Category: Family

Mumbai Diaries III: The disappointing part of my travel tales

Khandala and Lonavala were a disappointment chiefly because I visited there in the peak of summers. And when I say disappointment it means for me. The place may excite other travellers abound but since I can speak only for myself, it failed to excite me. They are monsoon destinations I believe. The fun might lie in seeing the mist and experiencing subtle winters in Mumbai, which we north Indians experience aplenty already. Still we managed to enjoy the best we could.

Had booked a resort for the weekend which was a nice place to unwind. It had a fair amount of greenery and the only greenery I saw during my whole trip. We reached there on Saturday and decided to stay in the resort for the evening, which was quite musical by the way. The speakers were set in full volume in the lawns and the guests (including me) danced to groovy music sipping the drinks of their choice and enjoying snacks. Spent some beautiful moments strolling around watching the dusk settling in, chatting and whiling away time. During our two-day stay, we ordered room service, relished ‘chai and charhca’ and visited local stalls for packed foods that had some interesting edibles to offer.

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Sisterly Bonding: Who doesn’t love to be with people you love?

But that was it. The touristy exploration was a let-down. As first-time visitors, we were given a list of nine tourist places. It began with Laxmi-Narayan temple. Parents were happy to start with an auspicious place as always and I was like “temple here too”? Anyways, so began our journey that would prove to be a nightmare pain. The temple was beautiful but closed when we reached. We roamed around the premises and clicked pictures. The stairs, as seen in the picture below, lead to the main temple.

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Posing: To mark my mortal presence before the passage of time sweeps my body away. Too philosophical for a simple pose, no?

Next on the list was Sunil’s wax museum. We were hesitant to go and dad outrightly refused to be a part of it. I insisted saying what’s the harm in having a bad experience together though later it proved to be the only fun we had that day. The wax statues were admirable. We had our tiny winy kiddish bit of entertainment getting pictures clicked.

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Mr Bean: An eye for an eye
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God of Music and Dance: It felt shameful to strike a standing pose in front of him. So, I stretched my arm.
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Sunil’s Wax Museum: Artist’s work was splendid

Next destination was the Lion’s Point. Open breezy space and beautiful peaks. Again because of the weather, the place felt short of the scenic charms I had seen in Kausali, Shimla, Nainital, etc. Though comparisons are not healthy but I am doing so just to give an idea to others planning to visit the place.

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The Lion’s Point: I forgot my bag here but luckily found it later

Lion’s Point will be long remembered because it was here that I forgot my bag. My bag containing cash, cards and many id proofs. I realised I have lost it on reaching Bhushi Dam, our next destination. My throat dried and the heart started pounding. I immediately rushed back which took us good 25 minutes. The drive back was fraught with anxiety. Much to my relief and sister’s grin, I found it at exactly the same table where I had left. Normalcy returned and again affirmed my belief to take nothing for granted in life.

Bhushi Dam was okay but the experience made me laugh at myself. To reach there we had to hike 20 minutes of not-so-deep stretches and stairs. We decided to leave mom dad at the base and let the sisters do the marching in scorching sun, fighting and laughing all the way up and down. The view was something like this.

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Bhushi Dam: It is a sight like this

After such a long day, we wanted to tick mark all the designated spots just for the formality. We had found nothing great as yet and were hungry too. It was hard to find good places for snacks or lunch. Our next stop was the Monkey Point. While entering there we had second thoughts on covering the full area. It made no sense to traverse the ill-maintained park just to see some monkeys. There was litter all around. We hurriedly had a look and ran back.

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Monkey Point: Shoddy maintenance

Last stop was the Sunset Point. With heat, crowd, unhygienic surroundings and growing hunger pangs, we decided to skip the Sunset Point and head back to the resort. We had left right after breakfast and managed to get only Limca and mangoes (called Carrie) in between. Reached the resort around 7 pm, had some tea-sandwiches and finally felt at home. On Monday, we headed back to Mumbai. Midway, met my cousin and her family after 10 years.

