see a foreign country, because within India one would come across so many things that would seem foreign. The weather in some parts of our country vary from the weather in the other, when the temperature soars above 35 degree in Mumbai or above 40 degree in Delhi, the temperature at Dras in J&K or at Gurudongmar in Sikkim can be in the minus, and in some other parts the temperature would be moderate. The people in one part speak a different language and have their unique identity and their special cuisines, while the people in the other part display a different lifestyle and set of values.

I do harbour a desire to see some foreign lands too, and that I want to do without any discrimination, which, in other words, means that I really wish to see the underdeveloped as well as the developed and the developing countries of the world. First and foremost, however, comes my own country; once I have covered all of India, perhaps, I can think about visiting some foreign countries.

At the starting of the year I had gone with some of my colleagues to the beach side destination in Maharashtra called Kihim.

In March I intended to go to the North of India, especially to cover the golden triangle. The Golden Triangle, not to be confused with the Golden Temple in Amritsar (Punjab), includes three places in North India, namely, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, and the three locations seem to form the shape of a triangle, thus the name ‘triangle’ was given to it. The three locations are a very popular destinations among the foreigners as well as the domestic tourists. Due to some reasons, I had to change my plan and I ended up doing a solo trip to the south of India (covering Chennai, Pondicherry, Bangalore and Mysore).

Thereafter, I had gone to Guwahati and Barak Valley in Assam, Dimapur in Nagaland (though Kohima was also in the itinerary especially because it happened to be the Hornbill Festival time) where I had spent a considerable amount of time during my childhood.

Last of all, in December, my family and I had gone to the following North Indian destinations: Delhi (the land of great politics and power), Gurugram (Gurgaon) in Haryana (where my younger brother stays), Haridwar and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand (considered holy sites), Agra (where the Taj Mahal is at), Mathura and Gokul (again two holy sites) in Uttar Pradesh.

I will write about the aforementioned places in greater detail by and by.

If I had more money and if my leave from office could be extended a little more, I would have heartily visited many other places (or revisited some).

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS


Stop The Blame Game; Change Your Behavior

Day before yesterday, twenty-three people were crushed to death in Mumbai. Many others are in critical condition. It was not a terrorist attack, no bomb exploded, neither was it an earthquake, or a deluge, or any other natural calamities, that caused the deaths and injuries. It was the reckless behaviour of my fellow insane commuters that did it. Death due to stampede is common in my overwhelmingly populated country, but such occurrences are mostly witnessed when there is a mass movement of religious devotees journeying to one of the many sacred sites in India; such incidences are not so common in a railway station where people regularly move to and fro.

The moment I got the unfortunate news of the stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road Station and when I saw the pictures of men and women lying dead, I was extremely pained and I was furious. I poured my heart out by writing an expletive laden article. But I decided not to publish the article. I wanted to first calm down, and it took me two days to do so. Hence, I am now writing this article without the expletives. I am still sad and still angry at the way innocent people lost their lives for no fault of theirs.

Dear people of Mumbai, do not just move around blaming the government for what had happened day before yesterday. None but you, yes, you, my fellow commuters, are to blame for the loss of so many valuable lives. I have been in Mumbai long enough to know how you all behave. Your lack of consideration for others have cost people their lives. You are always in a hurry to reach your destination. The moment a train comes to a station you, who wait for the train in the railway station, spring in to the train even before the train halts, even before the passengers who are already in the train have a chance to come out of it (you want space but you don’t allow the others to come out and give you space, and you get in and create more problem and confusion). And, as you run forcing your way in the train, you don’t care whether you push people (women, elderly or little children) around, stamp on their feet, elbow them and injure them. Not a single day passes without someone getting injured, if not killed. Go to Kurla Station or Dadar Station and observe the commuters, you would see everyday someone or the other is fracturing his/her bones, getting a cut somewhere, or is falling down from the train. All this can be avoided only if you are considerate and disciplined.

