Oriental Peace of Mind

While travelling through the Orient, you cant help but notice the affinity the people have towards inner peace. Nobody needs to tell you about it, for actions do speak louder than words. From the moment you set foot off the subway, all along your journey you will notice the love the people have for nature.

I honestly felt that people in the Orient are far happier than in India. It probably has a lot to do with the climate too I guess. Nobody would prefer to be out at noon in the blistering heat! Whereas the climate in northern China is extremely pleasant during autumn and its literally a paradise.

I saw many people performing Tai Chi, in the gardens with soulful music playing in the background. People were happy to be all by themselves in the lush green lawn. The atmosphere was peaceful and I saw many people smiling and at peace.

I was delighted to be able to experience such a beautiful feeling. I see that the Oriental people do take massive efforts in keeping their traditions and customs alive. I absolutely love that about them. The astounding wisdom they posses about healing themselves from within is admirable. For they practice tai chi with dedication and love, its a transcended lifestyle.

The young, the not so young, almost everyone absolutely enjoys tai chi. It’s a great form of relaxation and I guess that the elixir of peace. For no matter how many hours you spend at the gym, it’s the soul we need to fix in the first place.

Inner tranquility is of prime importance, to be in harmony with our outer self.

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Twilight Rendezvous

I am a big fan of fresh air at a serene location. In the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of kilometers off the coast of Continental Africa are few islands sprinkled like pebbles in the ocean. The Mascarene Islands are a delight to any nature lover. And if anyone has not appreciated the beauty of nature up until now, then seeing these immaculate islands –  will definitely be an eye opener.

Few weeks before i set off to these islands, I was slightly apprehensive about the fitness routine I was following at the Gym. I read few blogs on the internet and one of the best suggestions was to go running. Excersice after a few months becomes integrated into your lifestyle, it becomes a default part of your regime & feels natural. Sometimes few people feel good only after a workout 🙂

When i read this blog about inculcating running when on vacation it sounded like fun! When you have running shoes – you can run in any vacation spot you are at. You dont need a gym per say – but just a road or field where you could have your daily dose of cardio.

Good for me that i read this – for I saw quite a few historical locations around the place during my morning run! I went to a beautiful river, a nice sugarcane field, a lovely mountain – it was bliss. 

  

 When I was at Vacoas – I was told about this beautiful park named ‘Parcours de Sante Fin’ – I went to see it without any preconceived idea whatsoever, as to how it might look – but when i saw it I was speechless – The lawn was perfectly manicured. The railings a beautiful form of art, and i met very warm people who greeted me with the sweetest sounding Bonjour 🙂

  

 I put on my Asics Running shoes – every single morning and did at least 3x400mts run, crunches and lunges. I savored the sweet pain post my workout & looked fitter as the days went by. I am glad i read that blog about not missing cardio while on vacation and my romance with Dawn at Vacoas is definitely an event to remember.

Looks like I am waiting to go on another vacation to get some cardio 😉

Lantern

Giving is extremely healing to the soul. Transferring an object without the expectation of receiving anything in return, the act of giving itself, is altruistic. In fact, it has a healing streak and feels peaceful. I once read that you gain by giving rather than receiving. I never quite understood this – how could I gain by giving away something?

As the days went by, I realized that the feeling of altruism associated with giving is much more valuable and therapeutic than collecting things from others and keeping a vicious tab of the people who owe you!

When I first started giving I sensed I felt happier. You could gift someone just to bring a smile, as there is nothing more beautiful than the feeling that you are responsible for that joy. 🙂 Pleasantly surprising someone with a bunch of flowers could make their day. It would be wonderful to see their reaction, astonishment mixed with surprise & gratitude.

My friend Guitanyali gave me this beautiful lantern, it looks beautiful, it is artistic and I loved the detailed artwork of dried flowers on the lantern. It is simple yet elegant, beautifully handcrafted at the ends with handloom twines. The warm, bright yellow incandescent lamp illuminating from within, radiates beauty, warmth, and an undying sense of affection with which it was passed on to me.

When you give a token of appreciation in the form of a thoughtful gift, you can sense the positivity the inanimate object brings to life. For, even after years I can feel the genuine warmth, love and affection that was passed on to me – what better way than to seal these beautiful gestures in the form of a lantern?

