Feasting In Pal Ka Dhaba and Rocking the Chandigarh Rock Garden

The morning Dakota flight of Jet Airways was the worst that I have ever taken. It took an hour from Delhi to reach Mohali military airport. But man, what a flight! I felt like I was going to crash every minute of my journey. The plane was small and easily got swayed in the bad morning weather. The pilot tried to land twice but failed as it felt like we were sinking in mid-air. Luckily the trauma for me and my fellow passengers was over soon as we managed to land on the third attempt.

But all my aches and pains subsided as I sank into my soft bed at the Taj Chandigarh near Sector 17, the most happening sector of the city. Chandigarh is an architect’s delight, it is said to be the best-planned city of our country with the in-your-face Punjabi culture of good food, ample of booze and butter chicken which is the most favourite delicacy of this place. After catching up on lost sleep, I knew that I had to explore the city a bit. So next day, I hired a taxi for 8 hours at Rs 1800 all-inclusive. The rate was half of what I was getting if I had hired a hotel taxi.

A detour around the Rock Garden, which is so famous, was a treat. I enjoyed meandering through these elegant structures made out of rock, stone, clay, glass and other such garbage. With waterfalls and caves, the place looked like bhool bhoolaiya. The afternoon heat was getting to me and after taking the customary photographs, I got lost trying to find my way out to the car park. The more I tried to get out of the garden, the more entangled I got in its alleys and galleries. Beer drinking men and dancing statues greeted me all around as I finally found my way back.

Lunch time beckoned and I was told by my driver to go to Pal Dhaba in Sector 28. I wrapped up my lunch, a keema kaleji and tandoori roti. At the reception of the Dhaba, I saw lots of photographs of Bollywood actors like Rishi Kapoor, Raj Babbar and Ranbir Kapoor – actors who had frequented the Dhaba no doubt. I walked up to the owner and showed him a few of my acting abilities along with my showreel on YouTube. That was it, he took a photo with me and his son which, according to him, will soon adorn his wall.

I, then, ventured into Sukhna Lake to walk by the side of the lake and enjoy seeing people boating. Then my eyes fell on a camel. I was very happy to photograph it since it was beautifully adorned with a colourful attire. I even managed to whisper a few words to the beast but he wouldn’t budge until his caretaker told him to. I tried to interview his caretaker but he was very professional and said, “Only ride, please Rs 100 for one ride around the park.”

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