Chalo India: Bharat se Bharat Jaye’

Written by on January 1, 2009 in Travel

Read the comments section for our trip to India.

15/12/2008 – we leaving now for the airport.. the website looks like it is missing me already getting little bugs everywhere.. the hosting provider decided to migrate servers without enough warning.. now you can’t see the pretty tigers on the front page.. anyway.. if i do have free ACCESS in India will see if i can fix it.. but m gonna try and do an internet fast..

The final countdown begins for the trip to India. So exciting!!!

We leave on Monday and return mid Jan 08. During my vacation I will not have access to internet, email or phone.(Withdrawals just thinking of internetlessness).

I will be unable to assist personally. Please help yourself, make yourself at home by using the Self help Notice section to place all your classifieds especially school transport, accommodation etc.. that is a self service noticeboard and very simple to use.

Where possible, I will try update you on the adventures of Nanima, Madala, Bichoo and gang in my Travel diary section of this post. The whole gang is of 10 people all together. Do you think we will fit in a Ricksha?

If I see this in the wild like this - EISH EISH EISH EISH EISH

If I see this in the wild like this – EISH EISH EISH EISH EISH

Our first stop will be Kenya.. Too little time for the Masai Mara, would have been nice but too far out..

We land in Mumbai, where we will take our first breath of India. We fly to Goa to soak up some sun and surf. We fly to Delhi – do the normal tours, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur.

Then we go and see tigers InshaAllah.Thereafter we fly to the village in Gujarat, visit the motherland Tankaria, Nabipur, Deeadra. Last stop Mumbai for sisters wedding and trousseau shopping, while some of the gang return home because they have to earn a living, the rest go back to the gaam for a big fat Indian wedding..


Doesn’t India’s National Anthem – just reminds you of the Kabhie Kushie Kabhi Kham scene..oops sorry mom part..


” Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He Bharat Bhagya Vidhata Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha Dravida Utkala Banga Vindhya Himachal Yamuna Ganga Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga Tubh Shubha Name Jage Tubh Shubha Ashisha Mange Gahe Tubh Jaya GataJan Gan Mangaldayak Jay He Bharat Bhagya Vidhata Jaye He ! Jaye He ! Jaye He ! Jaye,Jaye,Jaye,Jaye He “

(Did you notice Hritik’s 6th finger while he was tying his shoe laces)

Translation of The national anthem- Jana Gana Mana In English

Thou are the ruler of the minds of all people, dispenser of India’s destiny.

The name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujurat and Maratha. Of the Dravid and Orissa and Bengal.

It Echoes in the hills of Vindhyas and Himalayas, mingles in the music of Yamuna and Ganga and is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.

They pray for your blessing and sing thy praise. The salvation of all peaople is thy hand, thou dispenser of India’s destiny. Victory, Victory, Victory to thee.

I can’t wait for kite day on the 14 January 2008. We will be in Gujarat.

[Ahmedabad, Gujarat] January 13 – 15

Some festival are revivals of popular celebrations. Makar Sankranti in Ahmedabad is one example. Popularily known as the Kite Flying Festival, the sky is dotted with kites of all hues and sizes. The festival also includes cultural shows, a food festival and an exhibition of exciting handicrafts. With the introduction of the “International Kite Festival” a new dimension has been added to this occasion.

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  1. Nani Ma says:

    Travel Diary

    Other then the happenings in India at the moment we are ready to go..
    Visa check!! Passports check!! Injections Check!! Travel Insurance Check!! Tickets Check!! Medication Check!!! Dehydrated tuna check!!
    Just a few last minute things to get, FE, pack our bags, padkos etc..
    we have a wedding in SA at the moment so things are going to be a little rushed.
    Last night we took our malaria tablets.. Dammal is not a word.. we took out the tablets and said bichoo this is how you take a tablet.. and she only has to take a quarter..
    Shame she put it in her mouth so nicely and willingly.. the minute she got the taste she spitted it out.. we struggled for two hours to get a quarter malaria tablet in her system.
    We put it in her ice cream.. when she got the taste she vomitted her supper, the tablet and the icecream..
    we tried to put it in a capsule so she won’t get the taste.. took half an hour to convince her to put that in her mouth..
    I suggested suppository.. there was loud NO from everyone present.. and confirmed today from the pharmacist also..
    Eventually we forced it down her throat.. she was not a happy chappie..
    Next week we will have to go through this again..
    Some tips we got to spike her orange juice, yoghurt, honey..
    Eish!! Anyone have any ideas..

