First blog post

Hi… Bathula girl here…Phewww!!! Finally after many years of just pondering,  here I am,  on this path of writing (blogging,  what this era calls it as) to simply pen down my thoughts,  experiences,  opinions,  etc without any motive as such… Writing is what I have always been comfortable at,  whenever I wanted to express myself…writing makes me vocal about myself… I wish myself all the best…

I always  end my sentences with continuous dots,  instead of a period as I feel theres neva an end to my expression,  although grammatically its  incorrect… But neva  mind as everything can’t  be as per rules ;)… 

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First Solo Trip to Dharamshala

Experiences by solo trippers shared via articles have always infused energy into my travel-kheeda… And after years of just pondering, my travel-kheeda finally pushed me to plan a solo trip to Dharamshala, a city in Himachal Pradesh… Having read a lot about the said place and its serene & untouched beauty, it became my first destination for the solo trip…

I preferred to be in a homestay rather than a hotel as I wanted to explore the place rather than chilling indoors… And ‘Himalayan Homestay’, located in the quiet village – Naddi near McLeodganj made my stay perfect with not only offering me a beautiful view of the entire city but also being a perfect blend of calm, super clean and comfortable place… And a cooperative & helpful owner was an icing on the cake!!!

Being a Mumbaiite, my body can’t bear cold climate for a longer period of time and that’s the precise reason to plan Dharamshala trip in the second week of March as that marks the end of winters and beginning of summers making it a nice pleasant weather to visit…

I spent 5 nights in Dharamshala and last day went to Amritsar…

Day 1 started with road journey from Gaggal Airport to the homestay… The road journey gave an insight to the untouched beauty of Dharamshala…. After resting for few hours at the homestay, I stepped out… Being aware about the temperature decreasing with the day, I had properly insulated myself with thermals layered with a woollen jacket, gloves, socks, shoes etc…

Naddi harbours a Sunset point and to witness the view, I planned to reach the point well before time… Waiting for the Sun to set, I binged upon yummy veg. momos along with a cup of nice, soothing ginger tea at a nearby tea stall… It gave me a chance to indulge in ‘me-time’ for which I hardly find time in the hustle-bustle life of Mumbai… Sunset point made a picturesque view of the Sun sinking and spreading its yellow – orangish colour all over the sky… Felt as if somebody had painted it!!! I was fortunate enough to capture that moment which viewed till date makes me nostalgic!!!

View from the Sunset Point

Unlike Mumbai, darkness spreads too early in the mountain areas and people call it a day around 8ish… Not feeling much hungry, I chose to have just a bowl of Manchow soup at a nearby restaurant – ‘City Heart’, located barely at 5-10 minutes walking distance from the homestay… A nice, cozy place that served delicious soup apart from amazing delicacies which were my meal on the other days… Walked back to the homestay in the cold freezing night and called it a day…

Woke up little late than Sun the other day and after freshening-up went outside the room in the balcony, to have a look at the city… Entire city was glowing with the Sunrays… And there came Rajinder, the owner of the homestay to check if I needed something… I immediately asked him if he could inform me about major tourist attractions and also guide me about the transport system… He immediately called up one of his friends and asked if he could show me around sight-seeing places… And there we were waiting for his friend to come and in the meantime we started chatting… He started talking about his life, his family, his home behind the homestay where he stays with his joint family, etc… Being an employee in a bank, he did not feel worth working and he always wanted to do something of his own and that’s when he along with his wife started the homestay – Himalayan Homestay… He shared about his plans to add another floor to the already existing one-storey homestay and also attach a canteen so that his homestay would gain more popularity… Learnt from him that younger lot of the population in the city are prompted to move out of the city to pursue higher education, graduation, post-graduation courses etc as there are no such arrangements for the same in the city… And majority of the income of the city comes from tourism… Conversations were getting more deeper when it was disrupted by continuous honking of the car… It was none other than his friend – Sunil, the cab owner signalling me to come downstairs, to move ahead for sight-seeing… And there we were on our way for sight-seeing…

Since the time I had read about ‘St. John’s Church in the Wilderness’, I was too eager to visit it and so it topped my list for sight-seeing… Churches have always attracted me, mainly because of its architectural work and the inner peace & a sense of happiness it fills me with… Located amidst dense deodar forest, the Church gave a perfect scenic view… It is an ancient Church with amazing architecture and beautiful glass windows… Sitting behind the Church, amidst tall deodar trees and feeling fresh, unpolluted breeze against my cheeks & through my hair refreshed me… The day had started on a very good note…

