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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

You get the Best of Me!

October 22, 2019 0 Comments



You get the Best of Me!


Don't you just hate it? Hate that you absolutely need to appear in front of the world with the best version of yourself all the time? We put on our polished shoes, pressed shirts and perfectly drawn eyelids to dazzle this world with that perfect smile. God forbid it's one small misstep any morning and the entire world starts questioning us.

It's like that apple on the kitchen's center table, which we wipe a little bit and check for any signs of rot before the guest comes over for brunch on Sunday mornings.

We always need to be the funniest in the room, always come forth with pre-qualified skills and awesome connections in our social interactions. The funny by-lines from the latest Netflix series, or insightful comments about the latest economic development and GDP growth decides whether we can partake in social interaction. As long as we can regurgitate gigabytes of data on history, geography, politics who would actually do a deep dive and see, we have all become basically a source of mass information but unfortunately don't have much wisdom.

Why are we so afraid to appear as simple "US"? You know the us - the average you and me who may not always have the answers. Who may have forgotten to draw the perfect lip line, or may be not feeling like ironing the creases off their shirt sleeves. Are we so afraid to be rejected by this seemingly perfect society?

Tell you what - it's the same reason why we would pass by the window display at Burberry and simper at the latest collection, while Big Bazaar's "sasta and tikao" display doesn't stop us on our tracks. It's why, in the produce section, we search for the shiniest bunch of apples and a small amount of harmless discoloration is less than ideal for us.

It's afterall a "man eat man" world! Even for everyday social interactions, it's as if people are asking, so what do you bring in the mix? The society doesn't give a fuck about the fact that you are feeling a little "less" today - that you may be feeling a little unfunny, doubting your last punchline.

In moments of faux pas like this, we all straighten our ties, smoothen the frizz at the back of our hair and look society in the eye and say "Darling, you always get the best of me."




Friday, 18 October 2019

#SheSaid : Etching Our Thoughts in Ink

October 18, 2019 0 Comments

Etching Our Thoughts in Ink


She was restless all day...

There was a growing need to grow out of her shell. It was almost like her current life was pressing on her as the old skin that she desperately needed to shed. 

She went ahead and cleansed her inbox from people that no longer served her a purpose and who she could no longer relate to. After all, all relationships are a form of transaction - you give some to get some.

However the restlessness kept on growing. Was she only born to take responsibility, pay bills and then to die? No! She was made for much more. 

As the night progressed, She felt this immense need to grow - grow out of this mess called life, to bloom and just love herself. 

Since time She can remember,  She has looked for love outside. In empty coffee cups, in unfinished messages that were never sent, in the inboxes of social media, in her call log...

Whenever she looked at herself in the mirror, she saw remnants of "What it could have been" and not "What it is." She was tired of looking.

She craved to feel whole - within herself. Collect all of her broken pieces and like Kintsukuroi (the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold), use love for herself to create a more beautiful and unique version of HER.

Till now she was waiting for someone to come into her life and complete her, to give her the love she craved, fulfill her with the love she deserves. But life has only offered her disappointments and lessons - not love and affection. It's almost like she is trying to step one foot forward while the other one is stuck in the murky waters of old memories and pain.

It was "Lokkhi Pujo" back home. Her mom said her dad got two lotus flowers for the puja, even though only one was needed. It was a sign! The flower lotus which occupies an unique position in art and mythology and is used as a key ingredient in Lakshmi Puja, can only grow in murky waters. 
She remembered one of the lines from one of her favorite books by Sylvia Plath -

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”


She is there for herself even if no one is. She is strong, She is fire, She is love - She could hear her battered old heart beating loudly. She was finally ready to fall in love with the most important person she will ever meet, HER!

As soon as She woke up next day, She rushed to the first tattoo parlour that would take her call and etched her thoughts in ink.


She is the one person who would be with her for life and She was finally ready to start a relationship with herself.




Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Therpup Cafe

October 15, 2019 0 Comments


I came to know about this cafe through a friend couple of years back. I had visited once about 3 years back, when I wasn't a fur parent yet, and quite enjoyed the experience. But the experience has been even better since we started taking our young Lab-Indie mix baby, Snoopy, for his day outings.

Located at Whitefield, the cafe is a total gem for dog lovers. The name of the cafe is a play on the words 'therapy' and 'puppy' and they do deliver at all times. They have  quite a few resident dogs of their own... Mojo, Cisco, Goldie and Charlie are always there to cheer you up.



