Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Interesting Quotes :)

Some Lovely quotes which I would like to share 

Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself --ALEN STRIKE.

You are not responsible for what people think about you.
But you are responsible for what you give them to think about you. ---STANLEY FERRARD.

A man is lucky if he is the first love of a Woman.
A woman is lucky if she is the last love of a man. ---CHARLES DICKENS.

Write your Sad times in Sand, Write your Good times in Stone. ---GEORGE BERNARD SHAW.

Behind every successful man, there is an untold pain in his heart. ----BILL JACOBS .

Without your involvement you can't succeed. With your involvement you can't fail. ----- Dr. ABDUL KALAM.

Love your job but don't love your Company because you may not know
when your company stops loving you. -----Narayan moorthy.

You may get DELAYED to reach your Targets.
But every step you take towards your target is EQUAL to Victory. ------KARL MARX.

It's better to lose your Ego to the one you Love,
than to lose the one you LOVE because of EGO. -----JOHN KEATS.

Don't make promise when you are in JOY. Don't reply when you are SAD.
Don't take decisions when you are ANGRY. Think twice, Act wise. BE happy.

When you start caring about yourself, you start loving somebody..

What is the secret of Success...? "RIGHT DECISIONS"
How do you make Right Decisions...? "EXPERIENCE"
How do you get Experience... ? "WRONG DECISIONS"

Monday, July 6, 2009

ICE AGE 3, the dawn of dinosaurs-- Movie review

After a long span of time, I decided to hit the theater for a movie & my doll sis demanded it to be Ice age 3, So we hit Imax on a cool saturday afternoon :)
When I saw Ice Age, I adored the movie. Ice Age 2 was equally impressive & the Dawn of dinosaurs simply lovable. The animation only gets better!! I am sure, views may vary, but hey!! this is my blog :D and I am the boss here :P Though the concept of Dino's is not a new thing, but watch out for the superb animation & the cute looking baby mammoth!!

For those who wanna know the cast, here it is :D

(The mammoth daddy) - Ray Romano
Sid (the cute weasel) - John Leguizamo
Diego (the dashing tiger) - Denis Leary
Ellie (the sexy mommy mammoth) - Queen Latifah
Crash and Eddie (the 2 rats) - Seann William Scott and Josh Peck
Buck (a new character introduced, a handsome single eyed weasel) - Simon Pegg

All the characters visit Dino-Land for an adventure which makes this movie more attractive than its predecessors. Ice Age 3 has a new character called Buck who perks up the story. The scenes are really lovable this time & the one liners add a punch. The characters are more identifiable & for those who had missed the earlier tickles of ice age will never feel lost because the writers have drawn up the character sketches and presented them all over again in a terrific manner.

We have the mammoth couple, getting ready for the delivery of their first baby(which is an adorable darling :)). They have their friendly tiger for company who gets into a little depression that he's 'losing his edge' and may lose his friends once they move on to parenthood. Although he does get into form once he heads out with his friends to search for Sid, who has been transported to dino-land, due to the sudden love for parenthood that has made him look after three baby dinosaurs.

The fun only continues with the arrival of buck who is a complete package :P their guide, savior & philosopher. He has a sole 'dino tooth' as a weapon that he earned courtesy his deadly encounter with "Rudy" a few years back. Fun and action move at an immense pace and are enhanced with some cool 3D animations which makes the experience of watching this movie a great. Volcanoes erupt, rock slides happen, dinosaurs strike, bridges collapse, trolleys snap and laughing gas makes them all uncontrollable even as buck entertains them all through his high-on-action flashback. This movie is a perfect entertainer for a lovely weekend with your family!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nandi Hills : Beauty untouched :)

A chilly usual Saturday morning, I arrived at Bangalore after a terrible week at work place just for the feel good factor. Believe me, this city always uplifts my mood and brings back all the smiles :D. May be it's just the wind or a feeling of being at home :) I reached home & a warm welcome from papa, removed all the anxiety & frustrations & drew me to peace.

