Still Southward bound

Kerala..lush green landscapes, a variety of architecture, culture, and cuisine. From ‘Krispy kerala’ banana chips and ‘Kokonut Kurry’ with fish and rice..the food is delectable!  I went for my honeymoon to ‘God’s own country’, and the title is no exaggeration. Kerala is well-known for its greenery, hill stations like Munnar and Thekkady, Ayurvedic and spice plantations, elephant parades, cotton saris and of course different types of food! So my sojourn continues further south..

Me and my husband, both being foodies loved the coastal dishes made with local spices. Our first stop was Cochin, where we had a romantic boat ride soaking the sunset. There we saw ‘Chinese fishing nets’, truly a unique way to fish! Unfortunately due to a bad cold I ruined the romance with constant sneezing and coughing.  As we returned to our hotel, I gobbled down a bright green colored cough syrup, took a warm bath..and went to sleep. (Apologies..hubby.)

The next morning we, with me in much better shape,  left for Munnar. The place where we were put up was atop a beautiful mountain, with a mesmerizing view of the tea plantations down the valley. In the early morning, we sipped on hot tea and feasted on a sumptuous breakfast spread.  The steam from the hot tea cut through the mist in the room. After this heart-warming and tummy filling breakfast, as we began our expedition of Munnar, we visited some spice gardens, bathed some elephants and purchased some Ayurvedic products as souvenirs.

Our next stop was Thekkady, which is also a hill station. Our room was set among the hill tops from where the sunrise looked breathtaking. Here we discovered something called ‘puttu’, which resemble little rice cakes. Thus I added one more food item to my Foodictionary. I guess it’s OK to admit..I’m ‘foodicted and wordicted’! I love food and to write about it, all the more!

On the last day of our Kerala trip, the world floated..literally on a house boat! What a perfect way to end the journey…in Allepy. As our boat halted near a local fish market, the cooks bought some fresh prawns and fish to fix our dinner. It was a wonderful surprise, full of tasty coastal food, some kokum curry, fried prawns, and sweets. The table was set beautifully with flowers and candles. It felt like our honeymoon ended in a very special way..indeed!

From here, we flew up bit northward…to happening beaches and party crowds..next stop..Goa!

 

 

 

 

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Southern sojourn

It began with the love for hot Idli- Sambaar (yes..baar, not burr) for breakfast. When and how this attachment began is not so clear. Healthy and light, tasty and appetizing, South Indian cuisine remains my favorite, in spite of being born a marathi girl. Sometimes I wonder if it might be the influence of my past lives!

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The best breakfast for me!

In this life, my first journey down south was when I visited the famous ‘Tirupathi Balaji’ temple with my family. I was just about 8 years old then and all I can remember is having idlis with melted butter and running up and down lot of temple stairs, and of course, never – ending queues waiting for ‘Darshan’.

I don’t like long queues, but I love to have south Indian food. When I discovered that my two passions are travel and food, I traveled to many states in India and some countries nearby.  Well, one big advantage of staying in metro cities like Mumbai and Pune; one is no alien to a host of different cuisines, Indian and international.

In mumbai, the streets are lined with food stalls ranging from chaat, misal and vada paw, bhurji-pav, omelettes, sandwiches, juices, dosas, bhel-puri , noodles, chinese (Indian style) food, frankies with recent additions of ‘momos, shawarma and aloo twisters.

But everytime, I think of a quick, nutritious and wholesome snack, I prefer a hot steamy idli with loads of coconut chutney and sizzling sambaar to complement it! (Salivating as I write).

After that Tirupati trip, I had an opportunity to visit Chennai on a work trip. Again I remember the intricately designed but formidable temple shrines or Gopurams, and ‘tiffin’ and ‘meals’. My colleagues and I would have sumptuous and wholesome rice plates, adorned with 5 or 6 types of rice, vegetable curries, curd and a small puri in between. I realized then; what papad means to a Maharashtrian, a puri means to a Tamilian. This place was the ‘Saravana Bhavan’. A few shops after this Saravana Bhavan, was ‘Hot Chips’. Innumerable varieties of chips in huge heaps- banana, potato, sweet potato, flavours of herbs, spices, condiments – all lip-smacking!

More to come….

Kerala, Karnataka- Bangalore/ Belgaum, Pondicherry!

 

A visit to Varanasi

November 2017- A third eye opener.

An explorer at heart and soul – my visit to the holy abode of Lord Shiv- Varanasi has been magical.