St. John’s Church in the Wilderness

For breakfast, I had yummy Maggi with a cup of hot tea at a small food stall located exactly outside the Church… Maggi never tasted so delicious!!! More than the Maggi and the tea, the conversation with the stall owner is still very vivid… His employee was on leave and so he was managing his tea stall all by himself… Interesting thing I got to know during conversation is that apart from owning several tea stalls across Dharamshala, he also conducts trekking… Couldn’t believe myself when he handed me his business card and asked to contact / refer him if trekking needs to be arranged, in future… And then he started talking about his family, his kids etc… Our talks were interrupted by hairy friend of his – the cute, golden-haired dog who jumped onto me, wagging his tail… I was unable to hold myself from playing with him for a while…

Cute, golden-haired friend

Apart from the breakfast being yummylicious, genuineness and warmth of the tea owner made it more interesting… What I liked more about Dharamshala was the localites, be it the owner of the homestay, the cab owner, tea vendors etc are very warm & genuine which makes one feel homely and doesn’t make one feel like a tourist at all… In fact, such conversations make a trip more cherishable… The same was the case with Sunil who himself had driven me to the tourist places as he was a close friend of Rajinder and wanted to personally accompany me to the tourist attractions and provide information about the places… Had he not accompanied me, I wouldn’t have gained knowledge about Dharamshala, its culture, its people and its places…

After having breakfast, I went upto ‘Tushita Meditation Centre’ to meditate but found it to be closed due to the day being a Sunday… Got disappointed but I waited behind the centre amongst the pine trees for sometime to unwind and feel the breeze… Quite refreshing it was!!!

I am not a cricket lover but seeing few kids playing cricket nearby made me join them… The child within me played few balls and thoroughly enjoyed running for a score… I was all energized to chalk out the next place on my list – ‘Dalai Lama Temple’, one of the main tourist attractions of Dharamshala… A divine place and very well architectured temple… Hugely known for its beauty and magnificent statues of Buddha & other idols… Temple is surrounded by prayer wheels, the ritual which I always wanted to do after watching it in a Bollywood movie… They are cylindrical wheels inscribed with Tibetan mantras and one has to push it (it is quite heavy to rotate) while taking a walk around the temple to complete the ritual… Apart from offering prayers, meditating and visiting Dalai Lama’s religious teachings (during his visit to the temple), the temple also harbours a Museum and a Library wherein ancient religious books can be found…

Prayer wheelsPrayer wheels, Dalai Lama Temple

From the temple, I directly went to the cricket stadium – HPCA… It is known to be the India’s highest cricket stadium surrounded by snow-clad Himalayan mountains… Though the place wasn’t on my list but I visited it only upon the insistence of Sunil… And I was in complete awe of the beautiful view the stadium offered… It was almost late afternoon and I had to tick off more two places of the sight-seeing list… Second last being ‘Norbulingka Institute’ and last being ‘Dal Lake’…

HPCA Stadium

Have had read a lot about ‘Norbulingka Institute’, I couldn’t contain myself when I was physically present there… It depicts Tibetan culture wherein one can find a temple, workshops, museums, shops etc displaying Tibetan art and culture… Its allows one to have a look into beautiful, artistic Tibetan world… I fell in love with the place instantly… Encounter of inner peace while meditating in the temple was worth the wait for my visit to Norbulingka… But yes, one need to take out good amount of time from their schedule to explore the entire institute and it’s a must visit place in Dharamshala…

Since it was late afternoon, I moved swiftly to the last destination for the day – ‘Dal Lake’… Before moving towards the lake, I went to a cafe to grab a cup of Cafe Latte and Pizza… Which I enjoyed while reading my book – ‘Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy’

Dal Lake is one of my favorite place at Dharamshala for which I can anytime plan one more trip… Sitting on the bench placed alongside the lake, I started reading the book – ‘Inner Engineering’… It’s all about Sadhguru’s insights and teachings… Basically a spiritual, self-help book wherein one can learn to align his mind & body with energies within & outside to create new possibilities and be powerful… Engrossed into Sadhguru, I did not even realize when the Sun had set… Sunil had to literally shout out my name from the other side of the lake to inform me that it’s too late to stay outside considering the cold temperature and the darkness… Sitting alongside a beach or a lake with a good book is what I enjoy the most!!! On my way back to the homestay, I relished over some good food at City Heart restaurant…

Dal Lake

Early morning the other day, I headed towards ‘Bir Billing’, the Paragliding Hub of India… Inspite of being a fattu and afraid of heights, I have always pushed myself beyond my limits & comfort zone to experience something new and also to level-up myself… And I attribute this trait of mine to my sun sign Leo…

