Tag Archives: srinagar



Khidki (Window)

–Read Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    The title ‘Billionaire Cabbie’ is by a first time author Balbir Singh Sethi. Balbir, is an ex-student of REC/NIT Srinagar. He has had his long innings as an Engineer, that later turned him, into an Exporter. Since then he has retired and given the reigns to his son. In a span of 74 years, he has gone through many ups and downs. The book is an outcome of an episode that he witnessed during his travel to Jaipur, where he chanced to see a lady, necking a taxi driver. The taxi was ahead of his car and that was the spark for writing his first book, says the author.

    The beginning of the book has a customary caution note that the book is a fiction and has no bearing with any person dead or alive. But to me, it appears as someone’s long fairy-tale of success, written as fiction.

    ‘The main protagonist Bobby loses his father in the final year of his school. His dreams are big and he accomplishes his dreams with sheer determination, hard work, and honesty. He meets Ruksana in his journey and she becomes his wife in real life. Bobby amasses wealth but loses his ladylove in between. This makes him amass more wealth until he realizes one day that he has had enough of it. He then decides to see life from ground zero, and starts driving a cab incognito.’ The back cover of the book stops here, and so will I, as I don’t want to be a spoiler since the book has been published only recently. The publisher is Notion Press. The price of the book is Rs 150, and is available, in all online stores.

    There is no preface to the book which I feel is a must as you do get an overview of the plot with a preface. You also get the main reasons for the author to write the book, the central theme the underlined message that the book carries till the end, that ultimately impacts the reader. And the author is best suited to write his own preface which he hasn’t done here. The preface makes the reading of the book even more interesting as you’re modestly aware of the turf that you’re treading and what to look for, in the book. Preface is something like a movie’s trailer or a preview.

    I found the book to be quite a Bhanumati-ka-pitara, a mixed bag. It has tragedy, a determined struggle, towering success, necking and sex in abundance that could have been refined or toned down, in fact, in certain pages, one gets to feel as if, too much sex is eating into the plot, and you’re in for a surprise, considering, the age of the author which is 74 in lighter vein. Then it has that sleazy link between politicians and businessmen, the highs and lows of the stock market, death, crime, kidnapping, and chief protagonist Bobby’s attempt to see the world as a cabby. It is a yester-year story written in the backdrop of Bombay now Mumbai. The story after the initial tragedy appears too good to be true till half the spine, and only brings about, the vicissitudes of life, thereafter. The book takes off only after the first hundred pages. The build-up of Bobby’s character wanes in the second half of the book.

    The author has delved deep into minute details, at times irrelevant, and has used lucid English, and largely, short sentences, being his debut novel. The author could have avoided using the same words in quick succession to keep the freshness of the flow of language. As an inveterate reader one does get the feel as if, it’s the author’s own veiled account. His description of Srinagar is excellent having done his engineering from there. Hopefully the author will bring in refinement of tone and tenor in his second book.

    The book is not very meaty and delivers in a little over two hundred pages. Well if you’re a college student or just into your career you’ll enjoy reading about the young lad Bobby who without any Ivy-league qualification goes up the ladder in his career starting with grunt work.

    Since it’s a debut book written by a seventy four year old author, I admire his spirits, and would give the book seven out of ten as a college student. Best of luck for his second title.

By Kamlesh Tripathi




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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:


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Our Publications


(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh. Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  


(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)


(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)


(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)


(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)


(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; Indica, 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; Happy Days, November 15, 2020; The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15,2020; Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021;







Few lines on Kashmir Valley that is undergoing the worst of turmoils

“Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast”,

Which, translates to

“If there is ever a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here in Kashmir.”


What should have been the valley of smiles,

Has turned into a stone pelters den,

A misguided nuisance,

Not in the interest of anyone.


When Kashmir bleeds,

Separatists are relieved,

But when there is serene,

Separatists feel the demean.


From valley to the mountains,

From lakes to the rivers,

From tourism to winter sports,

You have a whole lot of things.


Nesting in between,

Korakoram and Zanskar,

Pir Panjal and Himalyas,

And in and around,

 Hazratbal, Mata and Amarnath,

You have so much to pride and revere.


So, in those blessed and scenic surroundings,

What made you pick up stones?