This lamp doesn’t just adorn my balcony, but also brings a smile to every passerby on the street as they slow down to see the yellow fire like glow radiating from within. This lamp invokes the element of creativity in me. As I write, I have a desire to try to emulate this piece of art 🙂

It lights up the house and radiates love, warmth and affection. I have a thing for fine art & this is one among them. A lamp is always the winning horse when it comes to light up my life!

Ever wonder what could be an ideal gift to someone special? A friend you appreciate? A neighbor you want to express your gratitude to? A simple, elegant and beautiful lamp would be a good choice.

Cultural Splash in Beijing – 北京市

Beijing the capital of China, is the nation’s Political, Educational and Cultural capital. Located in Northern China, Beijing literally means Northern Capital. The name was coined during the Ming Dynasty to distinguish the city from Nanjing, the southern capital.

Before I could land in Beijing, I did a through detailed study of the Subway lines, cross  checked the interchange station & which station to get off at. The airport transfer train is very efficient, it was effortless to reach my Travellers Hostel at Qienmein.

The moment I got off at the Qienmein station – I was pretty surprised by what I saw! Just outside the station, a group of small kids were warming up for their early morning classes of Kung Fu. I was not expecting this – I wanted to see a scene like this but dint actually expect to see this the moment I set foot in the city. I was ecstatic to see this scene. I next saw a guy, practicing some lethal kung fu chops on a tree trunk! As I approached him, he saw that I was a tourist and needed help and greeted me with a warm NiHao. I showed him the address on my phone and he guided me with the best sign language there is! He instructed me to cross the street, walk up to the signal lights and take a right turn 🙂

Coming from a tropical country like India, low temperatures never fail to amuse me. It calms me and brings a smile no matter what. The people were totally amused to see a non-Chinese walking admist them. I got several second looks. I even saw a child run up to his friends and they came to see me 🙂 LOL

My first morning in Beijing was by far the most memorable. It filled me with a sense of calm and comfort. I was not apprehensive at all, I strangely felt safe in a foreign land and I absolutely loved the city.

I stayed at a Hutong – a traditional courtyard residence. My days in the hutongs of Beijing were beautiful, the days bustling with eateries, serving steaming hot dumplings, the nights alight with people walking about, pleasant music playing in Hutongs, the residents out in the courtyard enjoying a game of badminton. Several evenings I would sit on a patio at the hutong with a smile, immense gratitude in my heart to be able to witness a beautiful cultural interaction such as this.

Beijing is rich in the Cultural heritage and you can immerse yourself in the various flavors the city generously offers.

Tsongmo Lake

While in India, if ever one needs to witness a gorgeous untouched marvel of nature, the place is Sikkim. From the moment you enter Sikkim you will see its a place so different from others. The army administrative folks are organised, your ID and travel documents thoroughly checked, shoes you walk on & the tires of the vehicle are disinfected.

This is a serene place, climate cool and pleasant, I say that because I love it when it’s slightly cold and not too hot. I love places that have a strong Buddhist influence too. People went about their daily routine with a smile, the atmosphere relaxed and calm. The whole area has an aura of positivity.

Tsongmo Lake is one of the delights Sikkim has to offer. Its en route the Natula Pass, the famous Silk Route connecting India to China. The Chinese border is just 5kms away! The terrain to scale the Nathula Pass is an adventure, famously built by the BRO – Border Road Organisation & they are mighty proud of it. The army has a camp at the Nathula and their base camp is at the Lake Tsongmo.

The lake is immaculate, pristine and untouched. I love the fact that it is so damn clean and pure. It is a very famous glacial lake and the view is breathtaking. We were staring at the lake and its beauty despite the biting cold for over an hour. As you wait, there are Yaks you could take rides on, and lovely dumplings to savor just off the streamer.

Sikkim is a beautiful state and its capital Gangtok is very well planned. I loved the main shopping area, MG Road where the traffic is cut off, to enable people to walk about and there are benches installed in the middle of the road, with gorgeous flowers from hanging pots and Gangtok has beautiful parks.

Its a place one has to visit to witness this beauty & to relax your mind.

