This was a well-deserved holiday for Ma, Dad after almost two years.
Well, the last two years were spent setting up marital lives for my sister and me respectively. :)
The master plan was for me and Prasad to join them at Delhi and have a blast at Amritsar. Sadly, Prasad's trip didn't materialize and he was sweet enough to ask me to go ahead.
Day 1: The holy reunion :)
I was received with a lot of food (A typical Kharbanda family trait).
All my favorites were lined up smiling back at me, Momos, Dahi Vada, Dal Parantha, Malai and Pepsi, just to settle it all down.
I burped my way through the afternoon and reached Amritsar by night.
Day 2: The action packed one!!
We set course to Beas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radha_Soami_Satsang_Beas .
My parents being Satsangis, we were really looking forward to this visit since years. Finally it had materialized.
The scene at Beas was something that can only been seen to be believed. Twenty thousand volunteers work here on a daily basis on their own will and keep the township so clean that you can practically eat your food off the street.
Sadly, they don't allow cameras or mobile phones inside, but luckily I found some pictures on the net to show what The Dera-Beas really is like. Its no less than a European country inside. And the best part, its all self sustained, just by volunteer work.
Even the food is subsidized to the magnitude of few rupees for every item for the visitors and residents. We were privileged to have eaten there and rather hogged for that matter for just Rs.150.
I thought I had viewed the most of the trip. But, the evening was scheduled for the Wagah Border, Retreat Ceremony. I can assure you that the loud cheering insane-going crowd and the aristocratic soldiers from both India and Pakistan will make the hair on your neck stand.
Just to show what I mean; ( Oh yes, I was at the first seat on the first row ;) )
We head back to the city and next destination was the Golden Temple, Amritsar, properly named as Harmandir Sahib. Words can't do justice to this monument of faith.
24/7*365 days a year, this place provides food, water and shelter to the visitors.
What's more, they are all volunteers, working just for belief and peace in return.
How would a Amritsar visit be complete without pigging on the finger-licking, butter-smeared, calorie-bomb Punjabi food!
Thus, we landed at the "Brother's Dhaba" to complete this ritual. The customers here were clearly going savage with a lion's appetite and the drool of a dog. You can't blame them, you can silently merge with them. So did we.
We gobbled down Dal Makhani, Butter Paneer Masala and Laccha Parantha in a flash.
Day 3: Akhri din at Amritsar
It was only by the next morning that the flashbacks of the butter-coated meal haunted us. We skipped our breakfast. :|
We visited Jalianwala baag and A Vaishno-Devi look alike temple in quick successions.
Oh how can I forget, I broke the one rule I have for eating outside. Never touch the water outside. But, here, look at what I had! :S
Of course, we'd not vowed not to eat anymore. So, we dropped in at the (in)famous Kanha Halwai. He just specializes in Puri-Chana-Aloo and Lassi.
Allow me to rephrase, Gigantic Puri-Killer Chana-Chatpata Aloo and a jug full of Lassi.
We battled our way through it and came out kicking alive (perhaps only with a few choked arteries).
By night we were back in Delhi.
Day 4: The final countdown
Today I had decided to shop!
Mom was darling enough to accompany me to the Sarojini Market in that blazing sun.
We shopped for two hours and I had my two bags full. :)
Bidding farewell to me with more of food and even more love, Mom Dad saw me off in the night.