We moved !!!

Hi there,

Thanks for stopping by. I have moved this blog to WordPress. I am very excited about this new change. Even though I like blogger, I find WordPress a little more attractive. So do check out the new template and design by clicking the below link. This is my last post in blogger. So do check out my WordPress page for future posts.

Take me to the new blog..

See you there at WordPress. Take Care.

A heavenly getaway in God’s Own Country

It was a very short summer-monsoon vacation. We decided to stick around Trivandrum itself as it was start of monsoon and our mode of transportation was my scooter. I didn’t want to get wet and catch cold and spoil my long awaited days off. So we were searching for places to go near Trivandrum other than our usual hideout at Varkala, we found this less popular place called Duke’s Forest Lodge which is very close to Ponmudi hill station in Trivandrum. I have no idea why it’s less popular, this place is amazing and the best getaway from a hectic work schedule.

We started from Trivandrum on a Sunday afternoon, after having brunch with my sister in law. Meenu was meeting her for the first time. It didn’t look like they are seeing for the first time as both are chatter boxes and enjoyed each other’s company. That was fun. After that we did a little shopping and then headed to the destination. Most roads in Kerala are beautiful. Especially those leading to Hill stations. Even though there were no great restaurants on the way, we snaked a lot and had an amazing ride.

By early evening we reached Dukes’ Forest Lodge. It is a bunch of a beautiful and serene cottages in the middle of 200 acre rubber plantation.  When we saw Duke’s hoarding and took the turn from main road, my eyes widened and Meenu’s jaw dropped. Haha, seriously. There were huge trees on both sides and for the first time we hear the sound of forest.Going forward, the huge trees were replaced by small rubber plants on both sides and then big rubber trees. Still it sounded liked forest.

There were small cute hoarding on every 20 meters which made it impossible to loose track. We finally reached at the reception area. The whole place was built in ancient Kerala style architecture with enough modern touch. Near to reception was the first dining area with a small courtyard and some Kerala style decorations. After checking in, we stepped down to the second dining area from where the swimming pool and Kallar river is very close by. As we were pretty tired from our ride we decided to have some rest.

We chose a pool villa. A moderate sized and clean pool with Jacuzzi was on the ground floor and a hude bedroom, one drawing room and bathroom and balcony was on first floor. I will have a separate post on our cottage interior.

We stayed 3 days there. One day just ate, slept and relaxed, one day had a plantation tour and trekking, and the third day we took a trip to Ponmudi and Kallar waterfalls. Even though we were on a such relaxed schedule for 3 days, I felt like staying back there for rest of my life. That place was just like me – calm and quiet.  Even though the whole property belonged to a private party, we felt like we are in the middle of a deep forest. The days were filled with mild wind, fresh air and sunlight whereas the nights were filled with cricket sounds.

 The climate was in our favor for all the three days. Our plantation tour was amazing. There was a guide with us so that we don’t get lost in the 200 acres plantation or in the Kallar river.  While on trekking, we realized that even though rubber trees took most of the area they also has coco plants, pepper, cardamom and even a small farm.  We walked around a lot, clicked a few and got amazed on how beautiful nature really is.

Duke’s Forest Lodge is the best place if you are person like me, who enjoys the calmness of nature. If you can’t stay calm for long, don’t worry you still got a nice swimming pool and board games. Still not enough ? Get an authentic Ayurvedic massage. I felt the massage a bit overpriced, charging 9000 rupees for one person, but the very affordable Organic stuff in their small store made me happy. I bought a hair oil -100% organic one.
The best part is the nicest staff and the hospitality at Duke’s.  They are the best people I have ever came across in my travels. Duke’s forest Lodge is not just for my type but every type of people.

I will have separate posts on our cottage and the Ponmudi trip. Till then lust on these unedited pics of God’s Own Duke’s Forest Lodge.

Why do I love and hate my country at the same time ?

I have never disliked my country before. Life was pretty much comfortable here. Keeping in mind it is still a developing country and one of the most populous in the world, I believe it did the best. Life was not easy here but was rather safer. I am a true patriot. I stand with my country and I love my country.

But sometimes ‘the people’ who are part of this country is pushing me to  hate the living here. By people I meant the male chauvinist crowd I see every day or the news channels show me every day. Not just them. Some people who are supposed to lead this country as a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic nation but tries to make it some sort of religious asylum. And I am depressed to see even the educated youth supporting every stupid policy ‘the people’ put forward.