Billing is the take-off place located at a height of 2400 metres whereas Bir is the landing site… One can opt for Solo paragliding or Tandem paragliding… I had opted for Tandem ride wherein a trained pilot accompanies you which allows you to enjoy the thrilling experience of flying whereas they manage the paraglider… The ride is usually for 30-40 minutes… Mere a thought of jumping-off from such a height had almost killed me but still I challenged myself to give it a try before quitting… When we took-off from Billing, strong wind flowing against the flight pushed us backward… And unable to hold myself, I fell hurting my knees… I decided to quit but my pilot lifted my spirit… He asked me to trust him and give another try… And we tried taking-off again and within few seconds we were flying in the air… I felt like a bird!!! It was a thrilling adventure which I have ever had experienced… Up above in the air, holding GoPro in one hand to click pictures of myself and simultaneously looking over the tiny houses, tiny people from above the sky was overwhelming… Paragliding consumes an entire day as its two hours drive from Dharamshala but it’s worth an experience… I went back to the homestay with bruised knees and new thrilled myself… I immediately retired on the bed as had to check out early morning to leave for trekking…

I had already booked for ‘Triund Trek’ before flying to Dharamshala… And one of my friends had joined me for the trekking… It was trekking plus camping in the night… We were a group of 8 members formed by the trek organizer, mix of people from Mumbai, Delhi and Pune…  Triund trek is an easy trek and good one for a beginner… But it proved difficult for me to trek owing to my increased weight… Trekking is approximately 7-8 km long trek which usually takes 3 hours but we took good 5-6 hrs thanks to my weight!!! We were taking halt after almost 15-20 minutes for restoring energy before resume trekking… There were two other persons in the group, basically from Delhi, who were giving us company during this halt… We all bonded well by the time trekking got completed…

While trekking, one can have a spectacular view of the Kangra valley and forest areas… Upon reaching Triund, one can visualize a scenic view of huge spread of Dhaulandhar ranges which is simply mesmerizing… I was gazing at it in awe until it was pitch dark as I couldn’t take my eyes off the snow-clad mountain ranges… It was freezing cold while camping in the night…

Dhaulandhar ranges at camping site, Triund

And when the Sun rose up in the sky, we decided to trek up from the Triund base camp to be on snow-clad mountains… It was tiring but we somehow made it to the place… It was simply WOW!!! I had for the first time in life been on a snow-clad place… Though it was freezing cold and I was shivering from head to toe, I played in the snow, with the snow, over the snow like a 5-year-old kid!!! Then to warm myself, I had a hot cup of tea over a bowl of Maggi… Whoa, flashback of memories!!! Want to re-live those moments again…

Me (shivering) striking a pose with snow 🙂

We came back to our tents to pack and descend but I did not feel like leaving the place mainly because of two reasons – firstly due to the new-found friends and secondly due to the spectacular view my eyes were witnessing… While descending, one can also pass through Bhagsu waterfall… Triund trek is an exciting as well as fun-filled trek & a camping gateway…

At the end of the trek, had to board the bus to Amritsar but did not wish to leave the company of the new-found friends… Was in dilemma – to stay back & cherish the new-found friendship or to move ahead & fulfill the wish to visit ‘Golden Temple’… And I had chosen the first one and allowed myself to miss my bus!!! Stayed-up the whole night around campfire, singing, eating and chatting… What an amazing night it was!!!! Currently while jotting down about this episode of the trip is making me recollect those beautiful moments…. Nostalgic!!!

It was the last day of my trip… Boarded an early morning bus to Amritsar and reached Golden temple… But it was my bad that I couldn’t enter the shrine as it was overcrowded and it would have taken atleast few hours to complete the temple visit owing to the big queue and I had a return flight to Mumbai in the afternoon… With a promise to visit Golden temple soon in the future, I left the holy place with a heavy heart…

Golden Temple

And that’s how my trip came to an end!!!

Apart from the destination, nothing else was planned… The itinerary wasn’t ready before flying or before planing the trip… Itinerary for each day was planned a day prior as I feel it not only leaves room for improvisation of the itinerary but also gives you a breathing space to relax as per your mood and timings…

Travelling opens ways to explore yourself apart from providing you an opportunity to know more about the places you visit, their culture, their people, etc… It is actually a practical platform to learn things which you cannot learn in any syllabus or at workplace… And travelling solo has helped me find a new myself who is free to experience new adventures, free to explore… I am a free bird!!!

