Casela Nature Reserve, AFRICA

I grew up looking at Lion King and watching amazing jaw-dropping documentaries on National Geographic. I always fancied seeing the wildlife in Continental Africa. When I visited Mauritius, little did I know that I would be getting a small trailer of what the real wildlife in the African plain would look like! By far Mauritius is one of my favorite countries so far, I absolutely loved the country for its nature, exhubarent wildlife, the vast sugarcane farms, endless expanse of landscape, seamless merging of the dense forests with the Ocean at horizon & the union of the sky with the Ocean at the far distance.

Now I had a wonderful opportunity to appreciate this country even more when I visited Casela. Its a nature park reserve and its gorgeous. The buildings within the park are built with Volcanic Rocks – they look absolutely stunning. The lush green vegetation inside hardly lets the relentless sunlight to seep through, the birds happy in the ponds, and the animals in perfect harmony and they all seem to be at peace.

I loved the landscapes at the Casela Nature Reserve. We tool the safari and we were taken into the wild! I absolutely loved the idea of keeping the humans in a cage and letting the animals free, for we were infact visitors to their homeland 🙂

We offered bread to the Ostrichs and several Zebras came by to enquire as to who the new set of visitors were. The children and grown ups were thrilled alike when an ostrich made a surprise apprearence at the window and snatched the bread off a persons hand.

The lions are in a seperate enclosure and you can walk with the African Lions but at your own risk.

Apart from the fact that there are animals there, its a beautiful park with an endless expanse of lush green lawns, as the terrain is elevated the ocean breeze that blows is calm, cool and refreshing.

I absolutely loved my visit to the Casela – if you are in Mauritius you should definitely visit this place & I am pretty sure you will love it too!

Fallen in love with Xi’An

when I first heard about Xi’an I dint pay much attention to this small town in the middle of nowhere in the north central province of Shanxi. But as my departure date approached for my solo trip to China, I did a lot of research as to which route to take once I arrive at the Oriental Mainland China.

When I saw the country guide of China by the lonely planet, instantly i was once again drawn to Xi’an for the cover photo is of the indispensable Terracotta Warriors located at Xi’an. I did my search on the internet about the famous hangouts for tourists and Xi’An was mentioned again. A lot of emphasis was on Terracotta warriors, an archeological site.

I had a choice to either travel the eastern trail of take the cross-country trail, cutting through the center of the Mainland and ending down south in Chengdu. I impulsively decided to listen to my gut and decided to go to Xi’an. In a matter of few minutes I had a fancy Bullet Train ticket to Xi’an from Beijing.

Little did I know that I would love Xi’An as much as I did – for I was overwhelmed by the energy the city had. It was beautiful, cool, and the people were very warm – it felt very good to be in a land far away and yet feel so freaking comfortable. When I was on the train and was about to reach Xi’An a kind chap helped me to get off the train as all the announcements were in Mandarin. I absolutely loved the Xi’An Bei(north) Railway Station. Flaunting the city’s rich cultural heritage, the interiors of the station was aesthetically pleasing.

I stayed at the Hantang Hostel for travellers. When I saw the interiors of the dorm i was staying at, I was floored! For the logistics were excellent and looked nothing less than a 4star hotel. I met wonderful people from all around the world and we soon became friends.

Initially I had planned on staying at Xi’An for about 4 days – but soon i feel in love with the city and loved visiting the arena at the Moslem Food Street. I absolutely loved hanging out in the chilly winter and listening to artists perform some of the classics and their personal favorite. I would want to go back to Xi’an again for I have hopelessly fallen in love with this beautiful city.

Would you say that to a man?

Loved your thoughts on the matter, Women have to go through so much and yet maintain calm n poise.

Of Means and Ends

sexism

“I’m not going to apply for the job because I want you to get it.”

I was in my mid-20s and a promotion opened up in my division at work and I planned to apply for it. Given the hierarchy in our department, one male coworker and I were the natural ones to consider for the job. When the topic came up, that’s what he said to me: “I’m not going to apply for the job because I want you to get it.” I don’t remember what I said in the moment, but I remember quietly seething and thinking, “Don’t do me any favors. Go ahead and apply and I’ll still get it.”

