January Update

It has been a month of too much on my plate. Mainly because there were almost 3 trips that I took, thus, leaving no weekend for just being. I am sure all of you have seen those memes about ‘this is the fastest January ever’ and right now, I am feeling exactly that.

So, where did I travel to?

Before 2022 ended, Rahul and I took a quick trip to Rishikesh with two of our friends. It was quite impromptu as Rishikesh is only 6 hours drive away from where we all live and Rahul & I were anyway visiting my parents, who live even closer to Rishikesh. Our friends decided to pick us up on their way and it was a very smooth and chill trip. I’ll write about it in a blog post and link back here.

After that, my friend and I took a much awaited trip to Banaras, the ancient, holy city in India. I don’t remember properly but I am very likely to believe that she and I have been thinking about making this trip since 2016 and so glad that we finally made it. Again, a post is due.

Then, this weekend that just passed us by, Rahul and I went to Jim Corbett National Park with my parents. I would probably not dedicate an entire post to it as it has very limited things to do, so let me just get to it here. Basically, its a national park where you can be one with the nature – flora and fauna both. The place is famous for tigers and there are regular forest safaris arranged for tiger spotting. I have been here once more before with my engineering friends and there used to be only early morning safaris back then. This time, there were afternoon safaris as well, which is what we opted for to avoid the early morning cold. Literally no one I know has ever spotted a tiger in the Corbett Safaris and so was the case this time for us. πŸ˜€ There are very less tigers in the entire national park region anyway. We did, however, spot tiger paw marks. My trip highlight was the Kosi river that flows from this place. When I had been to Corbett the last time, I didn’t know about the river, neither was my resort situated near it. My husband researched and told me about the river and that there are resorts next to it. Hence, I spent time looking at the river from my room’s balcony and we also went to sit there. It was really peaceful and calming.

I am then taking cue from Lyssy’s post here to take stock of my month, she calls it “What’s Up Posts”, it was started by her blogger friend Shay 8 years ago it seems!! Let’s see if I manage to do it every month.

I am going to answer all the questions in the below card for the post then.

What We’re Eating?

I mentioned here how I am trying to eat healthy in my daily routine. The only thing is that this month didn’t have a lot of routine days, but that also means I loved so many things during my trips. Banaras trip was exceptionally good when it comes to food. I have written all about my Banaras food expeditions on my Instagram here, in case you would like to know.

What I’m Reminiscing about?

I am in general someone who reminisces a lot, so its difficult to keep a track of this. πŸ˜€

What I’m Loving?

Absolutely loving my rhythm and carving a routine for myself in all the chaos. I should also mention here even though I hadn’t considered it while writing out this post that I am thankful for the chaotic but fun travel opportunities.

What we’ve been up to?

Work, travel and finding moments for myself and even for me and my husband.

What I’m dreading?

I am going to meet a lot of a particular side of my extended family in the upcoming days, dreading is too strong a word, but I am cautious of it getting too overwhelming.

What I’m working on?

Snail’s pace but I am trying to work on this. Trying being the keyword, haha!

What I’m Excited about?

Even though I mentioned I am worried about getting overwhelmed about meeting the said side of my extended family, I am looking forward to enjoy in the wedding this is for. I love Indian weddings more than anything!

What I’m Watching/Reading?

I just completed my first read of the year – The Hindu Way by Shashi Tharoor. It was a roll over from 2022, now I am onto my second one – The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjay Baru, I have never read a book on politics and, surprisingly I am quite enjoying it.

I am watching ‘The Crown’ every now and then, mostly with my meals. I am not able to binge watch it because a) I cannot play it as background music while working since it requires attention the first time, b) my husband does not enjoy it, and a couple of hours at night is the only time we have in common apart from breakfast so I don’t want to watch such a long series during that time.

I recently concluded ‘Emily in Paris’ and man do I love it! I never expected to enjoy it so much. I might do a post on it, you know.

I am also watching the Indian version of Shark Tank, not enjoying it as much as the Season 1.

I may have re-watched a lot of stuff, and I am also looking forward to watch SRK’s latest movie Pathaan after 4 years in a movie hall. Although I don’t have a lot of hope from the story, but just for the heck of watching SRK on big screen.

What I’m Listening to?

