For the many thoughts that come and go unannounced and the ones which refuse to budge out of my head…

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The ‘Wild’ Side…


Animal spotting in a jungle safari at Jim Corbett, Uttarakhand. 🙂
Now if only I could spot a tiger or two in the ‘tiger reserve’, none-the-less, nature has just so much to offer, and this would just be a minuscule fraction of it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures by: Me.. 🙂

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To Chennai, With Love


This post was selected for BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday picks on 28th September ’10

It isn’t the best city in the country. The weather isn’t what I’d look forward to. The people aren’t all extremely welcoming or non-judgemental. But just four days in Chennai with K made it one of my favourite places.

The feeling started to crop in the moment I spotted that familiar face at the airport. K stood there looking through the glass, at a clumsy me trying to handle my baggage off the conveyor belt on to the trolley. Two years with K, and it still feels like love at first sight whenever I see him.

The tightest hug ever, dissolved all the little embarrassment of being spotted in a candid moment.

In no time after that we were in his masculine and rustic open Jeep (aka, his baby), driving around town to reach the hotel. K is a brilliant driver, and was probably also trying to show off his driving skills. And it did work, must say. 😉

The next morning we braced ourselves for an entire day at the video game parlour, ‘Blur‘ (yes, I love video games, I almost become a 10-year old boy when it comes to video games). Sometimes all you have to do to feel happy is bring back that childhood feeling of playfulness. K likes to believe that he beat me at bowling, his claim being that the one with the lower score wins, but I know I won, fair and square (and of course, fluke). It’s not really male ego, but more of the adorable-ness, I’d say. 😛

The next day we hogged on sizzlers and brownies. We aren’t the most dignified when it comes to food. And I’m not always the shy woman who doesn’t like to be a glutton in front of a man. If you’ve got it (the skills to eat like a pig), then you’ve got to flaunt it.

Sometimes I find little things like snuggling and watching a movie on a laptop and sipping coke, to be the most romantic things ever. ‘500 Days of Summer‘- not really the greatest movie ever made, but definitely one of the most enjoyable movies.

The day that followed, K showed me around (rather proudly at that) Loyola College. One of the most magnificent structures I saw in Chennai. I loved seeing that expression on his face, clearly saying ‘see how beautiful my college is’. 🙂

K’s Jeep is a sight in itself. Just driving around in it feels like you’re in a safari (not the SUV, I mean the one you do in a jungle).

My last day, involved us waking up at four in the morning and going to the beach to watch the sunrise. One of the most beautiful sights in the world is undoubtedly the sunrise/sunset. And when you have someone to watch it with, it just makes it all the more worthwhile. You can almost hear invisible violinists playing in the background.

A buffet breakfast at the Taj, was the best way to savour the pleasures of watching the sunrise, and a perfect way to end a wonderful trip. Next stop, departure terminal at the airport, and off to Delhi.

There is a lot more that I did in those four days and a lot more places that I visited, but if I start to pen down all of that, It’ll probably suck-up space sufficient for a hundred posts.

I did come with my set of apprehensions. I did have a lot of hangups about how the place and people here would be. But never did I foresee all the fun I had, and the happiness I brought back with me. I’m not very quick to love anything, but the place changed a little bit of that in me.

I may be biased because of K, but this was one of my best holidays ever. I may not remember it for it’s architecture, weather or people. But Chennai would always have a special place in my heart, for bringing back that childlike feeling of playfulness, for breaking barriers of our so-called societal norms and going on my own to meet my beloved, for giving me joy in the simplest things like the wind blowing in my face while being driven in an open Jeep and snuggling and watching a movie, and most of all for making me fall in love with K every day. 🙂

Almost Sunrise

Coffee and the Solitary Onlooker


Sometimes just drinking a cup of coffee in solitude gives you so much time to just sit and think, and moreover makes you notice so much. My day at Cafe Coffee Day today made me notice so many things and so many different kinds of people.

Cafe Coffee Day, Delhi

The moment I entered ‘Cafe Coffee Day’, I was enticed by the intoxicating aroma of coffee beans which immediately captured my senses and worked like a magnet and drew me into the divine world of the flavour of coffee.

The catchy burst of the vibrant colours of purple and red and the brilliant lighting brightens up one’s mood, contrary to the gloomy textures and dim lighting of the other ‘fine-dining’ restaurants.

The wooden panels and warm coloured floor added to the warm and welcoming ambience of the Cafe.

As I walked in to find a seat, I was greeted by the background music of U2’s ‘With or Without you’ playing like a nearly symbolic description of my presence in the place.

Coffee in its truest sense has many more connotations than merely being a refreshing drink. Coffee to many, is a form of refreshment, to others, it’s an excuse to socialise. It’s just the beauty of the word which can be used as many a parts of speech, a noun, a verb and an adjective.

