Tr * Tr * Travel…

Once while we 3 flat mates were making dinner after a routine, busy day at office, one of us spoke up, ‘Don’t you guys think we need a break? Let’s plan a trip!’. And we couldn’t agree to it more. As the two of us were from Gujarat and the third had never been there, we decided to fulfill our recent travel inspirations by taking baby steps; we took 2 weeks off from office and planned a long trip to my home state!

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Hopping through cities…

Trips have always been the most favorite part of my year. Those exhausting but exhilarating trips to all corners of the country with mom, dad and my sister every year since we were little have made for some amazing memories. But this time, it was different. It was the trip that we were going to plan completely and pay for everything ourselves, and that made it even more exciting. We three used to have lunch quickly at the office and then spend the rest of the break planning everything and booking all the tickets and hotels. I used to start talking about our trip plan to everyone who was ready to listen. 😛

And after extensive planning and packing, our trip finally started. Our first stop was Kakrapar near Surat, where we could reach by traveling in almost all modes of transport: A flight to Mumbai, a night train to Surat and then a bus to Kakrapar. We were welcomed to our friend’s huge, beautiful house in the peaceful township. The small world away from the bustling Bangalore life was just so needed. We visited the sprawling nuclear power plant there and the experience was amazing. 2 days completed in a snap and it was time for us to hop to another destination.

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A trip so rejuvenating!

An early morning train from Surat transported us to my most favorite place, Ahmedabad!! We had 3 hectically planned days here. Sleepily we reached the hotel we had booked, expecting just a decent room to sleep. We enter the room, switch on the lights and see a huge, royal room. And a few seconds later, the receptionist comes up running, ‘Everything all right, ma’am? We heard a scream.’ Embarrassingly, we said sorry and made him go and then started jumping on the beds and sofas again :P.

Stay at the Heritage city was just amazing. We would pull ourselves from the most comfortable bed early every morning, get ready, grab some breakfast and leave for places as per our busy plan. The ‘Heritage Walk’ through the famous pols and intricately carved structures (and convincing the guide and others in group that we weren’t architecture college students), the chatty auto walas, the unbeatable midnight dinners at Manek Chowk, the mind-blowing street shopping (and bargaining) at Law garden, the lavish dinner at Patang – the revolving restaurant where we couldn’t stop admiring the amazing 360-deg city view (and also shamelessly spending most of our 2-hours table reservation debating whether the singer there was Kenny Sebastian or just his look-alike 😛 ), the late evenings in river fronts where we would sit on benches overlooking the gorgeous Sabarmati river and become all philosophical, discussing about life and future 😛 …each of these experiences were just so special.

Our trio then left for the very famous White Rann of Kachchh in night bus because apparently, ‘Kutch nai dekha toh kuch nai dekha!’ Morning found us in the cold, small, traditional city of Bhuj. We just had a day to see everything around. I literally felt like a nomad that day, because in the next 12 hours before we caught our bus to Rajkot, we travelled around with sunglasses, bag pack, discharged phones and a water bottle, seeing the beautiful palaces, climbing the ‘Kala Dungar’ on a camel, peering through binocular to find the India-Pak border and then rushing to the white desert in a horse cart to see the sunset. The Rannotsav time made the place even more vibrant.

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The amazing White Rann of Kachchh

And the next few hours in the white desert are indelible memories. I step on the white land covered with sea salt granules and turn around to see pure whiteness extending to infinity and beyond, then I silently watch the deep orange semi circle disappearing somewhere into the same infinite white, and I smile to myself wondering how did I get so lucky?! 🙂

We reached Rajkot at 3:30 am! By this time, we had got used to our permanent zombie, sleep-deprived modes. It was my turn to be the host now. The next two days were uber- fun. We went around the city, bird-watching early in the morning, eating at beautiful places and shopping (of course).

A typical girly trip was just what I needed. We would spend so much time voting for outfits, as if it was the most important topic in the world, fight for the mirror, get ready and then run out. We would be silently sitting in the auto, and one among us would suddenly shout dibs on the favorite side of bed or for the washroom. We took photos in almost every corner of every city we visited. We had to take short video clips for our video montage wherever we go; in trains, buses, museums, desert, restaurants and where not. People gave us looks as we became three giggling girls speaking to the phone attached to the selfie stick. 😀

The trip managed to rejuvenate me just perfectly. Although we travelled crazily sometimes, hopping through cities overnight, roaming from early mornings to late nights and sleeping for hours we could count on fingertips…these 10 days were enough to make me want to go back to the daily routine. The feeling of waking up to a new city most days was just beautiful.

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A trip to remember…

I have a few hours here at home before I leave for Bangalore, back to pavilion. Lots of unread emails, incomplete codes, unpaid bills and unwashed clothes wait for me, but these doesn’t matter if there are trips like such waiting to give a beautiful, memorable break!

