Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Purani Jeans!!

As I was going to bid Adieu to Sachin, I crossed my college, Satya Niketan, Dhaula Kuan, and Gurgaon. And in that flicker of the moment, the radio started playing YJHD and RDB songs.. Oh Gawd! a teary eyed me was becoming inconsolable. I told him about our UNO sessions at Taj CcD, paranthas at Tankush , and a gang that was 'once' simply amazing. Everyone has moved on in life but yesterday that gang remained at the college Gate and I was again 10 years behind..

On my way back, I passed by CP, memories came flashing by.... After all, 6 long years have been spent here.. All the Things that I have done were coming across like a Cool breeze..
Time and again, stills of happy times reverberated like an echo.

Long walks to Bengali Market or Mandi House or India Gate from MMB, unlimited coffee sessions, DTC buses particularly RL-77 and 729 and our journey from Dhaula kuan to The Park, Street shopping at Janpath, dosa point at jantar mantar, bangla sahib, ymca, National Museum, the treasure trove of India, central Park in the evening, American Library, Rau's IAS Study Circle, Barakhamba and Rajiv Chowk Metro Station, favorite hangout joints, and endless photographs.

Sometimes a simple journey can take you down the memory lane as if you are actually there reliving each moment. All the times and places that I once used to frequent with my friends were there in front of my eyes and I just want to hold on to that time, place, and that FEELING... 😍😍😍

Goodbye Delhi.. Until next time... Don't know when we'll meet next?!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Never Imagined Moving to a NEW HOME can bring Sheer Delight!

October 2015, my then fiancee (now husband) was in search for a house on rent in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. After working for about 4.5 years, he was actually settling in here. Spouse, family, and a comfortable place to live which WE would call it OUR HOME, was on his mind.

So after much hullabaloo and frequenting property agent's doors, he was finally able to get a really COOL property in Shukan Sky (F- 704) (Gosh! I am going to miss this place so bad!) which I wouldn't have imagined to have in Delhi. 

Coming straight to December 2015, I ended up landing with him and my first reaction on seeing that house was WOW!! The views were superb. The 2-bedroom house had such a panoramic view. My god! The balcony would open its doors to a small farmland, but that had really tall trees. Whenever I opened that balcony door, the cool blue breeze used to kiss upon the cheek and that feeling was just outstanding. 

View from the Balcony

Each day, a new bird used to land up in the balcony and frankly, I had never seen such colourful pretty birds in my life till now. I was so well aware of their chirping, I knew which bird would it be (though I may not be knowing their biological or popular names, but I did knew how they look like). 

World of Wonder


Come Friday, we had the plans of walking to the nearby theatre that was just 5-minutes walk away from my place. Trips to Museums in Ahmedabad or sitting on the bench at Riverfront was something we would wait for eagerly. Else, we would just randomly go out on the bike at midnight to savour the Pathikashram's (Delhi's Comesum) famous Club Sandwich. The incredible sunrises and sunsets, his first birthday, my first birthday, our anniversary, the garba, everything "first" happened in there. Time rolled very fast in there. Life was going pretty well in that home, but that wasn't OURS.



Coming straight to January 2017, the New Year brought NEW Resolutions. Oh! It was time to make a resolution for our life. One fine day, with mutual consent, we both agreed to shift to OUR HOUSE - A HOUSE THAT WE CAN CALL IT A HOME, WHERE I CAN DECORATE AS I WISH. We started hunting for a decent property that was well in our budget. 

After searching for about 30 properties (both online and offline), we agreed to seal the deal with THE ONE. It was the exterior of the apartment and the serenity this place offers attracted us. I, being the nature lover, fell in love with this place instantly. The dense forest cover, low population, an ancient temple nearby, and peacocks, peacocks and some more peacocks is what gives me that rustic (old school) feel. 

After all the formalities related to property buying were done, we finally moved to this new (undisclosed) place (I don't want crowd in this place, EVER! because that brings filth, noise, and pollution). Apart from it, more building means deforestation = No place for peacocks to live, disturbs the natural ecosystem. 

The family came over and we entered this place with full vidhi-vidhaan. Frankly, it was a week-long ceremony and involved all the packing and unpacking of stuff, memories, portraits, all "the first" events and everything else. True to the human nature, adjusting here was a little difficult initially. But, as things proceeded, life here is way more comfortable. 

