एक मुलाकात

कुछ ही दिन पहले मै इन प्यारे कपल से मिला।

हमने जिसपा की खूबसूरत घाटी मे बस कदम ही रखा था और पहोचते ही ठिकाना ढूंढ़ने की तलाश मे यहाँ वहा भटकने लगे। दोपहर के करीब 2.30 बज रहे थे और धुप की किरणे मुझे सुई की तरह तेज़ चुभ रही थी। हम कुछ क्षण के लिए बस आपस मे विचार विमर्श करने रुके ही थे के सामने caravan से एक पतला दुबला सा लम्बे कद का युवक हमारी मदद करने के लिए बहार आया। उसके बाल कंधे तक लम्बे और रुख-सूख से गए थे , चेहरा भी ठण्ड के चलते सुख सा रहा था। ऐसा व्यतीत होता था जैसे पानी से उसकी कुछ ख़ास बनती नहीं हो । मेरी नजर caravan के सामने एक लकड़ी के घर पे पड़ी जिसपे टैटू पार्लर का बोर्ड लगा हुआ था। इतनी एकांत वाली जगह पे जहा घर उंगलियों पे गिने जा सकते थे वहा यह दृश्य मन मे कई सवाल पैदा कर ही देगा। “क्या यह पार्लर ऐसी जगह पे चलता भी है?” “और अगर हा तो ठण्ड मे जब ये इलाका पूरी तरह बंद होता है, तब इनकी आमदनी का क्या?” “उन्होंने आखिर इतनी हिम्मत कर कैसे इतना बड़ा कदम उठाया?” मेरा मन बच्चे की तरह बस उनकी कहानियाँ सुनने के लिए विचलित हो उठा। बस उसी पल मानो मेरी मन की बात पढ़ तुरंत ही उसने अपने घर बुलाया । इस एक मंजिले घर मे तीन जने मिल कर रह रहे थे। कमरा कुछ ख़ास बड़ा नहीं था पर तीन जनो के लिए काफी था। घर काफी तिथल पीथल हो रखा था। टेबल पर दारु की बोतल, बीड़ी और सिगरेट बिखरी पड़ी थी, सामने दो कुत्ते दोपहर की नींद मार रहे थे और दीवारे paintings से भरी हुई थी। उसकी girlfriend ने हमें देख बड़ी चौड़ी मुस्कुराहट के साथ स्वागत किया और तुरंत ही घर जचाने लगी। इत्मीनाम से बैठकर हमने कुछ सिगरेट और बीड़ी पर घंटो चर्चा की। बातो से पता पड़ा की युवक IIT passout था और मुंबई मे chemical enggineer था और उसकी girlfriend भी मुंबई मे ही काम करती थी। मानो एक दूसरे से हमारा कितना गहरा सम्बन्ध हो और कई साल बाद मिल रहे हो। हमने कला, ज़िन्दगी, अध्यात्म, राजनीती, इत्यादि पे काफी चर्चा की। हम सब ने अपनी ज़िन्दगी मे आयी चुनौतीयों और उससे किस तरह सामना किया इस पर भी दिल खोल कर बाते की। सूरज भी अब ढलने को था पर बातो का कोई अंत नहीं। मेरे लिए तो यह सब एक सपने जैसा था ।

पर इस सपने का भी अंत होना तय था। सफर की यही ख़ूबसूरती है। सभी को पता है के इसके आगे शायद ही कभी मुलाक़ात हो। इसलिए सब एक दूसरे से विनम्रता से पेश आते है। विनम्रता मे इतनी ताकत है के यह ऊँच-नींच, सही -गलत का भेदभाव खत्म कर हमे एक दूसरे को बेहतर समझने मे मदद करता है और इसी दौरान हम बहोत कुछ सीख भी जाते है।

Higher self.

I: Everytime I think I have an escape plan to my problems I arrive at the same point from where I started. It’s like I am running in a circle. I am not growing. It’s the same monotony, taking a toll over me in different ways again and again.

Him: So how else do you think you’ll grow ?

I: I want to do something worthwhile. This repetitive patterns are just irritating. I have tried to be patient. How long should I suffer more? I keep thinking about various possibilities. It’s making me anxious and I want to be locked away from people.

Him: So you’re trying to be patient and you want to know how long you’ll have to be that way? Anyways, what do you want to achieve? And does thinking about the possibilities help ?

I: Not anything in particular. I dont want be tagged as a traveller or a writer or a social server although I love the idea of being all these yet I can see that it’s not the ultimate solution. I don’t see myself changing. It’s like having the same struggles and emotions with a different setup. I dont want to live in a fool’s paradise. I know it’s not the answer. All I want is to keep learning and growing and I should be able to distinguish between my likes and dislikes without getting influenced by the suroundings/people around me. I don’t want to be carried away by their expectation and way of living. Things I do should make sense to me. It should make me energetic and motivated everyday to do it. 
Endlessly thinking about possibilities and not acting on them is nothing but a wastage of time. Overthinking and overanalyzing things only makes me feel helpless giving rise to negative moods and emotions. I see how important it is to be calm. I am very well aware and have experienced this many times that the good things and thoughts come to me when I am least affected by the emotions. When everything just flows like a story without affecting me, whether good or bad.

Him- *chuckles* A story?

I: Often I like to see my life as a journey. Like it is recorded in the form of a book. It is about hardships I am facing or the goods that came along. So when I am happy, I see it as a good part of the book . And the sad parts are always viewed as an important plot to build the story of struggle. It gives me hope to see through all the problems, imagining myself to be victorious.

Him: That’s wonderful! This way it doesn’t affect your real nature. The good part helps you to be humble and the bad one’s are making sure you climb the stepping stones. But you do realise that book is still in the making?

I: hmm..

Him: Isn’t it convincing enough that it’s okay the way things are going around?
You’re just creating a false thought and stuck in your own web.
Remember, a sad being always remains sad! It is always good to keep doing things rather than overthinking, however slow the process maybe.

I- There’s no point in discussing this. The point is to start from somewhere, again! The point is to be disciplined in my work. And in order to be disciplined, I need to transform it into a habit. A habit of reading, a habit of writing, a habit of good things. Bad habits are just distractions.

Him- It is okay to not inculcate good habits so soon. It’s better to try one more time than to give up. That’s how you train your mind.
Just that you’re are not aware of the result of your progress is what is bothering you.

I: Maybe, I am just gathering the courage to move towards the oblivion. Or being a human, trying to think logically?

Hum: Dream knows no logic! It demands will, determination, courage with a smile on your face.

I: Or may be this is just another sad chapter of my book, another stepping stone to the higher realm.

Him: …

I: But I still dont have a clear picture of what I really want?

Him: I think you said it already! You want to keep learning and growing.

I: Yes, but I still haven’t figured out from where to start and how? I follow many achievers and their stories but nothing is convincing, neither their answers to most cliched question- “How to be successfull?” But there has to be something that assures my destination?

Him: One cannot climb the peak with an assurance of a clear weather. What I have learnt till now is although you don’t know what to do, you have figured out what not to do. Although it is difficult to develop a good habit, you are overcoming your bad habits. The hatred that you have accumulated since so many years with the monotonous life is giving you more potential to rise above it. Utilise it in the best possible way and keep getting better with the process itself. The secret lies in the process not the result. And since when did the destination started bothering you? I have known your stories which emphasizes about the adventures you had during the journey rather than the destination.

I: You’re right. Never have I cared about the destination. It’s the journey that is more adventurous.

Him- Remember, one step at a time to reach the summit of your life.

I- That’s what mountains taught me. One step at a time!

In the distant, the sun had started turning from yellow to orange as he clamly listened to me answering my several questions which I believe, was already buried deep within me, never finding its way to the surface because I did not practice the preachings of my heart. Perhaps, that is the reason why I was able to express my feelings to him. He told me exactly what I wanted to hear.
Out of curiosity, I raised my head above all this mess to see him. He was thin, wearing a dirty denim jacket, cheeks sunken to the bones as if he dint have a good meal since a long time but he showed no signs of dissatisfaction. Irregular beard and moustache that wasnt taken care of since a long time was swaying like a crop sways in the cold wind. His face calm, not at all affected with the problems I shared with him. As if whatever I shared doesn’t hold any importance. As if he had’nt faced any hardships in his life. His eyes fixed on the sun, yet very well aware of my restlessness and my existence beside him. He sat quietly staring at the drama in sky. The magic that I can cherish my whole life. Perhaps he also loved to witness the wonders of the Creator. The more I looked at him, the more we both looked alike.