Yes, the massive population in Mumbai (which is as much as the entire population of the whole of Australia, and which is rapidly rising day after day) is no doubt one of the factors that is creating the main problem. The local trains, being the lifeline of Mumbai, are always packed beyond their capacity. Raj Thackeray is right when he says that problems (like the stampede that happened day before yesterday) would continue to happen as long as the migrants keep coming to Mumbai. But what solution is he providing? Well, he would no doubt want no more migrants in Mumbai and he would also ask people to leave Mumbai. His concern is right, his approach in dealing with the concern is wrong. Migration is a reality and migration will always happen. Whether he likes it or not, he will have to live with it. The development of infrastructure in proportion to the size of the population is the answer to the problem, but development does not happen overnight, particularly in a country which is developing and which happens to be the second most populated country (where most people were corrupted for too long) in the world, and is a democracy.

No doubt, there was a need to have more Foot Over Bridges at Elphinstone Road Station which could have allowed people scatter to other places instead of everyone standing on the single bridge that connects Elphinstone Road Station to Parel. Day before yesterday, it was raining and people wanted to save themselves from the falling rain. It was not someone firing bullet or cannon balls. Rain would not have killed anyone. It had rained earlier also; exactly a month back one month’s rain had fallen in a day but no such stampede happened then. The people could see that the bridge was already full of people yet more and more people gathered in the bridge. No one wanted to let the other person go first, all they cared was for themselves. People are not stones to not feel any pain. The pain of one, which to the inconsiderate other meant nothing, resulted in 23 deaths so far.

Mumbai provides us opportunities to be someone, to earn our livings, to be better than we were. But in the pursuit of material well-being all our civic sense has gone for a toss. All we care about now is how to get more and more for yourselves even as we have thrown our ethical values out the window. We have become slaves to our daily chores, and from human beings we have now become machines, and like machine we have no feelings. Our commercial mindset has killed all the good that was within you, that all men is born with. Our interest comes first (What’s in it for me, eh?) and we have total disregard for the others. We don’t even realize when we are uncivil, which has become the way of life for many of us.

We will be happy if we have better infrastructure in place, but until then we have to make do with what we have. Meanwhile, we must be disciplined (even after being well-educated, peoples’ rowdiness, when they try to board a local train in Mumbai, astonishes me) to avoid casualties.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Don’t Make It Noisy

I asked one my friend how he would like to spend Diwali this time. He said he will offer prayers, gift family and friends some stuff. Then he stopped abruptly, stretched his muscles and twisted his lips sideways, and then he began speaking again, “Actually, I will ask my wife and children to go some miles away from the house.”

That confused me a great deal, so I asked why he would do such a thing. He replied, “I’m going to set my gas cylinder on fire, this way everyone will come to know that I’m celebrating Diwali.”

He was kidding, of course. We have different version of stories to tell why we celebrate Diwali. But what is common is that we exchange good wishes, and we are in high spirit of celebration. Some of us wear new cloths; and we light candles and small clay lamps; decorate our homes with colored powder; present gifts, etc. Most importantly, Diwali being the festival of light, we lit our homes; this is to signify the victory of good over evil.

Diwali decoration
Diwali decoration (Photo credit: Piyush’s Space)

But Diwali for many people (children mainly) is just a festival of bursting crackers, playing with artificial guns, which creates noise and pollution. I remember, as a kid, I once burnt my hands while trying to light a firecracker (or ‘atom bomb’, as we use to call them, then). I had to see a doctor and for days I could not use my hands to perform a few functions. We do many stupid things in life, but as we evolve we learn to differentiate between right and wrong.

I don’t believe burning firecrackers drive evil away, (candles and Diyas are enough for that) you just burn your and your parents’ hard-earned money to ashes by doing so. As I write this post, I can hear the sounds of firecrackers, so loud as to damage my eardrums.  A politician lives nearby. Politicians and their kith and kin know how to waste money. But even the less privileged ones will not go dissatisfied today, just that they will burn only a handful of firecrackers.

The problem is, with all these noises and the smokes that emerge, all the birds and the street dogs get scared and they slowly and hesitantly move to safer places. Health related issues also emerge due to the smokes that spread after bursting firecrackers. We don’t feel good with such noises, do we? The use of firecrackers may cause many injuries, some maybe severe; therefore, for the better of all, refrain from using them.

Wish you all a happy Diwali!

Copyright © 2013 RAMU DAS

He Will Be Back Sooner Rather Than Later.

Hello lads and ladies!

This man who has been writing all the silly posts on this blog for some time now has something to say to you all. Lend him your ears for another moment, if you will, as you have done so in the past. Or else you stand a chance to call him a broken-hearted man. I’m sure you wouldn’t like that. All he asks of you is to pay him a little attention. That’s it, nothing more. Of course, you people are kind-hearted; I must be busted for assuming anything otherwise.

