The KalaGhoda Arts Festival is loved by every Mumbaiite and visited every year without fail. I am one of those Mumbaiites who never misses the festival. Here are excerpts from my visit this year.
I travelled to Dehradun last summer to meet my childhood friends whose parents are staying there and they all come together in the parents’ home every summer. We are family friends with uncle and aunty being very close to my parents, especially aunty and my mom.
When I thought of Dehradun, I was expecting a very scenic and pretty place. But it’s even dirtier, crowded and dustier than our big cities, hotter than Mumbai and Delhi, which was a shock for me. Just before my vacation, I had caught a terrible viral fever with fever ranging between 102-103. I had thought I would have to cancel the trip. But my fever went down and I took the trip though weak. The heat was unbearable to bear with my weakness, but I took the trip. i was meeting my childhood friends after 20 years, not something I wanted to miss out on. Some places I visited on this trip:
Tapkeshwar Mahadev Mandir
Tapkeshwar Mahadev Mandir is situated on the bank of the river. It has a cave with one of the oldest natural Shivalings where the river enters and the water from the river naturally falls in drops on the Shivalinga.
The small cave also has another history behind it. It is said to be once resided by Dronacharya – the teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas. The cave is named Drona cave after him. There is a statue of Dronacharya here, the only one I have seen.
There is also a Vaishno Devi Gupha Mandir which is an exact replica of the original. It’s very beautiful but a very cramped and tiny cave. Go inside only if closed places don’t scare you and you don’t suffer from claustrophobia.
Robbers Cave, Dehradun has a legend behind it that a long time back, robbers would come down from the mountains and hide in this cave from the police. It added the sense of adventure of the place for me. It is a beautiful cave with a stream and waterfall inside it. It should not be missed at all.
Forest Research Institute(FRI)
Forest Research Institute is an institute which researches on the preservation of trees and plants in that region. The entire complex has European style buildings and beautiful gardens in the french style. It is also the institute that served as the college in Student of the Year.
The only other place where I saw such beautiful Buddha Monasteries were in Bangkok. Dehradun has a lot of Tibetan influence in Dehradun. You must try the Tibetan cuisine if you go there, especially if you eat Non-Vegeterian food. The Wok and The Orchard have awesome food there. The Orchard also is located at a very beautiful spot. Go there in the daytime preferably, it has beautiful scenery around.
As you all already know since I have been boring you with posts about it, I have been watching the TV serial Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai. The show talks about the teenage love story of Sameer and Naina, Sameer starts getting close to Naina to win a bet and eventually realises that it is true love. He loses Naina when she finds about the bet.
Now the serial is at a stage where he is trying to win Naina back. The serial shows the real heartbreaking reality of breakups and how it affects the mind and heart. When Naina comes to know about the bet, she is an emotional wreck. Her anger, her pain will sear your heart. The way it is shown in the serial – nothing is held back. It is a complete raw depiction of what someone goes through when they are betrayed in love.
Nowadays, in movies and TV serials, it is shown that people move one easily after breakups which is not the truth in reality. That’s why love has become a very casual term and just a four letter word. This serial will show the harsh reality of the pain of breakups. It will shatter your heart, make you cry and realise how terribly painful breakups are. The youth of today need to watch this show. The transformation that happens in Sameer when he realises that he broke the heart of a girl who completely and unflinchingly loved him has to be seen. He can’t forgive himself. He has a strained relationship with his mother and he realises the truth of his mother’s words that he is not capable of maintaining any relationship. This completely changes him as a person.
Naina comes from a very conservative family where the norms are very strict for girls. But she is so much in pain and shock that she is beyond caring. She stops talking, eating, fights with all her cousins and is completely changed. She is eventually hospitalised and there her family shows her so much love and care that it is at that point that she realises that she is not only hurting herself but the people who love her too. At that point in time, she decides to put the Sameer chapter behind her, start smiling again and look happy for the sake of her family and concentrate on her studies.
