Happiness is….

Often, we say, we are happy, or that we are sad. The definitions vary as to what is happiness. There are a few which we all agree by, and then a few eccentric ones too.

To me, happiness, is a lot of things, and I ll try to name a few. Rather, let me show you what I mean.


Happiness is, getting the view of a snow covered peak, while coming down from Tiger Hill, Darjeeling. The morning views from the viewpoint was obscured by clouds, and as we were returning towards Ghoom, the clouds cleared for just a bit, and we saw the peak.



Happiness is, when you take a burst shot at the sun, to capture the sunrise, and instead of the photo everyone took, you take an unique one, which adds character to the photo. Here, it is at Tiger Hill, Darjeeling. As the sun came up, people clamored on to take the shot of the sun. I was on the other side, trying to capture the mountains, lucky and happy, that I got this.



Happiness is, when you dream of how a shot would look, and then when you go to the spot, you actually manage to take the shot, just the way you wanted. Shot at the Darjeeling station. The diesel loco pulled in with the train, and the steam loco backed up to change tracks. I stood right in the middle, anticipating. I took three shots, and all three are spot on.



Happiness is, having a cup of tea after a long tiring day. This is at Siliguri, West Bengal.



Happiness is, when you manage to take a photo which is perfectly composed and has a lot of depth and character to it, and that it is pre mediated. This was shot at Varanasi, UP. I saw this fisherman start rowing into the river, and I ran up a flight of stairs to a vantage point. With the morning sun coming up, and the paddles ready for the next swipe, I took the shot.



Happiness is, finding a playful pet. This here, is Blacky. With one floppy ear, she is a beauty and a very playful one. Though she isnt my pet, but, after an introduction, we were happy to be in each others company. I would scratch n cuddle her, and in return, she would give me poses for the shots. Fair deal.



Happiness is, finding your old toys in perfect condition. Here are two of my oldest surviving toys. And, they still look awesome as ever.



Happiness is, working carefully and obtaining a tough result correctly. Here what you see is a burning filament of a bulb. First, salvaging this from the bulb is a feat, and then, the burn lasts for approximately 2 seconds, and then getting the perfect shot, that makes me happy.


 DSC_a-0357 DSC_a-0266

Happiness is, meeting up with friends and catching up after a long time gap.


Psychedelic 4

Happiness is, creating trippy psychedelic photos out of almost nothing. This here, is smoke, used cleverly, thats all.



Happiness is, have a dream come true. To be able to shoot the Ganga Arati at Varanasi had been a lifelong dream. To be able to capture a shot like this, is a very proper fulfillment of the dream.



Happiness is, looking beyond the fence and moving on!

This is my take on happiness, and happiness deserves celebration too. Check the celebrations here:


All the photos are mine, and they have been sourced from these pages….I, II, III, IV, V, VI , VII, VIII and IX. Do check them too, if you please.
I told you what makes me happy, you tell me what makes you happy!

TTL: Darjeeling III

As my cellphone started playing the acoustic version of Coldplay’s Shiver, I woke up. Time on the clock..0330h. Nice! On time!

Got dressed up and ready and I met up with the rest of the cab-mates to the trip to Tiger Hill. The cab would take us to Ghoom, and back. I would get down at Ghoom and head back to my base camp, at Siliguri.

A point to note, if you are interested to go to the hill in the morning, you must book your cab the previous day evening. Normally, the hotel where you stay will assist. And yes, go early if you want a decent spot. It gets very crowded really soon.

Anyway, we made it there by around 0545, sun being scheduled to rise at 0600h. Clouds dominated the scene and disappointment loomed absolutely like the dark clouds.

This is morning 0545h

I jostled around, trying to make a bit of space for myself, just in case the sun came up good and I managed some shots, just in case.

And then, the clouds moved away, just a bit though, but enough I feel.

The sun!


All wanted the sun!


Loved the Phablet.

As for the sunrise, this is all you can see…and frankly, the “sunrise” didnt impress me much.

But this did!


The Kanchenjunga, I think!




I loved the view of the mountains and the way the clouds moved about. Also, as an after thought, maybe visiting the Tiger Hill, a little later in the day, around 1000h, would have been better. The sun would be brighter, less crowed, and the reflections on the peaks much more clearer. Need to verify this idea actually.

On the way back, a few more shots which made me happy.

Same peak, different Viewpoint



The fence, and the peak



Eventually, we reached Ghoom and I parted ways. Took a few shots at the Batasia Loop and then, flagged a taxi and slept in it till I reached Siliguri.

Batasia Loop Memorial


Shopping on the loop



View from the loop

So, this is how my trip was of Darjeeling. I hope you liked the series. The rest are here – D1, Loco and D2.

Next trip?? Not sure yet, but I have a few plans 🙂

See you all back in TTL again soon.


TTL: Darjeeling II

Hey there all…

Continuing from Darjeeling station now!
I walked towards the Mall. En route, I stopped for a cup of refreshing coffee at a shop just past Das Studios. If you want to buy old photos or anything related to photography, this place is a good place to start.

Refreshing cup!

The road has shops lining it, selling woolens and other collectibles too.






Finally, the Mall. In the nutshell, its an open meeting ground of sorts. A balcony of sorts on one side, normally  used as a Durga Puja Mandap or for delivering speeches is on one side. Shops line the other side. There are two paths leading to Mahakal temple and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Zoo. All three places are worth visiting. Bear in mind though, the HMI and Zoo follow a 1000h-1600h operating schedule.







