Showing posts with label weekend. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weekend. Show all posts


Drive to heritage site - Lepakshi

My 1st term is coming to an end and we are given the upcoming test as well project submission dates. On reaching home from class on Saturday I was desperate to go out of Bangalore to get charged to combat the upcoming gruelling weeks at work and personal front with study. I had no clue where to go for a day and started to check my faithful websites and zeroed on Lepakshi from Anita’s site. While she made a detour and visted two other places on the way we just opted for Lepakshi via NH-7 as was not in mood for too much of adventure.

After a sound sleep we woke-up at 8.15 AM; left home late around 10.10 AM, had breakfast in a south indian fast-food corner before hitting the road. City traffic was not that bad on Sunday and further away it was thinner. After leaving behind the international airport there was not much of traffic at all and we really left the concrete jungle behind.

Soon we crossed Devanhalli (new destination of real-estate agents) and road towards Nandi-hills. The road from Devanhalli to Chikballapur is underconstruction which means sometime you get a proper highway or else DIVERSIONS with lots of big HUMPS. Those humps are actually meant for big vehicles like trucks and buses while I punished my little Indica with one or two whom I failed to recognize at right time.

Chikballapur looked like is small town as we passed by without stopping. From there the condition of the road improves except few patches where it is undergoing big construction.

Soon we were greeted by a big sign board which read “Eenadu Pradesh welcomes you”.

Just after crossing the border we found RAXA Academy and AP Tourism Restaurant on our left. Right there we took narrow left turn and drove for another 15 KM for Lepakshi. It is a state road that goes to Hindupur via Lepaskhi. The road is narrow as well its condition is not very great. And as there is not much traffic we were able to drive in comfortable speed as long as one is alert. There are few patches where we found lush green paddy fields which soothes ones eye in scorching heat. We stopped by to take some pictures with sun-flower plantation; it looked like an end of season for them.

Soon we were able to see the back of big monolithic bull (Nandi). We reached temple in this heat around 1.40PM; and was relieved to be in shade. The temple is built by sandstone in Vijayanagar (Hampi)style of architecture. This is Veerabhadra temple where there is a big Monolithic Shiva-Linga. According to Hindu mythology, this seated Nandi (bull) outside is gate keeper of Siva and Parvati generally faces the main shrine. Here, it looks at this Linga (due to human settlements now the line of sight is obstructed). We went into detail tour of the temple as well courtyard. We almost burnt our feet while taking tour of outer enclosure.

The temple is divided into three parts - the Nritya (Ranga-Dance) Mandapa, the Ardha (Worship) Mandapa and the Kalyana Mandapa with 38 carved unfinished monolithic pillars.The temple as a whole is built from sandstone and there are signs of severe erosion. I wish the whole place was more maintained and preserved for generation to come.

Well, while going Aarush had a good nap but on the way back he was very active and naughty - as a whole he was a good kid.

Odometer Reading 0KM – Home 10KM – MG Road 23KM – Hebbal 52KM – Diversion for Nandi Hill 70KM – Chikballapur120KM – (Bagepalli) AP Tourism Restaurant / RAXA Academy Take Left122KM – Big Cement Crane135KM – Lepakshi

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chocolate Banana Muffins

First weekend of December past with lots of activities - a trip to commercial street, malls and office. On Saturday Aarush forced me to leave bed early - deprived me of extended sleeping on the weekend. After that I was busy with him mostly for breakfast. Nowadays he has developed a nasty habit of prolonged (around an hour or more) eating times be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. After that he played for while but soon he was sleepy for nap. That created an opportunity for me to try muffin which was long time overdue.

I searched quickly for “chocolate banana muffin” recipe and found this one and went with it as it looked simple and easy except few changes. I beated powdered sugar with melted butter first. In between I kept two eggs outside of freeze to bring them to room temperature. Mixed one tea- spoon of leveled baking soda and baking power each in the flour and sieved 3-4 times to make sure there is enough air mixed in the flour. Then I whisked the eggs and added milk to it; after mashing banana in the grinder I mixed all three together.