I wake up to peacock's call each day and it rains heavily, 24 X 7. The music that the falling rain drops produce is just amazing. Try listening to it once and I am sure you will love it. On weekends, we brunch in our balcony and take in the exotic views that this place has to offer.

With barely any vehicular noise, I have plenty of time for myself and scribble what I love doing the most. It was only here, I created a Facebook page (not for monetary reasons, but for heart's contentment) where I publish my one-liners. If you like, do join it here - 

Finally, if YOU ARE HERE, I bet, you wouldn't want to go back to your own place. 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Cat Fights

As I peeped out of my balcony today, I saw two girls playing badminton.
They reminded me of my teenage days when I used to play the game with my sister
It was soo funny the way we used to end the game abruptly for not picking up the shuttlecock (Am I serious? Yes! It used to be a fact then :P
How we had a knack for deciding and fighting over identifying the "palas", where the cock fell. And the subtle game of racquet soon turns into arguments and counter-arguments...
Gawd I miss that phase! I miss playing that game with you Kanika Mittal
I wish I could capture that moment to relive it again. But, mobile phones and digital cameras were not in vogue (Thank God! Else, we wouldn't have cherished the memories of that game today)
Hopefully, that time will come soon when we both will have racquet in our hands and this time, without fighting for picking up the shuttlecock :P :P
Feeling nostalgic... Missing You!

When You Crave for the Good Ol' Sibling Love!!

A year is about to come to an end since I departed miles away from my family. In these 340 days, I had missed my home city only twice. One for the first time as I was leaving to start the new journey with my husband and the second time, it was about last night.

The pain of separation from your family especially sibling grips you completely. How soon time flies, I realized just a day back. 25 years have passed since we know each other. From being biggest enemies to best buddies, our relationship has grown tremendously and has seen quite ups and downs. There used to be a time when incessant cat fights and those back-biting to mom gave us the ultimate solace. Staying away from each other was the only means which gave us sheer delight then. But it was way-way back.
Then came a time when the sibling enmity soon turned to love and none of us really realized when and how did it happen. And even after marriage we still fight. YES! those same old cat fights. But the nature of the cat fights has changed to being more concerned and considerate.
This Diwali after so many years we finally got time to ourselves - just the two of us were there. Roaming on the streets, for getting what we most loved to do - shop. No husbands, no kids just the two of us. That was liberating and she again pampered me with things like clothes, street food and her love and attention. This time, I was so touched. Each time she did these things for me but I don't know what difference it made this time. I don't know whether I was missing Mumma or if it was the fever that I had contracted and she prepared a freshly brewed coffee for me at 0200 AM. Or it was the silent promise to say I'll be with you forever no matter what. But whatever it was. The feeling is just unexplainable.
As I reached the railway station, a bucket full of tears started flowing from the eyes. A year back, my sister came to drop me and I was standing at the same spot. This time, I really didn't wish to leave Delhi despite so many shortcomings this city has. The travel instinct in me wished to stay here and here forever.
As I was leaving her, In the last 340 days, probably this was the longest and tightest hug that I gave her. I was crying for her company like a baby. I was missing her.. Missing my family. True, kids, husbands, work and other priorities have taken over, but some things I just wish and pray never change.
I love you to the core Kanika 😘😘😘

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

An Eye For My Love

New Year ringed in and I started with the second novel of the year (first being The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope) - An Eye for My Love by Vibhor Tikiya. 

The story starts with an intense sequence and moves on to the flashback to take you to the plush restaurants of Morocco, ancient Mummies of Egypt and exotic lanes of Paris where the protagonist Dhruv meets his lady love, Aisha. Being a travel aficionado, I liked how the author has described these countries. Rabat has an amazing feel to it. Roadside cafes and a number of Moroccan restaurants offering traditional Moroccan cuisine, it is home to the political who's who of the country and the city is full of political office........the primary language spoken was French....they hardly knew any English. 

The charm of Paris was in the smaller details: the quaint cobblestone streets, prettily trimmed trees, perfectly puffed pastries, dainty tea salons and much more.........The city was buzzing, roads were clean and the bars were full of merriment. 

