A Piece of my Heart :)

 

p1000528Today has been a beautiful day for many things but special thing that stayed with me was what happened during lunch. While having my lunch with my colleague, a gentleman walked up to us and said that he has been noticing that the two us were wearing very unique prints and we were standing out in this pool of people. He added that since he has an artistic streak, he could not resist his urge to share his thought with us. Needless to add these lines brought wide smiles on our faces and an uplifting feeling wrapped itself around us for the rest of the day. And somehow left us with an urge of bringing smile on our faces.

After finishing lunch i went back to my desk and approached another colleague of mine who always keeps her work station not only clean but very aesthetically decorated. I had always liked to look at her workstation, mostly through stolen or fleeting glances. And since today someone has set the wheel of appreciation in motion already, it came very naturally to me to make that slight effort and let her know how much I like the way she decorates her station. The smile on her face was so satisfying that I started to think why did I not tell her this earlier.

Someone was humble and gracious enough to share the good thought that crossed his mind with us and it put the ball swinging, making me also strong enough or to put it in other words humble enough to share a thought that was there in my mind with the other person,bringing a genuine smile on her face too.

The point to contemplate over here is that, why is it that we all feel very strong and proud when we have to pin point a mistake in another person…we rather talk about it with  a sign of strength and courage ” I gave so and so a Piece Of My Mind” And when it comes to complementing a person most of us feel that the acceptance of liking something in the other person  is a sign of our weakness…and hence many a times we hold on to that moment where we really want to appreciate something or someone.

Your one humble act can set a wheel of good feel/things in motion. Why not try and start giving everyone we meet A Piece Of Our Heart instead of our Mind, trust me it is more courageous of us to accept and acknowledge the good in others than finding faults. This little incident had got me thinking and i am sure that i am going to practice sharing a piece of my loving heart with as many people as possible…You also try it and see if it brightens your day as well:)

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A place between Surreal & Real

I have been a city girl through my life and i have no hesitation in accepting that my awareness and love for Mother nature and animal kingdom has developed quite late in life. Being born to parents who happen to be citizens of a third world country and at the same time to be from the class apart ‘middle class’ had its own beautiful flaws and virtues:) One of the main cons for me has been my disconnect with nature. But i am so thankful that today it is Mother Nature in all its prolific hues and forms that i resonate with the most..like her, i also have so many shades, so many moods and so many things hidden within me.

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This year i traveled to North – East India, which is one of the most intrinsically beautiful land that India has. This part of the country is a wide space covered with hauntingly  stunning landscapes. And yes,it is possible only because even today this part is mainly habitat-ed by the local tribes and has not fallen prey to the modern civilization’s ever growing claws. Honestly, i have nothing against the modern way of living, i myself am a product of one and am proud of myself but i very strongly feel that each one of us has to become more aware and sensitive about our surroundings that includes the trees,plants,animals and of course the fellow humans!

North East India is huge and is mainly divided in 7 states. So far i have covered only 2 of them Asaam and Meghalya…the most developed of all 7 and i am waiting to treat myself with the virgin beauty of the other 5 states soon in 2017:)

Kaziranga is a world heritage site located in Assam, mainly known as the biggest habitat for the one horned rhinoceros. This national park  is a  plain with lots of elephant grass and marshland. Four local rivers cross this sanctuary one of them being the mighty Brahamputra. Of course the biggest treat is to see the royal rhino in their natural state. Grazing with their family and sun bathing while falling asleep. When you look at a rhino, you cant stop yourself to be amazed at the creativity of nature. More than the horn it was the intricately carved bums of these mighty creatures that caught my fancy. It seems that God appointed it’s best hands to decorate a rhino 🙂

Apart from rhinoceros, the park also boasts of elephants, tigers and innumerable variety of birds. The park offers jeep safari in morning and evening and elephant safari in the morning. Though i myself also contemplated a lot before heading for an elephant safari but you can be assured that these elephants are well taken care of and they are not used for more than two rounds a day, as per the authorities. Still you go with your own heart and decide the safari you would like to opt for. I did both…

The early morning jungle, riding on an elephants back, while he/she is looking for her breakfast is the most adventurous and vivid memory that will stay with me forever. I have no words to describe the simply awesome beauty of a misty early morning in a  jungle and to see the residents up, close and personal enjoying their breakfast, some in groups, some with family and some just on their own. The quite of a jungle has an enchanting force that gulps you within itself and you just want to get lost in that ”magically real” world forever!!!