Oh, this is a good one for me. So, I may have mentioned that I am not into any specific music, mostly anything nostalgic Bollywood or any famous Punjabi songs float my boat. Every now and then I listen to random podcasts but I haven’t found one that I love and its very random and also very infrequent. However, very recently, I have kind of started building my podcast listening habit to avoid looking at my phone in mornings and right before bed. I am liking it not only to avoid screen time but also because I am leaning to informative stuff. I won’t share which ones I am listening to because I don’t have a strong opinion yet on this. πŸ˜€

What I’m Wearing?

I am sad that I didn’t use a lot of my winter stuff on my trips, but kind of repeated the same things. I just wanted to be super comfortable and not try at all. I am also sad that my two boots that I love have started to chip, because I definitely wanted to use them more. I’ll probably check with a shoemaker who sits outside my house if something can be done.

What I’m doing this weekend?

The coming weekend, i.e. Feb first week, would be the weekend I would want to chill completely. Let’s see how that goes, although knowing some upcoming things, I think it would be busy again.

What I’m looking forward to next month?

The said wedding fun.

Planning for more travels, especially a big one, fingers crossed.

Most importantly, improving some things about my work.

What else is new?

I had to think hard for this, so I am just sharing a silly thing that came up in my mind – I am soon going to try a fun takeout and planning to convert it to date night. Let’s see how that goes.

Travel in 2022 | Taking Stock

2022 is a weird one for me, I cannot classify it as good or bad. It had some pretty big sad events for me, mentioned here and here, however, with much gratitude, I can say that my mental strength was alright this year. Additionally, this year I didn’t bother a lot about my unfinished goals (wishes :P) from 2021. They are bothering me now and, let’s see, I would probably need to make another post for it (heads-up – won’t be comfortable sharing all the wishes).

This post is meant to be fun and take stock of all the travel I did in 2022. Albeit less, I have gratitude for this, because I missed traveling only a little bit. I had a lot going on from a family standpoint, Rahul’s father passing away, my father’s retirement event, and later on the year, I was so busy over the weekends too with some or the other social engagements. I am not someone who likes to be on the move all the time (none of the digital nomads, wanderlust etc etc for me please), but I see travel as a change from my very much loved routines. (I say routines in plural because the past pandemic years have made me work from different locations & I am proud to say that I have managed to carve out a suitable physical as well as mental space for me. Also, acknowledging the privilege to do so here). I would definitely like to increase my travels in 2023.

Moving on to the trips:

  1. Jan’22 | Shimla, Kasauli & Naldehra: The year started off with a very fun trip to the mountains with my cousins. For me, the highlight of this trip was the old, colonial style villa we stayed at which also gave us an opportunity to sit in the sun and eat breakfasts at a leisurely pace. Also, this was my first time to the quaint town of Kasauli which seemed like a very laid back, colonial town but i got the symptoms of big C the next day of arriving there and my husband and i just drove back home post testing.
  2. Feb’22 | Jodhpur, Jaisalmer: It’s going to be funny when I mention the highlight of this trip as food again – I loved the hing kachoris at a random shop and also the gol gappe. However, there’s one thing that stood out in this trip. I had been to these cities before and done the forts, sand dunes etc but I hadn’t been to the Golden Fort city in Jaisalmer. It’s basically a proper city dwelling inside a fort! It has markets, cafes, people’s houses – all inside a fort.
  3. Mar’22 | Mussoorie & Nag Tibba Trek: I planned this for my husband’s birthday, but since i am the one who hadn’t been on an overnight trek before, it was more of a gift to me. Of course, I am scared of heights and on the way down, my feet gave away which kind of ruined it for my husband. However, the feeling of reaching the peak was something else and totally indescribably beautiful.
  4. May’22| Baroda: Was here for a wedding and i liked the idea of experiencing a very different Gujju city. how you ask? Baroda has a very service class vibe but combined with a small town vibe. Usually the cities which have a lot of jobs are the metro cities, so Baroda has a very different vibe. Its almost like a town but usually in such places, you see business class more often while that’s not the case here. It’s also where my husband did his first job so it was quite nice to visit his old haunts.
  5. Aug’22 | Bangalore: This was the time when my husband had his office offsite to Spain and I had planned to go with him but had to drop it. Then, I ended up visiting my brother in Bangalore with my parents. It was good to be back in Bangalore after so long. Also, this time we visited IKEA which was good.
  6. Oct’22 | Jaipur: Rahul and I made this trip for a wedding and the wedding was quite fun. However, this trip was fulfilling in many ways. I got to stay with my cousin after a long time and it was good to spend time together. I also got to visit the gorgeous Bar Palladio which I had wanted to visit since long in Jaipur.