So guys out there – plan a trip, put on your shoes, pack your trekking bag and set yourself free to explore places, its beauty, try new adventures and allow yourself to completely immerse into it, to experience a different side of yourself and most importantly to relax & unwind as that is of utmost need in this ever-growing, competent world!!! All the best!!!

A night at Kalka

One wintry evening when the Sun was almost ready to settle down & spread darkness around, Kiara, Rhea and Nyra were scurrying around the lanes of Kalka in search of the hotel where they were put up for that night… They were to return to Mumbai the other day… Lanes were too calm unlike Mumbai, with nobody in the vicinity except for few shops which were about to call it a day… Which made them ponder if they were on the right path or not… Somehow, they made up to the destined hotel and were about to heave a sigh of relief when much to their astonishment they found a mediocre, shabby lodge instead of a hotel!!! With utter disappointment, they stepped-in only to find that it was a one-storey lodge, with them being the only guests apart from the guy behind the reception and a timid service boy who was too busy in checking them…

They climbed the squeaky stairs towards their room on the first floor… Rhea went ahead towards the room with Nyra whereas Kiara was busy struggling to manage her luggage till the door… Door to the room made an unbearable, squeaking noise like a typical bollywood horror movie scene and all three of them burst out laughing… Room was relatively very small with only a bed placed in one corner lined up with a dirty, worn-out bed sheet… While they were busy unpacking, Kiara suddenly noticed a door located at the other end of the room which was linked to a terrace… Moving closer to it, she realized that the terrace was accessible to everyone at the lodge and moreover being one-storey, anybody could have easily climbed up to their room… Mere a thought of it had sent jitters through Kiara and she was reluctant to even spend a minute more in that room… Rhea & Nyra had to literally coax her for an hour to calm her down and stay back as it was matter of just a night…

Soon after having dinner, they retired onto the bed and within no time, all were fast asleep… Though the creaking bed made it impossible for them to have a peaceful one… Somewhere around midnight, a knock on the terrace door made Kiara jump out of bed whereas Rhea and Nyra were still very much in their dreamland… Kiara thought that the knock could be mere her illusion, so she tried to ignore it and go back to sleep… Few minutes later, continuous knocking made all three jump out of bed…. Clueless and unaware about what to be done, they got frightened… Kiara had almost freaked out and began recollecting all the crime series which she have had ever watchedMoreover, being a pessimist, her mind started visualizing the worst possible circumstances – a thief waiting at the door to murder them and flee away with all their valuables or a molester waiting to take their undue advantage, etc etc… Negative thoughts petrified her almost to the death… All three had their eyes fixed on the door that all of a sudden Rhea and Nyra heard Kiara murmuring something… She wasn’t actually murmuring but chanting all the Hindu slokhas she could have remembered at that moment with tears flooding through her eyes… Rhea and Nyra were not scared though but looking at Kiara, they also got ingested by the fear… But somehow both mustered up the courage to walk up till the door and scream aloud at the person from behind the door… “Kaun hai waha??? Kya Kaam hai itni raat ko” but there wasn’t any response… Kiara then came up with an idea of calling the reception to inquire about it… As soon as Rhea picked up the phone to dial the reception number, Nyra disconnected it… Nyra felt calling the guy at the reception may give him an opportunity to take undue advantage of their loneliness or it may alert the person on the other side of the door… Hence, they decided to deal with the situation by themselves… Sitting up in the bed with widely awakened eyes, they started diverting their mind by talking about their trip and other things… After few hours, knocks on the door died down… Rhea and Nyra were busy wondering about the person whereas on the other hand Kiara was busy praying to God to take care of her family if she ends up with some unfortunate circumstances leading to her death at the lodge!!! 

As the sun rose up the other day, Nyra immediately rushed to the door with Rhea whereas Kiara was on the bed, covered completely with the bedsheet only with her eyes popping out… Fear was still very much visible in her shiny, glittering eyes… When they opened the door, Rhea and Nyra both were equally shocked to find stack of empty bottles lying at the bottom of the door and soon they realized that the knocks were actually rattling sound the bottles made when forced against the door due to the breezy wind… And both of them couldn’t help but laugh aloud… They were on their way back to the room to disclose about this to Kiara but the sight of Kiara still chanting the slokhas made them burst into more laughter…

This was one of a hilarious incidents which still makes all three of them break into a laughter riot….