Spent my usual morning talking to dad about family, politics, markets, business... almost everything under the sun over a not so tasty, yet filling breakfast... made by the expert chef Me :D !!! Finally Pratap called... for those who don’t know this remarkable ajuba on earth... let me introduce u to the one out of my 4 musketeers, the king of PJ’s, someone I totally believed could never put on weight :P & one of my closest & dearest friends, who was born to drive me crazy :D But I simply adore the fact that he is always around... it gets me uneasy sometimes you know; when I don’t get to hear his trashy jokes :D So if i start describing this happy go lucky guy & my lovely 6 years of friendship with him, I would never get to Nandi Hills :D

I used to be one the most pampered one in the whole lot of 12 guys :D And this guy was always the protective one. When he finally came home & I saw him after 2 months (which actually seemed like ages), I felt, I was meant to be here; “Why the hell did I leave my best buddies and go to a place where solitude had no bounds???”, was what rushed through my Grey cells. I smiled, smiled & smiled after really long time. Dad, Pratap & I roamed about the usual places, I was lucky to get some gifts :D and did something which I had not done for quite some time, something that I came to realize later that I had missed, I was longing for, that was caring for people, helping my friends to shop Bossing over just for the heck of it and telling them that my word was the final word ;) knowing very well they will not like it and they would let me have it my way, no questions asked May be that’s what friendship is all about. Although, I was acting stupid, he was so sweet to me, probably, he missed me equally. :D There are not too many people who are lucky in this world... But I sure am! :D

Once we reached Pratap’s place, I was overwhelmed to see Rahul & Ravi... rahul urf haathi.. my 2nd musketeer, with & without whom life had always been miserable. :D The surprising part was not that I was elated seeing these species, but the fact that they seemed quite elated themselves :D. Ok! So that was a great start... so here we were, 4 crazy people, a pack of cards & a scorer :D Pratap of course! Soon from “the last card” game to buying properties in monopoly, we had played them all, tried all the tricks to fool each other :P although nothing seemed to be working. That’s when Mr.Holder called :D Before I get to this guy, I must mention some details about Ravi here. If we were ever a group of 12 & if i have to describe my relationship with him totally unexaggerated, then he was the only one who never liked me around. But that was ok! We all have our own choices & I respected that. An opener in our game of Marriage, a sensitive, nice guy who has been a great friend of my best friend, the 3rd musketeer for years. After knowing him for 3 years, I was taken aback by his splendid, caring & inoffensive behaviour. “Was it me or him???”, was ringing in my mind. So Mr.Holder aka Holdy aka the 4th & the final musketeer arrived & made my day. My one & only dearest friend who may not speak to me for a week or 2 but will check on me when he is down or when I am low or when he is off work and booze :D. “Just sit by his side, silently stay there for an hour or a minute & leave, you still would know you made the best conversation ever”. :) My sweetest & most caring buddy who likes turmeric powder in maggie with a tadka :).. yeah.. Someone who’s always “been there”! People say I am always rough with my ‘guy’ friends... but he is one guy I have never ever raised my hand on :) I couldn’t.

So when he arrived, we started discussing our plans for the next day (as I was pouring the masala, in the steaming water, to prepare a huge kadhai full of Maggie ;) for the starved souls). Pratap said Nandi Hills!( A place which is around 70kms away from the main city of Bangalore towards Yelahanka). I said ok :) (the reaction was spontaneous) “We could take my car! We are 5 people right? My car will be comfortable, what say?” ” I will drive!” Ravi added, I agreed gladly. So what time? Aha!! Not so soon honey, do we ever come to a consensus without a tiff ? :) Almost never! So what was it this time, well haathi had to book tickets in the morning for his travel next week? A valid genuine reason! So what do we do? I had suggestions, but I saw repugnance in a person’s attitude & that was a cause of concern for me because I had never seen that before. Anyway, we found a solution & Pratap & Ravi via Punjab(our adda, once upon a time) dropped me back home. Although I had to wake up at 3:30, dad & I had a long chat till 12 :) After I went off to bed, I dozed like a pig :P

