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!! :)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Lost amidst Gods in Khajuraho... Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh

From Corbett, we headed back to Delhi as the next leg of our journey was in the other direction. We took the night train from Delhi to Khajuraho, went to a property near the station - Pace Resorts to freshen up before heading out to explore the town... 

We decided to spend some time soaking in the temples in the western side, there are about 11 temples within one campus here.. Bought the entrance ticket and then came the ordeal of dealing with a guy who badgered us about hiring him as a guide. He would not let go, so much so that after about 20mins, one of the girls said "chalo, lets ask him to take us around and then pay him what we think is fair"... The architecture, the intricate carvings and of course the grandeur of the place is what catches your eye as you step into the gates... 

Even though Khajuraho is known for the erotic sculptures, there is more to the place and even the erotic pieces tell quite a few stories... Since it is an ASI property, it is well maintained, with manicured gardens and plenty of benches to rest on, along with a small tea shop to refresh yourself. 

LAKSHMAN TEMPLE : This striking temple stands facing the giant Varaha Mandap. It is one of the three largest temples of Khajuraho and the western group of temples and is considered to be the earliest ( c.AD 954 ) built by the Chandella rulers. The temples faces the east and is dedeicated to vishnu, though it goes by a rather inappropriate name of Lakshman, the brother of Ram, the hero.. The temple faces the east and is dedicated to Vishnu, by a rather inappropriate name of Lakshman, the brother of Ram, the hero king of Ramayana. The temple is as tall as it is long, measuring approximately 25.9 metres in length. lt sits on a high platform which also has some interesting sculptures (royal processions, Court scenes) that you can see before ascending the temple stairs. 

KANDARIYA MAHADEV TEMPLE : While you may think all temples look the same, they store something that surprises you... This Temple is quite large and I would say magnificent, when looking at the details.. There is a small Mahadev shrine and the medium - sized Devi Jagdambi Temple, thereby accentuating its height and grandeur. 

DEVI MANDAP : Opposite the large Lakshman Temple are two small shrines. The one directly opposite is called Devi Mandap... The structure and cemented roof tells us it might be one of the newer ones.. 

VARAHA MANDAP : This Mandap stands on a tall platform, with a roof that is pyramid in shape capped with an amalaka and kalasha 

DEVI JAGADAMBI TEMPLE : One of the smaller temples in the campus, this one has a set of balconies, but only one mandap and no inner pradakshina path. Shorter in height, this and the Chitragupta Temples are quite obviously all about honouring love and conjugal harmony, with erotic sculptures of the divine couples and others depicting every mood of love. 

MAHADEV SHRINE : Between the Kandariya and the Devi jagdambi Temples is a small shrine called the Mahadev Shrine and consists of a small open - pillared porch and sanctum. A figure of the rampant lion fighting with a kneeling figure [the lion looks very different], presumed to be the emblem of the Chandellas, has some reason been installed in the porch. there are two similar rampant lion figures on the platform of the Kandariya Madadev and Devi temples.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Skies across Uttarakand to Delhi and beyond...

Some gorgeous images of the sky while up in the air and during the safaris across Corbett & Panna....

Sunday, December 23, 2018

My first real Safari- Jim Corbett National Park,Uttarakhand

From the word go, this trip was something I was quite excited about. I hadn't been to any of the National parks in the North, actually I hadn't done any Safaris yet.. We reached Delhi at different times on 2nd and met at A's place around evening, chit chatted a bit [ I was meeting the 3 of them for the 1st time, so there was some catching up] and then left for the station around 7pm. We were taking the train from Delhi to Ramnagar, which is few kms from the Jim Corbett park. 

