Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts



Almost after one and half year we went for a long weekend out of Bangalore; our very first road trip of 2010. We were looking for something near to beach and thought of heading towards Pondichery but due to unavailability of any sea facing hotel we opted of Auroville. Certain thing really happens for good. The road was Bangalore -> Krishnagiri -> Tiruvanamalli ->Tindivanam-> Auroville.
As usual Santanu had production outage @ work and went to sleep around 2 AM thanks to ‘new era new tool’ at work. Started early morning around 05.50; had breakfast at A2B (Krishnagiri) then around 07.50  we hit the road. Non stop drive to Pondichery and reached around 13:00. The road between Krishnagiri and Tiruvanamalli is undivided state highway with lots of pot holes. You need to be very careful as most parts of the roads are good but suddenly you get one big pot holes. Road between Tindivanam and Pondicherry is newly done 4 lane highway.

We booked our room at "Center Guest House" through the website just two weeks ahead. They sent letter confirming it and with fine prints where we were supposed to send the advance by Demand Draft now in the age of credit cards we didn’t pay attention to the bottom part of the mail till day before the trip. On contacting over phone they said to come over as there was no other booking. Their rates include meal for three times a day, bicycle and Yoga. . Its non-alcoholic and public smoking is strongly discouraged; it is not a place for vacation – most come here to meditate. Most Indian come and visit the Auroville as day trip from Pondicherry.
Me and my hubby fell in love seeing the place and particularly when they showed our room which is tucked between trees and you can see butterflies, birds. Was just mesmerized to see the greenery all around. Had Indian buffet lunch at dining hall and after relaxing for a while went out to look for cycle. The dining hall had two baby chairs as well which is so uncommon in India.
We found one cycle which had baby chair fixed; most cycles were tall and typical DESI type with hard seat. After maneuvering for a while I managed to get onto one finally as I am not used to these types of cycles; Voila... We cycled here and there without thinking much and looking at maps.
Best part is they have so many trails that you will never be bored and the same time you will not be lost. The roads are in spiral in Auroville just like the Paris is planned. Greenery is all around, few houses and buildings with lots of shades from tress to make it more pleasant. If you feel you are lost in this forest ask anyone be Indian or foreigner they will guide you. Most residents or visitors are from France as you can hear French all around you.

Its really place far off from city noise, pollution and traffic soaking in the best nature has to offer. Negative thing about Aurorville is you are forced to give up your fast paced city life. Everything gets closed for lunch even lots of the facilities are only available for those who stay longer like 8-10 days. If you stay longer you get an Auroville cards which is like a pre-paid cash card but gives exclusive access to some restaurants, café and others center like yoga.
We went to the visitor center and spent a good amount time in the various boutique shops and picked a school bag for Aarush.  Once it started to get dark we headed back to Guest House. We all had shower as this place is quite hot and humid. Had continental buffet dinner at night they do serve early evening between 7.00 - 7:30 PM. By 10.00 PM they expect to be pin drop silence so every one around is sleeping well. We also slept early.

Day -2

After breakfast we went to bicycle stand and found someone has taken away Pamela’s cycle and she has to find a new one all over again. Once we started paddling we decided to go beach. The ride was a smooth one but once we were off Green zone there were cars and as usual they did not have any courtesy for cyclist. The 8 KM long ride was fun. The access to the beach is not direct you need to access the trough a narrow lane. Both the lane and the beach are very dirty have not seen any thing dirtier than this.
From beach we came to Visitor center and watched video on Matri mandir. For the first time visitor watching of the video is a must and after  that one gets a pass to the vista point to see Matri-mandir. Inside access is rusticated but open to all who wish to meditate.    After that we came back to guesthouse for lunch. Santanu decided against touching the car which means we had to postpone the trip to Pondicherry for the last day of the trip. We went out with the cycle around 4 went to Solar Kitchen to start with. As Solar kitchen only except Auroville cards we could only smell aroma of good food and see other enjoying with our stomach rumbling we left that place. After riding the cycle till dark we came back to guest house and called it a day.


