Who was he?

 

Who was he?

Rani was a vivacious, beautiful and charming girl. She was always fashion conscious and dreamt of owning a 5-carat diamond ring some day… She would always think that one day a rich handsome guy would propose her with a diamond ring. Nevertheless, her parents were trying to find a perfect match and being a middle-class family girl these were just a mere dream in her life….

Working in an MNC for almost 5 years finally knocked her doors of international opportunity to Paris  … the mecca of style and fashion. Rani was as much excited as it was one opportunity that she saw to get to where she wanted to.

Her friends always told her that it’s an amazing chance to find her love life an Indian rich NRI and Rani would blush…. She bid good bye to her parents and her excitements grew no bounds… As she landed in Paris she was just too overwhelmed with the culture and style and fashion she had never seen before….

Being a shopaholic she was always falling short of money but was saving enough to buy her dream ring. Rani’s office was in the main business area. The place she lived was near a mall which had everything she wanted from clothes, shoes, cosmetics and diamond jewelry. One evening Rani set out to explore the mall and stood in front of a jewelry shop and would keep staring at the diamond ring. Her mind would say Wow.. so beautiful. I wish I had it.. every day from work she would stand in front of the same shop. One day she noticed a shadow…. it was a man …

She was scared and pushed off. The shadow followed her for a while and then disappeared. Rani literally held her breath… This happened every day…. Rani then stopped going to the shop and started taking the other route to go home. She would fear of the black coat guy whom she saw in the Hindi films.

Rani’s birthday was approaching and she had invited her office collaeagues at home… Rani had always loved to dress up. She had bought a red dress from a near buy mall. Her  friend had bought her a lovely cake and they had a nice dinner with songs and dance and of-course her favorite Bollywood track…

Her friends had showered her with gifts and it made her day. It was 10 pm at night and was pretty cold. Her friends bid her a good-bye and she thanked them as well.

After freshening up she started opening the gifts one by one and till then a bell rang…. Rani froze….. It was 11.30 in the night… She was so scared and thought if the shadow of the man in the black coat reached her house. She went to the door and peeped through the peephole. There was no one. Her heart was beating so fast and she was sweating.

With great strength, she opened the door and gave a voice asking “Who is it? There was absolute silence .. the cold wind hit her face. She was about to close the door and something hit her toes.

It was a tiny packet. Rani picked the gift and there was a card attached to the gift, it read to the Most Beautiful Girl…. Happy Birthday!!!!.. She was exited as well as tensed…

She sat on her bed and as she opened the tiny box she couldn’t believe her eyes.. It was the same diamond ring and it came it with a message

Will you marry me?… Rani’s eyes watered.. she was so over whelmed and didnt know what to do….

She stood across the window gazing at the sky.. the stars were never so beautiful … and she thought to herself and with a smile she said Who was he?…..

 

 

 

Why Vietnam is my next destination in August

When it comes to South East Asia Vietnam was one the countries that I always wanted to visit. I had heard so much about the country in terms of Food, culture, places to see and of course shopping.

Vietnam has distinctive climates in northern, Central and Southern parts of the country. In Hanoi & the north, May to October is hot and humid with high rainfall; November to April is cooler and dry. In the far north, December & January can be particularly cold.

Central Vietnam experiences hot, dry weather between January & August whilst high levels of rainfall can occur in September, October & November. Southern Vietnam is generally dry and hot from November to April, and warm and wet between May & October, with the highest rainfall in June, July & August.

Since different parts of Vietnam has different climates, hence it gives you a choice to visit the place of your choice.

The place that I would choose to go in Hanoi and Ninbinh.  Being a big country it’s not possible to see all the places in a weeks time.

There are some interesting places that can be explored

  1. Water Puppet Theatre

A unique ancient art form of water puppetry has a long association with Hanoi. The original – and widely regarded as the best – theater in town is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre. It’s roots in an art form that dates back to the 11th century.
Using large rods to support the puppets it appears as if they are moving across the water with the puppeteers hidden behind a screen.

