Category Archives: Travelogue

Six Mile Mountain Trail

What is the most extreme thing you did recently? Something beyond the routine, out of your comfort zone. After all the running and hullabaloos we face in our lives, there is no time or drive to execute on aberrant hobbies.

I always have a few things in my TO-DO list, things I have never done before but desire to accomplish. From time to time I relook and make it a point to execute a few.

Three years back I started mountain biking, a new hobby, which I have never experienced before. Although I biked on dirt roads, it was mostly a flat pathway. Two weeks back I biked in one go about 40 miles (64 Kilometres), but it was an esplanade. Though I always wanted to go on a terrain trail but dreaded the thought.

This Saturday, my friend Karan, who is an avid biker, invited me to join for a rugged trail ride. I didn’t think twice before saying yes. Well, my rear brakes were not working, not a good thing while going down slopes, and my bike was not lubricated enough, but the excitement drove me to go with the flow. We were three of us and started our ride at 8:00 in the morning. It was a thrilling ride, uphill, and downhill, steep turn, narrow open bridges, tree roots covered dirt paths, sudden drops, valley, and terrain, and surrounded by stunning views.

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I fell twice. Once while trying to climb a ditch after a sudden drop, and the second time while maneuvering a turn I hit a tree head-on (helmet was a savior). I lost a paddle as well. The 6 miles trail took me almost an hour. I reached home with some bruises but I am ready to go there next week.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Vacation Time

Hey dear fellow bloggers,

Hope you are doing well. I am off to vacation until Sep 4th to India. While I am away I will not be able to read your blogs in a consistent manner, but I promise to get back to your awesome work upon return. I am planning to post during my vacation time and hope to interact with you whenever time permits. Thank you for all your support. Have a great time.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Detroit to NJ

Joys of travel never fail to amaze me. If you had read my earlier post, you would know I got into Detroit with a 6-hour delay flight. The good news was my meetings went well. My flight was at 7 PM and by the time I reached the airport, my flight was delayed until 9. NJ was experiencing T-Storm and I knew the chances of the flight leaving was next to none. However, I waited nurturing hope against hope. Around 8 PM the flight was canceled and I was rebooked the next day afternoon on a different airline.

I checked the weather app and the rain prediction looked bad for the next day as well. We were three of us and decide impromptu to drive home.

To give you an idea the distance to travel was 594 miles (955 KM) and we drove across four states – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and NJ. We started at 8:30 PM and reached home around 6:30 in the morning. I drove about 340 miles and rest of the distance was covered by my friends.

Life is all about such small pleasures. When we take decisions on the fly and treasure memories for a lifetime.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

What is My Excuse?

I usually avoid traveling on the weekend but there are days you cannot avoid them. Yesterday was one such day. I was on my way to Detroit for a day-long workshop. As the luck would have it, my flight was miserably delayed due to some passing storm. We were sitting on a plane waiting at the tarmac to fly and eventually brought back to the terminal. By the time I reached Detroit, it was way past midnight.

The ride to the hotel was about 40 minutes. I called for rideshare, a lady in her mid-thirties promptly showed up. She insisted me to sit in the front, which I happily obliged. We must be a few minutes into the ride when I heard a baby crying. I was shocked and upon enquiring found she had a three months old baby in the back seat. I mentioned to her that it was perfectly ok if she wanted to stop and take care of the baby, but she politely refused, stating she was a brat. I could sense the pun in her teasing tone. The baby stopped crying momentarily but from time to time she made us feel her presence.

I started conversing with her and found this was her 7th kid, ages ranging from 17th-year to 3 months. I was amazed. I couldn’t resist asking how she managed work, kids, and everything that goes along with it. She smiled stating it was organized chaos and after the 4th one, 7th or the 10th kid doesn’t matter, for the hullabaloo remains the same.