We started early with quick breakfast and checkout by 9AM and headed towards Pondicherry. The destination was French Quarter and Aurobindo Ashram. We paid a quick visit to the Ashram. Children under 3 years are not allowed. After walking around French quarter we went to a restaurant and Aarush had his breakfast brunch. There was nothing much to do in Pondicherry and we found it hotter than Auroville. We headed back to Auroville again for our lunch as we wanted to try Roma’s Kitchen.

The food there was excellent one of the best pasta I had in India. The place is frequented by non-Indians and we noticed they all were having Indian dishes.We enjoyed our Pasta while Aarush was too busy running and playing with two French girls who were bit older than him. He was so happy that he was crying while we tried to put him car. By 14:30 noon we started from there; the drive was OK and we reached Krishnagiri by 18:30. But from there to Bangalore was long journey as there was a major accident on the road and we reached home at 21:30.
If you are looking for a doing nothing kind of a weekend Auroville is great. The best part is as most visitor who comes here from abroad lots of small things like baby chair; clean bathroom is common. The food is bit blend in Indian context but we liked it. People are courteous and helpful.
»More pictures


Lunch Time

I am finding it tricky as I try to compare my experiences and life styles that I encountered from two different continents. I do not know if my readers will be able to understand me. Moreover, my recent journey is an unusual one as most Indian travels east to west while I moved from west to east.

During my stay at Paris for last 3 and half years, most of my lunch at work was at shared corporate cafeteria between three companies. I appreciated the price, quality of that food always particularly the desserts and varieties of yogurts available there. May be I understand, why French cuisine is considered to be world’s most refined cuisine. Unfortunately, I am not a food critic that I can pen down those exotic tastes to get water in your mouth. But as I think about them I roll my tongue ;)

In general, breakfast in France is a small affair consisting of croissants & bread rolls with some butter and jam to spread which is usually accompanied by milky coffee or hot chocolate or café noir. Since there is no set time for breakfast in France it makes them bit hungry by noon :) . Le déjeuner (lunch) was once a two hour mid-day meal but has recently seen a trend toward the one hour lunch break.

It is common at corporate world to be given lunch vouchers as part of their employee benefits. These can be used in most restaurants, supermarkets and traiteurs; however people having lunch in this way typically do not eat all three dishes of a traditional lunch due to price and time considerations. A sandwich followed by a dessert is quite commonly seen and can be found ready-made at bakeries and supermarkets, cafes, bistros or restaurants. Even many restaurants, offer a lower priced prix fixe menu at lunch which is not available in the evening.

It is common in France for someone wishing you “Bon Appetite” if he/she realizes that you are going to have food as you take the exit from office door or lift at noon while in India we hardly say anything before starting our meal. Rather I believe there is no exact translation even in Anglo-Saxon culture for “Bon Appetite” but it does exist in Latin culture in some form or other like in Spanish or Italian lingo.

I have been a silent participator for most of the times as I use to feel shy to communicate with my linguistic skill of French. These three pictures are the only I have from all those lunch time I had with my colleagues. These were taken at very end of our stay with Pamela’s new phone camera. I always felt that I was going to miss those lunch hours if I move out of Paris; now I write about them before they become distant memory.

At my current location in Bombay we do not have any in-house cafeteria at our office (a small office compared to Paris). There are plenty of restaurants around to choose from or I can order for lunch at my desk. With the last one you can work as you take a bite. I am sure any health freak will tell that it is not good for soul and body. Food is supposed to be taken properly so that you chew and eat in peace while a meal in France is not simply a moment dedicated to the nourishment of the body; it is indeed a time for social and even spiritual replenishment.

In Modern India, where average work hours are getting longer and people are slogging more at work. This may be very disturbing social and physiological changes and might have adverse effect as the dynamic working population grow older.


Aids Awareness - Paris

Can any one guess what this publicity is about? Well, this is 2006 anti Aids campaign by city hall of Paris (Paris protège l'amour means Paris protects love)

In the photo what we see is sunset on some historical building with moon at backdrop, but when you take a close look moon is... a condom. It aims at promoting the use of condoms among the population i.e., to have safe sex. Personally, I believe it's neither obscene or vulgar rather a nice way to make people aware.

