To no one in particular

I’ve often seen you from afar

Wondering just how you do it?

Smile, talk and be all chummy

When you don’t mean a thing!

 

I wonder how you,

Say things you don’t mean,

Then say things which are not true,

Not wondering the havoc your words can cause.

 

I wonder if you realize the implications?

That flimsy lies, untrue words can cause

Sabotaging an impression, spreading untruth

Undoing a person’s very being.

 

I wonder how you do it

Not feel accountable for things you did wrong

Not repenting, not caring

Moving on without a ripple.

 

I wonder how you would react

If the same was done to you?

But then again,

You would know, had you a soul.

How is married life treating you?

I get asked this a lot and for someone who is still awkwardly married (in my head) I wince! I mean how is married life supposed to treat someone? You think through to get married right? And God forbid! If you were to answer that? Would they really want to hear details? I think not!

Maybe I am just lucky that nothing much has changed, having a progressive partner has truly helped but mostly I have managed to preserve my individuality and I do manage to stream roll my new family into newer things (read: Bhaang, or eating non veg for Holi / Diwali Blasphemous no?! But they aren’t complaining)

Marriage is hard, very hard. But you learn, learn to put others before you. You learn to be needed by another human being, in sickness or health (literally) It is not just about lovingly picking up after your other half (guy / girl) but to be there when one is unwell is when you truly learn a lot about yourself!

You learn that there is another person who needs your time and attention, you are around not just because you have to, but because you don’t know how not to. You learn to turn over in the middle of the night to check on your half, fret when he/ she is not home on time and you can’t reach them on call. You find yourself concerned when you know they have a very important meeting when means a lot to them. You give up your own tantrums to make way for his once in a while and sometimes you resist brawling your eyes out just because you can and let reasoning prevail!

Also you know what? Marriage is no different from singledom except that every night is sleep over night, you get to meet your favourite person every single day! You are constantly together and there is no where to go, no complaints from others because you legally can spend all of your time together! 😀

Marriage does not have to change anything if you don’t want it to. You can still have your set of friends, you can still hang our with your guy friend, you can wear what you want to, be who you are; but do invest time to teach and recruit your new family and importantly your better half into your idealism of being and be sensitive. Just because you feel a particular way about certain things does not mean others have to conform to the same thing. Be compassionate, while these are new changes for you, it is a new change for the family to whom you now belong. Not every issue needs to be battled. Sometimes talking out helps.

Adjust, be kind and rationalize.

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Goodbyes

We don’t say goodbye anymore, we say leave me alone. I don’t want you. You’re not worth my time. I’m not sorry for breaking your heart because it was never even mine. 

11343-Blowing-BubblesI read this article on Thought Catalogue that said, “We Don’t Say Goodbye Anymore, We Just Disappear” and it got me thinking. My initial reaction was that true it happens, it has happened to us, we have done this and we surely know of people to whom this happened, too often and that in itself is such a jarring thing. To think how we take for granted emotions, the bond we share with the other person, the time invested to build the bond and most importantly we take for granted or rather not care about how the other person must be feeling about our decisions.

This article brought to my mind this really close friend I had. We were equals in more ways than one, we invested time and emotions in our bond equally (which is rare trust me) we had our significant others tuned to each other, had an active social life, we worked together, made plans for the weekend, ran errands together, completed each others sentences and in more ways than one depended on each other in every aspect. And then one day that changed completely. She no longer wanted to travel to work with me, she had already eaten or was never hungry during ‘our lunch time’ and most definitely either was working late or ‘had’ to leave early! Initially I was distraught, couldn’t understand, and sought to work out the differences if any. To be honest she came around; but in a month, the pattern was back only this time I did not care to make things work.   Continue reading

Diwali

This weekend has been about setting the home in order and prepping up for Diwali and a lot of memories came tumbling out and hence the reflective mood.