What is our hero Sameer doing in the meantime? After losing Naina, he is completely quiet for the next few days. When Naina confesses her love to him, he is about to tell her the truth before he expresses his feelings to her. But the guys with whom he had kept the bet come and reveal everything to her before he can say anything. Naina confronts him and he is left speechless. She starts withdrawing from him. Unable to face her, he walks off. His close friends, Munna and Pandit, try to tell Naina that this isn’t true but seeing Sameer walk off, they follow him. What is the effect on Sameer? He goes completely quiet for two days, is unable to live with the guilt of what he has done and Naina’s tear filled eyes keep appearing in front of him.
Eventually, unable to bear it any more, he decides to ask Naina for forgiveness when he meets her at school next. When he sees her at school, Naina greets him with a big smile saying Hi Sameer, He is completely confused. He says,” I am sorry, Naina.” She asks – what for? He tries to bring up the topic. She says – I have no idea what you are talking about. She says – see you later, bye and walks off. That’s when Sameer realises that this isn’t going to be easy as she has cut him off emotionally. He realises that as easily as he had won Naina’s love, it will be equally difficult to win her love and trust again.
He makes numerous efforts but she is always smiling and normal with him and refuses to acknowledge that anything had happened between them, except for one scene where he corners her in school to say sorry. You have to see that scene to realise how amazing the serial is and what awesome performers the two actors are. The words that Naina says to him, the harsh truth that she puts in front of him hits him in the guts, he is unable to face this changed Naina but is determined to win her back, no matter what happens and how much ever time and effort it may take.
With this determination, I am completely sure he eventually will. But it is terribly painful to see both of them in so much pain. Now for the scene that I am referring to. I could not get the scene that I am referring to separately. I am including the link to the episode where he tries to apologise to her and how she responds to him. Do see it if you can. It is a beautifully made scene.
I am an avid reader and am mostly never without a book in my hands. Reading is my pleasure, stress-reliever and a source of great happiness to me. Hence, I don’t like to set a target of the number of books that I will read. That takes away the pleasure of reading for me and makes it a task instead of something that I enjoy.
2017 was a very eventful year for me as far as reading was concerned. I was introduced to a lot of genres and different types of books, thanks to a book group I am in on Facebook. It has really broadened my horizons and made reading even more fun and interesting for me.
The latest Indispire topic #Books2017 is a topic I had to write on. I have been introduced to an author I had never read earlier – Kristin Hannah. She is an American author who has won many awards for her books. A lot of her books revolve around the incidents that happened during World War II. The book written by her that really had a deep impact on my mind and affected me profoundly was Winter Garden.
The story starts with telling you about two sisters who are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. One stays at home to take care of her children and the family apple orchard and the other is a famous photo journalist, travelling all over the world. The two sisters are almost estranged from each other due to a very strained childhood with an emotionally unavailable mother, even though they had a very loving father.
The two women come together again when their beloved father falls ill and face their cold and unapproachable mother(Anya) again. The only connection that they have with their mother is a Russian fairy tale that she told her daughters at night sometimes, though always incomplete. On his deathbed, the father extracts a promise from their mother that the fairy tale will be told till the end this time. With this begins the journey into Anya’s past in Leningrad during the World War, five decades ago.
The fairy tale will tell you all – who Anya was, what she experienced in life, the truth behind her cold behaviour. You will be introduced to the completely raw, exposed face of Anna. The story will have you crying, break your heart, but don’t stop reading it. The end of the story is totally worth it. It will surprise you, warm your heart and make you cry again. This book is a must must read. This book was definitely my best read of 2017.
When I first started watching this TV serial, I never thought that it would have so much of an impact on me. I just started watching it as a sweet, simple show that was so different from the trash that we see on TV nowadays. The character who really touches my heart is not someone I had expected would, nor would anyone else I think. He is Sameer from Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai.
He is shown as a spoilt, rich boy who thinks he owns the world and everything in it because he comes from a rich family. He is also very good looking, so he has people swooning over him. With a combination of money and good looks, he is the hot favourite of everyone in school and everyone wants to be known as his friend. He only has two close friends in school. But he lets everyone think that they are close to him because he enjoys the attention. This was when the serial started.
