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My very first engagement

It is not easy to keep away things from your partner especially when you are planning a surprise. To add to it, is this lock down misery. This was the constraint faced by H as she really wanted to do something special for A’s birthday. She couldn’t even go shopping in this lock down. I presented her few ideas with […]

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A Saudade for Goa via Portugal

Come December and smiles start getting wider on faces in London. It’s the favourite time of the year and nobody can keep calm. For me, it is also a reminder to finish off annual leaves and seek slightly warmer, sunnier avenues.So off we went to Portugal for a small quiet holiday. For better weather, to relax after a hectic year. We are now so used to travelling in Europe that I have given up researching the places before and take the best out of moments itself. (Yeah! I know, the 30s probably)We landed in the northern city of Porto and stayed in a lovely apartment by the River Duoro. The city is so small that you could cover the historic downtown’s cobbled pathways in a day.The potterhead in me was thrilled to visit the oldest bookshop in Europe – Livraria Lello for apparently J K Rowling was inspired by its spiral wooden staircases and the stained glass ceiling. It’s a bit touristy now but its totally worth it for Eur 4. So, we spent most of the evenings lazing around in the apartment, reading a book and overlooking the river and the famous  Ponte Louis bridge, designed by Théophile Seyrig, a disciple of Gustave Eiffel.Of course, the real reason for visiting Porto, was sampling the famous Port Wine. After all, Port Wine is the first alcoholic beverage I have had! (Thanks Dad) Its synonymous with Goa, after Feni of course. But Port Wine has […]

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A Museum for Mumbai : A bun-maska for thought

This new year’s day, I spent my noon convincing the receptionist at ‘The Museum of History of Catalonia’ to open up as advertised. We were visiting Barcelona around that festive time of the year and probably I had my stakes high expecting them to open on Numero Uno of 2017. Perhaps, that was just the museum enthusiast in me.So, my father-in-law gave up practising his Spanish or rather trying to understand the local Catalan and we made our way to Barcelonnetta beach instead. The promenade reminded me none other aapli Mumbai, our Marine Drive.My colleagues do ask me about Mumbai or India and express their desire to visit it someday. “Oh, The Golden Triangle”, pat comes my answer. Kerala for people seeking quiet retreats. Andaman or Ladakh for the adventurous. But rarely do I suggest Mumbai. … if you are going to Goa that is. Yes, Goa doesn’t feature on my top list. (I am willing to have an argument over this.)“Perhaps, you could do 48 hours in Mumbai. Don’t forget to book the Taj though”, I add. I don’t think Mumbai would count on an average tourist map. One could really do the city in a day if they wanted. But at the same time, I do have a bond with my birth city. The global me thinks, what will I show my child at Mumbai when say they are 8 or 9? Say, in another decade’s time. You […]

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Once upon a time… at Malta

I woke up gently as a light sun ray touched my face. I kept gazing outside the glass windows watching the horizon change its colours from light grey to a mellow yellow. Eternal bliss for a morning person like me!I kept admiring as a small island passed and looked at my darling husband by my side. He was still deep in sleep. Ah! My Night Owl! How could he miss the first sun rays and gentle Mediterranean breeze? As an hour passed by of pure nothingness, I was struck with joy….An island with fortified walls and peculiar tall domes jotted throughout that region. I had never seen such a landscape before. “Yeh kaunsi nagari hai?” Did I just wake up to a dream or gone back in time? I looked back into the room. Aditya was still fast asleep. I pinched myself, rubbed my eyes. No, it wasn’t Jules in wonderland….this was for real.“Wake up Adi! Wake up Adi! We are here….this is MALTA”. I had never imagined to be like this. Infact, I had barely researched anything before this cruise holiday. The MS Splendida slowly approached the city port, dotted with colourful doors. “Lets go! Lets go!” We got ready in a jiffy and greeted Adi’s parents who participated equally in our enthusiasm.Malta, a small country of only 316 sq. km. and 5 lakh people, what treasures did it hold? It was our last stop on a week long cruise holiday. The place […]

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One Decade, Split into Two. The Journey So far.

It feels like yesterday when I turned 21.( Hmmm..maybe not really) Naïve, hard-working, dreamy-eyed perhaps like any other person at that age. Full of ideals, idols and beans.How life has changed since! I am still that hard-working and dreamy-eyed girl. Although, not that naïve any longer. My one grey hair can certainly vouch for that! The 20’s have certainly broken the rose tinted glasses. Heartbreaks, Adversity, Anxiety, Disappointments (not just from the boys), Depression and Letting go.I have battled them all and I will battle them again.Just, a little stronger this time nonetheless wiser.There I was at 21, standing in front of the prestigious buildings in the business districts in Mumbai with a simple wish to work there in my lifetime. Little did I know, that I will land up a placement in that very building within the next six months! Here I am at 29, walking across the bridge every morning, with the giant ferris wheel in the back-drop in one of the demanding cities in the world.My twenties have been split into two. The first half in Bombay and second in London. Do I love my present? Yes. And do I sneer at my Bombay self? No.It wouldn’t have been possible without the other.It is but One Decade, split into Two. Bollywood nights and ice-cream + coffee lates, Beer, Reds and Pimms dates.Nerves with round rotis to dishing out fish moilees.Boarding a crowded local to whizzing into tubes, from […]