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Blood Bonds: Meeting cousin and her family after almost a decade

It is in moments like these when you realise how life just passes by. The clock keeps ticking whether we are aware or not. My cousin and I are an year apart. We grew up together, had sleepovers at each other’s place when we were young, learnt cooking skills from our mothers around the same time and got scolded for being careless teenagers. In later years, we used to commute daily back and forth from Ambala-Chandigarh to our workplaces via train. We had a huge friend circle of girls who boarded the same train every day. Very much like the Mumbai local. Today, we met after a decade. A lot had happened in between.

So, that’s how my Khandala trip ended on a bitter sweet experience. In my next travel post, I will culminate the series winding up my travails. You have one more boring post in the offing but with the most interesting part, driving around Juhu and Bandra in an auto and an evening at the iconic Taj. The best experience so far. All in next travel post.

 

 

 

 

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A daughter’s B+ Bond with Pyare Papa!

There is a joke in the family. The B+ joke. Father and I both share B+ blood group, and are very similar in our habits. The way we sit, the way we form postures, the way we form a pattern in the air with our hands while thinking, and the way we place our hands behind our head while watching TV. We both are bit casual in our approach towards life, flexible in our attitude, and rigid in our actions. We do what we have to do even when the whole world says otherwise. We forget easily, never keep anything in heart for long. We both are mostly at the receiving end for our callousness and carelessness. We laugh at our follies and are capable of not taking ourselves too seriously. With age, I have started to look like him too.

I may not love all my personality traits but am proud of them for the simple fact that they come from him. They make me similar to him. That’s a different point that I have imbibed most of the not-so-worthy traits and am yet to show any signs of his strong Leo side. He’s an avid reader, I usually languish. He is an epitome of generosity, I am nowhere near. He can talk for hours, I can stay silent for hours. He is extremely social, I am sort of an ambivert. He has a huge circle of friends, I can count mine on fingers.

The B+ bond is my strength in life just the way it is for you all with your dads. Happy Father’s Day to Dad, Dada, Paa, Pitaji, Pops, Baba, Abba or whatever you call your father lovingly.

For me, it is always Papa! His mobile number has been saved as ‘Pyare Papa’ in my mobile ever since I have owned a phone. And his is the only number I dial till date whenever I reach the bus stand of my hometown in Ambala to say, “Papa, I am about to reach home.” And he is always there to welcome with front gates wide open for the car to enter without stopping, along with his big welcoming heart.

Happy Father’s Day Papa!

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The B+ bond: Don’t I look like him?

 

 

Mumbai Diaries II: Malls, Home-stay & Long Stretches of Free Time on Platter

After spending the first day in Mumbai making beautiful memories and experiencing myriad colours of life, the second day was a home-stay. We had balanced out the itinerary by interspersing some rest time in between exploring the city.  It is a different matter that stay-at-home days were not entirely within the four walls. Adjacent to sister’s home were two malls, Infinity and Inorbit, which became sort of my second home. Jump out of bed and hop into a world of flashy showrooms, big brands, window shopping and cafes. Ironically, evening walks lead dad and me straight to food courts to explore eating options, which proved to be disappointing though.

One such evening at the mall was something like this, with a cousin adding to the family bonding time.

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At Inorbit Mall, Mumbai

 

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When conversations are fulfilling, smiles are a natural outcome

 

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On a separate day in a separate mall, met some friends after four years.

 

Another day, another mall adventure. It was a typical girls’ day out (with sister) where shopping topped the chart and some gifting options to be picked for friends and family back home.

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See, what I found amidst the clutter of clothes stacked in a corner of this gigantic mall. A (husband) works with PepsiCo and I was delighted to find something associated with him. Of course, I was missing him!

 

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The day also provided brief moments like this (above). Though I am not a reader with big appetite, but how can you resist a Crossword store?

