Friday, August 12, 2016

DIY : Paper rolled pens

The other day my gel pen got over while doodling something and I was in urgent need of the black gel pen.The nearest store fellow tried to sell me couple of new branded pens as he did not stock pen refills. I inquired in few other ordinary shops and to my surprise none of them had refills. When the cost of refill and the pen are almost the same, people would more likely to buy new pens rather than buying a refill. Ever thought what would happen to your old pen? You would either hoard it, throw it or if you are eco conscious and old fashioned like me, you would put a new refill. I have seen many people around me buying new pens on a whim. Finally I got my pen refill at a stationary shop.
I remembered seeing these paper pens in few craft stalls that I frequented in the past. I decided to make these pens at home, try and use it myself. These are cute and you don't have to feel guilty when the ink is over.

Paper pens
Things you need.
Pen refill, Paper. The thickness of the pen depends on the thickness of paper. If you are using newspaper strip, you need a long one as they are thin. I used the paper bag's paper which was slightly thick.
Glue, scissors, ruler, pencil/sketch pens.

Cut out a rectangular shaped paper whose height is that of the pen refill(width is approximately 30 cm).

Draw a slanting line from the top left corner, to the right side like shown below. This is for tapering of the pen, to get cone shaped tip for the pen. Cut the paper along the line.

Lay the pen on the left edge and firmly glue the refill onto the paper initially. This step is the only tricky step and if you do it correctly then your rolling would come out perfect.

Start rolling and apply glue at the end of the roll.

To make the cap, take a rectangular strip(height less than half length of the pen, width less than half of what you had taken for the pen).

The diameter of the cap is slightly more than the pen. Take the pen and start rolling the strip to the other end of the pen. Do not roll tightly and you should be able to remove the pen in the end.

Apply glue to one end of the rolled cap and press it hard to close it. Let it dry.

My pen was simple but you could finish it with a strip of nice gift wrapping paper to make it attractive.

Please note that this may not be appropriate for students who have heavy writing work but more suitable for casual use.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Travellogue : Trip to Nathula Pass

The trip to Sikkim is incomplete without visiting the Nathula Pass on the Indo- Tibetian border in East Sikkim. We visited in the first week of April 2015, the time where we get to enjoy snow and pleasant weather( so this post is there in my drafts folder for over an year, -:))
Nathula Pass is located about 14,000 ft above sea level and come rain, sun,snow or avalanche, its guarded by the brave soldiers of Indian Army.

Permission to visit Nathula Pass
The road to Nathula is only open during specific times of the year and you need special permission to visit this and Tsomgo lake(which on the Nathula-Gangtok road) from the Indian Army. The permissions are available in the Tourist Office in M.G. Marg, Gangtok and visiting time for Nathula are strictly  limited,you have to return to Gangtok before 3-30 PM the same day.
Our permits Nathula were organized by Sonam Delek, where we stayed during our trip and the charges were included in the fare. We were lucky to get this permission as the heavy downpour previous days had made the road less traversable. We were highly impressed by Sonam Delek to go that extra mile for not only arranging us the permission but also providing us an excellent taxi driver.
For the permission you need the passport size photo and Id proof. This was informed earlier to us so we had taken along with us while leaving for Gangtok. I don't remember the exact charge but it was around 5000 Indian Rupees for one vehicle.

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Since we got the permission late in the morning our journey to Nathula from Gangtok started a bit late and we were in a great hurry to return back too. On the way to Nathula, you will encounter beautiful, small waterfalls, do stop by while returning from Nathula Pass.
En route to Nathula is breathtaking and at the same time scary one. The time we went the roads were not in good shape. On one side it's misty deep valley and other side it's snow clad mountains with boulders and stones. Thanks to Indian Army for maintaining them all year around.

Changu Market
In case you are not prepared and do not have warm clothes for the shivering weather,  you can rent them at the small shops near Changu Lake(Tsomgo lake). There are many shops to rent jackets, snow boots, gloves. Take care to try it out thoroughly before renting. We were in a hurry and the jacket we got for my younger son didn't have buttons so he wasn't covered properly. That was a concern in the whole trip and he was freezing when he was outside the jeep. Besides renting the jacket and snow boots we purchased gloves for memory sake.

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Silk Route
While on the way to Nathula Pass you can see the Silk Route which really exists!!!. This is one such route which connects Tibet with India where trading of Tea, Chinese silk, Indian Jewelry are done. It was closed due to hostility between China and India, it was reopened after 44 years in 2006. While our visiting the trading hadn't started. We also passed through the Sherathang village which is inhibited by the army officers, security, customs officers and we were ecstatic to see State Bank of India branch serving the people at such heights.
Once we reach on the top, in Nathula, we have to park the vehicle outside in designated parking and walk onto the top where actual border is seen. It is tedious and you may fall sick due to lack of oxygen. The sun was shining and to see the border of India we didn't mind the height nor the discomfort. The Indian soldiers guarding here insists on not to click  any photos. Our tryst with Nathula was worth as we got to salute and shake warm hands of Indian soldiers and the Chinese on the other side of the fence. In the end it was so cold, we wanted to go to loo badly but off course there were none there. There is a small cafĂ© 14K at those heights,frozen after few minutes in cold outside we thawed inside having memorable hot soup.

Descending from Nathula Pass, we visited the Tsogmo lake nestled among the snowy mountains . It was so spectacular sight and beautiful beyond words. The water in the lake is due to the melting of the snow in the surrounding mountains. Here you can take yak rides around the lake or simply click photos sitting on brightly adorned yaks. We did the latter one.

There are plenty of places where you can park the vehicle besides the road and play in the snow.After a while when chilly winds hit you, you respect the soldiers again for bearing such cold to guard the country. The cold outside was making my younger son fussy and we just walked few steps in the snow and returned back to the Jeep.
Sikkim, Nathula Pass

On the way back we stopped briefly at New Baba Mandir in the memory of the soldier Harbhajan Singh. There are many stories and legends about him protecting the Indian Army. You can click beautiful pictures of serene Himalayas here in the background.

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Every trip is incomplete without the souvenir. Do not forget to shop at the souvenir shop run by army near New Baba Mandir where I felt the prices were reasonable. It is bit crowded but definitely they will tend to your needs.

If you still have time you might give a visit the original Baba Mandir but we gave it a skip(The taxi driver mentioned about this but due to time limit we could not visit this place)