The emotions of a father, of a mother and of a lover are lucidly described in this novel. The best part of the novel is the opening conversation with the protagonist's Mom (which is no more but still her teachings are still alive in his memory). Here, I would like to quote one of the paragraphs that really touched me emotionally. It goes on to say, "The favorite place in the world used to be my mother's lap. I would love lying in it and she would caress my hair. She would always tell me how good she wants my life to be. She was so full of life and hope. If I had to choose one place to go back to, I would go to her. I don't want to be anywhere else. I just want to lie in her lap once again. My mother was m life and she took away a huge part of me when she left this world."

This is basically the story of Love Found and Lost and the travails of how a vagabond, when fell in love, changed completely. References to Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary will not be understood by the reader initially, but as the story progresses, you will come to know why was it done at the first place. 

The story then talks about the evil and notorious men present in our society. The dastard act of rape has boggled many heads and this story will take you on one such roller coaster ride. 

Are you ready for it?   

Monday, 7 November 2016

A Tale Of A Journey BACK HOME!

Time and again, a pang of nostalgia come rushing in the temporal lobe of my brain and takes me back in those same old bylanes. The hard I try to move forward in this journey called LIFE, there is something that takes me back to my native place. 

Recently, I paid a brief visit to the place which was once MY HOME. Upon entering the main gate, a gamut of emotions ran through my veins which ripped me apart emotionally though I was physically STILL STRONG.

The sofa which once used to be my daytime bed on weekends while watching movies and soaps on television was delighted to see me. Although, he was shying away from me and covered itself beneath a veil of a soft sheet, but was curious to know how I was. On opening my personal drawer which nobody touched in the year gone by still had kept safe some of the most cherishable memories of the yesteryears even today.

As I proceeded forward, walking across the gallery, I first stepped into the kitchen -  a place which I used to despise the most then and even now. But that day,  a tear fell off from my eye. It wasn't like the last time I saw it when I departed my home to enter into a new one. But today, it was different.

Moving forward, I straight away reached to my room and man! That was a moment of outburst. There were so many things that I had created myself in this room and had pasted in on the walls,  doors  and other places. Moments of Kani n me fighting came back with a lightening speed. 

Sleeping next to her, hugging her tight after watching a horror movie was the first thing that the box of memory brought in. Seriously Kani, post your marriage, I have stopped watching horror movies.

The late night ballet dancing sessions and gossiping with Mannu Bhai and Prerna when they came over and Maggi with coffee at midnight were one of the few moments that came back to me rushing. But, ultimately, I was greeted by the empty walls that tell a story of how lonely they had been all this time. 

After a brief moment, I checked into Papa 's room and faint memories of Maa caressing me came in. Her image of sitting by the bedside and calling me was the first and last thing I would love to recall.

I miss her truly sometimes desperately. Sometimes,  I crave for a little hug or the famously known jaadu ki jhappi. The way she pampered both of us with care, I don't know but I cannot recall how it sounded when she called out my name "Mani". 

That time,  she was my best friend. She had known everything and anything all about my friends, studies, my life. Suddenly, things changed so quickly post May 2004 and we soon turned into adults. 

Almost a decade and a half I had spent at this place which I once used to call MY ROOM and in a moments time, you just have to leave everything and go away to make a new home... rainfall of salt water 

P.S. : Couldn't think of another ending! 

Monday, 17 October 2016

A Date With Jarawas - The Adivasis of Andaman

I first met Jarawas through the Hindu Newspaper while I was preparing for the civil services exam. I don't know why, but tribal is one such topic that grabs my attention instantly. Jarawas are one such tribal species that belong to the Negrito origins and came to India from Africa around 60,000 years ago. So, practically, they form one of the most ancient groups of our human race.


So, I read about the atrocities that people used to mete on them while trespassing through their corridor that is NH4 or the Great Andaman Trunk Road. Foreign and Indian tourists alike used to lure them with food and ask them to perform or sing in return. That was pathetic, I know. Although, Supreme Court ordered to block the road for a while, but thankfully it was open when we planned this trip. Since, with global warming and tsunami, they are hapless today and short of natural resources with which they once fed their families. So, they did do the things that were asked by the tourists.




So, coming back to the story! I knew it then and there that one day in my life, I would surely see them live. That day finally came and it was our last day of the trip as in like Travelling as the next day we had to board our flight back to Delhi.

We both are passionate travelers (Thank God! Sachin too has the zest to travel), so, we got ready early in the morning at 0300 AM. Our driver Ashish was right on time and we reached Jirkatang around 0520 AM. Along the route, we trespassed, Cattlegunj, Tsunami affected region, and dense fog had engulfed the area (since it was early morning).