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Sapiosexual

I admit to being a Sapiosexual. To me there is nothing more exciting than an intellectual, meaningful introspective conversation. I relish the topics of conversations I have with quite a few people in my Inner circle & I love every moment of it.

Sapiosexual is a person who is strongly attracted to the intelligence in others.

I have had the luxury to indulge in this form of pure soulful bliss from quite early in my childhood. My father always provoked a thought process during our talks everyday. He pushed me further to think, to reason, to find out the reason behind prominent events and to justify facts, so that it remains ingrained in my mind. When I asked him about something, he would make sure to lead me to the answer, but would not point out precisely where the answer to my question was. I was encouraged to have a dialogue from early in my childhood. It’s by far the best, priceless heirloom my dad has passed on to me.

I am glad to have been conditioned this way. For, I now attract only quality people in my life and I am immensely happy about this fact.

Thought

I have a splendid time, discussing about matters of psychology, matters of the state, current affairs, the economy of a country, spirituality, travel, living and many other equally soul awakening topics.

I am glad to have met quite a few people during my travels, with whom I have indulged in intense dialogues loaded with intellect. I am glad to have had the chance to be a confidante to a friend of mine, we constantly write to each other about various topics. We usually discuss things that take up so much of our emotional space.

I have another lovely gym workout buddy whom I said Hello to impulsively, and today we are great friends. The conversations we have are intellectual, profound, soulful, vivid, vibrant and thought-provoking.

I have a very close family member with whom I can bear my soul and in turn gain her perspective on the matter. She also provides a lot of insight to a particular situation and guides me through my storms, and makes sure to give feedback in the most constructive way with an intention to help me wade through the next storm.

I am delighted to have several quality people around me, for they magnify the grandeur of my mere existence. I am easily bored in crowds, instead i would rather prefer to have soulful conversation for hours together.

We are all blessed to have fellow Sapiosexuals around us, let’s try and check out this aspect of life – who knows it could be the ultimate soul pleasing equation we might end up having with humanity.

You fall in love with people’s minds.

Stand up for yourself.

Often we do sacrifice our wants and needs for an ulterior, superior motive. We selflessly give up our necessities to accommodate someone else’s plans. Mainly for a feel good factor. But it took me several years to realize that I was wrong all this while.

One important note to self should be, ‘Nobody can make you do things, unless you want to’. We have all encountered a manipulative person in our lives, how much power they have over us, is how much liberty we give that person. As simple as that. It could be a friend, a partner, spouse, sibling and in worse case a parent.

What happens when people walk all over you? You feel bad about the lack of respect, you get choked for being treated like that. You may feel that you sacrificed your preferences to accommodate theirs, and what do you get in return? Got snubbed, trampled upon, and treated badly. This could hurt a lot. But then again, you can change this pattern to feel better.

I feel whatever happens to me is because of my decisions. Yes – it took me a while for this to sink in. How am I responsible for someone else’s decision to treat me badly? For starters – why was I even around that person when it happened, and then I took it all? Sometimes we tolerate and take the high road, we choose peace and quite.

Yes, we all know what that feels like – to be invited to someones place and when they shamelessly corner you and put you on a spot at the drop of a hat, without having any consideration for how you feel & I totally empathize with this – because probably you don’t want to create a scene.

The best would be to give this relationship a slow death, IF it is someone you can avoid. For all you know this person does not respect you enough for that person is trying to manipulate and take advantage of you. You cannot go about changing the world, and still this behaviour has to stop. How can we fix this? Its easy – gradually try to avoid possible meetings, give an unavoidable reason which they can’t trick you out from.

If you did something because you were emotionally manipulated and dint enjoy it, then lived to tell the sob story to others – its high time this pattern ended. Today can be the beginning of a NEW YOU.

Be relentless. Do not give in!