At 3:45 AM sharp :) Pratap called me... which was a real surprise. :) Reminded me of those times when we would have to leave for a trip early in the morning & I would call everyone to wake them up :) I was up by then anyway. After an hour and a half, these guys finally turned up :D And what do I get to see, Only Ravi & pratap! I was surprised, I thought we found a solution to haathi’s problem.. I was :( disappointed when suddenly Pratap broke the news that as usual, holdy and haathi went to have tea :) Ok! So we started our drive towards the most beautiful sunrise, I had seen in a longgg time :). The road was good & Ravi drove really well. He had a great control on speed & 120km/hr seemed as 40 km/hr :P, pratap was mum & holdy was constantly cribbing & bugging us on why were we wasting a Sunday morning without sleep and food :))) Rahul cracking his usual jokes & I was enjoying every minute of it. Finally to put an end to holdy’s cribbing; we popped out the Aloo bhujia packet from pratap’s bag, it worked :). At 6:10 am, we drove in & Man!!! What a chilly morning it was :) After the freaking hot temperature in AP, this place was heaven :). Mild fog, wind gushing down your nerves like 1000 needles piercing through, quiet & beautiful, a breath taking site! We all chose a corner to be by ourselves & after our moments of admiration, we moved to this small canteen sort of a place to grab a bite. :) Holdy was more than happy & there we were, ordering one round of Bread Omelette, a round of Maggie, another round of Maggie & a hot sip of tea. Burp! :P Well if that sounded filling, think again, because we are talking about the ex-NESA man, fully charged :). As we came out of the canteen, a thela wala (a vendor selling goods on the cart :P) was selling mango’s (khatte wale ;)) and holdy n haathi cudn’t stop themselves ;) , so they bought one and after all had grabbed their share :P I had the privilege of having the guthli.. ;) Something is better than nothing :P

After a long walk around the hill, the strong, daring and “charming” men suddenly sounded weak, huffing & puffing :)) 23-24 yrs “old” software profs :D what a site it was!! Loaded ourselves back in the machine & left the serene beauty non-tampered and raced to our next destination, Dada’s place :); Yes! my bong bro who tied the knot last yr to a very sweet and talented gal named Payel. When I see them together, there is only one expression i feel :) Happiness! They are simply perfect for each other and when we attack his place, she, as always, would be a terrific host by serving these bhukkad brats loads of food and mishthi :D On our way back, Pratap drove the car for a while & when Ravi finally convinced him to come back to the passenger seat, He said, “ What a marvel, I will surely buy this car someday”. So after completing another sumptuous round of hogging at dada’s place, we bid the couple good bye and headed back to my cocoon. The perfect ending was after 4 rounds of food, holdy exclaimed “oh great! ghar jaake chana chawal khayenge :D!!!” and haathi responded as all burst out laughing... “Kya aadmi hai sala !! “:).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Travel without Ticket....Speaking of experience ;)

On 27th March 2009, a holiday on the occasion of Ugadi was declared in Hyderabad & Bangalore. So On March 26th, I decided to take an Off and head to my all time fav hangout, Bangalore! On 25th night, I boarded the Rajdhani (wondering how a sleeper class traveler, suddenly boarded the Rajdhani? :) Well, it was dad who had booked the tickets & daddy's ladli will have all the luxury during her travel;)) By the way, the service on the train sucked this time. Till 9:30 PM, not even a bottle of water was served. My mom repeats a proverb in tamil quite often, "veetu choru irrundha, virundh choru irrukum", which means "if you have home made food with you, you will find all sorts of things to eat outside else nothing".
Fortunately, my regular travelling has taught me, that whenever you travel, 3 things that you should carry with you is a bottle of water, spare cash(apart from the one which you are going to spend on your regular needs) & a biscuit packet :P You never know where you will need it :).

Peacefully, after I hogged my dinner, I dozed off only to realize at 6am that Banglore had arrived. As usual I took the pre-paid auto coupon & headed home. After an awesome holiday with my loved ones, on Sunday I had to head back to Hyderabad, leaving me with the lovely memories of a productive & great extended weekend.
With a heavy heart, I reached the Bangalore City station, as always, bought a bottle of water & some snacks to munch on, knowing that I was travelling in the luxurious 2nd AC coach (again thanks to Papa :)) in Kacheguda express, I was imagining myself, reading my Jhumpa Lahiri "An unaccustomed earth", munching, and enjoying the travel thoroughly :) (In Phoebee's word) "Bam!!" something had gone wrong... what was it??