Lots to say, laters! 🙂

16 days 0f 2016 : From the diary…

2k16 is over. I was sitting today with this year’s diary, flipping through pages, reading the entries. And I suddenly realized, so many awesome things have happened this year. These are 16 notable days of my year from the diary that new-girl would love to share! There are more days, but those are just between me and my journal. Welcome 2017, and 8th personal diary  🙂

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Opening the gate to 2017 🙂

1. January 6 : 5:07 pm, Seat no. 3, A’bad-Rajkot bus

Today I felt the parting. And that it all ends now. I shifted from Ahmedabad today. Can hardly write right now. These stubborn tears just don’t listen to me. I can see the 4 years in front of me. Random visions. Happy memories. Sad times. Sigh! When I signed my internship agreement today, I should have felt extremely joyful. But I guess the sorrow of leaving this beautiful place is way more than anything else right now. You have given me a lot Ahmedabad, until next time!

2. January 17 : 10:45 pm, Terminal 1, Mumbai Domestic airport

Diaryy, it has begun! Left for Bangalore, the new life, the new city. It was so difficult to say bye to dada, dadi and Pranj. But I had to stay strong. My being emotional would double up their tension. Will get to stay with mum and papa until we reach there. We reached A’bad airport at the last minute. 55 kgs, the weighing machine at check-in counter displayed! That’s everything I own right now. It’s the first day of college…oops, office tomorrow. Feels so weird. I am so excited I can hardly wait now. An intern, and later an employee at Thorogood Associates. Let’s see what the new life has in store for me. There’s our call for the B’lore flight. See you, diary!

3. January 28 : 10:23 pm, PG room

Today is one of the most special days in my life. I GOT MY FIRST STIPEND!!! My first ever self-earned money! I feel so rich and happy and high on life :D. And I HAD to reward myself for this. So I went to ‘Forever 21’ and proudly picked up that gorgeous black sling bag I had been eyeing since I came here for the interview. I think I am going to hug the bag and sleep tonight.

4. February 6 : 6 pm , PG terrace

Diaryy! You just can’t believe what happened today. So I was out to get some food supplies and I was passing by this fancy salon BBLUNT, wondering when will I be able to afford a haircut here. And then out of the blue, a girl comes out from the salon and tells me, ‘Hi, I have a haircut test now and my model met with an accident. Can you please be my model? I will get you a haircut of your choice for free.’ And I was speechless. BBLUNT! Free haircut! What are the odds. And then for the next 2 hours, I was constantly smiling while I got a fancy haircut in the fancy dreamy salon 😀

5. March 24 : 3 pm , 201 unit, office

Yayyy! I got booked into a project. FINALLY! And one with a cool name and good team members. I was getting so bored today with so less people in office because of Holi holiday. And then my PM pinged me, ‘Bhasha, come in unit 201. You are starting on our project.’ And I just ran to the unit. It will be so much fun to work on a live project!

6. April 29 : 11 pm, PG room

Diarryyy! My birthday was soo amazing! It stated from yesterday night’s celebration at PG and then 4 cake cutting in office, so many gifts, messages and surprises. I felt so overwhelmed and lucky the entire day. ‘I don’t know about you, but I am feeling 22….!’

7. May 23 : 1 am, Ahmedabad, relatives’ place

Just got home. We had our farewell party today. Wasn’t our freshers just some time back? 4 years passed and we are already out of college. The party was so much fun but had a very emotional ending. Juniors played ‘Yaaron Dosti’ in the end and all of us were swaying to the song, singing it loudly. I could hardly control my tears. I know I will never meet more than half of the people here again. I just wanted the moment to stop forever. Chaiits and I are standing in the balcony now, reminiscing our 4 years. I will miss everything a lot.

8. June 8 : 10 pm, PG room

Office was super busy today. Had so many meetings and work. My calendar was almost full. It was so much fun to work with my team members and solving issues. I feel so nice that I am now able to give my opinions on any topic. My PM had given me complicated query to write and after a lot of trials, I could finally get the desired output, and she said ‘brilliant’ 🙂

9. June 30 : 11 pm, PG room

I have bags and clothes and stuff all around. I am packing everything and leaving the PG. Internship is over and my 1-month pre-employment break starts! I will miss office and this city but need to go back home now. See you, diarryy!

10. August 7 : 12 pm, NEW HOUSSEEE!

Diaryyy, we finaaalllyyy shifted to our new flat after a month of house hunting. And it is so beautiful. We will soon convert it into a home. I lovvee the balcony view. So happy and proud!

11. August 29 : 7 pm, flat room

Bake Sale daayy! Finally, the baking competition day at office arrived. We had baked the cookies and cake yesterday itself. The sale was expected to be very exciting. And it was much more. We had so much fun working with the team, dividing the work and collecting a lot of money for charity. Everyone relished our bread pizzas, jhalmuri, cookies, cake and mojito! Never knew I could be a chef 😛

12. September 12 : 10 pm, Delhi

Diaryyy! Guess who I am with? Chaiittss!! I have come to Delhi to meet her for her birthday. We roamed in the city the entire day and it was just like old times. Who says you lose your friends when you settle in different cities? I love you, best friend 🙂

13. October 21 : 11:58 pm, Ahmedabad

I am officially an engineer now! Got graduated today 🙂 It was such an amazing feeling to wear the robe and hold a degree in hand. Mom had come to attend the function and she looked so proud! Yay.