P.S.: Kiara is none other than me, myself whereas Rhea and Nyra are my close buddies Priyanka Asnotkar and Juby Thomas…

ME – TIME

All of us believe that we know ourselves but the fact is that’s not the truth… People with whom we spend most of our time indeed would know us more in depth… Like in my case, my family & my close friends know me much better than me, myself… And I am sure many of you may relate to this…

To discover one’s trueself, one needs to indulge in ‘Me-time’ more often… If not everyday then atleast over weekend… Spending time with oneself will give you better understanding about your trueself, about your likes/dislikes, your thoughts, your dreams etc etc… It allows you to introspect yourself which is necessary and of utmost importance…

I get ample amount of such time especially when am travelling places due to my work commitment… I have always been uncomfortable meeting new people… Infact, anxiety grips over me even at the thought of meeting a new person… But indulging in ‘me-time’ made me discover an unknown aspect about myself – the excitement of talking & making new friends and the ‘Travel – Kheeda’ which God knows when did it bit me … I have explored altogether a different side of me, which is very unlike me or maybe I did not encounter it before…

No doubt, I do take my own sweet time to strike a conversation but once the chord is struck, I am a chatterbox which people would never expect out of me, at their first encounter… With every business trip I have had, I have come back home with atleast a new friend who are a part of my life now but my last trip to Peru this year, seems to have increased this count…

Apart from making new friends, I have developed a zest for traveling and yes like most of you’ll, I also have a bucket list [not a bucket though but a tumbler for sure 😉] of places to visit, towards which I am working since a year now… My Travel-Kheeda doesn’t let me sit idle… It keeps bugging me to surf articles about trips & travels and to read about various places… Infact sometimes it compels me to search for the author of those articles and contact them to know more about the place, their planning, budgeting, their experience etc… This entices me towards working upon my travel plan… My Travel – Kheeda has started to grow with each passing day & with each article and it is soon going to turn one 😃…

Me-time has taught me that at times, we need to shift focus from our mainstream career life and devote sometime towards travelling… Travelling not only helps you understand yourself but also imparts knowledge about the places you visit, their culture, local people out there and also the company with whom you travel…

Life is short & unpredictable, so free yourself for sometime from your responsibility be it at work place or at your home and push yourself a bit to explore the beautiful places, lying ahead, waiting to be explored…

Cafe Coffee Day —> A lot can happen over coffee….

One lazy afternoon at CCD…. Comfortably seated in a chair with my two friends…. Sipping hot café latte (my favorite) and hogging the cheese garlic bread (Yummylicious), we started chit-chatting (as always), which we three excel at…. Suddenly one of my friends popped up a travel plan…. Just to give you a background about me, my friends and our travel plans…. Each time of our meet, atleast one travel plan is always discussed…. So that evening was no exception…. With huge backlogs of travel plans, there was one more plan to be lined up soon…. Being (imaginary) travel enthusiast, excitement had taken over us…. Possible travel places along with probable travel dates were being contemplated…. While walking out of the CCD, a confirmed travel place was on the card…. So the tagline of CCD “A lot can happen over coffee” seemed to be true in our case….

The following week, travel dates were zeroed on, leaves at our respective workplaces were applied and soon our train tickets were booked…. All our travels plans had always been an imaginary one (‘Khayali Pulao’) but for the first time, it was going to be true…. Yesssss!!!! And the place finalized was —> Jaipur, the Pink city….

D day arrived…. Me and my friend reached much before time at Borivali station and were anticipating train’s arrival but my other friend was yet to reach…. His cell phone was switched off and nobody from his family knew about his whereabouts…. Anxiety gripped us…. On one hand, our first ever trip seemed to end before it had actually begun whereas on the other hand, we were getting more worried about our friend’s well-being…. There was hustle – bustle of passengers onto the platform…. Whereas we were watching them aimlessly…. Our hearts were about to sink…. We were stuck in a dilemma – to board the train without our friend or to wait for him…. Negative, disturbing thoughts about my friend’s safety were clouding my mind…. And suddenly a loud siren pierced my ears and I could see the train pulling onto the platform….. We were losing our hope and suddenly we see a guy, running towards us with his luggage and signaling us to board the train…. He was none other than our friend…. I and my other friend were in worry-cum-panicky state whereas our late-comer friend was smiling widely…. As soon as he approached us, he uttered “There needs to be some adventure in a trip, so I reached late to bring that element“…. At that moment, wanted to whack his head but boarding the train was the need of the hour…. Frantically, we searched for our coach and managed to board the train just before it started…. Lucky we!!! After tugging our luggage beneath the seat, we cornered our late-comer friend as we were really pissed on him….. Our train was to be missed because of him…. But our anger soon vanished upon learning that he was kidding and was actually caught-up in heavy traffic…. All’s well that ends well…. Getting seated, we heaved a huge sigh of relief!!!….. Our first ever trip had begun, with a drama at the beginning itself…. I was now sure that the trip would be undoubtedly amazing & adventurous…. Yoohooo….