“Where am I? Who is this guy who looks like me?” , reality started hitting me.

He looked at me, mischievously smiling- ‘Where you have always imagined yourself to be..’ and stared straight into the melting sun. The sky now lit with stark red-orange color, against the silhouetted valley below. His face glowed with the last few rays of sun, filled with effervescence! I followed his gaze to the sun, not caring anymore to solve the mysteries of life. Whether it was a dream or reality, I could not say. All that mattered was this moment- watching the sunset, together, with (higher) self.


Cold feet and numb mind,

Hitting the bottom in the coldest of times.

I gaze upward,

For the hint of Light,

I see the twilight.

O the haunting mist,

Do not try to delude me with the darkness anymore,

The plants and flowers have already begun to shine,

The birds are calling in the waking Light-

Now gradually piercing through the tree line,

I can feel the warmth already.


We are all gonna bloom in that blazing Light.

अपने आपको महसूस कर

अपने आपको महसूस कर,
तू खुद मे एक कविता है!

जब पेड़ों के पत्ते हवा के झोकों से हझिलमिल कर
तेरे कानों में फुसफुसाते हैं,
तब मन तो खुद ही का बहलता है न!

सुबह सुबह जब चिड़ियाँ एक डाली से दूसरे डाली उड़ते हुए चूँचाती है,
तब गाना तो खुद ही के भीतर से निकलता है न!

जब खलखल करता नदी का बहता पानी
तुझे अपनी ओर आकर्षित करती है,
तब दिल तो खुदही का धड़कता है न!

जब तालाब के शीतल पानी में
तू गोतियाँ लगाते चला जाता है,
एक मासूम बच्चे की झलक

तो तेरे ही चेहरे पे खिल उठती है न!

जब पहाड़ो की बर्फीली चोंटिया
तेरा मन मोह लेती है,
शांति तो तू खुद ही के अंदर पाता है न!

रंग बिरंगे फूलों, पेड़ों, बादलों, घरों और लोगों को देख,
तू खुद ही के मिजाज़ के रंग देखता है न!

चमचमाते चाँद-तारे देख,
चंदा मामा की कहानियाँ तो तू खुद ही बुनते चला जाता है न!

जब आकाश और सागर अनंत में मिल जाते है, तब खुदी को तू अनंत में एक होते देखता है न!

भगवान् की चरण में तू,
खुद ही के लिए प्रार्थना करता है न !

अपने आपको कभी महसूस तो कर,
तू खुद मे एक कविता है!

Shady Bar

Shady bar on a lousy street,

Sparkling lights and thumping beats,

Calling me to have a few drinks,

With people I think I’m friends with.

Discussing politics, religion and shit,

Laughing, arguing, yelling…

On topics that I never come to terms with.

Spitting knowledge gathered through the links clicked,

Pouring liquor on the dreams BIG;

Crying for things I never try to achieve,

Even a bit.

Testing the limits of mind,

Having beer, rum..

Pour me some more wine!

Clock is ticking,

Five hours already past Nine!

I wish I could call it a night..

Home is where the peace lies,

Where the love dwells,

And the talks are light.

But sitting here with friends-

Who said they’ll stand by me,

Through tides and times,

Although hesitant to pay the bill,

Promising to repay,

I hope soon, they will!

Now walking alone,

With stain of vomit on my feet,

Who added to the filth?

One more guilt!

Does this road lead me to my home?

“Who the fuck cares now!”

The smoke from my mouth bellows.

Swearing to be never back again,

To the shady bar on a lousy street.


Lies flow fluently through my lips,
As I tell you a fascinating story about a place faraway in the mountains,

And get lost in the augmented reality of my own thoughts,
Living a perfect life.

The story so palpable,
That you will listen to it carefully.

Not because you trust me,
But because you find the fragments of your own truths,
As you weave your fantasy land with my words.

And I’ll keep expanding my dreams,
For the dreamers alike,
So that one day you wake up to live by it,
And convert all my lies into truth.

A poem

I still remember Your first sight,
making me feel excited and calm at the same time.

Unfolding thousands of hidden expressions, yet I was speechless.

Your mere presence taught me humility,
yet made me strong enough to gather all my pieces that were fallen apart.

The joy witnessed never before!

As if You came alive,
talking to me in the form of whistling winds, chirping birds and ghustling stream.

And I was just there like a tall tree standing still,
listening to Your whispers.

And together in that moment,
we formed a jungle of peace,
hidden far away from the mad crowd…

Gradually turning into a poem,

Only a few can read.

नई सुबह

नई सुबह, नया दिन!

आज मै उत्सुक हूँ।
सुबह सुबह लोगों की चुस्ती फुर्ती देख कर।
बर्तनों की ढनमन और पानी की छप छपाहट सुन कर,
लोगों को बनठन के भीड़ भड़क्के में भागता हुआ देख कर।
चाहें पैसे कमाने का उल्लास हो या कोई मजबूरी,
सुबह की इस भगधड़ में जीने का जज़्बा तो बेशक नजर आता है।

आज मै उत्सुक हूँ,

उसी जज़्बा से जीने के लिए!
उत्सुक हूँ यह जानने के लिए,
की आज की सुबह मेरे लिए कैसी रात लाएगी?
मायूसी से भरी या चैन से सोने देने वाली?
मायूस राते लंबी लगती हैं और उन्हें काटना मुश्किल भी तो है।
जहाँ दीन आँख मूंदते निकल जाता है, वही रात बिताये हुए हर एक पल का हिसाब माँगती है।
आज मै रात को दिनभर का हिसाब देना चाहता हूँ।

आज मै उत्सुक हूँ। बस यूँही।
आखिर हर सुबह ऐसी चेतना थोड़े ही जगती है।


10 Things that will surprise you when you Visit Dubai

**Guest Post**

Dubai is a city full of surprises. Each year thousands and thousands of tourists visit Dubai to experience this glamorous city and see the marvelous buildings and architecture. Dubai Holidays is on most people’s agenda at least once in their lifetime. It has without a doubt become the entertainment capital of the world.

There are innumerable places to visit in Dubai and it is a city that caters to all age groups. Be it grandparents, parents or kids, everyone has loads of things to do in Dubai. But it is also a city full of surprises. And the list is so long that it is difficult to mention everything here. But I am going to list down ten facts about Dubai that will really surprise you. Want to know what it is? Read on.

10 Things that will surprise you when you visit Dubai:

  • Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world: Since its inauguration in 2010, Burj Khalifa still holds the record of being the tallest building in the world. At more than 828 meters and more than 160 floors, it offers a breathtaking view of the entire city. The visitors can go to the observation decks on the 124th and 125th floor for a 360-degree view of this magical city, and also take a guided tour to the 148th The 125th floor pays a tribute to Arab arts and culture.

burj khalifa

  • Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest man-made island: Dubai has always been a city of fascinating architecture. No wonder that they also hold a world record for the first man-made island Palm Jumeirah. Opened in 2001, the tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago famous for its extravagant restaurants, sophisticated apartment towers, and swanky hotels. Palm Jumeirah Monorail is the first monorail in the Middle East that connects it to the mainland.

palm jumeirah

  • ATMs that dispense gold: Yes, you read it right. You can buy anything from a gold coin to a gold bar from The Gold to Go ATM in Dubai Mall. The computer inside the vending machine changes the price based on the real-time market fluctuations. There are three such ATMS in Dubai, two in Burj Khalifa and one in Atlantis Hotel.

