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Posted in Personal Memoirs, Travel

Dehradun

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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Posted in Life and Hope, Personal Memoirs

My Life as Written by Myself!

When I was 14 years old, I got it into my head that I wanted to be a journalist. I was very keen on it and was working towards that goal by honing my English skills and writing. But life has its own twists and turns.

My father was an army officer and he didn’t have a very high salary. My brother and I are just one year and nine months apart with him being older than I am. He went into Engineering college and I was in 11th standard that time. When I passed out of 12th, he was in 2nd Year of Engineering. There was no way my parents could afford to send us both to college at the same time. He was living in a hostel and I would have to also as we were in Shillong at that time and I couldn’t join college there. So I had to settle for a correspondence course for my Graduation. I was terribly upset.

Then we came to Mumbai and by then I was in third year of my graduation. So there was no point in my joining college at that time. It was at this time that I started drifting in life. Because of this educational setback, I lost the courage to pursue Journalism. I started working in a call center and worked in this field for many years.

At the back of mind, there was a new dream that had started forming. I wanted to get into being a homebaker. But I lacked the courage to convince my parents because at that time people had very set views about jobs and careers. This was in the late 90’s. I kept working in different jobs and now I have a PostGraduate Degree in PR and I even worked in that field for sometime. But my dream of being a homebaker started getting stronger.

After a major setback in my company, I eventually decided to quit and turn Homebaker. I was past the age of 30 when I took this decision. It took sometime to convince my parents. I did it gradually over a few months.

If I were the Writer of my life story, I’d go back to the time when I finished my Graduation and pursue my dream of being a Homebaker and Chocolatier(my special expertise).

This post is written for the IndiSpire topic on Indiblogger – ‘If you were the writer of your own story – Your Life. How would you have altered it? #choice

Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Movie Review, Movies

Half Ticket – A Journey of Life and Coming of Age!

In the clutter of movies releasing one after the other and overlapping each other, it gets very difficult to follow which movies are releasing and when. The TV Channels will normally only show you the trailers of the movies of the very popular stars. Because of this, I have missed out a lot of movies that I would have loved. So I have taken to browsing through all the movies releasing on Friday to see what catches my interest.

One such movie that grabbed my attention and tugged at me somehow is Half Ticket. It is a Marathi film about two slum kids who forage for coal to earn a living and their ultimate ambition in life is to taste a pizza. They have a loving mother and a grandmother who dotes on them. But the kids have loftier ambitions and want a taste of the good things in life.

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The movie is a beautiful journey of coming to an understanding of the things in life that truly matter. As people have rightly said after watching the movie, you will see a Mumbai that has rarely been seen earlier. Each and every character will have an impact on you.

My favourite character in the movie is a Tutti-Frutti, a railway employee who develops a soft corner for the kids, never ridicules them and wants to help them achieve their lofty ambitions and teaches them many important life lessons. For myself, the highlight of the movie is the scene where the three of them are looking out at Bandra Worli Sea Link and Tutti Frutti talks to them about how they will be judged for their appearance and not for who they are as a person.

The movie has many sweet and funny moments – like the kids trying to sell a street dog to a taxi driver for Rs. 25000, two friends trying to outwit each other and ending up losing the money they were going to easily get. The movie has many touching moments too.

I highly recommend this movie, it is definitely a must watch!

Posted in Cars, Travel, Vehicles

Datsun redi-GO – Be Ready to take on the World!

Fun. Freedom. Confidence. The ultimate Urban Cross – Datsun redi-GO – the capability of a crossover with the convenience of a hatchback.

The Datsun redi-Go promises us this and more!

 

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Image Courtesy: http://autos.maxabout.com/cars/datsun/redi-go

 

The Datsun redi-GO follows the ‘YUKAN’ (勇敢) design philosophy that seeks to create cars that are Brave and Bold, Compact yet Sleek with crisp and clean lines. India’s first urban-cross, Datsun redi-GO blends the modern styling of an urban hatchback with the spirit of a crossover. Its high, wide stance gives you a commanding feel on the road, while retaining the agility of a compact vehicle – truly the best of both worlds.