Anyone who has the slightest touch of spirituality would agree that Kashi is mysterious, powerful and dramatic.

Words can only describe the place, but to experience it is another thing. Sharing it is an expression of the same.

What can I write about the complexity and contrast of this city. It has been like a time travel. Moving away from tall towers in Mumbai to humble houses on the streets of Benares, to feel the pristine purity of the Ganga.

The curse of Kaliyuga seems to have tainted the streets with filth and dirt, nonetheless, the piety and tranquility of the most ancient city can be witnessed only by the third eye.

A lotus blooms in mudponds, so does this city.

After experiencing the vibrations of the Kashi Vishwanath, Mata Annapurna temples and Ganga ghat, my mind body soul shifted a gear.

A spark of realisation was bestowed upon me. Here it goes..

We are One.

1,2,3 – the numbers are important.

In the early hours of dawn, I see the image of Shiva, a yogi with Alabaster skin, in deep meditation. I pour out questions. I don’t know if it was a dream or something else, but I got answers.

Three tenses- Present, past and future, three forms of matter- three layers of existence- mind body soul..and the three prongs of Shiv- the Trishul or trident.

A couple or duet represents ‘2’. Shiv and Shakti- but they are 1- One.

This seems like magic- can something be entirely independent of the other? Everywhere we observe, there’s co existence.

A magnet has two poles but it is one. Like the yin and yang, when two particles unite, they become one.

To live completely must be then, experiencing life on all 3 levels of existence..a mind body soul complex- acting as one.

Enlightened ones ‘1’s then must be seeing with the third eye or through the fourth dimension- time.

Then there were some funny ones, kinda personal questions..censored.

I don’t have any proof to back my conversation, no signature from Him, but it’s etched on my soul and I’m hungover.

Hope the conversation continues…

What inspires me to write..

Often my thoughts become so overwhelming, that they need to flow out of my head somewhere. Pouring them out on paper gives them space to relax, spread out and self organize. Just like pouring water colors on oil paper, thoughts make their own design.

Inspiration stems from nature, nature that we can see and that which we cannot see but just experience. The tangible and intangible, together produce a dynamic effect that we perceive as thoughts. As the world around us takes turns being in order and chaos, so do we and our thoughts. When the mind needs to be in order, our notes, blogs and books scaffold them into a structure. These structures guide us as our references, with which we share and relate. As a unit, all of us feel happy to share and relate with one another on various levels.

When we find such similar references, we feel connected and inspired. That’s how any kind of networking works. Writing and blogging is such an attempt to feel like a part of the whole!

What inspires me to write..

Often my thoughts become so overwhelming, that they need to flow out of my head somewhere. Pouring them out on paper gives them space to relax, spread out and self organize. Just like pouring water colors on oil paper, thoughts make their own design.

Inspiration stems from nature, nature that we can see and that which we cannot see but just experience. The tangible and intangible, together produce a dynamic effect that we perceive as thoughts. As the world around us takes turns being in order and chaos, so do we and our thoughts. When the mind needs to be in order, our notes, blogs and books scaffold them into a structure. These structures guide us as our references, with which we share and relate. As a unit, all of us feel happy to share and relate with one another on various levels.

When we find such similar references, we feel connected and inspired. That’s how any kind of networking works. Writing and blogging is such an attempt to feel like a part of the whole!

Paperworth!

Few days ago, my 84 yr old grandma had to go to the bank to exchange her old currency notes. I wished I could but didn’t have time. Well, I was busy in making more paper to add to my bank account. Then she had to submit her proof of living to get her pension. Another parchment to get more paper. She came home exasperated and said,” I am standing right in front of them, and they want a proof that I am alive?”

Yes, it did sound a bit silly. But that’s what we all have to succumb to. From cradle to grave, we are in paper.
Birth-Death Certificate, Passport, Convocation certificates, mark sheets, achievement records..Paper!

Old currency notes, unacceptable paper. New notes…acceptable paper.Own a property? Show on stamp paper. Okay, now there’s electronic paper..but it’s paper.

This paper worth doesn’t work for animals. They believe their instincts.When a mama bird flies away to get food back to her little bird baby, what paper does she access? We all want scientific proof..it has to be believed because it’s in ‘paper’. Somewhere in this maze of paper, have we forgotten to acknowledge our beliefs, faith and instincts?

Is the only reason many people lack faith in God or rather in themselves, for that matter, because He doesn’t have a stamped signed letterhead..of paper?

Just made me wonder..Is human life, trust, emotions worth just paper? Or is there more?