Aside these strictly leisure trips, I made two business trips to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), multiple trips to Surat to my in-laws and multiple trips to Raipur too where my dad was posted before his retirement. I tried a lot of food places in these cities which I love. I may make separate posts on places i love in surat, as there are a lot of good places to eat in Surat and I’ll love to document those.

Kasauli
Jodhpur
Nag Tibba Peak
Bangalore
Jaipur
Bar Palladio, Jaipur
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A Busy November Update

I knew since a long time that I am going to have a busy November. I looked up to it with every ounce of excitement. You know why, right? Its the wedding season in India and that is kind of my favorite “festive” period. πŸ˜€

However, November turned out to be busier that I expected and it meant a truck load of work for me before I even get to the point of piling on Gol Gappas in Indian weddings.

I am going to write everything that down in November below. If it sounds like a lot on top of a full time job, that’s because it.

So, it started with my SIL’s family and MIL visiting us impromptu. Basically, they were on a trip to Rishikesh and Badrinath and we were asking them to take a halt while going back to Surat. They initially didn’t agree and eventually ended up making an impromptu halt. We were just back from a wedding right then and since my SIL was staying over properly for the first time, it was less of a chill family time at home and more of a tourist-y going around the city. Hence, it got a busy week.

Right when it ended, I had a business trip to Vietnam again. On my way back, I ended up missing my flight because of some fuck up and even my luggage didn’t arrive on time. It was truly a bad day, that i didn’t see coming at all. 😦 I was howling on the airport like an idiot.

To top it all, long ago I had decided to take over a fun but very time intensive task of hand painting a sari for my cousin who’s getting married in a few days from now on. Of course, I knew how happy I would be doing this task and how happy she would be too, but I so didn’t see it for the effort it requires. πŸ˜€ Also, I didn’t manage to even start on it until I came back from Vietnam. I had all these months I mean, but still. I am happy that I didn’t let this ambition die a slow death and did use my previous weekend entirely for doing this start to finish. There’s a sneak peek for you at the end.

I would also say I had a very fulfilling busy November, because as long as its not irritating or monotonous work making me busy, I am up for it sometimes. πŸ˜€

But what did I miss out on due to the busy November?

  1. I haven’t been reading at all, like at all since probably more than 2 months. This is what happens when I get into the loop of a boring book. Instead of pulling myself out with an alternative, I just continue being the phone addict that I am.
  2. With busyness comes the drive to avoid working out as much as possible and I have been successful in that. Not gonna see me in that jawline I wanted for the weddings I guess. πŸ˜€
  3. As expected, this blog suffered the most. I obviously didn’t do any of the planned posts in a long while, but more importantly, I am lagging behind in my book posts. Something I am going to regret the most if not done on time. It matters a lot to me that I get in all the book posts before the year ends.
  4. Getting a new outfit: Please don’t be too quick to judge that I am one of those tone deaf people who get a new outfit whenever they have an event to attend (I know I sound more judge-y than you :P). In fact, I have managed to take a lot of use out of my wedding trousseau but that’s also the reason why I had planned on getting a new outfit this time. I buy anything after a lot of thinking, so I had some specific ideas in mind. I didn’t get the time and frankly I was lazy. So, I am just going to re-wear a lot of outfits which I love, but I have been sort of bored with, since I have attended a lot of weddings and stuff since my own.

If you made it till here, give me your November update. πŸ˜€

A sneak peek of the hand-painted organza sari πŸ˜€

Less than 48 hours in Vietnam | First impressions | Diwablog 3

I recently went to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon) on a quick work trip, literally less than 48 hours! Funny thing – Vietnam has been on my travel radar for a while now, but it fizzled out quite recently too. Maybe sometimes watching something over and over on social media does it. Anyhow, I’ll be making more trips to Vietnam and I am pretty sure I would love many things there. Here are some things I noticed on this first trip to Ho Chi Minh City that I am itching to share:

Women clothes appear awesome in local shops: This is the number 1 pattern I literally saw from afar in so many streets. Vietnam, like India, has lot of local shops around rather than just global brands. Whenever I was sitting in a cab or on a scooter, I just kept noticing that how many random shops have such amazingly beautiful clothes. I have such deep regret in not getting the time to go venture in. 😦 This is my must do activity when I go to Ho Chi Minh City next.

