Change for good, Travel

Sun and Sand

So, are you a Mumbaikar? Or you’re planning to visit Mumbai? Before you decide your weekend, or prepare your itinerary, consider what I am going to tell you next. All you need is 2 days of Summer or Winter.

Alibaugh, a haven of beaches and tranquillity, has a lot to offer. Famous for its beaches and forts, Alibaugh knows how to make the best of what it already has. Since it is surrounded by water, it offers its visitors water sports, beach camping and resorts. I have been to this place before, have done water sports and even visited the Murud-Janjira fort. You can check the internet about its various beaches and forts.

Revdanda is a small village at around 17 kms (45 mins roadways) from Alibaugh. And we went there to experience beach camping. *_*

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Okay now note that before going you need to do bookings for the stay (tent arrangement). Getting camp organizer’s contact is easy. Just surf the internet. There are many. You can check for Alibaugh beach camping. If you need any more help, please comment.

Summers are hot and humid in Alibaugh but the evenings are pleasant and the nights cool and calm. Winter is suggested for beach camping as then you can also enjoy camp-fires 😉 apart from barbecues, rain dance, book reading (on hammocks) and a stroll on the beach.

You can reach Alibaugh from Mumbai via:

  • Ferry (suggested)
  • Bus and
  • Train

Please note that ferry services do not operate after 26thMay. Contact maritime services to check when they resume – https://wonderfulmumbai.com/info-on-boat-from-gateway-of-india-mumbai-to-alibaug/ You can also book tickets online.

For an explorer this shouldn’t be an issue as there are other options for commute – bus, cabs, trains etc. (but time consuming YESSS!).

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Patterns made by small crabs

Revdanda beach does not have a lot of visitors. There’s another beach near by which attracts crowd for its water sports, so at Revdanda you can just rejuvenate and camp. And in case you wish to do water sports, it’s just nearby!

Love night outs? This is a perfect place. When else and how were you otherwise planning to have a friend’s night out?

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Moon

The organizers offer a nice ambience for the night. Ready your drinks, and just chill!

Alibaugh can be reached via Pune too.

Niv tips:

  1. Carry comfortable beach footwear.
  2. Note that you will have sand all over your body, even if you clean yourself with water, it will stick again as you’ll be on the beach almost always.
  3. For any special requirements, inform the organizer in advance so things will be ready. There is no shop nearby.
  4. For pick and drop service from central Alibaugh you can take help from organisers.
  5. You may choose full moon days for moon-light camping 😉
  6. While you’re there, enjoy loads of ice apples and ice apple juice!

Live life king size. Ciao until next time 🙂

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Books, Life as we know it, My thoughts

Good Reads – Monsoon Special

Hey Folks!

This one’s for our avid readers aka bookworms.

Monsoon brings along with it a lot. Soon, brightness will fade, there will be more of clouds, rainbows will rise, magic in clear skies! 🙂 Wohooo!

For some, rains are about hiking, trekking and waterfalls. But for some, it is also about tea, pakodas, music, books, maggieeee and the TVeee!

So before we again welcome rains into our lives, let us, the book-over-trek category, be book-prepared. Here is a list of books which I have read and which I believe will make up for a good rainy day read.

1. It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover

It is human tendency to be confused when provided with options. We just cannot decide one over the other. Similarly, we also don’t know when it is enough, what is normal and what is not. We need to learn to understand where to draw the line.

This novel will help you get rid of all the confusion thanks to its powerful conclusion and the authors outstanding portrayal of the characters and the various events in the story.

With rains outside and an awesome weather, take time to fix things in your life.

My friend suggested me this book. He said it’s a true story based on the authors life and involves those decision making moments that most people come across. 🙂

2. A Man Called Ove – Fredrick Backman

When I first read the title I thought it was love :p. Anyway “A Man Called Ove” is a book about a man called Ove (as you might have already guessed) and is in this list to bring some warmth to you in your rainy days. It is a novel that will make you feel good about everything. Be ready for a rollercoaster ride, the book’s bittersweet and humorous.

I received this book from a friend as a surprise gift. For some days I did not know who sent it. But then a book like this could have been only sent by a person like him :p

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3. Ajaya (Part 1) and The Rise of Kali (part 2) – Anand Neelkantan

This is based on Mahabharata, one of the two widely read Indian epics.
Mahabharat is basically game of thrones. There’s politics, misunderstandings, life altering blessings and curses. The fight for authority eventually leads to a nation-wide war.