Petronas @ Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia came across as a very organised country, the roads impeccable, there was order in the system and I guess it’s a lot to do with how the citizens conduct themselves. The subway stations are calm, quite, and the office rush hour is an epitome of tranquil and peace. The kiosks at the Subway stations make the commute for first timers very pleasant and the transition is seamless. The airport transfer is one of the best I’ve seen so far, its fast, efficient and the officials are very warm and congenial to the inquiry. An employee of KLIA, went to the extent to write down a detailed plan for me to reach the city 🙂

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The KLIA – Airport transfer ticket to the city.

I interchanged the subways at Sentral and reached KLCC at the Petronas. As soon as you get off the subway exit, on your left you will see the magnificient towering structure of the twin towers. Its gorgeous and exquisite. It’s a beauty all the way from the floor to the entire expanse of the building. The logistics at the Petronas is impeccable and its worth seeing the towers, after all it did enjoy the reputation of being the tallest building until recently. IMG_0298

View of the city of KL from the Petronas Towers.

I had breakfast at the cafeteria with the office crowd. They had authentic Malaysian cuisine and I absolutely loved it. We had a tour of the towers and the lift to the 86th floor reached in record time. The view is splendid, the bridge connecting the towers does sway if the wind force is quite strong as it is suspended. IMG_0311

The swaying bridge 🙂 Connecting the twin towers.

The staff at the Petronas are a bunch of very happy people. It does say a lot about the company I guess. At the desk the person issuing the ticket for the tour of the towers was very warm and she wished me ‘Happy Diwali’ that was so thoughtful of her, and a small gesture like that remains in your memory for days to come. IMG_0315

A courteous, happy employee is the biggest asset to a company 🙂

From high above the towers you can see small little tents, I later realised that that it was a Massive Mall. One of the largest shopping complex I’ve been to! Efficiency at its best as the power is sourced from the Solar panels. Even the solar panels are a visual delight as they are artistically arranged! At the mall, I bought my favorite fleece jacket from Uniqlo 🙂 IMG_0299

The Solar Powered Mall at KLCC.

The view and the experience is worth the effort and time. It a building with a keen sense of taste and would be a delight to an architect and a lover of fine art. Way back in 2002 I had dreamt of being there and here I was having a splendid time at one of the tallest, beautiful, marvelous building in the world.

Good Samaritan – Be one!

Raise you vibrations to attract the good, and only the best will be filtered your way.

When travelling, one has to be vigilant at all times. You got to keep your bags in check, your documents and the currency you are carrying. Not to forget, the constant improvisation on the ever effervescent contingency plan.

Before I set off for my first Solo Trip, I was a nervous wreck, I was freaking out. For the first time in my life I experienced ‘Cold Feet’. I now understand what the Brides, Grooms, Parents-to-be or anyone else feel when they have a panic attack. I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t eat, I had constant headaches days before my travel.

That’s when my friend KK came to my rescue, he said “Nam, don’t worry! You will be fine, you have traveled before and its gonna be a walk in the park for you. Just relax, breathe and GO!” Honestly I dint believe a word of what he said, for I was thinking of almost cancelling my ticket! Yes! I panicked probably because I was travelling to a non-English speaking country for the first time ever. KK said “Just be positive, and only the good ones will come your way. Be good and you will attract only good people. But stay vigilant and be street smart”.

I finally relaxed and took it one step at a time, I remembered to count my blessings and keep looking for the good. And many Good Samaritans came my way! From my first pit stop at a transit in KL, I had encounters with amazing good hearts. Yes good people have good souls, you can sense it, it feels good – very good to be around them. I met a person from Switzerland who was in KL to see the Petronas – we soon became friends as she was also a solo traveler, we shopped and had lunch together. We had a fantastic time.

When I reached my destination I had several encounters with Good Samaritans. This travel taught me many things, one of them was that there are angels all around. Look for good and you will find it. Help comes in various unexpected ways.

One morning after breakfast i saw that a couple left the restaurant but they dropped their Subway card on their way out. I knew this was a lifeline, I handed it to them and they were grateful for the gesture and asked me what my plans were for the day and instantly tore off a bunch of sheets from their immaculately filed travel file and gave it to me. To this day I don’t know how I would have managed that day ‘without’ that info. It was so detailed and it was ‘absolutely necessary’ and the universe just filled the jigsaw puzzle for me. I was overwhelmed.

Help comes in various forms, every single day we need to remind ourselves that, ‘The Best is YET to come’.

Golden Mantra: Do unto others what you would have them do unto you!