As I bid her goodbye I was thinking what is my excuse? Here is a lady who has seven children, a newborn kid in a car seat, trying to make a living in the middle of the night without any complain and prejudice.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Weekend Trip to Vermont

Last Friday I reached home after a hectic weeklong trip from India. I never get jet legged on my inbound journey but still take about a day to recoup. Surprisingly this time I was balmy. We had a short weekend getaway planned for a while and it helped, for I had to drive the same day to Vermont. I ran a few errands, got my car serviced and I was all ready to hit the road.

This was our first trip to Vermont, and we were looking forward to being in the green mountain state. We booked a beautiful house through Airbnb. After a 5 hours’ drive, we reached our destination. It was 10 in the night when we entered Vermont. The place was in the middle of nowhere, pitch dark pathways, cricket noises, and deserted streets. And to add to the misery, we couldn’t find our house. Our house number was 3336 but the only mailbox number we saw was 3334. We spent 30 minutes trying to figure out what to do. Tried calling the owner but he didn’t pick up. To be fair to him it was late in the night. In the US you don’t drive into people driveway, so I was hesitant but after 4 loops, my patience got the best of me and I turned into the 3334 house, only to find the way cut into two leading to our place.

The first impression of the house was not great. It appeared old, no air conditioning and had a distinct musty odor. I was tired and without much prejudice, I retired for the night.

I woke up at 5:00 to a gorgeous sight. From the window, I could see the beautiful green Mount Equinox. Birds chirping, breeze cooler, and silence golden, welcoming me to nature’s fold. What appeared as a run-down house appeared to be a gorgeous house. A sunroom with hammock, a large porch overlooking the mountain, a treehouse on the side, and acres of wood in the backyard. There was something in the air and I planned to run in the wild and it was one of the best decision I took. I have a 5k coming up so it helped the cause. I ran for 2 miles through the beautiful pathways of Sunderland.

We went to a local place for breakfast. The place was run by an old family. Great host and sumptuous food.

Vermont Trip
The breakfast place

In the afternoon we went for the Mount Equinox skyline drive. A beautiful drive, which takes you 4000 feet above the ground with many stops in between to capture the breathtaking views. The best was at the peak, for there was a serpentine natural trail down to the ground. One of the best trail I took in recent times. The trail was 3 mile each way.

Manchester downtown was nearby. An old town charm with local shops and eateries. We settled for a Mexican restaurant, by far one of the best Mexican food I ate in a while.

Please check out the following advertisement dating back to the 18th century. It was captured as a collage in one of the old town restaurants

We came back for a short siesta. The tiredness from my India trip must have hit me, for when I woke up it was the next day morning. We visited the local areas and headed back home.

It was all in all a great experience and I am going to explore this place more in the coming times.

Thank you for reading

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

A Beautiful Gesture

Isn’t life all about treasuring moments to be cherished later in leisure? I experienced a similar feel during my stay at The Leela in Delhi.

Work trip to India is always short, sleep deprive and hectic. I arrived last Sunday and traveling back today.

Yesterday, after a long day at work I returned to the hotel with a sole purpose to get my much needed sleep. My battle with jet-lag was troubling me to a point of annoyance. As I was putting my phone to charge, a paper note caught my attention. And as I read the note, I couldn’t help smiling. All my long-held tiredness disappeared in a whiff.

I am reading the third book of the Amish Shiva Trilogy. The book was lying on the nightstand next to the bed, and right next to it I saw a bookmark, with the image of the front page neatly wrapped around it, and a note from the Butler on duty, Rebecca Williams.

Such a thoughtful deed, and for sure she invariably touched few chords within me. Here is a big shout out to her and to her beautiful gesture.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Air India Experience and The Movie – “October”

Because of the sociopolitical issues and subsequent flying restrictions over certain countries, United Airlines stopped all services to India. Ever since United started it Newark – New Delhi Non-stop, it was my obvious choice and I was at loss thinking which airlines to choose for my yesterday’s travel. I hate hops, and the best possible option left was Air India. Non-Stop New York to Delhi in straight 15 Hours.