Itinerary for any trip is always preset…. But in our case, it wasn’t…. Yes, our tickets were booked, stay arrangements were done but no itinerary was chalked out…. It was to be planned during our journey…. As that would have not only level up the excitement quotient but also leave a room for improvisation in the itinerary till the last minute….Upon interaction with co-passengers, we learned about a haunted fort…. Hearing about its ghostly history, I was too scared to visit the fort…. But my friends were pretty excited about it….

The other afternoon, we reached Jaipur…. After resting for few hours in our hotel room, we went to explore nearby places in the evening…. Our hotel receptionist recommended us a place for dinner >>>> CHOKIDANI….

On our way to CHOKIDANI, we took a halt at JAL MAHAL…. A beautiful palace aka MAHAL built amidst a lake, surrounded by hills…. A mesmerizing, scenic view, with cool breeze flowing around…. Aah!!! a perfect place for a perfect evening…. Facility of boat ride was available to visit the centrally located palace but we weren’t keen for it…. All we were interested was getting ourselves clicked with the mesmerizing view of the palace in the backdrop…. Later, we gulped down few goll-gappas at a nearby stall…. I would rate goll-gappas as 4/10 compared to our Mumbai Pani-Puris which are no doubt 10/10….

CHOKIDANI…. A sort of theme park…. Its a built-up of a village – with huts, veranda (chawk), etc…. A hut had an old lady making hot and yummy makai ka paratha over choola, being served with lasoon ki chutni and jaggery…. A mouthwatering dish…. Whereas a veranda had a magician showing mysterious tricks which were too archaic but quite entertaining…. There was a wide open space, wherein kids were being entertained by a puppet show…. A nearby tree was surrounded by ladies staffs, who were applying henna to the customers…. Folk dance was being performed by beautiful lady dancers on a center stage….. Shops selling traditional outfits, bed sheets, bags, other articles etc were lined up around a corner… Golla wala out there reminded me of my school days…. For dinner, Rajasthani buffet was served…. Varieties of Rajasthani dishes which I had never ever heard of were presented in our plates…. My taste buds were thrilled on experiencing each and every food….. Uniqueness of the buffet served was the staff’s hospitality…. Hats off to the management…. A must visit for all tourists….

The other morning, we were all set to visit the haunted fort >>>>>BHANGARH FORT…. Locals had informed us that the fort had a princess named Rantavati who was the most prettiest…. A black magician had fallen for her…. He tried to trap her with one of his trick which backfired upon him, leading to his death…. While breathing his last, he spelled a curse on the entire fort, due to which everyone and everything was destroyed…. Left are the only scattered remnants of the fort…. It is believed that after the sun sets, spirits wander around…. Hence, nobody is allowed to stay back after 6pm within the fort premises & whoever stays back seems to never return alive….. This scared the hell out of me…. We immediately moved out after clicking few pics…. Though, I would never recommended anybody to visit Bhangarh fort but yes, if you have ample amount of time to kill then this fort is an option…. Enroute to hotel, we took a halt at Rathambore National park only to sadly learn that park was closed…. Utter disappointment…. The day which started with excitement, turned into scariness, followed by disappointment and abruptly ended with an argument…. Phew!!!!…. What a bad day….

After savoring over irresistible aloo ka parathas the other morning, we drove for almost two hours to visit our destination in line >>>> AJMER — the divine shrine…. A Dargah believed to fulfill one’s true wishes and it is said that people who visit Ajmer have their wishes being fulfilled…. While we were moving out from Ajmer, a fellow tourist asked us to visit a nearby Hindu pilgrimage >>>> PUSHKAR…. Pushkar is a lake and has many temples around and the most famous being Brahma temple…. One of the few temples of Lord Brahma…. It is said that Lord Brahma’s wife had cursed Pushkar to be the only place where Lord Brahma be worshiped…. Donot know the exact reason underlying the curse, but still inquisitive to know about it…. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped by a shopping place nearby HAWA MAHAL…. Beautiful collections of traditional wears like chaniya cholis, sarees, footwear like mojri, etc could be found…. Being a shopping freak, I had a handful of bags while walking out…. Damn!!! I always go over budget due to my shopping habits….