If you are a fur parent, this is where you should head out to over the weekend. You can let your furry friend off the leash as they are free to run, play and socialize. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly who can guide you when you go for the first time. The biggest plus of being there is that the cafe is mostly frequented by dog lovers and they happily engage with your pal and let you take a break with your partner/friend.


Therpup cafe has two menus for you to choose from. One with food for the 'hoomans' which includes the staple food for cafes, like burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. I must admit that if it was only food I was looking for, this isn't a place that I would choose. They do not serve anything that is outstanding, but the food is just average. The pizzas are good but they lack consistency with the subs and sandwiches. They also have a very special menu for your furry pals in case you want to treat them with a snack (how does a pup-sicle sound?) or a full meal.


If you haven't seen enough reasons to visit, they also have a trampoline and a portable swimming pool as added attraction. They also run a small shop where you can buy doggy stuff and nice T-shirts for yourself.


There are certain Do's and Don'ts that you can follow to keep this place unique and a make it a friendly experience for all:

  • Do not visit this particular cafe if you do not like dogs. There are thousands of other cafes you can choose to fit your preferences and only one Therpup Cafe where our pets can roam and play freely. We have come across couple of people in our numerous visits who seemed to be afraid of dogs. It was certainly not a pleasant experience for them and even more uncomfortable for us.
  • Do not feed the pets. The resident pets are well fed and taken care of and, most pet parents have specific diets for their dogs. French Fries do NOT make for a good diet of a dog.
  • If at all you cannot avoid the puppy eyes they make at your food, please ask the owners before feeding them. You can even sponsor a meal or two for the resident doggos.

Snoopy certainly has a good time every time we take him there. As a high-energy dog, he mostly runs around the secured area and he sure does love the food from the Pup-Menu. He has also experienced the trampoline with a few kids and taken a dip in the pool. It is a place where he experiences something new every time.


Take a look at http://www.therpup.com/ for more details on the Puppies, Menu and Services available.

QOTD: Would you like to see more Dog Cafes around?


Friday, 11 October 2019

#ProductReview :: Vedix - Customized Ayurvedic Hair Care Regimen

October 11, 2019 1 Comments

Last month an ad for Vedix popped up on my Facebook timeline. How it got there is probably another whole post about privacy & security in this digital age... but it was something that caught my eye and I decided to give it a try. So, this is not a sponsored post but just a product review where I have purchased the product for myself.

First things first... What caught my eye were two product pitches of Vedix in the Facebook Ad. First being the fact that it is an Ayurvedic product. I have recently been converted into a Ayurveda believer after Ayurvedic ministrations cured me of my migraine in a span of eight months where as Allopathy had failed me for almost a decade.  The other part of the pitch was that they 'customize' their products as per individual needs. Doesn't that sound nice? A product personalized to attend to your specific needs rather than a generic anti-hairfall or anti dandruff shampoo? Well, I fell for it and here's my experience of the product.


When you land on Vedix website, they have a questionnaire for you to answer. Once you answer the questionnaire and sign up, they email you the hair profile and the suggested product for it. The same profile is available on your Vedix account as well.

Call me a cynic, but I never believe an advertisement at its face value. So, when I looked up the product, I signed up through the website twice with two different emails, two different names and two different hair profiles. In one I mentioned Oily scalp with patches and in the other I mentioned breakage and hair loss. I wasn't much surprised to see that while they sent me two different hair profiles, they sent me the same product suggestion for both profiles - Vedix Khoob Hair Oil, Shampoo and Serum.

It was quite clear to me from the very beginning that they weren't really customizing the product and that it was just a marketing stint. But at the same time, it didn't bother me as much because if the product really worked, the marketing gimmicks would not bother me.


Once I filled up the form and opted for a six months subscription, the product arrived within 5 days. It was well packed with a nice box and a jute bag. While all looked okay at first glance, the hair oil bottle packaging wasn't up to the mark. This was something that irked me a bit because at 999/- per month they should be doing better. But again I told myself that it doesn't matter as long as the product works. They had sent along two booklets about the product and the regimen to follow. I started my regimen the day the products arrived and have followed it religiously. But before I get to the results, let me tell you a bit about the products.

What's in the Package:

  1. Vedix Khoob Anti Hairfall Oil - 100ml
  2. Vedix Khoob Anti Hairfall Shampoo - 100ml
  3. Vedix Khoon Hair Regrowth Serum - 50ml

Key Points about Vedix Khoob Products:

  1. They have a very light smell.
  2. The Oil actually feels very good and has a calming effect on me.
  3. The shampoo is quite thick which is perfect as very little of the shampoo is required to wash off the oil.
  4. The shampoo bottle's pump is uncomfortably tight and stays same after a month of use.
  5. On application the serum feels very light and non sticky. But it attracts a lot of dirt if you go out the next day without washing your hair first.



