On Turning the big 3-Ohhh! :)

Exactly a week ago, I turned 30. There I said, 30..Three..Zero.. 30! I do not know why I felt the need to say it out as many times as I just did. Maybe it was to see if I feel any different, maybe it was to see if I said it as many times I would develop some magical powers that could change a few things in my life.On retrospect do I need those magical powers? Maybe not, If i look carefully I did have those powers and they were what made my 20’s the decade I left behind so magical.

The 20’s have been amazing to me, I did most of the things that most people do when they are in their 20’s. I feel privileged to have had that opportunity, to experience all those things I did. There were fireworks, first kisses, broken hearts,being broke almost always,the first ridiculously expensive shoes I bought, the first job, meeting my soul mate and many many things that make it a decade that I was worth remembering. There was a lot of figuring it out- “it” being so many things-life,career, education, the one. Now that I am done figuring at least most of it- I am excited to be 30. Those 10 years made me an adult. And I am thankful for it.

Turning 30, is full of exciting possibilities, I know who I am and well, mostly what I want (though the other half might beg to differ). I know that there is no one responsible for my happiness..except for me (cliched), but it is amazing how so many of us know this but refuse to work on it. I know that no one can take my accomplishments of the past decade and no one else can accomplish new things except for me. I spent the last few years of my 20’s being angry and disappointed with myself, with some of the choices I made, with my bad luck and wishing I could live the lives of those around me. The more I wanted that, life told me in not so kind way that you can’t wish to live someone else’s life, you have to live with what you have and the make the most of it, Yes, there will be people who are disappointed with the choices you make, you will be disappointed with the choices you have made but there hey, you can’t please them all, now, can you? And while they tell you how disappointed they are, hopefully there is something that you can take away from it.

So while I look back on the decade that has passed, I hope that some of the learnings from the last decade can be put to good use in this decade. I hope to forgive more often, take care of myself and my short comings. Remember and work on being the master of my destiny and be the touch of sunshine in the lives of the people who I may cross paths with. I have always been one to celebrate and I celebrated bidding my 20’s and welcoming my 30’s in style. I did the spectacular Sydney Harbour Bridge climb (that is another post altogether) and as I stood on the summit looking down on the beautiful city, the sun shining on my face, that at that moment, there was no one else like me, that what I did was my own achievement and no one else could take that away from me. So there I was smiling from ear to ear and proud of the way I embraced 30. You will be kind to me won’t you?


2014 and thoughts for the new year!

I took more than a year off from here. From writing, coming here and looking at the number of likes or followers I have received. I just took a break from it all. There have been days when I have opened WordPress and started at a blank page, waiting for words; words to form sentences; sentences that would beautifully string together and express what I felt, I saw and experienced. Needless to say, those words and sentences never came together. I Would give up my futile attempt and head back to reality, where someone or something required my attention.

Nevertheless, 2014 was kind to me. It took me home, knocked me down and gave me opportunities to pick up the pieces and move on. It also drilled into me what I had forgotten,’what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and stronger did i become the last few months. It taught me that I am who I am and I and I need to live my life by the rules that I had once set for myself. It also gave me a chance to understand that sometimes you need to let go of self doubt and fear to create a path for yourself.

This past year gave me an opportunity to pursue two things that I am passionate about dance and baking. There has been nothing more liberating than realising that I am good at it and there is nothing more than being on stage that brings out the better of me. When I thought that is all that I could be better at, I found myself covered knee, hands, face deep in butter, sugar, flour, eggs and all things rich and decadent three days a week full time.I learnt patience, need to shower care and love into every dough, cake or sweet treats that you make. I realised that a dough is a living thing. It responds to love, warmth, patience and the opportunity to grow and turn into something wonderful. A dough taught me that relationships are like that it needs all these things to grow and be what it needs to be. I had to value my life, my being and those in my life to see relationships blossom and be what they are meant to be. I needed to stop breathe and inject some of this learning into my life and my relationships.

So as we have wrapped bu 2014, I look forward to the new year, there are goals and desires that I hope to achieve. I hope to find God’s love and guidance as the new year unfolds. I hope the next 364 days will show me the paths that are for me to travel, I hope to be courageous and adventurous and to live life by my rules.

here is hoping that the NEW Year brings all things positive and the courage to face challenges that the year and days bring.

Happy to be back

One year and a few months that’s how long I have stayed away from here. I never knew that one could suffer from a writer’s block for so long and the biggest mistake probably not fighting it. Oh well, now that it is in the past, so here I am making amends and promising to be regular.

But in the meantime, life never gave me a chance to stop and breathe. We did a lot of travelling. We visited Wellington (NZ), went strawberry picking and horse riding at Port Macquarie in the middle of winter we went on a beach holiday to Jervis Bay with our gang of friends, went dolphin watching,drank a lot,experimented with a few punches (the drink obviously) and yes I got a chance to dance on stage (twice). Each time I have been up there, I realised there is no place I rather be than on that stage performing. So I reckon after an action packed year I have nothing to complain about. There have been small and big mercies that we have to be thankful about, including the fact that I even managed to find myself a part-time role at a small PR firm.

And probably the highlight this year was that my husband decided to book tickets for home, which meant that the both of us got to see our families and our friends who we haven’t seen over two years. I got to celebrate my birthday as well as mum’s birthday at home which was probably the best thing to happen in a long time. The husband also got to ride his bike when we visited Chennai. The first 15 minutes of that ride was just awesome, if someone asked us if we could like to come back to Chennai, we would probably have said yes. That desire didn’t last long with no traffic rules, pollution and the moolah that it cost each time we went out left us wanting to get back to Australia. Having said that, there is nothing like getting to spend time with family and friends it reminds you wherever you are there will never ever be any place like home.