14. November 27 : 6 pm, garden behind our flat

I am sitting on a bench in the garden behind our flat. Have come here for weekend walking. I am loving this solitude. The fast walking, loud music and peace just makes for a perfect weekend! Feel like I can sit here forever. Just me and this solitude.

15. December 21 : 11 pm, flat room

Diarryyy! We decorated our drawing room wall with our photos and fairly lights around them. And it looks absolutely stunning 😀 So excited and happy. Since last 3 hours, I have gone to the drawing room atleast 10 times, switching on the fairy lights, gazing at it and then coming back to the bedroom. Dream come true!

16. December 31 : 11:58 pm, flat room

2016 is getting over, diary! In next 2 minutes. And it is perfect that I am entering the new year doing something I love the most: writing! This year has been so amazing. I can safely say it was the best year until now. I was/am a new-girl-in-the-city and the experience has been so good, losing myself in the places and faces of Bangalore. Even writing was so much better. I have realized that writing is so much alive, it has a soul which needs to be met and befriended. Working for myself and being so independent was one of the best feelings. May 2k17 be more exciting and perfect. Happy new year everyone 😀

More to say, laters!

The Secret Santa

As the chilly December began, once in coffee break, my seniors told me that Christmas in office is an exciting affair every year as Thorogood celebrates it in form of Secret Santa game. ‘Interesting’, I wondered loudly. ‘So everyone picks up a chit and gives gifts to each other? That should be fun and simple!’ They laughed. That’s not all, they said. You will see, they said.

A few days go by and I understand exactly what they meant. A week before the celebration, when we all had picked up our ‘child’ from the chit bowl and started keeping an eye for our ‘Santa’, the real fun began! Our Secret Santa game apparently wasn’t just giving gifts. It was about earning it. The Santas could send tasks to their child, if they felt like, by mail via the organizers.

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TG Christmas 🙂

And the tasks started flowing in, each meaner and funnier than the other. Tasks like dancing on embarrassing songs like PPAP and Ganganam style in all units, watering all plants in office, recording dubsmash and sending it to everyone, doing pushups, lunges and frog jumps at your place, making ‘fair and lovely’ ads and all other kinds of super funny tasks unimaginable.

There would be one ting of a new mail and everyone’s heart beats would fasten with the thought, ‘Will it be a task for me now?!’. But doing embarrassing tasks and getting laughed upon had some brownie points. Your Santa might get impressed by your spirit and leave a surprise gift on your desk! On ignoring the task, you might receive a message, ‘Your Santa is disappointed with you, child.’

Just a few hours had gone by since the tasks had started and my heart almost stopped, seeing a mail for me. Oh God, I hope my Santa isn’t very mean. I open it and read the mail,

“Ho Ho Ho Bhasha, 

Here is your first task out of the many yet to come..

Go to the security guard and say your name.. He will give you a mask.. Wear that the whole day! 😛 oh and yes the whole day.. I will be watching, so don’t try to cheat 😛

Hope you are excited to please your santa!.. Can’t wait to see you doing this! 😛

–Your Santa”

I groan. First out of many yet to come?! My Santa seems to be really evil and difficult to please. I go to the security guard and am greeted by his sympathetic smile. Oh no, what is it? And he gives me a purple Donald Duck type mask. Oh my God, am I supposed to wear this the whole day? That would be the most embarrassing task I have ever done.

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Poor me 😦 Don’t laugh!

Hoping that my Santa is seeing me being an obedient child, I put on the stupid mask, getting smirks and laughter from people I hadn’t even talked to before. ‘I will kill my Santa when I come to know about him/her’, I swore. My project team seemed to be laughing silently, as if they could hardly keep a secret. They all knew who my Santa was. ‘Hmm, so it’s one of you’, I thought and quickly made a mental list of people-who-could-be-my-santa. I better get a good gift for this, I told loudly.

I kept a close eye on the 4-5 guys from my doubt list and their every move would make me change their ranks 😛 It was a very happening week, full of evil tasks and so much fun! Best part was to tease someone whose Santa I knew.For the celebration day on 15th, we were divided in teams and we had to dress up as themes given to us. There were themes like Hippies, Halloween, Back to school, Party in Vegas, Slumber party and Arabian nights.

Till the night previous to the celebration, we had no clue what we were going to dress up as for the theme. At 11 pm, the roommates’ official dress rehearsal commenced. After trying out so many dress options and mix and match of each other’s clothes, we decided on something finally. I was to dress up as Catwoman for the Halloween theme, with black clothes, dark eye makeup, whiskers drawn with liner on the face and cat ears head band. We slept at 1:30, so excited for the final celebration. We would finally get to know our Santas, get and give gifts, play games and eat a lot of food!

