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A trip to Mussoori

The journey started in the afternoon of a funny Friday when everything was going out of track and a need of a break and an escape was immensely felt. The spontaneous spur of energy that took us to this place will always be looked back as an inspiration and an encouragement that will guide us to many more places in future.

We as college students are surrounded by pressure from all sides. We either have the assignment to submit or we need to study for the continuous evaluations that take place in our college in the form of class tests. It was getting pretty difficult to cope with the circumstances and just like me, my otherwise quite roommate felt its consequences as well and decided to raise her voice in the middle of the night. “I need a break! Let’s got to Mussoorie this weekend!” she said.  Now, considering the fact that we had an assignment to submit the next day, it was my default duty to calm her down and make her get back to her assignment that she was indefatigably trying to complete before midnight. But instead of talking some sense into her about how we should not be making big decisions in the middle of the night especially when we already have a huge load of work in front of us, I fueled her excitement by saying, “Yes! Let’s go!”.

The next day after college we booked a cab and we travelled all the way to Mussoorie from Delhi which took us around 7 hours. This was our first-weekend gateway and our excitement knew no bounds. We thoroughly enjoyed and explored places in the next two days, the accounts of which will be shortly shared in this blog. There were a lot of adventures and misadventures which are worth sharing and reminiscing from time to time!

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Coming clean this winter

Textures

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Dear Julia,

I remember the first time I held your hand last year back when I was a sophomore in college. You plausibly did not notice, as you were oblivious to your surrounding and your pretty eyes were shut while you were absorbing the chilled winter wind sitting under that old cherry tree in our college playground. Or may be you could feel me? Your hands were cold, almost hard, with a faint line of blue vein running through your arms. I cupped your hands with mine in order to warm them a little. Did you feel it? My warmth was all that I was left with at this point as I sat there endlessly cursing myself for never having confessed how much I love you. I never dared to do so. I confessed my feelings for a thousand times in my mind where you smiled back and held my hand encouragingly but I never really had the courage to do so because I was too scared to find out how you would react. And how the other girls would react if they find out what I just did. I was afraid you will stop hanging out with me and so will the rest of my friends. And being a part of an all girls college, I could not afford to lose the few friends that I have made so far. So I had to keep this to myself for a long time and may be I don’t mind keeping it to myself a little longer. But I promise I will come clean this winter. I will tell you everything that I feel, sitting under that old cherry tree like we did on that windy winter evening last year.

Yours truly.

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Old Delhi – The perfect wonderland for street food lovers!

Of all the places in Delhi, Old Delhi has a charm of its own. It has its historical attractions as well as the amazing street foods to die for! Most of the authentic allurements are to be found in the Chandni Chowk area and the Red Fort. Areas like Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar also have many street joints that sell spicy chaat making it a perfect hangout place for chaat lovers!
Here are a few must-visit places for foodies in Old Delhi –

1) Paranthe Wali Gali

Paratha is a type of flat bread which is found in the Indian subcontinent. It is usually stuffed with different vegetables or cottage cheese called paneer. Paranthe Wali Gali, or “the lane of Parathas” is the name of a narrow street in the Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi, famous for its line of shops selling paranthas. Established in the 1870s, this place serves some of the best varieties of paranthas which include dry fruits, peas, mix paranthas, and parantha stuffed with vegetables like cauliflower, radish and so on. The food served here is strictly vegetarian. They are served with tamarind or mint chutney, and mixed vegetable pickle, along with various curries like paneer and potato curry.

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2) Old Famous Jalebi Wala

Jalebi is a famous sweet which comes in all shapes and sizes. These are soaked in sugar syrup which makes them soft and juicy. The famous Jalebi Wala in Chandni Chowk is well-known for its soft, exquisite and juicy jalebis. These mouth-watering jalebis are cooked over a coal fire. These jalebis are fried in pure desi ghee which is then softly dipped in desi Khand sari sugar syrup, the reason why the crowd here never comes to an end!

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3) Karim’s

Karim’s Hotel or Karim’s is a historic restaurant located near Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, arguably the city’s most famous culinary destination. It was established way back in 1913 by Haji Karimuddin, son of Mohammed Aziz who was a cook in the royal court of Mughal Emperor. This place has stood the test of times and serves some of the best Mughlai dishes in town!

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4) Moti Mahal

Moti Mahal, established in the year 1947, is the first restaurant to introduce tandoori cuisine in India. Tandoori is basically a type of cooking where the food is roasted in a tandoor which is a clay oven, after marinating it with yoghurt and spices. Interesting, right? It claims to have invented the butter chicken and tandoori chicken and it is also famous for its amazing dal makhani! It serves the best butter chicken in Delhi that’ll surely leave you licking your fingers!