What is noteworthy here is that every character has a strong and intense storyline which is somehow intertwined with that of the other character. Mahabharat has been re-written by multiple authors but what makes this book different is that unlike the other books which are from the Pandava’s (winning team) point of view, this series has been written from the Kaurava perspective (losing team). This book is sure to give you Goosebumps. Must read. Must.

Well I received this book as a birthday gift from my previous organization. Mythological fiction is my favourite genre.

4. Three Thousand Stitches – Sudha Murthy

This is the third book that I have read of Sudha Murthy after “Wise and Otherwise” and “Dollar Bahu”. Her books are really simple, based out of true events – mostly from rural India, touches critical social issues and has a strong social message.

Three thousand stitches is a collection of short stories and shows author’s efforts in bringing change in the society. The book will inspire you to do your bit too.

One of my team members from workplace gave me this book 🙂 to read and to keep.

5. The Silent Widow – Sidney Sheldon

A murder mystery for stormy rainy nights. A thriller, a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seats with its exciting plot. It’s a varied paced novel. Fast, then it gets relaxed, and so on.

I bought this for myself 😀

  1. Midnight is a Lonely Place – Barbara Erskine

Yet another mysterious, fascinating, thrilling, and a gripping novel. A story of revenge and betrayal. But who’s? ;). The novel has elements of history, museums, and antiques. So if you’re amongst those people who love uncovering stories behind historic artefacts then this is for you. So while it pours outside, or if you’re stuck somewhere in the rains, no worries this book will keep you engaged and divert your attention.

I borrowed this book from my friend and returned.

so, here are 6 books from my side. Do you have anything else to suggest? Comment 🙂 Happy reading!

Change for good, Life as we know it, My thoughts

Honesty is the best policy, or is it not?

“Honesty is the best policy or is it not?

Honesty is the best policy. But at the cost of what?”

Tell me do you think twice before being honest with someone? Worrying about getting misunderstood?

I learnt about this quote in school and I am sure a lot of us did, “honesty is the best policy” our teachers used to write it on the board so that we could read it the whole day, under the banner of “thought for the day”. A new quote everyday.

Coming back to honesty being the best policy, I feel almost everybody has an incomplete understanding of this quote. They understand it in only one way i.e. one has to be honest with the other at all times, at all costs :). Though not wrong, it is incomplete. Lot of people are not thinking about the other side. The other side being “also appreciate whoever is honest with you”. It’s a 2-way street.

So next time when someone is honest with you, ensure they are comfortable so that they can correctly state their point without having the fear of getting judged or misunderstanding.

Imagine you giving your honest opinion to someone only to later find out that it has been misunderstood. How would you feel? You would keep thinking about it and lose your peace.

By being honest what is one exactly even doing? Giving a piece of their mind? So what is wrong in that. You may choose to not agree, you may keep your perspective when it is your time. Respect everyone’s opinion!

In a world where anxiety and depression is on a high rise, it is important that you always give your best behaviour under varied circumstances. Take time to respond. Practice the pause. Don’t judge.

Did you ever feel you overreacted to any situation over someone’s honest opinion? Or anybody misunderstood you over you being honest? Do share.

Do not forget to breathe. Deep breathe. See ya!

Life as we know it

A Superhuman!

It’s only when we learn about other people’s life experiences and hardships, is when we realise that everybody has concerns and everyone is fighting their own battle.

The fact that everyone is constantly disturbed, makes us feel “yeah ok we are not alone”. It’s good to share problems, really, that way, we know life will give us lemons and that’s for sure and it is really upto us of what we make out of it.

There are so many people around us, who have faced life altering situations and have come out strong and inspired others by their amazing will power and never give up attitude. Surprised when I said “too many”? There are many people who share their problems and many more who don’t. It is rightly said that “you never know what anybody is going through”.
We should never judge people.

Pain is inevitable.

Thanks to social media. Social media has allowed people to speak out about their life experiences, success stories, opinions and ideologies. Be it GoalCast videos, Facebook pages like humans of Bombay and humans of New York or personal blogs, there are mediums where people can share their experiences. This has helped us in understanding the fact that life can be difficult and not always fun and that for some people life has been really really tough!

Suffering is optional.

In a time when internet was not widely used, I met someone who’s story inspired me. I met a differently abled doctor.

This doctor who was not blind since birth, had shifted into our society when I was in third or fourth grade of school. Later, we came to know from sources that the doctor was blind. At first it was impossible to believe. My parents also wondered how he managed everything.

