Mausam – Review

BY SWATI DEOGIRE

When you look away from the picture-perfect frames and beautiful cinematography of Mausam (courtesy Binod Pradhan) you understand that not all the seasons of love in this film are suitable for you.

Mausam is veteran actor Pankaj Kapur’s directorial debut with son Shahid and Sonam Kapoor in the lead, along with Supriya Pathak, Anupam Kher and Manoj Pahwa. Kapur Sr. has put forth commendable work in his debut film with respect to attention to detail. The art direction and cinematography makes the Punjab ka pind look very real and believable, with loud, noisy middle aged women, a tonga wala and sarsoon ke khet in the background. But with Pankaj Kapur at the helm of affairs, one expects something close to perfection. And sadly, the film disappoints with a dragging screenplay and unnecessary melodrama that it offers.

The film starts in the early 90s set in a small village in Punjab with Harry (Harvinder Singh), played by Shahid, and Aayat, played by Sonam, as the main characters. As Harry awaits his letter from the Indian Air Force, he falls in love with a Kashmiri refugee, Aayat. Love blossoms between the two and just before you think the two will soon bind together in matrimony, Babri Masjid is demolished and hence, Aayat relocates to an undisclosed location. The political undercurrent and terrorist activities in India and the West for over a decade set the tone of the film. They come together again only to be separated by another series of attacks. The longing and wait of the couple seems endless and highly annoying as in an era of cell phones and emails, the two of them depend on traditional sources of communication and as a result, the two finally meet after a decade, that too in the midst of the Gujarat riots.

Pritam Chakraborty’s music seems refreshing and adds more beauty to the film. Shahid’s restrained acting in the second half as an Air Force officer and his village boy act in the first part show his commendable growth as an actor. Sonam looks dignified and giggles her way through most of the first half of the film which is replaced only by her yearning and pining act till the end. A good script on paper gone awry on screen, the Mausam vibhaag here at Ink gives it a thumbs down!

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Greek Tragedy: Default to Survive

By RAMESH GOPALKRISHNAN

In 1999, the European Union (EU), an economic and political community of 27 nations, established a monetary union, the ‘Eurozone’. All EU member nations who were part of this zone had the freedom to decide their individual fiscal policies. However, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided a common monetary policy. It dealt with establishing a common currency (the Euro) and the supply of money in the zone by targeting rate of interest to propel or control growth.

While this worked well during times of economic prosperity during the global financial crisis, the ECB’s one-size-fits-all policy  looks suspect.

As a formal structure bridging the ECB’s monetary policy with the fiscal policy of individual nations is non-existent, there is a chasmic difference in how different nations handle their public finances. This has led to a chary Germany and a profligate Greece on the same side of the table, both bound by the same monetary policy.

Though a few riders exist to protect member nations from their wastrel neighbours, (EU Treaties have a ‘no bail out’ clause for member nations with financial difficulty) it is easier said than done. In an economy as intertwined as the EU, there is little choice but to bailout member nations, as in the case of Greece.

However, the bailout’s harsh provisos of slashing public spending and stabilizing national debt, will adversely affect an already recessionary Greek economy. Reduction in public spending reduces money in the economy and results in lesser money in the hands of the people. This shrinks investments and reduces demand; thereby stifling growth. Without growth, Greece cannot possibly earn any revenue to repay its loans. Increasing taxes, especially in the current scenario will lead to civil unrest and the kind of political instability that Greece cannot afford. In such a scenario, the Greeks have little choice but to default.

Hypothetically, the immediate effect of the $400 billion sovereign debt default will lead to global financial markets entering into a double-dip recession. Banks heavily exposed to toxic Greek debt will close down, à la American subprime crisis all over again. Investors will panic and short EU nations’ bonds, especially Italy and Spain as they seem to be heading the Greek way.

Another perspective could be that a Greek default is imminent. While no one discounts its cascading effect, what works for it is that the global financial markets and investors are anticipating a Greek default. They are already mitigating or hedging their losses. Moreover, the EU’s repeated bailouts seem to have little effect on the actual problem, Greece’s national debts.

Instead of squandering huge sums of money on Greece, the EU should shore up European banks most exposed to the toxic debt. Alternatively, it can bailout Italy and Spain, both bigger and more powerful economies than Greece which are on the periphery of a Greece style downward spiral.