To be frank, I wasn't expecting a miracle. The condition of my hair is a result of lack of proper care for the last few years, and expecting that a product can change it within a month is not fair. However, I was expecting a reduce in hairfall in the first month. and maybe regrowth from the second or third month. But I haven't experienced any reduction in my hairfall at all. 

But the deciding factor for me was the fact that I haven't been able to get in touch with the Vedix team at all. Oh! they keep sending emails about what changes I should see in my hair after using the product and even encourage to get in touch in case I am not satisfied with the product so that their doctor can take a look at my case... But the fact of the matter is that the three times I called their customer care number, my call was disconnected right after the recorded message was played. And I haven't heard back from them despite my two emails (one to the support id and one to the id that they send their marketing emails from) and a message on their chat box on the website have gone unanswered. 

I will not be continuing with this product because end of the day, it feels like a generic hairfall control product that did not work for me at all and the lack of response from the 'support team' is very discouraging too. 



Tuesday, 8 October 2019

#MonthlyTravelTadka: October 2019 Edition

October 08, 2019 0 Comments
How many of you come across interesting things when you travel this globe which adds additional flavor to your travel? Be it the local tour guides, or the people who habitat these places, each trip will always have some juicy gossip about the place, the people who lived there or about the culture.

D and I love travelling and collecting such interesting stories and will be sharing such snippets, as and when we come upon them.

October Travel Tadka

Zimbabwe: 
  1. Hwange, the largest  National Park of Zimbabwe's largest is half the size of Belgium, accounting for an area of approximately 14,000 km².

South Africa:

  1. Lifespan of slaves when slavery was in full force was 7 - 9 years
  2. In the mid 1900's, the court used to perform the infamous "pencil test" to determine how much African heritage you have thereby determining your purity or impurity of race. If the pencil got stuck in the hair of the person, they were declared African and deemed of lower race. Many of the erstwhile "white women" and "African men" got reclassified into white and black because of it.

Costa Rica:

  1. Covering only 0.0013% of earth's surface, Costa Rica accounts for 7% of world's biodiversity
  2. Volcanic eruptions are of two types - it's not what is commonly propagated by mainstream cinema - molten lava sprouting from the peak and engulfing entire towns. In most of the cases its ash and rocks which is considered far more damaging and dangerous. A realistic depiction is referred in the movie "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."

Stay tuned for the November edition.




Friday, 4 October 2019

BDSM 2: A Guide to Breakup, Divorce, (fresh) Start and Memory

October 04, 2019 0 Comments
Remember our four mighty ladies? Like many of us, these four women has been navigating some pretty interesting shit in their lives. In the first part of the story we learnt how D was navigating her divorce and how S was trying to start fresh. Let us now visit a day in the life of B and M, both dealing with relationship changes. These stories are yours and mine:
100% true and lack any form of fabrication but has 100% exaggeration.


   

Breakup: Let us call her B!


It's 3 am in the watch, B was hysterical! As a dry sob escaped her cracked lips, B looked at the motivational quote she has pasted on her wall "She believed she could, so she did!"

In her dismay B wondered, do the writers of these quotes come up with them when they are high or having a glass of old monk and musing about life? Or do they also go through the birthing pain like the rest of us - of rejections and breakups?

As B's mind wandered, her eyes found the remnants of her breakup on the mirrors attached to her closet, that was hiding her unwashed pile of laundry. The concealer could no longer mask the dark circles under her eyes as a result of sleepless nights of self-blame. Three failed attempts at relationships this year, B has officially hit ROCK BOTTOM!
"How could you let this happen again?" - B's disheveled reflection on the mirror screamed at her. Shit, shit shit!

She picked up the pillow and screamed into it...Arghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! Why are there punishments for breaking bones, but no punishment for breaking hearts?
Even though cardiologists earn a bomb by fixing heart as an organ, it seems the "imaginary" heart is the cheapest organ in a person's body. Is it because it's imaginary - like the promises that were made to her? The pain that B was experiencing felt pretty real though!

B reaches out to her whatsapp group of friends and furiously types "Guess who is eating an entire jar of Nutella in her torn over-sized marvel t shirt sans pants, displaying her hairy legs, AGAIN?"
Concern poured in from all the 4 corners of the world. "What's wrong babe?" "Do we need to beat up someone?"
Her best friend Sam saw the text and without any fanfare, video called her and said "You get the next 1 hour to cry, cuss or commemorate, no judgement! I am here to listen. But I do have an ask at the end of the hour."