Now kept adding half of the dry and liquid ingredients alternatively to the sugar - butter mixture. Lastly, stir in chocolate.
With that my job was almost over as soon as I put the tray for baking; to my surprise and delight they started to rise nicely. Best part of the whole exercise was quick yet successful result. It only took 40 mins to prepare and clean up the kitchen. It might take much less if you are prepared as of my case it was all impromptu right from searching recipe to oven. Anywayz, after a long time enjoyed my time in kitchen – thanks to Aarush for his nap :)
P.S. May add little bit more sugar if you prefer muffin sweet.


Whatz FRESH about Reliance Fresh ?

As we are new to Bangalore trying to explore all nearby hypermarket, supermarket and open markets as we settle in. This is also giving us as chance to explore places around. The first one we tried and explored was BIG-BAZAR on Old Madras road. As it is just near to one of our office address in Bangalore I knew how to reach there without being lost. Then weekend after we tried SPAR at Kormongala followed by Nilgiris. Hypermarket Spar is having veggies like asparagus, lettuce leaves, endive which are rarley seen. Other then that one can find chesse like brie, blue cheese, parmesan, ricotta, emmental, gouda, feta etc. In between we have ventured many small to medium scale stores like More, SMART and others. There was no particular pattern.
While going towards Sarjapur junction on Outer Ring Road we saw sign of Reliance Fresh; last night decided to check it out. To our horror we were welcomed by stinking smell; yes it was the only thing out there. The floor was very untidy, every thing was falling from the shelves, nothing organized at all, with stale veggies. Top of it, store people were not at all bothered, nor very friendly to customers. To our observations Nilgiris is very neat and tidy, well organized and managed while Big-Bazar with its vastness and madness of crowd keeps the show running although one might have to spend few hrs in queue at cash-counter mainly on week-ends.
Your comments are most welcome to share your views on super markets. This is second post related to super-markets in India what is your take.


My Best Picture

Aarush has crossed 6 weeks mark now and till recent time there was no picture of him with me. Well, there was no specific reason for the same. Normally, when I leave for work he is sleeping and in the evening it is dark and we are against using flash while taking pictures of Aarush. That leave only weekend but recent weekends were very hectic and I was away to Bangalore and the stories goes on...
So one fine morning just before leaving for work we had photo session; and according to me it came out best - special thanks goes to Pamela for capturing this magical moment. Now I have to click some picture of Mama and son ;)


Hebbal Lake

Last weekend I was in Bangalore and was checking progress on construction site. Well will this be a view if we move there; but as at work things are not yet crystal clear for the upcoming move. It is a nice view to have from kitchen they say a happy person always makes a happy meal. With new Bangalore airport going to be operational in next month this side of town is going to see lots of traffic and that is going to add more worries for already worried Bangaloreans. Only hope government takes proper steps for speedy execution of new promised public transport. But with current progress card it is still 6-7 years away.


Berlin Diary

Today while leafing through the pages of our album found yet another trip waiting to be jotted down before it gets erased from our memory. A trip to Berlin where present and past are in sync once again.

We went there for 3days- 2 nights stay by train on Easter weekend when sky was gloomy and mercury dropped to almost freezing point but didn’t deter our enthu to explore city as much possible. We took overnight train from Paris which reached at very early hours. We bought metro (u – Bahn) day pass tickets before going to our pre-booked Novotel hotel.

Beutiful decorated Mosaic Tile

After taking our room key we left to meet Berliners, no longer East or West Berliners but just Berliners. Had a takeaway breakfast on a way from one of the bakery shop at metro station and got off at Zoologischer Garten Bahnhof to visit Kudamm. It is here that the KaDeWe the largest departmental store in all of continental Europe stands. If you don't have a lot of time to browse the whole store at least pay a visit to the top floor which is Mecca for foodies. We also checked both BMW and Mercedes showrooms where you find designer items other than car designed by those famous engineering and designer with perfections.

We walked to Berlin’s famous landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche rebuild itself but not at the cost of wiping its past. The ruins of Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church stand as reminder of the suffering of the war, right next to its hexagonal bell tower very much building of the present. The church is a reinforced concrete structure with blue-colored glass bricks while Memorial hall has still some of the mosaic decoration that survived the bombing.