With roomy interiors for that sense of space, an amazing mileage of 25.17 kmpl and a commanding seating position to help you enjoy all the sights and sounds of the world around you, long drives will never be the same again. On first glance you’ll notice redi-GO’s sporty good looks and smart dimensions. Inside you’ll find spacious room for all passengers and a high eye-point for the driver, making Datsun redi-GO both smart and stylish.

I was very impressed when I read about this new car that has hit the Indian roads. It has some exceptional features that make it the perfect car for the Indian Roads. There are three features that make it the perfect car for me.

High Ground Clearance 

It has the best in ground clearance of 185 mm which helps in dealing with the low obstacles that we encounter on the street. Having sprained my back many times because of the low obstacles on the road which are not visible sometimes, this feels like the best feature ever in a car.

Cabin Space

I am quite tall and in most of the cars, I feel very cramped in the back seat, especially if the people sitting in the front seat are also tall. The Datsun redi-Go has ample second row knee room for those sitting at the back.

Room for More Storage Space

The Datsun redi-Go  has a 222 litre boot, enough to keep a lot of luggage or other items even when all the seats are occupied. This makes it the perfect car for the long road trips that I love to go on.

Test-Driving the Datsun redi-Go

I stay in Mumbai and most of us know how stressful it is to drive in a big city where people are in a hurry to get to their destination and low on patience. Combine that with the poor quality of roads full of potholes and it becomes a nightmare for the person driving the car. 

I would like to test the Datsun redi-Go on the Mumbai roads as the roads here are very bumpy and full of people driving haphazardly and pedestrians crossing the road from wherever they want to. It has the shortest breaking distance because of its PAB performance augmented brakes due to which the responsive time from brake pedals to wheels is very short. 

The other feature for which I would like to test drive the car in Mumbai is the Tall Boy Stance. I am an animal lover and many times, we have small cats and dogs crossing the roads in Mumbai and it becomes difficult to see them. I would like to see if the Tall Boy Stance helps overcome this hurdle while driving.

With these features, this is one car I would love to own!

 

 

Posted in Personal Memoirs, Travel

Tribal Museum, Bhopal

Recently, I went on a vacation to Mhow, Indore and Bhopal. I visited many beautiful places there but the highlight of my visit was definitely the Tribal Museum in Bhopal. It is so beautifully made, reflecting the tribal life of olden days with such beautiful structures that I was left awestruck. This place is a must visit for anyone going to Bhopal. Take a look at the pictures. There are a lot of pictures, but trust me, browsing through them will be an experience.

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Posted in Personal Memoirs, Travel

Narmada Ghat, Omkareshwar

Living in a city takes you away from the beauty and grandeur of nature and makes you long for the serenity and peace that only nature can provide. We were on the way to Omkareshwar to see the Jyotiringa there. Unfortunately, we could not see it due to the Kumbh Mela Rush. However, on the way we stopped at the beautiful Narmada Ghat. A very serene and beautiful spot with clean river water and relatively clean Ghat(river bank). Pictures of the beautiful spot:

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Posted in Education, Social Initiatives, Social Issues

Religious Rituals – Are They Relevant

The latest Indispire topic on IndiBlogger had me thinking of somehow of the rituals that we as Indians blindly follow. Here are my pet peeves in Indian Rituals.

Fasting for a particular God:

We will fast and starve ourselves irrespective of our health conditions at that time for a specific God. We could be completely physically weak but we will not give up our fast. Since we are all God’s creations, which God will tell you to starve yourself in his or her name? And how are you of service to God with this silly fasting? If you want to do anything for God, go out and feed so many of his hungry children.