In a trembling voice, B narrated how love has failed her this year -
  • Whether it's the suave VP crying like a kid for his ex-wife in the second date (I mean really? You are out on a date with someone and you cry on your date's shoulder about your ex?), or, 
  • The Ferrari/Dick-car driver as she used to refer to him who refused to meet her when she said she was on her periods as he finds period, a normal bodily function, "dirty", or,
  • The guy from Matrimony with better nipples than hers 👀, who literally froze up because she asked him to inform her once he lands. 

B went on and on with general disdain towards love and how she always choose the wrong men in life, but she could feel herself slowing down after sometime.

Sam could sense this as well and said "Now about that favor, you need to break up. Break up with this negative side of yours, the one that finds you at fault for all the breakups. Treat that side as the rock-star you dated in your college days, kick him out. Come on, I am gonna stay on the line - BREAKUP!"

Emboldened by Sam's encouraging words, B looked at herself in the mirror, took a deep breath and addressed her disheveled reflection, "If you only make me cry, why should I be with you? Am I dating an onion? That's it, I am breaking up with you. It's their fault, not mine. I will no longer take the blame for these breakups just because I met some fuckboys."

As her disheveled reflection watched her in surprise, B kept the Nutella jar back in the shelf, wished her friends goodnight and switched on her favorite piece by Imagine Dragons, "Bad Liar" to DATE sleep instead - finally at peace with her last breakup.


For fun read: B in BDSM refers to bondage, a restrictive action where one partner is tied down and not able to express their full range of emotions via their actions.


(past relationship) Memories: Let us call her M!



As M tried to balance the overflowing cup of coffee on her way back to the corner table, her mobile beeped with the telltale noise of notification. Settling down her coffee beside the latest John Green novel, M checked her phone and was surprised to see a Facebook notification of one of her ex's celebrating their second anniversary.

When did Andy get married? When did he tame his craziness and actually decided to anchor in the predictable shores of a traditional home life, something he claimed he never would? Memories flooded back... Andy was this curly haired tornado who on one hand could produce the softest tunes dedicated to her in his acoustic guitar and on the other hand would chase her on bike, stopping her on the middle of the road portraying the ideal angry young Indian male lover as shown in cheap Bollywood depictions!

M absentmindedly sipped into the coffee and accidentally burned her tongue - TOO HOT! She felt the familiar feeling of restlessness creeping inside her chest.

A tattered jeans-clad purple-haired girl was checking out M for some time in the half-empty coffee shop. As M started hyperventilating, the strange girl walked up to her and asked "Hey, are you alright?"

M found herself staring into the transparent blue eyes of this strange beautiful woman and heard herself blurting out "No, I just came to know my ex has been married for 2 years, even when he told me he doesn't believe in marriage when we were dating. All the men I date seems to have moved onto someone better and here I am burning my tongue in a lonely afternoon."

The girl crinkled the corner of her eyes and gave M a warm smile. "You know, I was in a similar situation a month back. To escape bumping into my ex and his very pregnant wife, I changed cities and took up a new job - but nothing was helping. Then I tried this method with one of my counselors and it helped me make peace with the situation, do you wanna give it a try?"

M was quite taken aback by the turn her afternoon has taken but decided, it can't get worse right? After all she was opening herself up to new experiences. She heard herself saying "Ok, what do I need to do?" Her purple haired companion replied "Share one memory - good, bad, crazy or weird, about your relationships and then write in a chit "I accept you as you are and forgive you. I forgive you for me, not you."

Intrigued by this exercise M started sharing some of the memories of her past relationships with this strange friend:
  • Sameer was the wild one, M can never forget the make out session that she had with Sameer in that rainy night, bang in the middle of the road inside the mini-cooper with steamed windows. You rarely have such toe-curling kisses at 2 am in the night and M was lucky to experience one.
  • Joy's possessive ass has been giving her hell in the coffee shop for talking to the male server for so long, but his eyes welled up in joy when the server kept a cake in front of him that read "I will miss you for the next 4 months", a goodbye gift from her.
  • M was being conscious about her weight but Dan picked her up and made her lean back and lie down on him, relaxing in the easy chair on the balcony. She felt a sense of calm and belonging as she leaned back and closed her eyes, tilting her head to the side to feel his beating heart. 
  • Ash knew one of her deepest desires was to be picked up and getting kissed against the wall. As soon as M entered the room, Ash picked her up and passionately kissed her against the wall making her dream come true.
  • Andy knew she liked Beethoven's 5th symphony. Before leaving for the US, he gifted her a music box with those dancing figurines which played Beethoven's 5th symphony whenever M turned the keys.