The fella says he will be away for a month or two. He deems it is necessary to let you know where he is going, for he cares for you, for he wants to keep his readership on this blog active, and when he comes back and writes some more silly posts he wishes to see the amazing people, as he has seen so far, come and embellish the blog as much as they can.

So, where is the fella going anyway? He has been craving to see and hug his parents. He wants to spend some time – some memorable time that he can cherish forever – with them. It has been a long time that he is keeping away from them. It is the nature of his work that forces him to stay away from them; it is not something that he wishes for, but he knows life calls for many kinds of compromises.

He makes you a promise and he means it: it won’t be long before he comes back and once again write some more silly posts. His intention is, and always has been, to entertain you, if not to enlighten you. He plans to explore some famous parts of Northeast India, Nagaland and Assam most preferably, which he calls home. He intends to visit the Kaziranga National Park and click some photos of everything wild and beautiful.  Not just that, he would, in fact, click photos of anything and everything that interests him. He hopes his Eastman Kodak Camera would justify the clarity of the photos. He completely trusts his camera in that matter!

So, dear readers, fellow-bloggers, and anonymous visitors do stay tuned. Your friend will be back sooner rather than later.

Copyright © 2013 RAMU DAS 

In conversation with Mr Nobody – Part 1

Interviewer: I’ve heard a lot about you; you know so many people say this and that. But, it would be nice if you tell me something about yourself.

Mr Nobody: Oh yes, I will. I’m the pain who troubles people at every hour. I’m the lover who has never been loved. I’m the humorist who makes people laugh, or at least make them smile. I’m the joy of life. I’m the air people breathe… ha ha ha!

Interviewer:  [That wasn’t funny at all]. Alright, that would be enough.

Mr Nobody: Don’t interrupt me, please. I have more to say. I’m the giver who has never received anything in return. I’m the fragrant perfume which people crave to sniff. I’m the jewel abandoned by people. I’m an old man, a phantom… ha ha ha!

Interviewer: [That wasn’t funny either. Why this damn soul doesn’t come to the point?]. Mr Nobody, I think…

Mr Nobody: I’m the satirist who doesn’t wish to be forgiven. I’m the writer whose writing people read yet they never acknowledge reading it. I’m the gentleman fooled by romance. I’m the poet who brings people delight. I’m the funny little mischief-maker whom people want to sue. I’m a tramp… and … alright, let me not say more. The list can go on, but most importantly, to tell you the truth, I’m Mr Nobody!  Ha ha ha!

Interviewer: [Damn silly creature, laughs for no reason]. I heard that recently an Organization came to your college to offer job, but sadly you could not get the job, is there any reason?

Mr Nobody: Any reason, you ask? There are many reasons. The corporate recruiters… ha ha ha! They were some buffoons! Ha ha ha… We are pampered and polished for three years in the college, and finally when our skin starts showing some appeal, some glow, you know, that may arouse feelings; the recruiters come and comment on our skin. If you have the skin they like, you are in. If you don’t possess the right skin, you are out. But mostly, it depends on the extent to which you are ready to show our skin, and I mean the good skin.

Interviewer: Oh, so you mean to say you don’t have the right skin?

Mr Nobody: [Damn it!] Did I say I don’t have the right skin?

Interviewer: No. But I thought…

Mr Nobody: You thought… ha! You know, it’s not easy to get a job. For if you really wish to get one, you have to shout and scream your lungs out (when you actually are supposed to discuss things like some good folks do), and stare at some incomprehensible questions on the question paper during the aptitude test and ponder until someone says: “Time’s up!” And within a friction of a second, you tick on the answers, uttering something like: “Inki pinky ponky…” or if you are in India you would say, “Jay mata di”.

To be continued…

Copyright © 2013 RAMU DAS


Winter Agony

Oh this weather! Oh the suffering! I’ve received a chilly greeting from the very beginning of this chilly season. Oh winter, why haven’t you been nice to me this time? Some may like this season, some may not. But no matter you like it or not, it will keep recurring year after year, as so has always been the nature (quality) of nature from time immemorial.