Arranged Marriage

All our life, we(especially girls) are advised to not talk to strangers but when it comes to reaching the so called marriageable age, we are expected to meet a stranger once and decide whether we want to spend our life with that person or not. And God forbid if a girl especially refuses a perfectly ‘eligible’ boy only because she can’t see her life partner in him. She’ll hear everything from ‘Who do you think you are?’ to ‘At this rate, you’ll never get married.’ What highlights a parent’s insecurity better than this?

Silly superstitions related to Marriage and Horoscope

According to Indian traditions, all the 36 characteristics of a couple should match as per the horoscope, otherwise they will be incompatible and lead an unhappy married life. So, here’s my question? Will all the characteristics matching guarantee a happy married life to me, no divorce, no problems after marriage? This question itself highlights the stupidity of this custom. In today’s times, where it is very difficult to find the right life partner, totally in love couples are separated because of horoscopes not matching, doesn’t matter if they have been happy together for years and years which leads to next pet peeve of mine.

Honour Killing

Yes, I know – honour killing normally happens when a guy and girl of the same Gotra marry each other. But it also happens sometimes in cases like the above mentioned case where their horoscopes don’t match. Now to come to the point of the same Gotra marriage. So a girl or a guy married someone who is of the same Gotra. So, their families decide to kill them and if it’s a village, it’s with the approval of the village panchayat(rule makers and local governing body of the village) Some of us will ask, what is Gotra? In Hindu society, the term gotra means clan. It broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor, with the marriage within the same gotra being prohibited by custom, being regarded as incest. So a girl and a boy who belong to the same Gotra are considered as siblings. This doesn’t make sense again to me. The common male ancestor may be generations and generations removed from today, to me honour killing for Gotra or for any other reason is an inhuman act.

Donations at Temples

How many times have we been to temples and seen devotees standing with different kind of offerings in their hand and patiently waiting in line? To give those offerings to whom? To the stone statue inside. I go to temples too and I have no objection to paying respects to the God’s statue inside. But it is God’s statue, not God himself. It is a symbol of God. Who do you think enjoys those offerings? Yes, those fat-stomached so called Panditjis or Gurujis sitting inside the temples along with the other temple employees. Outside the temple, you’ll see a line of destitute people with no or bare minimum clothes. Why not feed them?

How many of us have seen the movie Ohh My God? There is this scene in the court where Paresh Rawal talks about seeing a host of devotees standing outside a temple, each with a jar of milk in their hands. He thinks, if there are so many people standing, then there must be a God inside who drinks the milk. Then he goes inside and sees, but there is no one drinking the milk. He sees the milk going out of the temple through a pipe and thinks there must be some God at the end of the pipe who drinks the milk, Again, he is surprised to see there is no one. He sees the milk going out of the temple into a dirty drain and at the end of the drain, he sees a poor man putting his mouth to the drain and drinking the milk. Paresh Rawal gives his jar of milk to the poor man. After drinking the milk, the poor man says, “May God Bless You”. I don’t need to add anything else.

Considering son as the name-carriers and the torch bearers of the family

We will commonly hear people saying even today that we need to have a son to carry the family name forward, even if they have 5 daughters. So they’ll continue having babies till they achieve the wondrous feat of having a son. So many evils because of one stupid belief – population overgrowth, poverty, lack of proper education for children because of too many kids and normally only one earning member. Then this belief leads to the two biggest evils – female infanticide and child marriage. A couple, in their desire of a child, will kill the baby when it’s born or kill the baby in the womb, if it’s a girl.

In India, it has been made illegal to know the gender of the baby before it is born for this reason. Even then in the small towns and villages, this continues. Then, even if the baby is allowed to be born and the parents keep having babies in their dream for a son, it leads us to the second evil – Child Marriage. In order to rid themselves of the burden of daughters, girls are married off at a tender age when they should be playing and studying.

As a country, we need to eradicate these evils to truly calls ourselves a developing country or a developed country.