All these memories made M smile. Sure there were some unpleasant endings but she was ready to move on. She hugged this beautiful stranger and started walking towards the corner building across the street, which she now calls home.


For fun read: M in BDSM means Masochism, a willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences.

*

Can some of you connect to some of these stories? If yes - do share similar snippets from your breakups or any stories from your past relationships that you have experienced. Would love to connect with you via your stories. Together let us weave a cloak of familiar stories for men and women who are unable to share theirs. On a cold and lonely night when they will be searching for heat, may our cloak of familiar stories give them the warmth they are looking for and help them realize:

You are not alone. We are the average (wo)man of this world and we stand tall and proud, even at 5.2.



Read BDSM Part 1





Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The Elephant House

October 01, 2019 0 Comments


As Harry Potter fans both N and I had decided that ‘The Elephant House’ would be our first stop once we land at Edinburgh. I remembered a bit about the café from the interview Jo Rowling did there after Harry Potter became famous and was looking forward to experiencing it myself.


The café is within the walking distance from the railway station. So, we decide to walk to the café for our morning cup of tea and breakfast. The first thing that you notice about the café is its bright red appearance. The sign proclaiming ‘birthplace’ of Harry Potter that the café has put up on is also quite attention grabbing. The café is very proud of the fact that it has served a number of authors. From ‘Writers & Reviews’ board in their café to the mention of these authors on their website, the café boasts of not only having served J. K. Rowling but also authors like Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall-Smith. Therefore, this café is not only hallowed ground for Potterheads, it is a great place for any bookworm and aspiring authors.


Once you enter the café, at the first glance, it feels small and very underwhelming.But it is soon apparent that there is more to the place. Once you have placed your order and move towards finding a table, the ‘Writers & Reviews’ board becomes visible. That is also when you notice the framed autograph of the lady herself and it is a ‘Limited Edition certification’. There is also a big frame with a number of pictures of Jo Rowling on it. But they all seem to be like from the day she did the interview there rather than of her writing days there. Apart from the café’s own wall of fame, a lot of Potterheads seem to have visited the café and left their mark. There were a lot of graffiti and scrawls from fans all over the world. They have left comments and words of appreciation for both the series and its author.


Sitting there was a wonderful feeling. To be where the magic was created and to see what the Rowling had seen. The best part of our experience there was the fact that we found a lady sitting alone at a table with a cup of coffee. She was furiously scribbling in her diary and I couldn’t help but smile at the scene! It was probably very similar to the scene that the patrons of the café witnessed decades back. I was also really tempted to go and ask the lady her name, so that if and when she becomes famous and is added to the café’s wall of fame I could reflect back on my visit to the café. But no, I did not disturb her from plotting.


The nearby landmark of George Heriot’s School building with four towers is said to have served as an inspiration for Hogwarts School. The Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery may have served not only as the inspiration for quite a few names in the series but also may have served as the inspiration for the graveyard where Voldemort’s father was buried.

If you are not a bookworm or a Potterhead, even then you should pay this place a visit. The café has a terrific view of the Edinburgh Castle from its sitting room at the back. They have great food at really reasonable prices (irrespective of their demand) and friendly staff.


This post was originally written for BUZZ Magazine

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Calton Hill

September 29, 2019 1 Comments


I took a short vacation to Glasgow and Edinburgh over the Easter break. While vacations bring on images of peace, tranquility and relaxation, ours was a bit overloaded. We were limited by time but not the number of things on my places-to-visit list! We each have our roles to play while planning for a vacation. N takes care of destination, dates, tickets, planning and I am left with only one job – research the destination and make a list of places to see. This time was no exception… While the whole trip was filled with beautiful and scenic locations, Calton Hill simply took my breath away with its easy access, scenic views, and grand architectures.


Calton Hill is centrally located and as the name suggests, yes, it is a hill. It is about 15 minutes’ walk up from Royal Mile. Once you get out of the city’s hubbub and get to the stairs that marks the beginning of the ascent to the hill top, things get quite calm and peaceful. The City Observatory building is the first thing we came across, but it was closed. The Dugald Stewart Monument was the next thing that we noticed. We did take a few photos with it in the background but I have to admit that I only discovered later (on Google after returning) that Dugald Stewart was a Scottish philosopher. Further up are the Nelson Monument and the National Monument. The Nelson Monument looks almost like a watch tower and I had mistaken it for one when I had spotted it earlier in the day from the Edinburgh Castle. However, it was used to send signals to the ships in earlier days. The National Monument is as memorial to the soldiers who died in combat during the Napoleonic Wars. Its pillars and arches are huge and majestic.