My legs used to ache a lot that time. I don’t know the exact reason, but my legs used to ache. My mother decided to check with this differently abled doctor and I had my therapy going on with him. Apart from medicine, the doctor used to also make me to do some exercises, it was all good. I guess he was a physiotherapist but I am not sure. Don’t remember -_-

As time passed, and due to our regular visits, we developed a comfort zone with the doctor. One day my mother, out of curiosity, asked him whether he was without eyesight since birth. The doctor told us about an accident that he had met and how his eyes were badly affected and he lost his vision. He was in a lab doing experiments and then due to some chemical reaction that took place, his eyes were permanently damaged.

You are used to your body, the way everything functions, you have support of all your body parts. If a person is without one hand since birth, somehow he is used to it, though there will be unimaginable challenges for him but he will be used to it. Imagine one day, some of your body part which you have always had is not there. How does it feel? It’s difficult to adjust, to start from zero and it’s not only about physical challenges but mental as well. Preparing your mind, constantly wondering as to why did this happen? How will the future be? There are never ending questions…

The doctor used to operate a talking computer. It was really amusing for us. People termed it as a “talking computer” (obvious right?). When asked, he mentioned to us about some settings he had done. Every time he clicked or moved his cursor somewhere, there would be an audio to assist him. A super human operating a super computer! 😀

In an era where computer itself was new, hearing about talking computer was another level! 😛 Actually, every click and every option selection was spoken as audio so this was how he operated the smart box! So cool. We used to see that PC in his clinic and that’s how he kept patient records. He did not give up on his computer, he learnt other ways of using it.

The doctor said he underwent many operations and tried various ways to get his eyesight back but unfortunately he was never going to be able to see with his eyes. The doctor was a cheery and happy person, always humble, positive, warm, living life truly king size and moreover living his dream life. He never complained about what happened with him. He was successful in his job and was doing everything he wanted.

Hats off to him for coming out a winner but he also had his own challenges. One of his assistants had stolen money from his clinic and was absconding. The doctor was always worried about losing his patients, not because of his inability to see but the poor mentality of people in whether they will trust him? No matter how much a person appears strong, he has concerns. Life can be difficult so before cribbing about anything in life, make damn sure you’re not getting unnecessarily bothered.

Be grateful for everything. Be grateful for everything. Be grateful for everything.

Ta – dah!

Dance

Kathak

Are you amongst those people who think a lot, like connecting the dots everywhere? Not taking coincidences lightly? Always on the edge of curiosity?
I am one such person! I have a feeling that everything happens for some reason. Every opportunity that I get and everything that I feel like doing, I analyse it as to why I like this or why I got this? What could be life’s plan for me? And etc etc. So much thinking already! 😛

One such beautiful thing that happened to me, and always makes me wonder how I ended up doing it, is Kathak.

I always loved dancing. Dancing on Bollywood songs,  English songs, Folk dances, salsa, b-boying, this, that etc. I even learnt to do a full split all by myself!

I did not learn dance as a kid. It was thought that my studies would get affected. I tried convincing my parents but in vain. I danced but never learnt it. Swimming was a part of our school activities, so I learnt that and enjoyed it, won some prizes as well. It was fun. But I loved dancing. 🙂

No matter how much I tried to let go of dance, it was just not possible. Every time a good song came, I used to set a routine and then dance. I felt good when I danced.  People said I danced well and when everyone appreciates you, its natural you will want to level up but I knew there was no chance with dance training.

In school and in junior college I did not actively participate in cultural activities but in my degree college, I did. Initially, I was not ready to even audition but then I somehow gathered courage and gave it a shot and was selected right away! The journey with dance restarted. I knew I had to learn it and take it ahead. I did a lot of western dancing. I learnt salsa and enrolled in various dance classes.

For some reason, I could not stay at any one dance class. After doing the level one of Salsa, we were never notified of the second level in spite of constant follow ups. Similarly, things did not work well with other dance classes. I wanted something systematic and promising.

I started getting interest in Kathak when I  was doing my masters. Kathak is an Indian classical dance and nowhere near western dancing. I don’t know how but I felt a sudden connection with it.  I used to watch Kathak videos. Now it’s been 6 years I’m learning Kathak. It has 8 exams including written exam, practical exam with musicians, and vivas.

The dance class I attended back then and the one I am attending now are very different. The discipline and patience that is required in classical dance, the journey and connection with a guru for so many years and the difficulty level of classical dancing, is one of a kind.