What made you devastate your own home?

And what made you surrender to those rogues?


What makes you feel India is not your own,

And Pakistan is your home,

The grass is not greener on other side,

Take it from someone who is known.


Use the stones to build the valley,

Use the stones to preserve the valley,

Use the stones to kill the enemy,.

Use the stones to rip the separatist.


India is your home,

Where you’ve grown,

So leave Pakistan alone,

And fight for your country’s throne.


By Kamlesh Tripathi


Share if you like it


Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:


Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805


Our publications


(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  


(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)


(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)


(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)


Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Now available in Amazon.com







By Kamlesh Tripathi

wonderful Sanasar


I recently covered Jammu-Patnitop-Sanasar circuit as a vying tourist with my family. It was an electrifying experience. I had not known what I was missing in life, till I actually got to see this paradise that remains unruffled from the poison of planet erosion even now.  Let me take you through this interesting journey that may motivate you too, to visit these fizzy tourist spots that remain huddled in scenic landscapes and keeps lazing around in idyllic settings.

picturesque Shivalik range

The hilly region of Jammu spreads across the middle Himalayas and the Shvaliks in the Jammu & Kashmir state. It presents a variety of attractive features and is home to several tourist resorts and pilgrimage centres. These include the Holy Cave Shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi (so famous that I dare not discuss in the passage) nestling in the folds of the Trikuta hills which is one of the most venerated Hindu Pilgrimage destinations of northern India, visited by millions every year. Also hidden away amongst the surrounding mountains are a number of hill resorts, the most famous among these being the beautiful meadows of Patnitop & Sanasar towards northeast of Vaishnodevi. These present an opportunity to recoup, after the strenuous pilgrimage, amidst an enchantingly beautiful and salubrious environment, with a variety of other tourist attractions/pilgrim centres to see en route before returning to Jammu, the City of Temples, on way home.


Chidai Muttal

As one embarks towards Patnitop, 12 kms from Katra, is Chidai Muttal, famous for its wells and well side sculptures. An ancient temple stands beside a small garden here, shaded by Chinar trees normally associated with Kashmir. A brief stopover at this place refreshes one’s soul and mind.

Middle Himalayas


After travelling a further 25 km towards Patnitop, a short detour of 8 km from the National Highway near Udhampur, leads to Krimchi, the site of one of the oldest temple complexes of Jammu. Believed to have been constructed between 11th-12th century AD. This group of temples, is locally known as the Pandava Temples, has some interesting architectural features, which resemble the Orissan style of temple architecture.




An important town in the hilly areas of Jammu region, Udhampur is the farthest rail head of Northern India so far. The ancient Raghunath Temple located next to the sacred underground river, Devak is one of the oldest temples of the region. Accommodation is available in the PWD Dak Bungalow and several private hotels. The ancient temple of Jallandri Mata at Ladden Kotli is believed to have been abode of the Pandavas for some time during their exile. The hidden chambers in its roof, sculptures on its walls and the nearby springs tell a unique story. Mini Hydel Project Chenani, is at a short distance, and an ancient fort provides the backdrop of the temple. 10 kms from Udhampur towards Patnitop, at the way side station of Samroli, one can enjoy Kaladi Sandwhich (a local cottage cheese produced in the interiors of hilly areas) with a hot cup of tea.


The first hill resort on this circuit, Kud (1738 meters), is a picturesque town located just 9 kms short of Patnitop. This resort commands a panoramic view of the terraced valley downwards and the mountains beyond, specially, from the Mall Road, presently under construction. Besides enjoying a cool climate in summers, it is also famous for Patisa a speciality sweet preparation and waters of a spring. A number of hotels and guesthouses besides the Tourist Bungalows of the JKTDC here provide decent accommodation for a comfortable stay in the hills.



By far the most populous of Jammu’s hill resorts, 87 kms from Katra, Patnitop (2024 meters) is perched on a beautiful plateau across which the Jammu-Srinagar highway passes. It comprises of several meadows enveloped by thick forests of Deodar & Kail trees and affords peaceful walks amidst pine groves, beautiful spots for enjoyable picnics and breathtaking views of the Chenab basin and the Pir Panjal range beyond. For solace one can visit the beautifully located Nag Mandir. Other activities include horse rides and short treks into the surrounding hills. One can also drive through thick forests 12 kms downhill to Batote, an old hill station also known for apple orchards, Amar Cheshma and other springs. From here one can also visit the Dam site of the Bagliar Hydro-Electric Project 10 kms away, with permission of the authorities.