Diwali has been somewhat a time for family but not that big with Bongs hence I always found myself without a plan and often friendless. My Diwali celebrations during the years away from home has been about visiting Vaidu in Mumbai, this was my time with her, with a generous dose of practicality and reality check thrown in. It also meant to feel left out, to feel unwanted, the feeling of not fitting in. But then V happened and life turned out. He stepped in to make my home feel complete with smallest of traditions and until life finally threw us together.

Diwali now means planning weeks in advance, to putting up lights up together, to plan lil gifts and planning for puja at home. No matter how much I crib about the lack of emotional intensity (all are misplaced notions) I know its there, just that there is a different facet to things now. Sometimes you dont need a burning fire as a proof of emotions, because sometimes that fire burns you down completely. And sometimes, you meet someone who is like glowing embers which you mistake for not being there but it is there, burning slowly and steadily keeping you warm, inside out.

I may not say it as much, but that hand gripping the ladder tightly as I reach out to fix the lights, or that constant loud conversations across rooms to check on where I am and what I am up to is strangely comforting and reassuring. Festivities are not just about continuing with accepted rituals but it is also about starting something new, together.

This festivities, start a new tradition.

Happy Diwali

#MarriedNotBranded

I read this tweet by Twinkle Khanna and I think no one has pegged the topic with so few words. This is one of those things which is a trigger to me. No one told me, I did not discuss it with my better half and surely I had never really thought for myself what is it that I will look like, or feel like, or act like when I am married. Hence maybe I found the ‘married tag’ so difficult to deal with.

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For the first six months, I became the dutiful daughter in law, being dressed in traditional on our weekends at home. While I was happy to do it, I cringed along the way. Until a major meltdown happened on totally unconnected thing, when I realized I hate being branded. Maybe that is why I never really even contemplated a name change post marriage. Did not think twice about contributing at home, doing my thing or actually put my point across emphatically (though at times not really required) that I will always be a working woman and mom eventually.

Much along the lines of what MrsFunnyBones said, being is not about being branded. Do I need tell a tale signs of being married to be or feel married I don’t think so! Took me a while to get here but nevertheless here I am knowing what I like and what I don’t. there is no set rules to go by here but something that feels right to you, just one thing, that one has to be supremely cautious not to hurt sentiments but manage them effectively while putting one’s thoughts ahead.

#TravelGuide : Jim Corbett

Jim Corbett was an impromptu plan. We were both quite bugged with busy weekends and needed some time out. Hence began a witch hunt for a good place to stay! We usually go through Trip advisor extensively before zeroing on one.

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Let me define the kind of traveller we are, it would also give you an idea about the kind of holidays we pick, it would also be indicative about the budget too. Both my partner and me are one of those who are most likely to pick a quaint lil place, with great reviews, not budget travel kinds but not very hard on the pocket. For Corbett we picked River Creek Resort and Spa, Manchula. Reasons for choosing this place was it was away from the usual touristy haunts, the place had a spa and a pool so it was a mix of nature and all things luxurious. We booked through MakeMyTrip hence got a cheaper deal, paid about 5k a night all meals inclusive which we felt was pretty decent because there was a buffet to indulge in.

The resort was rather nice, had bicycles to use, pool was not crowded at 3-4pm when we were there, but got cramped as the other guests (very annoying large family) decided to make their presence felt with JBL speakers etc. The only thing bad about the place is the guests who were there and made life of the other guests hellish with their noise and insensitivity. This because the resort has no specific policy for guests. The rooms are nice and cosy, perfect for couples/ families. There is enough for kids to enjoy too. Perfect for time out. For safari, do check and book way in advance for Bijrani & Dhikala where sightings happen, just pray if you are lucky to spot a tiger!

Traveling to Corbett is about 6 hours drive and the roads are pretty good. We started by car at about 4:30 and were there by 10am!

Happy Traveling!

#TravelGuide : London

So the bride in running shoes finally got married without the usual hullabaloo hence escaping what could easily give her the tag of the runaway bride.