These Two Were Tsunami Affected Regions Which I Captured On Our Way Back To Port Blair

As I am writing this, I can recall each and every moment that went so well. We got the opportunity to see the rising sun. One of the most beautiful sunrises to encounter in life. There was a small Shiv Temple and cattle were grazing in the fields in front of us. We had our breakfast at the spot which was a hot, sumptuous and lip-smacking idli sambhar.

Shiv Temple @ Jirkatang

It was a heavily militarized area. We need to fill up forms and ask for permission to travel across the road. Ashish had kept everything already in place so we just needed to comply what he had told us. So, our journey started sharp at 0600 AM and hardly after moving 500 meters, I was thankful as I got to see two groups of Jarawas. Can this be the view I had waited all my life till now? Probably YES! It was one of a kind feeling and seriously man, I cannot describe in words. I wish I could get a photograph clicked. :(

Anyways, one of the two groups comprised of a mother with three children who were painted white over their faces and another was a group of three women probably basking in the sunshine or simply viewing the vehicles trespassing. The group of women was sitting under a tree. The road stretch is of 50 kilometers post which you will land up at Baratang. Along the route, you will be greeted by tree-lined across the boulevard and if you are lucky lots and lots of Jarawas holding ax, blades, and sickle in their hands. Though they will not harm you unless you won't say anything to them. But, now there is no chance of talking to them because laws are quite stringent. Tribal Officers wearing plain clothes could be seen around with the groups of Jarawas and even if you try to take a snap, they will catch you and cancel the driver's license or even worse, the taxi service license.

Along the 50km route, I could see fumes coming out of that dense forest at one point whereas rays of the sun were straining through the leaves in the other. And an echo of something that wasn't seeming creepy. Don't know if it really was or not? :P

Approximately 19 kilometers before reaching Baratang Island, creek came in our way where eagle made an eye contact and we encountered drop-dead gorgeous and colorful butterflies. As far as my eyes could stretch, I saw a kuccha dwelling, probably of a Jarawa which was giving impressions of being tribal in nature as they were made of bamboo. Ashish told us that they had the knowledge way back in 2004 when Tsunami terribly hit them that something ominous is about to come. He told us that they had relocated at upper stretches of the land even before the Tsunami came and that's how they were able to survive the fierce power of nature.

Finally, we reached the Middle Strait at Jarawa Check Post, where we were to boat a government jetty that would take us farther away to Gandhi Ghat at 23 kilometers.

Our next destination was Limestone Cave followed by a visit to the Barren Island, the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia. For more information about the same, refer to this WikiTravel Page.

So, the speed boat at Baratang took around 20 minutes and transported us to the Limestone Cave. We had to walk around 1.5 kilometers to reach inside the cave and we were given a guide who would led us inside it. There were panoramic vistas and white blocks of stone all around us. On our return, a little bit of rain poured over and I presumed to see a crocodile which is completely refuted by my husband. But, as the saying goes, "Wife is always right", I did confirm the same with boat operator and he did tell us that crocodiles do exist in those mushy - marshy waters of the mangroves.

Inside the Limestone Cave

The 1.5km stretch might haunt the weak-hearted

On reaching the Baratang, our taxi waited who took us to the Barren Island and yes, smoke did came out from the vents. It was a sheer delight to see something like this in our life. True, travel did give you some countless experiences and it is these moments, memories and experiences that you'll remember FOREVER.

@ Barren Island

So, we traverse the same route back to Port Blair and en-route we were lucky enough to see a Jarawa couple holding arrows and sickle and a family at different spots. These are the moments that are hard to come by.

On an additional note, Ashish told us that primarily six primitive tribes inhabit the entire Andaman & Nicobar area namely Onges, Jarawas, Great Andamanese, Nicobarese, Shompen, Sentinel. No one is allowed to enter Nicobar as only tribes live there and are dangerous. The Nicobarese, Shompen, and Sentinel tribes haven't allowed intermingling of cultures and are still at the hunting-gathering stage. Particularly, it is the Sentinel tribe that is highly dangerous and doesn't allow anyone to come near to them. They will instantly attack you with their bow and arrows.

So, if you are in Andamans, enjoy your ride with nature, mangroves and crocodiles. :P

Happy Journey!