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Posts from the ‘Holiday’ Category

About Random Things…..

I am trying once again to be diligent again about my writing/blogging! In the last one and a half year, which has been tumultuous to say the least, writing in any form and through any channel has taken the last priority on the list and while I have been aware of it and made several attempts to start and restart, it’s not been a wholly successful attempt. But this time I am determined and despite no near easing in site of all the ruckus that has infiltrated my life, I will make sure that I once again go back to the pattern of posting atleast  one post a week !

For more reasons than one, this week has not been conducive to reading, so for today, there can be no literary post. It was Diwali here in this part of the world, and it was a week of deep cleaning, gift buying, cooking traditional food and visits to friends and family! However now that the Diwali dust has settled, I do plan to get down to some serious reading, even though time may be limited. I recently enrolled into a Design Thinking Specialization with IHC Paris and the course work looks murderous; however this is yet another thing that was pending for long, in my list to dos and the sooner I get to it the better. Therefore I continue with the policy of making no serious reading plans. However I did sign up to buddy read with Cleo, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton in November and I am looking forward to it! It’s a re-read but I do love this work by Wharton; in fact I love this novel, more than her highly acclaimed Age of Innocence. Further more the event is hosted by my partner in all reading crimes, my crazy soul sister with a golden heart, Cleo and no way am I letting her do this, without me! There is also Brona who is also hosting AusReading Month and then there is Non Fiction November; if I could combine the two, that would make for another perfect read! (Brona, HELP!) I may also have a short trip planned into the Himalayas later in November, and that for sure is something I really looking forward to!

All in all, a busy month beckons as Autumn, gives way to Winter in this part of the world and I hope, this change of season, brings good things to all our lives! I leave you with some sights of Diwali, in and around my world!

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Wandering Around….

This post has been pending since December; however life got a bit snarky lately, with my father being diagnosed with some neurological complication, third day into the New Year and life since then has been hospitals, Medicines and Doctors! Immediate relief does not seem to be in sight, so we all have to get on with life and make adjustments as we go along. As part of getting along, is to try and do everyday things, including reading, which naturally slowed down and blogging , which for a while has been next to nothing! So we move ahead and I share with you some pictures from my exploring Old Delhi in the Winter of December 2017!

Old Delhi also known as Shahjahanabad, a Walled City was built by Emperor Shahjahan (The same chap who built Taj Mahal) between 1638 to 1649 and was then named the capital of The Mughal Empire! The main buildings of importance were/are the magnificent Red Fort, the Jama Majid  (the royal moaque) and the Chandni Chowk Bazaar (Market)

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We started our tour with a visit to the  Gurdwara Shish Ganj Sahib; Gurdwara is a place of worship for the Sikh Community and this one is one of the oldest and most famous temples. It was constructed in 1783 to commemorate the martyrdom of the nineth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur who was beheded for refusing to convert to Islam by the then Mughal Emperor Aurganzeb (son of the said Shajahan)

We then wandered around the maze of Old Delhi soaking in the sights and sounds and food of the city including the famous Parathawali Gali and of course posing for lots and lots of pictures! Parathawali Gali started off in 1875, this street is famous for Gourmet Parathas, stuffed fried bread filled various fillings from gramflour and spinach to cauliflower and potatoes to sweet fillings like jaggery and rabri ( a sweet made of milk).

 

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One of the most awesome visits was to the Chunnamal Haveli, a preserved old courtyard style mansion of the bygone India. Said to built around circa 1848, this house belonged to one of the foremost business of 19th century India. Till very recently, the Haveli was completely accessible to all visitors but recently due to safety concerns only part of it is open for view.

 

Our next stop was at the Jama Masjid, or the royal mosque was again built by Shahjahan circa 1650 at the cost of atleast a million rupees per historians. The Imam of Bukhara in modern day Uzbekistan, and said to be the homeland of Mughals, was invited to lead the religious services. Till date the descendants of the same Imam continue to lead the prayers at this mosque. Made of Red Sandstone and marble, it combines some of most symmetrical architecture with aesthetic carvings to make it a beautiful, lovely and peaceful place to visit.