Water-puppet-show-in-Hanoi Thang Long Puppet Theatre

2. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is an important  artifact of Vietnam’s history and, signifies  its historical and cultural importance. Its s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

 

3. Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son temple:-
Hoan Kiem Lake  is a central feature of Hanoi and is a popular hangout spot  with locals and international tourists. Ngoc Son Temple sits on a small island in the centre of the lake. It is connected by a bridge and that makes a beautiful scenic view.  This area becomes especially busy with joggers in the mornings and evenings , couples enjoying the relaxing views across the lake, and the elderly practising Tai Chi and line dancing.

hoan-kiem-lake Hanoi

 

ngoc-son-temple-hanoi
ngoc-son-temple-hanoi
Ngoc Son Temple has Bridge connecting
Ngoc Son Temple has Bridge connecting

4. Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market is the largest of its kind in Hanoi.  It is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter

You can buy printed T-shirts or cheap sunglasses, it is still fascinating to see the comings and goings of the local traders, and there is a wet market on the ground floor where the sights and smells of exotic produce.

take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets. The region is popular for scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking, particularly in mountainous Cát Bà National Park.

4. Halong Bay

Hạ Long Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Junk Boat tours , kayaking. These attractions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets. The region is popular for scuba diving, rock climbing, and hiking, particularly in mountainous Cát Bà National Park.

One can choose to do an overnight cruise. This is a must experience but beware of the storms the cruise may get cancelled.

Junk Cruise Halong bay
Junk Cruise Halong bay

A day trip to Nin Binh – When it comes to Nin Binh I would personally recommend is Tom Coc. Tam Coc which means 3 caves, is a zone of Vietnam that elapses between rice paddies, bathed by the Ngo Dong River punctuated by karstic rock formations and limestone caves. The most impressive of Tam Coc are rice fields when at its best, with a bright green with yellow, ending in the beginning of the cliffs of the rock formations.
The Vietnamese call the paddy fields of Tam Coc as the Green Sea.

Nin Binh boasts of the most majestic and impressive natural landscapes in Southeast Asia, yet  many travelers overlook it.

How to Get to Nin Binh:- From Hanoi, you can reach Ninh Binh city by train. There are at least 3 southbound trains available (SE5, SE7, SE19).Another more convenient option is the bus. There are regular buses from Hanoi’s southern bus terminal (Giap Bat). The Journey takes around 2 to 2.5 hrs via train and bus.

The rainy season is also when the rice fields are at their best vivid green, so there’s really a reason to visit all year round.

Boat ride in Tom Coc

Tam coc boat ride in the paddy fields


These are in my places to see and that’s what makes it special to visit Hanoi in August.. look forward to go here soon…..

My Top Favorites to see in Dubai

Having lived in Dubai for over 2 years I have had a chance to explore some interesting places. Being a desert place the transformation of Dubai over the years has been spectacular

Tall structures, hi- end hotels, multinational cuisines, fun places for kids and shopping. Dubai is all about fun, food, and lifestyle.

From a pure business country, Dubai has become a family and affordable destination for many travelers. The best time to visit Dubai is from Nov-March.

Some of my Top Favorite spots are

  1. Dubai Creek:- You can take a dhow tour, ride the Abra (water taxi), do a dinner cruise on the Creek or simply walk along the side of the creek.
Cruise at Dubai Creek

The best way to explore the Dubai Creek is by taking a one hour tour on an Arab dhow. While on the dhow, observe the beautiful and historic architecture that surrounds the Creek.