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The vampire, Catwoman and hippie

On the day, everyone had made a visible effort in dressing up for their respective themes. The sheiks and belly dancers of ‘Arabian nights’, the innocents school kids of ‘Back to School’, the scarily dressed ‘Halloween’ teams, the chilled out ‘Slumber Party; people, the suit and dresses clad ‘Party in Vegas’ teams, everyone looked all ready for the day! The teams ran in the entire office to solve all treasure hunt clues, shoot Mannequin challenge videos, play so many games and take a lot of selfies and photos.

The best part of the day was in the evening when we were to go pick up our gifts kept by our Santa near the beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Everyone squealed like kids, excited to get their gifts and know their Santa finally. My Santa happened to be one of my team member and close friend and I was so surprised. ‘I am going to take revenge for that stupid mask task’, I warned him laughingly. You could hear cries like ‘Oh you were my Santa?!’ and ‘I am not going to leave you for giving me such an embarrassing task!’ and ‘Thank youu for the gift Santaaa!’. In that crowd of excited and surprised people, there was so much happiness and merriment! 🙂

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The Secret Santa tree 🙂

I felt ‘Friday Blues’ for the first time today when I saw people dressed ordinarily in the office, all quiet and doing their work. No more secret santa tasks and anxiety for the gifts   :(. I will miss the whole experience a lot! I am anyway going to write a Christmas article for the office newsletter, but this had to be all about my experience rather than the company’s. After all, the-girl-in-new-city enjoys every experience of hers to the core.

Merry Christmas in advance everyone! Wait for your Secret Santa guys, he may come anytime 😉

More to say, laters 🙂

New Girl In The City – Part 3

Like 1000 other people, I came to this city with some dreams. Dreams of standing on my own feet, of being happy, of achieving something. Within some months of coming here, I have developed an unexplained love towards this city. What could be its reason? My exciting job? My cute, little flat? The amazing weather? New girl in the city has experienced so many changes since she came that she can smell, taste and feel independence now. If this is what growing up is, I absolutely love it! 🙂

Bangalore is beautiful as ever. The culture, the languages, the people, the food, all of which seemed so much different some time back seems familiar now. Or is it me who is merging in now, the new girl? Kannada ad boards no more scare me (Oh yes, they used to!). Zoning out of other-language-conversations takes just a second now, without taking it personally. They realize it immediately with a quick ‘So sorry Bhasha!’. But that’s fine. People come from different places. Their languages are different. Understandable. I never cared much about someone in the group not knowing Gujarati while in college. Get your mistake now?

But good thing is I have picked quite a lot of Tamil and Telugu words from my team and flat mates. Someone would be having serious Tamil conversation while I will brighten up suddenly. ‘Oh I know what enna acchi means!! Have done my revision yesterday.’ People would be totally judging me after this. 😛

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After we finally got our own house, it actually feels like a new girl in the city. The happiness of getting a flat had no limits but the real enjoyment was in making that house of 4 walls a home. We converted the TV wall into our small library, putting up all the books and comics. Our weekends got booked in shopping for the house. We shopped for mattresses and got decent washing machine and refrigerator and set up the kitchen. One crazy shopping day to DMart got a lot of things sorted but also left us knowing a lot we didn’t know. ‘Floor cleaners are so expensive? I never knew! And cereals and grains too!’, I exclaimed. I called papa that night, telling him how much proud I was of him, running the house entirely!

As much as it was a painful realization, the entire journey of setting up the house was beautiful! Waking up to sun rays lightly falling on eyes, streaming through the pretty curtains we got, and then on opening the curtains, seeing tall coconut trees and a beautiful, sunny day…everything brings a smile on my face every morning. ‘Have I got all of this, really?’, I ask myself. My roommate pretty much considers me crazy by now, seeing me smiling widely every morning all by myself. And then on weekends, my newspaper-coffee sessions in the balcony lasts for hours. So peaceful, so my type of life!

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The surprising thing is that I no more need a mom’s warning call to clean the house. When you make your own home, it just comes from inside to be a ‘Monica’! Mom, I know I am the awesome daughter. 😛

Work is so much more fun, now that I am an employee :). Still feels so lucky, telling myself that. One thing that I have learnt the most here is team work. Since morning, it’s my laptop and my team that pretty much comprises the day. We work together, solve issues together, cry out ‘How did that procedure fail?’ and celebrate successes together. Coffee breaks are the times I miss badly in weekends. Our long discussions on elections and politics and ‘Where are we going to be in 5 years?’ and ‘What are the plans for weekend?’ take me out of every exhaustion. It’s amazing to love work! And on top of that, when I also get to be where I love the most, the Editorial Board!! 🙂

And salaryyy!! I think it’s the best thing that has happened so far. 😛 So the sticky note on my cupboard is titled ‘Things I want to shop for myself’. And according to the priority set, one-two things are supposed to be shopped in a month. That’s my concept of ‘planned shopping’. So cool, right?

