Friday, 28 December 2012

Experiencing Life’s ultimate thrill – Sky diving! - Who says sky is the limit?

Dreams! Just a word to say but with meaning so profound… I still remember my childhood days when I used to watch adventure shows on TV that showcased skilled skydiving. It was my dream since then to fly in the blue sky and the very thought of skydiving used to instill a feeling of excitement in me.  The mere idea of jumping out of an airplane from 12,000 feet had this amazing appeal to me. It symbolized freedom and true adventure of life. As I grew older, the desire to skydive kept on getting stronger. It was among my top bucket list of things to do before I die. And one fine day, I decided to finally take the push and go for a tandem skydive.

Upon arrival at Skydive Ambey Valley, I checked in at the reception and completed the paperwork which basically requires you to sign your life away and waive the instructor of any liability in the event of a mishap (which could even be an injury or death). I could feel the butterflies in my stomach but they weren’t the scared butterflies, they were the “Oh Yeah, finally Let’s Do this” kinds. That’s when I met my Instructor Paul. He is the same guy who instructed Hritik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol for sky diving in movie “Zindagi na milegi dobara” Call it mere Luck or my supreme fortune that day, on entering the training room I met Farhan Akhtar getting ready to do sky dive next to me. It was nice talking to him briefly and gettig us clicked together :) Post that Paul suited me up and walked me through the procedure.

Paul and I became friendly soon and as we were about to board the plane, I turned to him and said please continue chatting as much as you want but just don’t say any thing that sounds like “Oh No” during dive. Ok I have a funny sense of humor at times. Paul just laughed and promised me a good ride and I am happy that he came through on that promise.

On reaching the altitude of 12,000 feet finally the moment was there. It was really frightening to watch the houses become smaller and knowing that we would, in a few minutes, be jumping from the safety of the plane. As the plane’s engine was cut and the propeller up front slowed to a halt, I saw the plane door getting opened. A loud burst of wind entered and we were ready for the jump. While standing at the edge of the door and looking out at the vast high space below, I questioned my sanity. Was I actually crazy enough to do some thing like this? A signal from Paul and woohhhhh we were on roll for free fall ride of lifetime.

I took a deep breath. Thanked God for this beautiful life and made the jump. Those 45 seconds of free fall actually felt like an eternity and the fastest minute of my life. If you have ever sky dived before, you know the feeling.  It’s difficult for me to describe the feeling because there’s really nothing I can compare it to. Suffice to say, it was exhilarating.

It’s like you are flying through the air at a speed close to 120 mph feeling the wild wind in your face. Your thoughts are running untamed and a camera guy is capturing it all on movie. This jump gave me the biggest adrenaline rush I have ever felt. Post this  45 seconds of free fall, Paul taught me how to steer the parachute, and after few minutes of floating blisss, we made soft landing at dropout zone.

The entire experience from boarding to landing lasted only about 45 minutes, but it gave me a whole new perspective on life. It's liberating, exhilarating and gives a real rush to life.

I saw people stood around in circle applauding for me. Paul draped his arms round my shoulders  as we posed. When I finally landed, I was extremely euphoric, feeling a sense of accomplishment and victory. This experience was in a class of its own, incomparable to anything else I have ever experienced.

I knew that from that moment on, my perspective on life would never be the same. I had just jumped out of an airplane at 12,000 feet, and survived without injury. I would say put your fears aside and just do it once in life. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. It’s an life altering experience and is also the closest experience humans can have to flying. It’s like you do something that most people don't even have the courage to do, so enjoy the accomplishment!

I would like to close this most special blog of mine with one of my favorite skydiver saying:

If riding in an airplane is “flying,” then riding in a boat is “swimming.” To experience the element, get out of the vehicle!

So 28 Dec, 2012 you have been officially recorded in my memory for forever now :)

Monday, 24 December 2012

And the countdown has begun……

 "One" – For the sake it’s just a number but how it impacts our lives is really interesting!!!!

When your long awaited holidays are just one day away, how even the thoughts of the upcoming fun keeps on exciting you whole day, when you have just one hour left at work prior to call it off  to enjoy the Friday evening, how the promise of lovely upcoming weekend fires you to do that extra bit of work. When you have fixed a time to meet that special some one, how the needles of watch passes by slowest in that last one hour.

The butterflies you feel in the stomach when you are just one day away from the big day in you life…. Be it your marriage, engagement, graduation, first day of job…..I even wonder at times what all would be going through mind of a lady one day before who is about to give birth to a child. The pleasure in her mind for nurturing a life in her body for nine long months, and the happiness and bliss that child would bring in her life would fulfill her.

I am also feeling this “one” day excitement pattern right now. My longggggg awaited holiday is just a day away now. My travel for next seven days -  I will be going to the places I have never been before, I will be meeting the people I have not seen in years now, I will be getting the complete taste of freedom once again and last but not the least I will be spending these last days of my year with my besties in my fav city Mumbai !!! :)

So dial of my dear clock, please run fast as I am feeling like this excited bunny who can't hold the patience to embrace next seven days :)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Just for today, I will wear the crown and be my own princess!!!

 This post of mine was long due. Somehow I could not get time to pen down this experience of mine. So today, I write once again as words never fail me when I want to express something!

It happens with us all, that some day's we fall asleep to an ordinary night and wake up to an extraordinary morning. Something similar happened to me recently. It was not my birthday, neither did I win some lottery, there was no personal emergency at home, nor was I sick. I had no reason to call it off from work in middle of the week but I decided to do the same. I woke up that morning with a smile on my face. I was just happy and thankfully I didn’t have to find the reason why??? 