Now that we are back, life has returned to normal with the same intensity that we left while we went on holiday. Every weekend is spent house hunting which in this country is hard and painful, so all I can do is hope and pray in the coming weeks we will have a new place to move into. Hey then I may have more ideas about what to write on.

For now I take your leave in the hope that I will be able to bring you more snippets about my travels, my ever entertaining husband and life in general as and when it happens.

When the husband takes over the kitchen! ;)

I, like most people grew up in a household where mum did all the cooking. The moment she walked in through the door at 4 in the evening we were all over her asking her what’s for tea and then what’s for dinner :). I am sure she used to dread walking back home just because of that one question. So when I decided to get married I had, somewhere in the back of my head to find someone who knew how to cook and guess what I did! 🙂 And thus, begins the story of this post! 🙂

So where I am going with this is that I came across this gem of a word during one of those infamous news paper tracking days at my previous job.

“A term used to describe men see cooking as a hobby and not just a chore, taking the household chore part away from it. Gastrosexual men will use six pans when one will do and then leave you with the washing up.”

There was only one person I knew who fit this description extremely well…yes, that most definitely is my better half.

There really is nothing more enticing, ladies..I promise, than a man who can make a meal that too a really fancy one at that. It would be safe to say that I fell hook line and sinker for such a man. So, while I a starry-eyed bride thought that I was one of those lucky few women on earth to have snagged a guy who can sing and cook,little did I know the horrors that were to follow.(maybe I exaggerate a tad bit!)

So like every married couple we played house some days me making the meals and the other days him 🙂 The first few times every time he made dinner/lunch/breakfast I wouldn’t crib about the mess just be the good wife and wash the spoons, plates and the zillion other utensils that were used. But a few months into being married i realized that I was stressing more about the cleaning than enjoying the lavish dinner that was put in front of me.
So,it’s reached a point these days where I just do something else to keep myself occupied; 1) just to resist the urge to walk into the kitchen 2)lest I feel like giving him a lecture about cleaning up which in the end makes me sound like an epic nag and end up spoiling our appetites.

So all you lovely ladies out there,if you think marrying a man who can cook a meal is a wonderful idea make sure you ask him the all important question..can he clean up after the Masterchefy meal that he has prepared for you? If the answer is yes,you have won the Lotto..if not just be nice say thank you for the meal and leave the dishes for tomorrow, that way you do not diminish your chances to get another meal cooked with a lot of love and care!

P.S. After three years I would like to believe that my husband has learned to cook using 2 pans instead of the 6! 😉

Missing the day of colours

Here I am Down Under, summer seems to have long disappeared all in all in the 4 months that I have been here, all I would have had is 10 days of summer the rest of it alternated between raining mornings,evenings and nights and sometimes days of it all together. Being sunshine girl from good ol’ Chennai it is difficult to get used to but I guess we will have to live with it as long as we are here 🙂 Well having discussed the weather like everyone everywhere does, it’s back to the purpose of this post.

All those gazillion posts on FB and Twitter on Holi made me miss the fun time I have had playing holi the only two times i have played it. Growing up in Dubai holi was not really played coz i guess most of the time we would be at school and dont think mom would have appreciated it if we walked in with all kinds of colours and then the horrors of scrubbing her daughters clean that would have followed. However, we spared mom that horror…moved to college and the closest i got to playing it was in MCC just that more than colour I think I had silver and gold glitter stuck on my face, hair and notebooks :). 

So, you can imagine the thrill when people at work suggested we play holi followed by the awesome snacks( I guess that was secondary) that we got after that. I guess i had never seen so much colour all my life and all of it right at our disposal. Just imagine playing holi with a bunch of hooligans mostly the boys the girls in their own way finding ways to make ur face totally unrecognizable. I still remember most of the events that day i broke my chappals,had colour stuck on my teeth, nails and every part of visbile skin.

After destroying our office lawn and the walls and most people going back home our big boss stayed back and started cleaning down the walls, the verandah and every possible place there was colour and the rest of just joined him to clean down the office.We were definitely rewarded that day we opened a bottle of wine and it was long gone before we even realized.

It was a long weekend so we celebrated it days before the actual day and on our way back from Pondicherry,we were called to our colleague’s place to play holi..none of us had spare clothes and atleast I wasn’t sure of playing it a second time as I had to attend a friend’s wedding reception. Boy! the fun we had that night, in borrowed clothes, i remember being rolled on the terrace floor coz i somehow ended up being the only one wearing complete white..just to make sure not an inch of white should be left on me i was rolled on the terrace in a puddle of colour. 😀 Needless to say the shopkeeper in locality thought i was crazy to play it twice and then buy besan and curd to scrub it all off. I did go to my relatives house the next day as well the wedding reception looking all red despite scrubbing my two days continuously. 🙂 the hair bled colour for a whole month and more,light coloured clothes turned pink each time we sweated it out in the Chennai heat.Trust me when I say this i dnt think I ever regretted my decision to play even once. 

I guess this is how fate would have liked to have it but important events seemed to be the order of the day with the wedding reception being the function I could not miss to the media FAM trip the second time where again I had to scrub myself clean  despite that i went for the trip with green ears and a strand of green hair. None of those journos forgot me the least to say the trip also turned out well.

There are no pichkaaris, gulals, bhang or friends to make the day colourful. But I do have colourful memories. I sometimes wonder I would have done if i didn’t have such lovely memories. I guess my days would have been longer here I suppose.  