So we walk back from office, with a spent mind and hungry stomach. ‘I am starving mom’, I almost shout every day. And then my mind echoes back, ‘Get up new girl. You have to cook for yourself, remember?’. Oh yeah, I groan. And so we begin. The speaker volume goes high and the kitchen-singing starts, some water goes in the aata, some vegetables, oil and masalas in the pan and in no time (okay I am exaggerating!), delicious dinner gets ready. And that simple roti sabji gives so much satisfaction, so much happiness that every bit of tiredness vanishes! Sometimes we mess it up. Rice gets stuck or the rotis come out not-so-soft or daal stays half-cooked, but the girl who previously used to be like, ‘Mom, exactly how much salt? Mom what next? Mom exactly how much time to boil?’ learns things by herself now. My family is happier for the fact that I started cooking than for the fact that I started earning! 😛

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Having recently come from home, I brought back with me an empty shoe box full of college memories: cards, class conversations scribbled on papers, photos; most transporting me back to happy times, some to not-so-good times. But all those are just objects in the box. All what I am having now is in this blog. I can read it later and say, ‘Oh so this is how I became what I am now!’. And I am so thankful to you guys for reading it all and bearing with me.;)

Thank you for making this journey for the new girl in the city so exciting, from the beginning. Lots to say, laters 🙂

 

To the peak and back…

I dreamt about steep hills, thorny trees and slipping rocks last night. ‘Keep moving guys. Watch your step!’, echoed loudly in my ears. And I sat up suddenly. My entire body ached and my swollen ankle made me wince, giving me the realisation that it was just a dream. Such was the effect of my first trek on me. This amazing adventure-packed experience left more impeccable memories than I had ever imagined it would.

So we booked the trek to Channagiri hills, 70 kms away from the city, through Bangalore Mountaineering Club.  We were so excited that we went for trek shopping the previous evening to get chocolate bars and energy drinks. With our bags stocked up and sport shoes, caps and sunglasses on, we left in the wee hours of Sunday morning for our first ever trek. The bus journey reminded me of school picnics when we used to be too excited to reach the destination. As we neared the trek base, tall wide mountains towered us, giving me chills!

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Started the climb

Our athletic looking and funny trek guide explained us the rules. All of us introduced ourselves to our trekking group. Everyone looked excited and determined. That done, we started walking through the muddy, weedy paths.  Gradually the paths started becoming narrower and steeper. In no more than 15 minutes, I was out of breath. The climb was becoming tougher with each step.

And our surroundings suddenly started becoming denser with a lot of wild trees, tall boulders and weed grasses.  Unique insects were crawling around. I literally started doubting myself whether I would be able to complete the trek or not. Ours being the girl gang, we took selfies every 5 minutes or slumped down on the boulders, all exhausted and breathless. Sips of water and pieces of chocolates felt like the most heavenly things on earth! Our guide had to shout ‘Keep moving guys. We can do this!’ and we had to force ourselves to get up. As we started ascending the peak, the weather started becoming colder.

We huffed and puffed, sweated and crawled, but in 2 hours, after 4 kms, we could almost see the flag on the peak. It was so near! I literally felt I could just lie down on the way, it was that tiring. But the most amazing part was that all of us kept encouraging each other. ‘Bas thoda aur, come on Arya Stark!’, shouted someone, and I had this newly found energy.

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The amazing view from the peak!

With the last heave on the tallest and steepest boulder, I made myself stable and caught my breath. I turned around. And my hearth skipped a beat. The view was worth everything, worth all the strain, all the exhaustion. The land was far beyond, stretched to infinity. Full of trees, small lakes, tiny houses and brown land patches, the valley looked utterly beautiful. I was so proud of myself that I made it to the peak, was literally feeling like on the top of the world!

We had a break of an hour on the peak where we all ate a bit, drank energy drinks and then lied down, watching the big, blue sky, the wind hitting our faces. It was the moment in which I could have lived in forever! We took amazing group photos, talked and laughed and prepped ourselves for the trek downhill.

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Staring into infinity!

I was of the notion that trekking down would be very easy and not at all tiresome. So I confidently started walking down, putting steps on the stones. And a rock beneath my left foot suddenly slipped. I twisted my ankle and for a few seconds, the pain was horrible. The guide explained that we will have to take a grip before putting the foot down, because stones could be loose and slippery. With a little decreased pain, I continued walking more carefully.

The trek downhill by a new route turned out to be totally unexpected. We had to make a single line and pass through intensely dense thorny trees and itchy weeds. The ground could have invisible holes, huge stones or slippery roots anytime. We were all great friends by then and the first person in the line gave constant commentary, warning the people back of the coming threats. We gave each other hand, helping them through the scary paths. We slipped, we got scratched by the thorns and got hurt by boulders. But after a couple of hours, the land came closer.

We all hooted as our bus became visible. The ear-piercing scream, as we touched the ground, was so satisfactory and filled with happiness. I did it:D My first trek!! It was an amazing experience. By the time we reached home, my twisted ankle had swollen and it pained a lot. We were dusty and covered with thorns and wild flowers. But you know what? I am ready to get my other ankle twisted, ready to get more body aches and scratches, but I would love to do this more. 🙂 The experience and thrill is worth every single pain and more.

Bangalore has given me many firsts. But this one, it was something so different and so thrilling. Let me find my pain-relieving spray now. Lots to say still, laters! 🙂

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Could live in the moment forever…

House Hunting Veterans!