Kathak is a sanskrit word that’s means Katha i.e. story. A kathakar is a storyteller.  🙂 Sometimes I feel it was here where I always belonged. If I look back, I see a lot of indications that were given to me towards Kathak. For example, our neighbour used to learn Kathak and she used to take me to her classes where I used to sit and watch, another instance is that my cousin sister was learning Kathak from the teacher where I am learning now and mind you this was almost 20 years back. My cousin never continued. It’s like as though I was the one who was supposed to be there not her…

I received a Nataraja Murti as a prize in some competition (not dance) when I was in fourth grade. Now note that this Murti represents dance and every Indian classical dancer worships it before dancing. I always had it in front of me in my house.
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Kathak majorly talks about Katha i.e. stories of Radha Krishna and many mythology characters. And this is my favourite genre. I always loved listening, reading and researching about such stories. Now I am just expressing those stories via my dance.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper”
– W.B.Yeats

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Do you have any such experience?  Are you doing something that you never thought you would and you feel like, this is just perfect. Please share *_*

Travel

Ladakh

Mesmerising…you know what is mesmerising? Something that grabs your complete attention. Something that’s mind-blowing, soothing to your soul, something breathtaking. Ladakh is mesmerising!
Look at this

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And this

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And this.

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Pangong Lake

Agree?

“A land of mountains in the sky” as people fondly call this region, is truly spectacular.
Ladakh is a region which is basically a cold desert. You won’t find a lot of greenery there, be prepared to greet nature in a different Avatar.

Ladakh, Ladakh is not amongst those places where  a typical sight seeing itinerary would suffice, touring Ladakh is a longgggg drive in itself. You know when you go for a long drive? You just sit and relax and observe, and at places like Ladakh, get enchanted by the beauty.

When you plan your itinerary, make sure to keep buffer time in between travels. You never know what twist and turn will take to you to a breathtaking view and you will just feel like pausing. I’m sure you will halt at multiple places.. 😉
Some more pictures:

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Meeting of Indus and Zanskar River

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Maitreya Buddha

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When you reach Ladakh, first and foremost, get yourself acclimatized. Health is wealth. 2 days of acclimatization should be fine. Also ensure you have all the required medicines with you.

Oxygen levels drop at most of the places in Ladakh so be aware of that. Don’t do anything that will leave you panting or short of breath.

Niv tips:
1. Keep your mind and eyes open, feel the air, feel the nature, notice the changes, stop the car, get out, breath deeply, enjoy the views.
2. Talk to the locals. 🙂
3. Buy from there but also carry from here. Some stationery, good books, some good stuff which you won’t be using etc. for the locals. 🙂
4. Photography is fine but don’t forget to enjoy. You may want to keep your devices aside and relax…Just Disconnect.

Facebook live will not be of any help to the viewers! A place has to be visited so while you’re on your traveling best, be mean, just enjoy for your own self.

5. Do not shut all the windows tightly while sleeping. Let there be ventilation.
6. Keep oxygen rich food with you.

Okay signing off! Please share your experiences too 😀

Books, Series

Bose – The Unsung Hero

May be not unsung but definitely less remembered in comparison to other heros who helped India get independence. It is always like that. It is always like that, that the silent fighter, the secret admirer, the backend supporter is always forgotten or if not always, most of the times for sure. Happens with us as well right? 😉 The one who makes noise and is in the forefront is always remembered and gets the credit.

One such hero is our “Netaji”. Yes Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. There are a lot of things I did not know about him and his contribution to our freedom fight. You tell me know, about at least five things that you remember of him. Could you get any? No right?

There is so much to him. The mystery of his death, his ideologies, his plan of action, I was unaware of all of it untill I saw this series named – “Bose-Dead or Alive”. The series is of 9 episodes only and is to the point. It has a rating of 9.3/10 on IMDb. I would recommend this to everyone. It’s a matter of one day. You will come to know about a great neta. Let your mind get going and curiosity ready for you are sure to have a rollercoaster ride.

Okay for the book lovers, the good news is that the series is based on a book named – India’s biggest cover up. The book has detailed information on Bose. It’s a big one with a lot of information, images of Bose with Hitler *_* and various other supporting documents to prove the stated facts, and a lot more.

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Even if you decide to read, you must also watch the series because the acting, background music and dialogues are too good.

I wish our history textbooks had such information and facts, then many people, I am sure, would have taken history as a career! -_- Never mind though.