Meanwhile Greece must use the crisis to cobble together political will to restructure its public finances and rewrite its policies. If necessary, it should leave the eurozone, give up the euro, and return to the Greek drachm. Only then, can it control its monetary policy, devalue its currency and kick start its exports, all of which will eventually in time lead to positive growth.

For Greece and the European Union, the only choices are; the two must work out a closely integrated and orchestrated default wherein everyone takes a hit or a complete collapse of the Union and with it the very idea of an integrated Europe. There is no third way.

The Champions League challenge

BY HARKET SUCHDE

In European Football, one trophy is coveted by every major club above all else – the UEFA Champions League. The red devils are no different, and will be hoping to go one step further in the competition than they did last year, where they succumbed to the might of Barcelona in the finals of the tournament.

Judging  by the red devils’ performance in their recent qualifier tie against Portuguese club and champions league minnows Benfica it appears that this might be a bridge too far for the reigning premier league champions.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has had a difficult summer. The core of his highly experienced side that progressed so well in last season’s champion’s league have left the club. Their goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar, who was an assured presence between the posts finally hung up his gloves, Powerhouse defender Gary Neville followed suit, and club legend Paul Scholes too called an end to his career, leaving a gaping void in the United midfield.

Sir Alex responded by purchasing young Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea form Atletico Madrid to fill in the big boots of Van Der Sar, and promoted youngsters such as Fabio Da Silva and Tom Cleverley from within the club’s setup to replace Neville and Scholes respectively.

Between them, these youngsters have minimal champion’s league experience and this appears to be the first big stumbling block in United’s road to champion’s league glory. Although Cleverley has shown flashes of brilliance for the reds this season, he is no Paul Scholes, and will find it difficult to replicate the quality and consistency that the Englishman produced for United. Da Silva too has appeared shaky at times, and De Gea has made a number of high profile blunders in goal for United, a stark contrast from the calming presence of Van Der Sar.

Apart from this, Barcelona who hit the back of United’s net with absurd ease in last year’s final, have added some more firepower to an already potent attacking side with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas. Real Madrid too have visibly strengthened an already star studded line-up with the purchase of Coentrao, Altintop and Nuri Sahin among others, and appear to be a formidable force in this tournament.

United’s local rivals Manchester City who have also qualified for the champion’s league this season, may prove to be the dark horse of the tournament. With high profile purchases such as Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Sergio Aguero and Stefan Savic, Manchester City will definitely hope to push on and leave a mark on the tournament this season.

Football is an unpredictable game. There’s no two ways about it and it is near impossible to predict the fates of clubs with such quality as the ones participating in this year’s champion’s league. But judging by the evidence at hand, United will have to wait at least another year for a taste of European glory.

Beauty ‘Con’tests

BY NIKITA MUKHERJEE

 A very prominent disconnect is prevalent between expectations and reality. However, this detachment seems to get wider and wider, when it comes to the likes of beauty pageants.  A dry spell for India, on such international platforms has been certified for over a decade now and very recently, another opportunity has also been lost.  The continuing tradition augments many questions in the minds of young Indian audience. Are our Indian lasses losing on their poise & prowess? Are they not well groomed to represent a cosmopolitan country like India? Or have the changing stratagems of these beauty pageants resulted in India arriving at such a standpoint.

The new shining glory at the Miss Universe this year, Leila Lopes quipped that she hopes her victory will allow her to assist her native Angola in escaping its history of war and impoverishment, and that she plans to focus on fighting HIV around the globe.  The quote though reasonably unambiguous, makes the prude in some of us question the redemptive nature of such pageants. The opportunity to highlight Leila’s troubles pertaining to her continent was grappled by every possible media channel. Call it an advertising tactic or the penetration of sponsors associated with these competitions to the third world countries, ‘gimmicks’ sums up these pageants. Pageants invariably are now thriving on a country’s economy, and ideally a developing economy. So few years back the focus was on India, owing to its illustrious position at the international market. Now, it is some other developing economy being solicited over by such authorities. India previously opened its gate for all multi-national corporations, making it an oasis in the desert of countries, thereby attracting travelers in terms of advertisers and sponsors. Now perhaps, some other country is in India’s shoes.