The best thing about the wedding was the honeymoon (yes i know that sounds a tad bit weird) but honestly we went for a quiet wedding for everyone’s sake but we did not want to settle for anything less grand for the trip of our lifetime. So we thought we would strike one of the places on our bucket list on our honeymoon.

Writing the nitty-gritties down because as a first time international travel there are tons you would need to know which you may not figure out on your own. We had some great friends who did guide us, big thanks to Nam to patiently sitting with us and telling us the places which we must visit. Later we did extensive research and closed in on each of the activities we would be doing daywise. This helped us greatly because nothing was left to chance.

First things first, book your tickets. This is going to help you really well during your visa. Look for booking.com to book a stay (free cancellation) to show proof of residence in UK which aids the visa. Note visa takes about 20 days to come, so factor the time in. We had researched on Tripadvisor and other tourist websites for finding the best places to stay and found out air bnb not that great an option, as the better apartments were expensive and not that well connected and plus we wanted to stay at a decent place as we were on our honeymoon.

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View from Double Tree Hilton

We booked at Doubletree Hilton which wasn’t very light on the pocket but being centrally located, it was a paradise for multiple reasons. The main being, most of these tours we had booked had pick and drop from hotel itself. Plus two underground stations: Queensbay (barely 2 min walk) and Bayswater (5 min walk) was round the corner. Also food options were great, you could walk into a departmental store to grab quick bites which was easy on the pocket. Also everywhere around London, was easily accessible from the hotel. Also check Tripadvisor for hotel recommendations, Doubletree was on the list of recommended places so what that meant was that the hotel was on the pick and drop places on most of the travel agents list, so in case of a tour etc, you get picked easily. Did I mention the hotel was opposite Hyde Park which was a treat as we did sneak in some time for a quick picnic on the last day? Was beautiful!

Since both my (now) husband and I are travel fanatics. We choose not to take international roaming or data. Instead we utilized the hotel wifi to make manual maps, screenshots etc. What that did was give us time away from gadgets and also give us enough opportunity to explore the old fashioned way. By the end of it, we were far confident travelers and we also saw London the way it deserves to be seen.

What you do in London simply depends on what interests you. Be it opera, play, historical buildings etc?! We are explorers so we just went all in and did everything we could in our 10 day long trip. Here are a few tips you can avail to.

  • Oyster Card – we had procured Oyster card prior to reaching London which helped us greatly. We got a map (which was readily available in the tube stations) and took the underground to Bayswater closest on one route to the hotel. Its easy to refill and its one of the easiest way to travel as it gives you access to the bus and tube along different routes across zones. If you have Oyster consider half of your commute sorted.
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Meet the Hulk : Madam Tussauds

  • Madam Tussauds, Sea Life Aquarium & London eye – look for the original website for most of these attractions for the best deal. We took one that took us to Madam Tussauds, London Eye and the Sea Life Aquarium at a far pocket friendly deal than visiting them individually. Click Here
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Roman Bath Spa

  • Bath – the London countryside is to die for! Must must visit as it’s a visual treat! It has some amazing things to do for a one day trip. The Roman Bath, Jane Austen Museum are a few things to do. We had booked our travel online with virgin trains way in advance and had reserved them too so that helped us get an assured seat and tickets at the lowest possible. Also in between we had taken a train to Salisbury to see the Stonehenge, which we felt was a bit overrated for the price but the country side experience was amazing.
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Edinburgh Castle

  • Edinburgh – perfect for a one day trip. Unless you want to explore all of Scotland, we did not have the time and also being at Edinburgh we realized a day is enough to explore. Please buy whiskey but not from shops near the touristy spots but at the Edinburgh Castle itself. Unless you are a whiskey drinker and you are aware of the price.
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WB Harry Potter Studio

  • WB Harry Potter Studio – book well in advance and often they are sold out well in advance. Keep checking and try other touristy sites for a ticket. If you are a potterhead this is the place to be! Don’t miss it for anything.