From here we hopped onto double-decker bus line no 100 famous among tourists as it crosses most of historic Berlin.

Tip: Sit at top as it's easier to get a view of most top sights like Reichstag, as well as the many other historic buildings on Unter den Linden.


Got down at Alexanderplatz to see Berlin’s 365 metre high TV tower. Next to the TV tower is located the gothic Marienkirche, the second oldest church (built in late 13th century) of the historical centre of Berlin. It is close to river spree and surrounded by few notable buildings with red-brick roof and right across the street was Starbucks – had coffee there. I do not drink coffee but those chilly winds outside we took shelters few times where Santanu tried to give quick dégustation class on coffee. From here we walked to Berlin Cathedral built between 1895 and 1905. We even climbed to the top of dome to take panoramic view. It faces the Lustgarten (pleasure garden) and the Berliner Stadtschloss (berlin city palace). Lustgarten is a park on Museum Island. It houses Altes museum (old museum) which we visited later.

Reichstag - German Parliament

It was dusk when we were waiting in a long queue to visit Reichstag - German parliament near the Brandenburg gate building with large glass dome and access to top with a great view of Berlin. Although free entrance but extensive security check and at same time its worth visiting.

Then, we went to see Germany’s iconic landmark Brandenburg Gate at historical center and nucleus of former East Berlin district Mitte. This is where it’s all happening. It’s numéro one place to be seen and to see. Cafes, bars restaurants, theatres, designer shops selling everything from shoes to scarves; day or night places along with many other sites of historic interest are teeming with people. It is new hangout for young and restless. In the very heart of Berlin is a memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe which we didn’t visited as it was already dark.

We at Bradenborg Gate

Lastly, went to house of world culture centre for non European art whose floor was superbly decorated… no doubt. Had dinner at one of Chinese restaurant near Zoologischer Garten and left for our hotel.


Calamity of Mid life & middle class

It is impossible not to eavesdrop when people are having a loud conversation on phone in Mumbai's life line - local train.

Unlike other days today morning, was special one which is worth describing.

A guy gets in; stands next to me and elbows me to make his room and starts chatting over mobile (so how it goes....).

“Sorry yaar (friend) had to switch off the mobile as train was coming in; you know how much rush is there nowadays.”

As if there was less rush in last 20 years in Mumbai local. Well, from his conversation I figured out on other side will be another mid-life middle class male on the call. After few lines of small chit-chat the big one comes (which inspired me to write this blog).

“Oh he (some friend)! he is still in hospital on dialysis and doctor says it will take another two weeks to recover.”

Oh God! that is alarming that friend can be just like me another middle aged middle class. And now you read and hear everyday about people as young in twenties are getting heart attack. Well, no doubt life is stressful but we Indians make it even harder with our own karma, as we poke our nose in every matter, as well in others matter; worrying about them, giving constant stream of unsolicited advice is part of our nature.

“Not sure what went wrong, Doctor says due to his high blood pressure his kidney is not functioning properly. He is having heavy loss of protein in the urine”

Indeed too sad conversation, but then he admits "what more to say, even we do n't know 2% of our body and how it works; we only go to hospital when sick”.

Not sure how to say how true it is, in India there is no conception of prevention of diseases, people get really sick spends money (according to their capacity) as most don’t even have medical insurance and then one final day all is over. And worst of all, relatives, friends and bystanders never try to take precaution on the same for themselves as all think that it will not happen to them it only happens to others.

Now the sunny side of the conversation.

“I forgot to tell you, I got a Toyota Corolla recently; a good bargain for a perfect second hand, you must come one weekend we will go for a long drive to Pune.”

It is mandatory to announce, you got a good deal to show your acumen as buyer. I love to hear this stuff as I am sure both guys will never make it in their life, as their wives will never allow that bachelor party to happen. Unlike west or even far-east where it is common to have guys having evening-out after work; it virtually doesn't exist in India yet. As Indian guys has too many balls to juggle with. If you think I am making it sound too boring, the reason is very simple as myself I haven't yet met a person like that.

Well then the conversation continued with natural stuff like kid’s education, stock market, weather and boss at work. By that time his stop was coming so he cuts the call quite abruptly. For 90% Indians, phone attic does not require a formal hello or bye, conversation starts and ends – cradles down – thats simple.