Chest cold, and I’m coughing like some hardcore smoker coughs. I’ve a high body temperature, headache, runny nose (I’ve to sniff every time). My throat pains. My tonsil is hurting. This noisy explosion of air from my lungs is unbearable, to me as well as to the bystanders. At a distance do my friends move, as if they might get hurt, as if a bullet chases them. Perhaps they’ve started considering me a boor by now. “Go away, then, you might be shredded into pieces by the bullet coming out of me.” I want to say but I don’t say. It will make things worse, I know.

And I think bum is the wrong place for a boil, for the area is very sensitive and the pain is excruciating. Had it been in other areas of the body such as the hands or the legs or maybe the shoulder I wouldn’t have complained a wee bit. However, I would have equally complained, had the boil made its place beneath my nose (this area too is extremely sensitive), or on my face, I fear it would damage the handsomeness of my precious face ( ha! – that’s a joke).

I’m not sure if any of these diseases and infections got anything to do with winter, but, since, all these have been making my life miserable in this season of the year, I have no choice but to curse this season, at least this time. Even a little pain in this season seems unbearable. But, I’m pretty sure, married couple or newly wedded couple would prefer winter than summer. I still have enough time for it, I guess.

Today is our Republic Day (that is the 26th January, here in India). The secondary school near my house has organized a function. I can hear the loud music coming out of the speakers. I can also feel the vibration that is produced by the dancers stamping on the wooden stage (wooden? Yes, that’s what my brother told me, and I gladly believe him, as he had been to the function a little earlier). But I cannot go out and be a part of the celebration; I’m homebound, as for now. I have become so weak that I can’t even walk to and fro.  I can just sit in the chair, that too, turning more towards the left side. Why? Because of the damn boil! Oh, this small swollen thing has made my life pathetic. Anyway, I hope everything will be fine soon.

Day 26.365 - Republic Day (India)
Day 26.365 – Republic Day (India) (Photo credit: Akshay Shah)

Happy Republic Day to all fellow citizens of India!

Copyright © 2013 RAMU DAS


Viva’s over!

At first, the management of my college wanted the students to finish and submit the project, which every final year students had to compulsorily write, by the 24th of December 2012. But then they postponed it to 26th of December. And on the 8th of January, 2013, we faced the Viva.

For those who do not know what a Viva is, let me say: Viva or Viva Voce is a spoken examination held at the end of a University Course.  A good friend of mine had in one of his comments on one of my post asked me if I could write about the Viva once it is conducted, and I said I would be glad to do that. I am writing this here not just because that friend had asked me to, but because I know I need to write something. It’s not going to be everything but just the synopsis.

I wrote a project titled “Making Corporate Governance Meaningful”. The copy consists of seventy-nine pages (leaving aside pages numbered in Roman).

Corporate Governance, in simple words, means the systems, principles and processes by which a company is directed and controlled.  

Globalization is the most current and demanding arenas where corporations have to define and legitimate the ‘right or wrong’ of their behavior. A lot of issues emerge in the process relating to cultural, legal and accountability. However, serious efforts have been directed at overhauling the system. Every day we read in the papers about corporate scandals, government failure, etc. A corporate scandal is a scandal involving allegations of unethical behavior by people acting within or on behalf of a corporation. Corporate scandals sometimes involve accounting fraud of some sort. If we happen to look at the list of corporate scandals around the world and particularly in India, the list can go and on, and it is startling!

Therefore, ethics can play a crucial role in making corporate governance meaningful. There should be a moral responsibility, which need not be necessarily taught, but it is something that comes from within oneself. Many everyday business activities require the maintenance of basic ethical standards, such as honesty, trustworthiness and cooperation. One must know the difference between vice and virtue. One must not think that the shareholders’ interest means the interest of all, nor can one compromise the rights of other stakeholders. Failure in Corporate Governance is a real threat to the future of every corporation; therefore, the auditing standard has to be improved. Auditing should comply with international standards.

Well, yes I had to refer some books while writing this, and I had to simply copy some of the things, because somebody has already written about the subject, and I had to simply reproduce that. How can I change something that really is!  All my classmates did the same, but they, very shamefully, directly copied everything from other peoples’ project report.

If you simply type a certain topic on Google you get it. There are already a lot of project reports in PDF format over the internet which my friends easily access, and they very easily change the original author’s name, and copy-and-past, and produce the whole thing saying it is their own work! That, too, without changing or modifying the contents! Most of my classmates didn’t even understand or tried to understand the contents.