Well let me take you on a flash back ride here. When I left for Bangalore, I had checked my PNR status for the return ticket which was waiting list No.3 then. I was expecting by the end of 3 days, it will get confirmed (banking on my previous experiences). And on Saturday,
It did! :) On Saturday night, I saw my ticket status as confirmed & had got a nice berth too. So great! I had a good night sleep, had a fun Sunday with my very close friends and the rest is what I mentioned in the previous para. So what went wrong? Well, I have a habit of checking the passenger list before boarding the coach & because I had a confirmed ticket,
I knew what my coach and berth number were. As always, I just walked till the place where the list was pasted and checked.. & "Bam!” my name is missing from the list. On that berth there was an old lady. "This has to be a mistake, what the hell is this??, why is my name not there in the list!!" were my thoughts.

So I scrolled through the whole list and confirmed that I was missing! Oh my god!!! "Alright Pavs, don't panic! There is a possibility, that the coach number has changed, so lets check the other coach", was how I convinced myself. Next coach checked, 1st AC list checked (sometimes they upgrade your class if there is no vacancy, again by experience :P), 3rd AC list checked...
No sign of my name on the lists... "They definitely have made a mistake! My ticket online shows the confirmation!!!" echo in my head. Let's recheck the status again, I called my best buddy Pratap who was down with fever then for my rescue. He checked online and confirmed that my ticket was confirmed with the same coach and berth number for 28th. Then I decided, I will meet the TT & discuss it with him, I am sure he will know what is wrong. I had my laptop
& a very useful relience data card connection if he needed a confirmation. So I smiled to myself & consoled that all will be fine once the TT arrives.

Clock's ticking... 6:07pm,.... where in the vicinity,6:14... No clue yet... 6:18, what the heck!!.. 6:20 is the departure time!!! 6:22... Finally a dark figure walks in and looks at me waiting outside. I immediately pounded on him like a hungry Lion :). I explained my situation to him & asked him to verify, but he was quite convinced that my ticket was not confirmed, after
he verified the list. As soon as he took my ticket in his hand, the train started. "Oh hell!!! Now what??!" was my thought, I boarded the train & he boarded the train behind me. As I continued to make a polite and gracious ;) argument with him, he suddenly asked me "THE QUESTION!"... "What is the date today Madam?" I replied with sheer innocence, "28th March! Why?” a guy waiting in the queue to talk to the TT responded from behind my back, "It's 29th today!".

"Okayyy!! So now I don't have a ticket! Oh lord! I don't have a ticket!! yaaaeeeeeekkksss!!!what the #@$% has happened! How did it happen? What is going to happen now? What am I going to do?", when all these things were screeching in my head, My best friend(the ocean in my eyes, gladly came to the rescue) :P, Yes! I cried.. (Ok, before you make any assumption, just 2 drops fell out of my eyes only 2 drops, just to add a dramatic effect there :)) Then I reconciled & asked the TT to get me a ticket( all those lovely dreams of enjoying my "luxury" trip had faded away by now) and I was back to myself. I requested him to give me a Sleeper ticket but due to the festival rush, the sleeper had huge waiting lists. He was such a wonderful human being that I had no words to express my gratitude! He checked the list and asked me to go and sit in a berth(assigned to the TT) in 3rd AC, He said he will come and let me know where he can place me after an hour. I was relieved :) as if I had just been saved from falling into a cliff :) I collected my luggage & went & sat there. The next 3 hours, he couldn't assign me anything.