I feel that we all deserve a day where no worries get in the way of our happiness. Generally we search for happiness in others neglecting the most important person we see in the mirror. This is the only person who has witnessed the entire journey of our lives. From joys to heart breaks, from ecstatic highs to deep lows and from triumphs to failures. Someone who has been with us since the inception of life and will continue to be with us till the last breath. For this life long commitment, we have to make sure that we place a high respect for this reflection. So I decided to wear the crown and be my own princess for that day.

I took an hour long bath, picked the best dress from the wardrobe, wore my favorite perfume and completed the look with my best accessory – my smile :) The day was special, for it was my date with myself. I have a simple funda in life. On special days like this, drive safe but dress to kill :P

I started the day with my visit to temple. It’s not that I am very religious but some how the chants, the smell of scents, the positive vibrations and purity in prayers elate me. I was not there to ask for something this time but just to thank god for this beautiful life and express my gratitude for all the blessings that he has showered upon me. The next move was to a cinema theater. It was for the first time in my entire life that I decided to watch a movie alone. I purchased the premium seat and sat in middle of the hall with nachos and coke in hand. I was laughing at the top of my voice at every comic scene in the movie until I realized that the aunty sitting next to me is staring at me with “Do not disturb” look into her eyes. Lol Luckily it turned out to be a nice experience as after some time she also joined me in my giggles.

The movie was followed by a queen size lunch in one of the most elite and exclusive restaurants of Delhi. I ate like a proper punju girl is expected to eat, without being cautious of calories :P I had promised to treat myself with exquisite luxury that day so I purchased that every single thing that caught my fancy that day in mall without even looking at the price tag. That’s another case that I dedicated the next free evening sorting the shopping bills with a horror movie on TV to provide the sound track which was just apt for the situation. Hahahaha :D But does it really matter when you had such a beautiful day added to your life and can say with proud that yes, I love and respect the person I meet every day in mirror? Nah! It was worth every single bit of it :)

Last but not the least; I did something special for some one unknown that day. That someone doesn’t even know my name, who am I and how I landed up unexpectedly in that life that day. For a princess is not a princess if she doesn’t have a hand open to give to others. The most valuable lessons of all that I have learned from my sister is - “Never keep your fist locked. For the people who open it for others and be a giver, are the favorite children of God and they don’t have to look at some one else ever for happiness in their own lives”

As I end my post here, I wonder, if all things in life could be the way I want them to be, life would be so awesome! But then even without them, life is Max awesome!! :D

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A joyful experience: Durga Puja in bengali tradition!!

So ever since I heard this quote from one of my friends "One Bengali is a poet, two Bengalis are a Union and three Bengalis form a Puja Committee", I was quite curious about experiencing Durga Puja. Goddess Durga is one who is worshiped all over the country and I have grown up watching my parents worshiping goddess in our house every navratras. For us it has always been waking up early during these days and filling our house with chants of “Sarva Mangala Mangalye Shive sarvartha sadhike, Sharanye trayambake Gauri Narayani namostute”

I don’t really know what all one needs to do for the puja, but what I know is the bells of devotion from my heart are surely heard by goddess and that’s shakti puja for me.

I have always found it very interesting to learn about different cultures and experiencing the unknown to enhance the colorful vibrations of life. So when I got this invitation from one of my Bengali colleagues to be his guest and attend the puja in Chitranjan Park , I immediately said yes to it.  This place is a home to the affluent Bengali community and has been the epicenter for Durga Puja celebrations. 

So on the day of Puja, I draped the Bengali sari and dressed up like a proper Bengali woman. Excited to the core I stepped out of the house and left home with a friend to drive to the pandal. The picture in this post is completely misleading showing how comfortably I carried off the Sari. The initial half hour was no less than a fright for some one who is not even used to walk 4 steps wearing it :P But then, where there is a will there is a way ;-). I have tried it earlier long before and this time also i got rid off my sari consciousness in some time.

On reaching there I was like this child in a candy shop, loving every thing I saw. It seemed that the city is filled with colors, joy and lights all around. Sparkling smiles, jovial faces, music and above them, the Goddess in all her glory with her attendants.

I got the chance to attend a very popular traditional dance called “dhunuchi dance” during Puja. I followed the steps of these beautiful Bengali women and danced with mud pot in my hands for long. It was an amazing experience to do this devotional dance to the beats of drum with earthen pots lit with coconut husk, camphor, coal and sprinkled scents before the idol of Ma Durga. I was feeling one among them all. I captured these beautiful images in my camera so that I can savor these memories when the moments are gone.

Durga Puja is much more than just devotion and is a welcome break from our regular lives. The intoxicating crowd, sound, the road side puchka, dhunuchi naach, the heart beating to the rhythm of the dhol, I experienced it all and loved to the core. Now the festive season is ending with these lovely idols being submerged into the River. The idol is gone, but her spirit is staying back with all the people. This entire experience has left me with the hunger to learn and explore more. I know that the life is too short but if it can be lived well, this ‘one ‘is also enough :)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Kyunki har ghar kuch kehta hai!

Which color to design my walls from, the new window that will open up my world to a new sunlight, hours of discussion with mom for the style of furniture to buy, Yup! I am super excited these days being an interior designer for the new look in my old home - Kyunki har ghar ye kehta hai, Ke ismain kaun rehta hai ;-)

They say that our surroundings are a reflection of our thoughts and express to a large extent the kind of person we are. Big or small, our home is that one place in entire world that gives us the satisfaction that no other luxury can match. The more comfortable we feel, the more a house feels like home and the more motivated we are to return to this place where we live with our loved ones!

So these days I am occupied with decorating my world. I know that the kitchen that me and muma are designing will not win any awards. I know that my shopping for that every little thing in market that reflect my choice will not make me a design expert. But I know for a fact that just the liberty to express the kind of surroundings I aspire around me makes my heart soar high. As it's not about constructing, It's about making a home :)

So I will take a short break here till my twinkled eyes and dusty hands finish the job at hand.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The world full of endless possibilities!!