Reason for writing a post on this matter is in my country such publicity is really unthinkable where 5.7 million people are infected. Although, India had edged in front of South Africa to become the country with the largest number of people carrying HIV virus. People will start agitating if they find publicity of this kind in any public places considering it to be vulgar………….as it is still a matter of taboo where its not discussed openly among the people.

Not only this, leave apart poor sections, sex-workers or uneducated people but think of those trendy city young men and women drawing on cigarettes and sipping cocktails. They are part of cosmopolitan elite group upwardly mobile and well-informed. This section of Indians who are more open to talk about AIDS - but when matter comes to them they never think of applying the same to themselves… strange.

Hope one day….India is open enough to talk freely on this line.

P.S. This is an old post which we just got from our PC along with the shipment.



As we were leaving Paris it seems our friends (whom we knew for a short while) has to give something as a memento. Gifts were extravagant and really worth mentioning as they chose something which we adore.

To start with gift Pamela got from François is very special. I am sure she can write a new post about the same. I am just going to give you brief detail on the same.

It is stitching project (cross-stitch) with 290 x 359 stitches using 70 color threads. François not only gave the design print-out along with instructions but also got the black piece of cloth which is not that easily available in the market.

If cross-stitch is not your cup of tea and you prefer coffee like me. Check her project to be started . It is going to be a very long and difficult project to finish. Hopefully, Pamela takes enough time as well as break in-between otherwise it will cost her eyes ;).Not only this, she even got bedside lamp of effiel tower & salwar-kurta from two of her close friends.

And now my turn, gift from my dear colleagues was all about Paris and Langue Francais. Best of all I liked the wrapping for the wonderful book on photography of Paris. I am sure it must have got lots of curious look from others while getting packed. On the flight there was a nice one page article about POST-IT how it was invented in 3M and how it waited for long time before marketed and sold to customers. I really can not think my office days without it like millions others across the globe.

Thanks a lot guys if you are reading it !! Well there will be more post on those last hours ..... keep reading.


Last days in Paris

We moved from Paris to Bombay. Yes it is a big event in our life and we are still not sure whether things will fall in place at the end or not. We are trying our destiny – but we are not sure what will be there for us???????? Well lots of questions and raising eye-brows from friends and families.

But this post is not about why we left Paris and why moved to India. It is all about how we spent our last one week in Paris. Before leaving, we wanted to take pictures of those which makes Paris so desired destination for tourists. No doubt it is one of the most visited place in the world be it for Eiffel Tower or Champs Elysees.

As our time for departure was coming close we tried to visit few of the well known Brasseries or Bistros to hidden street corners to passages away from busy tourist area. We did our best, but weather was not very happy with our move and unexpectedly August was very grey with clouds and rain all those thirty-one days. It is a month when almost every thing stands still in Paris or France from bakery to fashion-store to office- “tout le monde”. As every one heads towards sea “au bord de la mer” for getting “bronzee” sun bathing. If you come back from vacation with out noticeable change in color your vacation is not well spent.

Not only, we took lots of pictures and uploaded to our gallery but we reorganized them. It was very long and meticulous process with thousands of pictures to sort and write their details as much as possible. In a way it was great to know more about Paris. All credit goes to Pamela for the same. With less than 16 hours to go before the movers were to arrive I rushed to La Defense to take pictures, 

YES!! It was crazy but its worth for people like me (amateur photographer) as it allowed me to capture those tall buildings with blue sky after washed by rain.

Although, I am not sure if any one going to visit Paris is going to read this post and check our pictures or not. But, somehow I got a feeling of “been there – did this…did that…” and I am very content from heart for the same

As we spent our last two days in cleaning after the movers left before handing over our apartment keys to our landlord. In this process with lots of small things to be done on other hand at last moment like closing the bank account, getting official papers from office etc. we got so tired and exhausted that we could not effort any long to run and take pictures of “Parisians in roller blade”.

This post is getting bit longer than I thought so I will split the last few days and hours in another one. Keep reading ….


Door code

This electronic device you are seeing in the picture is nothing but a door code of our apartment where using a scroll buttons one has to search and select the name and then press “appel” means “call” button which will give a ring to the concerned persons apartment and it is that habitué who will answer that call & unlock the main door.

