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!! :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Doors & Windows of Pondicherry

Earlier this year, during the day in Pondicherry, I walked around and clicked as many Doors & windows as possible. They have always fascinated me, the architecture, the style, the colours and the layouts. Here are a few from my collection. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thursday Challenge.. As the day breaks..

Theme for this week is "OPEN SPACE (week 1 of 2)" (Square, Courtyard, Mall, Field, Meadow, Clearing, Forest Opening,...)

Clicked this enroute to pondicherry.. we had stopped for a break, and i noticed the sun was just rising... it was a beautiful sight.. :-)

Monday, February 20, 2017

A day in Pondicherry with me - 6- The Fortune teller & his parrot

Of all the things I have come across during my travels, this was the last thing I expected to see. There I was lost in thoughts, walking along the road and what do I see- 

A man sleeping on the sidewalk. Nothing surprising about that, right? 
Well, he was using this box as a head rest.. Again, nothing unusual about that, right?
Here comes the twist, there was a parrot inside the box. 
Now, that caught your attention, right?
Looks like he is a fortune teller, one of those who uses a parrot to predict the customers' future. 
I also pondered about the paper he was lying on, it has this image of a happy child on it. Did he spend time making sure the paper was laid out in this particular manner? Or was it a random act? 
The parrot was pacing about inside the cage.. wondered if he was hot or hungry.. Anyways, not  wanting his privacy I walked on...  

I have seen these before. The parrot steps out of the cage when he lifts the lid, struts over to a pile of cards, picks one from the lot and hands it over to the fortune teller
He in turn, opens the card, shows the image and then goes on to share what lies ahead for you... 

I dont really believe in these- and am always curious as to how the bird seems to know what card is meant for you. Sometimes it picks the one right on top, and other times it will kick aside many before settling on a card. 

I guess this fortune teller was resting his eyes for a while, since it was off season and not too many customers around. During weekends and holiday seasons, you will see quite a few of them, including Kuri josiyam folks walking around the beach area. They will try to lure you to take them on by saying you have the face of Sridevi or Mahalakshmi or your future is bright.. I have tried this once, the lady went on to say "Pay if you feel I was right".. Some of what she said seemed true, some very generic. 

Coming back to that day in Pondicherry, I paused, waiting to see if the guy would wake up so I could chit chat, but he dint. I walked on and let him catch some sleep.. 

Passport renewal & Address change

My passport expired early last year and for some reason I dilly dallied about the renewal .. Don't ask me why!And when I finally got around to it, all it took was a few minutes to fill out the form, figure out a day for the appointment at the Passport office and 10 mins to complete the process. Following it was the shortest wait ever, even my Amazon orders take longer. The new passport was in my hands in less than 3 days... 

I had to renew my passport and also do a change in address. It was currently in my grandparent's home address, I was changing it to my parent's house address [which is what I have used in all my other ID documents]

The Steps involved 

Step 1-

Visit Passport Seva Online Portal and click on "new user, Register now" if you are here for the 1st time, else use "Existing user?Login". Make sure to remember your Login details - write them down somewhere or mail it to yourself.

Step 2-

Click on "Apply for Fresh Passport/Re-issue of Passport" link.

Step 3-

Fill in the required details in the form and click submit.

Step 4- 

Documents required for reissue - this differs based on the category you are applying for, so make sure to read the list and various categories before making copies of the same. [There is no need to upload them online as you have to carry the original along with a copy when you go to the office for the renewal appointment] 

Step 5 -

Click the "Pay and Schedule Appointment" link on the "View Saved/Submitted Applications" screen to schedule an appointment. You will see a table with list of centres in your city along with the Closest dates available.Else, you can click on the calendar and choose a date convenient to you along with the time slot. You can check for Appointment availability here

Payment options:
Online Payment has been made mandatory for booking appointments at all Passport Seva Kendras/Passport Offices.
Online Payment can be made using any one of the following modes:
   Credit/Debit Card (MasterCard and Visa)
   Internet Banking  

# Fee calculator- This again depends on what your issue is. And if you are requesting for a passport with 60 pages, the rate is different from the smaller booklet. Check this page for the same...

Step 6 -

Check your email and SMS- Once you are done filling out the forms, making payment and choosing the date of your appointment, you will receive intimation via email and SMS as well. It will also send you a reminder about half an hour prior to your appointment. 

Note: In case of doubts, do read the "getting started" section on the website. 

Step 7 -

The Appointment day- On the date, make sure to reach the Passport office atleast half an hour ahead of your scheduled appointment. 

Why? This is to the person at the counter can check your documents and make sure they are all in order. 

What documents? - The ones you need to carry for your renewal - Refer to Step 4 above. 
[Link -http://passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/docAdvisor/reissuePassport]. Do remember to carry your old passport as well. 

What next? - Once you are cleared, the person will ask you to move to the next counter where you will be given a small slip that has your token number on it.  You take the slip and your documents and move into the main area.