Life has it's own ways of dealing with us, giving us or taking things from us... It bowls at us the series of things - celebrations, friendships, heartaches, acceptance, denials and we learn to handle it all. We grow up being more cautious than we have to, trusting people less than we intended to and also learning to behave in social gatherings with a plastic smile. Yes, we transform with time, we grow up!!

Somehow I could never relate to those growing up sensibilities too much and have always been more inclined towards younger ones. The times when we actually trusted people, when we were happy; it showed on our face and when we were sad, tears could tell the entire story, when impressing people was never on front seat, when feeling of forgiveness was always mutual and when Sunday morning cartoons were more important than global warming :) When we were 5 years of age and people asked us what do we want to be when we grow up, our lives were full of possibilities. Our dreams were inspired of travelling to moon, to be a snorkeler, to build a castle, in my case - be a princess like Snow White :P We grew 10 and people asked us again. We replied little differently - an engineer, businessman, writer, artist, in my case - Travel Anchor :) These dreams kept on changing as we grew old.

And now that we have grown up they are expecting a sober answer from us. Well, if you ask me I would say, who the hell knows? This surely is not time to bind our lives with some firm and quick rules; it's time to make mistakes. Take the wrong road and get stuck somewhere. Live it up! Fall in love - Open your heart to love even when it feels broken, no matter if world warns you to be cautious because you have experienced heart break in past. Follow your dreams even if it means walking many miles on rough road of struggle, make as many mistakes as you can, take the adventure trip of living this life.  Believe even if your faith has been shattered. Go on despite broken wings and have courage in the face of darkest emotional storms. That way, some day, when they ask what do we want to be, we won't have to guess.... We will know.

Life is amazing and is about living it to the fullest and if a mistake it made, dust yourself off, stand tall and keep moving. No longer beat yourself up for mistakes made, but learn from them. make a positive impact on those around you! But most of all, don't wait until tomorrow to start what your heart longs for today.

We are humans after all, and if we don't make mistakes, we become boring. Isn't it? So let us all grow back to being young and get wiser along the way as there is nothing more fulfilling than experiencing endless possibilities and reaching our goals. Stay Childish!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Dear Life, Open your mail box!

My super duper loving dear Life,

First of all, I want to apologize for not writing to you for so long. Honestly speaking, I just didn’t realize the right time to write to you (I know, not that good an excuse!). But today I thought I will share few highlights of what all has happened recently and how have I been. I am very happy these days and many new things have happened (as if you don’t know) :P

Almost a month back, I was feeling little lost and I remember how I asked requested you to do something about it. As always you replied back with a smile and switched on the bulb of happiness on my blurred path. Yes, every thing has started appearing more clear and blissful now. The same girl who had to snooze the alarm clock some 3 times before getting up in morning earlier has started to wake up at 6 am every single morning to take a walk in nature (Mind it! It took some real serious effort! Lol). I have been regular with my workouts and no week is spared without sizzling my feet on some music. Have got the patience to set my own bed and fold the bed linens neatly. I have actually started reading Economic Times and not only Delhi Times (No, please don’t get a heart attack after listening to this :P). In office, my boss has started liking my work even more and appreciation mails have been making regular visits to my inbox. Ya! Feels nice! J

As I haven’t travel for nearly a month now I thought to utilize this time in some new manner. On Independence Day, I participated in an event - “Fight against Corruption” with a youth society and celebrated the spirit of freedom with some live bands and dance. On world photography day, picked out my camera and went to Mehrauli Archaeological Park to click some amazing pictures with NCR photo clubs (Though I realized later that I became the focus of few of these photographers in the photo walk) Few people clicked some candid moments of mine and posted as their work on their sites. Not that I didn’t like it but some how any one clicking me without my permission doesn’t go well with me. But here comes another twist…. I have learned to forgive and let go J Not only things but also the people who no longer serve the meaning in my life. And I say this from deepest corner of my heart -“ It feels great”

 I have been trying lots of new cuisines these days. Starting from “Rajender ka Dhaba” , “ Chandni chowk ki paranthe wali gali” to “ The Oberoi’s and Taj’s”, I think in next few  months I am not going to leave any nukkad corner or elegant  place to satisfy my taste buds. And surprise- surprise I am also learning cooking these days from muma J

I recently met few very interesting people. Ya ya you are getting it right. People who make my smile, laugh insanely with me at most pathetic jokes, with whom I can talk about every thing under the sun, share my dreams, even flirt a bit [ah ah ah Now don’t raise your eye brows ;-) ] But above all I think now I have the courage to challenge my own destiny and also to know how to exactly fight for it. I feel as if I have been upgraded to a new improvised version of you, my life and I welcome this new set of hopes, challenges and desires.

Anyways, this much update is enough for now and I will write more often to you now. God Promise! Lol

And one last thing more, “Thank you so much! Here comes a biggggg tight hug to you”

Lots of Love,
[The more matured one!- Mind It!]

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tourists don't know where they have been, travelers don't know where they are going!

I have always believed that taking regular breaks from the mundane chores of daily life is very important. A break to pause, to contemplate and enjoy...... A break to seek some inner tranquility and rejuvenation… I was planning my Mumbai trip for long but this time it was not for my work. It was for few personal ties, for few unanswered questions in mind, for some of my close friends and above all for my time alone with me.

With my boarding pass in hand, I was off to Mumbai – clueless as to what waited for me on the other end of the flight. I was sitting in the plane with some uncertain rug pulled in under me. Something was happening… My heart was racing with anticipation at the unknown.