Finally at 9:30 PM he found 3 berths empty in the 3rd AC coach, which he offered. "3rd AC, Pavs!! Do you have that much money right now to buy the 3rd AC ticket???" ringed in my head.
"How much is it going to cost me?", I asked him. He did some calculation, reduced my fine too, :) and told me "981!". I smiled! I removed all the cash I had in my wallet & including the change, I had Rs.1070. :) I immediately bought the ticket; he returned Rs120 & asked me to keep that amount JIC. I was dumbstruck! I thanked him, moved to the berth, settled my luggage & climbed up. I thanked god, called my family and friends who were waiting desperately to get an update on the situation.
Alas! I could go to sleep now & as I lay there & ran my thoughts over the incident, I realized one thing, that the world is still humane & there are honest and lovely people left who believe in helping the needy than warming up their pockets. May god bless that man!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shillong & Kaziranga --- My first step towards exploring India :)

"Gar firdaus bar rue zameen ast / hameen asto, hameen asto, hameen ast” was what Moghul Emperor Jahangir had to say in persian after being overwhelmed by the beauty of Kashmir, I share the similar feelings when It comes to Shillong, The Scotland of the East, a beautiful capital of Meghalaya & one of my personal favorites :), about 1500 m above sea level. It was quite sparsely populated in the 70’s, but by 90’s due to the immense development in its tourism, Shillong had steadily grown in size and marked a significance in its own traditional way, from a mere village to a prospering city. In the early 90’s (JFYI, I was 7-8 yrs old :P ) my folks decided to take a road trip to this splendid hill station which at that time was one of the very few hill stations with motor able roads. We had just bought a scratchless 2nd hand pearl white Omni, a darling which I adored for years, a big achievement by my dad, for those days owning a car was a big thing for a junior officer with a white collared job with no family royalty. My folks decided, as it was their 1st road trip after my dad learnt driving & routes were unknown to us (we didn’t have Google then, to help :P ) and being a hill station, the curves would be dicey… So we decided to travel with another family (they in their car, we in ours) and make the most of the trip :D. Hopefully, now my friends will understand where do I inherit the wheels on my feet from ( I mean the travel freak nature :P) :)

The more you get to know this place, the more it fascinates you. Additionally to the natural beauty, the Khasi tribe, who are predominantly Christians, a significant Bengali and nepali minorities and a matrilineal society (An interesting aspect for those who don’t know- the mother is head of family; youngest daughter owns all the property and mothers surname is passed on t
o children, sounds exciting right ;)), the 1:1 male female ratio, a very strong literacy rate, makes it a place worth living.

The Assam style houses with slanting roofs, large number of windows and wooden floors look like a piece of art (and happen to be a good idea, considering Shillong's climate where rains and earthquakes are very common). Shillong receives heavy rainfalls during monsoon and the rainy season usually lasts longer than rest of India. An umbrella is therefore a necessity while packing your bag :). Although people avoid the rainy season, it is generally the time when city is clean (rains wash the streets of all garbage) and waterfalls are in full strength.

From Jorhat (a small town in Assam) shillong was 376kms (thanks to tourism & technology today, there are flights plying from these places, there are no rail lines in meghalaya, so guwahati will be the end of your train journey, there are buses (private & govt.), quite old though, which ply from Guwahati and other towns,there are Shared taxis available from Paltan Bazar area. These are generally SUV sized vehicles (Tata Sumo & Mahindra Bolero) shared between 8 people. They take around 3 hours to reach Shillong from Guwahati. There are 3 & 4 star hotels and resorts for available for accomodation) we set course for this exciting trip, & our first halt was Kaziranga -- The land of “on the edge” Rhino’s :). On the Bank of River Brahmaputra, the Reserve Forest was designated in 1900’s after Lord Curzon’s wife found that the precious lives were on the verge of extinction. I must mention a few of my experiences here, The river Brahmaputra, is Gigantic & fierce!!! You stand at the bank of the river (which I have), especially before the rainy season (dude, dont even think about it during the rainy season, it overflows and grabs every thing in its way)... & what a sight it was! You can hear the rustling wind, a haunting noise which could give you goosebumps all over your body. This was the first time I came to terms with the bare reality that mother nature is actually so powerful that if they didn't mind their own boundries, this one river had the complete potential to wipe out the north-eastern states from the map of India :P. Ok! I think I should stop acting dramatic and then get back to my adventure :)