How I wish I could fly in play holi and take the next flight back here.

Well sigh! all i can think of is the poem “If wishes were horses” just a few lines from it 🙂 do check out the link if u wanna read the whole poem 

If wishes were horses,
then beggars could ride
and instead of being lonely
I could be by your side….

But wishes aren’t horses,
they rarely come true .
And all I ask is just
a touch or a glance from you.



So i suppose I will have to wait till my wishes can be horses 🙂 And on that note happy Holi everyone and to all the wonderful women i know Happy Women’s Day. 🙂 hoping someone is celebrating the fact that you are a wonderful addition to their lives 🙂

Updates from Down Under :)

A post now has become extremely mandatory before my dear blog dies a lonely death!:)

Updates from the last post..I have more or less comfortably settled into my Aussie life. There are days with its high and days with the lowest of lows.The lows being the job hunt with no visible results to be seen and the highs being the new place, lovely friends who have brightened our otherwise lonely existence.

With my long holiday from work still continues..all those things that i promised myself while being on this kind of break I still haven’t implemented. I still haven’t gotten around to posting all those posts lying in my drafts, wanting to start a food blog has now been burnt on the back burner its been sitting for so long ( considering I can’t keep posting on this regularly, i don’t even wanna think of what would happen to that),I still haven’t kept up on the regular walking that I would go on despite having a park right across the road, the weight issues still remain to weigh big on me .

While on the brighter side I have slightly brushed up on those photography lessons long forgotten with the purchase of the new camera.I have discovered a few places in the city that are my favourites; Darling Harbour topping the list from among the many other in the list.

I turned a year older a few weeks back, kept telling the husband that it doesn’t feel like it’s my b’day. The weather had been crappy all week through so much for the so-called summer we have had! I felt so home sick and wanted to cry when someone from home called or wished me on chat…ya that’s how home sick I was.

The husband as always had something up his sleeve he got me a small piece of cake to cut at 12,took me shopping and took me to an Irish Pub for an awesome lunch. Dinner was planned with one of my closest friend and her husband…just that what came next I wasn’t prepared for.As I walked into their apartment, done up to resemble a lounge with the whole dim lighting, candles and the music that goes with it and friend’s screaming Surprise!oh Boy! was i SURPRISED or what! Never felt so happy in such a long time and trust me that was one among the best birthdays I had. That night we partied hard at home, dropped my drinks, laughed like maniacs, opened gifts and saw Sydney’s party scene and we got home at 5 am feeling happy and tired and ME was obviously very happy! 🙂

It’s at that point that I thanked god for the small mercies in life for the friend of mine for the last 10 years and the new friends that we have made in the last few months and also for a family that loves me a lot! 🙂

Mom’s b’day is exactly a week after mine, dad went out of his way this year and had a surprise cake with candle’s decorated to form a heart. Mom was definitely shocked and surprised more than all that me and my sis were totally touched by dad’s gesture…and realized that you are never too old to do anything for someone u love 🙂

Other than that, the biggest dream come true was watching the New year fireworks at the Harbour Bridge…and for those who know me and how much i love drama the fact that i was so overwhelmed by the whole setting i actually had tears rolling down my face *sniff * 🙂 was something along with the whole experience that I will never forget.

Me and the pati completed another year of being married. The adventure seems to be getting better the 1st year we spent setting up our home in Chennai and the next half of the year dismantling it to come here. But through this journey of being married I realized that my husband compliments me perfectly, where I fail to see reason he manages to make me see it, brings in the humour to dry up the tears that i seem to have plenty off and sometimes just nods his head in disbelief at the things that he has to put up being married 🙂 God knew I wouldn’t survive with anyone else and I am so thankful I am blessed with him in my life and he makes the meaning of family complete 🙂

It feels wonderful to have written this post to know that brain has not rusted. I guess i should write more often i does make me happy.

good bye Chennai…and hello Sydney!

This post should have been up long time ago! It’s been lying in my drafts for almost a month now. The packing and shifting had taken a toll on me, i was stressed, angry, sad and ill and missed not having my husband see me through this. But here I am now in Sydney. Living in a city where at the max 4 people know me and craving for a masala/podi dosa along with a hot cup of filter kappi that reminded me that this post was lying in my drafts.

This one’s for all the people that miss.. family and friends and good ol’ Chennai/Madras 🙂

How..how is it that I am going to pack 10 wonderful years in this city into three suitcases? 😦

The more i think about it the grief sets in for the amount I have cribbed about wanting to leave now , more or less every bit of me wanting to cling on to good ol’ Madras.I have vivid memories of this city from my first trip, when Alsa Mall, Cisons Complex, Fountain Plaza were popular hangouts along with Spencers.I dnt remember when I chose this city but somehow think it was viceversa…otherwise 10 years here and i still would love to call it home! 🙂

As I write this flashes of 10 years whiz by right in front of my eyes.