‘I am all grown up now and am still staying in a PG?’, passed a thought across my mind one day. ‘It’s time to get a flat and live an independent life’. So 3 of us from the PG (and office), just waiting to get free from the miserable life of uneatable dinners and tiny rooms, decide to start house hunting. Before our mission began, we were of the notion that house hunting is the coolest thing ever, where we look for dreamy places, just like in movies. Bangalore is a mammoth city. We would find houses in every street we look for, won’t we?

But could we be any more wrong? House hunting is so much more than just looking for great flats, liking one and moving in. After a month and more of serious hunt (which turned desperate in the end), we are so much experienced in this matter that I can totally write a book on it. For now, will do with the eventful/funny/frustrating/learning description in this blog post!

So we made a long list of requirements we want in our future flat. 2 BHK, very near to metro line/office, semi-furnished, gated society, good-sized wardrobes, affordable deposit amount and monthly rent, etc. Little did we know that it is near to impossible to get all what you want in one flat. You either have to compromise on something or the other to get a place or you have to be very lucky.

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We began our search by filtering the houses listed in numerous websites and calling the owners/brokers if we could come and see the flats. We would call those listed numbers in office lunch breaks pretty much every day. It was like a recorded tape that spoke from inside as if out of habit, ‘Hi, we are 3 single girls looking for a 2BHK, preferably near the metro line….’ Our inboxes and call logs were filled with only those numbers. Answer to ‘Hey? What’s up?’ had changed to ‘Nothing much. Just house hunting.’ I could almost imagine people around shouting, ‘Guys, get a life!’ 😀

Our weekend and after-office plans were fixed: grab a backpack and sunglasses and set out to look for flats. So we were these 3 determined women, with Google Maps (we bow to you!) open on phones, all set to search for the one. There were incidents when we had almost decided on a house, but it was taken before we could say yes. And this led to the three of us sitting all gloomy in an ice cream parlor, as if heart-broken by the same guy! 😀

And then just a day before we were going to be totally homeless ( 😛 ), an owner, who happened to be Muslim, called us to say that he was ready to reconsider the rent of a flat we had really liked. And you know the reason he called us back? He thought my name was ‘Basha’, a muslim name, and for brotherhood’s sake, he decided to help us. Haha, one time that I like my name! And we got that place finaallyyy!! We had a house! A beautiful house where we could totally see ourselves spending amazing future years! We just couldn’t believe it. The day we gave the deposit was probably my happiest day in the last few months. Never felt so happy to give up a huge sum of money! 😛

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The experienced say that living independently in your own place teaches you a lot. I think that the process of looking for a place, battling through sun/rains, itself leaves you knowing so much more than before! We now know how to handle manipulative brokers, answering owners’ awkward questions (To their questions, ‘Do you have male friends?’, I just wanted to answer, ‘All we care about right now, are houses!’) and bargaining on the rent and deposit. But more than everything, we learnt how to find a way out in spite of the difference of opinions among us.

New-girl-in-the-city has an even more exciting life ahead. How awesome it would be to buy things for the house, decorate it gradually and turn it into a home! How amazing it will be to cook my own dinners and pay my own bills, plan the month and be a responsible, independent woman! Life’s great! 🙂

Lots to say, laters!

Up the sky !

‘Boarding pass please. Umm ma’am? ‘And I snap out of my thoughts. ‘Oh, here ‘, I manage to say, clearly shameful. The flight attendant gives me that’s-okay smile and I get in the plane. Oh gosh, this habit of mine! While I was at home this entire month, I got no inspiration to write a blog post, even though I was forcing myself to write one. And as soon as I stepped out of the house today, alone and on my own, my mind started popping up ideas, observing around and picking up things, churning the recipe for a new post.

So after a month of uber-peaceful and much needed vacation, the new-girl-in-the-city is going back to Bangalore. I stopped being the new girl long time back, but I love this pseudonym for me! Gives the feeling that there’s still lot to discover and experience. So today I am back to this beautiful city with the amazing weather. Back to the usual life of work, responsibilities and independence, but this time as an employee, not as an intern!! Ignoring the panicking thought that house hunting awaits there, I am too much excited to begin the new life.

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So I am at the airport, waiting for the plane to whisk me away to Bangalore. Airports are the most interesting places to note and observe a lot of things. Although air travel is becoming affordable for most of the classes, there’s still something so posh and classy about flying that makes you feel proud and rich! It’s fun to watch the people around. There a few people who are so anxious and have no idea where to go next. And then there are few who have the air of being the-king-of-the-world around them.

So check-in today was expected to be a bit problematic. No matter what, the struggle to have the luggage within weight limit is always real. Thanks to my sweetest mom, who like all Gujju moms, expresses her love by packing me a lot of Theplas and sweets! 😀

‘Your baggage is exceeding the limit ma’am’, the person at the check-in counter tells me. And I make a pleading face and am like, ‘ I am shifting, you know, can you please allow the extra 2.5 kgs?’ What’s the harm in trying, I say to myself. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t buy it, but making a face, he did. Patting myself on the back, I proceed towards the security check. I would have gone all freaked out if this would have happened to me a few years back.