Street food vendors sit near their carts! In India also, street food is pretty big. However, vendors keep standing next to their carts. I don’t know why it never happened that anyone brought stools to sit next to their carts like folks in Vietnam do. My assumption is any of the below reasons:

  1. Vietnam is not as densely populated as India so its not like that the cart is having customers all the time without any breather and the vendor cannot do without standing.
  2. Indian street food requires a lot of live cooking, while Vietnam I guess has more of assembling. Hence, the vendor can just stand, serve and sit down again till the next customer comes.

It was a fun thing to observe and some vendors were even wearing the traditional Vietnamese hat (Google it if you don’t know).

I was shocked about the food! I expected to love Vietnamese food since I thought there will be many readily available vegetarian options. Especially since I read online that Vietnam has a lot of Buddhist population who eat vegetarian food on certain days. Anyhow, Ho Chi Minh offers a lot of varied international cuisines but what I meant was vegetarian food was not mainstream at all. That was quite a shocker and I didn’t like the taste as much as I like Vietnamese food in Indian Vietnamese restaurants! Hahaha.

Ao Dai is so pretty & so easy to get made! Its a traditional dress for Women and I found the modern, minimal version quite pretty. It can actually be styled in various ways I feel and it accentuates people’s body structure it seems. However, what made me sit back and take notice is that there were a lot of tailor shops which means its pretty easy to get one made as per your desired customizations!

I think this post has turned more interesting than I imagined. I hope the readers also feel the same. πŸ™‚ Would love to hear from you!

Monthly Favorites | February

I talked about my impulse to share about some things I am loving here & got some really good suggestions on how I can make it interesting. Hence, I started with this monthly favorites series (literally the second post in a year but that’s because I didn’t have media storage space, I’ll hopefully be regular with my favorites now!). Don’t think I remember my Feb “favorites”, its just that I had this post in the drafts.

For my previous monthly favorites, go here.

Diving right into it, I do realize there’s a lot of personal care featuring here this time around:

  1. Coconut oil by The Moksha Life: As some of you would know, it is my friend’s brand, so you are bound to think that I am biased. It may be difficult to believe but its actually one of the best coconut oils I have tried. Admittedly, I didn’t go beyond a certain price range but within my preferred price range, this one truly stands apart. Its taste is incredible for using in dishes and when i apply it on hair, the fragrance and feel is better than any that I have used.
  2. Wide tooth neem wood comb by The Moksha Life: For this, I don’t really have a comparison as this was my first time using a wooden comb. However, I was expecting a lot more issues with getting used to a wooden comb. This didn’t take me any time to adjust and the best part which led to it being in my favorites list is that it has a very mild and soothing fragrance. I don’t know if its the fragrance of the wood or what but I love it!!!
  3. Boroplus cream : Completely clichΓ©, iconic Indian moisturizing cream! I mean its a child product of the old product, Boroline. Boroline works very well for moisturizing lips and so does Boroplus cream. I should not have actually listed it as a favorite because its not, but it reminded me of Boroline, which I love, not just for what it does but also because of the iconic packaging that stood the test of time!
  4. Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia: It was my favorite scent till I tried more of Jo Malone’s scents. I have not tried many designer scents, but I think Jo Malone is always going to be my favorite. I am loving all the new ones that I am trying.
  5. Jodhpur Jaisalmer trip: I think I should do a separate post on all the travel that I have done since some time, since not everything is documented here and I hope I don’t forget!
  6. Club Iraa: My dad was posted in Raipur since more than one year, he recently got retirement. So, we had visited this one restaurant/pub there when we were visited him once. It was so good! I mean, such an amazing vibe this place had and, in India, since usually tier 2 cities don’t have space issues, it was a huge place. We loved it. I wish we had gone there again in any of our follow-up visits but we did not end up doing that.

I know these are really old favorites, but I would love to know your current ones! πŸ™‚

If you liked this, check out more of my latest posts: