Dehradun

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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

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Robbers Cave

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.

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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.

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Buddha Monastery

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.

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Together – The Journey of Friendship

You could be heart-broken, may have lost out on that long-lost promotion, may have had a bitter fight with your parents or you may be just feeling lost in life. Whatever be the situation, there is one person who will always stand by you. In different people’s lives, they are different roles. For someone it will be mother or father, for someone it will be their spouse who is their shelter in difficult times, for someone it could be someone completely unrelated to them(they can’t even call that person a friend, because it will be too small a word to describe the importance of that person).

For me, that person is my dearest friend, Andrea. She came into my life all of a sudden. I am definitely sure that God sent her as my Guardian Angel at a time when I was completely broken and shattered. I had been in love with someone for two years and he had even asked me to marry him, however eventually we split up because his parents were dead against the relationship and he couldn’t go against them.

At that point in my life, I felt my life had come to an end. I didn’t know what to do. On the next day, I went to work and she was the new team member in my team. We started talking and eventually I ended up confiding in her and broke down. Have you ever felt a stranger becomes closer to you than anyone else you know? That’s how it was with Andrea and myself.

When I opened up my heart to her, she didn’t spend sympathizing with me or telling me how bad she felt for me. She presented the objective view of the situation to me, comforted by saying that I did my best and I should be happy and if things didn’t work, it is because they are simply not meant to be and there is no way I should blame myself for the end of the relationship.

That one day spent #together with her gave me the courage and strength to move ahead with optimism in life.

However, it is also countless such moments spent with her that are valuable and more precious than anything else in life. Those days spent #together in a coffee shop discussing our crushes, work problems and family issues, going shopping together and appreciating or criticizing each other’s choices, simply spending quiet time reading together, standing by each other through the toughest of times even when the entire world is against us, being each other’s courage even when we lose our own, believing in each other even when we lose confidence in ourselves – each moment is priceless.

The saying is so true – for most people a Home is a person not a place and for me that person is Andrea. I hope that when we are old with no teeth and hair, we are still Together in this Journey called Life.

If I don’t find my soul mate, what I would love best is to find a home to share with this friend/sister with the help of https://housing.com/ and always have someone to turn to in bad times and celebrate good times with.

Murder of Free Speech

From childhood, I have been a very outspoken kid. Sometimes, my parents appreciated me for it, sometimes they didn’t like it but they never stopped me from speaking my mind. This trait is still the strongest part of my personality. I criticize the Government for the wrong actions they take, I stand up in support of causes I believe in irrespective of how many people disagree with me. But what it came to threat of my life? Would it quieten me? Probably not.

I am deeply saddened by the ruthless murder of three #BangaladeshBloggers in the last two years, the latest being atheist blogger Washiqur Rahman who was murdered for his views on religion. Religion is a personal choice and if you have a right to follow it, I have a right to criticize it without being answerable to anyone and definitely not being murdered for it. The other two bloggers were Avijit Roy and Rajib Haider.

All these cases have been murders in broad daylight, yet the auhorities are turning a blind eye to it. What kind of world are we building towards? If they did something that was against the law, then let law take its due course. And is your religion so weak that it can be threatened by someone speaking against it.

Why would anyone want to stay in a country where their safety is threatened because of having different views from other people? I see my country going the same way and it scares me. I don’t want to stay in an atmosphere of religious intolerance, lack of freedom of speech, no freedom of choice in what I eat and I don’t want my future generations growing up in this atmosphere. I want them to learn about their culture and rich history, but I also want them to be world citizens who accept all cultures, are open-minded, speak their minds and accept other people’s views too. Will they also face life-threatening situations because of that?

Let us come together and make our voices stronger and our solidarity greater in support of Rajib Haider, Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman and all those who are being slaughtered for speaking their minds!

Women Empowerment – A Wrong interpretation

She has always been the perfect woman for me – strong yet vulnerable, emotional yet practical, independent, intelligent and a go-getter. And one day, maybe I will go back to this impression of her.