During the course of meal I started chatting with a fellow passenger in flight who told me about the holy shrine, Shirdi which is highly placed on the map of spirituality and draws innumerable pilgrims from far and wide. It had been my mother’s unfulfilled wish to go there for several years. When my co passenger was narrating me about the place, my eyes suddenly lit up, I thought about my mom and said to myself with a smile "This is it! I am going there in next couple of hours"

 I have often heard my elders say that one cannot reach God’s altar unless he summons. Probably true! My flight landed in Mumbai around 8:15pm and around 5:30 am next morning I was all ready to leave for Shirdi alone. Just few hours; and route of my journey changed by bizarre plans of destiny. I was really wondering how comfortable it would be for me to travel to an unknown town, unknown state, that too through roads that I had never known about but as usual path finder starts the journey alone humming a song “Ekla Chalo Re” by Ravindranath Tagore, I began my journey alone to the holy pilgrimage of shirdi J

It was a different feeling covering 7 hours long journey one side in company of my own being having many self realizations and watching some very spectacular scenery through vast green plains and huge windmills. It was drizzling on the way. I pulled my face outside the window, closed my eyes, smiled and felt those beautiful raindrops on my face. I spent most of my journey playing with a little girl who wanted to tell me all her poems and also all alphabets  she learnt in school by singing innocently H, I , J, K, elleo mello , p, ello, mello, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z lol On my way, I smiled with many strangers, had food at dhaba with locals, clicked many pictures and also tried being a shepherded for a while :P  

On reaching Shirdi I had Darshan of baba and took his divine blessings. I knew it since beginning when he beckons; he also creates bridges for us to cross. The focal point of the room was the life-size marble statue of Sai Baba. The statue is serene and peace etches out in its every fold. Just one look at the kind, compassionate face and you know that all will be right with the world. I was filled with the deep sense of gratitude and peace I can’t even describe. I made my way back to Mumbai post this.

Next day was reserved for Lonavla with my friends. Once again a day filled with laughs, stupid expressions and lots of love. May be the emotions can best be described with the face book pictures that are talking aloud of the fun we all had. It was my first visit to Lonavla. Rains and waterfalls had definitely added to the beauty of the place. I can’t forget to mention all the special dinners, silent talks and beach walks that I had in Mumbai. In my every visit this city has given me something and has also taken from me. But every time I have returned from here I have become a better person. Some one who values life, people, relations and know the meaning of living life and not just existing. So till this city calls me next and shower me with new surprises I am back to my people to spread some more smiles and take many more blessings in return. Amen!

Monday, 16 July 2012

And some forever are real!

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” – ~George Moore`~

So true the words are .... It's no stretch to say that a person has immense fortune in life if they have a loving supportive home. There is no coincidence in it that God organizes us into families so that we can live together and grow up in a happy and secure atmosphere with two loving parents.

People who have lived through a disaster never say, "All I could think about during the flood was my bank account." They almost always say, "All I could think about was my husband and children." It shouldn't require a disaster for us to know this truth. I feel blessed and an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have been born in a family where I have been taught to value the relations. The most meaningful moments in life are the ones you share with your family. I still remember the time when I stood first in the class and my dad took my report card to his office with enormous proud feeling to show his colleagues, when I saw my parents laugh and smile, and see how much they loved each other, when my sister gave me a high five after cracking that stupid joke with me, when I broke a flower vase and my parents forgave me instead of yelling at me, when my dad become a proper little nurse when I fell ill, when my family went through a rough patch and we all stood together for each other. These are the moments that made me realize the value and importance of family and the feeling of being loved.

They are the reason; I wake up every morning with a smile cherishing all that I have. It's the sip from dad's cup of tea every Sunday morning, it's still when I run up to mom to hug her first thing when I return home in the evening, it's Parul's teasing smile as I wrinkle my nose at the mention of mom making that ghia sabzi for dinner; it's the way dad gets excited when he cooks a new dish and can't wait for me to try it and get excited too, it's that every little gesture that make me fall in love with them even more :)

Nothing in the world can replace the place of family in life. They welcome you with a smile and a hug and heat up dinner for you even when you arrive home really late; they love you so unconditionally that you feel like opening up to them about every silly little detail that's disturbing you. But you wouldn't do that as you know your tears will hurt them too and you can't bear that sight in a million year, you know you will come back to them eventually, wherever you get carried away to in life and most importantly they don't forget your birthday. Ever!!!!

They are the people who were there for you. In good or in bad times they are the ones who showed up, who stayed there for you in spite of what was offered to you by destiny. It's not only about blood relations but something much superior that ties the knot of love and togetherness.  Not every one is fortunate and growing up is tough for some without the love and support they long for. So value the relations and don't let chasing materialistic pleasures steal from you what no money can buy.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A rendezvous with my heart!

Dear Smiling heart,

So it’s been long since we had our one to one conversation!
I thought it’s not a bad idea to write a letter to you.
Can’t help out I am romantic ;-)

First of all, thanks for embracing everything I hold precious...
My memories, desires, dreams and wishes
You are the one that creates my passion and motivation in life.
I just wanted you to know we (Mind and I) are incomplete without you J

Now let’s come to the main point!

I wonder what’s going on?
You laugh frequently,
You don’t complain about any thing now days,
You forgive without arguing,
You don't cry when I prohibit,
You don't even cross your limits,

I mean if you go like this one day you will surely rule the world!!!
So are you grown up now?
Can I be relaxed?

Eagerly waiting for your reply.

Your curious owner,

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Because some moments are just priceless!

So this lazy Sunday afternoon, I was having an inner dialogue thinking about all the moments that I feel are priceless to me. So here I am penning down few of them to see what comes out of my thought process when I make an attempt to give a voice to my heart J

The way while watching rain a hot cup of coffee warms you……

Listening to some one telling you how proud they are of you……

Looking into someone’s eyes and failing to hide your emotions…

When you return home super hungry and find out that your fav dish awaits you at a dinner table……

Staying up late on the phone talking to someone you thought you had lost....