Scandals and controversies are no stranger to these beauty pageants.  It surfaces at every competition and makes rounds for a consistent period. Be it Vanessa William’s alleged nude pictures controversy in 1983, Miss India Universe Usnoshi Gupta’s ‘evening gown’ controversy in 2010 or the very recent Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes’ fake-documents controversy. The connection between these pageants and scandals are parallel and exclusively dependant.  These cases again bring the most clichéd question to the forefront. Are these pageants indeed rigged? Are these pageants through and though deceitful?

Maybe a similar question, if asked to the contestants in one of the final rounds of the pageant, could fetch us an answer.

Rate hikes: The story continues

BY AGAMONI GHOSH

As expenses continue to rise without subsequent rise in income, the plight of a salaried individual worsens day by day. With soaring food prices and transport costs, the interest rates on borrowing from banks also hit another high. The RBI hiked the repo rate by 25 bp points to 8.25% last week, making it the 12th straight rate hike since March 2010, the longest rate cycle hike in nearly a decade.

The Short term lending (repo) rate, the rate at which the banks borrow money from the RBI has been on a steady rise and is expected to rise further by 25 bp in October.  Even the short-term borrowing (reverse repo) rate at which banks park their funds with the RBI has climbed to 7.25 per cent.

The automobile sector is worst affected, facing the possibility of even slower growth and lower revenues with the hike in fuel prices adding to its woes. Most rate sensitive sectors in the stock market like banking and real estate are also expected to suffer, since loans become more expensive with higher EMIs. In other sectors, companies which are expanding and in need of capital are going to suffer with credit availability becoming difficult. With growth seemingly out of the question, the only reprieve for a long market in heavy infrastructural investment is that the hike can be yet another round of speculative rumblings bound to perish with the same alacrity.

As the last few weeks have seen the Eastern European currencies and Latin American currencies weaken, it increasingly seems like the global recessionary pressure is getting to us.  Investors are now waking up to the truth that Asia is no longer immune to what happens in the Western world. Indeed, more than that, since Asia is suffering, growth is taking a hit owing to their policy actions. India’s rise in interest rates is now beginning to impact growth domestically.

The industry and even a section in the Finance Ministry, led by the Chief Economic Adviser to the FM Kaushik Basu, were of the view that the central bank should desist from hiking rates yet again as the slowdown is more serious than previously visualised. Many analysts have assumed that there might be a disagreement between the finance ministry and the RBI on managing inflation.

Had the Government acted earlier, RBI would not have had to resort to such consistent hikes. The government on the other hand continues to act irresponsibly, with eyes on the vote bank. Projects are at a standstill, especially in the power sector and capital goods. If the rupee continues to depreciate, inflationary pressures will only go up.

As the monetary authority continues its war on inflation, Pranab Mukherjee feels it is imperative on the part of the government to take this decision.

The monetary tightening effected so far by the Reserve Bank may have helped in containing inflation and anchoring inflationary expectations, but  has added to the common man’s dilemmas once again.

‘Modern’ Times for ‘Mad’ Men!

BY SUNETRO LAHIRI

It was a night for stars alright, replete with resplendent show-tunes, spiffy tuxes and Elie Saab’s and Armani Privé’s in every palette of red. Funny hostess – check, surprises springing up like Halloween décor – check, gushing speeches oscillating between funny and ridiculous – check. The night was set for television’s very own grand gala ball as the 63rd Emmy Awards were doled out on 18th September at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Needless to say, after a long starving wait, the Awards turned into a night many would remember, not least for the surprising victors that thwarted the predictions of every television pundit worth his dime!

On a night that began with two straight – up wins for Modern Family’s incessantly bickering couple, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, one could safely say that a lot of toasts would be coming the show’s way! Not surprising one and all with its fourth straight win, equalling The West Wing’s previous record, Mad Men racked up the Best Drama gong walking hand in hand with another funny ‘Modern’ as the usual suspects! And yes all the while we learnt that Jane Lynch ISN’T always the mean machine Sue Sylvester is and to prove the point, she even ‘slashed’ her alter ego in the introductory piece.

As expected she induced a few guffaws and gnarls but it didn’t quite hit the benchmark set by Neil Patrick Harris who hosted the Awards two years back. Dressed in a white Armani Privé that seemed like memorabilia from the storehouse of Star Wars (the prequels!), Julianna Marguilles avenged her previous year’s ouster with a sure-fire Best Drama Actress win for The Good Wife that didn’t cause so much as a raised eyebrow. And of course, Miss Winslet, the lovely English Rose, well she gushed and we swayed, she smiled and we swooned. In short, draped in a red Elie Saab number that hugged her in the right places and swathed her in a temperature raising red, Winslet said boo-ya to the ‘Oscar Curse’ and her divorce with a win for her stunner of a performance in HBO’s eponymous ‘Mildred Pierce’.