After a good night sleep, I was up and ready by 5am as the train pulled into Ramnagar, Uttarakand. Woke the others up, grabbed our bags and headed out to look for some transport to take us to the property we were staying at- Corbett Machan Resort. Found an Innova taxi and within minutes we were at the resort. Checked into our room, freshened up and were ready by 5.55am for the morning safari.. Our jeep was there [ S had organised the Safari, booked them ahead of time through the contact she had and he was the one who was gonna be taking us for the Safaris.. The Cost was 20k for 4 of us for 4 safaris]

We were all bundled up, just that I hadn't carried anything to cover my head, and that was a big lesson learnt. The jeeps are the open kind, and it took me a minute to figure out how to haul myself into the seat, and thereon it was smooth sailing... The morning was cold, brrr cold, and there was mist dew everywhere... Add the open jeep setting and you get the picture right... hehe ..  All we carried along was our wallet, ID cards and camera apart from winter wear... 

After completing formalities at the gate, show your ID, Safari confirmation etc, we were off for our 1st Safari.. The girls were as excited as I was, and I was secretly hoping to sight a tiger...  

Jim Corbett National Park is India's first national park and known to be the most popular apart from bing the most attractive Park as well. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the midst of lush greenery and uneven mountains with varying heights, ranging from about 1300 feet to nearly 4000 feet. 

As we rode along inside, some parts were open with short dry grass, while others had trees and tall grass, and then there were some sections that had water flowing across... It was breath taking... The guide took different paths, zig zagging going left, going right, coming around and some more. It was fascinating.. And then came the part of spotting paw prints on the sand road, I learnt how to differentiate between male & female print, which direction they were headed at and if it was a new one or old one... 

The morning safari we did was at Bijrani Safari Zone was from 6am to 9.30am, and the evening one is 1.30pm to 5.30pm. The first morning, we sighted plenty of spotted dear, Nilgai, monkeys, few tuskers and plenty of exotic birds, but no tiger. Oh well, thats how it works... Got back to the resort, had a lazy breakfast, and chilled in our rooms a while. And by 1.30pm, we were once again ready and set for the evening Safari.  After about an hour or so, we reached a point at high altitude that had a watch tower, paused there a while. And then, we got off to explore another area when a jeep we met told us a Tiger had been sighted near the watch tower. So vroom vroom went our jeep, and we spotted quite a few others there as well. Joining the long line, a guide from another jeep told us a Tigress was lying nearly hidden in the grass.. And we all pried through the binoculars to spot her. I could make out her head and ears.. We waited, waited and soon she got up and started walking away.... 

Thinking she would go back near the watch tower, our guide zipped across and parked near a clearing. Within minutes, we saw the Tigress make her way, she literally walked straight towards our jeep.. Phew.. We were all standing, holding our breath, slowly pulling out cameras to click when we heard more jeeps pull in. She soon changed her path, and crossed our jeep and walked into the jungles.  She was Sharmili, a 12 year old gramma...I was shaking with excitement, and couldn't believe my eyes for a long while after she had gone...   The others were quite zapped that I got to see a Tigress, a head on during my 1st Safari.... 

After about half hour we were headed out when we heard there was a male tiger lounging at a distance. We could make out the body, but he was quite a distance away, at a height. Oh well, I was happy to have seen not one but two beautiful creatures within few hours. The next day we did 2 safaris, of which one was at Jhirna Safari Zone , but did not see any more tigers, just plenty of other animals and few exotic birds...  We did hear tiger growling, and a jeep that followed us few minutes after we got out told us they saw one cross their jeep .. Sigh!! It's all about timing and luck!  I did hear that Dhikala is the most popular, but we hadn't planned for Safaris in it... Always a next time... 

Tigress- Sharmili... [above 4 photographs]

 The Male tiger.

Lessons learnt from the Safari-- 
1. Carry extra warm clothes
2. Make sure to carry a cap/hat and another to cover your ears
3. Sunscreen lotion & lip balm
4. Water & snacks 
5. Camera and something to cover the lens [ cos the dust levels are crazy]
6. Sober coloured clothing- nothing bright/ loud/ shiny.. 
7. Socks and gloves [ if you are the kind who cant stand any cold at all] 
8. Plenty of patience!! :D

Website- http://www.corbettnationalpark.in/

Zones at Jim Corbett National Park-  Safari Zone, Bijrani Safari Zone, Dhela Safari Zone, Dhikala Zone and Durga Devi Zone... 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Round up of the trip that was.... Phew!!