Sharing a smile with a stranger at right light in the car ……

Kissing some one in the rain……

When you hug someone you love and they hug you back even tighter……

Singing for someone and have them sit speechless when you're done……

Having your dog sit beside you and cuddle while you cry your heart out……

A good photograph of a special moment that freezes that moment into a tangible keepsake and helps make the memory of that moment last a lifetime……

Resting your head on someone's shoulder you know you can trust upon....

Driving in the rain listening to your favorite numbers……

Dancing in the first shower of June with your sandals off the feet……

The calm feeling while sitting on the rocks at beach and watching waves crash in front of your eyes……

A casual stroll along the beach with nowhere to go……

Realizing you were smiling the entire time you were talking to someone, right after you hang up the phone……

Making some one else smile by going out of your way to perform an unexpected act of kindness. Especially for someone you don't even know……

Sharing a special treat about something exciting in your life with a special person is worth much more than anything else……

The warm coziness of your own bed after you return home from a long business trip……

The excitement of swinging on a swing as high as you possibly can……

When you manage to get up and pull yourself together after being knocked down the hill by life……

Knowing that you mean “world” to some one J

And these are few of my endless favorite things that are quite close to my heart.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Happy Mothers Day to the woman who taught me to be strong and made me who I am today!

Even though I don't need just one day to celebrate your existence in my life, but still here I am making an attempt to let you know what you mean to me, Muma.

As I close my eyes to find the best words, to describe what you mean to me, I go blank and go through pages of heaven’s dictionary. Only a divine word in the highest means can describe the role you play in my life… I love you for the way you say "Your birthday is mother's day for me." and gaze at me and every time my face lit up smiling back at you saying "awww" J

I owe you. I owe you a lot…. For preparing my breakfast and lunch when I am enjoying my sleep, so that I can reach office on time to you putting me off to sleep in the night when I'm unable to calm my mind and put it to rest. ". For bribing me with my favorite dish after cancelling plans on me to being psychic enough to understand my mood when I am sad and telling lies to you for not discussing it and you say "I was at your age too.” As I know how inexpressive you are, it makes me feel so amazing when you tell me I am your best friend.

I enjoy the way we share secrets and then crack inside jokes in front of papa. The way you tease me by saying "Pasand aa gaya?" every time I stare at a cute guy in the mall :P The way you plan a birthday surprise for me and then end up telling me before hand because you are so excited about it :D The way you react at my clothes and say "Ye kya pehen liya :O" every time the combination looks funny or my dress is too short. Lol .

It still makes me nostalgic when I think about how from the age when I was 5 years old. , I have grown up to sit on your kitchen platform while you cooked delicious meals and I would tell you about everything that happened in school. From a boy standing on desk for not doing home work to the frock which got dirty just because I tripped over a puddle. You would listen to my endless stories and laugh with me over the most non funniest thing I used to say just to make me feel nice. It surprises me when I get hurt and bleed, you shout at one moment and apply ointment the very next J The way you force me to drink Bournvita every evening and got me addicted to it.

I am grateful for every thing you did for me being so selfless and for many other things that have not been mentioned here.  You boost my confidence and control my ego. You instilled the values and the lessons that make me the woman that I am today. I love you mom and I always will

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

L'affaire Goa !!!

This probably would seem like a strange question to ask considering most of us are already adults. Do you remember the days when we were kids and when people asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up? We all had answers that were absolutely incredible. We all wanted to be doctors, rock stars, super heroes, actors, all sorts of things that seemed completely free of a world based on rules. For me, the answer was always to be a travel anchor. To get an opportunity to explore all the exotic places on this planet and meet all the interesting people across the globe.

Though destiny had some different plans for me and I ended up in advertising world. But I know that there are no barriers to living, feeling, experiencing, doing whatever it is you desire to do at any given time. Everything is possible. I always knew no matter what I will still manage time to nurture my dream and explore this beautiful planet. And as they say, if you want something from deep within the whole universe conspires to make it true. Something similar was in store for me too. Soon after returning from my South trip, I got the opportunity to take a turn towards west and nothing could have been more fascinating than Goa - its a place of verbs- seeing, doing, being, living J

This trip was my epitome of craziness (Few things I can’t even mention on the blog as they are too silly to admit at a public platform like this. Lol) and now when that madness is over I can sit and pen about my most-exotic-trip to Goa. The trip was scheduled for four days and we stayed in Taj Vivanta Holiday Resort. There was something very magnetic about the place. The charming resort flirts with the seafront and villas play hide & seek with the gardens and swinging palms. This property reflected the true spirit of Goa.

I loosen myself up the moment I reached the sea shore, kicked off my floaters and jumped in water. So refreshing it was! This was just the beginning; we still had more exciting days coming up to explore these beautiful, de-stressing waters. Hurrahhhh! We spent that night dancing and celebrating life in oh so famous DJ Akeel’s pub – Hype till wee hours of the morning.

There must be a reason why they call 3 AM as “The Devil’s Time.” Whenever I group with this gang and do something crazy, it happens close to 3 AM or so. Like last time it was in Bangkok. Weird! The Devil loves us for sure. Lol So I was challenged by them to get up to the table and perform dance amidst crowded dance floor. My own voice questioned in my mind - Neha, Are you actually going to do that? And I nodded my head in agreement. Lol Leaving my inhibition aside I jumped on to the top of table and danced as if there is no tomorrow. My own friends were screaming my name loud and cheering me up. Shedding the inhibition, celebrating the mischief and getting over fears is among the things I'll always remember. For that one moment as if my world was spinning in a slow motion with a smile on my face. May be after many years, when I will be settled in my family, I will be sitting, reading this blog and would be smiling knowing I have been wild, I have been crazy and I have lived through every moment of my life.