However, the night also must have made some bookies very happy and some really mad! For starters, Mildred Pierce got ‘pierced’ straight in the heart to be outdone by a geriatric yet weighty Downtown Abbey in the TV Movie/Miniseries category. And the world knew that HBO could sometimes lose at the Emmys! While Margo Martindale’s quietly murderous mother from the sinister western Justified nabbed for the team, ousting bookie favourite The Good Wife’s Kalinda Sharma, Tyrion Lannister’s dry wit won Peter Dinklage the gong, giving the superb Game of Thrones at least a few wins! However, the biggest surprises were reserved for the Emmys for the other Acting Leads.

Jim Parsons may have expounded every scientific theory on The Big Bang Theory, but his Sheldon Cooper could not possibly explain how, in an honour reserved for few, he won his second trophy in the running especially when a wincing Steve Carell bade adieu to his ‘Office’ without a single Emmy on his platter for the record!

Big girls are back in fashion, for sure, as Melissa Mccarthy continued her brilliant year with a jaw-dropping win for the ho-hum comedy, Mike and Molly.

However, the night’s biggest upset was Jon Hamm not being rewarded for his BEST acting turn of the year for Mad Men. Kyle Chandler may have gotten the sympathy vote, what with being snubbed year after year, but if Hamm doesn’t win next year, we’re pretty sure there will be some bounties on some heads and some heads shall roll!

Of Grit, Class and Technique

BY PRAKASH GOVINDASREENIVASAN

Back in 1996 when a young 23-year old boy donned white kits for the first time for India against England at Lords’, not many would have bet their money on this lanky looking textbook cricketer. It was the same game in which, if I may say, a more flamboyant batsman called Sourav Ganguly made his debut too and scored a stunning century. Even today, the whole country remembers ‘Dada’ for that knock.

But, it was also the game where Rahul Dravid, who put on a wonderful 95-run partnership with Ganguly for the fifth wicket, played a patient and a rather matured innings of 95, standing ground for over three hours. That, I reckon, was the birth of one India’s best for a long time to come.

Grit, Class and Technique – a few words one would associate with the man from Bengaluru whose career lasted for 15 glorious years. He entered the International arena at a very interesting stage- when Sachin Tendulkar was already a household hero and Sourav Ganguly’s classy offside play was starting to attract more and more fans and experts alike. At first look, Dravid was an epitome of composure, someone who was in complete senses in all situations, be it two sessions of the last day to bat on with the number eleven or fifteen runs to get off two overs in a limited overs match.

It was almost outrageous for someone so young to be so focused at the crease. As a top order batsman, it’s baffling as to how Dravid was one of those who rarely premeditated and went for a greedy slash at the ball. It was all about technique and it always will be. It took great determination and dedication to be able to play exactly according to your coach’s words and every single time Dravid was in the middle, he would do exactly that.

Slowly and steadily, Dravid cemented his place in the Indian top order in both formats of the game. So much so that he was called ‘The Wall’, purely due to his ability to consolidate and play out the middle overs in the most elegant way possible.

Dravid’s career in a sentence can be described as that of a rescue worker, someone who was always at the crease when the chips were down and more often than not he orchestrated a comeback. It’s also his uncanny ability to build long lasting partnerships with his colleagues in the middle that sets him apart from most of his era. His best supporting role came in that historic match against Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001 where a 376-run stand in the second innings with VVS Laxman helped India comeback from a follow on to beat the then best test team in the World.

After having played 343 ODIs, Rahul Dravid decided to call it quits after playing the ODI series against the same opponent he started out against England.

Even as the Rainas and the Kohlis look to fill his humongous shoes in the ODI format of the game, Dravid will continue to put his heart and soul into the team in the longest format of the game.

After the departure of Sourav Ganguly, India managed to do decently well with the replacements in the middle order in test matches but when Dravid leaves , the void is surely going to be bigger and one that will spark off what is called the transition phase of Indian cricket.

Till the day comes, cheers to those impeccable square cuts and long patient innings.