A few weeks from now, its going to be a completely new city; where the streets have no names,where I am not going to bump into people I know,where pujari’s are not going to zip past me on their mopeds,the horrible traffic jams when it rains, the beach,the icecream session late at nite on the beach and the familiarity that the known brings,I know i’d miss. The narcissit me 😉 would miss being stopped by strangers who ask what kajal pencil i use, or that my face looks familiar and if i do advertisments etc. (Now you know y i call myself narcissit :P). I would miss passing by college and start my stories about the place like it is a historical monument!I have had people asking me to shut up only coz they could replay every story of mine 🙂 i would miss arguing with the husband as to who knows the city better and the desperate fights to prove I am right.:)

I will miss places that have never disappointed my foodie cravings, i would miss homes that gave me more than food and bed,the open terrace, loads of love and warmth that the lonely girl in the city never felt she was far away from home. I love this city for the landmark moments of my life..the first outings, the first time i fell in love, the lesson learnt from heartbreaks,for people who saw me through when i thought the heartbreak would kill me and most importantly the person who was only a call away.For bangalore weekends that were extra special,the crazy ass almost blind date at Infinitea :), the music, the food and for being a friend who never once judged me with shortcoming et all accepted me 🙂

I’ll miss my workplace for the crazy parties, friends who made work fun, the wednesday nights, the lunch sessions, the photography sessions..the place that kept sane and insane 🙂 I love the fact that if it werent for this job i wouldn have met my better half! I would miss the view from my desk..the lazy dog and the sweet baby who are part of the daily routine.. i dnt know them but yet again the familiar scenes brings a comfort that i am about to give up. I will miss night stays and the friends who were part of it..the startling discoveries, the laughter , the dance classes. The ups and downs, the bajao session by bosses,the clients, the media all of it. The friends i have, the fun I had,the awakward moment when the friend was desperately trying to get the opposite person interested in her client’s work and all he did was talk to me 🙂 I have memories of a crazy valentine’s day of eating vada pav in Sowcarpet and taking a drive down to Marina beach to shoot ballons 🙂

Lastly, i will miss my first house..my own that i set up.. from choosing curtains to buying each and everything it pains the most taking it all down.There things to which i m extremely attached, every memory that comes to life when i am giving off my things.

It hurts but then you have to let go of the old to make new memories… its something unpredictable that lies ahead..but in the end its right and i hope I have the time of my life.It’s going to test every skill that i possess. A new place, a new culture, new faces to be friends with while the old ones will still stay fresh in my memory.The fear of not being able to close my eyes and give directions..i’ll miss that.

Like someone told me a few days ago “what would we do without memories” .. i have truck loads of them i can flip through, play each one over and over and be thankful for the people that crossed my path if it werent for that wuld i have so much to look back at? 🙂

till we meet again 🙂 to old and new memories! Cheers!~

I miss you like never before :(

Love!there is so much that this one word embodies. It inspires, it breaks our heart, it keeps us lonely and does so many things that leaves us yearning. “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” they say and among the many times just last week I realized how much distance can make my heart long.

I bid Sajan farewell at the airport last week; and that was the first time he was going away somewhere so far far away from me, that even if I wanted I couldn’t take a train, cab or any other means if I wanted to. We have been together from the moment we met. Three months of courtship was when we stayed apart every single day a few hours together and life seemed so perfect till now. After being together every single day, it’s now that I realise how MUCH I LOVE U and how difficult it is to stay apart.

The whole of last week my heart was just so full that my eyes would well up with tears that it would break Sajan’s heart to see my bawl my eyes out!
It broke my heart when we listened to our song to know that the bags are packed and that you are going away! 😦

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time let me kiss you
Close your eyes I’ll be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I won’t have to leave alone; Leaving on a jet plane John Denver 🙂

There is so much that I miss about him now that he is gone…I miss waking up in the morning to that lovely smile,I miss those bike rides to work( it broke my heart giving off the keys to the bike) :(,I miss calling you for all the big and the small things, I miss holding your hand, I miss the hugs, the cuddles, the fights…more than all this and the million other things I miss your presence.. the fact that you are not gonna be sitting in that corner fiddling with the laptop and annoying the life out of me 🙂 😦 or you’re not going to be strumming your guitar or hear you sing! I miss you loads and I just wish the days would fly by so that i could touchdown and run straight into your arms…

the first time I sat on his bike 🙂 love the man and his machine! miss both

It’s hard to believe that I never realized how so much a part of me you have become. I know people who are married to each other become like that…but it is now that I appreciate the blessing you are in my life 🙂

There is no one who would tolerate my nakras as much as you would, the silly reasons for which i would drag you across the room only to put the spoon in the holder 🙂 and the zillion other things for which I would whine,get flustered about and make a mountain out of a molehill.From drilling sense into my head to holding me when I wanted to cry you have seen me through a lot and I love you for all of it!

I know you’re lonely too,the city is big there are so many things and places that I know makes you wish we were together. I wish you were here to hug and sleep every night and tomorrow the world would be a better place coz you are around!:)

I hope and pray that the day will pass quickly and even before I know we are together again!

Oh!So pretty Uttrakhand!- Nainital & Ranikhet :)

From the plains we were now ready for our rocky adventure, two rounds of tea and munchies we were ready to jet set and go. I don’t think the cab driver was prepared for what was to come his way, 7 of us I guess were ok but then 15 pieces of luggage… konjam difficult to accommodate. RGV n J in the front with the driver, me, pati, Srags and D in the middle and Mite with the luggage right at the back! The gaddi was packed or more so to say we looked like sardines packed in a can.:)

With a steady drizzle, lush green nature and some warmth in the car we were off to Nainital. Initially it was all quiet as we were trying to find our comfort spot in an already packed car when our driver started small talk with us. It started with whether we saw the tiger, where we stayed, the weather in general, the weather at Nainital, does it usually rain in this season blah blah so on and so forth. The point being the small talk was not really small 😉 and then for some reason he decided he wanted to interact with the “Bhai saab joh peeche baithi hain” so mite became his bakra.

He wanted to know why mite wasn’t married, if he had a gf or not, did that gf leave him and go so on and so forth. I really don’t know how amused Mite was with the conversation but he seemed to be getting really annoyed and started giving it back to the driver. I was sure I wouldn’t remember the conversation verbatim and then there was no space also to pull out the pen and jot. The conversation provided ample laughs and kept us occupied while the mustard field, the occasional bullock cart, car heading towards Ramnagar and umpteen houses passed us by swiftly.