2. Burj Al Arab – Is one of the top Hi end hotels in Dubai and third tallest hotel in the world.

Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab

3. Burj Khalifa- World Record for being the tallest building in the world, with  160 floors consisting of top Hi -end restaurants and residence. It is one of the most prominent tourist attraction that it has been called the Jewel of Dubai.Climb up to the 124th floor on the observation deck, At The Top, for a splendid view of the city’s skyline and beyond. This is one of the best ways to begin your sightseeing tour of Dubai. Interestingly, At The Top is the second highest outdoor observation deck in the world.  It is a must tourist spot in Dubai

 

Burj kalifa- Tallest tower

4. Safa Park : A popular public park in Dubai, Safa Park is ideal for relaxation. One can go here for a picnic, BBQ lunches, and outdoor games.

Safa-Park-Dubai

5. Atlantis Palm Jumeirah – Offers the ultimate in luxury and extravagance, it has loads of attractions to fascinate you.  Close encounters with dolphins at the Dolphin Bay as water slides, river rides and more await you at Aquaventure.  Shark Safari and Cownose Ray feeding at Aquaventure is a must do. Besides these, Atlantis also offers opportunities for snorkeling and diving.

Atlantis Hotel Palm Jumeirah

6. Dubai Safari –  Enjoy camel treks,  Dune driving, BBQ desert dinners for visitors.Tour operators like Arabian Adventures others also organize wildlife drives.

Sand dune adventure
Adventure rides at the desert safari

 

Camel ride during the desert safari..

Nepal Diaries

Holy birthplace of Lord Buddha, the blessing of Lord Shiva, kiss with the mountains, ride like a king on the elephant and say a big Hi to the crocs. That’s what’s is my top seeing in Nepal

A country like Nepal has more to offer than just than the mountains. The trip to Nepal unfolded all the beauty and fun….

Here are my top places to see in Nepal

1.Birth place of Lord Buddha:- One of the UNESCO heritage site and pilgrimage centre. The holy center has a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashoka pillar and Mayadevi temple. Archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central place of interest

 

Birth place of buddha
Lumbini Birth place of Buddha

 

meditation
Pilgrims meditate under a tree

 

2. Boudhnath Stupa: – It is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet

The stupa is located in the town of Boudha, on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu. Boudnath Stupa looks like a giant mandala, the scared hym Om Mani Padme Hum – is carved on the prayer wheels beside the images of Avalokiteshvara around the base of the stupa.

 

3. Sarangkot: – Located on the outskirts of Pokhara city is the hill known as Sarangkot. It offers both sunrise and sunset viewing.
The beautiful sunset of the Annapurna range just gives an exemplary visual treat. The scene is so beautiful that the eyes just don’t let you go away…. It’s a gateway to the Annapurna Valley and close to Pokhara.

 

sunset
Beautiful view of sunset from an uphill at Sarangkot

4. Pokhara – The Pokhara is Nepal’adventure and leisure city, a trekking gateway to the Annapurna’s with plenty of entertainment for solo travelers as well as families with kids.

In Pokhara you can experience the best in trekking, boating, hiking, pony rides, paragliding or simply relax at one of the lakes near the city with the stunning Annapurna mountain range at the background.

The below pic is a view of the fishtail mountain also known as Machapuchare from Fishtail lodge a view from our hotel. The morning view was just so beautiful that it captivates your feelings like you are somewhere else.

Fishtail mountain view from the hotel

5. Kiss with Everest – the most awaiting and fascinating moment lies when you come close to the tallest mountain of the universe Mt. Everest. Lucky that we could see .. thanks to the clear weather. This one ride must never be missed

Everest flight ride

6. Chitwan – If you miss Chitwan then you have certainly missed the fun… rustic stay, the tribal dance, the elephant safari, spotting one horn rhino and close encounter with Crocs

 

Boat ride in chitwan

 

Elephant Safari at Chitwan National park
elephant camp at Chitwan

6 Patan Darbar Square

Patan, is the oldest of all the three cities of Kathmandu Valley. It is the best known for its artistic heritage. It is probably one of the oldest Buddhist City in the world. The city is surrounded by 4Stupas as 4 corners of Patan, one at each corner of its cardinal points. These stupas are said to have been built by the famous Emperor Ashoka

The Major attraction of Patan Darbar Square are:-

a. Patan Museum

b. Hiranya Varna Mahavihar

c. Golden window

d. Mahabouddha Temple

e. Golden temple

f.krishna temple

patan darbar square
patan darbar square

Nepal is certainly my favourite visit and even readers who will read this must try and make a Nepal trip…

Thanks for reading my Nepal diaries…….