gold atm

  • No Income-Tax: Wow! What can be more amazing than the fact that you don’t have to pay Income Tax? Yes, you get your whole salary without any deductions in Dubai. The only tax that you pay is the VAT (Value Added Tax) while buying products. This is one of the biggest reasons for many people to establish their business in Dubai.
  • Longest automated Metro Line: Another surprising fact about Dubai is that it has the longest driver-less single metro line. In fact, it made it to the Guinness Book of Records as the longest automated metro line. Currently, the Red and Green lines are operational with another line under construction.

dubai metro

  • Police Sports Cars: The Dubai Police owns a fleet of high-end luxury cars such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Bentleys. The fleet also includes Aston Martin, Bugatti, and the likes. The idea is to break down barriers between the police and the public. And the icing on the cake is that most of the expensive cars such as Bentley and Ferrari are driven by women police officers.

dubai police car

  • Experience Sand and Snow throughout the year: Probably the only place in the whole world where you can enjoy desert safaris and experience snow any time of the year. Ski Dubai is a snow park with real snow constructed right in the middle of the desert. There is a 85-meter-high mountain and an indoor skiing facility. The park maintains a temperature of -1 to -2 degrees throughout the year and the highlight are the penguins that have been transported all the way from Antarctica.

dubai police car

  • Reward for losing weight: Looking for an incentive to lose weight? Well, the Dubai Government awards a family 2 grams of gold for every kilogram lost. This gives you a big motivation to stop making excuses and lose weight.
  • No address in Dubai: The residents in Dubai did not have a street address until a few years ago. They used to direct people to places using landmarks. Recently, the government has allotted unique codes for each building to streamline the process of finding an address.
  • Biggest theme-based mall in the world: For a real shopping experience, head out to the Ibn Battuta Mall. Named after the renowned traveler Ibn Battuta who traveled the world in 1335, this is the biggest theme-based mall in the world. The mall is divided into six different courts: India, China, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Andalusia, representing the different places he traveled to. Enjoy some lip-smacking food in the restaurants or pamper yourself with new clothes and perfumes in their stores.


Tips for Travelers: 

Planning a vacation to Dubai and not sure what to do? The following tips will surely help you:

  • The best time to travel is from November to April when the weather is pleasant. All the major tourist attractions in Dubai will be open this time of the year. The months of January and February are especially crowded because of the famous Dubai Shopping Festival and the entire city comes alive. But, since this is the peak season, the hotel rates and airfares are really high.

If you are not looking to travel during peak seasons, you can travel during comparatively off-peak months such as May, September, and October. The crowd is comparatively less, and you will get good bargains in hotels and airfare.

  • Do some research about the season you are visiting in so that you can enjoy all the activities
  • Process your visa at least one month in advance to avoid last moment delays
  • Book hotels and air tickets at least a few months in advance to get the best price
  • Ensure you carry your passport, travel insurance, and other important documents
  • Carry your international debit and credit cards for purchases. For other expenses, it is better to exchange your local currencies with dirhams at the airport or the malls where you get a good exchange rate
  • If shopping for gold in Dubai Gold Souk, compare prices at various stores to get the best deals

Conclusion: No matter when you plan to visit Dubai, there is always something to do. A short trip will not do justice to this delightful city. Plan a long fun trip so that you can explore as many places as possible.

Note: This is a guest post by raynatours

Hold On!

When you think you can’t take it anymore,
Emotions taking a toll,
Soul crying to burst from the cage,
Filling you with anger and rage,
When the curiosity, anxiety and fear make a home in your mind,
When the society is no more of your kind,
When you know its too late to save yourself,
That the destruction is near,
Do not fear!
Take that dive.
For when you finally give up trying,
Running out of breath,
Left for dying,
In the darkest time,
Remember Me in your whispers,
For I shall breathe in you the light of a new dawn,
So that you see the reality,
And come out from the veil of dreams that made you ignorant.
And convey all,
That there is a place,
Where the happiness, peace and love coexist,
The art thrives,
And where everything is Divine!
Hold on_poem

Being Alone

There comes a time when you feel terribly alone. Not in the sense that you lock yourself in a room but in the state of utter dilemma, the way the life is happening and revolving around you. The ones that make you feel helpless even if you wish to change things around you. There comes a time when you feel alone, not necessarily in the sense that it makes you sad/depressed but that makes you feel so disconnected even from all the things you that once made you feel happier. Tell me, after years of working, does that salary still excites you? Does that bike/car you bought still add thrill in your daily life? Does partying every day still makes you feel that you are making the best of your life? Does traveling still make your jaw drop in awe and wonderment? In the quest to be happy, I tried everything fancy with the fun coupons I earned but it just brought more chaos, burning a deep hole within. But you just don’t pay attention to these things easily. You don’t introspect thinking it as silly. You just take it for granted and continue doing things that you think is making you happy. Gradually you become dependent, on the fun coupons, on family and friends, your girlfriend. You’re so dependent that you desperately need them. Because you don’t know how to spend time with yourself. You think what else is there to do? So you socialize, you travel and try to fill the empty cup with the sense of over-excitement, silly jokes and vain laughs over a few drinks, feeding your ego. The ego of ignorance. Yeah, it is bliss to live in that ignorance but for how long? And as soon as that party is over, as soon as you are done with your girlfriend, as soon as you’re back from an adventurous trip, you just fall in the same trap of searching for entertainment again. Oh, but you earn and there’s so much time you spend working. You think traveling, exploiting relationship, killing time with friends is your birthright. But imagine, how much it caught you in the habit of depending on other things for fun; be it substance, places or people. Do you even mind the kind of people you interact with daily? 8/10 people you meet might not even know what are you up to. Aren’t you meeting them because you think there’s nothing else to do? Their time and attention are enough to keep you entertained. Don’t you already know this friendship won’t last long? This dependency is nothing but a disease heavily masked by so-called fun, love, and friendship. Just for a moment imagine if all these are taken away from you. You’ve worked so hard just so that you never feel alone and you have someone/something to fall back on. Imagine to whom will you pour your heart out regarding your personal problems if not your girlfriend/best friend. Imagine if someone v close to you, without whom you could never ever imagine your life, suddenly dies. The problem is it doesn’t hit you hard until it truly happens. But all that you’re building now is bound to change, something /someone is bound to go away. The wonderful moments you’re living with your college/office friends that you wish stays the way it is forever are bound to end. And when you begin to lose it you feel terrible, even more so because you have invested so much time in building up your life with people/things around you that you are not ready to accept the truth that it’s finally gone and you’re all alone. Can you relate your meeting with old school/office friends after a long time with whom you keep rewinding the good old days and how you wish life to be fun and easy going the way it was back then? Why do you think life is more complicated now? Maybe because you’re trying to build the same comfort zone again by making new relationships and finding joy in more fancy things. In doing so, you may find it difficult to meet your own expectations by comparing it with older times/others and might even feel defeated. But, you just like to ignore these facts. When life pins you down, you don’t fight back, for you will always be defeated in one way or the other no matter how hard you try. The better way out is to accept your defeat, try to learn from what life has to teach you and deal with the problems by managing it efficiently. We all must arrive at this conclusion someday irrespective of being an introvert or extrovert, that we are all really alone. And you won’t be able to express this feeling to anyone around you. Some would accept it while some ignore it and continue to live a caged life with an invisible rope of habits tying around them. The more you try to pull it, the tighter it becomes. There’s no escape really. How can you escape from yourself? Perhaps, then you will realize how logical it is to invest your time, emotion and energy on that one thing that stays with you at the time of despair as well as happiness. That one thing that doesn’t necessarily have a fruitful outcome. That one thing which you can see every day, care for it, nurture it, see it slowly growing. That which is yours, with whom you fall so utterly in love that even if it looks ugly to the world you love it with all your heart, just like a mother loves her child unconditionally. If you crave enough just for that one thing which you can hold on forever, unshaken with your love for it amidst the crashing world, what would it be? Is it love, art or religion…? You have to be utterly honest with yourself to decide. You must learn to really choose amidst all the options presented to you, lest you fall in the same trap of habits again. Do you really want to become all those things you fancy? Think again.

Isn’t finding solace in passion, a way to find solace in your own self? Aren’t all these merely a means of expressing yourself? Perhaps the answer is always with you, the answer is You! And all other things are just the by-products reflecting your true nature. Perhaps this how it is, this is how it has always been- a journey of Self.