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Our elephant was a 40 year old teenage girl..Yesss teenage since elephants live for around 120-150 years. Her name was Urmila and she was a brat who liked to tease the young rhinos and play with deer herds and break into happy singing every now and then 🙂

At the end, all i can say is…while anything can be made more beautiful and desiring with the way one describes a place but there are certain places whose simplicity can not be captured in words and the best way to enjoy it, is to let it unfold itself in front of your own eyes and let it run through your veins while you suck it in with your breath and let it leave you spell bound for the rest of your life whenever you think of it!!! I leave you with the yearning for this experience and wish that you make it happen for yourself soon:)

Mykanos – The White & Blue of It!

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I am someone who always gets enamoured with natural beauty. There is no more magnificent way to salute the beauty of mother nature than by co-existing in harmony and rather enhancing the beauty provided by nature.

Mykonos is one of the very few places that is not only gifted with stunning natural beauty but in fact the people there have taken a step forward by aligning their habitat in an aesthetic  way that the entire landscape seems like a piece cut out from the heaven 🙂

 

BEACHES – The best way to explore the place is by beach hopping. Beaches here can easily be divided in two types. For the party junkies and for the wandering souls. Mykonos is known for its party beaches such as Paradise and Super Paradise where popular DJs perform and the parties go on till dawn.

For the ones who love the company of nature Mykonose has some amazing virgin beaches where you can just be afloat at the pace of water and wind. Panormas, Fetilia  and Agios Sostis are some of such beaches.

TIPS

  • Best to have your own vehicle to hop beaches. Cars and bikes are easily available on rental basis with your driving licence as proof.
  • Else there is a bus from town to these beaches every two hours or so.

FOOD & VIEW – There is a place popularly known as The Little Italy. It has small, cute restaurants set at a length by the Aegean sea. As evening knocks, this place becomes the most sought after area and for all good reasons. The food is delicious but my favorites were the beautiful mocktails and cocktails. Come here to just enjoy the serene sunset,with cold breeze stroking your hair gently and the aroma of good music filling your heart. We sat at The Caprice, one of the most known restaurants in the area.

TIPS

  • Ensure that you reach by early evening to get the right place.
  • Sun generally sets around 8, so better be there by 6:30 so that you get to witness the entire scenery unfolding in front of you.
  • Not to mention, grab the tables nearest to the sea 🙂

SHOPPING – In mykonos you do not shop because you like just the products…you shop because you want to check out each and every shop because each shop is a piece of art in itself. The way they display the products with their warm smiles, all you want, is to pick everything up!!! You will find some of the biggest brands here with some local artisans as well selling from handmade footwear to paintings.

TIPS

  • Do not shop for the sake of shopping, rather consider it a walk through a stunning museum set in the lap of nature.
  • Do not miss the beautiful flower arrangements mainly bougainvillea and the aesthetic display of everything.

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WINDMILLS – Last but not the least. There is some non – explainable charm in windmills 🙂 The city has some oldest windmills standing beautifully still.Though you might not take much time here but a quick walk is a must to enjoy the nostalgia of the old!

TIPS

  • Plan windmills in the afternoon so that you can walk back to little italy by early evening to enjoy the sunset.
  • Do walk across the nearby hillocks that a lot of people miss but they offer some of the most amazing view and lovely breeze.

So whenever you plan a visit to Greece do keep at least two days to wrap yourself up in the beauty of mykonos. What will you get there – a snapshot:

  • One of the most beautiful landscapes in the world
  • World renowned beach parties that will easily keep you up till dawn
  • Breathtaking view of some virgin beaches
  • All possible water sports
  • A stunningly beautiful town that you have to roam around on your foot
  • Shops that not only sell beautiful artifacts, clothes and accessories but look great too
  • Good food but superb cocktails
  • Amazing sunsets
  • Windmills

Hope the post is of help to you 🙂

Eat-Pray-Shop & More…Amritsar :)

Amritsar is a city that has many shades to offer. If you google Amritsar, you will get to know that the city has many things to flaunt that make the city the one of its own kind. It is one of the few places that has something or the other to offer for varied tastes.

11218941_10153361655907101_3719974272080769003_nFor the  Spiritually Inclined – The Golden Temple, the most sacred place for Sikh community and to many Indians. In fact the city got its name “Amritsar” with the creation of the temple. As the story goes the fourth Guru of Sikh community, Guru Ram Das founded a water tank named ‘Amritsar’ and the place attracted thousands of dwellers since then to grow and become a city called Amritsar. As per records, the real name of Golden Temple is ‘Harmandir Sahib’ which literally means place of worship for one and all. The name golden temple became more popular given the direct connect of upper part of the shrine being covered with gold.