 

 

 

Those 9 colourful days ….

When we think of the word Nav means 9 and raatri means night yes .. Navaratri a festival which is most awaited especially among ladies … a festival which has fun, colors and a chance to have a social gathering…
It usually comes during autumn every year and is celebrated in different ways in India. The focus here is of South India….
You might have heard the elderly ladies in the house talking about Bommai Golu.. the display of doll celeberated during navaratri… Nice days of Navaratri resemble 9 avatars of Durga.x
Before the beginning of the festivals, the Golu padi is arranged.. these can be 3, 5,7 9 or 11. These steps represent the days of Navaratri.
The steps are usually covered by saree or veshti.. the dolls are then arranged in the respective steps. These dolls are figures of gods and Puranas example; dasha avatars of Vishnu, or Durga, few..Laxmi, Saraswati, Chettiar and his wife, Marapakshi to name a few
No golu is complete without a Kalash. The Kalash is filled with fresh water covered with a coconut and mango leaves. The Kalash is placed on the top most step in the center and is considered to represent the Goddess Durga.

Golu padi kept at my home

 

dolls in the padi dasha avatar and padmanabha swami

 

Durga doll at the center

 

Chettiar Bommai

 

art was done as a part of creativity

 

 

 

some artwork was done as part of creativity

Durga has many names the following are her 9 avatars for these 9 days of Navratri’s.
1st day – Shailputri
2nd day – brahmacharya
3rd day -Chandraghanta
4th day – Kushmanda
5th day – Skanda Mata
6th day – Katyayani
7th day -Kaalratri
8th day – MahaGauri
9th – Siddhidatri
10th day – Saraswati Puja or Vijayadashami where books are kept in the previous night and read seeking blessings of Goddess Saraswati

On Saraswati Puja or Vijayadashami books are kept in the previous night and read seeking blessings of Goddess Saraswati.

In south India, ladies call the neighbors and close friends for Vetalai Pak. Betel nuts, supari, and bangles of different colors. Every day different prasadam is made and given to ladies during these 9 days.
Later, on the evening of Vijayadasami, one of the dolls from the display is symbolically put to sleep this marks the end of Navaratri and we look forward to the next year’s event
The 9 days of Navaratri are filled with 9 colors Red, Blue, Yellow, Green Orange, grey, Pink, white, Royal Blue, Sky Blue … all of these bring joy in our life….
While I write this I remember a few lines composed by my brother- in- law:-
Golu padi calling everybody
Anj mani vaango Aar money vango..
Madyanam vaango illai Syangalam Vaango…
Ellarm vango Prasadam chapada vango.. golu paka vaango……..

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Bintan ….A short weekend gateway…

Bintan ….A short weekend gateway…

It’s been ages that I even took a short weekend break.A place which is far away from the buzzing town where the soft air hits your cheeks and your hair strands come close to your eyes… Such a place was not too far away from Singapore ..yeah. that’s where I live …

Bintan a small yet quiet island in Indonesia not too far away from Singapore.. 2 days are good enough to stay and explore the island. We went there on a Friday a perfect start to a weekend trip…

The ferry ride from Tanah Merah terminal is nearly 1 hour.. We reached the terminal  1 hour before the boarding as there are visa formalities to be completed. The ferry was extremely comfortable and didn’t feel like a long ride.