The view from the hill top is quite something. You can see the whole city and well into the sea. We had gone up there just after a spell of rain and like most things, the view somehow felt ‘clearer’ at that point. We were among the first few to get up there once the rain had stopped and as such we got to see the view in comparative peace. The place soon was full of people – both locals and tourists. It was a clear favorite of the locals as well who came there for their evening walks and to exercise their dogs as well. The open area and the greenery just add to the charm of the place. There is a quaint little tea shop up there, just in case anyone wants a cuppa to go with the view.


The beauty of this hill top lies in the fact that it brings together the view, the monuments and beauty of hills together all the while being within the city.

QOTD: Have you been to Edinburgh? What did you like the most about it? 



I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.


Friday, 27 September 2019

Falling in love with Venice

September 27, 2019 1 Comments


As a kid I had this memory game card set that I loved very much. They had different photos representing each city. For instance, New Delhi had a snake charmer (yeah! :/), London had Big Ben, San Francisco had The Golden Gate Bridge and so on... The card for Venice had the picture of a three tier Gondola with the canal in the background. The idea of a city on water with canals instead of roads seemed very exotic to me. Ever since I have been obsessed with it and over the years my obsession with Venice had become my obsession with Italy. And guess what? I got to tick Venice off my bucket list in April!!


People say that you either love Venice or hate it - there is no way you can be indifferent to the city. And after dreaming of what it would be like for the better part of my life, I was prepared to be disappointed once I landed because I didn't think reality could beat my imagination. So after checking in at our hotel and a refreshing bath, we soon headed to Pizza San Marco. At first glance, the city seemed and felt like a typical tourist trap. Restaurants, Murano Glass Shops, Souvenir Shops and a lot of  tourist attraction points rammed into one square. There are attractions peppered all over the different islands, but Piazza San Marco is the center of all the hubdub. It is a city with a lot of art and culture to offer to its visitors. At the same time, it is also a city that can deliver gastronomic pleasures with its usual flair. It can also be a shopper's paradise.


But it wasn't until I had a look around and ended up sitting down on the bank at the Piazzetta for a break that I really took notice of the rustic charm of the place.  We ended up skipping a lot of "spots" that we had planned to visit and walked around the town instead. We switched off our Google Maps, and made it a game to see how long we could walk without having to cross a canal. Sounds childish perhaps, but it was fun discovering small cafes, churches and different piazzas on our own. We may have missed out on some of the "must see" places that makes lists look good, but we also got to avoid the crowd and see the side of Venice that perfectly planned trips do not cover. The beautiful bridges that connects the city, the modern touch ups on really old buildings, the really small alleyways (the last two things did make me think of Banaras/Varanasi for a second), lovers locks at random bridges, the gondoliers trying to convince you to take a ride with them and the chefs insisting that you don't have to pay unless you absolutely love their food - things that you do not seem to take much notice of at the beginning turn out to be the things that you take away from the city. To enjoy this city, you have to forget your plans and just follow where your heart takes you.

 

Venice did not knock me off my feet nor did it Wow me. It kind of grew on me and captured my heart. The really old buildings with crumbling plasters, the cheery Gondolas, the narrow alleys and the small pizza parlours - all it took was 3 days - to fall in LOVE.

QOTD: What do you think about a city on water?


I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.



Sunday, 22 September 2019

Kailash Momo

September 22, 2019 2 Comments


Whenever we go out to eat, I like to go for anything but Indian food and N had been talking about Momos for quite some time. And so we did. We looked around on Zomato and short listed two restaurants. But we decided to go out to Kailash Momo because it has Sabhalay on the menu and that is something that I have been craving for quite some time.


Tucked between a hair salon and a nail salon, this plain looking restaurant is easy to miss. However, we had made the mistake of arriving at the restaurant without a reservation and as a result we were told that we would have to wait for 20-25 minutes. Instead of waiting there, we took a walk in the neighbourhood, always good for building up an appetite, and came back in 20 minutes. We were taken to our table immediately this time around. The establishment has set up the interiors in a way that gives its patrons the 'Tibetan' feel  - right down to their china pattern.