This year has been good,  especially with travels. I began the year with a trip that was focussed on the Textiles and ended it with the majestic Bengal Tiger and plenty of history & culture.. The last trip that I took ended  on 19th Dec, and was spread across 18 days. Yep, it was probably one of the few long trips I have done [ the longest being my US trip last year for a whole month plus]. 

Sometime in November, I spotted a post from a traveller on the only FB group am active announcing that she & a friend were planning a trip to 2 National safaris and asked if there were others who would be interested in joining the same. Since I hadn't been to any of the National parks in the North, I replied and soon there was a Whatsapp group where plans were being made, and dates being finalised. There was quite a bit of juggling, dates changed, one person who was to join couldnt make it on the changed dates, another chimed in and well, enough to say the weeks flew by with details getting sorted out slowly but steadily. I must mention that the other 3 who came along were quite experienced in the Safari circuit, and so knew what it was about. I was a newbie, who was gung-ho about travelling and quite excited, since I dint know what to expect.... 

And around end Nov, the trip itinerary changed, it extended by 10+ days where two of us would explore the state of Madhya Pradesh.  :-) 

Finally, this is how the trip panned out.... 

2nd Dec morning- I flew out to Delhi
2nd Dec night- train to Ramnagar from Delhi cantt [ 4 of us]
3rd & 4th Dec- Corbett - 4 safaris [2 morning, 2 afternoon] [Stay at Corbett Machan resort]
4th Dec - Night train back to Delhi 
5th Dec- Spend the day in Delhi 
5th Dec - Night train from Delhi to Khajuraho [ 3 of us]
6th Dec- Explore Khajuraho and head to Panna [Stay at Panna Tiger Resort]
7th & 8th Dec- Panna- Afternoon safari, Night safari, and Morning safari 
8th Dec - 1 traveller was heading back home, and 2 of us were off to Orccha 
[Cab from Khajuraho to Orchha] [Stay at Betwa Retreat]
9th Dec -  Orchha sightseeing - Around noon we left to Jhansi by auto... Night stay at Jhansi [Stay at Hotel Bhundelkhand Pride]
10th Dec - Jhansi sightseeing and off to Chanderi, 2 nights stay there 
[train from Jhansi to Lalitpur, auto to bus stand and bus to Chanderi..Stay at Kila kothi, property near Chanderi Fort atop the hill]... 
11th Dec - Local sight seeing in Chanderi  
12th Dec - Travel to Bhopal- [Take bus from Chanderi to lalitpur, auto to train station, train from Lalitpur to Bhopal - Stay at Hotel Sangam, near the station]
13th Dec - Bhimbetka, Bhojpur temple, Aashapuri and back to Bhopal 
14th Dec - Travel to Indore, take the bus from Bhopal to Indore. [Stay at Ginger in Indore] - Night food market in Indore 
15th Dec - Omkareshwar - Maheshwar  & back to Indore
16th Dec - Ujjain - Explore Indore and chill in Indore.. 
17th Dec - wind up.... Fly out of Indore... 
                 I flew to Delhi.. Spent 2 days there and flew back to Chennai on 19th Dec... 

Phew! Well, now that I have gotten this out of the way, time to get cracking and do posts across the amazing places we explored. .. Stay tuned.... 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Of Flying & Airports...

I am always fascinated by people.. And my favourite hobby is to watch them, observe them... not stare or oggle- mainly at airports, train stations and bus stops... Some are anxiously pacing about, some are glued to the screen [phone or laptop] and others caught up with their kids [controlling them, making sure they are within eyesight range, or trying to feed them/change diaper etc].. You get the drift.

Now, over the last few years when I began travelling, I have taken flights quite a few times, especially when it was to the Northern parts of India or the handful of international trips I have done. In most airports, except one or two, the security check counter for women would be at the far end and just 1-2 counters. We would all rush, wait near the conveyor that swoops our hand bags away, making sure our bags don't go way ahead before we go stand in line for the security check. 