There came the third and the last day in Jaipur…. Rajashthan is well known for its forts…. So Jaipur being its capital city houses few historical forts like NARGARH, JAIGARH, AMBER FORT etc…. Though I donot recollect much about Nargarh and Jaigarh fort as both the forts appeared quite similar to me…. But yes, I vividly remember two things about Nargarh fort…. First thing which amazed me was the fact that it was built by Maharaja Ram Singh for his 9 wives!!!…. And second is Hot pakodas served with chilled beer, a must have [Though I binged only on hot pakodas]…. A suggestion by my brother, which seemed to be worth an experience…. Also this fort gives a picturesque view of the city, especially during night…. Amber / Amer fort is my favorite one, basically because I gave ears to its history…. Rani Jodha (Akbar’s wife) was the princess of Amer fort / palace…. Most artistic & beautiful fort…. Was amazed by its strategic layout…. Fort had an in-house lake for its water supply….. Surrounded by huge boundaries, wherein soldiers must be getting a clear view of the enemies encroaching towards the palace…. It also had a passage which connected it to Jaigarh fort, basically a hide-out place during war break-out…. For sure, Amer fort tops my must visit list of Jaipur…. We had also been to JANTAR – MANTAR, a monument built by the then King…. It houses various instruments to identify time, position of sun, planets with the help of naked eye and formulae…. Quite an interesting monument…. Defined the intellectuality of the Kings during those times….

Finally our Jaipur trip was about to end…. During this trip, we three had our share of laugh, fight, love etc etc…. It brought all three of us close together…. We were leaving the place with heavy heart carrying too many, beautiful memories which are being cherished till date and would be cherished to the infinity….

At times, it becomes necessary to give ourselves a break from our routine life…. To allow ourselves for the “Me time”…. To spend leisure time with our loved ones…. Need not be an international or exotic location…. Merely a change of place like a day out to a nearby place can sometimes do the magic…. So move out, grab a cup of coffee and allow a lot to happen over it, just like it happened with us….

 

Trip to BaLi

Desperate need for a holiday…to break from monotonous work life…bumping every now & then into various articles / write-ups on destination holidays…suddenly a post flashes on FB page…’Single’s trip to a foreign country‘…excited to venture into it…butttt…fear of being amongst unknown people grips over…plus financial crunch…difficult to make up my mind…following rigorous discussion with family and friends, finally booked air tickets…shopping going full-fledged…as dates were approaching nearer, found anxiety at its peak

Finally the day arrived…seven days trip to an exotic location – BALI…with 20 complete strangers!!!…a step to move out of my comfort zone…to meet new people…

Bali was all about night outs…random talks…gossiping…playing Mafia (a new exciting game…Mafia bug stung everyone badly), bluff, taboo, waterfalls, trekking, cycling, boat ride, crazy dancing etc etc…me on an exploration mode…so unlike me!!!…

Tegenungan waterfall…water always threatened to pull me away…anyways without much thought, jumped into waters…allowed water to drench me…was amazing feeling to walk behind waterfall…noise of turbulent waters piercing ear drums…tiny droplets splashing onto face…closing eyes, meditated amidst pool of water…sensed a calmer me…now that was something adventurous…Wowieeeee!!!…

Midnight trek to Mount Batur…seemed a tougher one…gave an insight to strenous nature of trekking…as climbed higher and higher, my body wanted to give-up…but somehow managed to reach sunrise point after stressful workout of 3-4 hours [😉]…what I captured then was worth the workout…my eyes caught a beautiful glimpse of sun rising up between the mountains…a mesmerising moment…can still close my eyes and visualize the scenic view…An Epic moment!!!…

Cycling to and fro from hotel to beach…first time riding a cycle…with music being played into ears…breeze flowing across the face…what a peaceful ride…love to go for it again…

Hijacking local pubs almost all nights…playing bollywood music…swaying my body to the tunes…surrendering myself to the music after a tequila shot…dancing crazily for hours…worth an experience…one of the beautiful moments of my Bali trip…Classic!!!…

Night at beach…troupe members bonding easily over the conversations made me uncomfortable, miserable…can’t be amongst people at all…aware about it earlier…but was facing it at Bali…its easy for me to be alone, with my family and close friends…but not alone with complete bunch of strangers…made me feel as if trip was a wrong decision…standing on the shore…choked-up wid emotions…tears flooding through eyes…seemingly uncontrollable…surprising though…impetuous waves tucking away the sand beneath my feet…closed my eyes for a while…echoes of water crashing against the shore…narrating their story to me…gazing at moon lit up in the beautiful stary sky…a perfect moment which I wouldn’t afford to miss…Aha!!! Never ever I had experienced such a beautiful moment…Lovely!!!…

My taste buds were as happy with local veggie cuisines…so were equally surprised by vodka, beer, wine for the first time ever…something different…something good…

Bali – truly the land of Paradise…a roller coaster ride for me…bountiful of emotions…explored myself…found myself growing up with this trip…a trip indeed worth investing…one of a kind experience…Bali opened gateways to explore myself…Voila!!!…

Life it is!!!