But as the serial progressed, different layers began to be revealed of this spoilt boy and suddenly we realize, he is all of us. We hide our real self behind layers of arrogance, don’t care attitude, always pretend we are happy even if we aren’t because we are afraid of revealing our real selves to everyone and show our vulnerable side.
Sameer becomes friends with the female lead in the show, Naina, to fulfill a bet. Naina is a sweet, charming girl next door and definitely not the kind of girl that the flamboyant Sameer can imagine falling in love with. But he has entered into a bet with his friends that he will make Naina fall in love with him. He starts wooing her and slowly this seemingly simple girl starts to unravel this flamboyant boy and we are introduced to the sensitive, caring Sameer that he himself doesn’t know(or remember) as he has hidden that side of his behind layers to protect himself from being hurt by the world. She believes and sees the good in him when he himself can’t till he is completely exposed in front of himself and us as the wonderful person he is. Of course, he falls in love with Naina but realizes it too late and loses her.
We all have a Sameer in us who acts strong, uncaring, covers himself/herself behind layers for self protection, but is like soft clay in the hands of the right person. We think that the world will judge us if we reveal our real selves, so we keep a mask on our face for other people. Also, just like Sameer, many times we let our ego get the better of ourselves and set out to hurt someone or belittle them, take revenge to satisfy our false ego. Just like Sameer realised his love for Naina too late, we realise the value of something really good in our life only after we lose it.
He is a character I really identify and this was a realization that hit me yesterday. Of all the different characters in the serial, it is this supposedly black sheep of the family that has touched a chord with me and has suddenly become my favourite character in the serial as he is surprised at the decent human being inside him who is revealed to him by this simple girl. I am now waiting eagerly to see how he wins her love again and become the person he deserves to be before the world ingrained in him the feeling of being unworthy.
I was 11 or 12 years old when I came across her book in the library. I was entering my teens, going through the confusion of the desire to grow up and wanting to remain a child. Her book felt like a guidebook that I could identify with and it stayed with me in all my teen years till adulthood. Even today, the book is one of my favourites. The book is Little Women and the author is Louisa M Alcott. It was her birth anniversary on 29th November.
She was a woman well before her times and her books reflected that. Little Women is a book set in the 1800’s and is the story of four sisters and their journey of growing up from little girls to grown women, their trials and tribulations, their happy and sad experiences. It is a book ahead of its times, it shows a mother who teaches her daughters to be happy, contented and accomplished women whose only aim in life should not be to get a rich husband. She teaches them that a marriage should be based on love and not on material possessions. This book is set in the 1800’s where women were taught that marriage was the ultimate goal of a woman, this book has a mother who tells her daughters that she would rather see them as single, contented women rather than running around looking for husbands or marrying for the wrong reasons.
This book is autobiographical and has many incidents from Louisa May Alcott’s real life. The other refreshing part of the book is that she shows men as real human beings who cry, laugh, feel emotions and are sensitive. The book also shows the beauty of family life, celebrating togetherness and small moments making a home full of love which is better than a big house full of riches and all the luxuries.
This book is my guide and support even today and my go to feel good book and will be forever. I will pass it on to my nieces and daughters, if I ever have any and it will be their lifelong guidebook as it has been for me.
I have been wearing contact lenses for over 20 years now and I have heard a lot of people say that they find it tiring and a daunting task to wear and care for contact lenses. However, wearing contact lenses is better for your eyes as they provide better vision for the eyes, thus increasing eye health. In my case, I have Progressive Myopia and wearing contact lenses has helped stabilise my number a lot. In fact, my number has reduced in the last few years since I became more regular in wearing my lenses. So I am going to share a few tips to care for your contact lenses which will make it easier for you to maintain them.
Monthly Disposable Lenses are the best choice
In today’s polluted atmosphere and with all the dust and smoke that we face every day, it is no longer sensible to wear lenses which last a year or so. It is much more practical and safer for the eyes to wear monthly disposable lenses.
Handling the Lenses
Always wash your hands with soap and water and then dry them completely before touching the lenses. Never touch your lenses with wet hands. The bacteria in the water contaminates the lenses and makes them completely unsafe to wear. If you accidentally touch your lenses with wet hands, discard the lenses immediately.