Goa gave me many reasons to smile, to come close to myself, to realize that it’s important to live before we die. This was my second trip to Goa. I was there last year also exactly at the same time. When I am there I always feel as if I have stolen few days from my own life. The way sun tickles your face and the sea kisses your feet…. The sunset, the beautiful horizon, few good memories and a vision for future….  I also tried the water sports that triggered a rush of adrenaline. I explored my adventurous side by going for speed water scooter and parasailing. . Seeing the sea from above with everyone below you like Lilliput is amazing. It also triggered few old memories with my friends last year, I know things were different then, they are different right now and may be will be much different when I visit this place next. Only my heart can guess what I meant when I used this line J

I spent these four days in Goa enjoying action packed evenings, calm morning walks along the beach sides, pleasant candle light dinners, swimming with my girls in an exotic pool and unlimited dreams of my future that is still to unfold. But as they say, what happens in Goa stays in Goa! This was one of few other “Crazy Trips” that qualified enough to be on the Web J

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Flying the friendly skies in South!

So it was almost three months since I traveled last and the travel bug in me was getting restless to discover and explore something new. Every time I travel, I leave my safe harbor far behind to explore what my dreams always excited me to do, to figure out why I am so madly in love with far off destinations, to live freely on my own will, to mingle and laugh with the people who are yet to be part of my world. And there was no exception this time as well. With no fixed itinerary in mind, I packed my bags and decided to leave for Bangalore.

I always love the airport sensation. Seeing happy faces around, as if every one loves to travel like me and maybe they're so excited to imagine lovely people welcoming them when they have arrived just like what I was feeling. Every time I boarded a flight and was just next to the clouds outside or some times even above them, I had one question in mind, “Now how far is God? :) The answer was somewhere within… Any where I go, I feel his presence along.

My flight was delayed and reached late to Bangalore leaving me no option to stray in the city that day but planning a memorable night with my friends listening to some melodious numbers on guitar and late night Maggie that set just the right mood for the night :)

Next morning we adventure junkies decided to set out from Bangalore to “Hogenakkal Falls, famously known as Niagara falls of India”.  From here river Cauvery enters into Tamil Nadu as a big river with cascading waters. The falls were breath taking. The roaring water was falling into the deep gorge. Even though the river Cauvery was getting on with its rapid life but just the view made me slow down on my life and cherish its beauty. We took a coracle ride among the falls. I decided to get into the 100 feet deep water [Yes you read it right – 100 feet deep! How courageous of me na! Though I am not leaving any opportunity to exaggerate it here as I had life jacket on. Lol :P] Soon it was time to go back to Karnataka. Cool breeze was blowing and the weather was fantastic. A slight drizzle on and off added to the beauty. The drive back was simply amazing.

Next early morning was scheduled for Coorg. Till date I had just seen the mesmerizing pictures of this panoramic place but now was the time to experience it in real. On our way we crossed Nagarahole Tiger Reserve and saw some beautiful birds and animals from our car. During last 1 hour of reaching Coorg it began to rain and thunder. I was looking out from the car window, feeling the little silver droplets falling on my face with closed eyes and having flash forwards of life’s upcoming attractions. I guess for the first time in life I experienced “trance”. This was certainly the most memorable moment of my entire journey. On reaching our resort we lit the bonfire and spent the night dancing and sharing life talks with each other.

Next one day was spent in tea plantations and admiring beauty of this wonderful place. I also tried adventure sports of zipping and driving 220 cc ATV dirt bike in dust. Wooh that was such an experience! Before I could get over the beauty of this wonderful place, it was time to head back to Bangalore. I checked out few nice dining places in Bangalore along with their world famous “Idli – sambar – dosa” :)  The most marvelous place I found in Bangalore was 80 feet tall Shiva idol. I spent good 2 hours there and experienced deep peace within. I didn’t realize where these four days flew by and it was time to go back home. They say you leave a part of yourself in the place where you travel but I feel I brought along a new me from there. My being - A step more closer to self :)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Chivalry is still breathing and let’s leave it to breathe!

Some people say chivalry is dead and some say it's old-fashioned now but I would like to explore a deeper meaning of the word here. I know many women of my age and those older who say that all men are the same and no gentlemen really exist in our generation, but I would like to differ here.

I've met men who opened doors for me, offered an elbow to walk along, hosted a suitcase in a plane’s overhead compartment or waited for me to enter the lift, or pulled the chair, or paid the bill on our first meeting. I’m not offended when a man offers to carry a heavy shopping bag or recommend walking on the outside of the sidewalk when escorting me down the street. I have come out feeling nice about the experience and the person. I am a lady and would like to be treated like one. And if a man is man enough to do that, I am impressed.

Once I went for an adventure trip with my friends, where while climbing up, at one moment, I almost slipped through a rock. A friend of mine extended his hand to help but I told him to let me try by my own. He backed off and waited for me to join him at the top. I managed it by my own. Of course it’s an adventure trip so in a similar situation I don’t want a man to do the helping a damsel in distress thing for me. I can handle that. But in a social environment, if a man offers to get me a chair or a drink, I find it courteous. I don’t expect a man to do all this but if he does it for any woman, young or old, I would be delighted by the gesture.  Though it’s important to do it naturally, without just trying to make an impression.

I wonder why few feminists make it a frowned gesture by giving it name of gender bias. I feel it’s perfectly fine if some one shows they care.  Holding a door open for a woman is one of the basic chivalrous acts. That doesn’t mean a woman is incapable of opening the door herself. It just means that you are showing common courtesy and respect. I don’t believe their politeness stemmed from the belief women were less. Why should we equate simple courtesy with gender roles? I feel that everyone, male or female, should be willing to assist those who need it, and should also be appreciative of any assistance given.

If a man rings me at home at night it could be because he wants to ensure I reached safely. It’s fine if some one lends a coat to any body struggling with a sleeve. There is no reason for a war of the genders here. Women inclined towards feminist tendencies should understand that there is not always a hidden motive behind this gesture to let you down. Remember you are not so weak that a man can establish your dependence by simply opening a door for you.  Receive such gestures politely with gratitude.