Street shops near the Mall

The Mahakal temple is situated after a climb, not a lot though. You will not get any mountain views from there, but its serene and peaceful, right within a jungle of tall trees. Be advised, there are lots of monkeys here. But normally, if you do not bother them, they will not bother you.

Entrance to the Mahakal Temple


Prayer wheels, Mahakal Temple

As I returned from the temple back to Mall, I noticed this certain kid, posing to his father. I couldnt resist taking a few shots. I sent them the photos once I returned back.

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 On the route to the HMI and Zoo, I came across some local flora. This certain flower, a variation of Bougainvillea, it seemed, looked native and abundant there.

Local Flora, up close!


Local Flora II

On the way back, I again stopped at a roadside cafe, had a cup of coffee, a plate of Momo. The view from there, had there been lesser clouds, would have been amazing, but I had to be content with shooting this windchime in the sun.

Chime In!

Just before I left, I met with this local fauna! He was fluffy, and cute and was aptly named Bhaloo!

Local Fauna: Bhaloo


On the way back, I had another cup of tea at a stall in the Mall, and loitered around there, checking out the local shops to buy anything interesting. Ended up buying some handmade incense sticks from a shop.


Evening shopping spree


While coming back, I hit the Glenary’s. They serve awesome food in reasonable rates and is one of the best places to have a hearty meal. Do try it.

I returned back to the hotel, switched on the lights, and saw this, on the wall.


The Lucky Wall

I dont mind the kisses, but I wish they werent just on the wall though.

Anyway, with a wake up call scheduled at 0330h, next morning, i retired for the day. You may ask, why so early? Well, I was going to Tiger Hill the next day. Do I make it on time, see the sunrise? Find out in the next post. Coming up soon!




TTL: Darjeeling – Loco Special

This is a continuation of my trip to Darjeeling. How I reached here, and what I saw, check them here

Now, I was refreshed, and off I went walking back to the station. Now, there are two types of locos here, the Diesel one, and the heritage steam one.
The diesel trip from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back will cost you Rs 650 while the steam one, for the same distance will cost you Rs 1050. Be advised, there is pretty immense rush there, so book in advance.

Enough talk, now the photos!

In the service of the nation, since 1940


The Diesel! I wasnt too impressed by it!





Now we are talking!!


Some steam!



And…some more!!


One thing is for sure..you can never get enough of steam engines! They are simply wow!

Flora and fauna exploration, in the part II.


TTL: Darjeeling I

Darjeeling, the Queen of Hills, as she is fondly mentioned around. It was a summer retreat of the British, much like Shimla, Ooty, etc. and has a lot of British heritage strewn around. Two things, make Darjeeling very famous, all around the world, its Tea, fine and flavoured and the Darjeeling Hill Railway, a narrow gauge line from Siliguri to Darjeeling.

For anyone, who hasnt been here yet, and is planning a visit to this side of the country, do make Darjeeling a part of your itinerary for sure.

I ll break the complete journey into parts, and let in a bits of information as and when I see necessary, so that, for those who have been here, feel refreshed, and those who havent, should feel tempted and inspired to visit again. Hope you enjoy the journey, lets begin.

I started from Venus More at Siliguri. Shared taxis are plenty, and they charge about Rs 150 for the trip to Darjeeling. The traditional route, of Hill Cart Road, with the train line snaking along the mountain has been washed out at Tindharia, hence, the Mirik/Rohini – Pankhabari road is being taken.

The Hill Cart Road, the train line on the right here!


The train line snaking into the hills

The road via Pankhabari is one of the steepest and is filled with twisty turns and scenic views. If you are motion sick, please take the medicines before you go by this route, you ll need them.

Just one of the many hairpin turns on the road

En route Darjeeling, we come across, the major Kurseong, Sonada and Ghoom.

TV tower of Kurseong, at times visible from Siliguri too!

The road continues to snake through, and just past the Ghoom station, you ll find the famous Batasia Loop. In this loop, the train does a full round of a hill and executes an ascent or descent of a steep gradient. There is an Army memorial there. More on Ghoom on the return trip.

Another, Top-Down view!

It took almost 3 hours to reach Darjeeling, and I was famished. If you are a vegetarian, I cant give any recommendations, but if you dig meat, head straight to Keventers. Ask the traffic police, and they ll be happy to show you the way. Once there, DIG in to the English breakfast. I had sausages, ham, bacon, eggs, a couple of butter toast and a mug of hot chocolate.

Try sitting on the Open Air part!

The view from there is pretty mesmerizing. One side is the street, photos below, and the other side is the valley. The valley is generally covered in clouds, as was this day, and hence I actually didnt bother to shoot.

The Clock Tower atop the Government Building

For the ones who cant live without Pizza or Fried Chicken, theres some hope too!



Post the breakfast, I went in search of my hotel to stay. I would always recommend that you book one previously, and not be stuck with the hassles there.

Part II will be up very shortly, as soon as the photos get uploaded that is. With a struggling internet, it might mean tomorrow evening. Stay tuned. I go to the station, and shoot some locos and then I explore bit of local flora and meet up with a fluffy local fauna too.

All and more, right here!