Though we did not put up at kaziranga, the National Park has been one of the best safaris on my list. The majestic Rhino's are a beauty to adore live.
After a short halt there (we went on a boating ride at a resort too), we continued our drive to the hills. Our second halt (for lunch) was a small trekking path on our way. This very place made me discover my inner fear of heights. I was the only one (black sheep ;)) who backed out, when all the men went for a small trek, because I couldn't walk through those not too steep paths. To be very honest that was the first and the last time, I backed out of an adventure :) I never repeated that mistake again, and have always fought my fears (which is quite commendable according to me) :)


Bus - For places within city limits, city buses is a good option. There are two kinds of buses that pass from Shillong - City bus and Bazar bus. City buses are what tourists should use. Bazar buses are for villagers coming to Shillong to sell their products. City buses are notoriously slow. Drivers move their buses from bus-stop only when the bus gets packed or another bus arrives. Many a times you will find that walking would be a better idea. Bus tickets are max. Rs. 5 for one journey. You will find many locals paying in form of betel leaves instead of cash.

Taxis - Black and Yellow unmetered shared taxis ply within city limits. These are faster and are always shared; rates may vary from Rs 5/- to Rs 15/-.
For sightseeing it is a good idea to hire a taxi cab for a full day. Try fixing the fares before the travel. Hotel staff will be able to give you an idea of the reasonable rates. Most of the infrastructure around is basic and many roads outside the city are in a bad shape due to heavy rains and poor maintenance, but within the city the roads are quite good.


Umiam Lake (north of shillong):

A beautiful lake, north of Shillong, resembles the 'Lochs' or lakes of Scotland, and is a must-see for all tourists. This lake is man-made and is better known as 'Badapani' (big water) for its sheer size. There is a water sports complex & a garden ( Lum Nehru park) beside the sports complex. This was the first time I had been to a "huge" lake, and was soo excited to go on a speed boat ride :) A small temple like structure and the beautiful meadows on the banks were an unforgettable sight.

Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous North East Culture:

Run by the Salesian order of the Catholic Church, the Don Bosco Museum is a truly amazing repository of information on the entire North Eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. Located within the precincts of the Sacred Heart Church, the edifice itself is shaped like a spiral and its distinct form is discernible from quite some distance away. It has an amazing collection of attire, accoutrements, weapons, ornamentation and rare photographs. This is also the largest cultural museum in the whole Asia.

Wards Lake:

Wards Lake is an artificial lake surrounded by a fairly large garden, boating facilities are available. It has a wooden bridge connecting the 2 banks & Lots of lotus plants on either side of the lake. One can find amazing colorful fishes too. A small cafeteria is there to provide refreshments. A fountain, dancing to the tunes of songs is a crowd puller.

Lady Hydari Park:

The park has variety of local flowering plants and orchids & a small zoo within. It’s the best hang out for kids, as there are few swings, sea-saws, slips for them. It is a famous picnic spot for local population & this was the place where we dug into our picnic baskets too for some tasty goodies :).

Sweet Falls:

Located in the Happy Valley, it was a very steep fall. Extreme caution is advised as there are no barricades and rocks & always slippery (due to rain or dew). We were three kids in the group, and as I was the senior most :P It was my responsibility to look after the kiddy’s(reminder, I was 7-8 yrs old then :)) My little sister and the other gal, were holding umbrellas due to the drizzles caused by the falls, you can imagine the force & height from which the water was falling. The elders barred us from going to the lower ends of the falls, as the path was too slippery and dicey. But what a sight it was, even today, its as fresh as vegetables in my mind ;), what an analogy :P

Elephant Falls:

It is located in Upper Shillong area which also houses the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Airforce :) (This was the place where we were put up for those 2-3 days). The scenic fall is not continuous as it is a collection of smaller falls. It has footpath leading to bottom of the fall where it reaches a small lake. Its name elephant falls was given by British, because there was a rock by the side of the fall which resembled an elephant.

Shillong Peak:

It is the highest point in the state of Meghalaya (1965 meters above sea level). There is a view-point where you can get a breathtaking view of the city. The city view at night is a scene a memorable one. It is a host to a radar station for the Indian Air force and tourists are advised to declare their cameras while reaching view-point and not to take pictures of radar facilities.