Being alone


A peek into simplicity and the hardship of rural life

After exploring Mahabaleshwar for 2 days, we found ourselves saturated with the place and decided to return. The long weekend had invited a lot of crowd in the hills and we were so impregnated with the act of travelling that even though we had 2 more days before getting back to the routine, we decided to call it a quit and spend rest of the time at home. But is it so easy to convince the mad heart who has already tasted freedom? One often arrives at a point on the road where he has to choose the course that defines his journey and that is the beauty of travelling! On our way back, our silence conveyed that we were unhappy with the decision. My friend casually suggested that we visit his village which was not too far from Mahabaleshwar. Being raised in a metropolitan city, I’ve only had few opportunities to experience rural life that made me immediately second his idea.

Read: Road trip to Harihareshwar: Misadventures and Ruminations

rural india

As we took a detour from the main highway, the vehicles were replaced by the refreshing greens and contours of the hills slicing the horizon. I took deep breaths deliberately, filling the lungs with fresh air, enjoying the momentary freedom and soaking the beauty of the countryside. On the way, my curious eyes spotted a group of people burning crops on firewood. “This is called Hurda party”, my friend replied looking at my inquisitiveness. After toiling hard in the field, the farmers celebrate the good harvest of Jowar by roasting its seed and eating it with garlic/groundnut chutney or sometimes along with jaggery. Later, I learned that this simple dish of farmers is now loved by the urban people so much that it has begun to find its way in restaurants. Also, events are held up at various farms near Pune to celebrate the Hurda party.  The discussion invariably gave rise to my fantasy of living a slow-paced life, unlike the cities. As usual, I found beauty in every aspect of simple living while my friend pointed out the hardships involved in living such a life. He told me how once they had to face a huge loss when vegetable rates had slashed in the market owing to seasonal produce which resulted in more supply than the actual demand. The traders bought the vegetables from the farmers by paying peanuts that did not even meet the cost of labor involved for production. As a result, many farmers decided to not sell the product and left it to decay. He also told me that his village was a drought-stricken area which depends majorly on the ground waters and artificial lakes. Although the government provides subsidies to farmers to build wells/lakes, there are poor farmers who are still not able to avail the facilities and have to face a lot of adversities. It left me thinking for a moment but how could a dreamer weave his dream with logic? The endless green farms and fresh air blowing on my face easily deviated me from the topic. Soon, the concrete roads turned into the dusty lane and few farmers were heading way back home. We had finally made it to the village and as soon as we reached the front gates of my friend’s home I was uninvitingly welcomed by the barks of the dog. Before I go and try to play with him I’m warned that unlike the dogs of the cities, he can’t be easily tamed and loved. The human-animal companionship is mostly based on give and take relationship here unlike in the cities where people adopt an animal for status/pleasure and are well trained.  It was a street dog who resided in the courtyard of the house and was fed well. In return, he guarded the farms and the house. Now, a little cautious of the dog, I entered the house and was warmly welcomed by his family members. I noticed that the courtyard was a mess owing to the renovation work that was going on to convert the old traditional house into a big concrete one. At one end of the courtyard was a temporary hut where the family lived. My friend took me into the house to keep my belongings. It was a small room already filled with the household stuff, waiting to be shifted to the new house and could barely accommodate the family of 5. They were little hesitant if I would be able to adjust but I assured them that I was very comfortable and had no problem at all. With time, their guilt was also absolved as I got familiarized with the conditions. After freshening up and having refreshments, I was given the tour of the new house showing all the rooms and corners in its concrete form. We headed to the roof which was still under construction.  It provided the whole view of the village with a temple in the center and farms on its periphery stretching up to the base of the hills in the far distant.  The sun painted the sky orange in contrast to the green farms, replicating the image of the Indian flag. While my friend and his uncle got busy in monitoring the construction work, I got lost again, immersed in peace and the beauty of the countryside.

Read: Reminiscing old times: Road trip to Alibaug, Kashid, and Murud…

Rural life
Solshi village lies in the district of Satara. According to the locals, it acquires its name from 16(Sol) shivlingas that lies in the surrounding area of the village.

Dinner was served at around 8 and tough it was a simple food served with bhakri, dal and vegetable, I remember eating it more than the usual. My stomach always has enough space for home cooked delicacies and most of the time it doesn’t even make me regret overeating. Rather, I feel happy and satisfied. Since there wasn’t enough space for me and my friend to sleep in the makeshift hut; we took our bedrolls and slept in the village temple that night.


The next morning, after having breakfast, since my friend got busy doing the household chores, I set out alone for a walk around the village. There were old men sitting under the tree, children playing cricket in the temple courtyard while few passersby stared at me smiling and inquiring about my whereabouts. Walking further towards the farm, I could identify few crops like jowar, grams, onion and tomato which is grown here in abundance. I aimlessly hopped from one farm to other watching farmers going about their day, sat by the well watching children diving and bathing in the well and after feeling tired wondering, found a place under a tree and irresistibly got lulled to sleep by the cool breeze. Later, my friend along with his granny took me around their own farm. Granny plucked the gram crop for me and was delighted to see me feasting on it and enjoying the village life. Upon returning home, we were served scrumptious puranpoli for the lunch post which I retired to bed again. It was all about taking a rest and going with the pace of slow village life.

Read:Living the moment!

rural life
Straight from the farm!

We prepared for the ride back home in the evening. The family kept persisting that I should visit them again after the renovation and apologized for all the troubles I had to face. But, how could I explain to them the childhood fantasy of mine whenever I saw the farms and mud houses from the window seat of the train and to have actually experienced all of it here. I was indeed living my fantasy without even going through the harsh reality of living a simple life. A sense of gratitude filled my heart not only because of the experience but also for my own conditioned life that I often took for granted. I hope my smile expressed at least a little bit of what I felt inside as I bade farewell to them heartily. Spending some leisure time in an obscured village made me realize the kind of vacation that I was actually yearning for. The insatiable hunger for exploring new places can sometimes blind you with the delusion of having fun. Sometimes all we need is to slow down and really enjoy the vacation in true sense. I got lucky with this opportunity and was glad to be able to recognize it. It’s not always foolish to listen to the impractical heart after all. It can take you to places you have already visited a thousand times before even actually having arrived there!



The Abandoned House

The door to his self was left ajar,
Rusted and cracked,
Beckoning him.

It creaked to happiness as he entered and made way through the dark.

He overlooked through the window of his heart,
Broken to the dreams,
Shattered apart.

The stale air flowed silently
As he made way through the cobwebs of his thoughts,

The wall of resistance had crumbled to the storm.
His childhood voice echoed across the hall,
The tilted painting hanging on a hollow wall.

All the secrets hidden by the paints and plasters lay damped,
downtrodden on the floor,

As he walked into his house,
Once abandoned,
On a silent hill,
By the seashore.

The abandoned house


Art amidst the mundane- Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2019

Mumbai has become synonymous with the madding crowd and commercialization. People are so used to the working lifestyle here that most of them find it hard to imagine living a slow-paced life.  The old colonial buildings in South Mumbai are just any other office building on a regular day outside which people can be seen taking a break from their work, sipping chai, devouring on roadside snacks or puffing a smoke. The beaches and the seafront areas quietly observe the vehicles rushing past by them on the weekdays, embracing few love birds and college students, only waiting for the weekends to be filled with the crowd. Ask any Mumbaikar after they return from a holiday away from the city, they will say how slow the life is in other parts of the country/abroad and that it is now difficult to enjoy the life of such kind for a longer period. However, it would be wrong to perceive Mumbai as machine-producing robots. From what may seem a life of constant hustle-bustle to many, Mumbaikars have somehow learned to embrace this lifestyle and find strength and hope from the daily grind. And where there is a struggle, there is art! There are rebels and people desperate to find their expression. And of course, being a business capital, the city has given freedom to many, who are above the struggle-for-survival bar to explore their interest in the field of arts.