Air India: The Maharaja of disasters

BY PRATITI CHAKRABORTY

The National Carrier is in deep trouble and the man trying to turn it around probably has the toughest job. With all the problems surrounding Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Valayar Ravi is quite literally begging his way out of financial issues.

Air India has the infrastructure and the personnel required for it to be revived. However, faulty management decisions and poor governance has resulted in heavy losses and the current pathetic condition of the airline. Air India has been in financial trouble for a while now; however the biggest issue to be resolved is the acquisition of a huge number of aircrafts by the Aviation ministry.

The Comptroller and Auditor General report, tabled in the Parliament earlier this month, strongly criticised the Civil Aviation Ministry and its aircraft acquisition terming it risky and pointless.

The report concentrates on the deal of 28 new aircrafts in 2004 which grew to 68 after the Congress took over. This purchase was to be paid off with the help of loans and debts. An organization which was already under a debt of Rs 29 crore was pushed up to approximately Rs 38000 crore in just a year. Air India also took a loan of Rs 200 crore with an extremely high interest to fund its expansion plans.. This deal with Boeing has turned into a nightmare as the delivery has not only been delayed by three years but the hasty plan has also ensured that there is no money to pay even after the delivery.

In 2004, Air India had only 93 aircrafts which were all around 20 years old. This, clubbed with the decision to purchase 111 aircrafts to be able to compete internationally, has been a ‘recipe for disaster’. Not to mention, the call for the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines further added to the woes of the airlines. This merger also caused problems a few months back when the AI pilots went on a strike for pay parity. The six day strike led to a loss of Rs 5-6 crore per day which pushed Air India into a financial abyss. These financial issues brought about the thought of privatisation of Air India.

It seems that the government hid the ailing health of the Maharaja for too long. But now that the CAG report is available on a public forum, the government has to come up with the solutions to all the issues being faced. Privatisation of the airline is clearly out of the running, so other ways have to be found out and implemented before it is too late.

The main concern now is recovering debts and putting a stop on further losses. A competent and experienced team of people should be given the task of marketing and human resources. These are the two main areas where efforts need to be increased. The AI pilots have been unhappy about the way the management has treated them, it is time to bring about changes in the managerial ways. Another area that needs immediate attention is infrastructure.

It is important that the products provided to the clients are of superior quality and capable of competing with the international standards. If the service is of a defined standard then fares do not need much of a subsidy. This will be contrary to the present low fares that have often resulted in decreased revenue for the airlines.

For a long time now private airlines have been favoured by the majority of ministers. It is time to stop such biased benefitting immediately. Whether it is preference in the airport bays or route networks, private airlines use their clout which plays out as a major disadvantage to the National Carrier.

If the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines merger can be turned into a success story, it would provide the airlines with a huge number of motivated employees.

With these employees and the acquired infrastructure, the Maharaja can be brought back from the dead.

BY PRATITI CHAKRABORTY

Pune lights up for Pujos

BY RAINA KSHETRY

“Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Maatrirupena Sansthitah

Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaktirupena Sansthitah

Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaantirupena Sansthitah

Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namo Namah”

(Goddess Durga is omnipresent. She is the personification of the Universal Mother. She is a Mother, who is present everywhere and who is the embodiment of power and energy. Great mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of Peace. I bow to that mother, I bow to Durga, I bow to Shakti.)

The most popular festival among Bengalis, Durga Puja’s spurt of fanfare can be sensed on all four days of mirth and extreme euphoria. Bengalis all over the world rejoice to their heart’s content with identical sounds of the dhak, ecstatic sights of dhunuchi naach, while the air breathes intoxicatingly of shiuli flowers.

Though believed to be more of a Bengali festival, Puneites too celebrate Durga Puja with passion and devotion. They welcome this festival with excitement and enthusiasm. Major puja committees in Pune are all decked up to make this year’s festival a grand success.

The festival of Durga Puja has been celebrated in Pune for more than seventy years now and every year the response and participation of devotees from all different communities has been encouraging. Major puja committees start preparing in advance to ensure that these four days are gripped by sanctity and fun.

There are more than twenty three venues where Durga Puja is celebrated every year in Pune. The top locations where one is sure to find all the fun and frolic are- the Kalibari at Khadki, Congress Bhavan and the Sabojanik Durgautsav Committee, Kalyani Nagar.