Certain buildings will have only code with rarely names on front doors so without “Le code” you won't get past the outer door which usually leads to a small inner courtyard or a stairway. And then they do have an intercom between the front door and the individual apartments, but most of the older buildings do not. Thus, cipher block at the entrance keeps unexpected and unwanted guests outside.

In Paris, friendship without code is inexistent. When you give your phone number to someone that is personal but when you give your front door code that is intimate. Here, most of the buildings are code protected. Actually, in earlier seventies there was a concept of guardian who use to supervise the whole building but now there place has been gradually taken by these door codes just due to cost cutting. Though our building is old but both guardian as well door code is there.

In short, in Parisian vocabulary "Just dropping by" doesn't exist unlike those in India.


Pardey key Pichey

From a good friend of mine I got an offer to help at backstage of Ritu Beri’s fashion show to be held at Paris on 5th July at Lido. At first I wanted to deny this proposal but with second thought that it might be a fun with friends to be there; I nodded my head giving my approval. Ace fashion designer Ritu Beri is the first Asian to have joined a French fashion house making a slow transition from Indian Haute Couture to Prêt-a-porter (ready to wear).

Believe me, it was only 30 minutes affair in 1 hour show the work was just to help models dressed in mélange of Indo-western meticulously designed outfits. The dresses along with accessories and shoes were properly tagged and kept ready for each model. As there is barely a gap of 15 seconds in which one has to change and be back on the ramp. So each of us were allotted with one particular model to help them in changing and getting dressed. Even sometimes the fitting may not be proper which needs special attention from Ritu’s assistant to get them stitched or tucked at last moment.

One can read Ritu’s face that how much stressed she was at that point of time but however she made it….bravura. For me, although not being a spectator it was no less fun being at back peeping through curtains to get the glimpse of the stage and making comments.
As my co-helpers forgot their camera, I was persuaded to take photos and in that process I ended up taking more photos then I thought. Thanks to all those unknown models to pose for someone amateur like me.
Anywayz, for that 30minutes help we were all given a token of gratitude from her collection “sequined crushed silk top”.

Me wearing Ritu Beri's sequined top @ Jardin du Havre
Though, this event took place in July first week and I posted the pictures in the gallery that very day but as I didn't got an opportunity to wear the top so kept pushing this post on backburner till today.


Last Week

Watched lots of movies, uploaded some photos to Running and walked around Paris last week.

New in gallery - bibs from running . Well you must be wondering what is that ? For a person like me from whom the activity of sport was taken away by various pressures at young age it means a lot. The good side of it is that I am the very few fortunate one to run at this age at various places but rest remains as silent voice in vast population of India.

Tried lots of combination for uploading video to my website and found due to some mismatch between my Digital Camera and computer I could not get the precise result for which I was looking. Here is one from Paris - Metro. These are the few of those musicians who play for free inside the metro. Some of them are great who just play as they try to get a good number of audiences. Especially in Chatlet; the most crossed metro stop by people as it is the bull-eye of paris Metro Network. Rest plays for small money in the metro compartment and that some times sound hard on ears.
And most importantly have watched lots of classic and good movies recently. Here is the list that I borrowed - Merci Francois!!
    These three are adaptation from plays by Tennessee Williams
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
  • Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

    These two are so funny and witty you will roll on floor :D
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace(1944)

  • Dracula (1931)
  • The Rains Came (1939) - A movie set in British India
  • An American in Paris 1951

  • Sunset Boulevard (1950) - A Hollywood Story
  • All About Eve (1950) - A Broadway Story
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
  • Dead Again (1991)
  • Howards End 1992
  • The Piano (1993)
  • Phone Booth (2002)

    British animation productions
  • A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit (1989)
  • Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (1993)
  • Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave (1995)
  • Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)