Disposal of the Monthly Lenses
The contact lenses must be disposed in exactly one month from the date you took them out of the packaging. If you took a pair out of the box on 14th of a specific month, you have to dispose it off on the 14th of next month. Even if you haven’t used the lenses for a specific number of days in the month, the disposal date remains the same. You can’t extend the use of that pair by the number of days that you haven’t used them. It is detrimental for your eyes and can affect your eyesight in the long run. Change your lens case every month too when you are changing your lenses. Chnaging the lens case may not be mandatory but I follow it.
Usage of the Lenses
Never wear your lenses while sleeping as that blocks the air supply to the eyes and can seriously damage the eyes. However, there are specific lenses available that you can wear for 2-3 days at a stretch, even while sleeping. But, most of us live in very polluted areas. Hence, it is something I would never recommend. Always take your lenses off before you sleep at night. Never wear your lenses in the shower, especially while shampooing hair or washing the face with soap.
If you follow these tips, wearing lenses will be a breeze. Here’s to Happy Healthy Eyes 🙂
There isn’t one Indian whose heart doesn’t ache on hearing the name Jalianwala Bagh. For those who aren’t aware, here is the history behind Jalianwala Bagh in brief. General Dyer had heard about something major planned by the Indian freedom fighters. Punjab celebrates Baisakhi on 13th April. People had come together to celebrate Baisakhi at Jalianwala Bagh. General Dyer arrived there with the British Indian army and ordered firing at the people congregated there without looking into the agenda of the meeting. Innocent men, women and small children were shot at with machine guns. Many people jumped into the well there to save themselves. While British sources say that approximately 379 died with 1,100 wounded, the real estimate is said to be 1,500 people injured and approximately 1,000 people dead. This place has been turned into a memorial for those who lost their lives on that day.
When I visited Jalianwala Bagh, I was really appalled to see that people treat it as a picnic spot, taking selfies and picnicking there. It is not a picnic spot. Where is our sensitivity? Some pictures of the memorial.
Names of the people who died there.
The entry from where firing was done, leaving people with no escape route.
The well in which people jumped in to save themselves. 120 dead bodies were extracted from the well.
If there is anything Punjab and Punjabis are known for, it is their love for food. Amritsar is the perfect place to experience the culinary delights of Punjab. Be it their dhabas or restaurants, the food is rich in taste and aroma. My trip to Amritsar was very short because of some flight cancellations that happened from the Airlines end. But I still tried to experience whatever I could of the delicious food there in my short stay.
It is seriously a crime if you go to Amritsar and don’t taste their Amritsari Kulcha. So, on the first day that we landed, we set off to sample the food. We went to Kulchaland. The Amritsari Kulcha there is simply out of this world, floating in butter, melting in your mouth and transporting you to culinary heaven. Along with that, we had the Punjabi lassi(thin in consistency and rich in taste, the way I love it). If the lassi is too thick, I think it’s better to have shrikhand or dahi.
Feast your eyes on the amazing Kulcha and lassi.
The lassi looks thick because it has a layer of Malai on top, you can remove the malai or eat it separately and enjoy the thin lassi under it 🙂
The other thing that really delighted me was the variety of paan flavours available at the shop next to Kulchaland. I tried the Chocolate Paan, Rasmalai Paan, Imli Paan and Aam Papad Paan. I was not impressed by the Aam Papad Paan and Imli Paan but the chocolate and rasmalai paan were awesome. Unfortunately, I did not have time to go back and try the other flavours. Last but not the least, I have fallen in love with the Amritsari Mango pickle which mom bought there as she loves it and it has gained one more lifelong fan.
I don’t even remember from when it was my dream to visit Amritsar – it was a childhood dream. i have even lived in Punjab when I was really small since my father was posted there. Finally my dream came true in this month – November 2017. These will be a series of different blog posts as they won’t fit into one post. I start with Day 1 at Amritsar. This is the Golden Temple at night. There can never be a more beautiful sight than this.