Soon enough, we reached the beginning of the ghat road and by then our Schumacher driver decided that we needed a Ferrari like experience and went zipping through most of those hairpin curves. Now you see, I am not a very hair pin curve/drive friendly person, I feel pukish, it kills my opportunity to do the ooo’s the aa’s and wow’s and with the horrible speed at which we were zipping away I was feeling queasy and I thought I would throw up any minute. So, when I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore we stopped so that I could throw up if I wanted to, the others could stretch, click a few snaps and RGV could get a few shots. Mite & Srags walked a few 100 meters down to get a bottle of water just in case I needed it… but the time they returned I just didn’t feel like throwing up! 😀 I decided the wisest thing to do will be to sit in the middle so that I wouldn’t feel too much of movement…seemed like a good decision but after a while D decided she needed a stop and threw up while I still didn’t. Nonetheless, whatever little I managed to see the drive up was just magnificent…lovely mountains, the fluffy –yummy cotton candy look alike clouds, cold breeze, tall trees and nature in all its glory was something that needs to be experienced.

By now the rains had picked up as we were getting closer to the destination. For the rest of the journey I decided to keep the eyes also shut and sleep while the others decided to play antakshari! Finally, a few rounds of antakshari and we were on Mall road inching closer to our place of stay KMNV tourist home and all I wanted to do was get out of the car, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the beautiful hill station. But then, nature had some different plans for us we stepped out into the rain and the cold wind sent shivers down our spine. The sweater and the monkey cap didn’t seem to serve the purpose and the climb to the guest house wasn’t easy either.

Now you see, being from Chennai we hardly have any winters and I always thought I was capable of taking the cold, but this time round I was to be proven wrong! The husband, I knew was gonna have a tough two days but then, it seemed the case with the others too. We finally managed to get our stuff, freezing selves and everything else into our rooms. The first thing that we did was warm our hands by the kutti heater in the room and throw open the curtains to only be pleasantly surprised by the view from the room! For a few seconds, I even forgot that I was literally shivering, what lay right in front of me was the beautiful Nani lake, clouds passing so low that you could reach out and touch them, lovely boats and beautiful houses/hotels and shops lining the surrounding hills. 🙂

Nani Lake view from the ropeway/cable car @Dolly Kabaria

It was 5 by the time we reached and a good 45 mins later and more layers of clothes, (1 thermal, 2 tee shirts, sweater, shawal & 2 pairs of socks) to brave the cold, we headed out to explore the quaint little town. There is something so fascinating and charming about these hill stations that walking down the small roads is absolutely romantic. The Nani Lake looked even more breath-taking and the lights from the houses that dotted the hills, made it a perfect postcard!

Nani Lake and the lights doting the hills credits @Mitesh Shah

By now since the majority of us had under-estimated how cold it would be, we made short pit stops at the stores to buy ourselves gloves, and other essentials. By this time RGV decided he needed ear muff and a muffler to complete his look, and vola! red ear muffs and a red muffler is what he added to his colourful personality . Now this was the perfect spot for RGV to shoot he would hide himself in the dark corners and pop out suddenly if u stopped walking, didn’t hold hands, he would sit on the sidewalks and shoot every passerby till he got a new perspective .
Dinner, was at a restaurant called New Sher-e-Punjab and we fed our hungry stomachs soup, rotis, butter chicken, dal, and topped it off with garm garm Gulab Jamuns which was such a welcome relief! 🙂 Since everything had almost shut down by the time we finished dinner, we headed back to our hotel & to the warmth of our rooms. A round of cards, a few rounds of Pictionary with the India cards, we were ready to hit the sack.

We woke up the next morning with Srags telling us that there was fresh snowfall and we could see it from the balcony. Forcing myself to leave the comfort of my warm bed I got out to only realizing I had a blocked nose and bad cough but then for the view and the experience of an actual hill station it was all worth it. The thrill of seeing fresh snow fall on those tall pine trees in the distance was marvelous and for first time snow experience I was totally floored!

Snow capped mountains credits @Mitesh Shah

Our plan for the day was to head to Ranikhet and our Tata Winger would meet us outside the hotel. After b’fast which included parathas, omelets, tea and coffee (our staple menu) we were good to go and all the while going through my b’fast I decided to eat less to avoid nausea from hitting. Over the happy banter at the table RGV suddenly quipped “Even if Angelina Jolie has been around I wouldn’t have done anything, that’s how freaking cold it was! 😛 that’s how cold it was. The rain gods kept the blessings coming, so with the only umbrella and raincoat between us we piled up into the van and off we went. A few minutes down the road the sights that lay to our sides were breath-takingly beautiful!

Enroute to Ranikhet

Absorbed by the sights and sounds on the long road to Ranikhet we took ample breaks for photographs and also for chai where D, Mite, Srags and RGV sir of course took pictures and couple shots and of nature in abundance! 😛

a fresh brew and some snacks! :), enroute to Nanital

And as we wound up the road the air became crisp, fresher, the clouds, trees and mountains oh so lovely it looked, like out of a painting! 🙂

the clouds, the trees and the mountains:picture perfect @Mitesh Shah

de ghumake enroute to Ranikhet, @ MiteshShah

Ranikhet or the Queen’s Meadow gets its name from a small legend “that it was in this lovely hill station that Raja Sudhardev won the heart of, Rani Padmini, who subsequently chose the area for her stay, thus the place getting its name, Ranikhet.” Now a cantonment town home to the Kumaoan & Naga regiment. The colours red, green and yellow take prominence in the town, motivating quotes and images of army men adorned the town reminding you of the rich legacy that region has. By now we were on Mall Road (seems like every hill station has one) and our guide took us to the tweeds and shawls factory, a quiet little church on a little hilltop converted into a place where lovely shawls were bring woven. Ranikhet Tweed and Shawl Factory is run by the Kumaon Regiment to help the widows of jawans injured in battle as mean of livelihood. We hung around there a bit, the shutterbugs clicked nonstop and the rest of us just observed the lovely colours being woven.