  2. Nanima says:


    We are in India. We stopped at Nairobi. Took a picture with a cheetah.. flew to Mumbai.
    The first plane ride was very frustrating.. bichoo was dog tired..she was sleeeping..
    the air hostess woke her up to put the safety belt on.. after i told her that she is fine..she still woke her up..
    the first class passengers in front of us were not impressed as she was screaming blue murder..
    our second flight to Mumbai we were more prepared with sweets, toys etc..

    We reached Mumbai at 2 in the morning.. i went out and was waiting to get the worse smell of my life.. i was pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t smell anything. Although bichoo was closing her nose.. the first sight of the Indian yellow and black taxi and ricksha was cute..

    While waiting for my mother who was lucky to get a direct flight there was commotion for miss world second princess.. Paro.. we took a taxi to the airport and while waiting took a quick ricksha ride to Juhi beach.. all we could see was school girls all dressed the same with the same plaits(jawtlis) and boys with the side parts on the same side going to school..
    I thought it would be much busier but it was 7 in the morning.. we saw lots of shah rukh posters everywhere..

    We flew to Goa.. we are have a beach front place.. after much negotiating.. ate some nice seafood.. Really chilling at the moment.. the calm before the storm..

    Tomorrow we fly to Delhi..

    Our next flight was to goa..

  3. Nani Ma says:


    We reached Delhi(DIlli)- place of the heart on Saturday evening.. In time to witness a real Indian wedding.. Brigade and horse the lot..very exciting..

    The next day we had a big bus to ourselves to tour OLd an new Delhi..

    We saw India gate.. noticed lots of people enjoy playing cricket everywhere in India..
    We saw Humayun’s tomb where Madala deleted all Fuzzy’s photos.. let hope the undelete software works.. They say that Shah Jahan got his inspiration for the Taj Mahal from here.. Everyone wants to have some claim to the Taj Mahal somehow..
    We also went to see India’ leaning tower of Pisa Qutub Minar.. much nicer place.. with the carving.. and not leaning..

    We saw Nizamudin.. very interesting to see real Delhi there..

    We went to Jamiah Masjid, the Taj Mahal’s inspiration.. and some other places..

    Chandi Chowk from Kabhi Khushi fame was the highlight.. there is a place called chor bazaar.. makes fordsburg on a saturday or sunday night look like a walk in the park.. packed to capacity..

    We are in Jodphur at the moment.. we took a overnight train to come here..the blue city..According to Fuzzy Liz Hurley had her wedding there..
    we went to The Mehrangarh Fort which lies at the outskirts of Jodhpur city and is located atop a 125 m high hill. The magnificent Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur ka kila) is the most majestic and one of the largest forts in India.

    Fuzzy bought was conned in buying a silk bed cover or duvet or whatever you call it.. we were conned in Delhi to buy scarfs..

    After this we told the driver you take us to these places you will see..
    They all get commissions and take us to these places..

    Saw some forts, a clock tower and a palace..

    Tomorrow Udaipur…

  4. Nanima says:

    Today we had the highlight of the trip..

    We went in the morning for a game drive in a Rathambore national park early morning. The thought in my head was that one guide was right..
    In India you can find many animals you find normally in the zoo on the street, like elephants, monkey..

    In this national park in the morning..I thought well he was right because we didn’t see many animals in the Park as we saw on the street getting there.. we saw camels, buffalo, monkeys, cows outside the park.. and only a deer and few birds in the park.,.

    We went for the afternoon drive.. Spent 2 hours picking up passengers.,. then we get to the park.. after a 2 hour bumpy ride.. on our way out.. AllahuAkbar, we saw a tiger right next to the fence.. walking along the fence.. this beautiful beast actually got up the wall a little bit down from where we were and started posing.. Amazing.. SubhanaAllah.. i was so amazed.. i forgot to video the posing.. until after it walked behind the tree.. saw it eye to eye as bichoo’s Dada said..