We ordered steamed chicken momo, fried chicken momo and chicken sabhalay. While the momo was up to our expectations, I was a bit disappointed by the sabhalay. The outer layer - the dough, was bit too hard fried and the chicken filling needed a little more spice. Momos used to be our staple food during college days and as such we have very high expectations and the restaurant delivered quite well on that front.


The food is VERY reasonably priced and the staff are quite friendly and helpful - these are certainly big plus points of the restaurant. However, I found the place to be a bit cramped and it is certainly not a place I would suggest to people who would like minimum level of privacy for their discussions over the meal. It was a bit discomforting for me as I am slightly claustrophobic and absolutely loathe alcohol. (I usually do not visit restaurants that serve alcohol ).

If these two points do not bother you - the place is a winner with its good food at a reasonable price. They have quite a lot to offer on their menu  in terms of variety and we plan to go back to try them all.


QOTD: Do you like Tibetan Food?

Address: 79, Woolwich New Road. London , SE18 6ED


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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

I Give Up!

September 18, 2019 22 Comments


As a new droplet of sweat ran down her spine, Agni woke up in a stifling dark room.

With the darkness and the confusion pressing onto her mind, she wondered whether she can take another day, or should she end it once and for all! She just couldn't take the pain anymore.

She reached towards the object she was wistfully looking at, a sole spectator to her pain and also the sole mean to end her pain.
In her eagerness to end the pain, Agni thought -

"Damn the power cut!"

P.S. Author's note: This short tale was written as an ode to the light switch, curious to know your interpretation.




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Sunday, 15 September 2019

St.Paul's Cathedral

September 15, 2019 24 Comments

Blame it on my missionary boarding school education or on the pleasant and welcoming atmosphere at St.Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata – I have always loved visiting the local churches and cathedrals. So, St.Paul’s Cathedral was on my list.

St. Paul’s Cathedral was founded in 7th century but the present building is about 300 years old. This building was rebuilt after the Great Fire by Christopher Wren. This fact is only a drop in the sea of the rich history of the cathedral. The cathedral is filled with artistic masterpieces – from the statue of Duke of Wellington to the famous Madonna and Child to The Light of the World painting. Walking around and discovering each piece of art with its own history was indeed a fine experience.

The Quire Aisle and the huge organ take the spotlight on the main cathedral floor. The Organ boasts to be the fourth-largest in Great Britain in number of pipes. It felt really grand and inspiring even to someone like me who understands very little of the instrument. Another aspect that always attracts me in churches/cathedrals is the stained glass works. In St.Paul’s the only stained glass work one can see is behind the High Altar. Both the High Altar and the Quire Aisles were rebuilt after the Second World War and that is when the stained glass was incorporated into the building.

The Crypt at St.Paul’s is supposed to be the biggest in Europe and has many famous people buried under it. Christopher Wren, Alexander Fleming, John Donne and Duke of Wellington are among the few. The Crypt also has the Order of the British Empire Chapel. Then there is the Whispering Gallery which is 257 steps up from the Cathedral floor. If you whisper something at one side of the dome, it can be heard on the opposite side! Take another 119 steps up and you will reach the Stone Gallery. The view of London from the Stone Gallery is breathtakingly beautiful. And, it is just another 152 steps up to the Golden Gallery. You can have a panoramic view of the city from there.



What took my breath away though was the monochrome painting on the Dome. There are eight scenes from the St.Paul’s life drawn by James Thornhill up there. I spent majority of my time sitting down and craning my neck up to look at it. Stained glass and mosaic art is widespread and I this was my first experience (I am sure there are many around the world) of large scale grisaille work and I am bowled over!

It is a must visit while you are in London.


For More details visit: https://www.stpauls.co.uk/

QOTD: Do you notice the artwork in your place of worship?




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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

BDSM 1: A Guide to Breakup, Divorce, (fresh) Start and Memory

September 11, 2019 90 Comments
Let me tell you a story. There were once 4 women - each going through certain phases in their lives. These stories covers 4 such days in their lives. Many of you may be able to relate to these everyday incidents having lived through them yourselves. These stories are yours and mine:

100% true and lack any form of fabrication but has 100% exaggeration.

A guide to Breakup, Divorce, (fresh) Start and Misery


Divorce: Let us call her D!


D woke up with a start! Did she fall asleep again during the afternoon? Shit shit shit! The deliverable was due an hour back, what if she gets fired? Oh who cares! It's not like anyone stayed up beside her last night and hugged her when she was weeping and sniffling like an infant. Let them! Man O' man, she badly needs a coffee. Will her hotel have something strong and maybe, oh just maybe some chocolate cookies - D thinks as she twists her messy hair in a worn out black rubber band. Beside her email alert, her laptop shows a blank word document. D suddenly feels the urge to dump all that she was feeling. From her mind to the paper - she badly needed to unload - doesn't matter if the words no longer made sense - heck her life no longer made sense. She frantically starts typing......