Chruch, nw the tweeds & shawl factory, Ranikhet

Ranikhet Tweeds & Shawl Factory @ MiteshShah

perfect blend of colours, Ranikhet

walk in the clouds 🙂 @ MiteshShah

When asked where else we could go our guide rattled off the regular tourist spots( we had absolutely no interest in going there) but the one that deserves mention here is the Ranikhet Golf Ground a lovely golf course the gentle hills rolling by the place was a charm. Most of us we sure our guide wouldn’t have seen a bunch of nut cases like us we didn’t wanna do the touristy stuff, the temples, churches nothing…we just did the trip our way, RGV made the couples walk, sit on a bench, hold hands while he managed to capture the shots in his already dying camera.

oh sigh!Ranikhet 🙂 @ Mitesh Shah

By now we were way past lunch time and the last thing we wanted was not getting food and having to go back hungry. All of us settled down and RGV found a plug point to charge his battery, fueling up time for the battery also.

Down the hills back to Nainital, Ranikhet

A pill to fight the nausea downhill we set off, and before I knew it I was fast asleep and so was most of us except for RGV who saw the fog descending and the drive looked like a nightmare with low visibility.

By 6:30 or so we reached Nainital and we decided to explore town and help ourselves to some Momo’s at the market place or whatever we could lay our hands on. The rains hadn’t stopped and to continue walking we needed to buy ourselves an umbrella, the husband and I go around looking at umbrella’s and settle on a nice kallan koda (the long ones that can be used as a walking stick).

The Husband @his blue umbrella!:)

The moment we opened it and walked a few meters, it just stopped raining! Just imagine you pay up 200 bucks and there it had to stop raining! A small stop at a candle shop that sold candles in various shapes and sizes had us engaged for a good 15 mins as we picked stuff for ourselves and RGV for his many ahem… friends! 😀

The best part about having food at a hill station is when you completely enjoy warm food. The hot soups, steaming momos and even a glass of warm water can be such a welcome relief to the biting cold. Stomachs full we slowly decided to walk back to the hotel, stopping by those shops selling wonderful kick-knacks .RGV bought some of those wood carvings, stoles/shawals etc to be gifted and Mite got me a lovely muffler as a b’dy gift: D

D & Srags walked up ahead while the rest of us did our shopping and clicked a few pictures of the lovely night light that dotted the town of Nainital. Me, hubby, rgv & J decided to walk back while the three of them took pictures. The next thing I remember of the rest of the night is that I had curled up to sleep giving instructions to the husband to wake me up when everyone returned so that we could gather for some fun, which I was not made privy to as I had fallen fast asleep.

……. (Some portions have been left out coz this is a public blog) 😛

The next morning yet again I woke up to the wonderful sight of snowfall and this time it was falling right off our roof after melting… 🙂 It was a lazy morning as we decided to sleep in a little longer and then pack up and vacate as we were leaving by 5 pm that evening. So explore Nainital was mission for the day. So the itinerary included cable car ride, the high court that we spotted on our way to Nainital and maybe the zoo. So after our staple b’fast we took cycle rickshaws (yayaya my first time on one) to the end of the road for the cable car ride. We got our tickets valid for one hour on the top on the lovely snow capped mountains with a good view of the Himalayas.

the excitement at seeing snow for the 1st time 🙂

Now the excitement of seeing snow was just exhilarating RGV & the José family were seeing snow for the first time so you can imagine the excitement: P

snow, snow, snow, and loads more snow!:), Nainital

Actually there was nothing much to do on the top of the hill so we posed for D & RGV, threw a few snowballs at each other and decided to look around for things that could possible interest us! On the way down Mite &D found some kids playing football as subjects for photography while J &RGV took a few shots at the balloons with a gun.

child's play,check out their footwear @Mitesh Shah

The man & his trusted friend 🙂 , Nainital

We made our way back to wait for our cable car, D and Mite came back and told us that D almost had a heart attack coz the view finder of her very hep camera just came off right into her hands! So you can imagine an otherwise very brave D was almost in tears. Somehow she managed to put it back and she was back in business 🙂 After we had a good laugh over this by then moi did something that you could say only I could manage and that is…Mite handed me his camera and me not wanting to drop it put it around my neck…just that I hung it upside down 😀 I was such a million dollar sight.

Waiting for spring! :), Nainital

The rest of the day passed by pretty quickly, we walked up Mall road to take pictures of the high court which ultimately only Mite managed to take.

clock tower, Nainital @ Mitesh Shah

By then hunger struck and we decided to head back and look up the Lonely Planet for where to eat, so we trekked back downhill this time poor Srags walked all the way almost till our hotel only to find the bistro closed as it opens only when its season. We settled for a light lunch of momos, sandwiches, chopsuey to keep us going till we boarded our train that evening. The rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent sitting at CCD clicking pictures of the sleepy hill-station crowd, refueling on coffee and just resting our tired legs.