Before the actual flying..
During the last few flights I took, I have done more ground staff work than any of the ground staff at the airport.. I have told people to go put their phones, water bottles, shawls, wallets, handbags before coming to the queue.. In most places, there are no boards telling you to dump everything but the boarding pass when going through security check.  So, these lost souls will hold on to their wallets, purses, handbags, mobile phones,water bottles etc and then get sent back by the lady/guy at the booth, and go through the circle again.. clueless!! 

I wish there were sign boards telling people to dump it all.. with images of the things in case they cant read english/hindi/tamil/whatever other language is the local one...

I also wish the folks at the security check were more approachable & not so stiff [they are in most places, I get that their job is mundane and they deal with millions of people etc.. but still] ...

I wish people who are travelling ask others [either in their family/friends circle or the guards at the airport], gain some knowledge before they land up causing delays for others...

I wish most airports add extra check in counters for women, considering the number of women travellers is quite high these days..

I am not a pro, but I do pay attention and am constantly observing others, plus I don't hesitate to ask questions [no matter how silly or vital] while travelling.. It has always helped and the staff has smiled as I thank them and walk away!! This has made me confident while travelling and helped me help others... 

So, when headed for security check, 
1. Put your hand bags, no matter how big or small in the conveyor belt.
2. Remove laptop and place it in a separate tray 
3. Place your shawl/jacket in another tray
4. Do not crowd the area and wait for your bags to move ahead before heading for the queue...
5. When going into the security check area all you need is your Boarding pass.. 
6. You will get priority if you have a baby/toddler with you [ so move ahead]
7. Women & men have separate counters.. Pay attention and follow the herd... ;-) 
8. Within India, you can carry water bottles in hand baggage... 
9. Put your wallet, phone, passport/other ID cards inside your handbag when going for security check
10.  Wait for your bags to come out of the security conveyor and don't get antsy waiting for it... 

Boarding and Flying

These days most airports are "silent airports" which means no railway station like announcements.. So, do check the screens displaying departure details, note the Gate numbers.. Sometimes there are changes in Gate numbers which are shown on these screens.. 

Airlines also send SMS about flight delays and Gate changes, so check your phone.... 

When boarding, listen to the staff.. They usually board zone wise or certain rows, before moving to the next.. Give preference to people with kids, elderly and handicapped/physically challenged... Flight ain't gonna zip away without you, unless you are lost/busy in the duty free store/bar!! 

Once you have boarded the flight, just find your seat, make sure to make way for others.. Yes, I get that you have 35 small bags that need to be stored away, but it can wait a minute.... Sigh~ 

And if you have middle seat, but the passenger occupying the window seat hasnt come in yet [could be me], do not buckle up and get comfortable.. We are gonna need you to get up so we can squeeze in.. literally.. 

Also, do not do the "Do you mind sitting in the aisle seat, we are two of us but have this and that seat, we want to travel together.... ".. err, no, I refuse, cos I have fought for the window seat and just cos am single does not mean you bum me around... scoot over.. 

The arm rest is to be shared.. do not hog it and show face when our hand leans on it... 

Kindly do not lean over me to click a picture through the window.. If you ask nicely, I will do it for you... 

For those who use the restroom in the flight, and that is exactly when the staff are serving snacks.. Well, how about waiting wee bit so they can move so you go back to your seat? Most of them will prance about like their seat will disappear if they do not rush and grab it...

When the flight lands, wait a few minutes before turning on your phones.. jeez, you would think they would die if they don't see the whatsapp messages or call their whoevers.. 

When the flight has halted and you have reached your destination, wait up!! The doors shall open soon and you can fly out to the airport to relieve your bladder and wait for your bags...Shabba, how all the folks line up like the flight will take off to the next destination leaving them stranded.. this is not bus or train where you miss a stop ya.... 