    It was literally the last minute.. we were lucky because all the vans were leaving the park and everyone together saw this marvelous sight.. celebrating and getting excited..

    After the sighting.. everyone confessed that some were reading Surah Muzamil, others vowed to fast while others vowed to give sadaqah..
    we did travel all the way out of our way and had to backtrack our tour to come to this park.. it would have been an anticlimax if we came all the way and didn’t see anything but mongoose and spotted deer.. which were both beautiful in their own right..

    the trees and scenery were beautiful as well..

    The other amazing sight we went to was the Taj Mahal.. we heard a consipiracy version of the story.. and are unsure if Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son or not.. or did he choose that room himself.. the guide did have a point..

    He loved Mumtaz.. the structure was beautiful and the yellow stones that glowed were amazing as well.. i am sure in the moon light it must be full of nur and glowing..
    We took a train ride to Delhi from Rathambore. I love the train. There are no oncoming traffic.
    So we reach Delhi and were surprised in living in the best hotel by far the Sheraton.. because of Mumbai the security was strict and if you want to go in everytime you get searched.. we in Delhi and we do a social experiment. We meet the floor manager of the hotel and ask him how far the markas to Nizamudin is as my cousin came for 4 months jamaat. when we were in delhi earlier we tried to find him but he was out of town.. i am sure if he was there and sleeping they wouldn’t have allowed to see him anyway..
    The manager told us he lives near there.. so we asked him if he will take a letter for us.. we decided to put a R10 inside just to see if this letter will reach him in this big big city.. (Amazingly enough it got to him and he asked us why we were so kanjoos)..

    It was new years eve in Delhi.
    we went to India gate in Delhi in the evening. We went with the slowest Rickshaw ride to the gate.. Nothing was happening there as Delhi was on high alert and we couldn’t even see the India gate at night.. so it was a wasted trip.. when we get to hotel my sister who has the money says she can’t find her travel pouch and it has her credit card that we need for tomorrow’s flight to Baroda and her passport and all her money.. panic has set in.. so we take the same slowest rickshaw ride back to India gate.. the passport was in the same spot she left it and plus at the India gate.. She did admit afterwards that she vowed to fast if she found it.. Allah is great..
    Delhi was fogged.. so the flight was very delayed.. there were so many TV cameras at the airport, was wondering why? Maybe they heard Nanima was in town..

    We leave for the Gaam on Thursday.. our tour officially over..

  5. Nanima says:


    Happy new year to all.
    Today is Bichoo’s birthday. We are in the gaam. We are in Bharuch at the moment.
    We go to Nabipur for the birthday party.
    Last night we arrived. We visited Nabipur, Tankaria, Sansrot.
    Today we visited Dayadara.
    Chem Chow. Haroo che’

    Really bad that we can’t speak one word.. what is even more shameful is that we don’t even know our families names here like surnames.. etc..
    we reach the village thinking they would know the people and it ends up that the place is bigger then we thought..

    I love the villages.. they are really cute with teh swings for sofas.. very relaxed atmosphere and everyone living near mosques..
    This is the life..

    The food here at the village are feasts.. divine..
    Bo haroo…

    Patchee mali shoo.. (till we meet again)

  6. Nanima says:

    Tabiad teek che’

    The gaam was great.
    The village people will always have a special place in my heart.. They live such simple lives. They are the warmest people you will ever meet with the biggest hearts.
    They don’t know you from a bar of soap yet they treat you like royalty..
    Bichoo had her party in Nabipur. I don’t think any party she will ever have will top this one. All the village children attended. The atmosphere was brilliant.. The people of the village really entertained us.

    We visited a few gaams in Gujarat. Nabipur, Madala’s village Dayadara, Ikher, Tankaria, Khantaria. We also visited the big places like Surat and Bharuch. We stayed in Sansraut opposite Palej. They will always have a special place in my heart because I have never had such special treatment from strangers nogal but now family and close friends..

