Tuesday, August 15, 2017

6 reasons why Sikkim should top your travel wishlist

2016 was a beautiful year for me, with a new job in a new city and lots of travel and exploring on my own. 2017 so far has been rough - lots of low points, dilemmas, tough decisions - and it has left me drained of all creative energy and desperate for a new beginning. I'm longing to travel again, to find a place that would remind me of all that's good and positive in this world - beauty, clean air, quiet moments spent in the lap of nature, cool wind in my face, and the sight of still water.

I long to go back to the Himalayas - to the home of my heart. And where in the Himalayan belt have I had my best times ever? Why, Sikkim, of course!

I travelled through South and East Sikkim at the end of last year. As luck would have it, both my SIM cards were out of order for the duration of the trip (for silly reasons), so connectivity was non-existent. But there were some times when I had Wi-Fi, and I made sure to put up pictures and stories on Instagram from all the gorgeous places I was seeing. Little did I know my pictures were inspiring many of my friends to plan their own trips to Sikkim. I was surprised at the beauty of Sikkim coming as such a 'revelation' to so many people. People clearly don't know enough about this tiny Himalayan paradise. So I decided to put together a list of 6 reasons why Sikkim should top your travel wishlist. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review: Reminiscences of a Seeker - Kapil Kumar Bhaskar

I haven't written about my literary pursuits in forever. I do read, off and on, but life has been a roller-coaster ride over the last one year. Between a 10-to-6 job, a new home in a new city, and my new venture, 'A Delhi Girl in Bombay', I've had no time to write. But then a book came along that spoke to this overlooked side of my existence, something not many know of, and I knew I had to write about it. 

Reminiscences of a Seeker is, in the author's own words, the story of an ordinary man plunged into extraordinary circumstances of the Dark World. It is a 'true' story about the supernatural world of mystics and higher beings, unbelievable miracles and the parallel worlds of darkness and light, in the pursuit of seeking the 'One'. I picked this book up around the time I heard about it from a book club e-mail list I subscribe to.

Being a public person, most of my pursuits are chronicled online in photos and blogs. But my spiritual beliefs and experiences have remained private and off of my blog. It would indeed come as a surprise to many that I belong to a family of highly trained spiritualists and am also trained in Reiki healing, meditation techniques and other spiritual practices. I began reading this book precisely to see how the author had written about his practices and whether he managed to make it sound believable to a lay reader or ended up writing other-worldly 'mumbo jumbo', which so many people think it is.

The literary market has in recent years been flooded with books on themes of spiritual awareness, mastering the mind, using the energies of the universe to your benefit, and whatnot, but a book of this kind by an Indian author, written in an easy, accessible form, was missing. I think this book bridges that gap, and quite decently too.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

River's song

(Inspired from River Parvati in Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, circa 2016.)




Open up your ears; hear the river sing as it goes
The melancholy song of the river holds a million woes

My ear picked up a feeble note as I sat there flinging a stone
Into the water for every time I'd ever felt alone

The voice I heard was familiar, but the chord it struck was new
The river sang to me the way my mother used to do

Off tune but full of love, she'd sing and I'd turn quiet
I'd drift off to dreamless sleep with the same song every night

Monday, May 30, 2016

Once upon a weekend in Kasol...

It took us three failed attempts at planning a trip to actually make one happen. It was Shristi's birthday, her little brother was flying in all the way from Bangalore, and she demanded (yes, literally demanded) that we all get our shit together and take her to Kasol for her birthday. We had little choice.

And so, with minimal planning and no fixed itinerary, we were off to the Himalayas for the third weekend of April - 9 of us too, no less. Some of us were wary of travelling in big groups; so many things could go wrong. But we were determined to make it work. Since the plan was made at such short notice, we couldn't get seats in a Volvo. So we hustled it all the way to Bhuntar aboard an HRTC non-AC seater bus. Needless to say, the going was tough, but the morning breeze blowing in my face as we entered the mountains and the hot cup of tea I had at our first stop all but made up for it. After a long overnight journey, we reached Bhuntar by noon. Famished and bedraggled, we found a restaurant, freshened up, and ate, before catching a local bus to Kasol from the bus stop down the road.

The sights I saw on this 1.5-hour bus journey are indescribable. I've been to the Himalayas a lot, but you have to believe me when I say, Parvati Valley is something else entirely. The gushing river smoothing pebbles on its way, the cattle grazing on its banks, the lush green mountains in the background, the grey skies at noon...it was a heavenly ride all the way to Kasol.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Learning to cycle at 24... (Part I)


Back in the late 90s, my parents bought me a flashy orange Hero kids' bicycle to encourage me to take up cycling, like my sister, who was rapidly gaining height wheeling through the narrow lanes of our neighbourhood. But truth be told, I wasn't much inclined towards physical activity as a child; I always saw myself as the creative one, not the active one. (And that didn't change as I grew up - the one game I ended up playing at the national level was Chess.)