Kala Ghoda
Myriad of colors at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

In between the pulsating Mumbai- A city that never sleeps, art is like a skipped beat, a moment of joy breaking the monotony and bringing people closer while spreading awareness about the socio-cultural affairs of the city as well as the country. No wonder, Mumbai is the hub for art lovers that provide a platform to many aspiring artists to showcase their talent even on international level. The Kala Ghoda arts festival is trying to conserve that spirit of Mumbai, passionately for 20 years, making it the biggest street festival of arts in India.

Kala Ghoda fest 2019
The weekdays generally see a lot of crowd from colleges all over Mumbai. It almost feels like walking on the college campus.

Kala Ghoda arts festival 2019
Felt a little old to sit on the steps and pass away time like that.

Being a person who prefers walking over taking a cab, reaching to the event from Churchgate station itself felt like a part of a heritage walk as the road is flanked by the colonial buildings taking me back to old Bombay days ( Bombay is an old name for Mumbai). Kala Ghoda, the location of the event, is surrounded by prominent buildings like Rythm House, Jehangir art gallery, Sassoon Doc library and the Max Muller Bhawan, which itself is an assurance that the place cannot let down the visitors and has something to offer to everyone, be it a theatre enthusiast, cinema, architecture, music, painting, literature or even a food lover! (Did I forget to mention the new selfie lover generation?)

Kala Ghoda arts fest 2019
An ode to Bollywood.

The famous Bollywood celebrities, musicians, dancers, comedians grace the festival with their performances while the authors, painters, filmmakers, etc engage with the budding artists in the various events held throughout the festival.  The small scale entrepreneurs and local artisans grab this as an opportunity to showcase their crafts by selling handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, home décor, ceramics, etc. Many of the stalls, in fact, see a lot of customers throughout the day. The 9-day long festival becomes a haven for both, the artists and the connoisseur of art bridging a gap between the two by exchanging each other’s ideology, struggle and interest. The various events held during the festival are free of cost and welcomes people from all walks of life not only from the city and country but from all over the world making it stand true to its tagline- Of the people, for the people, by the people.

Kala Ghoda arts festival
A nostalgic moment for the ’80s and ’90s kids.

Although I was unable to attend the various scheduled events due to lack of time, I made sure to go through the art installations. Many of them left a deep impression on me and made me appreciate the effort put in to spread the message on a public platform. On the other hand, it was disheartening to see many people attending the festival without understanding the message being tried to convey. I heard many youngsters remarking that they hardly understood anything about it without even reading the explanation given beside each art form. Art- a combination of reality and fiction is rather based on the simple philosophies of life, trying to retrace our roots. Anyways as the saying goes, the teacher arrives when the student is ready- the aesthetic art that can jolt a person’s deepest desire and feelings in subtle ways, is appealing mostly to people who are willing to learn and expand their horizons. One thing that I would take along from this festival is that the art lies in details and patterns that are everywhere. It is how an individual perceives things and expresses them that give art so many forms and colors.

Kala ghoda arts festival 2019
The colorful ceiling of taxis in Mumbai caught the eye of Rachel Lopez introducing visitors to the interesting but often overlooked art form. Follow ‘thegreaterbombay’ on Instagram for more pictures.  Source- Google

Apart from celebrating the 20th anniversary of the festival, it commemorated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and also tried to spread his teachings. The art installations conveyed the message for dreamers, educated about the existing social stigmas, depicted various moods and phases of life, tried to decipher the roles of people, memories, dreams, and time while also reminiscing the journey of the festival so far. Below are few of them that may leave you spellbound and appreciate the art as well.

The Cloud of Diamonds

Kala ghoda fest 2019

The installation depicts how consciously/subconsciously, we form a cloud of diamonds built from our aspirations and experiences in life. The ladders denote the path to reach the cloud. Sometimes, the way to the cloud is simple but we often take a complicated route that is denoted by crisscross ladders. The carriage symbolizes the world we live in with friends and community playing an important role to help us reach towards our destiny, thereby warning us to choose people carefully. It acts as a platform that life provides to climb the ladder and the wheels at the base denote the circle of life with its sole purpose to help us reach toward that cloud of diamonds. Are you moving toward your cloud of diamonds?

Roots to sky:

Kala ghoda fest

A tree made from a scrap of bicycles denotes the importance of healthy childhood days that shape our adulthood. Just like the strength of the roots determine the growth of a tree, the simple joys of childhood like playing, riding bicycles, dancing, singing, painting, etc strengthens our cognitive and decision-making skills and helps us to face the highs and lows of life.


Kala ghoda festival

An hourglass with sand in the upper part depicts the present moment, slipping away with time and settling down as memories. The wings reflect the aspirations to soar higher and evolve as a better human being.

The Infinite Spindle

Kala ghoda fest

Reflects the infinite loop of life with our memories and dreams intermingling with others, denoting solidarity.

Kala ghoda fest


Kala ghoda arts festival 2019

The tree itself portrays hope as it is also known as a wish-fulfilling tree. The trunk wrapped in receding colors from bright to dark symbolizes the truth of life. The books, degree, medals etc. show the joyous moments in the life of privileged ones, while the dream catcher depicts the unfulfilled dreams of underprivileged children who have been victims of trafficking, abuse and child labor. The mirror on the trunk reflects the face of an individual observing it as if asking him/her if they are contributing their bit to the society.

Kala ghoda fest 2019

Ghoda Ghadi

Kala ghoda arts festival 2019

The structure when rotated upside down reveals the irregular colors of the bar opposite to the hourglass in the perfect shape of a horse. It depicts the mystery of time and journey conveying the message that everything makes sense with the passing of time bringing out a new spirit and healing all the fragmented emotions.

Shah Rangi

kala ghoda arts festival

The horse head made from stained glasses is dedicated to the journey of the Kala Ghoda Festival responsible to bring out the colors of the city.

Warping Time

Denotes the continuous progress of time weaving with the memories and experiences.

kala ghoda arts festival


Best Weekend Getaways Near Mumbai

**Guest Post**

Life in Mumbai is always chaotic. This is one city in India that never sleeps. Mumbai is dynamic, exciting and full of life. The hustle and bustle of life is always restless and working 24 x 7. But other than the shimmers and glitters of this city, Mumbai also has to offer a lot of weekend trip near Mumbai. These are the places that everyone should visit to relax their mood and rewind themselves. Mumbai is surrounded by the majestic Western Ghats and offers a lot of getaway options to the tired soul. This is what made us create this article for travellers who are looking for superb weekend getaways. Read on

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

The Karnala Bird Sanctuary in on the Mumbai- Goa highway. If you are looking for a peaceful and lovely getaway near Mumbai then this has to be your first choice. The forest is spread over 4.8 sq km and it is the home of more than 150 bird species. Not just this over 37 immigrant birds can also be seen in Karnala Bird Sanctuary. This could be your ideal picnic spot for the weekend too. Take along your family and drive here.

The distance from Mumbai to Karnala Bird Sanctuary is 60 km and the best time to visit here is from October to April. Avoid the monsoon season to visit this place because you will hardly see any birds during the rainy season.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Source: Google

Things to do: Bird watching, trekking, the botanical garden.


Kajrat is 62 km away from Mumbai and it won’t take you a lot of time to reach here. On the basin of river Ulhas nestles the beautiful town ofKarjat. This is a place which is immensely blessed by nature. Mountains, picturesque view, forts, vistas, and rock-cut cave temples make this small town a must visit place near Mumbai. There are a lot of things to do in Karjat.

The best time to visit here is in between July to September.

Karjat in monsoon.

Things to do: You can come here to relax, trek, and rock climbing, waterfall climbing, picnic, boating, white water rafting, and rappelling.


The next that we have on our list is perhaps one of the most popular destinations among the weekenders. Matheran lies at a height of 2516 above sea level. What you will get to experience here is a lush green forest, peaceful environment, and serenity. Well, isn’t that a good reason to visit Matheran? You can also take a ride on toy ride from Neral to Matheran. If you require any taxi service to travel try Uber promo code.

Matheran is 83 km away from Mumbai and the best time to visit here is from October to May.

Source: Google

Things to do: Trekking, horse riding, sightseeing, walking and valley crossing. Once you reach here you can go to the Heart Point, Luisa Point, Lords Point, Echo Point, and One Tree Hill.