From CCD, Nainital @ Mitesh Shah

By 5pm our drive had come to pick us up and transport us to Kathgodam to catch our train to Delhi. The drive to Kathgodam was equally splendid. We were extremely tired, one of all the walking, two of being extremely cold even with the many layers of clothes. Only the music from D’s phone played in the background, while each one of us drifted off into our own sweet world of memories. As we got closer to the station a lovely full moon rose in the sky, its glow lighting up the quiet hills on the way.

Light round of snacks and a long wait at the station, the Kathgodam Express rolled into the platform and we settled down for the night, our tired bodies more than happy to oblige!

PS. thanks D & mite for sharing the pictures!:)

Shikari Shambu’s and Jim Corbett National Park :)

I am back after a wonderful 10 day trip to the north. The whole week preceding the trip was hectic with all the shopping for the yatra, turning 26 and winding up work for the 10 day bliss. There we were with our bags packed, travelling from different parts of the country to Delhi… our common meeting place for the great Indian Yatra.

The 1st leg of the journey was the Old Delhi station where me and S waited for the others to come with our luggage and theirs too coz moi decided to go shopping and meet up with a friend while we had half the day left in Delhi. Before I proceed any further I need to introduce my dear friends the two photographers D and Mite, D’s hubby and my darling hubby’s ex-roomie Srags, Krishna aka RGV, my bro in law RGV’s assistant J, my hubby darling S and moi!

The Old Delhi station was like any other big city station; sea of humanity, long queues that can drive you mad and people who are extremely RUDE! We had to go past a long line for the security check with people trying to push their way through. Between all this they had a baggage screening counter for which all u needed to do was go and stand somewhere close to the line and u will get pushed right through:P… all I remember is throwing my bag in and running to the other side only to find RGV in a heated argument with the lone security guard manning the screening counter… pelting abuses at him in English for throwing his laptop bag down.. and there on and on he went till the guard looked up and told him “Sir Hindi mein baat karo!” and there stood RGV taken aback and considering he was still pissed he resumed with whatever little he knew in Hindi :).

On reaching the platform was when we saw the number of luggage that each if us carried, 15 pieces and 7 of us! 🙂 and that is how it was gonna be for the next few days at any point everyone is to count the luggage and people lest something or someone got left behind! 😀

The train was as usual late and we whiled away time on an already overcrowded platform. There was ample scope for self entertainment with the police trying to make sure that people were in and not hanging out of an already overcrowded train, a wife making her husband comfortable on the platform and pressing his head and putting him to sleep :).After successful 45 mins of killing time, Ranikhet Express arrives on the platform right behind us… yes yes there was prior announcement so all we had to do was turn pick our bags and dash for the compartment:) .

Once comfortably settled the excitement began to slowly settle in… discussions ranged from whether we would see the tiger, RGV’s fluorescent Chaddi (shorts), photography D clicked a few pictures also 😀 and general tp stuff…we were extremely tired to be discussing anything else for the night with people slowly making themselves comfortable and catching some sleep for the Jim Corbett adventure! 🙂
Ramnagar/ Jim Corbett National Park: We woke up next morning as the train pulled into the Ramnagar the station… first impression it looked something straight out of Sholay…deserted!! for a min you would imagine a dacoit to jump down from his/ her horse 😀 and go off with u 🙂 For 5 am in the morning I do have a wild imagination:P The station was pretty small but well maintained and as we walked out we were extremely excited to see our ride waiting for us, two Maruti Gypsy’s . For us the journey is also as important as the destination itself, hence we knew that nobody was gonna miss a chance to make the most of it 🙂 Thrilled to bits we piled up the luggage and off we went into the jungle the cold breeze waking us up &.

We stopped at Sun Bird guest house and settled on the bed and the chairs in the room while the offices at Corbett opened to take necessary permission to enter the jungle. I comfortably made space on the corner of the bed and decided to sleep while the others sat around yapped, tried to catch some sleep and munch on the goodies in the bag packed by Srag’s mom! 🙂

Model one at the SunBird guest House- Ramnagar

The husband sat right behind me and decided to do some channel surfing and entertain the crowd and he decided the best thing for us to watch would be the Grammy Awards. And mind you they were extremely painful with god knows what they were trying to sing :). By then dawn had broken and we decided to step out and walk up to the nearest tea shop and settle our rumbling stomachs to hot cups of tea, aloo parathas and omelets.

Now in the distance we noticed that RGV sir had begun shooting. Initially we thought he was just capturing the sights and sounds of the sleepy village town only to realize he was busy trying to capture shots that could be used for “Chal Diye” a song from Coke Studio. So his first model was J who kept walking this side that side and everywhere possible: P then me and hubby also walked hand in hand like any romantic couple…adding to the 1st few shots and thus was born RGV! 🙂

Sati Breakfast- order on request- Ramnagar

The b’fast didn’t take long to disappear we polished it off and trust me that was one of the best b’fast that we had in a long time: D and after some general tp with the children waiting to catch their school bus, we got ready to head to the government office to get the necessary permits for the stay and safari.

the little children-waiting for their school bus 🙂

another set who willingly posed for Mite 🙂

Finally after the long wait & with a slight drizzle, the modern age Shikari Shambu’s set off on the trail of the elusive tiger which we knew was gonna be one hell of a task spotting coz for one we were visiting off-season two it was raining. We stayed at Gairal the guest house was about an hour and a half away from the main entrance of Corbett. The drive was brilliant lush greenery, beautiful views, birds chirping and the Ramganga’s crystal clear water making its way through the scenic forest.