​Heart of India – Mumbai…morning blues…hustle-bustle…cacophony at railway station of yellin, pleadin, teasin, laughin, talkin…standin on d platform in d wee hours, on d way to office…busy gazin at people shovin thru d platform rush…who are on a mission….to hook a leg in the minimalistic space available in a crowded train…actually OVERCROWDED is d appropriate wrd…widin train…people pushin each oders bags…pokin wid elbows…yellin on top of deir voices…a routine for almost evrydy for evrybody travelin by TRAIN – d lifeline of Mumbai

Heaving a sigh of relief while comforting myself in my office chair, I reach out to read news online once done wid daily chore of checking emails n assigning work…news to update myself abt things goin around…

In todays world, instead of enrichin knowledge, newspapers adds onto trauma…papers r filled wid rape cases, molestation news, domestic violence, suicides, murders, scams etc…horrifyin stuffs wich u wudn’t wish to begin ur day wid…but ders no option except avoiding newspapers…if dese news aren’t enuf to scare d hell off u, den ders more instore by d media which wud surely shake u off…TERROR…evry oder day u wud read abt bombin at shrines or airports or malls…hostages held up…random shoot out…high alert…etc etc…

When I was a kid, I hardly remember such news coming up…it makes me realize – is it tht in dose days such matters were never brought into light or is it tht in dese dayz such matters r made-up to be in d limelight…I fail to understand whts goin on…whrs d world headin to…

Suddenly my thoughts r interrupted wid voices from my behind….colleagues screaming-out at me…pointin at my phone wich seems to b ringin since a long tym…closin d tab of newspaper, I go back to my real world…to work…to earn a livin…though d news keeps lingerin in d back of my mind, I choose to work…once engrossed in wrk, d news fades off frm mind…n aftr office, again hv to juggle between trains to reach home….hv dinner, spend tym wid family n den restttttttt…n next day d same routine…

Dis is how live is…evn if people r in midst of danger, dey hv to keep deir fear aside n go to work, mak a livin, meet frnds, spend tym wid family n etc etc…dis aptly reflects JEENA ISSI KA NAAM HAI!!!

Beauty – real is outer or inner ???

In today’s world, people relate to beauty only to outer, physical appearance…hardly you would find someone who would admire inner beauty…

To talk about my view on beauty, actually it never mattered to me or to be honest enough, the word ‘beauty’ struck to me only when I plunged into “arrange marriage” phase… Being loved at one moment & lost at d oder, was more than enough for me to give green signal to my family n opt for arrange marriage… And then, there I was ready to dive through the strenuous process of getting hitched [still goin thru d hell-of-process 😦 ]….

Being dusky toned n bearing decent good features [except a nose which looks like a samosa ;)], I knew I wasn’t a beautiful girl but never felt I was ugly to be rejected…full of confidence I was about this…but my confidence was shattered into pieces when my biodata was rejected by a groom’s family n d reason given was – “The girl is dark!!!”….That was a dark moment wherein I had to face world’s perception about beauty, which means “fair / white complexion”….my lyf came crashing dwn [may be I made a mountain of a mole at dat time but l really did feel it, although only for a brief period of time] …

To tell you, worldly definition of beauty not only lowers one’s morale & kills self confidence but also develops inferiority complex, affecting adversely all areas of life…this is an exact illustration of a brief period of my lyf (sigh!!!)…

I used to get disheartened at times due to this but I have always found tremendous support from my family n frnds (blessed to have them in my lyf), as for them only inner beauty mattered…. During that time, my best frnd said sumthin – “you might not think much of yourself. But look at yourself from my eyes and you will see someone who is great, beautiful and powerful“… That was a reality check indeed, which came from my bestie at the ryt time… Bang on!!!…It mirrored my beauty to me n made me realize my worth… Since then people’s perception din bother to me n even if it does, I simply close my eyes n recollect my bestie’s words which doubles my confidence & gives me an inner strength…I discovered a fact den – – – > people view you the way you want them to view you…

Outer beauty will fade away with time but inner beauty would never as it is inked to a soul n it lasts longer…beauty is more than only outer, physical appearance… One needs to feel it…

As it is rightly said tht happiness is one’s state of mind, similarly beauty is also one’s belief of mind…one’s belief in themselves… You have to accept n love yourself the way you are, for oders to follow d suit [dis again comes from my bestie :)]… And its doable, believe me…