However, today I am sorely disappointed with Deepika Padukone’s Women Empowerment video for Vogue. Under the title of a woman’s choice, we are saying it’s alright for her to cheat in a marriage, practice bigamy and do what she wants to, totally inconsiderate of anyone’s feelings. And ohh yes, when someone does the same things to her, you see crying pictures, tearful interviews and the works – wait, he is a man. He’s not allowed to do that. She is. What a pathetic example of Feminism and Women Empowerment!

Under the guise of women empowerment, are we actually trying to get the upper hand over the opposite sex? That’s not what we want. We want an equation with the opposite sex where equality exists. Of course, it’s my choice to have a baby or not. But is it only my choice? What if my partner is not ready for a baby? Is forcing fatherhood upon him women empowerment? Or is it threatening him that I can throw you out of my life anytime a sign of women empowerment? If he does the same to you, he will be labeled as insensitive, a jerk and an MCP.
When I had seen the video first by Vogue featuring Deepika Padukone, I had very high expectations. I had expected the real issues – Rape, Dowry, Marital Rape, Child Marriage, not this pathetic example of fake Feminism.

Deepika Padukone had the full choice not to do it and that would have been the real #MyChoice.

Badlapur – Don’t Miss The Beginning

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I just needed to go out with friends after a long day of work. My friends were going for a movie and I went along with them. The movie we were seeing was Badlapur.

The movie promos said Don’t Miss the Beginning. And it’s right. If you miss the beginning, don’t watch the movie, because the movie’s first scene is the most important of the scene.

The movie is hard-hitting from the first scene to the last scene. It is a story of what extents can someone go to in order to take revenge. It is a story of impulsive mistakes, cold blooded murders. Varun Dhawan is absolutely esceptional in the movie. His pain, anger and intensity will sear your heart through and through.

Each character in the movie comes with a moral to the story. It is the first movie where I have seen the criminal who destroys the victim’s life giving the victim a new lease of life at the end of the movie.

I won’t give you a synopsis of the movie because the movie must be seen and even the smallest hint of the story will be a spoiler. Hence, this is the shortest movie ever.

Please do go and watch the movie, you will come out raving about it.

Get a better(more loved) car with Quikr Next

Dear Prospective (my) Car Owner,

We study hard in school and college, get a really well-paying, work hard day in and day out, enjoying a little with our hard earned cash and saving the rest of it for fulfilling our dreams of buying the things we have always wanted. For me, a car of my own topped the list, something I had dreamt of since childhood. When we bring a car into our family, it is not just a car. It is a friend, a companion, a travel buddy, a playground for children, a place to de-stress after a long hard day of work with your favourite music on and a long empty road in front of you. I love to travel and see new places, experience different worlds.

Finally, the day arrived when I had saved enough to buy a car. I was abuzz with excitement and nervousness at the same time while travelling to the showroom to buy my first car. I had my favourite all time companion with me who has been through all my good and bad times with me – my mom.

My car entered my life with a lot of pomp and celebration, with a smile on my mom’s face and a visit to the temple. It is my first car and very special for me. I took long drives with it on beautiful coastal roads with the sea travelling along with me. It saw my smiles, my beautiful moments, my funny moments, and poignant moments. It enveloped me in a hug when I was crying and rejoiced with me when I was happy.

It has seen my nieces frolicking in it happily, my mother happily going for a ride along with me. It has seen my father driving it for the first time and felt his happiness when he was driving a car bought from his daughter’s salary and that was the day he thought he was truly successful. My car has seen my dad laughing while he was sitting in the passenger and seeing me trying to learn how to drive.

It has been my friend in good and bad times. Recently, I have been thinking that this car and I are too used to each other now and not enjoying each other as much as we used to. Maybe it is time for both of us to move ahead and find a new companion to build memories with.

Which place will be better than http://www.quikr.com to give my car a new home? This car is very precious to me. I love it like family and will always cherish the beautiful memories we have built together. You are looking at this page, so something in this car has definitely appealed to you. It is looking for its next friend, companion and a new family to love.

Me….I will give this car that I love to you, content in the though knowing that you will love it as much as I do and with this money, I will find my next car using Quikr Nxt.
Why a used car and not a brand new car? Because I have realized how much more precious and loved used cars are and I want to continue adding to that love. My car is waiting for you with all its love and another used car is waiting for me with all its love. Now meet your new car.