The remaining time was spent binge watching movies and shows on Netflix with no care of the world. Food was ordered at least once a day, tea times became more frequent, and conversations came in abundance. Such days are rare and cherished. More than anything, it was the pleasure of seeing mom and dad having long stretches of free time on their platter. For the first time, super busy parents were bereft of household responsibilities, leaving them with a mix of emotions. Sometimes relieved, sometimes unproductive.

No care of the house, and the maids, and the maalis; no feeding the cows, and the sparrows, and the dogs; no supervision of house security, or locking main gates at night, no more tension of ensuring if the lights are off, the water motor is off, the switches are in order, the plumber needs to be called, etc, etc.

So what did they do? Binge watched “Zindagi Gulzaar hai” and loved it too. Parents, uninterrupted free time and binge watching, all three are antonyms. Just like the two ends of the sea they never meet. But parents nevertheless got introduced to the concept, which needless to say, was more of a compulsion for them than a choice. All I have seen them do is making sure life flows smoothly for everyone in the family. In these 15 days, sis and I made sure the tables turned for once and they got to experience the pleasure of good hospitality.

Next on the cards was a visit to Khandala, which was not what I had expected. Why? In the next travel post. Sleepy now. Good night. May you all nurture beautiful dreams and get to live your dream-life!

B’day Reflections

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Birthday is an opportune time to sit back and evaluate. How well you are doing in this play of life. How much you have succeeded in adding your special touch to the precious gift of ‘Life’ bestowed upon you. A time to look back at how it all started, where it is going, and how it should be.

As the birthday nears, random thoughts start regurgitating in mind. The need to hold a pen and paper, and pour, gains momentum. This year, the blog has replaced my personal diary (which were many by the way). The birthday wish used to be a secret until I decided to blog again and include all of you in my life’s journey. So here I am, with a blank page opened in front of me waiting to be filled with the conversations I am having with myself.

Like each one of you, my life has been an amalgamation of the good and the bad. What has gone by is great for learning but futile to waste energy on. It can be used as a reference point though to assess the journey. Future, hopefully, will follow the same path as past, offering some sweet, some sour slices of life.

I am at a stage now where (idealistically speaking), I have reached a kind of an equilibrium in the years lived by and the years yet to come. When there is enough to look backwards and a lot to feel excited about for the years ahead.

The celebrations have already begun. A friend gifted this beautiful hanging and some indoor greens.

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What a thoughtful gift: Lord Ganesha’s blessings and some indoor greens!

A small weekend getaway has been planned. Quality time with family is on the cards again, specially with A, who is setting new standards in getting busy with work.

How I am feeling: Happy, of course! And grateful, very grateful for this life and the way it has been laid out for me.

What I seek? Happiness & health for myself and everyone else, company of loved ones, and grace of God!

My (not-so-secret) b’day wish: The power to give and receive, good thoughts, good vibrations and good deeds. And a big heart to love!

As for the reflections on life, I will share some another time. Now, it is time to celebrate, with a road trip again. Leaving you with a glimpse of how the day began.

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Mumbai, Here I Come!

Let me warn you beforehand. This post may not interest you because there is nothing great in it. It’s just a heads-up on what’s going in my super-average, ordinary, mundane and boring life. In my defense, it is good to give excitement a break.

First the good news. My Mumbai trip is finally happening. Bookings have been made and itinerary finalised. It took almost an year for the plan to materialise since the time I consciously started wanting it to happen. As always, it was within two days’ time span that the universe conspired in my favour. When I was adamant to make it happen, nothing came out. When I lost all hope, everything fell in place (Life, find a new trick to surprise me).