 

Come evening, we decided to go for the wonderful with a light and sound show at the Red Fort, which beautifully portrays the history of the city of Old Delhi. Red Fort was built as the imperial fort of the Mughal dynasty when Shahjahan decided to move his capital from Agra to Delhi. Built in Red Sandstone, it became operational around 1639 and is today considered a part of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The evening finally ended with dinner in one of the oldest restaurants of that part of the town with more Mughal Cuisine than can be humanly consumer (but was consumed neverthless) and some more sights of an old city now lying serenely, but somehow still majestic.

 

To end, I would just want to quote, Mir Taqi Mir, one of the foremost poets of Shahjahanabad and one of my personal favorites –

Dilli ke na koonche the, aura kn musafir the,

Jo shakl nazar aayi tasveer nazar aaye 

(Delhi’s streets were not alleys but parchment of a painting, Every face that appeared seemed like a masterpiece)

Photo Curtsey, the incredible talented Saahil Kapoor 

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All About The Absence

Hello! Hello! I know I have been away for nearly two weeks without a word, and some of you have been wondering where I have been! To begin with, a big Thank You to those who have been checking up on me; I really really appreciate the concern and feel blessed to have people who watch out for me!

I was away on a road trip all across what is considered the Himalayan Desert at about 15000 ft from the Sea Level. The region around 10th century used to belong to the then Tibet empire and still retains many of its culture and practices, which are especially evident in the Monasteries that are dotted all over the region.The place is called  and is a unique natural phenomena of a desert at a very high altitude,  located in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. “Spiti” means “The Middle Land” in Bhutia language, i.e. the land between Tibet and India.

While Spiti River surrounds the valley, the region is in a rain shadow area and is devoid of the lush green vegetation that usually forms the landscape of the Himlayas. However the barren brown mountains in the backdrop of the clear and deep blue skies are absolutely awe inspiring and in their presence you are intensely aware of a power at work, which is much greater than those of the mortal man. And then after range and range of imposing brown mountains, there would be flash of green and all kinds of wild flowers and it would seem like some one had taken a crayon and painted the whole natural canvass.No wonder, Buddhist monks chose this region to deeply meditate and some of the most powerful monasteries of the Buddhism is located here!

I took this trip again with the absolutely brilliant Shibani and her team at Wonderful World and only they could have managed to infuse a sense of comfort when the conditions were anything but, provide luxury when none existed to begin with and ensure we get a feeling of truly experiencing Spiti and her culture with a well thought through and extremely considered plan. For 10 days, managing 12 women across adventurous terrain, Wonderful World, this time led by Pooja Sharma, ensured that we all got to do what we wanted and keep calm in face of crisis including when my flatmate and cousin decided to take photos anywhere and everywhere  delaying the scheduled arrival time. Pooja was also wonderfully patient in helping me navigate some of more challenging trails, which became challenging thanks to the 224lbs that I carry with me! This team remains a girl’s best travelling companion!

This trip was not meant to be  relaxing vacation, a day at the resort; it was arduous and difficult. Every day we would drive about 8 hrs or so and then hike some more km. As the altitude increased, air became thinner and simple tasks required more effort and sleeping at a different place each night and living out of the suitcase for 14 days was anything but easy! But this was one of those truly life changing epic trips and the majesty and the brilliance of the landscape sears your soul, until you find yourself introspecting and come away with a heightened awareness of self and the surroundings!

I know I will go back there and at some point, move to the valley to spend the rest of my life there. Until those grand plans materialize, I leave you with some pictures of its grandeur!

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P.S. None of the photos have been Photoshoped and the play of colors and shadow that you see is a complete natural capture!

Ideas on December, Holidays and Reading…

Ahh…December is finally here!! My favorite month of the year…the holiday season, the hopeful season (for the New Year is about to start and you can make all your plans here and now!!) and of course my birthday month! Undoubtedly the best month of the year!

Naturally this month being so awesome as is deserves an awesome reading plan, especially with a two-week long and lazy winter vacation! Therefore as I mentioned before, I have dubbed this month this month as I-Will-not-finish-the-year-without-finishing-these-books-self-event. It means that I will read all those books I have planned to read through the year but did not due to work, Reading events or because another book came up, I could not get around to them!