 

Way to the ferry (C) 2017 Anuradha Mahesh

We reached Bintan and as we completed the visa formalities and collected our luggage and headed outside the hotel pick up was already there. The land scape had completely changed… I felt closer to India… Coconut trees, bumpy roads and quieter…

We reached our hotel Grand Lagoi… The staff was warm and greeted us with a welcome drink…

 

Reception area of the hotel (C) 2017 Anuradha Mahesh

 

Overview of the hotel

The room we got had a beautiful view… The room was cosy. Neatly done and well maintained…  The hotel had a nice play area for kids and an entertainment room, table tennis court and cycles to take a small ride around the area

 

Play area for kids
View from the room balcony

The sunrise looks beautiful from the balcony.

The breakfast buffet was a good spread from Japanese to continental and pastries.

Pastries, Croissants, bread
Breakfast platter..Bread and croissants made of different flavours

Cakes, coconut cake Coconut cakes

Pastries and coconut cakes

 

There are a couple of things you can see in and around Bintan:

A fishing experience in the Lagoi Lake…30 minutes complimentary from the hotel.

 

Lake, fishing
Fishing area in lake lagoi

 

1-hour mangrove drive on a speed boat was worth seeing the preserved nature.

 

Mangrove , Bintan Mangrove
Bintan Mangrove Entrance

 

Family picture on speed boat

 

 

Mangrove snake
A surprise meet with guest “The Mangrove Snake”

Nice to see snake taking the sunbathJ right above the head. Thanks to the guide who spotted it

A lovely sunset at the beach.. pristine white sand beach… This makes a perfect weekend getaway…

 

sunset

Sunset, beach

Calm air, good food and put your feet up and relax…. and As I stood in my balcony I said to myself, I want to see more of this ….. I want to explore more

Choose The Best Get The Best

Choose The Best Get The Best

One fine day as I was staring through my window my husband called me and said, Hey I have a news for you!!!!!!

What ? tell fast .. I found a sense of surprise and happiness in his voice and I couldn’t hold on…
Ok.. Finally I have got what we were waiting for a long time.I have got an opportunity to move to Singapore and this has to be within a month
What? that’s a fantastic news… wow Singapore.. I always wished to be there… This will be great for us…
 
My move to Singapore was almost for 2 months as I had to wrap up my commitments in India. After waiting for 2 months….finally the day came when I had to fly to Singapore.I was very inquisitive to fly in Singapore Airlines as my husband had given outstanding reviews about it.
Post completing all the formalities in the airport finally the moment arrived and as I was entering the flight I was feeling a a sense of excitement and anxiety as I was leaving the country and my dear ones but also was looking forward to a better future…
As I entered the flight the air-hostess greeted everyone with a warm welcome and wahhhhh!!!!! I had never seen such an amazing flight…. It was big spacious. As we came to our seats the pillows and blankets were already kept ready for use.. the boot space was very spacious and I could comfortably keep my baby’s bag down… The monitor on the screen had various entertainment avenues like serials, movies and music….
I suddenly remembered that the it was time for my son to be fed and I was not sure if his milk could be warmed and I had to give him during take-off to avoid ear blockage…
As a steward passed by I was not sure if this facility is provided. I asked ” Is it possible to warm the milk as I need to feed my baby during take- off?
 
The steward  poised for a moment and said “Sure Mam, will certainly make it at the time you need. Give me 10 minutes.. The flight was taking off in 15 minutes. I was so happy with the courteous behaviour of the staff and this impressed me on how much do they care for the customers needs.
Right before the take off I heard a voice next to me ” Mam here’s the babys’  milk. Hope the heat is fine for the baby”. I have never seen any body till date doing such a service. I was so touched by the service .
Once the fight took off I was able to feed my baby and he had a good sleep……
The refreshments came in time with various options from juice to mock-tails.. The choice of menu was spread for the customers to choose.
Timely attending and informing of necessities were done perfectly. Finally I landed in Singapore at 6am. Though that I have had so many journeys by flight but this was the first and best experience I had…. As rightly said first impression is the best impression
Thank you Singapore airlines for making my first trip to Singapore so special!!!!!