Just like its name Harmandir Sahib is a place that is open to one and all and has entries from all four directions to make the meaning quite literal. Throughout the world Sikh community is known for their ‘Kar Seva’ where thousands of Sikhs offer their help in doing the most basic jobs for others and helping others. Once in the Gurudwara, its not just the beauty of gold and the intricate designing that will bold you over, it is the sheer love that will knock you down coming from the helpers across the huge compound.

The Gurudwara offers free food for thousand of people everyday known as ‘langar’. The food here is prepared by members of Sikh community who do it as an act of service for others. Seva(Help) also includes serving the food, cleaning the utensils and trash, mopping the floor etc. All of this just humbles you down. It is said that many ‘Sevaks’ (helpers) come out from fanciest and most expensive cars, roll their sleeves up and get to work since their religion is all about helping the needy and believe in helping by offering the help physically and not just by writing a cheque!

For the History Buff – Amritsar has been quite an active place through many chapters of India’s history. But sadly, the chapter that Amritsar is most known for is of a massacre. Dingy, narrow lanes will lead you to Jallianwalla Bagh situated in the heart of the city, a place that has witnessed a grueling massacre during British Colonization era. Many people had died (including women and children) who had gathered in this garden for a peaceful protest to free two of their leaders when General Dyre ordered to shoot the crowed and it is believed that the firing went on for more than 10 minutes till the time teh soldiers ran out of ammunition. Many people jumped into a well out of desperation since there was no way of going out from that place. Somehow the garden still breaths within a thin film of loss and fear.

 

thisFor Adrenalin Junkie –  Don;t tell me that the names India & Pakistan taken together does not let your adrenaline juices run high 😉  Well,  i am sure if not to everyone but at least in this part of the word they definitely do!!  Wagah is the name of a small village situated at India-Pakistan border and hence the name “Wagah Border”. Everyday there is a special ceremony that is performed by India and Pakistan soldiers and thousands of people come to witness this from both the sides.

Here you can see some coordinated parade moves from both armies and the ceremony ends with a hand shake between the two soldiers representing the two countries symbolizing peace. Be prepared to get jostled by the crowed and be weary of high energy flowing through the ceremony. Though i would suggest not to miss it cause if you think of it where else will you be able to witness such high drama performances by two countries known for their rivalry with so much of passion from both sides….i guess this part of the world thrives on drama…a little more than the rest 🙂

For the Foodie – Trust me this place is a foodie’s paradise!!! Everything here is just sooo delicious so be it road side food or an expensive spread, you will end up licking your fingers and i am not kidding. Many people say its the water of the city that makes anything cooked here taste so yum!!! Whatever be the reason you must totally try everything edible here. The place is known for its special bread called ‘Amritsary Naan’ that is generally served with a specific kind of pulse called ‘chole’. The food is not very spicy but definitely  has many flavors to savor. From classy restaurants like Crystal to ‘Gola’ ( flavored and spiced ice) and ‘Golgappe'( crispy balls of wheat filled with spicy water)  from the street, you must taste everything and not to forget the sweets…if you do not have a sweet tooth at least try ‘jaleb’ cause in my knowledge you will not find it anywhere else in india.

For the Shopaholics –  Amritsar is known for its ‘Phulkari’ craft. Phulkari is a folk art of embroidery that is done with silk thread. You will find scarves, duppatas (shawls) and full punjabi suites( traditional costume for women in punjab)  in phulari work here. The colors and intricate hand work is totally worth a buy! Apart from phulkari, amratsarri jutti ( shoes) is another must buy. Again handmade, full of vibrant colors and comfort.

Bring a bit of Punjab back with you with these colorful gifts for yourselves and for your loved ones!!!20160415_210127

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Less Travelled

Travel junkie….the new in word… the new in thing to do now a days, is to travel to the most touristy places, come back and post your pictures on all possible social media sites and then wait……wait for  how many likes you are going to get…the number of likes is going to decide whether the travel plan was a hit or a flop!!!

Whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or not but most of us have become too dependent on what others think of us … To me travel is something that gives me wings to soar high! Because while you are travelling everyday is unexpected….no matter how much you plan your travel still each day will come up with varied shades and hues that you were not expecting or were not prepared for… and that to me is the most beautiful experience.

So while most of us like to plan our travel(of course it includes me too)  For example – where to go, which season to go in and what all to do there etc…and yess all of this is very important in ensuring a good trip .But my recent escape introduced me to a different kind of travel…a different exploration…

So in the middle of heavy work and usual corporate snarls suddenly i realized that the coming weekend is not an ordinary one..its a LONG weekend ( read fri-sat-sun off :)) At that impulse i started to book my ticket to Banglore and thought to drive it down to Coorg from there. Coorg is a beautiful, rich in flora district, situated in western Ghats of southern Karnataka. While i was booking my ticket, a colleague of mine saw it and asked me if she could also join..well why not..more the merrier!!!