“We are always thankful and grateful to the local people of Pune for helping us to make this festival a success. It is actually a place where people irrespective of their origin, caste or any other kind of differences, come together and adore maa durga. It is metaphorically a celebration of humaneness,” says Rajesh Burman of the Bongiya Sanskriti Samsad, Congress Bhavan on JM Road Pune.

And who can resist the delicious Bengali cuisine and mouth-watering rasogollas? The Pune Pujos takes care of that as well.

“People who come into our pandal do look forward to eating their heart out at the food stalls that we set up. One can pamper their taste buds with some traditional Bengali food items. Furthermore, this year we have put up a painting exhibition cum training sessions, wherein interested minds can learn the basics of merging colour with imagination. To cater to non-Bengali devotees, we have arranged singers who will sing Hindi and Marathi songs,” says J P Banerjee, President of Sarbojanik Durgautsav Committee, Kalyani Nagar.

For all the Bengalis out there, if you’re not at home, this will be the perfect way to enjoy your Durga Puja in Pune!

A trip to Leh and a mountain of memories

BY BIBARTAN GHOSH

A lot has been spoken about hill stations in different parts of India and how scenic and breath-taking they are. However, in all of these, the best one surprisingly remains low-profile. If you have a week’s time in hand, head off for the best of the hill-top experiences in India to a quaint little city called Leh.

Situated at an altitude of 3400mtrs above sea level in the trans-Himalayan range, Leh is the district capital of Ladakh. One of the smallest cities in the world, Leh faces the extremes of climatic conditions. While winters are stretched and temperatures fall as low as -30°c, summers can be as high as 25°c. The tourist season falls between May and October. Post that, the roads from Manali and Srinagar are closed due to extreme snowfall.

You can either choose to fly or go by road. There are daily flights available from Delhi reasonably priced at around Rs 6000 for a round trip.

While road trips are much more exhilarating, it takes almost 2-3 days to reach Leh from either Manali or Srinagar. However, there is nothing like taking a road trip to Leh, driving across mountains and high-altitude passes while experiencing the vastness of the Himalayan mountain ranges.

Decent accommodations are easily available within Rs. 1000 a day on a twin sharing basis. The day can be utilized to roam around Leh, visiting local monasteries and Leh Palace, markets, interacting with extremely simple Ladakhi people and sampling Tibetian delicacies. Most of the restaurants here make incredible momos, thukpas, teemoks and thanthuks at extremely reasonable costs. Though chicken items are a little difficult to find, Ladakhi cuisine features lamb, sheep and mutton in abundance. The Tibetian Wok, the Himalayan Café (in the main market), Lamayuru and Little Tibet of Fort Road are some of the best restaurants in Leh.

Leh can be seen extensively even in a day or two. The best places to visit in the trans-Himalayan range are Nubra Valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Magnetic Hill among others. If you are a biking enthusiast then you can hire motorcycles from Leh or pool-in cabs and taxis are also available. The second day can be ideally used to visit Magnetic Hill and a village called Nimmu, about 30kms from Leh. While Magnetic Hill actually defies the law of gravity, Nimmu is a quiet, small town with rich Tibetian culture. On the way back, the Hall of Fame by the Indian Army is a must-visit. The Hall of Fame preserves the actual ammunitions and stories of India’s battle for Tiger Hill in 1999 and the Kargil War.

The next day could be spent travelling to Nubra Valley while passing through the world’s highest motorable pass, Khardung La. It is at a height of 18380ft above sea-level. Pool-in cabs will cost anywhere between Rs 1000-1200 per person and an entire cab would cost around Rs 4000 – 4500. If you are an adrenaline junkie, then self-drive Enfields can be hired at around Rs 800 – 1000 per day. The road to Nubra is extremely rocky with a steep incline for 40kms till you reach Khardung La. After that, the descent continues till you see plain lands stretching for kilometers. Nubra is the most fertile valley in Ladakh with lush green fields & plantations. It is one of the most beautiful places in an otherwise dry and arid Ladakh region.

After a visit to Nubra, the next destination is Pangong Tso. It’s a 134 km long lake, with some parts even stretching to China. The lake became famous to Indians after the film ‘3 Idiots’.

Sooner than you realize, the week-long holiday comes to an end. There is something about the barren mountains, or the chapped cheeks of innocent Ladakhi kids or just the city that sleeps before even its eight in the night that will make you feel like coming back even before your flight has taken off.