About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday Challenge- Memories

The prompt for this week's Thursday Challenge was "GROUND (1 of 2 weeks)" (Things on the ground, Soil, Garden, Lawn,...)

Clicked this near our gate, on the road. Reminded me of grandpa, he used to step out every morning and pick up all the flowers that had fallen down... Bring home a handful and keep them for Gods, here and there.... 

For other Thursday Challenge posts, visit here 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thursday Challenge- Bright and sunny

The prompt for this week's Thursday Challenge was "SUNNY (1 of 2 weeks)" (Bright, Sunrise, Sunset, Sunshiny, Sunlit, Cheerful, Happy,...)

Clicked this at the Chennai airport while waiting for the flight that was to take us to mumbai. I had a 7 year old for company and he was full of questions and chatted away nonstop... :-)) 

For other Thursday Challenge posts, visit here

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai

I was wondering what other new places to visit, when a friend spoke about how the mills in Mumbai had all become malls, and one of them was the infamous Phoenix Mills... Story goes that the Phoenix Mills was erected back in 1905 to manufacture cotton textiles. Owned by the Ruia family., it was intact listed in the Bombay Stock exchange as well. But then sometime in 1938 during the British government rule, quite a few workers were fired. This led to a protest in 1939 that lasted for a few months. Business was affected tremendously and eventually the mill became just a loss making business. The management in turn chose to redevelop the land and this began with the establishment of the Bowling Co. Workers were unhappy with the management's decision, alleging that it was illegal. 

And today that is where you find the Phoenix Mall, also known as High Street Phoenix. The mall is spread across 3,300,000 square feet. Apart from shops and restaurants, cafes, the campus also has a five-star hotel, a multiplex, commercial space and a residential tower.
The mall is divided into three zones- The Palladium, SkyZone and Grand Galleria.  This mall is also where the country's first Big Bazaar was opened. 

[image courtesy: mumbai.mallsmarket.com]

                                                [image courtesy: www.uppercrustindia.com]

Friend of mine raved about the Palladium, saying it was one of those places I should visit. Well, lets just say it is meant for those who are into high end brands, especially international fashion labels. While I must have spent about half an hour walking the length of the place, it sure wasn't my kind of place. Too much bling everywhere..lol.. I did check out the Food Hall on the top floor , it was far bigger and better than the one in Bangalore. I ended up buying some cheese that friend wanted and a pretzel to nibble on.

The second building is where you find familiar brands and quite a few small eat outs including Subway, Coffee Bean & Tea leaf,etc... Well, it is one of those places you either feel right at home or want to run away from. No guesses which category I belong to.
But must say while it is sad that the Mills went down, atleast there is something in its place standing tall, as a landmark. 

The Phoenix Mills Limited
High Street Phoenix
462, Senapati Bapat Marg,
Lower Parel (West),
Mumbai - 400 013 
Tel: +91-22-43339994

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thursday Challenge- spreading some love

The prompt for this week's Thursday Challenge was "WARM" (Sunny, Pleasant, Warm Colors, Food, Drink,...)

Almost looks like is laughing away, enjoying the wind on his face,not to forget the warm sun [maybe the lady had the AC on for a while].. I clicked this while in a traffic jam in #mumbai... Me, my friend and her son couldn't take our eyes off this cutie pie.. He was happily moving from one window to the other.. #love #dogsarefamily #travel #destination#Experience #travelblogger #oneplustwo#igersChennai #instaclick #nofilterneeded#adoptdontbuy #pets #petparent #dog

For other Thursday Challenge posts, visit here

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A walk through history at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Bombay

I was heading back to Bombay after a gap of about 5years and this time I had no agenda at all. I had informed about 4-5 folks that I am coming there, and hoped to meet them if possible. I knew I wanted to spend time and catch up with a friend who had moved there 3years ago and of course explore some parts that I had not explored earlier. 

We spent the weekend generally hanging out, visiting a mall, doing some shopping [ she convinced a non shopper such as moi to also shop] and playing with their 7yr old bunny boy.. I had also made plans to catch up with a few [among the 4-5] for lunch or coffee. I knew I had a few hours and my friend mentioned the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum. I had been to the Prince Wales museum [Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya,] few years back, but this one I hadn't heard of. Did some research on the net and discovered it was in Byculla East. If the pictures and blogs I read were anything to go by, the museum promised to be magnificent visit and I headed out towards the place. 

The museum name board..

The elephant from the Elephant Islands 

The Museum in all its glory.

 Artists at work, semi precious stones, silver jug, Ganjifa is an ancient Indian card game, originally played with a set of 120 cards and asnake etched out of soap stone

 Men from Different communities on display

 Coppersmith at work

 Shell Carving 

 Beautiful peacocks at the bottom of a heavy ceramic vase.