In winters (January-February) the snow covered slopes of Patnitop provide opportunities for various snow games including amateur skiing and sledging. Visitor facilities at Patnitop include good quality accommodation in hotels, guesthouses, the JKTDC’s tourist bungalows, and recreational facilities in the Patnitop Club. Accommodation for youth and students is available in the Youth Hostel. The JKTDC’s luxury huts-self contained timber cottages tucked away amidst pine trees- provide an idyllic ambience for a quiet and memorable stay surrounded by sights and sounds of nature.

The most exciting feature of the beautiful resort of Sanasar (2079 meters), 19 km west of Patnitop, is a sprawling cup shaped meadow, 1 surrounded by gigantic conifers, which has been developed into a 9-hole golf course. Besides enjoying exciting pony rides amongst the groves and the other smaller meadows, one can also take treks up the surrounding hills from here. Sanasar is also ideal for paragliding, while Natha Top on way to Sanasar affords scenic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. For those desirious of experiencing a quiet stay surrounded by the tranquillity of nature, there are self-contained huts and a Tourist Bungalow managed by JKTDC at Sanasar.


At an altitude of 10,000 ft, 10 kms from Sanasar, the misty meadow of Sankhpal offers the most exciting trek from Sanasar. It takes about two and a half hours of exciting trekking through scenic mountain slopes to reach here. One can also hire ponies upto Sankhpal. Food etc., should be carried from Sanasar. At one side of the meadow is the small old temple of Sankhpal Devta. On a clear day trekkers can be rewarded with breathtaking views of the mountain peaks.

This highly revered Shiva temple (1225 mtrs) is located at a distance of 42 kms from Patnitop and 112 kms from Jammu. Legend has it that after bathing at a spring called Gauri Kund, just short of Sudh Mahadev, the Goddess Parvati would worship the Shivling here that is believed to be at least 3000 years old. The temple also houses a black marble statue of Lord Shiva and Parvati. A trishul (trident) of Lord Shiva is also preserved here. Pilgrims in large number visit the Shrine on the full moon night of Sawan (July-August) to participate in the festival to worship Lord Shiva. The mystical underground stream, Devak believed to be as sacred as the Ganges originates at Sudh Mahadev and disappears among the rocks some distance downstream. Also of interest are wooden sculptures, crafted locally. Accommodation is available in Tourist Sarai managed by J&K Tourism Development Corporation and Dharmshala managed by the Dharmarth Trust.

Mantalai Temple

A few kilometres further ahead of Sudh Mahadev is Mantalai (1450 meters) surrounded by lush Deodar forests. As per legend, it is a place where Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. Besides the Shiv temple here, one can also visit the complex created by Swami Dhirendra Brahmchari which includes a tree shaped house, an air strip, a hostel and a number of other unfinished projects. An excursion through the woods to Naina Devi 5 kms from Mantalai provides excellent views of the mountains landscape all round.

Kali Mata Mandir

While returning to Jammu one can visit the Kali Mata Mandir, located next to a waterfall near Manthal, 40 kms from Jammu. A highly revered location for travellers driving on the National Highways, it provides a cool and refreshing stopover point for the traveller especially during the summer season.

Jhajjar Kotli

Further ahead, 35 kms short of Jammu on the National Highway is the Jhajjar Kotli, Tourist Complex, built on the banks of the Jhajjar rivulet. The crystal clear, cool waters of Jhajjar attract picnickers in large numbers especially during summers. A Tourist Cafetaria, a Bar and a small Tourist Bungalow are provided here by JKTDC. Moving further towards Jammu, one can also stop at the ancient Rani ka Talab.

Kol Kandoli (Nagrota)

The ancient temple of Kol Kandoli located, 9 kms from Jammu is considered to be the first darshan of the Holy Goddess of Mata Vaishnidevi was performed entirely on foot, the first of the 6 nights, halts after Jammu used to be at this temple.