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5) Natraj Dahi Bhalla

Situated at the entrance of a very narrow lane which leads you to the metro station, this place serves some of the best Dahi Bhalla and Aloo Tikki chats in Delhi. Dahi Bhalla is a dish where fried lentil balls are served covered in yoghurt, spices, and coriander chutney. This place has been there for a long time and yet its taste remains the same!

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6) Jung Bahadur kachori wala

If you’re in a mood for some spicy food, this would be a perfect place for you! They are sure to mesmerise you with their freshly made, crispy and stuffed kachoris served with Aloo Sabzi, chole, and a variety of spicy and tangy chutneys!

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7) Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfi Wale

It is one of the famous and legendary places in Old Delhi selling kulfis since 1908. Kulfi is a dessert made from dairy products which are specifically found in the Indian subcontinent. It serves varieties of kulfis including stuffed, fruit infused kulfis which will surely blow your mind!

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8) Lotan Chole Wala

Chole is a dish made from chickpeas. This place has been serving for more than three decades now and is known for their soulful Chhole Kulcha made with a secret recipe, flavoured with a sour sauce and chillies making it taste absolutely divine!

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9) Shiv Mishthan Bhandar

Established in 1910, located in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, Shiv Mishthan Bhandar is big on flavours. It serves some of the best Indian sweets made with pure desi ghee. It also serves a variety of snacks besides breakfast & lunch items.

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10) Kake Di Hatti

This place serves excellent stuffed paranthas and big-sized mouth-watering naans, which is oven-baked flatbread. It is served along with excellent vegetable curries, raita and daal. Naan lovers, you absolutely don’t want to miss this!

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Tailoring my Invisibility Cloak

via Daily Prompt: Tailor

I grew up listening to stories of little elves who helped the poor shoemaker by stitching all his shoes while he was in a deep slumber. The elves stitched the tiny bits of leather lying around on his workplace and created beautiful shoes out of it. I almost brought myself to believe that my life too is a fairy tale and I relied on a power, some genie, an elf or a fairy godmother who would come to save me from the turmoil in my confined little world.

By the time I was ten, I started believing some more and eventually got a little disappointed while discovering the nihility of this possibility. But it wasn’t time for me to give up yet. Perhaps that’s what explains my interminable fascination with conspiracy theories. I always loved believing in the unexplainable and the magical. As I grew, my faith on the invincible to rescue me from the nuisance around sounded like a complete malarkey! My faith in the utopian power was almost equal to a pea by now. One reason for my degrading faith was my overarching expectation on something magical to Tailor all my problems by stitching them into something insouciant and a sudden realisation on its absolute lack of practicality.

As I turned out to be old enough to behold the incalculable nature of life, I realised that it perhaps wasn’t the elves who helped the shoemaker get out of his misery but his own assiduous nature and hard work that helped him get out of his despairing state of being. I realised that there are no magic elves after all, but me, who has to stitch every broken piece to hold my life together. This was the saddest realisation that I came across.

I started observing around and noticed the masterly tailors around me, each one holding their life together with mere stitches. Stitches, that come off at times, but heals again turning into a new piece of cloak. I discovered how different people had different ways to deal with their baggage of problems in order to survive. Some show off their stitches like battle scars while some hide them with a cloak of invisibility. I had the freedom to choose my way and I chose to hide them all. Pretending that they don’t exist became my only way of survival.

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The Importance of Validation

#It #amazes #me #every #time #I #scroll #through #my #Facebook #and #Instagram #feed. #People #in #the #last #five – #six #years #have #successfully #mastered #the #art #of #burying #one’s #real #life #and #portraying #something #beautiful #out #of #the #tangled #mess #of #daily #existence.

Maybe it is important to Bury yourself with validation to some extent?

It amazes me, how validation has started playing a substantial and a deciding part in our lives. Your followers’ list definitely shows how important you are as a person, or maybe not? Oh, definitely not. I am sure you have seen the power of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’, and how a ‘like’ or a ‘comment’ can change a demoralisingly lethargic day into a highly motivating and an enlightened one. We are caught between the constant need for validation at everything that we do. On a day when everything is out of place and nothing is particularly going good, an exhibition of a #goal on social media comes to a temporary rescue.  I view them as nothing but a cry for help. It is amazing how a perfectly staged moment can portray a perfectly wrong idea about someone’s life, and how easy it is to fool people. And by doing so how easily we are fooling and burying ourselves in illusions.