The grand place that greets you as you walk into the museum..

The majestic statues and bust that sit in the museum centre.

One of the beautiful sculptures..

 And he stands tall...

 Ornate staircase leading to the top floor

 The entire upstairs.. was completely empty when i went.. was such a silent space..

The Tower of Silence

The structure standing outside, on the side

Took me a good hour to reach the museum, the journey was quite a revelation. I realised Bombay folks had taken to radio cabs like fish to water and many had stopped commuting by train. Traffic was bad, and not to mention increase in number of vehicles. The cabbie took me via the Bandra Sea link which was beautiful, quite a sight. 

Anyways, as I walked into the museum campus, I noticed there was a ticket counter with a board saying "zoo". I was surprised to see that, and anyways made my way towards the museum. On the side sat the majestic elephant [it is a Basalt elephant sculpture from Elephanta Island] with a canon of sorts guarding it. There was a guy sitting next to it, but he very sweetly got up and walked aside when he saw me position my camera for a capture. After buying an entry ticket for Rs10 [reminded me of the ticket at Albert Museum in Jaipur, same price], I made my way inside. There was no major security checks, only thing the staff inside told me was to not speak on the phone while inside. 

Also known as the Victoria and Albert Museum, this museum was built back in 1872 and is a treasure house of anything related to history- Historical artefacts  paintings, pots, pans, photographs, and so much more from across the country. What made the visit interesting were the information cards near the exhibits. They were in both Hindi & English and quite detailed. The displays themselves had boards in both languages and they were all neat and organised.  The instant you step inside, you are in awe of the architecture of the place. It was like a palace, simply wow.I must have spent close to two hours here, walking the length of the museum, exploring the two floors. 

As you head towards the staircase you can't help but notice the cluster of sculptures that stand tall. The man standing tall is David Sassoon – opium baron, trader and architect of Colonial Bombay. There are quite a few buildings around the city named after him- David Sassoon Library & Reading Room at Kalaghoda. Apart from Sasoon the other statues belong to Prince Albert who stands just behind him. There are two women who are on either side of the Prince, did not notice their names though.  

While the ground floor was filled with artefacts and pieces from across the country, the top floor showcased historic maps, model ships, models of Bombay life in the 19th and 20th centuries. the one fascinating exhibit was the Towers of Silence.. I have not heard of it and so it had me enthralled. I learnt that it  is where the bodies of Parsis or Zorashtrians are laid after they die. It’s an open well of sorts, and vultures eat the remains of the departed.

As I walked out towards the Museum Shop, I spotted the tall tower on the side of the museum. The museum shop has a small but cool collection of items that you could purchase, from bookmarks to t-shirts, mugs, posters, games, coasters and so on. 

Interesting insights.. [source http://www.mumbai.org.uk/museums/victoria-albert-museum.html]


The Victoria and Albert Museum was originally established in 1855 in Mumbai. During this time, the museum was used as a treasure house of the decorative and industrial arts. The thought of establishing a museum was suggested by a collector known as Dr. Buist, when the India was under the control of British East India Company. Dr. Ramkrishna Vitthal Lad, also known as Dr. Bhau planned the construction of the museum with an amount of Rs. 6000. After a committee was formed, the foundation for building the museum was laid down in 1862. The construction was complete only in 1871 and the museum was opened in 1872. The museum is presently known as 'Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum'. It was renamed after Dr Bhau Daji Lad because of his dedication to the museum.

The initial appearance of the Victoria and Albert Museum had a gloomy look but now, after the various contributions put forth by the 'Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), the museum has improved in its appearance. The museum is adorned with gold ornamentations on the corners of the walls, railings and ceilings. The blue-painted pillars add magnificence to the museum's look. The entire construction of the museum is inspired by the Greco-Roman style of architecture. Apart from the arches that are elegantly designed and the heavy glass cases, the high painted ceilings of the museum is also a work of expertise. The 'Victoria Gardens' or 'Rani Jijamata Udyan', serves as a backdrop for this ancient museum.

91 A, Rani Baug, 
Veer Mata Jijbai Bhonsle Udyan,
Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Marg, 
Byculla East, 
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400027.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Skywatch Friday... New kinda company!

It has been a few months since my last trip and this one was indeed a special one, with many firsts.. For the first time I actually announced to my friends where I was headed, when I was leaving...  :-) And this was also the first time I was traveling with a kid [friend's son-7yr old]

From the minute I picked him up at his grandparents house he was on a roll and I loved his company.. The journey was filled with word games, catching up on his life and yapping away dime a dozen.. hahaha... He clicked some pictures, kept pushing the phone right on the window and eventually would get mad when he saw the phone case reflection in the photograph.. Once he even dropped the phone, instantly his face froze till I reassured him it was alright... 