I dislike women who pretend to be delicate darlings all the time and pretend to walk all brittle when draped in a sari and expect a man to hold their purse or mobile. Please don’t try to be like a lady; if you are not. Just be yourself, be whoever but don’t fake being feminine just to extract chivalry from a gentleman and be treated like a VIP at his expense.

Chivalry is simple courtesy. And it should work out both ways: If a man holds the door open for you, you must say ‘thank you’ in return. Such behavior and good manners are expected in BOTH the genders. It’s not a concept that should be limited to the things men do for women or vice versa but extended to include things that people do for ‘others’.

Generally people ask questions – Is chivalry dead? I say No it’s not dead but it is to a point endangered. To the men who still practice it without being tacky, I salute. To those who don’t, get off your lazy ass, put the video game controller down and help your lady open that jar. There is nothing wrong with being chivalrous to a woman you love or are courting.

We should all be kind to each other whenever we can. I would rather risk offending someone than risk leaving them to struggle when they could have used a hand.
So guys! Go get chivalrous to all women not just the pretty ones ;-) and all the ladies out there learn to appreciate the little gestures that make you feel so special :-)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Click me a picture!

It was a day off from work today. It was just a perfect interlude to spend quality time with myself, perfect time to give an ear to my own voice and spend a day in my own band. I was searching for some stuff in my cupboard and suddenly my hands caught one of my most precious chattels – My old albums. I had enough of them to cover my bedroom floor.

People speculate what is the thing with captured images that allures me, but most of the time I fail to make them understand. For me, pictures are my way of preserving the most beautiful moments of my existence on this planet. Ma told me since childhood, I was very fond of getting myself clicked. My face lits up with a big flashing grin every time I sensed a camera around me. She has pictures of me making silly faces, flaunting my new dress, kissing my lovely dolls and posing every time as if I am the next super model or miss universe. Lol I opened my album and took a slow stroll down the memory lane.

Love, Joy, excitement, smiles, a little sorrow there is so much captured in an image. As I looked at each one of them, a whole string of memories followed. At one moment, I am smiling and the next, I have a silent tear rolling down my cheek. I think about the way these years have groomed my life. I am amazed to see how I have grown and evolved. As I smile and flip through the pages of the album, I feel like I have gotten into a time machine and I'm going through my life all over again. Few pictures bring back the memories of people who were once a key part of my life but now it feels as if some one has torn off a page out of my life’s diary. It appears as if that chapter never existed. But before I have time to ponder much about it, I'm distracted by watching myself laugh, enjoy and love unconditionally. Smiling and going through the various emotions I finally landed at the current juncture of this journey - My present.

As I sit here with a zillion thoughts running through my mind and infinite memories flowing in my heart like waves at high tide, I realize something I knew always. Everything that I went through, the fun, joy, laughter, sorrow, unconditional love and everything else is what has brought me to where I am today. All I know is, where I am right now is where exactly I am supposed to be. My little world is absolutely beautiful and I wouldn't have it any other way. While flipping through the pages of my life, the major observation I made is that, the best pictures happened when I was with people who I loved. This is a reason why I love photographs. They tell stories of people I love and bring back the memories of happy times to have me revive them again and again :)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Happy Birthday to me :)

So it was my birthday last week. I had an awesome day. And No, I am not telling how old I turned. Quite a girlie thing ;-)
20th Jan! This day has always been special to me not only because it’s my birthday but also because I share my birthday with a special love of my life – My Dad! We were born on same date and same day, different years though. lol. Interesting na! It’s been years that we have been celebrating our special day together and every time my amazing parents have been great in making it feel like the world has stopped turning – in a good way – in my honor.

Birthdays always makes me feel like a celebrity. Why? Because my phone is ringing every five seconds with people texting and/or calling, writing on my face book wall, sending me birthday mails or sending messages on twitter or LinkedIn. I do feel loved and blessed. Much Gratitude!

Now coming back to the D day …  I am glad that on that day I decided to skip office. (ahh, the luxury of making your own schedule...) I believe it's a big deal to have this one day out of 365 that is completely dedicated to your being - a day on which you do all that you want and the way you want ;-)

Like every year my darling mom - dad woke me up with their warm hug and countless blessings. I am grateful to them for the love and support they've given me all my life. And most of all, I'm grateful to God for giving me the grace to celebrate another birthday so I began my day by going to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara with mom to get the blessings of babaji J Can’t forget to mention here, I had a beautiful bouquet of flowers and chocolates delivered at my home in morning. It’s been almost a week and I am still clueless who sent it. So my dear well wisher if you are reading this blog please let me know your name so that I can at least thank you for the lovely gesture J
In afternoon, I visited a beautiful place called “Kingdom of dreams”. I think it will be difficult for me to describe it in words how wonderful the place was. I actually felt like a princess in this beautiful imitated kingdom. To add to its charm my friend gifted me a crown and actually made me Princess for a day. We ate, talked, laughed, and of course, took pictures ;-) I am thankful for the laughs we shared, the bonds we made, the memories we created, and of course, the gifts I received. Hehehe.

We also watched the night show of a stagecraft musical dance performance called “Zangoora” in a world class theater - Nautanki Mahal. The whole set was animated and was designed by Wizcraft. It was no less than a wonderland and I was deeply involved in this magic world with the people I love. They spoiled me beyond reason that day by pampering me and fulfilling each and every wish of mine. I am grateful to god almighty that he has given me many reasons to smile and appreciate this beautiful gift we all call Life.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Because certain relationships need no “TAGS"

Just for a minute, close your eyes and think of all the people who mean a lot to you… May be the images that flashes to your mind is your family, some one you love, few favorite relatives, few people who were once major part of your world or few close friends with whom you share a very special bond… I believe these are few handful of people we tag as “important”  J 

In this post of mine, I will not talk about these important people, because we already know their worth. These are the people who occupy a major share of thoughts in our mind… To an extent these are the people who hold the power to make us happy or to leave us crying…

But here I talk about the unnoticed, overlooked, unacknowledged, in fact not so important relations, The ones we hardly chose for ourselves… They do not hold any special place in your lives and their absence may not even be noticed, yet their presence makes you at ease. These are the people who don’t expect anything from you, yet unexpectedly make you happy,

I am sure most of you don’t get what I am saying, and have already termed me as insane!!