May be just like writing no concluding paragraph. Well, this is a good link on our kidney; I will encourage to read the same, may be it increase that 2% knowledge on human body; high time to take care of ourselves with less medication and having more of stressfree life.


Festivity begins

Idols of Lord Ganesh

Monsoon is about to end. So begins the celebrations and festivals across India. Any Indian festival is incomplete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Festivals are the celebration of not only togetherness but also being part of the family.

In India, monsoon follows FIFO (first in first out) model so the festivals. As the fields look brilliant with a bountiful harvest; the beautiful landscape of greenery can be seen in its full radiance at this time. Starting with Onam - the harvest festival of Kerala (the southern most state) where monsoon was first to arrive. Almost in same time, in other parts of India month of Shravan is considered to be the holiest month of the year which begins with festival of Naga-Panchami. When each Monday of this month, known as Shravana Somvar, is devoted to the worship of Shiva as this day is sacred to Lord Shiva and is specially observed with austerity. Thus, it marks the begin of festivals one after another.

Basically, festival for Indians means its time to get new clothes, to get their house painted or everything else they asked for or thought of. Time for family get-together where numerous uncles, aunts and grandmas grace their wishes with delight. It is also a time for homecoming for people staying away from the families. Their arrival multiples the joy of the festival several folds. Observing and following the festivals from childhood gets so much in blood that every Indian tries his best to observe the festival in customary way even if they are settled abroad. Thus, passing it from generation to generation.

People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate their festival with equal joy and verve. Peculiarity of this land is where unity had always coexisted with diversity, especially during festivals when people come together to celebrate life’s unlimited joys.

Despite rejoicing and gaiety, thanks to the string of festivals we celebrate in name of numerous Gods and Goddesses other then those anniversaries (birthday-deathday) of great men of India. Thus, providing us with numerous holidays if not “bundh” without longing much for weekends as yet in India the concept of 5 working days is not there in majority of work-place.


36th week as passed by

Ballard Pier at south Bombay

Looking at Ballard Pier at south Bombay from my office window. Bombay port is one of the busiest port in India if not the most. I am sure looking at the picture you can figure out it is a old picture as the weather is still gloomy with dark clouds :D here. It is one of the very first pictures from our Canon G7 camera. I really like the way light and shadow on the tree brunch, it is quite well center balanced shoot to me.

Naah….this is a not a post on my office window nor on camera just wanted to find an short escape from gruelling work for few minutes and update you all. Best part is Pamela has work hard to gain aesthetic (appearances), ergonomics (actual human usage) and accessibility in our blog. She tried to categorize each post; big kudos to her - look out on the sidebar.

I would be going to Bangalore next week for three days on official trip; it is almost certain that we have to move to Bangalore but that should happen next year. Anyways, in meantime I will try to meet relatives and friends at b’glore but that depends on their calender as well. Till next…bonne weekend!!!




A four letter word of our modern consumerism; like all other 4 letters words this is very commonly used.

The first time I was introduced to this was back in USA on Labor Day weekend (1st week of September-’98). In US, every long weekend brings a SALE. Size of weekend supplement of news-paper increases with advertisement from cars to toys. Not only that even you get constant reminder from Macy’s to Wal-mart on your radio while you drive your car.

In France or continental Europe, it is different; the retail store only has two sales in a year normally for cloths. In July, it is to clear spring and summer collections and get ready for autumn and winter while in February to make room for summer. But never happen to notice for car or computer; may be I was not looking for car.

Now, when I reached Singapore, two weeks before big summer sale was going on. One such place is Orchard Road which is known for its retail and entertainment centre. This Orchard Road is flanked by malls (houses brand boutiques), restaurants, cafe, nightclubs and hotels This picture was taken inside of Takashimaya -the famous Japanese super store.

Footpath mark

Reading the article in Wikipedia it became clear why there are so many sign on the side-walk with fruits it seems it used to be fruit orchards in 1800s. Well, people say the same about bay area where there was Orchard once -around 1960ies before it became Silicon Valley.


