Elegance Personified

Smart, Strong, Affectionate, Forgiving, Pillar of strength and one who radiates warmth. We all have women around us we deeply care about. It could be a friend, lover, a mother, sister or a social worker. When a woman has a beautiful heart, she¬†can’t hide her beauty and its visible.

The beauty amplifies when the person is unaware of it, an elegant woman walking going about her chores, or a lady reading a book unaware of her striking radiance. Like a friend once said, “A gorgeous woman who is unaware of her beauty is profoundly beautiful than one who tries to flaunt it with an air of arrogance and conviction.”

Every woman who is close to our heart is worthy to be treated like a queen and I’m pretty sure few dames take this title way too seriously and come across as Drama-Queens ūüėČ Well, despite the criticism women don’t fail to influence the member of the opposite gender to follow suit. Yeah we’ve all heard about macho men pulling the stunt of being convincing drama queens ūüôā

Whats this¬†hype all about one asks, and the joke is that every day except Women’s day is a Men’s Day! ūüôā

So Gentlemen put on your best smile and elevate the happiness of the women close your heart, by doing a simple act of kindness or any simple gesture to accentuate her worth. An honest compliment, could set the tone for the rest of the day.

A company once offered to give a small note to all the women at the gate when they arrived at work. And not a single woman went in without a smile on her face! There were euphoric conversations in the lobby and at the breakout areas!

It doesn’t have to be a fancy bouquet of flowers or an expensive gift neither a lunch/dinner¬†date. I witnessed a colleague paying the flyover toll for a woman who was standing in line behind him! She was ecstatic and appreciated the kind gesture.

I am pretty sure we could all think of various little deeds to bring out the best accentuating curve on the women – her smile!

Advertisements

String of Pearls – Maldives

No words or pictures could ever do justice to what one has to experience when visiting the Maldives. Although some might argue that it’s the same sand, same sun and the same beach – there is no other possible substitute for the beauty and serenity of this place. This is a picture taken at the Crown Resorts at the North Male Atoll.

One word of caution though – visiting Maldives will spoil everything else on earth ūüėČ The waters are crystal clear with an astonishing clarity for several meters.

When you reach the airport you will be transported to your resort by either a boat or a sea plane. The view is breath-taking! The Ocean is gorgeous and the endless expanse looks like a painting where the painter has played with different shades of blue.

It’s a total bliss to be lost in the middle of the ocean – clear air, absolutely zero pollution and overwhelming desire to just stay calm and listen to the ocean, breathe the air, savor the amazing sea food & wake up to sting rays that have come close to the shore.

It’s an excellent place for snorkeling although the reef is slightly bleached. The aquatic fauna is brilliant, the reef sharks and the black tipped sharks do make a regular appearance. The sea turtles are a treat to the eyes and so are the various schools of different species of fish. The spot where the reef ends and the view drops to the endless abyss is mesmerizing and the feeling can’t be emulated no matter what.

It’s definitely a place of relaxation. A wonderful week spent in this paradise is the best bet¬†to pamper your soul.

Biang Biang Mian!

Biang Biang Mian Рfrom the exotic Shaanxi Province of Mainland China is considered a speciality noodle dish, which is scrumptious and makes you come back for more!

Biang Biang Mian is an enigma in itself, famously known as the Belt Noodle – considering its length and thickness.

photo (1)

Biang Biang Mian is served in a bowl tossed in aromatic sauces, topped with lots of hot peppers to beat the cold Xi’an chills, a generous sprinkle of grated garlic, lots of freshly cut cilantro topped with marinated and barbeque meat of your choice. This is an absolute delicacy, the aroma is rich and the dish only beats the expectations one might have after just looking at it.

It was introduced to me during my backpacking trip to the Famous city of Xi’An by a dear friend Nimrod. ¬†The first comment was about the Mandarin Symbol for this scrumptious¬†dish – it consists of 58 strokes – quite complex even for a seasoned Mandarin writer.