Italian aroma…

"Daney Daney Pey likha hain khaney waley kaa naam"- which colloquially means each grain has the name of the person who will eat it (it is the fortune of the person to have certain meal or not). Well the same with more of spice in Hindi movies "goli goli pey likha hain marney waley kaa naam" which means in each bullets it is written the name of the person who will die.
Before I take you along this blog I will try my best to keep the suspense why the introduction to a culinary adventure got its inspiration from Hindi muhavra & bollywood film.
Today we tried to prepare a Pasta dish bit different from our normal standard. Initially, Pamela did not showed much of interest maybe due to bit long procedure... must have thought to leave on me. But at the end, she seems to have willy-nilly enrolled in Italian cuisine and did all the steps to prepare this awesome dish - recipe to die for without killing for.
Spinach and Ricotta Conchiglie - Conchiglie which means large pasta conch (a kind of shell) designed to hold delicious stuffing in our case it was mixture of chopped spinach and ricotta cheese. Having concave shapes they are one of the most useful shapes as they trap any sauce. Till far we have prepared-long pasta like spaghetti, spiral shaped fusilli, butterfly shaped farfalle, stuffed ravioli either with fresh crème sauce, tomato sauce or pesto sauce. Even we have tried flat pasta lasagna designed to be baked between layers of sauce.
Pasta is one of the staple food of every authentic Italian meal & most versatile food too. It is considered to be low-fat food and rich in complex carbohydrate. But, it is important to take care while choosing sauce as overloading it with cheese or cream sauce will change pasta into high-fat food and of course the number one rule of great Italian cuisine is fresh is best.
Actually, prima facie on the colorful picture of the recipe in the book on Vegetarian by Nicolas Graimes, drew my attention and I thought why not to try it. Well, with out going to reveal the secret of this recipe here are the pictures as the cooking progressed. In other words, let me try to limn an entire procedure through photos taken by me. Hope silence speaks the volume in that way I will not be infringing coyright as Pamela did in previous post.
Finally, the suspense-what made me wrote “Daney Daney Pey .... naam” - is actually I invited one French friend (person who taught us to prepare any pasta ) for dinner and due to some miscommunications he did not showed up. So, it was two of us who had our mouth-watering irresistable pasta, supple in texture and deliciously sauced and stuffed (bit of boasting on my part may-be). But truly, it came out so good that we two were left licking and relishing every morsel. It would have been our pleasure to share a meal with our friend :( but surely next time :)
Ready with all the PasteAll set with ingredients Draining the cooked pastaStuffing with Spinach and RicottaTopped with ParmeseanAll set to serveBon Appetite


Green plate

In my salad days I used to hate many green veggies and I remember when maa used to scold me for the same. Somehow I didn’t had taste for them at that point of time but gradually I developed the taste so much so that I can now survive happily on those green things (cow-food).
From long time Santanu wanted to make a change on our meal as it seems we both are putting on weight. As I said in my earlier post that he tries to encroach that small part of the house mostly in weekends so he made sure atleast 2 days in week we have salad in our main course meal.

Having salad has got few plus points like less time consuming to prepare, don’t heat up a hot kitchen, very healthy especially in this hot Paris summer…..which means salad season. Besides watermelon or strawberry smoothie, salad is the perfect summer food. They're light, crisp and refreshing-- especially when paired with a dressing and they're versatile with one’s imagination can invent.

At the core of most summer salads is lettuce. It was viewed for years as a tasteless part of a salad that used to be covered up with a thick, sticky dressing. But what a metamorphosis lettuce has seen in the last 10-15 years. Interestingly, new lettuces with various shapes, sizes, colours and flavours have started replacing the ubiquitous iceberg lettuce in supermarkets. The assortment of gourmet lettuces available to the consumer is getting better all the time.

So we had this lettuce leaves with deseeded olives, cherry tomatoes & cheese which was enrobed with a salad dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and few drops of lemon juice. At end drizzle it with salt and whisk together in a large shallow bowl. One can serve in small portions as an accompaniment to roast chicken, or grilled or poached fish. This dressing is actually to highlight not to overpower the salad ingredients. Too much salad dressing will weigh down the salad ingredients and mask their flavors. So...
Bon Appetite bien sur !!!


C’est fou - part II !

Finally, world cup football came to an end where France lost to Italy. For me France lost but at same time Italy neither win as they just waited for the final penalty shoot out to happen. I do not like the way Italian play football in general. They make it dull and boring. Italian and their relation to non Italian footballer are well known. And this time the whole nation is waiting for the verdict of match fixing in Italian league. Well there must be google of blogs and news on the same but I could not stop making my post. This post is not about what happened in the last 10 minutes of the final match.