As I sat on my seat in CCD (as we usually address it), I saw various people of the most diverse kind.

A waiter flocked around my table waiting for me to order. And to get my peace of mind and a clear view of the entire place and moreover to refresh my senses, I ordered a cup of my favourite Cafe Mocha.

There is never really an isolated reason for having coffee or so the people here believe.

I caught hold of the most centrally located table, being the only one vacant.

The first thing that caught my eye was the table right in front of me, occupied by a bunch of teenagers celebrating the freedom they just acquired after a month full of torturous exams. The noisiest of them all was ironically, a girl who was trying to hush anyone who was discussing the paper.

But there was genuine happiness on their faces. Even though they did not toast with bottle of champagne, they drank to life and to happiness with a cup of coffee.

Right in the corner was a couple, who looked much in love and did not care about the world around them. They had strategically placed themselves at the corner table sipping a blend of chilled coffee and chocolate from a common tall glass. Looking into each others’ eyes, they drank to love.

The song changed to Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’. Oh! The mysterious symbolism of music. The waiter brought my coffee and with it, the refreshing aroma of coffee with a hint of hazelnut.

At the other side, was a table occupied by two girls in their youth, engaged in therapeutic bitching and lightening their burden of frustration. They were getting happier by the minute as they ate a plateful of sin, the ‘chocolate fantasy’, and shared their bad experiences, almost competing with each other as to whose boyfriend was a bigger chauvinist or whose boss was a bigger bully.

The place was also flocked by the solo type. All around me, I could see tables occupied by a single person and that too of various kinds.

Like the workaholic type, who even brought his work to an innocent coffee shop. The type who came to drown their sorrows in coffee, probably because of a bad day or an ongoing bad phase, crying internally and trying hard to not let the waiter know what was wrong. The self-obsessed type, a woman who was sitting right next to a table beside the mirror. And finally, the type who just needed some time to them self, a middle-aged woman drinking a steaming cup of black coffee, and reading a book.

The song now changed to ‘Uff Teri Ada’ bearing no such blatant symbolic meaning as did the previous ones and my coffee was nearly half finished.

Right in front of me was a carefree, dating couple, quite evidently, well into the second anniversary of their relationship, not caring about what the other thought about the enormous amounts the other was consuming. Truly a ‘healthy’ relationship, must say.

Somewhere in the other side was a table with the most noisy and hence noticeable people, a bunch of girls celebrating their shopping bags. And admiring each others’ attire and nail-art.

My coffee was now over and so was my time. The song changed to the Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’. And as I walked towards the counter to pay the bill, the song made an imaginary me, sway in my head, adding to the miniature high coffee tends to give you, and the taste of the coffee lingered in my mouth.

As I walked out after paying the bill the only thoughts in my head were the ones about the various people who came to Cafe Coffee Day. They drank to happiness, to joy, to sorrow and to love. But most of all they drank to life.

The tagline of CCD is true to its word, saying, “a lot can happen over coffee”.

Just Looking Around in Khan Market…


I went.. I liked.. I clicked… 😉

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This is at one of the jewellery shops at Khan Market. I just love the vibrancy in colour…

Just hanging around..

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These are wooden logs placed outside ‘Zingrin’, the apparel store…

This 'wood' do..

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My friend, R’s idea, to click a picture through the mirror. I just love this idea. Makes me feel like I’m already in a frame…

Somewhere I belong.

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I kind of love the way so many magazines are stacked together on a single wall. And taking it in Sepia was just so that they look like one whole…

Taking a stand..

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And so much colour again. I simply love colour, especially in beaded bracelets…

Colour Crazy..

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One of the walls at Big Chill. I just love their concept of classic movie posters all over the walls…

Wall of frames.

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They’re jewellery and they’re music. Of course I would love bangles… 😉

The 'Bangles' in techni-colour.

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I think this was a great metaphor for term ‘Big Daddy’. I loved the unwittingly strategic positioning of both…

Big Daddy..

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And last but not the least. This was at another jewellery store. I loved this cluster. Gave the vintage look…

Hanging out again..

The Market Place-Sarojini Nagar


The Gullies of Sarojini

 

As I walked through the gullies (the best part about which is the face that they are exclusively pedestrian zones) of Sarojini Nagar (SN) market, the only thing which was in my mind was the fact that I wanted to write a blog post about a place I discovered in Delhi. And then it suddenly struck me, that SN market would be the ideal place for this post.

Even though I must’ve come to this place umpteen times, there is always something here, which one is yet to discover. So that’s how it came to my mind. Partly, because I had discovered a place, which is yet to be discovered entirely.

My journey into SN market started with a fight with the auto-wala who was all set to fleece me by charging an extra five rupees, merely because we were four of us, my school friends and I. But of course, Delhi-girls know survival skills like no other. We fought our hearts out and came from Chanakyapuri to SN market in a meagre twenty rupees.