The woods are lovely dark and deep.Jim Corbett National Park

We reached the government guest house a cozy place on the banks of Kosi. The rooms had the bare minimum, were decently well maintained and anyways we knew we wouldn’t be needing more. Considering it was almost lunch time and we were hungry as always we decided to freshen up, feast on the yummy lunch and head out for the 1st round of the safari 😀 the Shikari Shambu’s set out with the cameras to shoot the wildlife… (No no we didn’t plan on doing a Salman Khan: P) some trees, birds, the river, mountains and most importantly the tiger if we spotted him.

our Gypsy and D at work 🙂

Now the jungle rules during the safari are quite simple, no making noise, no deos or perfumes, no smoking, no flashy clothes that will disturb the environment. Following this to the tee was our RGV sir he wore military colored clothes so that even if the tiger comes he won’t be visible 😀 Our driver had already told us that since it’s raining spotting animals would be konjam difficult. But all was not lost and we had a relatively successful evening spotting deers – Sambhar, spotted deer, barking deer and wild boars. The husband managed to dose off right through the safari… be it any mode of transport I just dnt understand how he can fall asleep !! 😛

RGV @work the many angles n perspectives

It was just amazing how beautiful the entire place was… you would not feel like saying a word to each other all you would wanna do is breathe in the fresh air, admire the nature, the beautiful animals in the natural habitat.

Spotted Deer..Jim Corbett National Park

Crocodile Point

Papa Sambhar 🙂 Jim Corbett National Park

Highlight of the day..pug mark 🙂

Our drive almost came to an end at around 5:30 pm coz we were required to head back to the guest house by dusk. D and Mite got some amazing shots of the beautiful animals and RGV sir got many shots from different angles high, low and pan and had his subjects walk up down and round and round! :P.
The Shikari’s didn’t get to meet the elusive tiger but we managed to spot a day old pug mark… content that probably day 2 we might get luckier and the beautiful cat might just give us his darshan.Dinner, rounds of antakshari (nt too loud) by the candle light we were ready to crash as we had to leave the next day early in the morning if we had to catch the elephant safari.

Day 2 started quiet gloomy coz it poured the previous night and there was a steady drizzle so we decided to checkout from the guest house and head to Dhikala.RGV was busy shooting through the hole in wall 😀 one of his many perspectives:) On the way to Dhikala we managed to spot a herd of elephants some with huge tusks and a baby elephant all happily grazing away and also spotted some animals we had seen earlier.
Now Dhihaka is one of the most popular spots in Corbett; located at the edge of the broad Patli Dun valley through which the Ramganga flows in numerous channels.

Happy Jumbo enroute to Dhikala

Baby Sambhar..check out the pose 😛

Dhikala offers an uninterrupted panoramic view of the valley, with the Kanda ridge in the backdrop and overlooks Dhikala chaur (one of the largest remaining grasslands of the Park) and Phulai chaur. By the time we reached Dhikala it was already 10 am and being extra unlucky we never got to ride the elephant due to the rains. The men had interesting sights awaiting them when they reached, a bunch of girls were staying at the guest house who added to the scenery. 🙂

An important activity if visiting Dhikhala is a safari through the grasslands. With two guides one each in the respective jeeps the safari had now begun. The drive through the grasslands was beautiful and we were hoping against hopes that the big cat graces us with his darshan. Our guide explained and helped us in spotting the lovely birds, peacocks, langurs, barking deer, and deer with beautiful velvet antlers, vultures and all you could wonder was there is so much to marvel at & imagine how much time god would have invested in creating these creatures. 🙂

D, Srags, Mite and RGV had a lovely time clicking away in the shutterbug haven while I made a mental note to plan an African safari :p .The tiger remained elusive and with heavy hearts made our way back to the base. The first jeep returned with us ie.the couples with the other jeep nowhere in sight.

langur@ Dhikala

Clint Eastwood as named by Mite @Dhikala

A melancholy song on a winter morning@ Dhikala

Waiting..Vultures @Dhikala

Mama Sambhar

While we waited the bunch of girls we had seen during b’fast were getting ready to leave and being young girls they were generating a lot of interest around. It had started drizzling & heading for cover we chanced upon an interesting & absolutely entertaining chat…not like we were listening just we caught two words from the conversation “he felted himself ya”! There that just did it…the four of us burst out into peals of laughter wondering if these chicks had any idea what they were saying!:P If we thought that was bad the next one blew us off our feet it went something like this “Khan Bhaiya come come…please come bhaiya! 😛 now you can imagine our expressions & the direction of our thoughts “Bhaiya bhi bolte ho aur come bhi waah waah 😀 ya perverts I knw :! 😀

After all this we realized that the second jeep and the people never returned, we decided to wait for a bit and even assumed that they might have found the tiger and RGV sir might be directing it :P. A good hour later we were getting worried and sent our driver with a guide to search for these guys while we waited it out. Again no luck now even our search party seemed missing and finally another half hour later everyone returned. They just got caught in admiring nature and climbing to the view points that they lost track of time 🙂 we were just glad that they returned and had a good time. So finally after paying the guides we were ready to head back to the main entrance and from there to Ramnagar for Nanital.

Epitome of grace and Poise @Dhikala

It started pouring heavily and we bid our final goodbye to Jim Corbett where the next driver and our ride waiting to take us to Nanital. The Shikari Shambu’s did not get to see the tiger but we did get to shoot some lovely pictures, discover that we had the potential to act though RGV thought we were lousy modaaalas 😛 and be one with nature! there aint anything more fulfilling than this 🙂

P.S.these pics have been contributed by Mite..and you are by all means allowed to enjoy but kindly refrain from copying them 🙂 should u need them kindly mail me or leave a comment.. 🙂 and all credits/praises for the pics will duly given to the photographer