My personal take on places to visit:

  • Take a walk through Iewduh (Bara Bazar) - It is one of the biggest market in North-East India.
  • Visit the State Central Library - Located near Dhankheti, it was started at the time of British and holds many rare books and almanacs.
  • Explore the forest around Shillong peak - There are no large or dangerous animals and forest is full of rare and exotic plants - orchids, pines including the famous insect eating pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana).
  • Elephant falls; one can get his/her picture taken in traditional Naga dress at the falls. The dress is provided but you have to shoot your own picture.This place is a difficult outing, especially harsh on knees. An elderly person may get a coronary climbing 250 steps.

For the shoppaholics, Traditional bamboo handicrafts and woolen handmade shawls are most popular buys. Additionally art-crafts made of wood and bamboo funitures are popular. Bamboo shoot pickles are favorites of the tourists. Two or three small shops at elephant falls sell traditional naga dresses, variety of caps, bamboo artifacts, jungle knives and birds carved out of wood. Bargaining is a great way to get the best for the best price :)


There are a variety of restaurants in Shillong. Most of the better ones are located in Police Bazar area. Try Momos (steamed Tibetan dumplings filled with cabbage and pork). Shillong has a pre-dominantly Christian population, therefore pork and beef are easily available in restaurants run by local Khasis, although cleanliness remains an issue in smaller food-outlets. I don’t remember where all we stopped for a snack, but these are a few inputs I got from my dad and net, Ginger at Hotel Polo Towers is good, Royal Heritage has a nice restaurant.

Shillong is the drinker's paradise. Because of the tax exemption on alcohol in this state, you will be hard pressed find cheaper drinks anywhere else in India, if you are the type who buys liquor from a shop and drinks in your hotel room. If you like partying, then Shillong has quite a few pubs & clubs. Though those days none of these exisited:

Platinum, Hotel Polo Towers
Cloud 9, Centre Point
Picadilly (English Pub), Hotel Polo Towers
Tango at Police Bazar in a shopping arcade
Cocktails at Hotel Alpine Continental
Nightlife is generally at its peak on Fridays and Saturdays. Sundays are very very dull.

After an exhaustive yet memorable tour around that city, we finally bid adieu to the place, and made a promise to visit it again. I did visit it 2-3 times later, but after moving out of North east, I never got an opportunity to go back. But if you are sick anired of the crowded and exhaustive list of hill stations in India, and are really keen on rejuvenating and feel a the difference in the air, Shillong is the place for you :). A colleague of mine, visited Shillong & got a different flavor of it as they luckily met Mr Pradip Modak-a great Govt guide & taxi-driver for years. He is honest & loves to portrait his motherland to the visitors,

Without any time limit. They could see many remote & rarely explored places because of him. His contact no. is 09863087418 / 09862996431 & you can just call him before u reach Shillong. My colleague suggested that I put this info on the blog and help others who want to enjoy the true essence of Shillong.

He also suggests that people who have ample time, should go for the daily excursions by taxi to well known places like Cherapunji, Mawsinram, Northiang, & Mynenglong. According to Shillong tourism there are 5-8 sites in each place, to be visited within stipulated 6-8hours by taxi, & prices are prefixed.

Best time to visit would be between end of Sept to March & with this my friends, I sign out from this long blog post :) Hope you travel freaks would find it helpful :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Innovative gifting Ideas....An Expression of Love...

When the word ‘GIFT’ is mentioned, there is always a colorful image envisaged by all of us which brings a smile on every face, young or old. We don’t care what it costs or why is it given, but just the thought of it gets us excited and curious of what is it going to be. All my life, when ever I have been complimented, I have always adored the fact that the precious thing that I am getting complimented for, is a gift from someone; Someone who actually put his/her grey cells to work and thoughtfully picked up something which I would like and would make my day special. On the other side, I have also had the jitters whenever I get something for someone & keep hoping that hopefully my efforts don’t go into vain. To come to think of it, most of the times I have been successful, but there is always room for improvement and innovation has no bounds. I have seen, way too many people struggling to think and put in their heartfelt emotions into the gift that they are giving. There are some really smart ones (business oriented), who have actually been able to en-cash on the less imaginative and “bijee” guys who try hitting a balance between their work & personal life. But I am not here for that! I just thought it will be a good thing to share some of my thought provoking ideas which are unisexual & may be you guys can add to the list.
So let’s see, what we have in store. Mind you, I am gonna try and keep the budget as low as possible ;) as the recession may pinch people’s pocket :), so here we go:

  • Customize anything & it conveys it all; this is one of the reasons why the market has suddenly seen an outburst in various kinds of products. It could be t-shirts, mugs, calendars, small book (tastefully done stuff with the person’s personal life engraved i.e. friends, family, work etc). You can just pick up a plain t-shirt and paint it yourself with colors and glitters or just get a bag and accessorize it with bells and ribbons and some embroidery. It works :)
  • Hand made stuff. They are something which never go outta fashion. Basic things like cards to hand made paper albums, bags, embossed diaries, key chains, hankies with letter’s of their name done on it, earrings, rings or junk jewelry for men & women who fancy them. I remember when I was in school, a very close friend of mine took alotta pain in stitching a top for me, though it was not my size, I always loved it and wore it proudly for 4 years, till it wore out & finally had to be packed and placed back in my trunk.
  • Getting a sketch done, hmmm, interesting! Gone are the days when getting a name written on the rice grain was considered the most innovative way to make someone feel special. Here is the electronic era, where within 3 mins u have a sketch ready with unmatched perfection and in various styles :P
  • Board games. Trust me! a great way to throw a party. Call on a few friends, drinks (choice is all ur’s :P ), foooood and a board game. You will never forget the get-to. There are various kinds of stuff available in the market, like the Monopoly, Scrabble, Card games like the poker etc.
  • A beautiful pair of gold fish in a small round shaped Aquarium is a heart winning gift any day. Although! It’s very important to analyze and see if the owner will be able to look after the tender lives.
  • Go Green buddy! :) Gift someone a plant, ones which do not need too much of attention and can survive the changing weather comfortably. When it grows in front of ur eyes, it makes anyone feel good :)
  • Multipurpose survival kit. A must for a lot of people. Hey don’t get me wrong, this is the kit which contains the small pen knife, bottle opener, nail filer, screw-driver etc. This is a really helpful kit for those who travel a lot :), and some day if they get into trouble, they would be thankful to you :D
  • A picnic basket with loads of handpicked goodies or may be a really well decorated basket with the person’s favorite wafers, cookies, snacks and drinks.
  • Here I think I can get a bit biased based on the gender. For guys, a Cricket bat or a basketball is an ever cherished possession and a stuff toy or a vanity case can always be a great option for a gal. Though I wouldn’t like to segregate it this way as a basketball and a stuff toy, both are my fav’s :P
  • Last but never the least, a home baked cake with (if possible) an edible form of a memorable and cherished photograph on it.
  • On popular demand, I am adding a few of the suggestions given :), small antiques which are inexpensive but have a meaning to convey.
  • Hand Crafted flower vase
Well that’s my take on gifts :) but If you have ideas, do drop me a line, I would love to add it to the list. Now let me hit the bed people!! I shouldn’t be ignoring a few unforgettable facts that in this era of rising unemployment, I still have a wonderful job :) So good night, sayonara :D

PS: watch out for my next post on an unending journey that I had started way back in 1980’s :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Writer Invented :P

"When I was young, I 'd listen to the radioooo... waiting for my favorite song...
When they played I sing along, it made me smileeee..."

Humming these lines to myself, I inaugurate and bless this world of blogger's with my first blog :). Though I am not all prepared for this today, but I am sure I am all set to pen down all my experiences and incidents here, and have some fun with you guys by sharing all that I have ;)....
Some of my friends who have been blogging for years are extremely good at it & taking them as an inspiration, here I am:). They are really expressive and good at spinning the words & as expected, I possess none of those qualities, but that's the reason why I am here, to pull a feather from my heart and let you grab it. Take care & C U soon ;)