Tata Nano

Image Courtesy: http://bit.ly/1wvJIgd
A Quikr Seller and a Quikr Prospective Buyer.

This post is part of the IndiBlogger Happy Hours Topic “Get a better Car with Quikr NXT!”

Tea Center, Mumbai

I am an Indian and I love my tea. My morning starts with tea and sometimes ends with it too. I can have tea at anytime of the day. It is my companion in happiness, sadness, excitement, stress, for cooling off after a fight or after a client has driven me to the edge. My cup of tea is what I can’t do without most.

I have been in Mumbai for many years but had never heard of this place, until one day I was roaming around in Churchgate and saw this sign outside a cafe – the sign said Tea Center.

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Being a tea lover, I was intrigued. But I was running short of time, so I went on without stopping. So this time, when I went to Kalaghoda festival, I knew I would feel incomplete unless I ended my day with a visit to the Tea Center. So here I was exhausted and dusty after roaming around Kalaghoda in the afternoon heat. It was about 6 p.m, the perfect time for a refreshing cuppa tea. I have two friends who absolutely love this place and come here a lot. It is the only tea shop where you will have to wait to get a table and be served tea, it is that popular. But you will find the wait totally worth it.

I had heard a lot of praises for the Hot Buttered Apple Tea at this place and I decided to try it out. And was it simply the most sinfully delicious tea I have ever tasted. It has a lingering rich buttery taste enveloped by the fruity freshness of apple. I am in love with it.

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I paired it with Lemon Tart and this was the most perfect Tea I have ever had. The tangy sweetness of the Lemon Tarts was the perfect accompaniment to the rich flavour of Hot Buttered Apple Tea, This will have your mouth watering. It is even more delicious than it looks.

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Now, I want to try their Banana Caramel Tea, Glasier Mint Tea, Almond Tea, Irish Tea, Rose Tea -ohh the list is endless. I wish I was staying near it. I would be at the Tea Centre everyday. My dream is to spend an entire day there and try all the Tea flavours I want to. I am sure I’ll spend a day like that soon at the Tea Centre. Ohh, did I mention that it is managed by the Government? There are some things that our Government gets right, The Tea Center is one of them.

© Arti Deshpande

KalaGhoda Arts Festival 2015

The beginning of every year would be an incomplete for me if I didn’t go to the Kalaghoda Arts Festival. So, I went to the festival this year too on the first day that it started. Here are excerpts from my day at Kalaghoda.

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Water, Mumbai’s most precious resource

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Shops with Interesting art like this are one of the main reasons for me to go to the festival every year.

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A Tribute to Cinema – both Hollywood and Bollywood

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Ethno Mod – a Tribute to the Spirit of Womanhood by artist Kisalay Vora(my favourite work of art this year)

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The artist himself

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A quaint car

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I love these characters at a stall in Kalaghoda

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With the world increasingly getting full of disconnected people, the artwork on this car talks about the power of the human touch.

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I simply loved this.

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CST Station at Night

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The Treasures that I  brought back from the Festival

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© Arti Deshpande

Chris Kyle – Legend

I am always up for an English movie whenever I get a chance to see it in a movie hall. So, on Wednesday, when my friends said that they were going to see a movie called American Sniper, I simply said I would go too. I had never heard of the movie before that day as I had been really busy and not paid attention to the recent and new releases in movie halls.

We made the plans for the movie three days in advance and it was only when I was leaving for the movie that I got a little time to check what the story was about. That’s when I first heard the name of Chris Kyle, Legend. I thought that the storyline sounded interesting and would be a good watch and I am getting to watch it with friends. That’s all that I thought. Boy, was I wrong!

The movie will shake you to the core, touch your heart like you never imagined. It will fill your heart with the utmost respect and awe for these men who go into war-torn areas so that we can live peacefully in our happy lives. You will feel their pain, shiver with tears in your eyes and fall in love with each of them.

Chris Kyle is a Texan cowboy who is an amazing shooter. His father taught him to shoot with a rifle when he was a young boy. Years, later, he sees a news coverage of the bombings on the U.S Embassy in 1998. He enlists in the U.S Navy and is accepted for SEAL(Sea, Air, Land Teams) Training. He becomes a US Navy Seal Sniper.