Now, if you go by google and other people who love to start any conversation with a piece of advice and end it with another…April was not a very good month to visit Coorg since it was expected to be quite hot and we were told that we are going to have a tough time dealing with the heat and rather we must plan our visit to Coorg during monsoon to enjoy the natural beauty.

Well, like always i let people say whatever makes them happy and follow my own gut…within couple of days we were in Banglore, we hired a car and zoomed towards Coorg. No matter how much we pretend we do not care of what other people say but somewhere those comments linger on your mind…so similarly i was also fearing that the trip might just turn out to be a downer…but by now i have mastered the art of pushing the fear based negative thoughts away the moment they try to barge into my quite, peaceful mind (it always helps…trust me)

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In few hours as soon as we hit Coorg, suddenly the blazing Sun somber down and cool, fresh breeze started to play with my hair and rub me on my cheeks.  With such a lovely welcome the sensation that the trip is going to be one of the most enjoyable once started to crept in me 🙂

The fear of scorching heat melt down in the stunning fragrance of coffee flowers that were in full bloom, along with various kinds of bougainvillea and hundreds of other wild flowers all dressed at their best, smiling,glowing  and dancing as if it was all a part of big festivity going on! While driving down on those smooth roads of Coorg, we realized that we were witnessing the Master craftsman at his best…There were stretches with enchanting greens of tall trees giving shade to coffee plants and then there were stretches blooming with all possible shades of colors and filling the nostrils with mixed aroma of various wild flowers.

And weather seemed to be smiling at us with a little drizzle. So we not only enjoyed the cool breeze but also during our stay witnessed the famous misty mornings and chilly evenings of Coorg making everything more scenic… and since we were told we would experience none of this due to the weather, all of this seemed as if mother nature was being extra kind to us by letting us have the best of everything 🙂

 

We used our two days getting to know the cute baby elephants at Dobare elephant camp and visiting Nagarhole national sanctuary.  I always feel that sanctuaries give humans a chance to witness and be a part of nature’s plan as one… with all her other elements, the trees,animals,water…the sound each one of them makes. Observe them closely and you will find the rythem in everything once inside a sanctuary. It seems they all are breathing in tandem  and joining in that rythem is my most spectacular experience/feeling of Nagarhole sanctuary.

 

 

Coorg turned out to be a super success and we came back with packets of fresh coffee, organic masalas and bag full of stories to share 🙂 So,may be its not that bad to at times not follow the guidelines and try and flow opposite to the current…While my first such chance turned out to be quite a booty…but well it might just be beginner’s luck ;)….Next time may be it wont be as smooth but i am sure i still will have stories to share 🙂

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PS – Do share your thoughts on my article, will help me improve 🙂

 

A Fleeting Thought….

Anything done with a little fun an”d joy makes all the difference. Even a crude truth when said in a jolly way, gets accepted easily.

It’s all about how we communicate. And, how we communicate depends on how we relate to a person. Anything said or done with love or joy or both will always be reciprocated at the same frequency or almost at the same frequency.

At times, pondering over a fleeting thought is a good investment:)

Add a little fun and joy in everything you do and everything you say this holiday season, you might just end up creating better memories!!!

Merry Christmas to all!!!

 

A Letter to write…

The art of writing letters is gone and dead in today’s world but there is a special someone i wanted to write a heartfelt letter to…

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Whenever I am with you I realize how brave and strong I have been. It’s only you, who know my deepest fears and my strangest desires. No wonder whenever I spend time with you I feel the breeze of fresh air on my face suspended through the shape of smile on my lips.

Though there was a time I used to avoid you since you were always brutally honest to me… but the more I spent time with you more I started falling in love with u. I started loving the brilliant light of honesty in your eyes… whenever you spread open those dull grey shades kept hidden under the many forbidden  layers … I just could not resist admiring u.

I wonder when was it that i lost my touch with you and why on earth did i let that happen…Anyways, i am glad that i could find you again, as young as ever, as robust, as honest…and yess i like the new art that yo have cultivated…of seeing the fun side of every situation and you are right (as always) things, that otherwise look grim, start to look a little better and passing through challenging times becomes smoother with colorful glass of laughter and joy on the eyes of one’s heart.

So today I thought to just express my feelings to you… To let you know how great-full i am to get you back in my life and with a promise of not letting you loose again in the mundane myriads of today’s artificial world..Thank you for bearing with me, thank you for teaching me how to smile through the pain, thank you for making me learn from each fall, thank you for always propelling me for the best, thank u for just being my best friend.

With much Love and appreciation
My beautiful heart 🙂