    We are in Mumbai at the moment.
    Bichoo is not well..
    She has a bug.. Bichoo and I are only leaving a week later.. but because of this new developments we have to weigh the options and decide the best way forward.. She is definetly going back home if we can make a plan to get someone to look after her. I am sure she will be well by tomorrow InshaAllah. If she doesn’t get better, I go back.. if she does, she goes anyway and I stay..
    will see what happens..

  7. Nanima says:

    So we are in Mumbai at the moment..
    I am not sure if it is because of the recent events in Mumbai or are people generally so rude here, especially in the train.. almost b!t

  8. Nanima says:


    So we back in Jozi.

    The last week we spent at the villages.
    We took the Shabtadi express to Bharuch. The best mode of transport I had the whole trip. Quick, no hassles, no mess, no fuss. We left Borivalli train station at 7am and were in Bharuch at 10am. Quick Quick.

    We had lunch in Nabipur and spent the night there. Bichoo was amazingly better the minute we got of the train on Nabipur when she saw Taju’s face.
    We stayed a night at bichoo’s nanabagies fathers house.. my dada’s house. Apparently that house is haunted and someone called mamajee lives in the attic. That was interesting. We went to my Dadi’s house in Watersaa. We visited the Darul uloom for girls in Tankaria.
    The premises is huge. They have boarding as well. The teachers are as young as the students. 18 year old appa/teachers amazing.
    They have a library and what impressed me what they have a computer room. They showed us the dining hall where everyone sits on the floor and eats. Long long rows of black table cloths. We visited Palej where I bought cricket bats and watched them make kite string.

    Thereafter we went to Nabipur. Our hosts were so kind and generous with their hospitality that I didn’t know how to repay them. They only thing I could thing of buying them was a computer The family pitched in to buy the desktop. At that time I thought that would be the first computer in the village. I think it is the second one.. anyway.. They were so excited about getting a computer. To get internet at the village would take about a month. I didn’t have access to the internet for that week. Taju was over the moon as she was nagging her mother for years to get one.

    the oneday we took a train from nabipur to Bharuch. then we took the slowest ricksha to Derol. Very annoying and to put the cherry on the top Bichoo’s nana still gave the man much more then he was suppose to get. Like let me pay you more for such bad service.. I was angry..

    It was the kite festival. Kites were flying high everywhere.. People were trying to bring each other’s kites down. Patang competitions everywhere on all the roof tops.

    The next day we went to Bharuch. Did I shop till I dropped. I had a limit of 20kgs as we were flying to Mumbai(bad mistake).
    In retrospect when we booked the flight there was no Shabtadi express(fast train to go back to Mumbai) when we had to go back.
    We drove to Mumbai previously when we left Madala and gang there. The drive wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We should have taken the car to Mumbai. For the plane ride we were limited to 20kg weight. Coming home from Mumbai we could bring 40kg. We were bring wedding dresses and trousseau with plus wedding suits. Our weight was an issue. We would have lost out if we cancelled our tickets.
    We wanted to take swings with from India. The swing weighed 8kg each. We weighed our options. To take an extra kilo cost 70 rupees to Mumbai. To cargo everything cost 300 rupees a kilo. We decided we will just take the extra weight with us.

    Where was I, so we went to Bharuch. The shopping bug got me bad. I wanted to take a piece of India home with me.
    Madala and I eat in one plate since we married. I decided to buy 4 taaris(huge steel plates) one for each house. I bought a roti/puri press. I bought some velans. I bought green rickha’s. I found Uwais Qadri VCDs for bichoo’s cousin. I was looking the whole India for them. Last place I saw them was in Nizamudin. I bought small steel cups for bichoo, small plates, small bowls. I bought 2 Rab ne bana di Jodi teefi (plastic lunch box with metal tifi’s inside). Bichoo’s nana bagie and Nanima (my parents) were getting little uptight cos I was buying all these things and telling me they had all this at home. the roti press etc. They were counting kilo’s. I wanted my own one from India. Even when we came home Bichoo’s Dadi said I have a taari at home.. 🙂

    We spent evenings in Nabipur watched some DVDs the old classics Kabhie Khushie Kabhie Gham, Dil to pagal Hai, Chakde India.