But why is there a constant need of validation for everything that we do? The truth is, we don’t. As long as you know what you are doing with your life, you don’t need validation from the people around you especially from the social media. Your followers’ count doesn’t prove anything nor does the likes and comments on your selfies. For people who have given this tremendous power to people to validate, alas, there is no cure or rescue but to indulge yourself in this amazement and validate the people around you. Because at the end of the day, may be validation and acceptance is all you need.

WW

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Capering about the wild

via Daily Prompt: Caper

Oh, how much she loathed company

“I fancy being alone”, she used to say

She loved her books and was always seen

With a glass of milkshake on little hands that sway

“Humans are just wild, humans lie

humans are pretentious, don’t you think?

Their words like swords that hurt and kill

With fake masks, they hide their faces within.”

The ten-year-old made points to ponder,

And she never failed to make me smile,

Until last year she turned twenty-one

she has changed, she has grown,

and now she is seen capering through the wild.

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Caper

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An open letter to all wool-gathering lovers

via Photo Challenge: Bridge

Here I shall talk about the relationships that we all build and why do they crumble down swirling into a heap of sand. We spend all our lives building bridges, sometimes multiple bridges at the same time that might lead to someone that either fulfils our needs, dashes hopes or makes no difference in our lives. Bridges are built consciously or unconsciously on the expectation that they might prove to be fruitful for us someday in future. And so we all build bridges to the one we think might be ‘the one’. Sometimes we get a bit too attached to that which is on the other end of the bridge, hence making conscious blunders by expecting more than what is necessary, and unnecessarily end up building castles in the air. Results? Disappointment, big or small depending on your expectations.
Why is it that we always make the conscious decision of building bridges to people who seldom make an effort to build a bridge from the other end to reach you? This might have crossed your mind several times in the past but you will still defend your bridge indefatigably and walk till the end of it where you often discover what your heart already knew.

I have probably heard this phrase or multiple derivations of the same, more than I can recall, “Oh I should not have wasted my time trying to woo him/her. I should have given up in the first few signs! He/she is just not into me.”

Falling for someone and building what you call a relationship should not consist of a just one-sided effort to build a bridge to reach the other but the constant exertion from both sides so that you meet each other in the middle of the bridge. Most relationships and expectations fail because one of them builds less and one of them builds more than what is meant for him to build.
What I would suggest is that study the hints, listen to your intuition and save yourself from a heartbreak. Intuitions never go wrong. Build a relationship which is well reciprocated and not build a Bridge which is not meant for you to walk on. Look back and create your part of the bridge that you have been overlooking all your life, look back at the one who has been waiting to meet you in the middle, someone who would happily build a tad bit more for you to reach you. And if you are at that part of your life where you are confused whether to proceed on that bridge or leave it unconstructed, you should probably slow down and rethink before investing your time and effort persuading someone to start building a bridge to you.
After all, you respect yourself first before respecting anyone else. So, drive slow and safe and save yourself from a heartbreak.

Yours truly,

Broken Bridge Expert.

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Affinity

Walking up the alley after school towards my home at the highest point of the hill is a not so fun-filled activity in the most demoralising days of the week. It’s a path of constant self-retrospection and realisation of the activities I’m lagging behind as compared to the rest of the world. For most people, it would be a good walk of fifteen minutes with a perpetual series of encouraging and promising events that took place during the day. For me, it has always been the ‘over-thinking’. Sometimes I distract myself by watching my own feet while I’m walking, kicking aside every pebble that comes on my way as if they are my thoughts that I’m strenuously trying to brush aside. The path on the other side of the stream is smoother than this one. That road which leads me to my home looks like a long grey ribbon and the sight makes my soul jump with absolute joy! But it’s still a mile away. I walk faster and I see the stream gleaming from a distance. I stop by, contemplating to pick up something for my mother. The last time I picked some fresh yellow flowers tied with a blade of grass and the look on her face was priceless! I picked up some daisies this time, and carefully held them with both hands making sure not to crush them on my way. The journey on the other side of the stream is less tiring because I know that home is not too far from this place. I walk faster, matching the rhythm of my breath till I find that smooth concrete road waiting for me desperately to walk on. Trying to fill a block of tile with every step as I’m walking towards my destination becomes my favourite game now. And auspiciously enough, the size of my feet fits perfectly with the length of those grey concrete tiles. With every faultless step, my soul experiences a momentary satisfaction because I know, home is near, home is here. I don’t find my mother waiting for me at the door like she used to. Nor I see her waving at me from a distance. I see my mother on the bed and recline in peace in the smooth confines of her arms, with the daisies on the table, smiling at us from the jar…

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The Basket

It was an excellent vacation. I came home after six long months and was dying to spend some time with my family. This is probably the deal with the young people like us – initially, we try to distance ourselves from our parents to exercise our new-found freedom and when we see our friends’ parents on the hospital bed we remember ours and all of a sudden we crave for their company like never before. Well, this exactly has not been the case with me. You see, I was born an introvert and were limited to only a few close friends and my idea of relaxation was a nice book and a hot cup of something. I never was a person who would go out and ‘party all night’ or ‘get high’ but rather get low and drown myself into my own melancholic state of being, appreciating every moment of it. Since I do not usually indulge myself with the outside world I had/have enough time to give it to my family. So I never really had the phase where I retracted back to my parents getting tired of my friends. I have always been a constant part of my family at most times and this vacation gave me the liberty to open up my bottled down problems from the last six months and contemplate peacefully within the four walls of my room in which I grew up in.