Can I read this without cringing 10 years from now? Think, think, think! 10 years from now when you wake up in your house filled with a dog, maybe lots of books, a money plant and a bespectacled guy (maybe, a big maybe!), with a farrowed look on your face, reminiscing about the good ol' days and dig this up - will you regret reading this blast from the past? But then I am just following Dr. Phil's advice. Writing about your PTSD relieves you from your pain apparently! (bleh!)

We have now reached the juicy part of the story, WHAT THE HECK IS SHE WRITING ABOUT?

Well, I will tell you why. Because I got suddenly lost my exclusivity! My husband of 5 years suddenly stumbled upon some hot tamale (s) ( I know, there were multiple apparently) and found this plain ol' rice pretty tasteless! Come to think of it, Rice is the staple diet of 100% of South Asians so I wonder why someone would throw away something that is so stable and essential. Does rice bore everyone? Will you like biriyani/pilaf every day? Given a choice, it seems everyone would like biriyani/pilaf over rice. But then are we just consumers of human emotions like we consume food?

Think D, think! Damn that deadline on Materials Management! Suddenly her phone beeps, "You ok? Do you want to meet for a cuppa?" D takes a deep breath and writes "Yes please, the usual place?" Thank god for small wins in life like running into a kind soul in office kitchen counter and finding a friend for life.

10 years - come on D, all this will seem like a dream in 10 years time, she thinks as she tries to stuff her overweight body into her jeans.

For fun read: D in BDSM refers to dominance, the crux of a BDSM relationship. It's all about erotic power exchange, not one person having power over another.


 (fresh) Start: Let us call her S!


5-4-3-2-1 - S tried to get off from her bed. Her tired eyes protest against the effort. No! I don't need a fresh start! I want to curl up inside this stupid blanket and die! Her mind feebly tried to remind her of the great advice from Mel Robbins, LAUNCH YOURSELF LIKE A ROCKET!

Bloody hell! Who wants to get up at this god forsaken hour to go work out? Mel has someone to come back to - S is lonely and strives to be invisible. No, stop! S reminds herself - Remember! Start your day on a positive note. Shucks! She spoiled it again, didn't she - S thinks as she stumbles off from her bed and wearily makes her way to the boxing club.

S's muscles groan in protest as her trainer makes her run up and down the street. Huffing and puffing S thinks "Are all new starts this hard? Snakes can shed off their skin so easily but then caterpillars take ages to become beautiful butterflies." Her thoughts are interrupted with a bark from her trainer "What are you dreaming about, give me 20 push-ups". Ughh! She groans and starts her slow descent to pain. In a feeble attempt of motivation S tries the external validation route..."You will lose weight and look hotter to the guys in the gym!" But her brain was quick to jump in defense and reminds her "You are not even wearing your spectacles, can't even see if any guy is actually checking you out in the gym". Sighing S tells her screaming lungs "Oh! Just do it anyway!"

Come to think of it - hitting feels so good! Especially when S can land a punch on the tall guy in front of her. To all the naysayers in the world - she ain't done yet! S silently cheers for herself in her mind "Can you see???? I am still standing! None of you could destroy me fully. I am fire - I am a woman - I will reinvent myself every time you push me down..." S's string of thoughts breaks all of a sudden as she finds herself flat on her bottom with a look of pure horror in her face. Did she really slip in her own sweat while boxing in front of all these hyper-fueled muscular fit community of god bods? Man! Wish she could drown in her own sweat or shame! As her trainer extends his hand, S chuckles and pushes herself upright saying out loud, "I am still standing, ain't I".

"Man, a fresh start does feel good", S thinks as she continues with her boxing lesson.

For fun read: S in BDSM refers to Submission. It says, the true power lies with the submissive as he/she sets the actual boundaries in this exploration.


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Can some of you connect to some of these stories? If yes - do share similar snippets from your divorce or any stories of fresh start that you have tried in your lives. Would love to connect with you via your stories. Together let us weave a cloak of familiar stories for men and women who are unable to share theirs. On a cold and lonely night when they will be searching for heat, may our cloak of familiar stories give them the warmth they are looking for and help them realize:

You are not alone. We are the average (wo)man of this world and we stand tall and proud, even at 5.2.


Wait for my next blog on how B and M dealt with a breakup and (old relationship) memories.




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