    We went to Surat for a day. The ride was long. Boredom made me go.. I only bought a few kurti tops. I got lost there and bichoo was having little tantrums there that I had to take the water she didn’t want to share with me and through it on her head.. that cooled her down.. she really became a real jinga in India. not wanting to share anything, hoarding.. we really have to negotiate with her if we want something. give me one and i will give you two. then after she gives you the one she asks for the two immediately.. and demanding.. at 3.. eish..

    The reason we didn’t go back home was because there was a wedding that my mother wanted to attend. We really did spend one week to much at the village and I think we overstayed our welcome but our hosts were very kind and generous.

    The wedding we attended was a real Kabhie Khushie Kabhie Gham story because the bride’s dada passed away the week before the wedding. It was suppose to be a huge wedding in a tent with almost 6000 guests. Everyone sitting and eating on taaris lekker food..
    The Nikah was on friday.

    The funeral put a damper on the wedding spirit.. so the wedding ended up only being immediate family. Everyone ate in the barn. still the taari concept. It was dhal and rice. The bride was beautifully dressed in an emerald green gown with makeup. How was the groom dressed. I don’t know. He didn’t come to the bride’s house. I was disappointed coming all the way from South Africa spending an extra LOONG week to attend the wedding and not even seeing the groom. His reasons I couldn’t understand because compared to our weddings their weddings seem more Islamic and ladies, men are segregated. They have a few rituals exchanging gifts etc but nothing that would tell the groom not to come. The least I think he could have done was come and fetch her from the house even if he didn’t want to come for the so called reception. His sisters all dressed in Abaya’s came and took her away. Although the wedding was an anticlimax the farewell widaa of the bride was the highlight.. at this wedding everyone really cried.. they cried so much they were howling.. was sad as they lost their dada a few days before and now the bride was leaving for London..

    After the wedding we went to Bharuch again. I found Bichoo’s green ricksha.. got a few last minute shopping done.. we went back to the wedding house.

    Before we left for Nabipur to pack up… we stopped at the groom’s house to see him. His house was decorated with fancy tents and chandeliers for the Walimah.. We had to beg the groom to take a photo as everyone would ask us how the groom looks.. He told us he only takes photos for his passport.. I should have told him to show me his passport then..
    So we took a photo using my nanima’s name and agreeing we will delete it..

    So we packed and we were 44kg overweight. Reason not being my taari’s but we took 3 swings that we would have paid triple the price if we cargoed it.. The total was 600 rand.. which was a saving in the long run..

    We left Nabipur. They were the cutest warmest people I ever met. Gave us their homes and sacrificed I am sure lots to entertain us that few weeks.. Everyone was snot and trane.. The whole village came to say bye..

    We left for Baroda airport. Everything went through.. went through security check. Flew to Mumbai. Took a internal shuttle to the Mumbai international airport. We left bichoo’s nanima nad her sister to look after the bags..

    The rest decided to spend what was left of the rupees. To bandra we went with a ricksha. Did I spend because credit cards were accepted everywhere.. I went to crosswords to buy a coffee table book of India that was requested. The books were dirt cheap like 25 rand for normal print books. I went wild buying some books. Then I saw a Kajol Barbie doll and I had to buy that for bichoo. Bought her some other toys and bought Madala some toys as well.

    Bandra at night is hip and happening. The only way I can describe it is fordsburg and rosebank on a saturday night combined multiplied by 3. Linkin road.. Amazing. I will definitely go back there again. I regretted wasting that afternoon in Mumbai when Madala was around. We were sick though.. They were cheap. India cricket tops going for 20 rand. Kurti tops just as cheap. Adidas tops half the price of half the price. We just didn’t have enough time and space. We had to buy another bag to put all the stuff we bought..

    We left for the airport with a muslim uncle. Seemed so peaceful. He stopped on the way to make Wudu and fill up his water bottle.. just reminded me of madala.. We came to the airport and he didn’t rip us off. which was a first. we gave him a tip..