FIFA at least should change the rules and make it like tennis when there will be at least 2 goals difference for penalty shoot out; as just one goal difference makes it similar to toss a coin to find the winner.

Well being in Paris it makes it special when France is playing the final. France is a team which had great difficulties in qualifying for the world cup with a draw against Israel but at the end they entered group ‘G’ as top and found Switzerland again in the same group like the qualifier. In the first 2 matches of the world cup they did not played any thing great that one can expect them to be in Final. But in the knock out stage they really played well and they deserve their well earned place in the final.


A big credit goes to Zidane, and once again he reached the status of a God in France. But the way it ended will remain controversial for years to come. May be like that of 1986 Quarter Final between Argentina and England. Where every one talks about the first goal of Maradona which was a clear hand ball and he should have seen a red-card for that but no one talks about the very next goal where he beat 6 English player before scoring one of the beautiful goal of all time to my memory.


Yes, it was a good match but the face of French man on Monday after the final was so pathetic that looked like they lost every thing to a natural disaster or something. In France, I am sure this incident is going to be in the media for a long time unless they win world cup soon and forget all about.


C’est fou !

Football - the definition for the same may be quite simple but it certainly does have lots of colors. It is a mutli-billion dollar business from sporting to TV companies. For some it is as close to their religion. People can fight or hug with a complete stranger while ignoring his family or close one when there is a match.

As we live in Europe it is very hard to escape it. You personally can like it or hate it but you can not avoid it here. The French team as they are known as “les blue” - the blue. Since their jersey is blue but ironically it is a team of blue color people. It is one the place you will find people who do not have “de” or “sharp nose” and still can be a national hero. As there are very few from the same color people in French television serial or successful business man or high civil servant or elite to say in short to be in news. Although these are my personal views and I do not have many French contacts so my observation might be wrong.

Any way, yesterday we were discussing about the possible outcome of the last two quarter finals of this Football world cup 2006. The worst scenario for French would have been beaten by Brazil and England wining their respective match against Portugal. The “so so” situation would be still loosing to Brazil but England also lost their match. As at least they can face their worst neighbors “les anglais”.

According to me, Simple Fête would have been that French and England win and they both play Semi-Final. Reason - what happens in the Semis if they got beaten by “les anglais”? But voila! it turned out to be a “DOUBLE Fête” as French won and England lost. The whole France went crazy celebrating the result.


Uncertain Voyage

After traveling to so many places in Europe in last three years now we were thinking to travel to some other part of globe which can be easily reached from Paris within few hours maybe somewhere in North African. The very thought came was how about going to Morocco or Egypt but none of them was perfect weather wise to visit. Then also after too much of thinking we settled for Morocco and started to gather touristic information. It may be a backyard for most French but being Indian it means we need to get visa. So, process started by calling embassy to know more about it... getting a phone call answered requires lot of luck. Either line is busy or it gets dropped on half way when they try to pass the call.

Anyway, we went to there embassy in-person for submitting all documents which went on very smoothly; women in-charge said it will take 15 days to get our visa. On asking whether we should buy ticket for Morocco? hmm... its OK to get it and sends us to her higher authority to get it confirmed. Now this Monsieur says gently... after 10 days you should get it without any problem so its OK to buy ticket. Being excited we started to plan our trip and get more information. But Santanu being skeptical never showed any interest in buying the ticket and always postponed the same. But at same time he was so excited that just day before his CISM test he made a phone call to find out VISA status. Well it was negative, he went to consulate in-person on Monday 12th June and found the same negative answer and was told to come by on Thursday 15th June to take visa for a journey that was supposed to start on Saturday 17th. Well, Thursday didn’t bring any luck either which made Santanu furious.

Its well said "man proposes and god disposes". The whole euphoria vanished like a whiff of smoke as neither on 10th nor on 15th day of submission we got VISA. Since this holidays were forced one which means if Santanu doesn’t uses it he doesn’t gain anything.

