Destinations to romance the rains

You’ve enjoyed it from your terrace, in your room nicely tucked in with those Maggi noodles, on a long drive… now soak in the monsoon magic with these getaways you can explore this season. Consider these destinations that don their rain-soaked avatars with effortless charm.

20160730_233848-1The Monsoon Ayurveda Treatment in Kerala

Green paradise in Wayanad: Located between the Kunnur and Kozhikode districts in Kerala, Wayanad is a sparkling green emerald sprawled across the slopes of the Western Ghats. The rainy season starts in June and lasts all the way till mid- November, during which the already lush landscape takes on an even more vibrant shade of green and everything, is washed squeaky clean. The most enjoyable way to experience it is by checking into a jungle resort; even better if it has a tree house. During the occasional dry spells in between, venture out and everything else the region has to offer. Wayanad wows tourists with some interesting prehistoric archaeological sites, tea plantations and thick forests, and is also home to some of the oldest tribes in India.

Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand: Popularly referred to as the playground for fairies and nymphs, the valley of Flowers in Uttrakhand is an enchanting spot that unveils its beauty only during the months of July and August. Formed by retreating glaciers, it remains blanketed in snow and ice through the remaining part of the year- it’s only after the thaw that it gets inundated with a sudden profusion of color. With around 300 varieties of flowers – including wild roses, geraniums and asters- set against the stunning backdrop of Garhwal hills, with gurgling brooks and streams meandering through, it’s enough to take your breath away. Be prepared to trek the 15 km trail that gets you there.

Cascaded beauty at Malshej Ghat: Located at an altitude of 700 m, Malshej Ghat is one of the less frequented, albeit most charming hill stations in Maharashtra. Surrounded by waterfalls cascading down its steep cliffs, Malshej Ghat is beautiful all year round. But the best time to visit is during the monsoon months, when the water gushes with gusto and exotic flamingos migrate to its green environs. If you love being outdoors during the rains, there is no limit to your exploration here. From placid lakes and gushing waterfalls, to fun hiking trails and an extensive bird life, the place can thrill one and all.

Bamboo Forest Trail: Located in Maharashtra’s easternmost district, named Chandrapur, Tadoba National Park referred to as “The Jewel of Vidharba” is the only central Indian park that is open during the monsoon. Apart from offering an amazing opportunity to explore the bamboo forests of Tadoba, this place promises a rendezvous with tigers and their cubs during the rains.

Be Monsoon-Ready

  1. Dress Appropriately: Opt for loose fitting, light clothing like shorts as opposed to heavier knits that take a long time to dry.
  2. Wear Sturdy shoes: Always wear well-soled shoes/sandals.
  3. Do not forget that umbrella and your raincoat
  4. Travel prepared: Avoid those creepy crawlies with mosquito repellant, anti-itch creams and disinfectants.
  5. Keep an eye on the news: Avoid areas that may be dangerously hit by rains.

Keep the Monsoon Magic alive… 🙂

Cheers!!

Harness the power of your thoughts- Once you learn to do it, that’s it!!

One of the biggest gifts is within our reach. To achieve it, all we have to is to open our mental eyes and behold the treasure house within us. Imagine to not fulfilling the potential of our own mind, it’s like spending a quarter of your life craving for something, only to realize that it was always been with you, in a package that we did not care to open. Such is the power of your mind, which holds with it all the possibilities one can imagine.

Many people are closed off to their own potential because they do not know this storehouse of infinite intelligence within them. Whatever you want, you can draw it forth. It just requires getting a singular focus of what you intend to do with that fearsome power, once unleashed.

Mark twain on many occasions has confided to the world that he never worked in his life. All his great writings and humor were his ability to tap the boundless reservoir of his own mind.

At the age of 14, self-help guru and guide Dr. Wayne Dyer, affirmed himself that he would be on Steve Allen’s “The tonight show” one day. Two decades later, when he actually was, he realized how he created that moment for himself with the “powerful knowing” he had in his teen. It wasn’t a dream or something he wished for, it was a definite intention he was aware of, which created the future moment for him. He believed that by living this “future moment”, he activated the dormant forces that transformed his dream to reality.

Dr. Bruce Lipton, developmental Biologist, explains the phenomena, he states that with the help of our beliefs, we can manipulate the way cells read our genes and DNA. The mind’s function is to create coherence between dreams and reality. If we believe something positive or negative, the mind creates that reality for us.

Interestingly, most people do not realize that the mind can only think thoughts we allow it to. Thoughts are a powerful tool that travel within to our subconscious levels and influence our behavior. The real challenge lies in unravelling the gift of mind and then harnessing the force, thus unleashed. Constantly plant positive thoughts and weed out the unwanted and negative stuff, breathe easy and It’s not going to take long to realize how easy this is to practice.