Kickstarting this month are two books which I think I have mentioned in my TBR for at least 4 month running but not gotten around to reading them – Michelle Lovric’s “The True and Splendid History of the Harrington Sisters” as well as Susan Howatch’s “Penamrric”. Finally I have started reading them!! Yay!! Also inspired by Stefanie’s re-read, I began reading “Emma” by Jane Austen and the book has such a Christmassy flavor to it with snow, fires and wonderful dinner parties that it seems like a great book to read now. I also have to finish Henry James’s “The American” and Mark Twain’s “Innocent Abroad” as a study in contrasting genres with similar subject written during same period. I am absolutely devoted to Anthony Trollope and Jane has posted such wonderful things about the Palliser Series that I have decided to read “Can You Forgive Her?” and “Phineas Finn”. Jane brilliant review on L.G. Montgomery’s “The Blue Castle” made me add it to the holiday season reading pile. Also in for indulgence of my Historical Fiction obsession a little more I have plans to read Sarah Water’s “Affinity”. Finally I have not read any plays for some time, so December is a good time to dig in and read G.B. Shaw’s “Selected Short Plays”.

As part of reading events, I am readingMy Antoniaby Willa Cather both as my Classic Club Spin #8 and Ali’s Willa Cather Reading week. Also reading (Sigh!) and I cannot believe it is Daphane Du Maurier’s “Jamaica Inn” as part of Goodreads Women’s Classic Literature Enthusiasts.

That’s my plan for December….considering it’s the holiday time, I am sure I will read a whole lot more but because it is my I-Will-not-finish-the-year-without-finishing-these-books-self-event, I keep myself open to reading whatever comes along!!

The Vacation Finally Cometh…..

Finally vacations here….I can’t believe it actually here and by the time I can actually believe it, it will be 6th January and back to work! (They should have back to work stationary like they have back to school stuff! I know I get a whole new set of notepads, writing books, pens and sticky before I commence work every New Year…but it would be really awesome to have a back to work stuff! It will be a perk us up for Monday kinda thing!) Anyway, 6th January is mercifully away, and while I acclimatize myself to a very short vacation, it’s time to kick back shoes and let my hair down and have FUN FUN FUN!!!!

Every year during this time of the year, I go back home and to the old rambling house that my parents live in. But this year, due to one reason and another, I ain’t making the homewards journey. While there is no denying I will miss the traditional gaieties of the year, there are consolations to be thought of and plans to execute.

Presenting to you my top 5 holiday activities –

  1. Get the house back in shape – lately I and my roomie have worked so hard that the house is in a mess! It’s a wonderful apartment, nestled among low hills overlooking stretch of green fields and while commuting back and fro remains a challenge besides the godforsaken earth shattering rent, the fact is it’s a great place and recently gone to bits! So doing up the house is on the agenda big time – thanks to Stefanie I have planned a terrace pool as well some lovely wall hangings which have lain around for ages!
  2. Writing – Have not picked up the pen and paper, er…ok! Hit the keypads on the word document in a while and it’s as good as a time to make up!!! I am going to write once again diligently for the next two weeks, even if it’s only for a couple of hours!
  3. Transfer music to IPOD – There are some old classic CDs lying around that I have been planning to convert and transfer to my IPOD FOREVER…simple task but no idea why I never did it!! I will get that completed for sure or blast!
  4. Read – Goes without saying….what else is the point of vacation if one does not read. The List is long and varied. Some of the top to be read for these holidays are – War of Roses by Conn Iggulden, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (yes! I am on LTR re-reading trip!), Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, (part of my December Classic Spin) Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Kashmiri Shawl by Rosie Thomas, and The Murder at Sissingham Hall by Clara Benson. I am also participating the readathon for The Classic’s Club Annual Readathon event on 4th January but have not decided on the book as yet! (Feel free to suggest!)
  5. Party – Loads of parties lined up – kicking off with my birthday eve party tonight (I know I am too old for it, but for some reason I never had a party when I was young, so I guess I am making up for lost years!) an awesome Christmas eve party and a potential getaway for the new year!