Umm let me try once again, Do you have any smile friends? Few people with whom you hardly ever talk to, yet whenever you meet them, be it what ever mood you are in, you exchange smiles?

It could be a little girl who waves her hand to you whenever you enter the community park… Or any face book friend whose updates motivates you for life whenever you are down, or any fruit vendor who suggests you to take apples instead of grapes because he believes they are better Or even an attendant of a restaurant who hardly even knows your name, but knows the table you would love to occupy and reserves it for you whenever he sees you walking in  J 

Or it could be even an old colleague whom you are meeting after a long time and he asks your whereabouts! His life of course is not affected by you but still he is concerned. Or an acquaintance, with whom you hardly ever interact comes up to u and asks if you are fine because he has been noticing your missing smile, broken arm or something of that sorts… These people are hardly your friends but they are important. For they give us the happiness which mostly goes unnoticed.

Just for one day, think beyond the important people in your life and concentrate on these people who touch your lives in a special way, spare, even if it’s a minute out of their own busy lives and make you smile!!

You will find loads of such people, acknowledge them!! And look at the smiles you get from them!! Suddenly your handful of important people list will increase drastically!!

I did so today and I am feeling content from deep within. I smiled little more today, appreciated my beautiful life more, shared few hugs today and realized that to make a difference to some one’s life you don’t need a relationship name tag, may be all you need is a little kindness and a will to spread smiles J

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Welcoming New Year in Aladdin’s castle: Jaisalmer!

Most of us spend our life as if we have another one reserved in the bank -- Ben Irwin.

I can relate to this as I know I don't have a reserve and I intend to leave no regrets in life and live this one dedicating it to my heart's desire J

Another year went by so quickly like speed of light. I began this year with many promises to myself including a positive outlook, my personal growth, wonderful memories, new achievements, a doze of maturity and lots of travel. Writing about how the past 365 days changed my life is definitely no easy task. People came and went, I cried, laughed, loved, cared, envied, desired, bitched, and above all discovered myself further.

2011 certainly hailed as super lucky to me. I began to blog, got deal of the year award, did bungee jump, participated in a car rally, got promoted, few dance shows and above all traveled a lot including one international trip. There could not have been a better way to end this wonderful year by adding one more chapter to my travel diaries and I chose to visit what people often call as Aladdin’s castle – Jaisalmer!

Traveling is exhilarating for me and the thrill of exploring things anew keeps the traveler in me tickling. I was excited to the core as I was about to spend this long awaited vacation with the people close to my heart. As soon as we arrived at the hotel we straight away went to the terrace. The views were unbelievable and the roof top was lovely overlooking an amazing red fort.  It was lovely!

The attraction in Jaisalmer is a beautiful fort that looks like it is has been carved out like a sand castle on a hill. Inside is a living city where about 1500 people reside. The fort is the oldest occupied fort in the world and it was amazing walking though the tiny alleys. It was really something else wandering the streets.  It really did feel like a scene from Aladdin and I portrayed like no less than princess Jasmine ;-)

After climbing a huge set of stairs and we came to roof top and I was amazed with the 360 view all around. That’s Jaisalmer for us - a wonder view. The architecture was incredible and the whole atmosphere out of this world.

But the most exciting part of the trip was still to be witnessed. Our trip to the golden sands of Thar Desert and to spend whole night there without a tent just below the open sky watching twinkling stars! Yes! You heard it right on the sand in the chilly December night J We hopped into the jeep. On our way we spent about half an hour in a ruined place which locals consider to be haunted [mostly getting ourselves clicked and just hoping if we could spot a ghost and the narrate story to our friends :P] lol

As the sun set it appeared God has painted a wonderful painting on the desert canvas.
We reached our destination for the night; a beautiful expanse of rolling sand dunes with not another soul to be seen. It’s mere 150km from the India/Pakistan border, and so has a strong military presence. As we took our seats around the fireplace in the star lit night sky, my friend started to play guitar and we all started singing sufi songs.  Post our musical performance; it was time to treat ourselves on conventional Rajasthani cuisine. We made delicious “lal maas” in the desert. Rajasthan's traditional food is a national treasure, undoubtedly. After dinner, we all slept in the cold sand below beautiful sky in that cold night and made it a night to remember through out our lives …. Yes, this memory will stay with me for many years to come. I spent the wonderful night with equally cordial people discovering the enticing vast desert. Locals in Jaisalmer told me not to miss the sunrise, as it was one of the most beautiful moments of the day and I was fortunate enough to see it early morning as I woke up. I took some beautiful shots of the sunrise in the desert. I was surprised by the nature’s wonder J

As all good things come to an end so did this magical night and we headed for our hotel. I can’t forget to mention that sitting on the roof top terrace of “Little Italy” restaurant overlooking the fort, with golden lights in the night and spending many lazy hours discussing the beauty of life with my dear ones was one of the marvelous moment of my life. The next few days were spent relaxing and enjoying the delicious local food (not to forget onion kachoris and bhel) and soaking up the sun.

What a wonderful start of the year it was! And soon came the time to pack our bags and return to Delhi. Jaisalmer is a dream come true for any traveler and I was also mesmerized by its beauty. The charm and the beauty of the city are awesomely alluring and I would love to visit this golden city with my dear ones again for sure.