This always works for me. Try it out: When upset, identify the cause and tell your mind to put off thinking about the issue for some time. Meanwhile indulge in happy thoughts in a disciplined manner, rooting out negativity from your mind. By the time you get to refocus on your problem, your mind will be a happier place, and the issue, less threatening. Do Not demand things or force it to happen, this only create conflicts with your mind. Natural sincerity, gentleness and supportiveness are the best ways to ensure that our mind bridges the gap between our thoughts and reality.

Thanks for Stopping by!!

Cheers!!

Who is your best teacher? Mine is Travel…

IMG-20160714-WA0005There is no discounting that you learn some of the most important skills in the classroom but the lessons you learn about life when you leave your comfort zone and step into the unknown are incomparable. Travel teaches you some of the best lessons of life.

Trust your intuition

If you travel on your own (by not opting for no-sweat group tours that have everything planned for you), you are likely to tackle situations where you have to make a choice or a decision immediately. No amount of research or preparedness can come to your rescue. But on the bright side, discovering things on your own, like what’s the cheapest way to get from Point A to point B, how much you should trust your instinct when talking to a stranger, how much to spend each day etc. all go a long way to smarten you up. When you are in another country all together, you feel less judged and more courageous too.

You don’t have to shell out a bomb to travel

Yes, anybody can travel. If you decide to religiously save a certain amount from your paycheck, you can easily save a good amount for a good trip. And a trip doesn’t mean that you have to book a ridiculously expensive hotel. You can stay with a local or a decent accommodation, work along the way, eat simple food, take public transport etc. and stick to your budget. There are many simple tricks to minimize your spending.

Accept, Accept and Accept

Don’t you like making plans and hope life turns out exactly that way? When you are travelling around the world, things often go wrong, but you have to keep calm, be flexible and learn to roll with the punches. In hindsight, unexpected events teaches you acceptance. Travel is the best way to expose you to uncertainty.

Age is just a number

You are never too old to love your travelling and backpacking dreams. When you hit your 60s or 70s, you are often in a better financial position and can travel stress-free.

All Things Romantic

Every single time I have traveled, I have discovered romance in me. It has nothing to do with falling in love with a person. It is about discovering and romancing a whole new side of you that you have just discovered. As a tourist, you enjoy the beauty of simple, everyday life. You become aware of the wonderful things nature has to offer.

The world isn’t a bad place to live in

While it is important to take basic precautions while travelling, but you learn to trust people and your faith in humanity increases. Travel helps you get rid of race, religion and cultural stereotypes. When you travel, you realize that people, all over the world, are not very different- though they may do things differently.

Your management skills improve

Planning a travel is like a crash course in better management. Whether you are planning a trip with friends or going solo, a lot of planning and coordination are required starting to take an approval from your boss for that week off ( :P)  to book your tickets, find the best budgeted places to stay etc.

Reasons travel is better than ever before

Good Roads:

The betterment of roads and infrastructure, with every passing year, is a sign of global prosperity. The biggest plus point? Now, there are actually roads to places that were inaccessible. This means there are many more holidaying spots than ever before.

The miracle called ‘Mapping’

On my recent visit to Sikkim, fortunately with mapping applications and GPS, We could explore more than what was planned. It is possible to know the right route in few seconds.

More choice, information

With so many more airlines, routes, destinations, flight times and connecting cities to choose from, you can easily escape the most heavily-trafficked airports while actually getting closer to your preferred destination. Moreover, you can find the cheapest hotel to stay in, the nearest gas station, shopping areas around your location, weather conditions, currency exchange rate- all of this and much more in a jiffy. This has brought a massive change in attitude. People are more confident of travel today.

So materialize that travel plan that has been in your bucket list for long… 🙂

Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

Next time order your coffee like a LOCAL….

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Have you ever got those stares while ordering your favorite cup of coffee? An espresso please!” or “a latte please” isn’t always the ideal way to order coffee at an unfamiliar place. What you might end up getting is nothing more than a cup of steamed milk! Coffee is prepared and drunk differently across the world, and orderly your morning cuppa without knowing the lingo can be tricky.

FUN FACT….:)

Coffee was introduced to India in the 16th century by a holyman named Baba Budan. He discovered the joy of the drink while on a pilgrimage to Mecca and smuggled around seven beans back home.

 

TURK KAHVESI

A famous Turkish proverb says, “Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death and as sweet as love”. And that’s how they like it, with grounds settling at the bottom of the cup. Their brew is thick and usually served after meals from a long-handled copper pot called a cezve, alongside chewy Turkish candy. Locals prefer their cup of Turk Kahvesi sugar free, but if you are a first timer, even if you are a perpetual coffee lover, have it with sugar to make its powerful flavor palatable.

Better to enjoy it rather than to abide to the taste of real coffee…. 🙂

CAFEZINHO

Why won’t Brazilians love their brews? After all, they are the largest producers of coffee in the world; Brazil produces around 40 percent of the world’s coffee. In fact, even nursery kids are offered milky coffee, along with caffeinated iced tea on a daily basis.