Shop till you drop

Shop till you drop

I took this picture last Sunday; when I tried to kill my boring rainy afternoon with a cup of coffee at Starbucks. There is a big project to make Singapore full with Hot-Spots; currently it is in BETA testing mode and all you need to do is sign-up with Sing-Tel or StarHub or M1(not sure) the three main Wireless provider ; the back-end services is provided by iCell and Qmax networks.

As Singapore is famous for its shopping center. This picture I took to capture shopping weariness of this guy as he drops on sofa at Starbucks after shopping at Mustafa Centre. It is a shopping paradise open for 24hrs. in Little-India area of Singapore which is very famous among locals as well Indian tourists alike. They even claim at weekend the store is packed with more then 15,000 customers of all nationalities. Well, while his lady partner was quite busy on her mobile phone, it allowed me to take this picture (invasion of sleep if not privacy). Personally, I do always complain about my feet hurting and headache whenever I am in a shopping mall but never dropped yet this way.


Life in monsoon

After scorching heat, monsoon has arrived in Mumbai. From last two consecutive weeks particularly weekends (June 23-24 & June 30-July 1) there were disruption of normal life due to heavy shower. Thank God, those were weekends otherwise life of 20 million people would have affected some way or other as many schools and offices are closed. We stayed mostly inside and I only ventured out twice to nearby shops to get some grocery done for forthcoming week.

Almost all modes of transports were affected severely; local trains which symbolizes life-line of Mumbai were stopped. People flying in and out of Mumbai also had great difficulties. But with all that Mumbai was back to business on Monday. This city and its people are doing quite normal but as a first timer to the monsoon we are taking things with surprise. Monsoon of Western India are well known to us as we were taught with importance in our Geography classes about them and how they effect the livelihood of farmers of this sub-continent.

These pictures were taken by one of our Support Engineer at Worli. Due to heavy rain there were around 2000 customers of MTNL (State owned Telco) were effected. One out of those 2000 customers was ours (a big fat multinational bank) whose services were compromised for a week. Counterparts sitting in developed countries don’t understand why it takes seven days to get a link fixed during monsoon. Basically, they don’t have idea of what monsoon is?

I am sure people would appreciate this hard effort put by telephone line-men they had to pump out water from the trench before fixing this mess. Red salute to all those people who get Mumbai going through tough time like this.

Technicians working

Technicians working
Telephone cables


Viva GOA - Preamble

Spice Jet

Trip to Goa was long due may-be you can say from 2001 when I got opportunity as a teacher with my school children. But unfortunately, I couldn’t make as I was supposed to behave as good girl. Good unmarried Indian girls don’t go anywhere without an escort. To qualify as an escort there are lots of criteria to be checked and considered like friend’s brother, acquaintance from neighborhood etc. is a BIG NO. They never go out after dark alone. They never spent night at a female friend's place, especially if the friend had a brother no matter younger or elder.

Dialogues like “I am old enough to take care of myself” never worked with my parents - you can say kind of very conservative upbringing in certain matters. And it was normal for me to argue on all such matters though consequences were known to me. So, out of anger I told my parents “you will never go to GOA without me or unless I go there first”. They kept their words though they travel extensively within India.

On Satanu’s part he visited Goa for first time with his parents in 2002 summer. They went to visit their relatives. He detested the heat and did not found Goa as an attractive tourist destination. That was the time when we first met at Bombay after his Goa trip. After moving to India whenever Goa came in our discussion as destination fear of glazing sun hunted him.

As Santanu is blessed with long weekends (Indian holidays follow strict Sun or Moon Calendar) at work this year. We booked our flight with Spice-Jet which was only no-frill flight quoting less. Initially, we did booked our hotel with Hotel Mandavi at Panjim. But later came to know from various sources that if one wants to enjoy beaches then need to make choice between north and south Goa beach. We opted for north Goa at last minute and booked with TICLO resort at Calangute.

Different people had different views on Calangute which made us bit skeptical till last but I think we did made a right choice. Normally, hotels provide with “pick-up” service at Goa. On reaching Dabolim airport we realised our hotel haven’t sent any and they requested to use “Pre-paid service” which they will reimburse on reaching and they did stick to their words.

