• sunilscga@gmail.com

Category Archive: Road Travel


New Couple Blog

“Participate in your own dreams, don’t just say what you want or complain about what you don’t have.”  ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Dear Readers,

I am happy to invite you to my new expanded blog at wethecouple.com.

This is, in fact, our blog, my wife, who is a fitness coach, and I would share interesting content on this blog.
Our area of domains would be fitness, food and recipe, happiness and wellness and of course our travel.
We are sure this blog would become your permanent destination for usable and quality content.

Welcome on board and yes don’t forget to subscribe before you leave the blog.


Sunil Gandhi

Do you possess this creative problem solving skill?

There is a book titled “Wicked problems worth solving”.

The author Jon Kolko, “A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.”

Some of the wicked problems our world is facing like poverty, healthcare, disease, famine etc. These are complicated problems due to the involvement of multiple expertise and disciple involved. Like poverty is linked to education and inequality of income, healthcare is connected with poverty and education and likewise.

The author offers designers approach to solve these problems.

IDEO.ORG is a design firm working to improve lives of poor and vulnerable communities.  They are approaching the problems in poor and developing countries with the new and emerging concept of Human Cemented Design (HCD). This is a creative approach to problem solving. They believe that Embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like poverty, gender equality, and clean water, are solvable.

Moreover, it means believing that the people who face those problems every day are the ones who hold the key to their answer. Human-centered design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs

They are working on the projects like to identify opportunities for saving products for banks  for savers of low income Mexicans, how to sell health insurance in rural Nigeria using mobile money platform, create micro franchise opportunities for an NGO in India,  working with the Bezos Family Foundation on early child development, working with utility manufacturers for more intuitive and user friendly experience.

In short, they are using an HCD approach to solve many small but important wicked problems across the globe.

HCD entails three stages:

  • Inspiration: Define the challenge to be solved and collect data.
  • Ideation: Ideate with all stake holders’ data collected to generate many ideas.
  • Implementation: Bring solution to life

There is an approach for each of the stage.

HCD approach design the solution which is viable (business/economics), feasible (Technology) and desirable (Human).

HCD is the approach business world use for service design to design customer focussed serviced design. This is the approach advance Governments are taking in solving people’s problem and better citizen service. Govt of the UK is quite ahead in this approach. Taking service design to Parliament, the author writes “ In order to create great services in the first place, the government has to stop thinking in silos. It needs to create services that cross departmental boundaries.

Be it NGOs, Social Entrepreneurs, For Profit Entrepreneurs and Governments all are gradually moving towards deign thinking. This Human Centered Design thinking and approach can help us doesn’t only solve wicked problems but create better customer/citizen experience.

If you are a problem solver irrespective of the type of the organisation, or wish to be a part of it, HCD is a necessary skill.  & the good part is it can be learned online for free. Yes, Acumen is conducting regular online free course on the subject of HCD.

Sunil Gandhi

Have visited this place? Your weekend plan.

Destination decided. Parashar Agro Farm (PAF), Rajuri, Junnar District, Maharashtra. This was after marathon search on the Google. All prominent monsoon resorts in Maharashtra were booked for the weekend. We were looking for travel distance of around 200 KM from Mumbai, not more.  Finally I was landed on the website of PAF. It was quite pleasing.

After having some hope, I visited Tripadvisor for reviews. To my pleasant surprise out of 24 reviews, 14 were Excellent and 10 were very good. Nothing below that. A very rare feat. Now my next challenge was having a vacancy  there on my designated days.

I called Mr. Manoj Hadawale whose number was there on the site. He is the owner. He confirmed the availability of rooms.  Advance was paid, others were roped in to join and the journey begun on 8th July 2016.

It was 7.40 in the morning. We travelled by Hyundai Grand i10 and other two couple were in a separate vehicle. Google map was set up for direction. It was showing 180 KM. from Dahisar Check Naka.



Dahisar Check Naka –  Ghodbunder Road – Thane – Kalyan – Murbad – Malshej Ghat – Alephata – Rajuri


Breakfast point immediately after Bhiwandi Kalyan Junction on Kalyan Road.


Beautiful Kalyan Ahmednagar Highway – NH 61. Near Murbad.


Straight roads and greenery on boths side, very less vehicles.



Our road companion near Murbad


Look at the road ahead.


Small pleasure of road journey. 12 KM before Malshej Ghat . Bhajia/Pakora and tea point.


Thundering Malshej Ghat.. Vision blurred…but excitement was at its peak.


Waterfall at Malshej Ghat.


Driving in clouds.


It was journey worth doing at Malshej Ghat.


Rock. The route was closed a day before. Even it was closed on our return journey. Landslides.


Cautions driving. Rock and rain.


Tunnel at Malshej Ghat.


Destination, Parashar Agro Farm. It was sharp 2 o’clock and the lunch time.

The owner is post graduate in Agriculture. He was working in SBI, left his job and this is his startup.  He is also promoting local Junner tourism.

Best part of the farm is: No Smoking – No Alcohol – No Non Veg and No TV and even No Pizzas and Pastas. .


The room.


Inside view.


The Farm House.


Traditional Maharashtrian Food.



Jaisa desh waisa bhesh.. Traditional Maharashtrian Attire.


The agro farm.  Pomegranate and corn plantations but we were not in the right season. November is the rights eason to  see the crops on the trees.


Village cattle farm.


Cattle food processing.




Aneghat, 12 KM from Rajuri on Ahmednagar Highway, Natural water made rock bride.


View from the bridge.


We were surrounded by Farm and hills.


Agro tourism without a tractor ride? Not complete.


& the nightmare begins. We were told by Manoj on Sunday, the day of our departure that Malshej Ghat route is closed due to landslide. We will have to take Rajuri – Alephata – Chakan – Talegaon – Pune Expressway – Lonavala – Airoli – Borivali route.


Bumper to bumper traffic on the road at each small town junction and pathetic road condition. How many hours it took us to travel 236 KM?? Any guess?


Some solace…


3 Km long traffic ended at this Toll plaza.

It took us 10 hours plus to travel 236 KM.

On the whole it was a beautiful journey travelling through Murbad – Malshej Ghat road. Konkan belt is known for its greenery, but this road was no less. Parashar Agro Farm was a different experience and I agree with the average review of 4.3 on tripadvisor.  No hotels and resorts, this Agrofarm cum home stay will certainly rejuvenate you. (Caution go only if Malshej Ghat route is open).


Sunil Gandhi