Kyle gets married to Taya Renae and immediately after, he is sent to Iraq after the September 11 attacks on USA. The first person he shoots is a small boy who is running towards his troops with a grenade in his hand. The experience upsets him emotionally. However, he earns the nickname ‘Legend’ for his many kills. He kills 255 people, 165 are officially confirmed by the Department of Defense. He returns to his wife and two children after the war is over. But, he has difficulty forgetting his wartime experiences and starts withdrawing to himself and stops communicating with Taya also, with whom he has a warm and a loving relationship.

He had been four tours to Iraq, coming back to his wife in between the tours. At the end of the last tour, he returns for good. He is taken by Taya to a Veteran Affairs psychiatrist who is perturbed by the change in him. He tells the psychiatrist that he is haunted by all the guys he couldn’t save.

The pyschiatrist gets him on the path to helping other war veterans who had a more tragic experience while on duty. He teaches them shooting and spends time with them. Soon, he starts returning to normal. And then the movie has a sudden tragic end.

This movie is a 100% worth watch. I loved every bit of it and you will too.Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller are exceptional as Chris Kyle and Taya Renae.

The real Chris Kyle

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Image Courtesy: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Chris-Kyles-Children-Offer-Special-Goodbye-190767341.html

Chris Kyle with his wife

Chris Kyle and Wife

Image Courtesy: http://bit.ly/1EHB97j

Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller in American Sniper

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Image Courtesy: http://collider.com/american-sniper-trailer-bradley-cooper/

© Arti Deshpande

Ghatkopar’s Khau Galli – A Gastronomer’s Delight


Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

I had heard a lot about Ghatkopar’s Khau Galli(Food Street) from my friends and colleagues. Ghatkopar is a suburb of Mumbai. I had heard that you get atleast 25 different types of Dosas there and they are a must try. i had been longing to go since a long time. On Friday, a friend and I made an impromptu plan to go there.

We reached there at about 9 p.m. We were just roaming around and wondering where to start. The food there is all vegetarian street food and it is amazingly clean there and the taste of street food is retained. The dosa seller was right in front of us. However, we wanted to try something also before that. Here are the things that we tried and would completely recommend to everyone.

Hot Spot

We saw this guy who was selling Tikkas. His business name is Hot Spot and he also has his stall in front of Worli Seaface. We had the most amazing Paneer Tikka there. The masala that he uses for marinating the Paneer is something simply different and the Paneer Tikka tastes out of this world.

Sai Swad Dosa

After this, we were ready to try the dosa now at Sai Swad Dosa. We went through the list and actually saw that there are more than 25 varieties of dosas. Experimental that I am with food, I decided to try the Maggi Cheese Dosa. My friend took the Special Schezwan and Manchurian Cheese Dosa. Though all the dosas there are out of this world, nothing can taste better than the Maggi Cheese Dosa – take my word for it. It is simply delicious. That stall is so popular that they have 8 tawas set up and 8 dosas being made at the same time. Still, the waiting time is atleast 20 mins. But, believe me when I say that every minute of wait is worth it. Take a look at this picture of the magic men at work.

Sai Swad Dosa

Naughty Sips and Slices

While we were waiting for the dosas, I saw a small eatery behind Sai Swad Dosa. They had displayed Chocolate Pizza in the menu. I was completely tempted and decided to try it out after the dosa. My friend and I shared the Chocolate Pizza as we were too full after the dosa. But one taste of the pizza and we were hooked completely. It was extraordinary. Take a look at this picture and get ready to drool.

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Me and Chocolate Pizza

After this, we thought we were completely done and then the owner of the eatery came and told us that they had very good Falooda. He told us about the Fusion Falooda – it is a combination of vanilla icecream. rose syrup, dryfruits and fruits. We accepted his suggestion and decided to try it out. It was mindblowing to to say the least. Take a look at the picture and see for yourself.

Fusion Falooda

In the end there were two totally happy faces after stuffing ourselves so much who were not able to even walk at all. A trip to Khau Galli at Ghatkopar is a must and an experience you will never forget.

© Arti Deshpande