After being ushered to our room which was quite spacious we left for exploring Calangute. We soon figured out that we were not very far from beach so walked few meters along the beach at early evening then had pomfret and chicken in our dinner.


Little Visitor at Office Window

Friday again, I am already at work for last nine hours(reached around 8ish). Wow! that's lot and time to head towards home soon.

Today, after lots of failure attempt I some how succeeded to capture a very cute visitor at my window. I have no idea what kind of bird is this, going to ask one expert for the same. Well, Pamela is working very hard to upload pictures from Goa and writing trip details – hope this weekend we upload them.


Mahabaleshwar-Weekend getaway

Unlike last time we booked our trip with bus agency for 700Rs (2 persons). Our reporting time was 00:15AM at Kharghar node but we were quite early then our reporting time 11:30 PM fearing we might not get a public transport to reach on time. We waited for our bus and waited, and waited and waited some more. It was about 00:30AM and there was still no sign of our bus. We gave a call to bus counter and asked them when the bus would show up. The guy there kept on saying that it was late and it just started from other side of Mumbai-suburbs.

It was about 01:00 AM and yet no sign of our bus. All shops had closed down and everybody else around us had boarded their respective buses and gone. And there we were, two sitting with bags on the pavement in the middle of the night. Phew! All along we were cursing ourselves and was thinking the difficulties we might have to face if we have to return home then at last at 1:30AM we did board the bus.

Entrance of MTDC

Well, this time we even booked our hotel beforehand with MTDC. One can check the availability; book the room of your choice from your own PC. The only trap is - pay heavy penalty if you change your mind at last moment. We booked for Krishna cottage for 1450 Rs per night. MTDC is located near the road to Pratapgad outside of the city center, the dwelling units are covered in thick greenery. The stretch of road on which the MTDC lay is quite desolate. The PWD guest house is adjacent to this resort, which is equally or rather more charming. Tourists of MTDC can walk into the PWD guest house, stroll and even have food at the PWD restaurant. One more beauty about the PWD bungalow is the sunset spot which we missed. The beautiful lawn in front of the PWD bungalow overlooks the whole ranges of Sahyadri, more importantly, there is no crowd here. Really, much better than Mahabaleshwar’s famous sunset spot. The lonely road is a good joggers’ track or one can enjoy the walk (inside) which is pleasant or can enjoy the backyard of cottage and you have an opportunity to listen to chirping of various kinds of birds. There are 30 cottages which is most beautiful part of this resort. This resort is heaven for nature lovers as shrouded in greenery. A great escape for those assaulted daily with the view of our urban jungles who really want to get stress relief. The trees sway in the wind the swishing sound engulfs you and makes you feel relaxed.

Since, we reached early morning we had an option of choosing cottage of our choice. We picked lucky 13 close to PWD guest house. The cottage rooms are quite spacious and have good clean big bathrooms as well. The rooms are equipped with television which is only useful in case you plan on staying indoors.

Not accustomed with nocturnal bus journey we were groggy. And moreover Santanu wanted to relax rather then rushing from one point to another. After having breakfast at PWD guest house we took a nap to recharge ourselves. With nothing better to do we set off for Panchgani, Pratapgarh and Wai at noon. Though Taxi wallah having fixed rate cards we bargained for 1000Rs for 3 places.

We started with Panchmari which derives its name from five hills that surrounds it. This trip includes Parsi point and tableland. Parsi point is famous for best view of Krishna valley down below. And table land offers the panoramic view of Panchgani itself. It's largest plateau in Asia, a small plane can land here. It is situated 60 meters high on the eastern side of the town. It protects Panchgani from strong winds, heavy rainfall and makes this hill station enjoyable all year round. It streches far beyond eye can see. On way we went to strawberry garden where you can buy all the fresh products available there. We bought strawberry jam.

From here we went to Wai, foothills of Panchgani ancient town with temples. It is believed Pandavas stayed here in disguise during their exile. Dolya Ganapati Temples on the bank of Krishna river are well preserved of their times.