Lonavala and Khandala

Remember the “aatikyakhandala song” from the movie Ghulam? Yes, we are talking about the same Khandala. This twin hill resort at a distance of 93 km from Mumbai and to be honest is the heart of Mumbai people. Whether you are planning for a one day trip or want to embrace the hills and forget about everything, well Lonavala and Khandala are the places for you.

The best time to visit here is in between October to May. You can plan a two-day trip here to explore everything that Lonavala and Khandala has to offer

View from Tungarli Lake, Lonavala.

Things to do: You can visit Korigad Fort, Bedsa Cave, Tungarli Lake, Duke’s Nose, Pavna Lake, and Lonavala Lake. This place is famous for trekking, flee market and camping.


After you complete your trip in Lonavala and Khandala travel for 16 km to reach Kamset. If you are an adventurous person and love to take part in enthralling sports then you are going to love us for introducing you to Kamset. Kamset is the king of paragliding in India. This place is covered with a plethora of paragliding spots. For a quick adrenaline rush make sure to do paragliding here. You can avail Ola coupon code to hire an Ola outstation cab.

It is 102 km away from Mumbai and the best time to visit here is from October to May.

Source: Google

Things to do: Kamset is famous among paragliders, apart from this come here to visit Karla Caves, Kondeshwar Temple, Uksan Dam, Bhairi Cave, Bedsa Caves, and Raikar Farm. You can come here to enjoy trekking, swimming, rock climbing, as well as boating.


If on your next weekend trip all you want to do is take part in adventurous activities then visit Kolad. Once you see the Kundalika River gushing in full force, you will be blown away looking at the serene beauty. It’s an ideal place for travellers who want to have some fun along with sightseeing.

The distance from Mumbai to Kolad is 124 km and the best time to visit here is from June to February.

Source: Google

Things to do: You can visit Tala, Kundalika River, Kansai Falls, Kuda Caves, and Tamhini Falls. Come here for hiking, paragliding, rafting, boating, and kayaking.


Take a road trip from Mumbai to Malshej and enjoy the beautiful trip. You will cross the majestic Western Ghats Mountain pass which will rejuvenate your soul and uplift your mood. You know you need a break and nothing can be better than taking a long drive through the mountains.

The distance from Mumbai to MalshejGhat is 154km and the best time to visit here is either from July to September or from October to March.

Malshej ghat

Things to do: Trekking, camping, picnic with friends and family.

Now you know where to go for the next weekend getaway trip. So, pack your bags and drive.

Note: This is a guest post by couponscurry.com.

Jodhpur: Photo Essay

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

After knowing the history of Mehrangarh Fort and understanding the grand scheme of things that ran the old blue city, it was time to explore Jodhpur breathing in modern times. The city that has a sense of familiarity with that of the crowd, noise, traffic, various smells, food, shops, etc.

Sardar Market/ Clock Tower

So we headed to the Sardar Market. Some of the things I could spot in the market were vegetables, spices, street foods, clothes, ornaments and jewelry, antiques, etc. However, it was the clock tower that attracted my attention the most. The clock tower situated at the center which was once the only means for the labor class to know the time is now a prominent landmark of the city. A more than century-year-old clock tower was built by the then King Sardar Singh. Apparently, he paid a huge sum to the London company to build this unique clock which cannot be replicated elsewhere.

Here are a few more interesting facts about the clock tower:

  • The clock runs by a movement of heavy iron loads suspended on wires.
  • It requires winding by a key that weighs approx. 10 kgs!
  • The bell makes a distinct sound each time it strikes.
  • The complex mechanism of the clock is only known to a family responsible for running the clock for 2 generations.

Tip: Try lassi at Mishrilal Hotel, and mawa and pyaaj kachori at Rawat Misthan Bhandar who is believed to be the inventor of mawa kachori.

Clock tower Jodhpur

clock tower jodhpur
Mr. Mohd. Iqbal- The man responsible for the working of the clock- proudly flaunts the cutouts of the articles published about him in the newspapers and other magazines.

Market view from clock tower
View of the market from the clock tower.

Clock tower Jodhpur

Turji ka Jhalra- Stepwell

A few meters away from the clock tower lies a stepwell which seems like a place for a social gathering of locals. Kids playing, people having snacks, a group of friends chatting, few tourists clicking photographs, while some sitting on the steps observing the life passing by, helped me experience the life in Jodhpur, in general. I was quite surprised by looking at its depth. The steep symmetrical steps leading to the water body tempted me to go further down to reach the water level. The stepwell was left in an abandoned state until it was restored a few years ago along with the surrounding area which is also refurbished with cafes and hotels keeping up with the tourist theme of the place. As a result, it is now attracting the attention of the tourists. However, I wish there was more information provided about the place.

Read: The touristy charm of Pushkar

Turji ka Jhalra

Turji ka Jhalra

Rao Jodha desert park

In an attempt to convert a rocky wasteland surrounding the Mehrangarh fort into an ecological park, Rao Jodha desert park was created in 2006. It gives a glimpse of the local topography with different types of rocks, birds and native plants growing in this part. With very few tourists around, the place felt even more interesting to explore at our own pace. The sturdy castle of Mehrangarh lay on a rugged hillock right across the park while we ambled through the overgrown bushes, crossed lakes and rested on the rock when felt so. I also observed the tourists zip lining from the Mehrangarh fort up to the park, which I think is a good idea to have an aerial view of the city and its heritage.

Read: Standing through tides and times: Jaigad Fort and Karhateshwar Temple

Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park

Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park

Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park

Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park

Rao Jodha desert park


Kaylana Lake

My love for nature made me ditch Jaswant Thada– A memorial of Maharaja Jaswant Singh to visit Kaylana Lake during the sunset hours. But to my disappointment, the sun hid behind the hills well before casting its orange rays. The place is also poorly maintained and is not as good as reviewed on the internet. Although with the sitting arrangements and the boating facilities, it serves as a picnic spot which is mostly frequented by locals.

kaylana lake jodhpur

Umaid Bhawan Palace

Built by the erstwhile ruler Maharaja Umaid Singh, it is the last royal palace built in India and is one of the world’s largest private residences. The palace is now divided into three parts- the first being the residence of the royal family (Maharaja Gaj Singh, the grandson of Umaid Singh is the current resident of the palace); the second is part of a Taj hotel; and the third is converted into a museum housing vintage cars, collection of clocks, furniture, antiques, armories, family memorabilia, and paintings.

Umaid Bhawan Palace
With the architecture as beautiful as this, I wonder if beauty really lies in the eye of a beholder?

Umaid Bhawan Palace museum
Inside the museum.

Umaid Bhawan museum

Seeds of JOY!

In the garden of our minds,

Let us sow the seeds of JOY.

Rooted deep into the soil of trouble and pain,

That makes it only more favorable for growth.

Let us water them with COMPASSION,

And let the plants of LOVE grow.

Let each take its own time to reach towards LIGHT.

Let each of them be unique in its own way.

Let us spray the pesticides of CONFIDENCE and PERSISTENCE,

To kill the insects of fear.

Let the flowers of POSITIVE THOUGHTS bloom and spread its fragrance,

And see them manifest themselves into the fruit of action.

In the garden of our minds,

Let us sow the seeds of JOY!

Seeds of Joy

‘Tis the season of self-evaluation

To say that 2018 was a roller coaster ride would be such a generic statement to make. When we look back at the past and realize how far we have made it, it always seems to be a roller coaster ride of emotions, challenges, defeats, and victory. However, for me, 2018 was to consciously take a ticket for a crazy ride. Somehow I had already realized that it is going to be a year of persistence and bold decisions. Was this ride worth it? Of course yes, but did it lead me towards success or finding a purpose in life? I know not!

After experimenting with so many solutions in the chemistry lab of life, all I derived was the precipitation of lessons which I would like to carry with me in the years to follow.

Stop. Introspect. Choose.

Reasoning from my point of view after taking advice from others and learning to say “No” to people/ experiences I don’t like helps me to be content with my choices, irrespective of good/bad.