What happens there? 

  • There are 3 sections you need to go through before you are done. A, B and C. 
  • You visit A section and relevant counter when your token number flashes on the screen.
  • The person at the desk will examine your documents, take your signature, do biometrics [ finger print of both hands] and take your photograph as well. 
  • They will then show you the screen with all information. Make sure to check and edit if any changes required. 
  • Once cleared, you go to next section and wait your turn there.
  • This is done twice more till you reach C section where they sign you out and give you the slip [given at the initial counter]
  • Near the exit is another smaller counter/booth of sorts. You give them this slip, they tell you if there is Police verification or not and approx how long it will take to receive your new passport. 

Step 8 -

You will receive an SMS once you reach this phase, and updates as your passport is printed and despatched. The 1st sms will contain a 15 digit number, which you need to quote to the mailman/woman when they come to deliver the new passport. 


Voila, you are done!! Time to plan your trip and pack your bags... Hope this helped.. :) 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Skywatch Friday... A day in Pondicherry with me - 5- Soaking in the sun

Bharathi Park and Aayi Mandayam are places that I end up spending some time in every time I visit Pondicherry. Infact I have done a detailed blog post on this place sometime back.. This time, during my solo trip too I spent quite some time walking around the park, generally people watching and lost in thoughts...

Post on Aayi Mandayam

Thursday Challenge- A day in Pondicherry with me - 4- The Roads

It is a a 162-year-old heritage monument  situated right in the middle of Bharathi Park. The path leading to the monument are cobbled style and the place is quite beautiful. 

This historic monument, which was infact made the official emblem of Pondicherry, the  Union Territory, was erected during the period of French emperor Napoleon III as a tribute to commemorate the efforts of Aayi, a courtesan, who razed her house to build a tank thereby providing drinking water supply to this former French outpost.

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday ... 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Foreign tourists will now get free, pre-activated SIM cards on arrival in India

[Image courtesy: http://indiatoday.intoday.in]

I remember the time I landed in Sri Lanka, my very first international trip. We went through towards Immigration, where after checking our passports, while handing it back we got a small package as well. When we got out we opened it to discover it was a Local SIM preloaded with 100LKR [Sri Lankan money]. 

It really did make a difference, especially since I was travelling abroad for the 1st time and was unsure of what the process to procure a local SIM was. The trip was for 6days and while most hotels had free Wi-fi, what about when we were outside, wandering about. How does one keep in touch with their family or fellow travellers? I had activated roaming on my phone, but knew that was bound to be super expensive and I had told myself and the family I would ping once in a while or best would be leave them an email when I could. 

On the other hand, when I landed in Bangkok, it was all hell break loose.  Had a tough time figuring out where to go to buy a local SIM, the lady at the counter knew not a word of english, I did not understand the prepaid Plan and well, just picked up one and hoped it worked for the duration of the trip... 

Today morning woke up to news that the government will now issue pre-activated, free SIM cards to those visiting the country on e-visa. .. Yay!! Such a brilliant initiative...  Admit it, we all need our phones all the time- either to check maps or stay in touch with friends/family, obtain information off the internet, download ticket from emails and so on. 

The SIM cards will initially be provided to all foreign tourists arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. It will then be extended to 15 other airports in the country that have provisions for e-visas. As of today, about 161 countries have the option of obtaining e-visa when travelling to India.
 This initiative has been launched in association with BSNL, who will be providing SIM cards with a preloaded talktime of Rs 50 and 50 MB data for data/internet on the phone. The personnel at the counter will collect a copy of the e-visa and the first page of the passport before providing the SIM card. 
BSNL is intact one of the few service providers who offers connectivity in every nook and corner without any hassle. This is going to make travelling within the country easy for foreign travellers, especially those travelling for long periods of time. 

Thursday Challenge- A day in Pondicherry with me - 4- The Roads

A day in Pondicherry with Me- 3- The Museum

Ah, it had been one fabulous day, well, a few hours actually. All I did was wander about, read a book, have some breakfast and explore the town that I was so familiar with. I did not call my uncle/aunt to enquire what they were upto, heck I did not call anyone. 

It is so exhilarating being on your own. No agenda, nobody nagging you, above it all, it gave me a sense of being free. Not that am in shackles otherwise, but you get the drift right? I have always been one to enjoy my own company, I can go for hours without meeting/talking to someone else and it has always bothered me that people assume am alone and lonely, ergo must be miserable/sad. Nope. Honestly speaking there have been very few circumstances where I have felt lonely, and that feeling passes as quickly as it sets in. 

I did do a spot of shopping, picked up some knick knacks for the family and friends. Thats about it. While walking around Pondicherry town, I did manage to observe a lot more than I have done on my earlier trips. The roads were pretty barren, considering it was a week day and early hours. Made it all the more exciting for me :) 

 Inside the Bharathi park..

Along the beach..