After having late lunch we set off for Pratapgarh which is about 26 kilometeres from Mahabaleshwar on the opposite side of our first two destinations. This is the fort where the legendary confrontation between Shivaji and Afzal Khan took place and which saw Shivaji emerge victorious. At pratapgarh we hired a govt. recognized guide Satish for 80/- who was very informative and helpful for taking our snaps:-).He explained every aspect of it in detail. The fort was quite fascinating and we climbed up some 400 odd steps to enjoy the view from atop. There is a splendid view of the lush green valley and the forts Raigad and Makarandgad can also be viewed on a clear day. We were not lucky enough to have crystal clear weather rather it was hazy. On the east and the south the hills have steep slopes covered with dense forest in contrast with rocky west and the north. The hills gradually descend to the valleys separating Mahabaleshwar and Kineshwar range on the east and the Konkan valley on the west. We enjoyed sunset on our way back to Mahabaleshwar from one of the Shayadri range.

At twilight, we headed towards our cottage. Suddenly there was a strike in the city and all the shops were closed. This situation caught every visitor’s off-guard and everyone approached MTDC restaurant for dinner. Though tired and famished we had to wait for 2 hours - as small kitchen was not capable to handle such big volumes of orders in one evening. What a chaos it was. Oh GOD!!!


A day break - Harihareshwar

After moving from Paris, we had been planning to take a trip somewhere out of Mumbai. We even bought a Travel book on India to explore more our own motherland. But with time and circumstances our plan didn’t got executed. At last, after longtime we took a day break on last weekend when Santanu came to know at last moment about his holiday on Maha Shivratri. Since it was last moment plan we could only make for one night stay.

Harihareshwar is a small town with palm-lined beach known for pilgrimage centre-Kalbhairav (Shiva) temple and its ideal beach resort of MTDC. This beach is black due to the rock particles from rocky shores being mixed into the sand. The beauty of the place is its serenity (far off from city’s buzz) and lack of commercialization unlike other tourist spots Goa or Kovalam. Beach actually splits in two parts north and south.

The southern beach is where resort is located facing the sea which offers not only rooms but also tents and cottages in a bamboo grove with AC. But it needs booking well in advance. We repented for not making it before hand so we had to stay in “Geetanjali rest house” as paying guest in just 400 Rs a night. We had our lunch and dinner at MTDC canteen as the view of the sea through the green is refreshing sight for mind and soul. There are chairs placed under thatched roof where one can have meal under a starlit sky with a sweeping view of the bay and some lit-up boats bobbing out on the sea. This side of beach is mostly deserted compared to that of northern beach. Though our host asked us to have food with them called as “gharguthis” with costal flavor ( Konkani meals) – simple but hygienic at same time ; we denied politely as they were having fast for Shivratri so we didn’t wanted to stress them.

The northern side is where temple is. It’s that side where one can see stunning sunset we lounge there to watch red ball taking a plunge in the blue roaring Arabian ocean. This roaring sound of restless waves dashing against the rocky shore is something to watch for hours. Its something cannot be explained in words.

Next day we started early for Shrivardhan 15kms away which is famous for its beach, temple and historic monuments. Its home town and birth place of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath (founder of peshwas) but beach is not that attractive or well maintained compared to that of Harihareshwar.

A lovely drive on NH-17 except bumpy roads starting from Mangaon to Mhasla ahead past till junction where it splits into Srivardhan and Harihareshwar. Though it was a short stay but will last in memory for long time. Moreover this was first time after coming to India Santanu drove all the way 170 kms from Kharghar for 4 1/2 hrs at stretch. While coming back we took halt en route near Mangaon to get some fresh veggies and brunch (Resort Open Umbrella).

At end Santanu regretted for not learning stick-shift before then we could have explored France more.


Wednesday- Best of all weekdays

From Sunday evening I keep waiting for middle of week i.e., Wednesday as next weekend looks too far to me. If there is any special occasion planned for Wednesday evening it really cheers me up. On last Wednesday it just happened that Pamela called me at work saying that she is going to come to VT (CST) all by herself boarding a local train (…..for first time).Thanks to Meher for encouraging Pamela to come over in the first place.