When the stewardess announced they would get the food and beverage cart out and we could buy what we wanted, he instantly picked up the magazine and pointed at the White single murukku asking me if I could get him that. But alas, it wasn't available.. 

He: ok, can i get the chocolate chip cookies then?
Me: Sure
Stewardess: Sorry, we are out of them. But we do have oatmeal honey cookies
Me: okay, can i get one please.
He: Sulked a bit and turned face to window [but not before mumbling, "i guess they forgot to load those on the flight"] 
Me to Stewardess: Can i also get a submarine sandwich please.
Picked it up, opened it and offered him a bite... and that was the last I saw of it.. 
He : It is yummy, can I eat the full ? 
Me: Ya baby sure thing.. go ahead... I also got him a glass of water that he drank like the good boy he is.

While he ate, we played with the box that had a story about the yellow submarine, few funny characters and how the sandwich came on board the flight.. 

We then resumed playing random games, looking out the flight and commenting on how the clouds looked like an island or maybe ice or snow... Gosh, those 2hours was such a new experience altogether.  As we landed, it was onto another barrage of questions "Has amma sent driver number, call him no, lets go get our bags..it is going to start raining in Bombay, if it rains a lot then I will get holidays.... la la la.."

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday ... 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Heritage tour to Kovur & Thyagaraja connection

It was Sunday, and I was up by 4.30am.. Had kept the alarm for 5 and told gramma & mom to wake me up, which both of them did [in their half sleep state] but I was up before their calls. You are probably wondering why I was up at that unearthly hour, that too on a  Sunday.. Well, I was off on a heritage tour to Kovur. 

It was a tour organised by Sriram V and sounded very interesting.. Here is what the mail read, 

"Tucked away in a remote corner of ever-expanding Chennai is tiny Kovur. An otherwise non-descript village, it is known for the fact that the Shiva temple here has five songs composed on it by Tyagaraja. The circumstances in which he came here and created these songs make for an interesting story. It combines with it a vast canvas of history, ranging from the Cholas to the East India Company dubashes. This being Tyagaraja’s 250th year of birth, what better way of celebrating his life and works than a visit to Kovur?"

Now if that doesnt have you curious, i don't know what will.. So, anyways, I made my way to the pick up point, said hi hello to the familiar faces and connected with a few new faces as well while waiting for the bus. We boarded and were off to Kovur. Along the way, Sriram gave us some insight into Thyagaraja Bhagavathar's life...

The carnatic music legend Thyagaraja is renowned for creating nearly 78new ragas, of which Karaharapriya & Harikamboji are two ragas that are extremely popular today.. 

Not much is known about his mother, but what people do know is he had two wives, a daughter and died in 1847.. 

I came to know he had also done two operas 
1)Naukacharitramo - a boat song
2)Prahalada varishamo

Few other tit bits gathered were that,

  • S Rajam did the first portrait of Thyagaraja which is what is duplicated even today.. 
  • The 1st Tamil song is a Thyagaraja keerthanai by Papanasam Sivam for the movie Sita Kalyana 

If you know of any other trivia, do share, would love to know more about this legend...  Alright, now coming back to Kovur,we were headed there to visit the famous temple -Sundareswarar Swamy Temple.. The bus ride was about 30mins to 45mins... The temple is situated just beyond Porur, we took a turn after MIOT hospital and few kilometres ahead was a narrow road that led straight to the temple. With tall Ashoka trees lined up on either side, hiding the dilapidated houses/buildings behind them, we made our way to the entrance. 

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was built by Kulothunga Chozha [7th century] and the main gopuram and other shrines were added on later by Pallava Ruler.. The main God here is Sri Sundhareswarar (Thirumaeneeswarar) and Goddess Soundharaambigai (Thiruvudai Naayagi).

According to legend, Goddess Kamakshi was doing penance on fire in Maangaadu [a town not far off form here] because she wanted Lord Shiva to marry Her. Her penance was so powerful, Lord Shiva was in meditation and so the entire place became too hot to handle. All the sages went and requested  Lord Vishnu to save the world and were directed to Goddess Mahalakshmi who took the form of a cow and went to Lord Shiva to wake him from the meditation to save the world. Lord Shiva did open his eyes and the heat subsided thereon. Since this is where Goddess Mahalakshmi took the form of a cow, it was called Kopuri (Ko meaning cow in tamil) and this later became Kovoor/Kovur. 

One thing that stood out in this temple is the gopuram of the main sanctum is in the shape of "Gajabrushta" (elephant's back) form.  Apart from the main shrines for the Lord and His Consort, there are shrines for Vinayaka, Subramanya, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingodbhavar, Brahma, Chandikeswarar, Durgai and Mahavishnu, known as Karunakara Perumal along with His Consorts 

The temple main gopuram is the first thing you see and it is quite fascinating. There are seven tiers in total, and each of them showcase a stage in Thyagaraja's life.  It is said that Thyagaraja visited this temple on his way to Thirupathi. 