I was skeptical, for there were so many bad reviews about Air India on the worldwide web. But I was pleasantly surprised. The Staff was cordial, food decent, and the business class flatbed spacious and comfortable.

On my way to Delhi, I watched a couple of movies. And the one movie that stayed with me till this moment is “October”. An indifferent Hotel Management trainee, who was never happy one day found one of his colleague in a deep coma because of a freak accident.  The last word she said before meeting with her fate was his name. The girl was a mere acquaintance to him and the way he develops bonding with her while she was subconscious was absolutely mesmerizing. The girl eventually dies, but in the process changed the protagonist for good.

There is something I wanted more from the movie, and a tinge of restlessness still clouds my mind.

If abstract movies are not for you, I will not recommend. But if you are into parallel cinemas, this is one movie you should definitely watch.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Off To Delhi

Hey dear blogger friends. I am off to Delhi for a week. I will try to visit your beautiful work to the extent my schedule will permit. Once I am back I will catch up with your interesting posts.

Yesterday we went to the Nearby Somerville downtown and saw the lineup of some gorgeous vintage cars. Some even dating back to 1930s. Here is a a quick preview of some captures

Take care and will see you on the other side

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

First Summer Biking

Hey, dear bloggers hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I concluded the weekend on a high note, for I officially started my summer biking.  I have been biking with my kids since the beginning of May but that doesn’t count, for the speed was slow and it was mostly to go to the nearby park. Today was the perfect day, the family was out for shopping and I went for a loop.

About two miles from my house exist a beautiful trail, called D&R trail. It is 77 Miles (124 Km) dirt road trail that traverses three counties. The trail goes through woods, water canal, and NJ’s natural habitat. I rode for 20 Miles and completed the loop in 2 hours. Please find below some of the pictures I took today.

Thanks so much for your read.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip To Richmond

Last Sunday I was traveling to Richmond for work.  If you had read my previous travel posts you would know how much I detest work travel on the weekends, but when work demands travel the options are often limited.

I landed around 9:30 PM and stepped out in the open waiting for my rideshare to arrive. The weather was mild, and a gentle breeze graced the beautiful evening. The wait wasn’t long and soon I saw my ride arriving by the curb.

My first encounter with the driver was not encouraging. His trunk was loaded with metal, my bag somehow found its spot in the crowded space, the car back seat was folded, forcing me to take the front seat, and the music was not of my taste, blaring loud enough to disturb the tranquility of the serene evening. I hesitantly took my seat, adjusting my handbag between my legs, as he drove towards the hotel.

After I settled down, I observed many things that were intriguing. There was an additional glaring speedometer with big dial attached to the top left driver’s side window, a segment of many reflecting mirrors occupied the top of the windshield, and a 9.7 inch iPad covered the center panel. My curiosity got the best out of me and I asked him casually about the speedometer.

He smiled and said he had converted the Hyundai Sonata to a racing car. Though the appearance suggested otherwise, he was extremely polite and very courteous. He asked me if it was ok for me to deal with a small demonstration of what he meant. I nodded and I saw the real power of the car. It made all the noise of a racing beast and the car zoomed past, pushing me back into my seat. Before I could react he enquired about my music taste. I mentioned Rock Music. He smiled and probed, what about Bollywood. I didn’t know an American would know much about Bollywood, but he surprised me again. He played love ballads, to cheeky songs, he played famous romantic duets to the latest numbers. More so, he had the lyrics on and he tried lip syncing to a few. And then he shocked me – as he turned on the volume. The music blasted from the custom speakers. Apparently, the metal in the trunk was the woofers.

I was at awe and he amazed me more when he mentioned that he had a YouTube channel with half a million followers. He had a camera in the car where he records the passenger with music, talk, and everything and posts those videos on YouTube. He was making 5-6 grand a month from the social channel.

The ride turned out to be one of the most enjoyable ones, transforming my gloomy Sunday evening to a memorable trip. At the age of 23, Jay was earning over 10 grand and living life by his terms.

Here is a shout out to you Jay. Stay happy and blessed.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content