There was one backup plan for Morocco, but it was never in place as we never thought seriously, the plan was to touch cities-towns of France that we have not visited yet like Nice, Bordeaux, Bayonne and Chamonix along with some part of Swiss. Well it might sound bit crazy idea but truly we are crazy when it comes to traveling. Now the search for last minute ticket started. Since there were no discounted ticket on SNCF web site and the only ticket that we could grab was round-trip from Paris to Lausanne on Friday 16th. At once started to make phone calls to our friends who have already been there.For this trip, Santanu wanted to travel with his big red North Face backpack and he was not interested to make any plans on itenary or any pre-bookings for hotels. As if he wanted to sing the famous Bengali song "Path harabo boleyi toh aaj pothey nameychi..." by Hemanta Mukerjee.(I got down on the road only to get lost .. )Bonne voyage!!!


Le Marche

The open markets in Paris have been in existence since ages. It's here that you find freshly picked fruit and vegetables, fresh fish from Brittany and Normandy, meat, flowers, farmhouses cheeses, breads – you name it ... its there. Food controls are very strict in France and be assured of their quality and cleanliness of preparation. French understands the quality in life and nothing demonstrates this better than the wonderful food markets in Paris. It is very lively all together different adventure to explore.

Parisians of all walks of life love to shop and browse among the open-air stalls as merchants cheerfully trumpet - often with humor - the quality of their goods. Rain or shine, the markets start early in the morning and close around 1:30 p.m. So, its best to go early in the morning as they do become crowded with Parisians doing their weekly shopping.

One at Boulogne we came to know recently after our 3 years stay at Paris. Here, you get every thing in cheap price….and also fresh items seems like just from garden. Freshness of the raw products itself increases the appetite of one. Not only food items even beaded jewelries to clothes, utensils to electronic kitchen wares are available. While taking these photos I was asked from which journal I belong …..whether I am from Pakistan, even one said for taking photos its 10 euros. So, it's truly a delight to visit these markets, whether to wander the aisles and savor the sights and smells, or to buy the veggies. You don't have to be a gourmet cook or spend hours slaving over the stove, as many vendors even sell fully prepared dishes, from Turkish food to rotisserie (roasted chickens).


Bike Route

Just uploaded few pictures from my bike route as promised in earlier post. There is a movie which I tried to shoot while riding with my digital camera (which is quite old now). Last weekend was very rainy and stormy so being at home tried MPG4 and QuickTime. MOV version is around 7 MB but the quality is so so while QuickTime version of the same is big around 26MB with better quality.The audio track is from Purbayan & Satyajit playing "Mishra-Pilo" at live concert Paris in 2003. If you are not sure about your connection speed please do not download the same as it might take a long time.
I never worked with video format so if you have any suggestion please add comment.


Friday 12th May

Just another weekend of May in Paris. I don't know any other time when the weather can be so beautiful with clear sky and warm temperature. Right now, all the horse chestnut trees along wide boulevards are full of white flowers. This tree is also known as Marronier d'Inde, thanks to Francois for introducing the same. Truly, if one cheers up and forgets all the problems round him-it is a romantic experience in itself. Today, I am feeling very lucky and privileged with my jolly mood.
Well this post is not only about Paris, I just found from Google-analytics that someone linked to our site. It brought a big smile on my face as he wanted to visit all the places as we did.

Today, tried adding my first comment in about my experience with transaction logs. But looks like it did not got added to their system :(Seems like a weekend is not enough for it :D


Deja Vu

I am not sure if you happened to experience a very low probability situation or event in life which you can compare with winnnig a lottery or getting struck by thunder. Statistically the second one has more chance. To explain the same I take to you to recent past...

I had that bizarre experience in the month on December while returning from work took a bus. There was one gentleman very well groomed of dark complexion And I met the same person next day (Saturday) in a different bus while going out. I could not believe myself as that person did get down well ahead of me. And I do not recollect that person from my earlier experience of three years when I used the same bus. I do not deny finding the same faces in my bus. But that is while going towards the same direction at almost same time.

Now coming back today; I found yesterday around 10:30 PM (Paris Time) some one posted in a web groups of having some mock test for the exam I was taking today with Prometric. So I sent a desperate email to him asking for eleventh hour help if he can share the same. And to my utter surprise he sent it and I passed the exam while taking it at home.