When he came here, the local town head Sundharesan requested him to sing a few songs on him which Thyagarajar refused, saying he will only sing in praise of God. Saying that he left the town, but on his way a group of bandits blocked his path and would not let him proceed.  And out of nowhere came two men who threw stones at the bandits, who Thyagaraja realised were Lord Ram & Lakshman. 

Thyagaraja realised this place held some power, came back and sung 5 compositiions- Kovur Pancharathnam.  

They are
"Ee Vasudha" (Sahaana Raagam), 
"Kori Sevimpa" (Karaharapriya Raagam), 
"Sambo Mahadeva" (Pantuvarali Raagam), 
"Nammi Vachina" (Kalyani Raagam) and 
"Sundareswaruni" (Sankarabharanam Raagam).

What is surprising is that Thyagaraja was anti women all his life but here in this temple he has song one song on the Goddess. 

We had two carnatic singers [sisters- Aarti & Archana] with us on the tour, who sang these songs as Sriram shared stories about the temple and Thyagaraja... It was beautiful~ I also discovered there was a Vilva Tree in the temple premise, one like none other. The tree is very rare one, why? there are 27 leaves unlike the usual 3 leaves. 

Oh, while we were headed here, we crossed an area where the roads were called "Kunrathur high road".Sri Sekkizhar who wrote Periya Puranam was born here in ‘Kunrathur’ and is said to have written the Puranam courtesy this temple.  As we left the temple, and boarded the bus back to the city, my head was abuzz with all that I had heard and seen.. 

Who knew so much history lay tucked within the streets so close to my home city.. 

On the ride back, the youngest member of the group sang a song, while two others also sang songs.. Over all it was a fabulous trip.. If you are curious, do make a trip to the temple to see it for yourself. 

Also do follow Sriram's blog to know of upcoming tours and walks..Some interesting reads...

Travel light, travel fun, travel safe...

Yesterday when talking to a friend, I released safety is a big big concern for us travellers, more so if you are travelling alone. Here are a few tips I have gathered over the years... 

Pack just what you need- If I am going on a trip for 5days, i will carry 4 sets of clothes plus a night wear, a towel and extra undergarments. Infact, while 3 sets is enough, I always carry one extra [ what if it rains, what if it rips, or any such unforeseen thing happens].. What makes travelling light fun is caring one or two bottom wear and multiple tops- kurtis, shirts, tops, t-shirts or kaftans. For nightwear, I usually carry a T-shirt and 3/4 or shorts and just repeat it. 

I don't believe in carrying multiple extra stuff, I would only end up lugging them up and down.. 

With reference to handbags, I carry one that can fit as much as I need, has enough zips and compartments. I hate carrying bags that are open or with just one compartment. 

Money- I always pack money in different places- there will be some in my wallet, some more inside a zipper in the handbag and some in my bag/suitcase/backpack.  I put money wrapped up in handkerchiefs and small pouches as well. 

One other thing that I do carry at times is a local guide book or map that friends have handed over..I also have a notebook, pen in my bag at all times.. This is to carry addresses, places to go to and of course local contacts, if any!

There are a few important things that travel with me no matter what kind of a trip I go on- short or long ones. 
  • Medicines- the basic ones will always be there in my bag- gelusil, crocin, coldact, lomotil/loparet, karvol+,etc... 
  • Pads- it does not matter if I have finished my periods, I always carry a pack.
  • Hand towel and tissues- yes!
  • Socks- for shoes and for night 
Perfume- I invariably spray a generous amount on all my clothes when packing. So what I do then is carry a smaller bottle or vial for the trip. I also don't carry new ones, there are a few that I carry for travel, so those come in handy. 

Am not big on Accessories/cosmetics, especially make up stuff doesn't really appeal. I carry an eye liner, a compact and a few pair of earrings. Things that will go with any outfit, and I would be ok [ya right] if I misplace them! 

And then come the Gadgets - Mobile phone+charger, Laptop+charger, DSLR+Charger+USB cable, iPod+Charger... Phew, aren't these one too many? If am heading on a fun trip, I avoid the laptop [which means i also don't carry the camera USB cable] and if it is a short trip, then I can do away with the iPod charger as well. Sometimes I chuck the camera as well and make do with the phone. Less is more at times, right? I don't want to be worrying about all these things being safe... too much of a hassle. 

Next time you are planning a trip, do remember packing less, carrying less is always more fun!!

Put aside all your what ifs and worries, just go have a good time!