I read a few novels, tried to review some, sketched a few eyes perfecting what they call hyperrealism art, which all made my vacation a wonderful and a productive one. But it was ‘the basket‘ that made it particularly memorable. It was a cheap, badly finished basket, the kinds which you might never buy if given any other alternative. It was made of a bad plastic and its light red colour can easily get lighter in a week if constantly kept under the sun, the kind that might crumble down with a slight jump.

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That was probably one reason why my mum decided to give it to a five-year-old me who was throwing a tantrum to keep her toys in it, also because the basket cannot be used for any better purpose. Some twelve years later when I spotted the same basket amidst old textbooks and magazines, hidden by badminton rackets with torn threads and unplayed board games, it brought back a rush of memories leaving me to feel nostalgic for the next five minutes which lead to a recollection of a series of memories. And like any sensible human, all I could do was clear up the books and put down the rackets and rescue the basket that was staring at me for quite some time now. Dusting aside the dirt which had accumulated in the last few years, I carefully turned around the plastic knob and put aside the crispy plastic lid. And I saw there…the good old days that I had left behind me, the toys that I played with day and night, the tiny utensils where I cooked food for mum, some shredded paper bits in a bowl which were supposed to be my ‘fried rice’. I found those tiny shoes and dresses which belonged to my Barbie dolls, the ones whom I used to invite for dinner along with my mum.

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I stood at this point looking back at my innocence, my untainted and carefree soul and my lost childhood. And I realised how important it is let yourself feel nostalgic once in a while. Go ahead, dig out your old albums, read your old diaries, visit your old dolls and toys, recreate your memories. I know the past can never make any difference to your present but it’s the emotions associated with your past that you sometimes need to revisit to rediscover your roots and the purpose of your existence.

At the end of the vacation, I took back with me more than just the paintings and the knowledge I acquired from the books I read. I refreshed my memories with old albums and toys which I want to keep around forever, and not lose them in the abyss.

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Why should we write every day?

In one of the most hectic and tiring days when nothing was going right, I found myself losing the trail of my own thoughts like a tragically derailed train. It was like my brain was marinated in a pool of thoughts and the only way to wash down my frustration was to wash my head, quite literally, to save myself from any further thought reception. It was a warm summer afternoon and nothing could make one feel any better than a cold shower and some fresh watermelons thereafter. I sat down, diligently turning on the table fan which has seen eighteen summers of this kind. The cool breeze on my face was soothing enough to dismiss the loud droning sound of the fan. I wanted that moment to stay as it was where for a moment I could carelessly give up everything that was bothering me that day. But brushing them under the carpet was not a resolution I was looking for. I had to figure out a way for once and for all. I stepped down from my bed to my study where I kept my pens and notebook and carried one to my bed, carefully positioning myself in a way that the wind could not blow away my pages or hinder my writing. I did not know where to start from. I was drowning in thoughts and it was difficult to find my way out of it. I started with a sigh, and finally brought myself to flipping a new, fresh page where I started with the date – 

20th June 2012

Wednesday

4:15 pm

More thoughts and contemplations. And I finally decided to start with what I did all day. Surprisingly enough, all my problems seemed to make very little sense when I started irrigating my thoughts into a sheet of paper. When you write about your day in a systematic manner, starting from the morning to the end of the day, you seem to discover the solutions to your own problems. It is like you are talking to yourself and guiding by showing yourself a way out of the chaos. It is like your pages talking back to you. Finding solutions to your own problems is a wonderful experience in itself. Intuition is the most powerful endowment a human can have. Writing disintegrates your problems which are taken care of by your intuition which successively accelerates the right messages and solutions to your problems.

It’s no secret that writing every day improves your writing and thinking skills, enhances your vocabulary and can eventually develop into a healthy hobby. So why not write more and make your life more simple yet creative? Life has become extremely busy where you have no more time left for your own needs. This only makes your life difficult since you are bottling up your emotions, opinions and frustrations. I urge you to write them all. A pen and a paper can change the way you see every day.