Well, Pamela did panic at last part of her journey as she was all alone in the wagon with two transsexuals sitting beside her. Moreover, on not seeing me at VT she vented her anger on me over phone as I was to meet her there. Its true, that I somehow always get entangled in work or some urgent phone call when ever I need to be on time to meet her. On top of it her phone battery was also running low. Somehow we did meet up without much problem and I am not that good writer to juice up that meeting. Anywayz, as per plan we met Meher in front of GPO and headed to Kala- Ghoda via Cab.


Kala-Ghoda is crescent shaped plaza nestled around an array of heritage buildings such as Elephantine College, the David Sassoon Library and the Watson Hotel. It is named after a statue which is long gone now of King Edward VII astride a black horse. This plaza is around South Mumbai which is fast emerging as the arts hub of downtown Bombay. Meher being born and brought up in south Mumbai she knows streets like back side of her palm. After walking across all those gorgeous office buildings from bygone years we reached Horniman Circle Park where French rock band “Merzhin” was to perform for the Kala-Ghoda festival organized by Alliance Française, Mumbai.. This festival actually takes place inorder to improve the existing infrastructure of the area and giving it a distinct identity as Mumbai's art district. And this festival basically brings together work from various fields like arts, theater, film, music, literature, dance, heritage walks, exhibitions, children's events offering an interactive cultural mélange for Mumbaites.

Anyway, the introduction from the Director was very "French" as he mentioned if you want a good life learn French. What a snobbish French way of welcoming audience. Point to be shared is - a very different experience as we enjoyed the concert sitting on chairs ;) ...hmm a rock concert and sitting!!! The band was good and they tried their best to get people rocking but it did not work after all Indians..... that too on Wednesday evening.

Spanish lamb

From there after an hour we left for dinner walking two blocks we found ourself in front of Café Mocambo. It has two levels of seating.; the interior is decent but not stunning. The menu is mostly continental and parsi with lots of Pasta dishes to choose from. Other then that lamb, steak and lasagna are also available. They have standard fridge displaying yummy desserts - really yummy! Many phirangis also hang out here.


Another weekend

Well another day! Some techie note ; upgraded the web site to the latest beta release of Wordpress. And I found some strange behaviour. This is what I put forward to the mailing list. But with few minute of research found the root cause.


Indian Newspapers

There is no real newspaper to read in India at this moment. Well I know I made a big statement but could not start in better sarcastic way. Hold on, let me explain from my past to present. I was thinking abut this topic for a while a now as I see so many newspapers under my nose while going to work by local train in the morning. It is almost like I read every other headline from three to five major publishing houses.

Newspaper means many things to so many people but for me it surely means a starting of a new day with news from yesterday,today and tomorrow. A cup of hot beverage in one hand and a newspaper in the other will be best way to start my day.

I remember once the newspaper used to be very boring in black and white. That time there was no mass “offset” printing for newspaper in India. The printing was not very clear and it used to be thin with only 8 to 10 pages.

If that make you think I am old ;) I was hooked to newspaper quite early. Then suddenly one morning came offset printing with half-tone picture of famous events in rare occasions. I remember it lasted for few years. Then suddenly we found ourselves with the color supplement for the weekend. It was exciting to check on weekly basis those glossy papers; some times we would save them to cover books :D

With time newspaper started to become heavier in weights and started to loose focus from main news. The downhill journey started. The focus of editors turned to advertisement to make news paper cheaper for making more profit.

Like addicts we got used to read about all those cocktail parties in front page and City Complements.

This turned a golden way for the newspaper publisher to print photos of celebrities. All celebrities like to show off little or more depending on their personalities. May be we can call it a golden hen for the editors. Indian society being very hypocratic it was an easy way to publish swimsuit photos of Ms. Anderson with out any one complaining. Indian educated conservative middle class adores the same. The whole news paper has become a tabloid. That way Ms Stone & Spears makes exclusive headline.

May be with economy doing good everyone is having a feel-good-factor; no one really wants to read real news about the global climate change or war on Iraq - everyone is happy in their little world. People are also bored with reading Indian politics the same story of corruption, vote bank – religion or caste from our politicians.

It is all most free can you believe that you can get one full year subscription for just Rupees 199(less than 4 Euros). That means less then One Rupees a day where One rupee can not buy any thing in India now.


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 !!!

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...