The Brazilian favorite is cafezinho- a strong, dark and sweet filtered coffee served in a small cup of china or plastic, normally pre-sugared. If you wish to sample a shot of cafezinho, look out for petrol pumps and small restaurants (places where you eat a pre-fixed meal) that offer the brew free of charge. It’s their way of showing hospitality.

CAFÉ AU LAIT

If you think ordering coffee in a French café or bar will be same as ordering one back home, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. The French look at their cup as a palate as a cleanser rather than an energizer. They begin their with café-au-lait- a simple coffee with steamed milk, often served in a mug or pot, wide enough to allow the dunking of baguettes, croissants and other light, sweet bites.

French coffee is not meant to be consumed on the street, so there is no takeaway. But if you are in a hurry, drink you café-au-lait standing at the bar, instead of sitting at the table. You will not only have a chance to strike a fun conversation with the locals, but also end up saving some money. French cafes have different pricing: Bar, indoor table and outdoor table.

ESPRESSO

Italy would grind to a halt without coffee. Espresso is Italy’s classic brew. This strong drink is served tiny cups and commonly sipped while standing at cafes (often known as bars). Do not sit unless you have a real strong reason to do so; Italian cafes charge around 20-25% more to sit at a table with waiter service. A few no-nos when ordering coffee in Italy:

  1. Never use the word “espresso” when ordering one- this is a technical term in Italy, not an everyday one. Just ask for an un caffe.
  2. Never ask for a cappuccino or latte post 11 am; Italians will think you are weird, they believe too much milk unsettles your stomach after food.
  3. Never ask for Latte, you will just get a glass of milk, ask for “Latte macchiato” (milk “marked” with espresso)

IRISH COFFEE

Coffee meets cocktail with this after-drink. Irish coffee includes hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and crowd-pleasing whipped cream topping. Irish coffee was invented in 1942 to cheer up passengers after they were disembarked from a Pam Am flying boat due to bad weather. Head chef Joe Sheridan thought of adding whiskey to the coffee to warm up the American tourists on a cold winter’s night, and his drink remains popular even today.

JAMAICAN BLUE MOUNTAIN

Considered by many connoisseurs to be one of the world’s finest, rarest and most expensive of all coffees, it is grown in the fog shrouded Blue Mountains of Jamaica. It is admired for its delicate balance of floral aroma, acidity and full body. However, it is the sweet, mellow, lingering finish that elevates this coffee above all others.

Know the coffee culture around the world to make sure you get your much needed caffeine fix, no matter where you are.

Cheers!!!

 

 

 

Are we qualified to criticize others?

A strange culture of criticism pervades life these days, where everyone is a critic- setting sights on errors and indiscretions, more on achievements and triumphs. Today, with social media, self-appointed critics deluge you with opinions and ratings. Everyone has a view on where PM Narendra Modi is going wrong and what his next step should be. A minister just has to open his mouth before media pounces and makes it a matter of national debate, involving wilting insults and shattering downers. With eyes trained on indiscretions, we ignore the achievements and recognition. Have we become a nation of critics? Has the habit of condemnation and faultfinding is now a pastime, if yes, we need to sound the danger bells.

Today, people love having an opinion, preferably negative. And so, slowly the limelight has shifted from proud moments to a side of criticism and stereotypes. We have come to the stage of “good news” is “No news”. Criticism and pulling down others to feel good about you is a sign of low self-esteem.

Everyone has an opinion and that is fine- but people get judgmental and sometimes cruelly so. Some people are so critical all the time that it becomes difficult to discuss anything with them. Their first response is negative- a sure way to discourage others from coming to you with ideas. Are you sure you are not one of them? Most such negative souls are unaware of this trait and claim they criticize because they are honest and they care. 🙂

Everyone wants a success story. Some get theirs by working hard; some by pulling down others and so seemingly taller. However, those who are truly superior do not need to prove anything by pulling down others.  Leaving aside the importance of constructive criticism, it helps us grow as a part of learning curve.

Today, we have become people waiting to pounce and denounce on social media. Each one is a potential journalist or sleuth, waiting to be propelled to fame with the latest muck to hit the ceiling, hoping for a post that goes viral. And this attitude then spills over into real life. A critical eye knows no limits.

Experience tells us that positive strokes work far better than ridicule. We have the power to make or break people through exposes. But we also still retain the power to motivate and galvanize the good amongst us. And in order to indulge in one, we must not forget the other!

When we criticize, let us also stay attuned to the good in those we deride. As my previous boss/mentor (Srikanth Sir, hope you are reading this…:))  said to me one day, “Whenever, anyone comes to me with a complaint, I insist on first hearing something good about the person they wish to criticize, for everyone must have some good in them too.” And I left with a smile.

 

Happy Reading!!!