Writing the project, to speak the truth, wasn’t my cup of tea, though I learnt a lot. I have a good imagination power, and I like writing stories, mostly fiction, but partly based on reality. I am a realist, you see.

Shreyanshi Awasthi was the external examiner’s name. She spoke with me for more than 20 minutes, while with others she spoke not more than 10 minutes. We spoke about many things, apart from the project, ranging from the issues in our country; we spoke about nationality, language, literature, etcetera and etcetera. At one instance she asked me what my interests were. Among other things, I said writing is one. Then she asked me in which language I write. When I said English she appeared a little disappointed, and enquired why I don’t write in Bengali (which is my mother tongue) or in Hindi, which is spoken by most of us in India. And finally she asked me a few questions related to the project. How lucky I was! Though I read the whole project thoroughly but I knew what she would ask me  (I assumed it). I was fully prepared for it in advance. And she did what I thought!

She was so much impressed by my answers that she asked me what grade I wanted. I answered, “Ma’am, whatever you think fit.”

“ Hmm m… alright!” she sighed.

“Could you mail me the softcopy of your project; I really like it, and would like to read more?” She asked with a smile on her face.


While parting from the classroom where we were having the conversation, she said, “Glad to meet you, Ramu Das.” She put her right hand forward to shake mine.

“Glad to meet you, too, ma’am,” I replied promptly. And firmly with my right hand gave her hand a manly shake.

Copyright © 2012 RAMU DAS


The serpents have committed their monstrous task.

At the victim’s condition tender humankind screams in fear.

She was only a girl and to be a girl was a fault… Oh, why was she a girl?


Horror-stricken faces linger by my side. I close my eyes at this sight.

My blood boils with rage, redress for wrong is awaited.

A fellow being that I am, my conscience weeps with rage.


The sinners emerge from the skin, and for the skin… ah, I tremble to think.

None But Lucifer
None But Lucifer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For lust, from humans such cruel animals do they become.

I pray but only for the hooligans to be adopted by none but Lucifer.

May they rot in hell if there is such a place, but vanish must they from earth.


The scoundrels, the brutes, the shameless inhumane deserves no life!

For they have blackened the hearts’ of a billion.

The Ministers are but just an object of mockery.

No thought do they have of their own mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives.

Oh, we have our lawmakers; a new scheme is on offer for you:

Equip yourself with armor, and remain enclosed in the darkness of your rooms,

Or carry chili powder with you and flung it across when need be.

For you are the prey, and these are the lawmakers’ decisions to protect your modesty.


Copyright © 2012 RAMU DAS

Sexy Goa: Dazzling Beaches, Wine and Bikinis

It was 4.30 in the morning when the alarm of my phone started giving me a tough time. And I had to bear with Eminem’s socially inappropriate lyrics, for it had been my phone’s alarm tone. I was reluctant to wake up. It was a cold morning. Everything was still. I shut Eminem up by pressing the snooze option of the phone. I pulled the blanket over my head, squeezed and curled myself in the bed, and was off to dreamland.

At 5 o’clock the phone rang once again. I wanted to snooze it like I did a little while ago, and like I do every day until it stops ringing, but this time it was a different music, not the alarm tone by any chance. I halfheartedly opened my eyes, stretched my hands, and with the right hand I picked up the phone and glancing at it I saw Aravind’s name flash on it.

Aravind is a very good friend of mine. Although he looks aged with his bulging belly and the stiff mustache, but internally he is quite immature and very innocent. He proves his immaturity very often by doing things which a man of his age never does. Some people find him a bit pestering, but I like him. He has always been very good to me.

“Wake up, wake up,” says Aravind Krishna.

I pressed the accept button to speak. He yelled out of sheer excitement, just like a kid: “Goa… Goa, Goa!” Then he paused for a moment gasping heavily, and then he spoke again, his sentences ending before he could complete them: “The girls… wearing bikinis… resort, dazzling beaches… wake up! Wake up!”

Realization hit me hard like a stone to a glass, we were supposed to go to Goa today, “Ah, quite so,” I said.

As a rule set my Mumbai University, all the Management Students must go on an industrial visit. I suppose, to make us aware about our future responsibilities, or to let us know how we are supposed to struggle for money. It was the teachers’ duty to take care of that, that is to say, to organize industrial visits for the students every year.