 

 

 

Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Movie Review, Movies

Kapoor & Sons

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Kapoor & Sons was one movie that I was really looking forward to. Even the people who totally disliked Hindi movies from my friends circle were raving about it. So I was really keen to see the movie. I didn’t find the movie so great when I went to see it.

It is the story of a typical middle class family with fights, love, tears, misunderstandings and family bonding. A husband and wife who have grown apart as the wife suspects him of having an affair, two sons who were very close to each other and while they still have a strong bond, they are strangely estranged. One is struggling to achieve success while the other is a successful author. The entire family reunites in their hometown Coonoor to fulfill the last wishes of Dadu of clicking a family photograph titled ‘Kapoor & Sons’. Both the brothers become friends with Tia a lively and cheerful girl with a sad past. How Daadu’s last wish is fulfilled, how the brothers’ clear their misunderstandings and how a family resolves their issues to click that perfect photograph is what the story is about.

There are some high points in the movie with sweet and touching moments. All the actors have enacted their roles very well. It was nice watching all the talented actors like Rajat Kapoor. Reena Pathak, Siddharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rishi Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

Apart from that, the movie was just okay. I felt like I was watching a Nicholas Sparks novel in which tragedy is normally forced in without any reason.

Posted in Book Review, Hobbies, Life and Hope, Reviews

Winter Garden – A Book I Can Never Forget!

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About six month back, I have added a new author to my list of favourite authors. Her name is Kristin Hannah. I have read many of her books but the book that left me speechless is Winter Garden. It is a book that touched me to the core and left me teary eyed by the end. What an amazing way to weave a story! I have read so many books that it rarely happens that I just can’t wait to know what happens in the end. With Winter Garden, I couldn’t put it down till I completed it.

Synopsis of the story

Anya has a warm relationship with her husband but had always been a  cold and distant mother to their two daughters, Meredith and Nina and they have no clue why. The only time she came alive and really connected with her daughters is while narrating a fairy tale, till an incident happens and Anya stops narrating the fairy tale to her daughters. They grow up and Nina moves away to become a journalist while Meredith stays near her parents after marriage. It was only when their father dies and has a last wish for his daughters that the sisters come back together to fulfill his wish.

The wish is – To get their mother to complete the fairy tale. A very silly wish, you’ll say. But it has a whole story full of sadness, tears and a heart-wrenching truth. It is a journey of two daughters getting to know their mother and a woman’s journey of accepting her past and forgiving herself.

This is one book that’s a must read for everyone, irrespective of the gender and whether they love reading or not.

Posted in Book Review, Hobbies

My Favourite Fiction Writer

I started reading as soon as I could recognize words, thanks to my father who instilled the love of reading in me. I have read many books that have touched, made me cry, inspired and encouraged me. But there is only one author who has managed to do all this. Her name is J.K Rowling and the books are her Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter is a boy who has led a very ordinary mundane existence till he reaches the age of 11 years and discovers that he is no ordinary boy, but a wizard. His destiny is extraordinarily intertwined with the greatest wizard of all time who has gone on the path of evil. It is a story of growing up, coming of age and facing your biggest fears. It is a 7-book series in which Harry Potter has the dangerous mission of defeating the evil Voldemort.

Friendship, courage, love, leadership, team spirit are the important lessons that inspire you in the series. This book is a must read for everyone, irrespective of the age.

Also, not only do i admire J.K Rowling as an author, but she is also a strong and gutsy lady. After her separation from her husband, she was extremely poor and had an infant daughter to care for. She was living on state benefits while writing the first Harry Potter book. She had no idea how she would survive the coming years. After she finished writing the book, her publisher submitted the book to 12 publishing houses and it was rejected by all of them. In spite of all the hardships, she didn’t stop believing in her book or give up. Eventually the book was published by Bloomsbury and the rest we know is history. She is the perfect example of believing in one’s dreams.