100px-Bi√°ng.jpeg

This is the Mandarin symbol for Biang Biang Mian – its pretty complex with 58 strokes!

The noodle is handmade and makes one wonder about the precision of every other inch of this noodle that transformed itself to perfection from an innocent lump of dough.

Xi’an is a beautiful city, famous for the terracotta warriors, apart from this archeological site the city has lots more to offer! The weather was beautiful and the best place to taste Biang Biang Mian is at the food street, east of the Bell Tower wall.

I hope the food lovers do get a chance to taste this dish and its worth every penny!

Solo Travel

Travelling by far has had the most therapeutic effect on me than anything else. More than just travelling, its the solo travel that I am most nostalgic about. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and courage to plan the next adventure. It definitely is an adventure.

When you travel you must have a Plan-B,¬†that’s¬†the Golden Rule. I learnt it the hard way, but then again, experience is the best teacher, no matter how much you read up on the internet about contingency plans, there is always the surprise element.

I once read a beautiful quote about travel – “There are two types of travelers, some set out looking for¬†an adventure and the others secretly hope that there is¬†no adventure!” I¬†understood what this meant with clarity, when I almost missed my flight back from Colombo due to a new online check-in rule. Believe me it was an Adventure!

My colleagues had seldom heard about anyone who would go backpacking alone. I guess the normal form of a holiday is going out with your loved one, partner, friends or family. When I was asked about my travel,¬†I would tell them enthusiastically about my little adventure. The reaction of almost ever single one would either be of awe, amazement or total conviction¬†that I had lost my mind to travel alone. Many would hurl their opinions at me mostly out of concern¬†about the danger of travelling alone, and¬†few others would react with¬†sheer amusement. Some others would just not understand as to how I could spend an entire month¬†by myself, mostly it would end up with “Dint you feel lonely?” I¬†tell them as a matter of fact, that¬†there is a stark difference between being lonely and enjoying solitude ūüôā

I am the blessed to belong to the lot who enjoys their solitude and gains strength from it.

Solo Travel calls for total confidence in oneself, and total confidence that you are going to take care of YOU! You feel extremely responsible, your radar is bound to be at its best, it teaches you to be vigilant, you make sure to get the logistics right, you don’t leave any loose ends, you most definitely will plan the contingencies and become a meticulous planner!

It makes you smart, trust worthy, and makes you feel like you are in total control of how you go about your day, your itinerary for the entire trip and for all the choices you make.

We are really blessed to have all the help we need at the tip of our fingers really, there is information about the place, the mode of transport & the places to stay with ratings and feedback on the hotel websites.

I guess the first step would be to go to a place that you feel¬†safe at, a place where you know the local language & in close proximity to your base camp (city you live) ūüôā

The perks of travelling solo for me is the undivided attention I have for myself, for self introspection, meeting amazing fellow travelers, soaking in the culture of the place, getting a feel of freedom and the slight but rewarding strain of responsibility, staying out of harms way, taking precautions and getting back in one piece ūüėČ

Solo Travel also helps you alter your itinerary as you please! You could end up staying at a place you loved for days at end.  Ideally this may not be a plausible situation if your travel buddy has had enough of that place!

With Solo Travel there is No pressure. You could play it by the ear, and move on when you feel you are 0k to go on.

Some countries do not encourage their young women¬†to venture out alone, the taboo is not just for the imminent danger but also because it’s not a social¬†norm. Well – then again Taboos are meant to be broken right?!

A Brand New Perspetive

“To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible!”

I am blessed with parents who have a keen interest in adventure, and an undying affinity to spend time close to nature.

They are avid trekkers, very different from the stereotype families among our community, the far and distant relatives.

We grew up in a house where our holidays were planned around camping and travel. My mother set the tone by going for national level treks to Himalayas and the western ghats of India & she offered to be the base camp leader thrice. My sister, dad and I were fascinated with this unique idea, although we were extremely apprehensive at first. My sister and I hid it well. My dad helped my mom with the schedule for the next month and a half Рlot of planning, booking tickets to the Himalayas and the Plan B to run the show back at home.

