Category: #AtoZChallenge2017

{Q} is for Quintessential Cafe : #AtoZChallenge

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Q is for Quintessential Cafe

2014 and beyond, Nirvana Courtyard, Nirvana Country, Gurugram, NCR, India,

We all have our cosy nook don’t we? A place away from home that we sometimes like to get away to and unwind. Well, I have mine right next door, in my neighbourhood. It’s my go-to-place when I’m bogged down with home management, need a solitary break, or want to write or work – away from the confines of my home (basically a change in place helps those creative juices flow you see). It’s my cubby hole that invigorates and cheers me up. So I take quite a few journeys to this little café of “mine”, on my bicycle, in the car or through a languorous or sometimes brisk walk. This quintessential little café is called Madison and Pike, located in Nirvana Courtyard, Gurugram.

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{P} is for Precious “Cotton”: #AtoZChallenge

P is for Precious Cotton

October 2007, Singapore

We had moved to Singapore in 2007 after one adventurous stint at Manila. You’ll know what I mean if you read : Bohol-Mighty Cerulean Ocean & Intimidating yes, Imaginary no

Singapore, as you know is a stunning island country. A paradise for families. It’s curated, refreshing columns of green, pristine roads and alleys, simple-soft spoken, down-to-earth population, the lip smacking cuisine; all adds up to a residents delight. Life is so much more easy paced. Much like it is by a countryside, I would say. It has everything that a city has to offer yet it has an old world, simple charm. So it wasn’t surprising that we fell in love instantly with Clark Quay, East Coast Park, Orchard etc and of course Simei where we lived.

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{O} is for Opal Sunsets & Ochre Sunrise: #AtoZChallenge

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O is for Opal Sunsets and Ochre Sunrise

Timeless Classics, Around the Earth till infinity

I LOVE sunsets and sunrises. Well who doesn’t? They leave me spell-bound, contemplative and grateful. Opal sunsets and Ochre sunrises transport me to a world beyond the scheduled grind of life. Though they come and go each day, yes that too as per routine; but each sunset and sunrise is distinctively different from the other. Every time I lay my eyes on the transiting colours of the sky that encapsulates the setting sun, I gape at the unique spectacle. This holds true for the ochre sunrise each morning, as well. The lustrous new morning sky takes a back seat when the massive ball of orange rises from it’s slumber and washes the earth with it’s golden, healing glow. I have been blessed to witness some wondrous sunsets and sunrises during my travels and right here at home, or when I’m journeying around my city.

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Sunset from the 18-year-old’s balcony

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{N} Nebulous Night Adventure : #AtoZChallenge

N is for Nebulous Adventure of the Night

15 April, 2017, Bah, Chambal, District Agra, Uttar Pradesh

This was possibly the most adventurous Easter weekend I’ve ever had.

We just returned this evening and I look back incredulously and marvel at the arm loads of memories I have carried back, of my rendezvous with the different creatures of the wild. That too in a matter two days! Something I’ve never witnessed in my entire life.

These beautiful beasts of the wild included over 50 species of birds, the deadly Crocs, the timid, vegetarian Gharials, the gorgeous Back Bucks made famous by our Indian actor Salman Khan (when he was penalised for hunting one a few years back), “I’ll-stare-you-back-in-the-eye”- Nilgais, the coy Gangetic Dolphin, the strong and silent Tortoises and the intriguing Asian Palm civet.

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{M} is for Mighty Cerulean Sea: #AtoZChallenge

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M is for Mighty Cerulean Sea

October 2006, Panglao Island, Bohol, Central Visayas, The Philippines

Our vacation to Bohol is one experience that we will continue to cherish the most. It was our first holiday destination in the gorgeous Philippines, where we lived from 2006-2007. Bohol is an island province in the Central Visayas region, consisting of the island itself and 75 minor surrounding islands. We took a short flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital city, from Manila. The fresh balmy tropical breeze started seducing us or was it just me; the moment we landed. I love the tropics. I thrive in that weather just like the nature there does. My hair and skin feel healthier, and I’m far more energetic. The humidity doesn’t bother me as much. The option of jumping into the sea is the cherry on the cake.

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{L} is for Luxuriant Countryside : #AtoZChallenge

L is for Luxuriant Countryside

January 2012, Ganaili Village, Munger, Bihar, India

I’m addicted to nature. Living a natural and organic life are my mantra. I’m guessing, by now you want to whack me on the head for going on and on about it (that’s if you’ve been following my blog)! So let’s  get straight to the story.

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{K} is for Kitschy Trip to Kasauli : #AtoZChallenge

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K is for Kitschy Trip to Kasauli

March 2015

Imagine you are undertaking a meandering journey to the mountains; all excited, hopeful and with that sparkle of anticipation in your eyes. Away from the busyness and monotony of life in the plains. As your MPV starts making that climb uphill, you literally clutch your heart in excitement, in prescience (apparently) of what the climb ahead holds. Life will be peaking with joy during the next 5 days of your holiday in Kasauli. But little do you know that there’s more to it than meets the eye.