And then the air travel is the most magical part of all! Bless web check-in for getting travelers like me the most favorite thing in the world, a window seat! I guess even the most frequent of the flyers would be feeling a jolt of excitement in stomach at the time of take-off. From then, the entire journey over the beautiful cottony clouds always leaves me just awestruck. Today, due to the monsoons, the plane was passing through promising black clouds, bumping roughly and leaving us all with pain in the ears. Today’s rainy weather had compelled me to listen to the song ‘Madno’ in loop, with me imagining myself on stage, singing the female part, and the audience waving their hands. Trust my mind to imagine all sorts of funny fantasies when left alone in front of a window seat!

So right now, I am sipping a Starbucks cold coffee on Mumbai international airport and writing this blog post, waiting for my connecting flight. I remember, a few years back, while travelling with parents, I used to give coveted glances to people holding coffee cups in their hands, and travelling alone! I used to promise myself, just a few years more. And here I am, travelling alone, sipping coffee (that burnt a hole in my pocket :P), and being all grown up.

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Please ignore if this blog post has grammar mistakes, lack of editing or hastily written sentences. The air hostess is giving me stern looks and I really have to keep away my laptop. Can’t wait to get down from the flight and breathe in that cold, much-missed Bangalore air.

Lots to write, Laters ! 🙂

Letter to 16-year-old self

Dear 16-year-old-me,

How are you doing? Look at you, all shy and silent! 6 years down the lane, I am here in my happy place, having learnt a lot. I wish I could have told you these things before, but better late than never, I guess!

The next 6 years will be the best years of your life till now. The time when you will grow into an independent young lady from a shy teenage girl. Right now, you are in a protected cocoon, a safe place where no one and nothing can hurt you. You have no idea how the world actually is. But don’t you worry. Time will be your teacher. At each and every moment, you will learn so much. A warning: The learning will be followed after a smorgasbord of experiences. Experiences that might not be pleasant all the time. But one day, you will look back and then realise you have gathered so much out of them, knowingly or unknowingly.

The next two years will be extremely tough and hectic. 12th boards will sap the energy out of you. You will have so many difficult subjects and so many classes to attend. At the same time, you will have to fight acne and skin problems that will make you hate your face at times. But stay put. Do not let those teenage feelings and distractions get to you. Keep up your focus. In the end it will be all worth, when you will see yourself getting admitted into a great engineering college of your choice.

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College will bring those changes into you that make you the person you will absolutely love. Shifting to a different city and staying away from home will be such a wonderful experience. You will get a cosy house which will be your home for 4 years.  You will feel homesick at times. But you will have the most amazing roommate and best friend ever, who will make your college life beautiful.

You will get a few cultural shocks in college in the beginning. Be ready for those. There will be a lot of times when things won’t go the way you want them to go. There will be a lot of incidents when people will hurt you. I won’t tell you to not cry in those times. Because only when you will feel the pain and wipe the tears away will you come out as a bolder, stronger person. Flowers grow back even when stepped on. So will you. But you know what? Do not judge anyone based on that one time. Understand that everyone has his/her reasons to do something. Try to believe that everyone is good in the end. That way you will feel positive about people around. 🙂

Okay enough of philosophy. Your college life will be great overall. Don’t worry about studies much. Just pay attention in class and you will do great in exams. Take part in all the cultural events. Follow your passion. Write more and read a lot. But most importantly, make friends that you will want to keep for lifetime. They will have your back all the time and help you create memories that will leave an indelible mark in your heart.

Have a lot of fun. But take care of your morals and values. Listen to your parents and be a good daughter. Regarding career choices, you will have a few that will make you really confused. You will go through a lot of dilemma before coming to the right choice. And when you will, you will love it a lot.

Dear 16-year-old me, I just want to tell you that you have wonderful years ahead. Sorry to break the suspense but you will grow into a lady who earns now and lives a beautiful, independent life. She has graduated, become an engineer and works at a place she loves. She attends company meetings and talks to clients. But she still loves ‘High School Musical’ movies, worships Harry Potter, wishes to dance whenever it rains and shouts ‘I am sooo blogging about this’ on every other thing. But you know what? You will like that person a lot better.

You are the most beautiful girl with the sweetest smile and I love you even with all those perfect imperfections. Bring your innocence with you, but leave the timid part behind. You will no longer need it. Be good and have fun. See you on the other side soon 🙂

Yours,

22-year-old-me

My baby turns 2 !

If the post title left your mouth hanging open then let me tell you that the baby that I am referring to here is my blog. The blog that has been so much close to me. Here is a post about my journey of discovering writing to finishing 2 years of blogging! This has been, hands down, the best thing that has ever happened to me till now.

Writing knocked my door in a very needy time then. I distinctly remember my 10th board results being 28 days away and trust me, my fears were real. Naturally my mom had reached her threshold by then, so I could no more go to her with my mom-i-am-so-scared story. So I picked up a diary and started writing all what I felt, every night. And it was magical, like finding a hidden treasure! I had never felt so much light and happy before. The results fear was completely uncalled for, which is a different story, but I discovered writing then, and then there has been no stopping, literally!