When I started my test at the computer to my utter surprise all the questions and their respective options were excatly the true copy of what I received in the morning. It was deja vu & I passed with 100% score.

Well it was a big luck or mercy of God. Its a mere chance of finding that web forum in 11th hour and that person really replies with help. He could have been on vacation or could have crashed his hard drive or my question set could be a real hard one :( but it just happened :D

This is just another reason I do not like too much stress on certification on resume as it sometimes might give you a wrong picture about the person strength and skill sets when you evaluate his/her resume. Now a days all big companies are making big bucks on certifications and all the head-hunters are asking for the same.


Envy me if you can !

This is about my commute to work nowadays when weather is graceful with me and I ride to work. I hope it can not be better than this. Crossing the most green part (there are loooooots of green bucks around as well) of PARIS on a bike.

I leave you to explore the rest from Google map. I am sure you will have fun. If I compare this with people in Bay-Area (CA), New-York or Bangalore, Delhi I think people will envy me.
I need to elaborate more on the word envy and why I chose. As in first version of this post I did not do that. If you have grown up with green devil with a tail and a broken TV advertisement I am sure you know what I am talking about.

YES! the famous ONIDA first advertisement that stirred Indian middle class. Before that the advertisement agencies did not dared to cross any taboo that could be controversial and backfire on them. Well, later thanks to Pooja Bedi we Indian got some maturity in advertisement ;)

The ONIDA advertisement was simple; it was about a TV which was supposed to be so good that neighbor throws a stone and breaks it due to sheer amount of envy. So the message was to get some different idiot box then your neighbors and show it off. At the end in Indian middle class every body wanted to be different and lots of them got ONIDA which made them all living in same kind of glass houses. To me it was as good as any other mid-range TV for that price. But unfortunately those new proud ONIDA owners found themselves that they can't tell each other over a cup of tea that they got 30 channels in their new TV to watch DD1 (Indian National TV Network). Well those are the stories of 80s but campaign of ONIDA remains same till today. You can read more on the same and check ONIDA latest advertisement at their web site.

I am not sure who is envying whom - is it me who is envying at others who passes me with whooping speed in their big fat German SUVs or someone reading this finds it as a cool ride to work.

I tried my best to add this from Google maps. And of course there is the big image with red line which represents my route. Check Google Maps I will try to post some nice pictures along the route in few days.


Back to Mordor

Well it has been a long time I bloged. I am back to Paris; Pamela will join me in a month time. The title of the post could not be better as I am missing the sun after returning from India. I like rain after very hot summer or sunny days with cool breeze. I really can not take those dark cloudy days which makes me feel gloomy. As looking out of my window can't even make out is it 11 AM or 3 PM. But if you still do not know what I am talking about ask hobbits ;)

My vacation at India was great. I will try to post about few incidents later. And hope not to forget them before my little brain gets clogged with daily activities but at least I should write about changing face of India where guys are getting pedicure in a so called normal hair dressing saloon. That should be followed by experience of flying with Air Deccan low cost no frill airlines, trip to Sikkim and Dooars (Forests of North Bengal). There are more but I think I should keep them a secret for while ....The end should be flying from Doha to Paris.

Well, I just got back my PC yesterday hope it works for next 2 years without any trouble as I really do not have the momentum to keep the big fight.Anywayz, I am happy that I am going to meet some friends soon this weekend. One to be mentioned is I am going to meet with Shubhankar after 11 years. Will keep posted...


Vacation on the horizon

Yes I am going to take vacations! It has been a while (after May 2005) when we went out from our current address in Paris. In our standard of travelling it is a record for good or bad...that can't be said. May be it is the effect of Chateau, Bateau, Gateau.We would love to visit some country-side or mountains now. But, unfortunately Pamela is not at all interested for any ski-trip as she is complaining about the Paris cold all the time. So no trip in Europe for now.
Well, this vacation I am cheering but may be it will be just like another trip to India where my days are more hectic with relatives and long journeys and at the end I question myself was it a vacation or my social duties.
For sure I am going to travel a lot as I will start my trip of India with Delhi and ending the same in Bombay. In between I am going to stop at Siliguri, Calcutta & Durg for sure. I am adding this map with pointers to give an idea.

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...