An ode to 2017..

Saying that this year was life changing for me, would be an understatement. The year started with us planning a trip to Thailand for our 6th wedding anniversary. It was a great vacation, with beach visits and lots of family time. 3 months later, H was packing off to US. Goodbyes are never easy. And it is always a difficult time with S, missing him and being totally uncooperative.But in the middle of that life, I got an opportunity to visit Leh with my parents, while the grandparents babysat lil S. Leh trip, as expected, was incredible. We traveled from one mountainous region to another, braving hot sun, rain, and even snowfall. It is one place where the pictures don’t do any justice. The panoramic view is something that you take in and remember. You can’t ever capture the magnanimity of the landscape.

But the cake for change has to be, our move to this country, that I am now trying to call home. I have gone over this decision a thousand times in my head, and each time I came out convinced that it was wrong. I love my country, my city, with all it’s fallacies. I didn’t want to move here. Leaving behind my job, my financial independence, my parents, and friends. To start a new life. All over again.
But then, who said, Life was fair. H convinced me that it was best for our daughter who was really struggling with the pollution levels in NCR. And thankfully has been doing great health wise, ever since we landed here.

There are some things that you can never prepare yourself for. Like, being at home, tending to the house and cooking all day, without a “job”. So here I am, with a lot of time which I am utilizing to watch all the movies I missed owing to the “job”. Life is definitely coming a full circle, right? I am also finding it really difficult to maintain a routine because, you guessed it, no job. The first month was miserable with a feeling of listlessness and total loss of control. Slowly, I am beginning to really enjoy all this spare time and revel in being totally aimless. Until it’s time to get back to the real world.

And finally, I am slowly conquering my fear of cooking. I have never had any interest in cooking, and always made sure to avoid it. In fact, during my 3 year stay in Bangalore, I never took up a flat because that would require maintaining a kitchen. And so I always stayed put in a PG where a maid cooked for us. The maid arrangement continued after our marriage until…now. Never say never, right? After I moved here, I have been cooking at least 3 hot meals a day. I even managed to bake cookies which, if I may add, turned out quite yummy.

Home made cookies, anyone?

The way life has been throwing curve balls at us every year, I am quite convinced that I don’t really need any New Year Resolutions. I should just learn to swim with the flow, and learn the lessons along the way. How about that for a New Year Resolution? 🙂

And…..arrived!

I have been away for a while.  That this post is being written from a quiet cafe by the Rhine river in Germany should explain that. Yes,  I have reached here finally.  I say finally because the journey quite followed Murphy’s rule. If anything can go wrong,  it most probably will.  And so things did go wrong as much as they could.  I will write about it as soon as I have settled down a bit!

About the current scene! We are staying in a apartment just 100m away from the Rhine riverside in Dusseldorf. It’s a small city and our neighbourhood is quite peaceful.  Today, almost a week after having arrived,  I have seen the sun. Needless to say, there are so many people out for the first time today 🙂

The city is quiet and beautiful. The roads are lined with coffee shops and bars. There are trams and metro running everywhere.  One seriously can do without owning a vehicle here. And most importantly,  the roads are smooth and friendly for kids in strollers and people in wheelchairs.

So far I am loving the European summer, even though I could do with a little more sun 🙂

The Rhine riverside! 

 

To be cont’d. ..

The Birthday Diaries!

I turned an year older recently. Time to celebrate the beginning of a new one? Or to grieve the loss of one? I didn’t do either. I have never been too big on birthdays. Going berserk and celebrating and partying is not my style. The idea of a single day to commemorate an entire year doesn’t go down too well with me. We grow with each passing day. Shouldn’t we be doing our favorite things everyday? Reading, meeting family and taking vacations? 🙂

But that doesn’t mean anything because H won’t let the day go by as easily. He makes sure to make it special one way or the other. I love exploring new places, and so the last 2 years we just did that. We took vacations. I wrote about the first one, but never got around to writing about the vacation last year. We had gone to Amritsar and then the picturesque Mcleodgunj. This year, somehow, no plans materialized. The day was completely unplanned and we had just decided to take a leave from office and then decide on the day what we wanted to do.

We met both sets of parents and H‘s side of grand parents. Then went shopping and bought some stuff that we needed. Had my sweet cousins give us a surprise late evening as they dropped by and we cut the cake before 12. Again.

As for the gift, this is the best that a bibilophile like me could have asked for. Isn’t H a sweetheart? 🙂

From my to-read list!
An angry-birds reading light! 😉

Since M (the twin) is in US this year, the birthday cake was cut with the other half watching from skype.
Here goes the twins’ birthday cake and the skype session 🙂

Another one for the day! (courtesy my super awesome office friends)
 This completely unplanned birthday threw up some really unexpected surprises. Like every year, it was a day well spent with wishes from friends and family flying in from all parts of the world. The FB wall was inundated, so was the mail box and the phone was kept ringing. Thank you God for making me feel so blessed year after year 🙂 Thank you much!