    I must say that the beggars were annoying in India. I am not proud of it but I don’t think I gave one of them anything. The reason being is they make long long duas for you and then you give them some rupees and they still stand there and stand there and don’t go away.. at one stage i was so mad I put my hand out to the girl.. she didn’t know what to do.. telling her I will make dua for her that Allah gives her Jannat.. I really didn’t have any rupees at that time either.. I was thirsty.. shame.. it’s just that they still stand there after you give them money and say it is to little.. what is that all about..

    So we had a long waiting time between flights.. that made everyone a little impatient and irritated especially the smokers in the group.
    We had to wait till 03h20 for our flight to Nairobi.

    One of our bags was underweight yet overweight. It could only have 35kg and it had 37kg. Everything was closed and tied up. We had to open the bag and take out 2kg. Unfortunately for the woman next to us she had a similar problem and that person let he through.. the smoker was not impressed and spied her out. Shame she then had to also take out stuff from her bag.. Luckily she didn’t know who spied her out because she was sitting with the smoker on the plane. Ended up being a nice person. Our flight was delayed by 40 minutes. we lost all chances of getting the earliest connecting flight to JHB. When we reached there the connecting flight was leaving. SO we spent the whole day at Nairobi airport. Bichoo enjoying herself in the children’s playroom. It entertained her the whole day. she loved it. They gave us a lovely meal pasta, fish and chips. the wait was long. we watched local TV and saw how excited everyone was for the inauguration the next day.. it should have been the 20th I thought.. that would have been great to witness cos it seems Kenya are really proud that Obama’s blood comes from there..

    Finally we departed for OR tambo. Bichoo slept before the flight took off. I carried on reading Shantaram. I am now on page 700. 200 hundred pages to go before the book club meeting..
    We are now back.. managed to get the website up and running again the way i wanted to leave it..
    Saw Obama being inaugurated and saw the reality of what is happening in Gaza and Zimbabwe.

    India was great. I will go again any day especially to Mumbai to shop. If I have to pass it on my way back from somewhere I will stop there to get the great deals. Compared to Europe the cost of living is dirt dirt cheap.

    A train ride in India cost 7 rupees that is like 1 rand 50 cents. A train ride in London is like 30 pounds or something like that.
    The food in India is cheap as well. You can have a feast for 1000 rupees for the whole family that is about R 200. In London or Europe you can’t even buy a decent sandwich for that price.

    As economics has it if the demand is high then the price is low or something like that..
    the India railway even if they charge so little they have millions and millions of commuters so they easily making lots and lots of rupees..

    Bichoo’s aunty loosing her travel wallet with all her documents at India gate in Delhi on new years eve and getting to the hotel realising she lost it, taking the same ricksha back and then finding it still there where she left it. We couldn’t even see India gate because Delhi was in high alert and they didn’t allow us there.. Find the travel wallet with her passport and everything that was a miracle..

    The Taj Mahal was beautiful. The elephant ride was exciting. The dolphins in Goa were amazing. Seeing the Taj hotel and being in Mumbai at 26/11 was a little weird. People did seem a little paranoid. Remember the lady that took us to the police station making me erase the picture of Queen Sheba.. Eating at leopolds. Bichoo’s birthday party in Nabipur. My father stepping into his father’s house in Tankaria, The lakes in Udaipur, the mustard seed flowers along the landscape of India. The camel carts, the trucks. The no traffic rules and the people spitting everywhere.. The different tour guides. The pink city, the blue city. Waiting for a whole 2 hours in line to watch a movie in Jaipur and getting 5 behind and the window closes.. The long bus rides, Nizamudin, the sheraton in Delhi, More palaces, meeting the family. Finding out the roots. Seeing where we all came from. Seeing the roof tile that still said 1887 on it.. The kindness of the village people. The nanima website getting 30000 hits. The shopping, the kites, the funeral, the wedding, the dedicated scholars.. every day saturday, sunday, monday to friday children going to school or going to madressah.. you never know which day it is in India..

    The tiger was definitely the highlight because we all gave up. The amount of Ibadat everyone made during that ride vowing to fast, vowing to give sadaqah, reading surah muzamil. The tiger appeared so beautifully walking past us. then sitting on that wall.. Allah u Akbar.. it was the highlight of the trip.

    I loved every moment even the moments that were annoying..

    Bharat se Bharat Jaye’