I am not denying the fact that developmental steps are being taken by the same people. But before development comes safety and secularism. Did we forget Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ? Food water warmth and rest comes first then comes security and safety which is disappearing from this nation. Maslow’s hierarchy is motivational theory but what else matters more than the motivation to wake up and start living every day.

Why the government or whoever acts as government has to interfere in personal lives ?  Why is government taking the liberty to tell its people what to eat and what not to ? What to watch and what not to ? What to wear and what not to? It doesn’t sound like democracy. If government  is not being democratic why are the so-called-educated youth not able to act on this ? Why do they support everything if it has a religion tag on it ?

I don’t see a free happy life for me in this country. I don’t see it for anyone like me, who belongs to a minority session and most unfortunately born as a female in this country. I have always told myself to be proud of what I am irrespective of the religion, caste and sex. But the government is telling me to be ashamed of what I am and follow what the government thinks right.  I pity on every single child born as a non-hindu in this country. I pity on very single child born as poor in this country. I pity on very single child born as girl in this country.

I love my country. I just don’t like ‘the people’ in it.

Book Review - The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I was hoping to read a usual friendship story when I bought this book. But it is not a ‘read the blurb and get the story’ kind of books. The novel is more about history and less about the emotion of  characters. I find this novel different from the usual slave-owner story. It didn’t made me cry at the end but did inspire me. And I love that feel.

The Invention of Wings is a historical novel by Sue Monk Kidd which is based on Charleston, a city in South California. The book narrates story of two friends – Handful and Sarah. Handful is a black slave owned by Sarah’s rich family. Author narrates the story from Sarah’s eyes as well as Handful’s. Though both stories are deeply related, each one is based on the personal and spiritual way of life and thoughts of Handful and Sarah.

Handful was gifted to Sarah on her 11th birthday as her helping maid. Sarah Grimke who is an intelligent and righteous girl refused the gift and started doing everything she could to stop the discrimination towards black people. But being a girl in a society that treats black as slave and owned by white, Sarah not only find her attempts in vain but also faces severe backlash from family and society. Sarah didn't just hate slavery but also the discrimination that women face during that time. Sarah had to move to Philadelphia first due to her father’s illness but later to find her own wings. Sarah’s second phase of life proceeds in Philadelphia where she falls in love with a man named Israel, converts as a Quaker,  learns to be a Quaker minister and eventually joins the abolition movement and starts women rights activism with her younger sister Angelina Grimke. Meanwhile, Handful had to deal with her mother’s disappearance, hardship’s at Grimke household and planing and failed execution of  black's riot. The lives of both Sarah and Handful grows in two different directions but towards a common goal – freedom.

The book also portrays Sarah's struggle towards her lack of confidence, speaking disorder, loneliness, betrayal and her journey to find an identity and meaning of life.

Though Sarah and Handful consider each other as friends and are able to understand each other’s emotions, the author has not made a deep friendship between the two characters. While Handful is trying for her physical freedom, Sarah is trying to liberate her mind and spirit. The story tells how both the girls create their destiny and more importantly how they invented their wings.

I think the author doesn’t want to make this book about an uncommon relationship but more about the strong history and strongest women characters of history. Readers are less likely to have emotional attachment with the characters but more likely to acknowledge and support the attitude and behavior of each character.  I liked how Sarah and Handful ‘Invented’ their wings, rather than ‘discovering’. The author makes it certain that not to waste time on discovering something which doesn’t exist but to start inventing it.

I loved the book. I loved how the author narrated this story. Moreover I loved Grimke sisters. History is powerful. It repeats itself. I hope, like the Grimke sisters, every girl invent their wings.

Because I love books...

Hi there,

How you guys doing ? I had a great week and weekend. Even though I look forward to a very productive weekend starting today, I am still in the hangover of last weekend. I went on a teeny tiny summer vacation. More like a weekend+2 days getaway. And it was awesome. I spend some quality time with my family and friends. I will be sharing the details with you soon. Meanwhile here is my reading list for next 6 months. I am yet to finish The Invention of wings. But I really want to finish all the below books this year itself. I am trying to find some more time for reading on an everyday basis. My roomie and her classic movie collection is a serious distraction :P Still, let’s hope for the best.


So what is on your reading list ?

Quotes day !!!

