The New Year has started in full earnest, so let me begin by wishing all a very Happy New Year 2014. The month of January has had quite a shivering beginning and it also has had quite new developments for me, professionally. New avenues explored and new journeys embarked. During the course of the first fortnight of the month, I was asked by a member of the top management of a premier Hospital in Udaipur, whether I would be interested in accompanying him on a tour of the periphery areas of the city of lakes. Not to miss an opportunity, I replied in the affirmative and had a most memorable trip of some quaint little places and hamlets, off the beaten track. The cab was there to pick me up, half an hour behind the scheduled time of 8 am on a foggy, chilly January morning. The periphery areas we would be covering, I was told included territories that were to the south of the city of Udaipur, the tribal heartland, so as to say. As we proceeded on the Udaipur-Ahmedabad super highway, the ranges of the Aravalis that encompassed us and which were in turn embraced by a mist, looked breathtakingly beautiful under a sun that lacked its intensity and shone in its full unwillingness. Our first stop was the sleepy small town of Parshad, about 45 kms away from Udaipur. Seeing people in the town was akin to seeing things in slow motion on television. People walked in slow motion and even seemed to talk in slow motion in the town, though it must be said to their credit that the biting cold may also have aggravated their plight. A piping hot cup of “chai” (tea) in one of the road side stalls near the main bus stop was a welcome relief from the cold that was goaded on by a sharp wind that made it seem much chillier than it actually was. We crossed a red tinged water body that we were told was the main source of drinking water for the area as we moved towards the main health centre of Parshad. The red tinge, I found out later was because of the proliferation of water algae in the pond. It looked awesome but it also made me make up my mind that if I were to be offered any water in the town, I would politely refuse.