Once you start standing up for yourself – you will like the new you. If it makes them feel powerful – well that’s a terrible illusion they live with. When someone is nasty towards you and treats you badly , you have two choices – let them know that their behavior hurt you and make a scene and leave, or if you don’t want to make things worse, then slowly cut off from the equation.

Remember – you don’t have to feel obligated because they served you a wonderful steak for lunch or spaghetti for dinner. What really counts is the nastiness, the toxicity. Give no room for manipulators in your life. This is a chance to heal – grab it with both arms wide open.

Love yourself enough, so that no one can trample you again. Its better to be alone, than to be in bad company.

Debut with my Guitar.

Since childhood, I had a strong affinity towards music. I wanted to learn to play the guitar from quite young. I had the yearning for it, but somehow I dint get around to actually materializing it.

Eventually in 2010 – out of the blue, I just looked up the internet for Guitar classes, around where I stayed and I found Mr. John Daniel – I dint know that it was a turning point in my life from that moment on. We had a chat and I decided to attend the first beginners class on a saturday. I actually felt hopeful about learning how to play the guitar.

My teacher reassured me, by making 6 year olds play “Take me home” & said by the end of this module – you would be able to play as good as them, if not better đź™‚ I couldn’t get around the fact that in fact I would learn to play eventually.

I enjoyed my classes, had painful fingers, Yet I was eager to learn to play ‘Losing My Religion’ by REM. We spent several hours practicing chords and trying to get the scales right. All the hard work and the patience did pay off.  The practice classes where we spent hours playing chords, soon proved to be the strongest foundation for a smooth transition from one chord to the next.

I thank my music teacher John Daniel immensely for being so patient with us all and for making my dream come true. For I am able to play a couple of songs and I keep practicing them.

I have to rejoin the classes and learn a lot more! Right now I am High on “I see Fire!”

Arigato :)

When I planned a cross-country trip across Mainland China, I had mentally prepared my mind to meet loads of Chinese. Little did I know that I would bump into a hoards of foreigners from the rest of the world!

My choice of staying at the Travellers Youth Hostel was indeed a brilliant idea for I met several kind-hearted Japanese. I am emphasizing on this fact, as they are indeed a bunch of humble, well-mannered souls. You cant help but fall in love with their ‘Arigataou’ – further animated with a slight bow! I love it. That looks so cool, and is very respectful. I met a bunch of Japanese, all of them were solo travellers and then they bumped into each other and exchanged pleasentaries and shared their experiences.

The way the fellow Japs helped me find the right bus or helped me find the ticket counter was admirable. While at Chengdu, in south west China – on my way to the Panda Research Base, I was finding it extreamly frustrating to converse with the driver as he dint speak any english & dint reassure me if i was in the right bus or not. A girl from the back of the bus came running to my rescue and assured me it was the right bus & that she was also headed that way & that i could join her 🙂 That my friends is an angel in disguise. She was Makky – a cool Japanese girl travelling the world all by herself!

Makky may not have realized the gravity of her actions. She was in no way obligated to come from the back of the bus to help me out, neither was I any of her concern. But she chose to help a distressed traveller who needed some help & there she was an ambassador of goodwill to her country and she attested to the fact that selfless kindhearted people still exist in our world.

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My Japanese friend Makky.

I was so touched by this kind gesture, and I thanked her immensely. She said “No,No, Its nothing – hello I am Makky, from Osaka” 🙂 That was the intro my friend gave me & it’s still a vivid memory. She was congenial, a good samaritan & she definitely influenced me to enact her kindness in the days to come when I meet other travellers.

After a week – we accidentally bumped into each other on the way to a National Park at JiuZhaiGou! She was estatic to see me and said “Hey, Nam – remember me?” And I was speachless – because I knew that the rest of my 3 day trip to the National Park was going to be kickass with this Jap! And yes – we had a fantastic time, we had to travel for over 8hours by bus to reach JiuZhaiGou and then we had dinner, chilled out at the river banks & trekked the gorgeous National Park.

I still remember seeing her off at the station – with a warm hug on a chilly morning, knowing in our hearts that we would meet again. The last word I recollected telling her was “Arigatou”