The last two years I could not make it to any of the industrial tour because I was not interested, moreover, I had no time for it. But this time I was determined not to miss this opportunity. This is my final year in the college, and if I missed it I would suffer from a void feeling which might as well torture my conscience as I grow older. I’ve never been to Goa. I wanted to see what Goa was like. So I paid Rs. 4000 (like everyone did) for the same and decided to go to Goa.

Aravind was waiting for me in his car. I hurried up, and briskly and noiselessly got into the car. “I’m here.” Soon we reached Panvel station from where all the students were supposed to get on board of a train – Jan Shatabdi had been the train’s name – at 6.00 a.m. I met other friends, and the three lecturers (all women) who accompanied us, or who were suppose to keep an eye on us, in case someone led us astray. Ha!

We kept waiting for the train. As it always happens, the train moved forward, rattling inch by inch quite leisurely at OUR timing – the Indian timing, and finally came to a halt. It was late by half-an-hour. The shrilling of its engine wasn’t at all inviting.

The friends’ parents came to the station to see the friends off. These followed thereon: embracing, shaking hands, wiping tears from the eyes… as if they were bidding goodbye for a long time or maybe forever. The tour was just for 4 days, and nothing more. Overflowing affection, ha!

I was looking for my seat as I got into the train, and when I was able to find it out, I saw an elderly man sitting on it. “Sir, I believe, you’re sitting on my chair,” I said. He was least bothered. I raised my voice, and then he said it was his seat. “How could that be possible?” I questioned.

“Very,” he replied laconically.

“Very?” I found myself repeating his word, but only interrogatively. A little argument followed. I summoned the TC and discovered that the elderly man was speaking the truth. I felt embarrassed before the elderly man, the TC, and other passengers. I foamed at the mouth. I had to stand for half an hour in the train; some of my friends did the same.

I went to the lecturers with my complaint. I kept stuttering for sometime before speaking plainly. Yes, when I get very angry, or very excited, I stutter. Let me say it once again, I st-tu-tut-tut-tut-stut-ter.

One of the lecturers arranged a seat for me, and slowly all the other students were able to sit down comfortably. But I wanted to know why there was the confusion regarding the seat. We did pay the money then why should there be any problem at all? When asked, the lecturers had no idea why it was so; there was no answer for me. Perhaps, the agent of People2Place (who provided us the travel service) made a mistake. Anyhow, I was able to sit and relax, my anger melted, and I had no more problems and no more questions.

The Foggy Morning
The Foggy Morning

The train jerked and rattled, picked up speed, and along we moved on. I tried to register everything in my mind through the view from the window. But, alas, it was a misty December morning, and it made my visibility unclear. No doubt it looked beautiful. Sometimes neon signs flicked through as the train made its way, and I was curious to know what was beneath the foggy atmosphere: Perhaps homes, mountains, a bazaar, animals, or such other things.

I decided to read a book, the best way to eat up time, but the friends wouldn’t let me. They (the boys) inherited the girls’ hormone. They kept on talking tirelessly and continuously. Some guys had a voice as melodious as Justin Bieber, and I could make little difference as to who was the guy and who the gal.

We reached Goa and checked-in to our resort. A very beautiful resort it was, with greenery all-around, a swanky swimming pool that was made more appealing by the alluring golden-haired, brown-eyed girls swimming and dancing in it. A friend of mine exclaimed: “This is it!” I gave him a puzzled look, and he explained, “Besides the beaches and the wine, I wanted to see this and nothing more.” He pointed his fingers towards the women in bikinis swimming in the pool, and towards another who was reclining on her rocking chair, smoking, exhaling circles of smoke, and reading a book at the same time. “Ah, it seems like a movie. This is exactly how they look in the movies. Oh my god, I feel like a star!” He said, expressing mirth. The other friends laughed back at him, not with him, mind you.

We freshened up and learnt that we were going to a very famous and the finest beach in Goa called Baga beach. The boys wore shorts, so did the girls. But the girls invited some criticisms from the lecturers for doing so. My friends disapproved of the lecturers’ gesture. A guy said, “What problem do the teachers have with the students? They never want to see us happy. This is only time we get to see some skin, and … “

Baga beach
Baga beach

A lecturer approached towards him making a strange face, and he thought it best to shut up and stay mum. I knew what he was trying to convey. But he meant it only for fun without having any bad intention. Nevertheless, the girls adhered to their dressing style; after all, they were going to a beach and not to a church or a temple.