Oh and when standing up, if your co passenger is still siting, make sure to keep your hands down, or folded, do not raise your arms, showing off your armpit and stinky BO is no fun for them... :/ 

Make sure to hold on to you bags and not cause harm to the person walking behind you.. Don't slam em with your backpack .. it is painful~ 

Psst.. Do not lean over and grab a sealed bottle of water from a seat ahead when walking out of the plane... You are holding up the line... ;o) 

Alright, off you go... Have fun travelling~!! 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

To travel or not...

If you were to fill a room with people, a random group of people and ask them the question "Do you enjoy travelling or not?", am sure you would get mixed responses.. Well, that is humans for you.. Each one has different thoughts, interests and methods of dealing with their life... 

When I asked a bunch of people this question, here is what some of them shared

"I love travelling, exploring new places, just visiting the popular sights in that place and coming back with stories.."

"I enjoy getting away, sick and tired of city life"

"I travel on work, and when am away, it is mostly airport hotel office and back. I pretty much live out of my suitcase"

"It is the only opportunity I get being physical and doing stuff, other than staring at the computer. So I plan a weekend trek and test my fitness levels"

"I enjoy running, and so I take my car, drive out to the nearest beach or mountain and run for a few hours... It gives me such a high"

"I dont really enjoy travelling. The thought of packing - my stuff, the kids, etc, is tiring... So holidays arent really holidays for me.."

"My holidays have all been planned by the husband and activities lined up are what he enjoys.. So, I just go along, pretend to enjoy.. Given a choice, I would just go to a quiet place, and unwind"

"My kind of holiday is staying at a resort, lazy lavish breakfast, swim in the pool and chill" 

"I love the hills and would ideally getaway and just cut off from the world"

"I don't travel, my idea of fun is to go to the mall, do some shopping or a movie"

"Travel - Goa, Pondy, Bangkok... these are the places I love... go, grab a few beers, some beach fun and find a hot chick.... *wink wink"

Well, what is your answer to the question? 

As for me, I love to travel - it is all about discovering new places, meeting people, learning about cultures, testing my limits with activities and spending time with myself above it all..  

I don't have a bucket list, but just hope to visit all the states in our country and few outside.. So far all the trips I have been on have been amazing, fun, adventurous and challenging...  

Most of my trips have been solo, and I honestly have no qualms about travelling on my own.. If you were to travel with a friend/partner/family/someone else, it becomes dicey..  You need to have similar tastes, mind set or one person hold the reigns and other tags along.. That said, I have done a few group trips, 2/3 times they were good, and I came back alive... :D 

The most recent one was with women I did not know- connected with one through a Facebook travel group, and the ball rolled on from there.. Met the others at Delhi, and we survived each others' company, had a good time and everyone went back with good happy memories.. 

Infact, one incident I remember from years ago was when my parents were desperately trying to get me married off.. There was this guy who came home with his parents, aunt- uncle and after a while,we were sent off to get to know each other..  After a few mins I realised this guy has lived his entire life in 5km radius in Hyderabad [ pre partition era], and hadnt gone out of that zone at all.. he was puzzled with what I did, he did not understand why I liked going out.. At the end of the day, things did not work out [doh] and it dawned on me there was a whole world of people who were content not stepping out of their comfort zone... 

Another incident was not so long ago, it was with a guy who was also from Hyd, had travelled once to Mumbai on work [ airport, office and back] and wanted to do a weekend away.. He had zeroed in on Hampi. When I asked why, all he had to say was "Friends have been there and said it is a nice place".. I quizzed him on his interests, if he was into history, heritage, and he had no idea about it, but was keen on going there.. We reached Hampi, did an hour around Vittala temple, and he was like "is this what the rest of the town is gonna be like? How boring...! He did grunt and moan when I said lets go to Virupaksha temple, but the minute we reached there, he halted in his steps and said "you go ahead, Its a temple, am not coming inside" Am like "Wtf dude...I have been to Hampi before, but then went ahead spent time wandering around...." The trip was cut shot and i literally couldnt wait to get on the bus and bid his horrible company good bye... Sigh! 