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Time for Summer vacation (pic credit: dreamstime)

 

So, here I am, marching to Mumbai in the peak of summer with swag and sweat for 15 days, including a weekend in Khandala. Being an excited traveller, I am ready to battle whatever comes my way. My travel list has been increasing, so what if by a whisker. The ticked places include, but not limited to, Ladakh, Dharamshala, Nainital, Shimla, Amritsar, Agra, Mathura & Vrindavan, Jabalpur, Porbandar, Dwarka, Diu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Goa and now Mumbai! If you are rolling your eyes wondering where are international swanky places, then let me tell you freelancers like me don’t travel abroad. They just swoon over the images in Google or watch travel shows.

Welcome to this b’ful world babies!

Now, it’s time for some heart-melting moments. In the last few months, three new souls have blessed my life. One look at them and your heart starts humming the song of life. Talk about pure, pristine and divine love. Meet Yavi, a miracle baby in the literal sense who has brought along with her the magic of unseen, but omnipresent, power of universe. Daughter of one of the closest family friends, she is the youngest and calmest sleeping beauty whom I held in my arms when she was merely 19 days old.

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Yavi, meaning blessing. She indeed is!

 

Next is this handsome hunk Kiaan, my four-month-old nephew. He came way ahead of his scheduled time and hence is a born fighter. He fought bravely for what was his destined place on this planet. His smile, which has metamorphosed from sweet to naughty in no time, is already stealing many hearts. I missed meeting him by a few hours but his pictures have been adding loads of love and charm to my life.

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Kiaan, meaning grace of God. Do I need to say more?  

 

The third, eldest of the three, is Angel as I fondly call her. Daughter of one of BFFs, she made a grand entry into our gang of girls. She arrived like a VIP, making us wait for looooooong. She enjoyed playing the waiting game with us even before she was born though the wait was worth every pain and anxiousness. Angel is special because she is making sure to give her mother the same dose of cuteness and craziness that my childish friend is capable of.

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Angel, weaving magic in our lives. Keep smiling! 

Soon, all three will grow up just like the growing tags of my relationships. I am Massi to Kiaan and Angel, and Chachi to Yavi. Aww, when did I become so old. The last I remember is calling someone Maasi and Chachi. Talk about life passing by quickly?

God’s plans are always better than ours!

god's plansWhat an eventful year it has turned out to be. It was one hell of a roller coaster ride, the most dramatic one I ever had in my life. Full of lots of downs and downs and a few ups. It was the year that almost reached a nadir in terms of everything I had in life; job, money, my friends, my identity, and many many things that defined me and my life, socially. Almost everything was given up or taken away, depending on the way one looks at it.

I gave up my full-time job (or was forced to) at the beginning of this year due to some adverse situations. Blessed that I always was, I got work-from-home option for three months to avoid resignation. Still, nothing could be done much and in March 2012, I quit. Among many other reasons, the need for a sabbatical was a dominating factor. After 9 years of work, I wanted a different perspective on life. Never wanted my life to be defined merely by my work and hence, I am happy I took that decision.

To earn my bread and butter, I took up part-time options and freelancing. This gave me a life I was carving for. Ample time at home and with myself, less work pressure, freedom from negativity and no more interference of all and sundry about what I should do with my life.

However, pitfalls of this decision were more than the perks. There was less money to survive and the social identity (about which I never cared though) was lost in this mayhem. The question marks were many, sarcasm was evident in everyone’s words.

Thirty-two, single, and now unemployed, the statistics were not getting any better. It hardly mattered to me but somewhere affected my family. Though they always supported me fully and gave me the strength to go ahead, but still as my parents and siblings, their concern was natural.

My plan was clear: after a laid-back 2012, shift base to Delhi in January 2013 for a full-fledged professional life and earn well to lead a single woman’s life. But before January could come, God intervened, as he always does whenever I dare to plan. I got engaged, against all hopes and odds! Life took a 360-degree turn.

What I had planned was thrown down the drain and God gave me a new life altogether, something I was not anticipating at all. Fortunately, “I am loving it!” and at this moment the only thing my heart is saying is, “God’s plans are always better than ours!”