An evening contemplation
Lost in contemplation. Successfully ditched the new year plans of Goa and escaped to a relatively quiet place- Vengurla Beach, Maharashtra.

Read: Vengurla- The unruffled paradise!

Travel for experiences.

Be it a mountain-top, a beach, or a fort, the sunset remains the same. Don’t stick to a niche; travel for experiences.

Nahargarh fort-Jaipur
The nature lover tries to find beauty in forts and museums. Picture clicked at Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur.

Read: Exploring my interest in arts and history at Mehrangarh Fort

Let Go!

When slogging for 14 hrs. a day took a toll on my health, I decided to call it a quit. But, even difficult is to get rid of the past that leads to over-thinking, procrastination, and fearing the possibilities that may/ may not arise. The more I learn to let go my past, the more I feel detached from these mental habits associated with them. It also helps me to focus on the road that lies ahead.

Quitting job

Most of the things in life are simple.

Now that I have quit my job and have time to observe myself as a third person, I realize that how subconsciously we are entangled into habits that are worthless. And some of them become the reason for restlessness and complicate things to a point from where it is difficult to return. Like always craving for fast food, constantly checking the phone for no good reason, spending a lot of time in the toilet, etc. It feels surprisingly good to be active throughout the day after relying on raw vegetables, fruits, and home cooked food. Keeping the phone away saves a lot of time which can be invested in other useful things. Going quickly through the morning chores helps me abide by the daily routine of exercise and mediation. It’s simple. Really!

Kovalam beach
Forget everything for a while. Go watch a sunset!

Loneliness is a gift, we fail to admire.

From sleeping like a bear and socializing for rest of the day to sitting in a bedroom trying to utilize the siesta time, being alone made me feel anxious at first but gradually helped me to learn a thing or two on my own without even realizing of the efforts put into it.


Read: A solo trip that changed me forever!

Persistence and patience is the key!

Having not yet figured out what I really want to do with life, I find it wise to win each day and patiently hope for things to fall in place. This is the only way I know to console my heart. Meditation also helps.

Travel often
Aren’t we all travellers traversing from one experience to another by learning and unlearning things and meeting new people on our way? And in the end, we are all alone making our choices on this journey called life.

Read: Keep Walking…

Stay connected with your inner child.

Whenever I feel discouraged, I look back at my younger self who was an impulsive child, always willing to learn and win. With the time and maturity, I seem to have lost a deeper connection with myself which I continuously try to trace back now. I strongly believe that we had all the qualities as a child that we are now looking for.

Stay connected to the inner child
Guess who’s the kid here?

Read: An excerpt from my diary: Camping at Shirota Lake

Travel often! Travel smart!

Prove everyone right when they say travelling is escaping from responsibilities. Travel more often! Also, don’ rely completely on humanity while travelling. Racism and bad people exist in society. Be alert and travel smart.

Varkala beach
Varkala: Where caucasian foreigners are respected more than the fellow countrymen.

Read: Varkala: Rich Biodiversity, Poor Hospitality

Very close to the tourist destination lies an interesting town/ a village unexplored.

This year I stuck to a formula to explore an alternative place to the famous tourist spot where transport, food, and accommodation wouldn’t be a problem owing to its proximity to a well-known place. My experiences in such places were so good that I’m yet to find the right words to describe those places in my blog.

Bathad village
The sun bids a final goodbye by enchanting the snowy peak with its last few rays! Picture clicked at Bathad village in Himachal, situated at the last motorable road ahead of Gushaini (Tirthan Valley).

Read: Adventure tales of Chamba

Wake up early.

There is nothing called as a sunset person. Stop making excuses and wake up early.

Not seen anything like this before. A surreal sunrise moment at Vattakanal.

Read: Vattakanal: First impressions

Discipline is necessary.

In my quest to finding interest in things I would love to do, I noticed that doing anything repeatedly, however for a small period of time, not only helps to grow interest in the subject but also increases will and focus to do it. And in order to develop such a good habit, discipline is necessary.

Anjarle Beach

Read: Road trip to Harihareshwar: Misadventures and Ruminations

Prayer helps to stay positive.

After reading a countless number of books on effective ways of living, writing and even blogging, there are a few common points in all of them stressing on the power of affirmation, visualization and practicing silence. I always found it difficult to obey the step-by-step rules mentioned in the books. But spending a week in YSS ashram in Ranchi helped me understand that the simple and effective way to achieve this can be prayer. Let’s just say prayer acts as a lubricant applied to the mechanical ways of “10 steps to success…”

Pushkar Lake
A devotee praying at the Pushkar Lake.

Read: The touristy charm of Pushkar

Life is not to be taken too seriously.

Above all, I have learned to make peace with myself. Happiness, sadness, mistakes, struggle are part of all of us. We can’t remain in the same state forever. Can we? All we can do is to sit and observe them sometimes, like a motion picture where we are just a spectator. Only then we’d realize how much we were missing on the simple details, that makes the picture a brilliant cinematic experience. Some of those moments teach us something while many of them don’t make sense to us. And that’s okay!

Best moment-2018
Take it easy!

Did you jot down the lessons learned in 2018? Do you have a resolution for the next year? Share your views in the comment.

Exploring my interest in arts and history at Mehrangarh Fort

My initial plan before leaving to Pushkar was to meet my cousins in Jaipur and board the bus to Manali. I was hesitant to travel solo across Rajasthan, for its association with forts and museums hardly sparked any interest in me. Being a nature lover, it did not resonate with my idea of travelling. Imagine a schoolboy asked to sacrifice his Sunday for a trip to the museum. How boring! But as a traveller, I often find that happiness lies just around the corner when least expected. This time, my cousin did not want me to run away in the mountains. Instead, he insisted me, or rather should I say, forced me to board a bus to Pushkar. Jodhpur was the second destination of the same tour. After a 5hr long journey on a local bus from Pushkar, one may find his mind commanding to rest but as I arrived at the goStops hostel, I instantly felt rejuvenated. The employee at the reception, being a travel geek himself, ended up sharing his stories while I tried to gather all the information about Jodhpur as if I was to start exploring the city right away! In such a friendly atmosphere of like-minded people, conversations flowed and the bond formed easily with the staff and tourists alike. Lost in sharing the joy of travelling, the night seemed to be young and smiling at us.

Mehrangarh Fort
The magnificent Mehrangarh Fort stands on a rocky hill, at the height of 400 ft. It was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459.

The last night’s experience paved the way for a morning to look forward to. After entering the fort and obtaining a ticket, I excitingly put the headphones (with a remote given for the audio tour) like a crown, imagining myself as a king who is out on an inspection of the fort. My friend Nico- an Australian fellow whom I met at the hostel- and I decided to explore the city together. As the soft morning sun expanded its rays from the imposing walls of the fort to the ground, I felt terribly small and weak to comprehend my position as a king.

Mehrangarh Fort
Entrance to Mehrangarh Fort
One of the entrances to the fort.
The heavy metal gate with iron spikes on it making intrusion difficult for the enemies.

I immediately shun all my imaginations and pressed the no. 1 button on the remote. The audio guide welcomed me and introduced me to the Rathore dynasty and their glorious years of the past. It instantly teleported me to the age when the kings claimed themselves to be the descendant of God!

The audio tour further guided us to the interiors of the fort. As we marched closer to the courtyard, there were tourists dancing to the tune of the musicians who were playing traditional instruments. Many local visitors found this a good opportunity to gather around Nico and click photos with him.

He must be feeling like a celebrity. Haha!

While the audio guide described the details present in front of me, my mind kept flickering between the present and the imagery of the past. Sometimes, I was a part of the subjects enjoying the celebration in the courtyard; while on the other occasion, I was the king discussing the important strategy with the chiefs in the courtroom or resting in my “larger than life” personal chamber. The vast display of swords adorned with precious stones and ancient inscriptions, daggers, spears, guns, howdahs, etc took me to the battlefield where cavalries charged at the enemies on giant elephants and horses, and where Rathores displayed their strength and valor! I peeked into the lives of queens who traveled in closed palanquins. They were not given much freedom to engage with other men/subjects of the kingdom and lived in a separate quarter with their friends. I looked outside at the tourist crowd from the latticed windows from where the queens observed the ceremonies and royal assemblies taking place in the courtyard while remaining hidden from the public view. The architecture and the strength of the buildings, paintings of Gods from various mythologies, floral carvings on the walls and ceilings, etc piqued my curiosity to learn more about them. It made me appreciate the knowledge of architectures and artists of that time and sympathize with the efforts of laborers. My eyes popped out in awe looking at the bright colors and decorative royal rooms with stained glasses imported from other parts of the world. It was quite evident that mightier than the planning, architecture, and art was the money involved in construction!