Well, I get that many dont like to travel or dont get why others do... it is perfectly fine if you don't enjoy travelling or haven't travelled much, just don't diss others who do things differently...  Do not tell others "whats the point, or why are you wasting money...." What people do with their time/money is their personal choice... 

Why do you travel or what do you do for fun?

Monday, October 15, 2018

The birthday getaway tradition...

A few years ago, I was on a road trip with a cousin of mine and it so happened that on my Birthday we were in Chidambaram. I got to visit the  Natarajar Temple and it was the 1st time I heard/saw the Chidambara Ragasiyam. Was quite an experience, especially cos we were taken around by a priest an aunt knew of. 

He infact gave us special permission to click some photographs of the outer area and pillars as well. It also happened that most friends had moved out of Chennai, and I was alone on the birthday, and sometimes even just cooped up at home, not doing anything interesting. It kinda got to me, and thus began the tradition of my Birthday getaways. Year on year, I make sure to be away from Chennai on the birthday, anywhere! 

Over the years, I have been on a couple of holidays around the birthday.. Once I was off to explore the towns of Tanjavur and Kumbakonam... That apart, I have done day trips to Pondicherry on the birthday [mainly cos I would not have had more than 2 days to spare]... Last year was quite amazing, since we were getting back to Delhi from Leh/Ladakh on the birthday and then I spent the day with a special friend who surprised me with a cake and wine. Each trip has been fabulous and filled with memories... 

And then there was the one birthday which had me puzzled only to turn out to become the best among them all.. August mid arrived and I knew I wanted to get away, but was confused. I spent a few weeks trying to zero in on the place, having discussions with friends until I finally cleared my head and made a decision. That was that, once the destination was finalised, I kinda knew it was going to be the one time I was ready to indulge, after all it was my special day! I spent 3 days near Kanyakumari [also close to Kerala border].. There was a property a friend had shared images of [must have been sometime last year] but it came into my mind, and that is where I was headed... secluded, situated around a lake, the property boasted of cottages that had the lake view, and the highlight was no cell service[ atleast no Airtel] but did have good wifi service.. I borrowed BSNL sim from a friend [just incase]... More on the property in a separate post... :-) 

I remember starting a discussion on the one travel group am part off on Facebook and so many responded saying they get away with a friend /spouse for their birthday/anniversary or have the custom of once a year trip somewhere special... 

What do you do for your Birthday/Anniversary? Any such tradition?

Friday, September 7, 2018

Interesting Encounters on the train -1

Train journeys are so much fun, especially if like me you travel alone.  You can sit reading a book or plug in your headphones and tune out the world. Another awesome thing about train journey is the opportunity to observe the world around you, the people who are waiting on the platform, the hawkers, the passengers, and the railway staff..

Many a times I tend to reach ahead of time, and will sit/stand near the train watching people around me. Some have a calm energy while others are nervous and fidgety, some prance about while others worry where their seat will be, and then there are those who are on the phone giving running commentary as they walk towards their compartment, down to the crowd related details and what they drank or bought. It is quite amusing, and entertaining. 

Decided to do a series on this.. Here is the 1st one from a recent trip.... 

This time, I was on a passenger train, an overnight one at that. Since it was a last minute booking, I got the absolute Last Side Upper seat, and well the train was full, so I had no choice. I was used to upper berth, just dint like the last one cos it is right next to the loo and the door, which people tend to keep slamming every few seconds. Sigh..

I settled into my seat, and dug into my box of salad that I had picked up earlier that day. I looked around and noticed a family of four make their way in-2 small kids, and 2 big suitcases. They settled in and no sooner did the TT come bearing news that they had been upgraded to A2. Poor guy had to lug the bags down 4 compartments while his wife sat with the kids and then they all left. Soon after came another family, a large one of about 9 members [ yes, i counted] included 3 kids- 2 girls and a boy.  I figured one guy was the kids' uncle, cos they were close to him and kept asking "mama for the phone"... One girl was whining to her mom that she had tamil exam the next day and dint want to go to school. 