Hi there,

Its been almost a week. I know. I promised a post on my reading list which is still in progress because you know the hunt for best books never ends. So after I told you guys that I am pretty much free last week, I have been the busiest of the week. :( I feel so guilty about not having any new posts. Also am finding difficulty on having my travel pics to upload online as my laptop is no more working. That is why all the delay. I am asking my dearest friend Mr.Rain for so long but he is not helping at all. :( 

But that is fine. I will figure out something asap. For now, I have a few of my favorite quotes. I am a fan of inspiring quotes. Whenever am down I just google some quotes and read for a few minutes and I really works for me. Hope you will like it too. 

Travel Diaries - McLeod Ganj – Dharamshala

What can I say about this beautiful place ! It is like a dream or may be its how heaven looks like. Ya it must be. Because once you rest your foot in McLeod Ganj the first thing flashing in your mind is - Am canceling my return tickets. Am not going anywhere. This is where I belong. Honestly, that’s what I felt.

McLeod Ganj is a nature’s gift. The fresh air, water and the mixed culture , it’s all adding its share to this beautiful piece of earth in the lap of Himalayas. I was literally shivering when we got down at McLeod Ganj. It was in April you guys…still it was so cold for me. My friend could manage even without a jacket. (hmm. I wonder what he is made of !!) Anyway, it was our first unplanned trip and we had no idea about the place. Well, it is not that we had no idea… we knew this place is going to steal our hearts at the moment we heard the name ‘McLeod Ganj’ from a fellow passenger. Did I tell you that’s when we decided to get down there ?? Ya…it’s so not me, but I thought let’s do it. It was 4 o clock in morning and I was sure it can’t be unsafe at that time.

So we got down at McLeod Ganj without a hotel booking or a taxi number. We went in the first decent hotel we saw but they said no rooms where available. That was sort of weird because it was a huge place and it was not even peak season. Then we realized that out foots are still in the conservative soil of India and it was 4 in the morning and we were a couple with light luggage. Phew. These are the moments I kick my partner for this instant decisions and crazy butts. Seriously. I don’t like mess or confusions. I like everything planned and straight and unaltered. I know how boring I sound. L But I really get out of control if step out of my comfort zone. Silly me!!!

But thank god for smart phones and internet and travel sites. We could find a hotel online and called them up and even got a taxi to reach there. This place we found was just a few steps away from the Tibetan market of McLeod, which means we never had to hire a taxi again. Haha. We saved some bucks there. The best part was that I could see the pine trees and snowcapped mountains from my balcony. Who thought one day I will wake up to such an amazing view.

After a quick nap we headed to a local restaurant for breakfast and had yummy homely Tibetan breakfast. I was a bit surprised to see all the Tibetan people and Tibetan markets and food and Buddhist monks but a little light to history was a great help. Here we go – When China took power of Tibet a lot of people including Dalai Lama was exiled from Tibet. The 14Th Dalai Lama established the Tibetan Government in Exile for rehabilitating Tibetan refugees and to restore freedom and happiness. While this mission is still on, a large number of Tibetan refuges are now part of Himachal Pradesh.

Tibetan market is a beautiful view and a great shopping zone. I found the Tibetan art, culture and heritage very fascinating. The first thing you notice in every single Buddhist is their compassion. From there on I started learning more about Buddha and his preaching. My partner was so happy that I got  interested in Buddhism, considering he is a Jain and Buddhism and Jainism go hand in hand. Hahaha…Really, he just need a nice cool breeze to be happy J.

We headed to the Tsuglag Khang, the Dalai Lama's temple and on the way we found a small temple and checked it out too. The prayer wheels in these temples were a gorgeous sight. I didn’t know how to use/turn it and I definitely didn't know it was that heavy. I didn't had to pick it up but I had to push hard each one to make it move. So I decided not to put pressure but relax and enjoy the peaceful terrain. We spent almost one hour, simply sitting on the lawn and it was the best time I have had in the whole trip. Obviously cameras were not allowed inside the shrine. So no pics to prove the beauty of this place.  

In the afternoon we hiked to the Bhagsu waterfall. It was an amazing walk. There is a small Hindu Shrine up there were we also have a pool, an area to fetch fresh/holy water and to dress up and click pics like a Tibetan couple. We had to go a little more ahead to reach the waterfall. There is a paved way towards the fall, but my friend saw a café just down the fall, so we took a non-paved rocky way towards the café first. (Told you, He eats eats and eats. I am a bit worried about the little quantity of flesh on my body whenever he is hungry but thank god he is pure veggie. Lol) Our out of the way ride was a thrilling one. We could sat down on a big rock, soaking our legs in the most clean water and look up to the water falling like its straight from heaven. I will never forget that moment and that sight.