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!! :)

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]

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Day out with Nature in Sikkim.... Part II

After spending a few hours near the river and grabbing lunch at Tenzing's farm, we were off to a beach of sorts. Along the way, we drove near a raging waterfall, that seemed to put even the Niagara falls to shame... The bends and curves on the raw roads had us holding on to our seats, and finally we reached a point where there was no road ahead... It was all water..

On the right was a mountain range and ahead was what the locals call "The beach". Came to know that there was a enormous landslide in 2016 which led to the formation of the beach. The Mantam landslide in 2016 has created an artificial lake in the river Rongyoung by almost blocking the river. A massive silt-sand bar has been formed which the local people call the ‘beach’ is what Tenzing told us when I probed. There was a also a bridge that helped people get to the other side which was washed away and now in its place sits a make shift metal bridge. So, people looking to go to the village beyond the river, come by car, get off where we had parked, on this side of Dzongu, walk through waist deep water, with coolies [ local boys who carry their luggage] , get into another car waiting on the other side in the sand and make their way beyond... 

Tenzing told us this is the beach, and we would be doing some fly fishing here. I was tad sceptical, considering the water was flowing albeit in a peaceful pace. But then, throwing caution to wind, decided to join the others, with the bamboo fishing pole acting as my third leg. The water was till my mid thighs [ am 6ft tall], so for Tenzing who is under 5ft, it was nearly chest high. The sand was white, with pebbles strewn all across [ from what must have been once been the river bed]. It was fun walking on the sand, enjoying the flowing river on one side and nothing but emptiness on the other side. We paused for a while along the water, when a cute pup came over to say hello.

Btw, on the other side of the river is the remaining part of the beach, and one can access it via the makeshift wooden bridge, and doing a bit of trek along the water.. I passed up on the opportunity and chilled by myself for a while near the water. Soon after, one of the girls came back and suggested we head back to the van, which is when we noticed the water levels had gone up quite a bit. It was now till my waist... We did see lorries/heavy duty trucks drive through the water to the road, dripping oil into the water, making it dirty... 

After an hour or so, the others returned and we made our way back to the property [with thoughts of the steps lingering in my mind all through the journey, but this time it was lot easier than the 1st two..yayy] Phew, what a fun day it had been~!! Talk about pushing boundaries and doing things I would never have gotten to do... 

And onto another story.... stay tuned...