The boy kept running up and down, bare foot that kinda got me telling him to wear his footwear as the train was dirty. They were all from Tirunelveli, and kids were going bonkers over the mobile phone that the uncle was holding out. There was another Malayali family in next compartment who got close to this lot and during dinner time they all shared food. [no I did not eves drop, they were loud enough to be heard and seen]

Around 9pm, at the station a girl hopped into the train with her father and took the seat next to mine. She was going to her college [Ayurveda college] at a town near the final destination. She asked me where I was from, where I was headed and how come I was alone [sans family]. 

This girl and the older girl from the other family started chit chatting with me.. They were both amazed that I was travelling alone and that too for a holiday where I was gonna be alone. 

Girl1: [from the earlier family] asked - unga daddy irukkara neenga pora edathula ? [was my dad waiting for me at the destination]
Me: no no, nobody is there
Girl 1: Then you have friends who are there?
Me - No, it is just me
Girl 2 [the other one travelling alone to college]- From Chennai you are going all the way to a place to be alone.. ? 
Me - yes. I do this regularly and enjoy it
Girl 2- Your daddy lets you go alone far away?
Me - Yes.. I don't need his permission anymore.. 
Girl 1's mom - You really travel alone?
Me - Yes i do :)
Girls and the mom - wow, first time naanga ippadi oru ponnu paakkarom [ first time we are seeing a girl like this].. they then share this ingo with their spouse/family who then smile at me and say "enna kannu, yen ma thaniya pora.. [why child, why are you going alone?]
Me - Pudichirukku [Cos i like it]
Girl1- *continuing with puzzled look * So, who is there where you are going?
Me- Nobody I know.. I go spend time on my own and come back to chennai..

The entire lot smiled and just shut up.. guess they were lost and dint know what to make of it.. 

# I realised they were unable to wrap their head around this concept of a girl travelling alone to do a holiday alone and was happy about it.. 

Ever had any such instances? 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Sharing travel stories...

Travelling is super fun, I love it. And even though I haven't  travelled as much as I would like to, am still glad I am doing what I can. I do manage to get away once every few weeks/months and go somewhere new. It has become a habit of sorts, I don't go back to the same place more than once unless the company requests, or if there is a new festival or event happening that I am keen on experiencing. 

I come back and am constantly sharing stories and my experiences with friends and family. Some are just plain curious, while others are the  "Oh I don't think am gonna go, but shall live through your experiences vicariously" and then there are others who wanna hear so they can compare stories ...  it is always exciting and fun, cos I get to relive my experiences all over again. 

About a month or so back, I got an email from The Soul Window and they wanted to know if I would be interested in talking at one of their events.  The Soul window is a travel start up, they are into providing experiences, and building communities through dialogues... quite an interesting duo... 

I was zapped, touched and overwhelmed when I saw the invite email. I wrote back asking them what the event was about, and what they were looking for from me. After a few exchanges, we decided to meet to see how we can take this forward. I met the two ladies from The Soul window, we spent about 4hours yapping about everything from the event to general travel and personal experiences and stories. Time flew by, conversations so interesting and fun, that at the end of the meet it felt like we had known each other awhile!

It was decided that they would roll out a Save the date, get people to register and we would have the event 2 weeks from that day. I put together a small note for them to use, and  we kinda chalked out a map for the talk…  The audience would be max of 10 people :-) 

The D-day arrived, it was a warm Saturday evening and I made my way to M’s house where the event was happening. I did not have butterflies in my stomach, but did wonder who would be coming and how it would be. A friend of mine also joined in, which was nice! Soon it was time to begin, and the next few hours just whizzed by.

After a round of introductions, I opened with 2 interesting incidents from my travels, and then spoke about how travelling happened, and has evolved over the years. There was plenty of interaction, comments, insights, and fun elements thrown in from the others who had come… We had coffee, some cookies and soon the evening drew to an end. The ladies gave me a personal Thank You note along with a book- Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen  by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From the event -

Videos [recorded by friend]