The calendar is packed and so are my days and night and though I am doing the traditional going home this year, I think I will have oodles of fun! Will let you know on 5th January, how the time had flowth! Until then, here’s to good cheer…vacation is finally here!!

All About Nothings and Somethings….

As God be my witness, this year has been super crappy; even the bubbly me hangs her head and sighs when I look back on this year and see the misses –

  • Got unceremoniously dumped! (Yay!)
  • Much awaited Promotion did not happen and in fact went to an office slacker
  • More rejections on publishing front
  • More financial strain due to some unforeseen expenditure by parents

So really, on this glorious gratuitous day, I sit back and think, well do I really have anything to be thankful for? I mean my God seems to be on vacations here…..

But then is life really that bad???? Yeah! Pretty Much!!!

However I can still hang on and that in itself is a cause for celebration! Besides, it is absolutely ungrateful as my flatmate tells me to forget all the brilliant things in my life just because some setbacks.

Therefore, here’s to being grateful –

My people – family, friends and more who stood by me and held me through some fun adventurous nights (irony intended)

My books – Oh! Such joy to just read through the night; to escape to a world where life is so much better and see things in a different light!

My blog and followers – The joy of coming home and seeing a like/comment or a follower – only a blogger would know the high of that comes of it! Besides, so many people whom I call friends, I have met thanks to blogging – could there be a better incentive than that?

My Job – I cannot believe I wrote that! But let’s face facts – there are plenty of people out there in the world who would kill for a job like mine! Comfortable, secure with a lot of job satisfactions – I mean the Project Manager me quite likes doing Projects!

My Hope – I know this is intangential, but I cannot imagine living through my life without any sense of hope! I felt like that for a couple of days and they were not good – felt like I had lost all sense of joy! As long as I have the sense of hope I know I will survive, no matter how low life gets!

On that brilliant philosophical note, I end this blog!

A very happy Thanksgiving to all of You, regardless of whether you celebrate this day or not! You have no idea how much you’re reading through this or stopping by my blog means to me. Thank You for being a part of this adventure with me!

Sigh! Sneeze! Woes betide…grief is me!!!

I cannot seem to pull off a chirpy note today! I cannot seem to pull out an intellectual note….I cannot seem to pull out any note! The reason…sobs!! I have fever, again!!!!So far, out of 12 weeks of 2013, I have had fever on 10 of them…statistically not very good! Doctor says exertion! Well cannot stop working in the crazy industry I am in; since there are bills to pay and some publisher has to decide what a gold mine I am …the next Nobel and all that!! So I continue to work 15 hrs a day in the crazy financial industry for …well yes Peanuts and now clear ill-health as a bonus!

My best friend thinks this is psychosomatic. I do not like staying away from my guy (I must stop calling him my guy and come up with a name…sounds very “babe’…I do not like being called that one bit…I am sure he would not therefore like being called “My Guy“, especially as we work through his official commitment issues…more on that later!). So back to the original plot,  let call him Mr Freesoul for now, so Mr Freesoul spends Friday and some part of Saturday diligently with me and our common friends; the remaining Saturday with his friends and Sunday, tinkering with his car and visiting his parents! (He is not such a good boy as this makes him out …he just visits his family on Sunday for fresh laundry and to make sure they cannot complain about not seeing him or him not calling them through the week!), so anyway, my best friend thinks this is just my angst of parting with him, which is not true! We both value our space and I agree I have to be more tolerant with his space than he has to be with mine; but I made that choice and I was aware of it….so really I am cool and read the first half – he spends Friday with me and part of Saturday and oh! By the way, did I tell you we work for the same organization? I am not exaggerating when I say that we see ENOUGH of each other!

So really, what is matter with me….I think I am bored out of my senses with the mundane and everyday…oh! I know I have my high and lows, but really between a stressful job, a non-existent literary career and a freesoul….I need a vacation…maybe a two month-long vacation in Tuscany! In the meanwhile, while I plan my travels, become size zero, resolve Mr Freesoul’s issues and publish an award-winning novel that will allow me to quit my power job, I will settle for this!

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I know I have really rambled on today! I promise to make my next post more erudite and humorous….until then bear with me and accept my apologies for inflicting you with my overfried fever burnt brains!

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