I became very sure of my passion in college when writing articles for magazines, editing others’ write-ups and becoming the editor-in-chief for clubs brought me happiness like nothing else would. I started blogging as yet another reason to continue writing. And today after two years, I feel that I have finally created something that I am really proud of. I may sound like some crazy narcissist but this happens when you create something from scratch, something that makes you so happy.

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My blog is literally my baby, I love it that much. It has grown up with me, travelled with me to different places, seen different people and has matured with me. I have talked about it in all my placement interviews and introductions. All my closed ones would know that I start talking about my blog at least once a day (I pity them a lot sometimes). I plan about my posts all the time. My cupboards get filled with sticky notes having ideas and points for my next blog post. And during those days when it rains or when I have an unique or overwhelming experience, all I would think will be lines to put up in my blog. I wouldn’t sleep without posting about it, no matter how tired I would be or how important an exam there would be next day.

But why am I telling you all this? There’s a reason to it. Do you know who/what brings life to my blog? You. Without the readers and the supporters, my blog would be nothing. The first thing I do every morning, even before I open my eyes, is check my blog stats. Seeing the graph of views and visitors of different countries take a height gives me so much joy that my mind does a little dance. It gives me inspiration when those regular readers ask me, ‘When are you posting something again?’And trust me when I say I blush a lot when people tell me, ‘I read your blog yesterday, and it was great!’  My posts may not be excellent in terms of language or content but the satisfaction that I get at the end of the day is what makes it worth everything.

A big thank you and hugs to all those people who read my posts and appreciate all what I write. You are my rhyme and reason to write, a reason to follow my passion and stay happy! Also, thank you to the authors who have trusted me and sent me books for review. Hopefully I would be writing these lines in an acknowledgment page of a novel one day, but for these 2 years of my blog, I am equally happy today!  My baby has turned 2 and has many to go.

More to say, laters ! 🙂

Dinner in dark

Imagine a lavish dinner spread in front of you. Everything from starters to deserts. Imagine that you are so hungry that just want to jump in. And now imagine, what if the dinner room is totally dark? Zero light. Heard of the concept of ‘Dark Dining’? Having dinner in the dark was the concept introduced in Germany. It aims at the removal of vision to enhance the other senses and increase gastronomic pleasure. I had such a dinner experience today. And it was something I have never experienced before!

So it started with a normal evening when we college friends decided to hang out and have dinner in Phoenix mall. We would have gone for Burger King or Subway if we wouldn’t have come across this interesting looking restaurant ‘Dialogue in the Dark’. The concept of eating in dark seemed very weird but looking at the restaurant’s compelling tag line, ‘Come, and awaken your senses. Soak in the darkness!’, we decided to try it once.

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We were told to put away our phones, watches and everything else emitting light in lockers before entering the dark restaurant.  Excited to see if the insides of the restaurant were actually dark or not, we lined up and entered in. And oh my god, there wasn’t even a trickle of light. It was pitch dark! How were we supposed to even go ahead when we could not see a single thing, leave aside having dinner? And then we heard a sweet, inviting voice of a lady who, she said, was going to help us today with our dinner. We walked straight, taking baby steps, as per the instructions that the lady gave us. It was very scary to walk without getting to watch the surroundings. Finally we settled on our table, guessing by the voices, who was sitting where.

The lady interacted with us and told us not to be frightened.  The sense of eyesight was taken from us; we were supposed to enjoy our dinner only by touch, smell and taste. How interesting! Our server announced that food was now being served. And I have never paid attention to the food smell as I did then. The smell was intense, drawing me to taste it immediately. And we had to put up a bit of struggle in the beginning to feel the food, pick up a piece and eat it. We all realized the difficulty the visually impaired would be facing, having to do everything in such darkness.

It was such a unique experience to taste the food and guess what it is. We all had so much fun guessing paneer barbeque, fried vegetables and hara bhara kabaab and debated on it. Had to eat with both hands as the spoon-fork etiquette wouldn’t work here, and my fingers kept going into the sauce :P. On top of that, my mischievous friends kept throwing bottles, kept poking and scaring each other in the dark.

We jokingly kept asking the lady to give us her night-vision goggles, which we assumed she would have. And as she recognized each of us by our names and kept talking to us, she promised to give her goggles outside. I enjoyed the dinner so much. Scary as it was, the dark dining experience was something I had never done before. And it was totally worth! All I could think then was what I will write in my blog. We again formed a chain, holding the person in front by shoulders and walked to the entrance, following the lady. And as we came in the light, the lady joked, ‘So do you now want my night-vision goggles?’ We were all speechless and had the greatest shock. The lady was blind!

We went home with an exciting experience and a newly realized respect for the blind. Dark dining is worth trying, if you have access to such a restaurant around. It makes you realize how lucky you are, with all the senses working perfectly. It makes you feel thankful that you don’t have to face the scary darkness every day. One more thing to include in my list ‘New things tried in Bangalore’! More experiences to share, laters! 🙂