Happy Birthday to me….!!!!

Completed a quarter of a century recently. Doesn’t really generate too many emotions within me. As they say, “Age is just a number, unless you happen to be a bottle of wine”. I totally agree 🙂
Since this was my first birthday post marriage, hubby dear gifted me a week’s vacation instead of buying me an obscenely expensive gift. I more than agreed with his idea. We both have a nomadic’s heart.
The tour started with Hyderabad, the home to one of my best friends, S, from college. She came to pick us up from the airport which is a good 40 km away from the city. S played a perfect hostess and took us sight seeing the City of Pearls. Had a great time visitng the Golconda fort, Salarjung Museum, Snow World, Birla Mandir and some of the famous eateries. Had a whale of a time, enjoying the spoils of a new city with H and S. At S’s home, her mom prepared some seriously lip smacking food and gifted me a saree too. AND, this was just the beginning of the trip. Love you S and aunty for taking care of us so wonderfully 🙂
S and I :-))

Met another friend S and his lovely wife N. S and I share a love-hate relationship since our college days. But contrary to my belief, he hasn’t mellowed down one bit. He gave me a good hearing recently, just like he used to. But ONLY this time, it was my mistake..!!! Our relationship can be best summed as Krackjack biscuits – sweet and salty. Thank you S and N for your time as well as company. It was totally a pleasure meeting you guys.

S, N, H and I  :-))

From Hyd, we reached Bangalore after an overnight journey by train. Since both H and I have stayed in Bangalore in our bachelor days, we have loads of friends here. Decided to stay at one of my friend’s R’s place. He and his lovely wife also took care of us very well. We left for our next destination on the same day. Travelled to Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu) by an overnight bus. Its a beautiful hill station situated at the top of a hill. We had left a sweltering Delhi and reached Kodaikanal where we were scampering for our sweaters. Heaven!!! Its a scenic place with beautiful waterfalls, never ending hills, and basically to-die-for weather. Its also famous for home made chocolates and natural oils. Spent the day sight seeing, and gorged on some good South Indian food.

H and I in Kodai’s pine forests
Kodai – clouds rising from below :-))
After resting the night at Kodai, we left for Munnar the next morning. Its another beautiful hill station situated at a height of 6000ft. above sea level. The journey itself is more beautful than the place. For me it was a little scary too as I am afraid of heights. The roads were broad enough for one vehicle for to pass and it was a two way road!!! Blind turns lurked at every corner adding misery to my already tortured soul. The saving grace was the beautiful view outside. The sprawling Western Ghats, miles and miles of lush green cotton plantation, huge waterfalls and clouds which were below us. You think you can take more than that??!!! Munnar was more beautiful than I had heard. Went sight seeing in Munnar for 2 days. Also visited a 20 year old Ayurveda centre famous for the special Kerala Ayurvedic massage. H and I treated ourselves to 1 hour of professional massaging hands with warm, scented therapeutic oils. It was like gooey chocolate melting in the mouth. Stayed a night in munnar too, enjoying the cold weather with blankets and hot ginger tea. Munnar is famous for natural spices, different varities of tea, coffee, chocolates and natural oils.
The picturesque Munnar
Retured from Munnar on the morning of my birthday and reached R’s place in Bangalore. Roamed around the whole day visiting our old joints and hang outs, reminiscing about the old days. In the evening, there was a surprise birthday party waiting for me at R’s place. All my friends were there. It was pure unadulterated fun. Cake on the face, pulling each others’ legs (literally too!!!) and basically having a ball.
Me with my girl gang on Birthday evening..!!!!
Thanks guys for being such great friends and making my day special.
The last two days in Bangalore saw us visiting all our old friends. I am a big sucker for old memories. And the last two days were just that. Visited my friends as well as H’s friends, and remembered, and raised a toast to all the wonderful times that we had in the past and for the future as well.
In all it was a perfect vacation.
But we had got so worked up going from one place to another without taking a break basically left us wanting to take another vacation to dispel the fatigue of this one. Only if we could. But we are back at our respective offices and slogging our asses off.
PS: For the uninitiated readers, I have a twin sister M. The only sad part about the vacation was that I couldn’t be with her to celebrate OUR day. Wish you a very Happy  Birthday M. Hope God takes care of you like he always has, makes all your dreams come true and hope you find your Prince Charming soon. ;-))