The enthusiastic stories she would come back with, left us all mesmerized and we sat around her to hear more and more Рsoaking in the narration and trying to imagine the scenario unfolded in front of us. From a very young age we were introduced to a unique yet exotic version of life. We heard about a life in the forests, among bears, snakes, how it felt to live in tents for days at end.

None of my friends had ever come even close to hearing about camping back then. We grew up in a town called Mysore – its in the South of India. My mothers adventurous stories brought about a mixed reaction among my friends. Some were fascinated and they were in awe of her, others were judgmental about the hiking and camping because a mother never really did anything close to this! This was a huge shock to others. But i would tell them like it was nothing less of a fairy tale¬†because I was convinced this was magical. I would also turn a deaf ear to the criticism from others who thought this was not usual & they are not wrong – this hiking & camping was totally weird ūüôā

My father soon followed suit and the next summer he asked my mom to take care of us while he was off in the Himalayas to validate what his wife just told him. We missed our parents when they were off on exotic adventures like this – but it was a small price to pay for the bigger benefit. They gave us a gift – A Brand New Perspective to life!

When my dad came back Рhe was rejuvenated, enthusiastic and full of life. He had a sense of accomplishment about being able to scale 12,500 Ft above sea level. His self-confidence soared greater heights post the trek & he relentlessly trained to build strength, stamina & flexibility.

We saw a new rigor in him. His stories were more animated and he inspired us so much that we couldn’t really wait to go there ourselves! My dad was thrilled that he could effortlessly scale the snow-clad the mountains – it’s a big deal for anyone who lived all the while in a tropical country. I guess he also felt altruistic about being able to help the youngsters who were either afraid or were terrified of the relentless terrain.

We kids couldn’t wait to go there ourselves. We had years of mental and emotional conditioning as to what has to be done when we were hiking in the Himalayas. It was a dreamy preparation all along.

When i graduated i received a priceless gift from my parents – a ticket to reach the Base Camp at Himachal Pradesh & a registration at the Chandrakani Pass in the Himalayas! It was by far the most exotic, unusual, thrilling gift anyone had ever received and I am very grateful to my parents for the experience.

This experience set the tone for the days ahead & my life has always had this beautiful streak of adventure & I have been bit by a lethal travel bug!

Dont miss out on life!

I’d rather look at my life and say – “I cant believe I did that!” instead of “If only I had”

As the years pass by, we usually have a fleeting thought if we did our best in the things we’ve¬†accomplished so far, could it have been better? And often deep down in our hearts we are content with the choices we’ve made.

If we have regrets and dint act on them it’s because we dint feel very ‘Strongly’ about it. Otherwise we most definitely would have pursued the idea. Eg: Higher studies/ Career/ Travel etc.

After working for over 10 years, I decided to take a very bold step. I decided to dedicate a little time for ME! I quit my job and went Solo Backpacking across the Oriental Mainland China. This break not only gave me a great travel experience but it also helped me to effortlessly reflect on my life and helped me in deep introspection.

A dear friend of mine who just got back from her first trip to the US told me – “Nam as you climb up the ladder, Don’t miss out on life.” This one sentence was simple yet profound – it took me a while to reflect upon it & i now abide by this simple mantra every single day.

Way back in 2007 i had a choice to go to the Himalayas for my second national trek, or accumulate my leave balance at work and encash it when i left the organisation. I chose the Sar Pass Trek & it was the best decision i made – because the memories and the experience it gave me was priceless. I was there 14,000 ft above sea level with a bunch of like minded hikers and no amount of money could have ever substituted that for anything else in the world!

Every single day let’s try¬†to focus our thoughts into making our life the way we want it to be, with blissful thoughts of improving ourselves and our life. For every thought you think is creating your FUTURE. Choose them wisely.