Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lepchajagat: The sleepy world

Kaliedoscope wins the battle to get the queen. As his winning ensures quick returns, he plans to go out. And this time, he wishes to move to a place that is less in every sense. Its less known, less travelled, and more importantly less hot and less crowded.

As he searches for such a place, his mentor - The Boss (happens to be his PhD guide as well) gives him an idea of going to north.

North - north - disturbed north:

North is disturbed. The queen knows it. And since the queen knows it, she knows it quite well. As the queen knows it quite well, Kaleidoscope has to make a concrete ground work and a solid plan of going north.

Therefore Kaleidoscope maps the recent past in north to find out last time somebody got killed in is in February (click here). It is May, Kaleidoscope argues to support his plan. The queen, however, is fond of hills, so it is easier to match the taste. As Kaleidoscope gets green signal from The Boss who is spending his lasting summer in Darjeeling, it becomes easier to convince the Queen.

Make a place:

The second issue is to plan their stay. Well it is easy. He goes to Subodh Mullick Square in Kolkata, Near Hind Cinema to book his stay at Lepchajagat Nature Resort (click here). He books and feels lucky to get the best room - suit 1.

The Journey:

As he plans late, it makes him difficult to find a train to go to New Jalpaiguri. He books a bus from Esplanade - AC super luxury volvo - the Royal Cruiser (click here). So, he goes with the queen. It takes 12 hours of bus ride to reach New Jalpaiguri. The bus halts at a couple of places.

The place:

It takes them four hours car ride to reach a place much beyond expectation. Lepchajagat is 8 kms from Ghoom raiway station.

Its a small village of Lepchas where Government of West Bengal has a forest bunglow. Only 20 - 25 people can stay at a time. Therefore less number of people and less crowd.

The approach road to Lepchajagat Nature Resort

kanchenjunga visible from Suit one.

kanchenjunga from one of the local view points

The Jungle beside the resort

The Tea Garden near by

It ends and continues:

Mirick lake is not very far, Darjeeling too is within 15 kms. One can hire a car from local Lepcha Village to roam around. However, there are local transports available. Kaleidoscope, because of the nature of his earlier job, was a traveller. He has been to many places, but Lepchajagat has made a special place in his heart.


Lepchajagat Nature Resort.
8 kms from Ghoom Railway station.
How to go?
New Jalpaiguri is a major railways station of West Bengal. However one can go to Bagdogra airport, and Tenjing Norgey bus stand in Siliguri. From New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra or Bus stand take a cab directly to Lepchajagat. In peak season it should not be more that Rs. 1500/-, in off season it around Rs.1200/-. To make it more economical one can take a shared taxi to Ghoom, and then another one at Ghoom going towards Sukia and get down at Lepchajagat. The resort has a couple of cars, available whenever needed.
Where to book:
West Bengal Forest Development Corporation.
6A, Raja Subodh Mullick Square, 7 th - Floor,
Whom to contact in Lepchajagat:
Without booking no one is allowed to stay there. After booking the tourist would be provided with the phone numbers of the management staffs in Lepchajagat.
For hiring car one may call Ravin: +919614270044, local boy with local knowledge and a Maruti Omni - a well maintained car.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Corruption, Facebook, Egyptian upheaval and us: A story of sleepy beings

Kaleidoscope's Facebook:
kaleidoscope is yet to become and declare himself a professional facebooker. He often goes through the updates that keep pooping up on his wall whenever he turns the facebook page on. The threads mostly involve crispy and smart tags like: who said what to whom, Who is happily traveling across the country, who has finally got a 3G sim, who has spend some time with some special friends, or having anniversary dinner. At more frustrating level Kaleidoscope finds the purposive presentation of ones charismatic personality reflected in his reading, paper presentation, and so on. The list is never ending!

Corruption: who cares
A study by International Advocacy Group in November 2010 argues that Global Financial Integrity found that Corruption, tax evation and trade Mispricing have cost India hundreds of billions of dollars over the past two decades. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports that allocation of 2G spectrum licenses by department of Telecommunications have been done through gross violation. The report states that licenses were given at throwaway prices, ignoring the advice of the Prime Minister and Ministries of Law and Finance (CAG, 2011). These discrepancies cpst a presumptive loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer.

Although, the example of 2G spectrum related corruption is huge, there are other sub-huge examples including scandals relating to Adarsh Hourins Society in Mumbai and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

The corruption perception study shows that 75 percent of the people in India have first hand experience of paying bribe or influencing to get public services ( 2010).

Perception of corruption across continents
Our learnt PM, the chief of UPA - II, after lasting demand for Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe 2G spectrum scam finally agrees on JPC today (24.02.2011) and argues that all those found guilty would be punished ( news). However, the culture of corruption remains and increases each passing day.

Egyptian upheaval:
Since January 2011, Kaleidoscope's television screen is often filled with thousands of Egyptian people shouting for an exit of President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled the country with an iron hand for 30 years.

Finally, Mr Mubarak steps down on February 11, 2011 owing to a movement that brings thousands of Egyptians at Tahrir Square.

The new generation postmodern time facebookers and twitterists have successfully used these social medias to spread and organise people to protest against and throw off a man who has virtually silenced voices against him (Topnews NZ, 2011). The wikileaks source in March 30, 2009 confirms that the government has jailed bloggers who have insulted either Mubarak or Islam. There were an estimated 160,000 bloggers in Egypt in 2009. The Egyptian authorities had even tried to block internet access.

The sleepy facebookers:
A quick search in available facebook groups indicates that among 9 anti-corruption India groups the membership range from 1 to 743 (Till 24. 2. 2011), while Kolkata's south city mall group has 429 members!

The feeling good/ bad and the other:
Kaleidoscope formulates these ad-hock arguments by relating seemingly unrelated matters: A) facebook - a space to present the good in you to initiate a thread of "meaningful conversation" with B) India's corrpution: one is least concerned until his 2G sim continues to work, and has a dream of purchasing a 3G device, and C) finally to the Upheaval - it is interesting to see thousands being gathered with a cup of evening coffee until the never-ending episode starts!

Kaleidoscope is part of the happy going crowd sharing the same attitudes, and is happy about he being a part of this sleepy public sphere!

However, sometimes, he finds whispers "If only he could learn to be more facebookish..."

CAG (2011). Report on 2G spectrum. Download from
Washington post: Hosni Mubarak steps down