We went to Baga beach, swam to our heart’s content. A friend, upon seeing a bikini-clad foreigner, wanted to click a photo with her. But she refused. The friend looked a little disappointed and brokenhearted, we couldn’t help but laugh and laugh, and laugh a little more.

Now, that's a good laugh!
Now, that’s a good laugh!

A lady friend lost her camera somewhere in the beach or in the shops nearby, and started crying. Girls of our college always cry no matter what, “I won’t go back home if I don’t get the camera,” she said. All the other girls started crying as well, as if the camera was a lifesaving drug for them. The lecturers told us to help her find the camera, it happened to be a very expensive one. We went to find it, and luckily we found it. It was in a shop, the shopkeeper was a morally upright, very kindhearted and noble man (such persons are very scarce today, aren’t they?) and returned the camera back to its rightful owner. We thanked him and were off to our resort.

Dancing to the DJ's tune
Dancing to the DJ’s tune

Then, we danced to the tunes of the Disc jockey in the swimming pool as dusk set in; it was especially organized for us. After that we had a hearty dinner.At the crack of midnight we retired to our beds.

During the night I could not sleep properly because of a friend’s snoring who slept beside me. The whole night he kept on torturing me by producing strange sounds: grarrrrr… graaaaaaarrrrrr… grrrrarr….graarrrrrrr… This followed in the same fashion till the remaining days in Goa. I told him to change his sleeping position hoping to see some changes in his breathing. He changed his position, but it was of no avail. I felt like defenestrating him, but thought the better of it.

In the next day, we went to another world-famous dazzling beach –Calangute beach– in north Goa for water sports. These are the sports we enjoyed: Banana boat ride, Bumper ride (the force of the water did a good bum massage), Para-sailing (we paid extra for extra pleasure), Jet Ski (I rode, by paying extra, of course). In the night we went boat cruising. ‘Coral Queen’ had been the cruiser’s name. Some cultural dances were displayed on it. We watched and loved it.

The next day we went to Coca Cola Company, that’s the main reason for which we were in Goa. An instructor demonstrated us the functioning of the machines and all other stuff related to the production of beverage. At first I thought the instructor was not an instructor but a security guard. His dressing style was overly simple. But when he started speaking in fluent English, and started explaining us everything about the manufacturing process, I found him a very knowledgeable, genial, and modest person. Oh, and he wore a big smile every time he spoke.

Then we proceeded towards old Goa and visited BIG FOOT Cross Museum which is a centre for preservation and promotion of Art, Culture and Environment. Then we visited the historical church of St. Francis Xavier, and an archaeological museum nearby.

St. Francis Xavier Church, Old Goa
St. Francis Xavier Church, Old Goa

The next day we visited Fort Aguada. After that we were on our way back to Aamchi Mumbai.

I must say, Goa, with its mighty Sea, good-natured people, and its proximity to other huge cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, is really attractive, enticing, and fascinating.

Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada

There is something soothing about Goa. For a writer, it’s the best place to live. The surroundings are quite, serene and peaceful. Goa, I’m sure, would alleviate your mental agony, and make you feel that life is worth living.

Thus, we concluded our journey; it was a thrilling experience, at least for me. Now, as I finish writing this, I am missing Goa a lot.

P.S.: I could have written a lot more, but as it is, it already looks very daunting. I don’t want to bore my readers, and definitely my blog is not a book.

Copyright © 2012 RAMU DAS


Here, the days are busy and bright
And the nights are amply light
In bars and pubs, people get tight
That is, as a matter of course, all men’s delight

Folks commute miles and miles
Of varying creeds and life styles

where work is every citizens’ right
And for freedom, they really fight
Observe her rattling might
How appealing is her sight!

On a roller coaster is her economy
That writes human destiny
For some, it’s a galvanizing entity
And for some, it’s a sad irrationality

The skyscrapers are tall and high
Terrorists’ attack, their end draws nigh
The soldiers fight and the ministers sigh
The masses call for election, roar and cry

While I walk in every street, and polluted air I breathe
I see scars of depression and angst in every faces I meet
Then, I move along the Arabian shore
The splendid sea, I adore

Copyright © 2012 RAMU DAS