Read: Standing through tides and times: Jaigad Fort and Karhateshwar Temple

weapons at Mehrangarh fort
Armour at the Mehrangarh fort
Palanquin for royal women.
Palanquin for men
Palanquin for men.
King's room
King's room at Mehrangarh
The assembly room for chiefs and other important members.
Mirror Palace
The Sheesh Mahal or the Mirror Palace.
Takhat Vilas- Mehrangarh
The bed-chamber of Maharaja Takhat Singh (1843-73) is decorated from ceiling to floor with paintings from Hindu Gods and Goddesses to European ladies. Even the floor is painted like a carpet!
Queen's Palace at Mehragarh
Inside one of the queen’s palaces; notice the colonnade structure and the latticed windows that were designed so that the queen could peek outside at the ongoing affairs of the courtyard.
Queen's palace- Mehrangarh Fort
Antique cradle at the queen’s palace.
The architecture of Mehragarh Fort
The courtyard
Smoking Hukka
Smoking tobacco or opium in Hukka was a symbol of royal stature.

Visiting the Mehrangarh Fort helped me understand the idea of true Royalty which is a combination of wealth, health and knowledge, tradition and devotion, scientific and logical analysis, art and nature; which seems to be missing in our modern culture as it fails to maintain such a perfect balance.

People at mehrangarh
A guard sitting in traditional attire so as to give a glimpse of the past.
People at mehrangarh
Playing music on a traditional instrument called ‘Ravanahatha’

After spending a major part of the day at the fort, I repented at the thought of not touring across Rajasthan. I am grateful to my cousin who helped me unveil my preconceived opinion and explore the places with an open heart. “Never shall such bizarre thought cross my mind again!”, I affirmed mentally.

Mehrangarh Fort
The fort overlooking the blue city of Jodhpur.

In the growing travel age, where all of us are aware of the wonderful quotes and ideologies of travel, it is here that I realized the true meaning of a traveller. A good traveller is not the one who sticks to a travel niche and keeps ticking off the places from his checklist. A good traveller is an opportunist, who challenges his own perceptions and is ever hungry for new experiences. After all, it is the experience that one relishes about the place and not the place itself. Isn’t it?


The touristy charm of Pushkar

Ambling through the streets of Pushkar, I try to navigate my way to the hotel. Even the Google map is not helpful enough to guide me through these narrow lanes but that is the last thing to be bothered about as the street is crammed with pilgrims, locals, and tourists alike, and all one has to do is ask for directions. Pushkar is a small temple town in Rajasthan and a prominent pilgrim place for Hindus. It is the month of February when the weather is cold and pleasant and I’m here to seek the blessings of God and indulge in the touristy charm of the place.

The Streets

Walking through the lanes of Pushkar, it’s difficult to not get distracted by the enormous enthusiasm of the place which is evident from its lively streets. The main street, encircling the Lake of Pushkar is the hub of various activities and is a gateway to the majority of the places around Pushkar.

Streets of Pushkar

One is always few steps away from the Ghats leading to the Pushkar Lake. The market of Pushkar known for its food, embroidered garments, handicrafts, leather goods, jewelry, etc., is strewn across the whole street while the cafes, hotels, and restaurants announce their way up to the building through large billboards hanging over shops and electric poles. The famous Brahma Temple also resides near the main street.

Shopping in Pushkar

For those not interested in shopping, the old temples and buildings are most likely to pique one’s curiosity in the history of this old town which finds its place in many Hindu religious scriptures, including thousands of year old epic, Mahabharata. The street also gives a hint of the local lives intermingling with the tourist culture of the town.

Streets of Pushkar

Streets of Pushkar

The Stay

Out of many options available, I chose to stay in Lotus/Doctor Alone hotel, situated at Sikar Ghat which is cheap and famous amongst backpackers. The staff is courteous and friendly to cater to the needs of the customers and food is satisfactory. It has a courtyard with a low sitting arrangement, colorful murals, paintings of Indian Gods hanging on the walls and overlooks the lake which makes it a great place to chill, eat, smoke up and enjoy the activities at the Ghats as an observer.

Stay in Pushkar
Who minds paying Rs. 400 for a setup like this?

Stay in Pushkar

Pushkar Lake

The arches and domes stand tall surrounding the Pushkar Lake with the arid Aravalli Hills guarding at the distant. Most of the ghats are painted in white and shines brightly in the afternoon sun, like a pearl in the crown of Pushkar.

Ghats of Pushkar

Pushkar Lake

Out of the 52 bathing ghats, there are few main ghats where pilgrims generally flock to take a holy dip in the lake. The small and large temples, sadhus preaching a group of foreigners, the desperate money-making pundits, pigeons, dogs, and cows are some of the regular sightings at these Ghats; whereas the other Ghats reflect the serenity of this divine place. However, this may not be true during the famous Pushkar festival held in the month of Oct-Nov, when thousands of pilgrims congregate to take holy bath in the lake.

Pushkar Lake

Pushkar Ghat

Pushkar Ghat

Staying close to the lake, I made it a point to bathe every morning in the lake and sit on the steps contemplating and soaking in the soft winter sun. In the evening, Arti echoes all over the lake with lights and diyas lit at the ghats and the whole place comes to a standstill for few minutes offering their obeisance to God. The temple bells and chants preside over all the other chaos infatuating me towards the aura of the place even more.

Pushkar Lake


The Temples

Lord Brahma is the primary deity in Pushkar and hence, Brahma Temple is the most revered temple. It is amongst the very few temples in India which are dedicated to Lord Brahma- the Creator and considered as highly sacred amongst all of them. It is generally visited after taking a holy dip in the lake. The other famous temples are Savitri and Papmochini Temple- dedicated to the Goddesses Savitri and Gayatri, the consort of Lord Brahma. Both the temples are situated atop hills. I opted to hike to the Papmochini temple.

Papmochini Temple
On the way to Papmochini Temple.

Papmochini Temple
Papmochini Temple.

As the name suggests, the Deity is said to forgive the sins of a true devotee. Besides, it provides the aerial view of Pushkar and introduces us to the barren landscape of the Aravalli Hill Range.

Bird view of Pushkar
View from Papmochini Temple.

Aravalli Hills

The Food

Since Pushkar is a holy town, Non-veg and alcohol are strictly prohibited here. Although, there are a variety of vegetarian options available to savor upon, like Indian, Italian, Pizzas, Israeli, Chinese, etc. Owing to the mass tourism, finding a restaurant according to the budget is no big a deal here. The town is so small that one can wander along the streets and come across various food joints. I tried Dal Bati in a local restaurant and also had street foods like Rabdi Malpua, Lassi and Kachori.

Dal Bati
Hot bati dipped in ghee, served with dal and churma. Yum!

Also, since Pushkar is famous amongst hipsters, the café culture is strong here and I would highly recommend spending time in a café. They are vibrant, creative and have relaxing vibes. I visited Out Of The Blue Café and tried Falafel and Hummus.

Cafe in Pushkar
Rich feels at Out Of The Blue Cafe, though the rates are decent enough.

One can admire the traces of history, religion, and culture while indulging in the touristic pleasures of shopping, eating, and leisurely exploring Pushkar which makes it so interesting. While the old streets can remind you of Banaras, the café culture feels similar to that of Mcleodganj/Manali/Kasol and the restaurants with the view of the lake can make you compare it with the settings of Goa. Yet, festivals like ‘Kapda Faad’ Holi and Pushkar Fair are unique and can leave one amused with the energy this small town holds. It is filthy and clean, rustic and colorful, chaotic and peaceful- all at the same time!