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Time Stops at Konshi

‘Shutting down’ sign blinked on the screen as I swung my handbag on my shoulder. I ran down from the stairs of my office building, straight to the Embankment station ignoring the lovely gardens in full bloom. ‘Not today’, I waved off to the mighty Thames. I managed my way dodging people on the escalators in the underground. A right, a left, a squeeze, manoeuvring my way between stations. I laughed at my silly three year old Londoner self. Travelling through the massive network seemed so daunting then and here I was ticking off the boxes. London is slowly becoming home.I have two homes. Well, rather three. It was almost two years since I visited Mera Bharat Mahan and four since I witnessed the Monsoon. So, we packed our bags for some family time.Yes, the travel bug had almost caught us until reality of adult world said, “Slow down, you need to certain aspects of your life sorted. Well, that’s what saner responsible people do.’’ So began our search for a new beginning, a place of our own in London which drained us physically and mentally. (I will narrate the drama over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, whichever you prefer). We were proud London home owners finally and then began the next phase of settling in (and we are still at it). The chaotic traffic, the aroma filled streets, the ugly buildings grabbing every inch of […]

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La Dolce Vita : Eating in Europe's food heaven

We work for the sake of the stomach. Ah! Surely, we do and what better way to celebrate the love for food and wine than to visit Europe’s food heaven: Eat-at-ly!!The country whose signature dish has made its stamp in all corners of the world. Yes, Pizza features as a default weekend staple in our diet. Of course, they have been modified to suit variety of palettes. (Gathiya Pizza and coconut pizza sure sound scary)The aim was to be in land of Pizzas. For a purist it would be to flight to Naples but we decided to venture to Rome first on this holiday. Italian cuisine takes pride in regional cooking much like Indian. Would a Marathi mulgi accept a gujarati style puran-poli? No. Would macher-jhol pass-off as a machi-kalwan for a Bengali? That would be a heinous crime. In the same manner, a person from Northern Italy would vouch for a risotto infused with saffron whereas a southerner will be delighted by fish. The Italians take immense pride in their food and prefer food served from scratch and use the best seasonal produce. Now, my Indian friends reading this would rather find it strange….obvious isn’t it? A key to good food? Well, spend some time in London my dearies and you would understand the moolah you pay for the food and quality you are served are not always proportional. Now coming back to expeditions.After a tiring morning at the […]

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Senātus Populusque Rōmānus (SPQR) : A page from history

The blazing sun shines over your head as you clench your fists. You have waited for hours together for that entry of the superstar. You have watched an exciting performance last year and the stakes are up high. Cheering, hooting, whistling, you are the crowd. As the drums roll, the action begins, your adrenaline rushes grow stronger. Every low is yours, every high is personal. No, you are not at a football stadium but watching a gladiator fight. The games have begun.  Somebody’s sword has cut your hero, you cry deep inside while he perishes to the ground.Entertainment and thrill go hand in hand at the Colosseum. The age old story of heroism and glory continues till date. Perhaps our tastes have civilised over ages but the emotions….who could conquer those?Our journey of Rome began at the magnificent Colosseum, a poetry in stone and concrete. The crown jewel of the Flavian dynasty. A witness to the glorious multi-cultural Roman Empire which stretched from Europe to Asia and Africa. A celebration of architecture and engineering. A place of valour and heroism.  A ticket to someone’s freedom. We wanted to take it easy on our Roman holiday. To absorb so much of history, we thought it was best to take it slow. Just at a stone’s throw from the Colosseum, we dragged our bags into a dingy lift in an old building.  Our clandestine affair with the ochre washed lanes began we gently unlocked the large […]

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Brussels, Mussels and more

Have a holiday, will travel is the mantra we follow. Especially with Europe at doorsteps, it is hard to resist. Bank holidays are a good excuse to escape the weary routine. So we took this opportunity to pay a visit to our neighbour. Belgium. Our travelling mates Priti and Dev decided to barge into our plan for two as well. We simply dropped off our bags in the hotel at Brussels and basked into the blazing Belgian sun starting with a visit to the famous Atomium. As we were too cool for a queue to the top, we simply went around the connecting colourfully lit up escalators of this 1958 structure which was built for a World Fair. The famous coach tour special ‘Mini Europe’ is conveniently located next to the Atomium. We tried to identify the places we had already seen and started making mental notes of the places on the to-do list. ’We can no longer bear the heat’’, we moaned unanimously. Any one up for a beer? Well, who could resist in the land of Beers. We strolled in the Grand Place and Markt that evening which had ornamental buildings and intricate sculptures.  The next day we left for the historic town of Bruges. Yes the same place where Anushka Sharma meets that whats his name guy in the movie PK. But unlike the idyllic town in the movie, it gets really really busy in the summer. After […]

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Paris is for Girls

It was a balmy evening in Bangkok as we sat down at a food court in mall with tired feet. Suddenly, tears flowed down my eyes. We were on our honeymoon and poor Adi had horror on his face, he had no idea what his new bride was thinking. (Ah! The sweet joy of arranged marriages) ‘’Actually, I didn’t really have a good time with you today. Shopping is so boring with you. I miss my girlfriends!’’ (Oh! Woman) So I was on cloud 9 when my two besties since school decided to visit me in London. It was the most awaited trip of the year, the one which had taken several months of planning over ‘watsapp’. Several versions of the itinerary were created and discarded. The best version was ditching the husbands, of course (two of us are married). The super cool version was when we decided to include ‘Paris’ in the list. As a new Londoner, I have always wondered about the bitter-sweet rivalry of the two cities. With two drastic views, I had no idea what to expect in the City of Lights. My only concern was our ability to survive with zero French speaking ability. But thanks to technology and some planning beforehand, we found it easy to travel in the city. From the super cool St.Pancras International station at London, the Gard du Nord at Paris seemed a little dull to the Londoner in me. […]

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