The heat was scorching, but on this day nothing could come between us and our conquest over great apparel. We came with the motive of ‘shop till we drop’ and ‘shop till we drop’ we did.

We started our shopping binge from the interior gullies, popularly known as the fashion street. And true to its name, it did have some of the most fashionable clothes at the most reasonable prices.

The first shop we entered was so crowded, that we were unwittingly coming in contact with six other people, and a trillion types of microscopic bacteria, present in six different types of sweat.

We came out of that shop, with the fear of dying in a stampede. After all we don’t want to die so young.

The next shop we went to was comparatively less crowded, and we actually see beyond the topmost shelves. And there it was. The purple off-shoulder top I fell in love with, when I saw a similar version on a Versace advertisement.

I went close to it and touched the fabric. As I ran my hands along the fabric, it felt as though I was touching a feather. The colour suited me perfectly and the material was light enough for the summer heat. In a flash I blurted out the golden word to the sales man, “Kitna?” After haggling for a good seven and a half minutes the poor, harassed sales man was ready to give me a two hundred rupees worth top for a hundred and fifty. At once I stripped my wallet off a hundred and fifty rupees, feeling a sense of accomplishment for getting what I wanted in half the price.

We then walked further encountering a hoard of men trying to sell us, a bunch of four 18 year old girls, men’s’ leather belts, plastic table cloths, an old fashioned men’s sports shades, big aunty-ji vegetable bags and so on.

Aah… but finally there was one street seller, who actually caught our eye. Tray full of trinkets was what he had. Oh! How we jumped at the thought of getting the swanky shiny bauble in a mere twenty rupees.

We walked about the gullies looking at the array of colours all around and the amalgam of diversities blended together! The different colours were due to a broader view of the umpteen clothes, bags, belts, shoes, slippers, jewellery, toys, vegetables, stationary, books, paintings, and electronics. You name it, and it’s available at SN market. The present at SN market come from the most diverse backgrounds and belong to completely different walks of life.

At a particular shop, for instance, we saw a societal blend of all kinds of people. At just one point of time it had us (students trying to chase the latest trend), middle-age women trying their best to bargain, middle-aged women trying to prevent their daughters from buying a skimpy top, men trying really hard to be involved in their wife’s or girlfriend’s shopping, and so on.

The Outer market

 

As we walked ahead in the gully we heard the sales men yelling at ear-piercing pitches in sounds that made us wonder which part of the body they came from. The sound was a combination of, “sau ka do… sau ka do… sau ka do”; about a month old bollywood film song; “phipty… phipty… phipty…”; “madam aiye ladies’ suit, kurti, tops…”; and so on. Imagine what a chaos all this together would create!

Our tedious walk left us parched and starving. As we walked we encountered our life saver, ‘the banta-wala’, banta unbeatably being the best refresher during a hot summer afternoon. The banta felt like a cold water swimming pool in the middle of a desert. Every drop of the sweet lemon nectar trickled down our throat as though it were tickling the insides.

After that little refreshment, we regained our senses and as we walked down the gully, and our olfactory nerves were tantalised by the peculiar smell of SN market. Our assumption for the smell was that it was a blend of wet mud; newly woven cotton fabric; somewhere around the corner, it also smelled like a seldom cleaned public washroom; burning incense; wood polish and acrylic paint, near the furniture shops; leather polish near the bag shops; and so many more smells which we failed to decipher.

After we were done with a satisfactory amount of shopping, producing a bucket-full of sweat, we finally decided to go back.

While we were on our way out of the gullies we saw shopkeeper’s gathering their commodities and running around. Apparently, this phase is a weekly routine at the market and lasts for a maximum half hour. It happens when what is popularly known as the ‘committee’ comes to confiscate goods of those who are selling on encroached spaces. Some of life’s best lessons are learnt in daily situations like these. After the ‘committee’ goes the market immediately stabilises, teaching us that we must overlook hurdles in order to succeed.

We marvelled at how quickly everything came back to normal before we even found an auto. We gathered our shopping and approached an auto wala. We asked him to take us to Chanakyapuri and to our pleasant surprise he said, “bees rupaiya madam.”

As we sat in the auto, I thought to myself, what an experience it was, to buy clothes just by looking at the size, without trying them on; to get anything and everything in place; to harass a shopkeeper to reduce those five rupees; to feel a sense of accomplishment when we got what we wanted in half the price; and so on and so forth.

Initially, one might just condemn SN market for the unclean roads and the vendors and shopkeepers screaming out loud, adding to the increasing noise pollution levels in the city. But this market grows on you. There’s something about this place that absorbs you into it and which makes you part of the crowd but still sets you apart from it.

Crockeries on a Sarojini Street