You realise your travel agent has booked you in a dilapidated, non- scenic place, right in the middle of a bustling market. You didn’t leave the plains to land yourself in another crowded place, did you? Fortunately, you have a very kind, helpful classmate from school who generously helps book you in her family resort which is gorgeous, but the food doesn’t go well with your teenager’s tummy.
Then, there is not much to do in this sleepy, little township. You are happy with the nothingness, but the family wants some adventure, some good food-to assuage the stomach bug, some places to explore and some more. But a peak will not always translate to a peak. What might peak for you might not peak for others.

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You return to you hearth in the plains. A flurry of activities over powers your being. It’s time to spring clean, move the woollens inside, donate the old clothes and tidy up the cupboards with summer wear. It’s suddenly a lot of work, after having put your feet up and having done nothing for a few days. The vacation is over (did it really start?) and reality has bitten you. Hard.

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You speak to some wise friends and family.They dispense some nuggets of wisdom.
Your friend says it’s pertinent to find the work and play balance every day. It’s different when you are on vacation. It’s all play, then (as if I didn’t know!). I translate this in my head as “When in the plains; keep a mind that is plain, simple and balanced. Focus on things, chores and work that need to be done, after all there is no escaping from the rigours of a routine. And yes, take that time out for “play” as well.
The family member tells you, “Derive satisfaction from within. Do things that will nurture you as a person. Also do things that will nurture you as a family unit.” Quite bang on indeed.
And I have followed the advice now for a while now.

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These days more and more of us are seeking out for external sources to make us happy. Be it friends, partying, dining out, technology, social media, the mall visits or holidays and so on so forth. In the process we forget to cherish the simple pleasures that can be derived from our every day life. A steaming cup of coffee in the balcony or garden, a walk in the park, watching movies on the DVD on a lazy weekend, reading a gratifying book, having a soulful conversation, gardening, listening to music, playing with our pets, a board game with the family, rustling up that meal, baking; all this can uplift us beyond imagination.
You don’t always need to get away; you need to find your inner peace right here where you are;  within yourself.

Note to Self: It’s uncanny this piece was scheduled for today, as I can’t wait to get away this Good Friday weekend, for a little break to a valley nearby. Yes, it’s something to look forward to, but I need to remember that when I return I will have no choice but to return to my schedule and a big job list awaiting me.  A holiday might not always translate into happiness. Or even if it does, that happiness might be short-lived. Happiness is a state of mind. It finally boils down to being content with what we have, where we are and how we make the most of the situations or circumstances that life throws upon us.

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My theme for this year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge is Travel Epiphanies that are my very own tales of adventure and revelation. I will be writing 26 posts throughout the month of April. You can read my theme here.

{J} is for Jaunt to Fairyland?: #AtoZChallenge

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J is for Jaunt to Fairyland?

March 2017,Gurugram, North India

By now you all must know that my A to Z posts are about Travel Epiphanies. What does travel mean to you? Is it about making a journey to a distant land, of exploring the unexplored, or revisiting places away from home?

For me travelling does not just translate to leaving town and going on a break. I believe that each day we travel in our own little ways through time, place and space. That morning jog, the little walk to the market nearby, driving down to the green grocers for fresh veggies, or a trip on the tube rail to the other side of the town to meet and greet old friends and new alike, or maybe that commute to work. Each one of them qualify for travel of a unique kind, a journey that leaves us with memories that are indelible, yet non-reclaimable.

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{I} is for Intimidating – Yes; Imaginary – No: #AtoZChallenge

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I is for Intimidating, Yes; Imaginary, No

2006, Manila, The Philippines

2006 was about new beginnings, an exciting start to a new life, of chasing adventures and dreams. We had moved to Manila. My now 18 year old was all of 8. The DH had already shifted to Manila from work. He had painstakingly searched and found a beautiful condominium called Spanish Bay, in the lovely Bonifacio Ridge that we rented out. We took to Manila like fish to water. We would love jumping into the pool most evenings, as the sun went down. The three of us spent the evenings taking long walks around the wide open roads of Bonifacio Ridge, hanging out at Jollibee for Palabok (a local dish made of rice noodles that I love, love, love). On many weekend mornings we would go for idyllic breakfasts at Pancake House, around the neighbourhood.

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{H} is for Happy Birthday to You: #AtoZChallenge

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H is for Happy Birthday to You
June 2013, Vivanta by Taj, Madikeri, Coorg, Karnataka, India

Day 2, 5:30 IST: In the wee hours of a misty, rain drenched morning in stunning Coorg (where we were on a holiday), my lucid dreams were broken by somebody whistling. A shrill, happy whistle, the pattern of notes going up and down the scale, a whistle that stood out amidst the pitter-patter of the rain. One that sounded like a melodious, “Happy Birthday to you.” I assumed it was one of the locals, or a  visitor at the resort, on a morning walk. I pulled myself out of the cosy comforts of my soft, warm blanket, wrapped myself with a light shawl, and peered out of the massive window in our suite that overlooked the hills and the thicket of green. It was mostly misty and all I could see was the silhouettes of the huge rain kissed tress and the lush hills. The whistling continued. It did stop for a few minutes, to re-start agin. “Happy Birthday to You.” “Happy Birthday to You”. I pictured a cheery person; on his morning walk, as the light drizzle continued to fall upon his umbrella and brush against him, whistling a melodious tune. A tune that portended the start of a fresh new day. Listening to him was soothing to say the least, and I felt wisps of happiness falling upon my being; like confetti in slo-mo.

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