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  • Lords- Cricket Fan? You MUST visit this place even if you are not! Its too much legacy to miss out on!
  • London Sightseeing – We booked a package for 2 days which gave us access to travel and entry to all top attractions in London, buy your pass beforehand. You can explore more here.

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  • Shakespeares Globe – If you are a literature fan then this should be on top of your list.

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  • London Tower Bridge –  This is an experience in itself! Loved the Castle and going up on the bridge.
  • Credit Card – Most leading banks offer forex service. Get that. Credit Card usage abroad comes with a charge, best to avoid
  • Food – You have a wide assortment to choose from depending upon your budget. Since we usually used to be on the go and had places we had to be be we usually didn’t have time for breakfast or lunch, hence sandwiches from these departmental stores came handy. Also, these metro stations are well equipped with small counters etc.
  • Walk – most places are well connected and remaining distance you would need to walk so make sure you wear comfortable shoes.

Rest? Well I will leave you to make your own memories. But just one suggestion. London is one of the most beautiful cities of the world, dont cramp your trip, plan well in advance and soak up the Londonness!

Happy Traveling!

Bride in running shoes: Part 1 : Pre – Engagement

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Less than a month to go for the engagement and I am off home to make arrangements. Clothes have to be planned, guest list, lodging for my new family, menu and scores of other things. I’m on a flight home at the moment, my first solo travel in more than an year. Eerie feeling it is, I have always been fiercely independent so this accounting for and missing another person is new to me. New despite being in a relationship could be strange to most but not to me. Thankfully my best friend who is soon going to be my fiancé has always given me enough room to just be myself without changing me.

The fear, the apprehension, the responsibility..

Yes there is this fear gnawing at my soul. Fear not to be committed for an entire lifetime but that of other people. Being married to one’s best friend is the best thing to happen to a girl, better than even marrying your boy friend and I just can’t wait for the time when I wouldn’t need to adjust my schedule and his to meet, catch up or tear away to go home. Home would be about him and me and my new family. If the adda sessions and fun banter is anything to go by, having a new family will be a fun addition to my life.

You know it’s mostly the perceptions that you have of yourself, your life that makes most of these new changes so tough. Like for me, in my head I somehow think I’m just out of school. Reality is I’m 27, a working professional, in love and to be married to my best friend. I have never ever thought of being married, the wedding, the man who will be the Husband and the life Id have to share. It dint help that I’ve been a career person throughout and I have seen far more people drift away than stick on. So taking on new responsibilities is surely a conscious thing and sometimes it’s not really that bad. Imagine for someone who has craved for family during festivals and holidays will have one now! Also moms food almost everyday and won’t have to just look forward to holidays.

So this bride to be is one who is Not comfortable in high heels or mascara. She loves her kohl and running shoes and if possible she would like to run past the social does as they freak her out more than being committed to her best friend does. Running shoes are apt aren’t they? for hiking, for comfortable walks or daily commute. Let’s fling the heels, for this journey is going to be a long, enduring and fulfilling one and you need comfortable running shoes..

Had written this post on the Holi weekend. Wanted to publish the same post engagement.

#TravelGuide : Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand > Mystic Mukteshwar : Review

It had been a few really hectic weeks and months since our last holiday and amidst maddening mundane life; we decided we needed a break. But with a long weekend coming up in exactly 5 days we barely dared to take chances but then we saw strangely that rooms were available so decided to just go ahead and book it. An advise, donot book through third party sites like cleartrip, often they let your booking go through only to inform you later that the rooms were not available, something that could have almost happened with us, if there weren’t sudden cancellations and Vivek Bhaiyaa (the owner) wasn’t kind enough to accommodate us!

Mukteshwar is approx 8 hours drive from Delhi. We had done a fair bit of research about the routes and on Vivek Bhaiya’s guidance we took the road from Muradabad towards Kashipur- Ramnagar-Kaladungi road-Haldwani-Kathgodam. Don’t take the road on your right from Kashipur that takes you to Nainital through Tanda; its easy to take this road but the condition is bad and this route will set you off by an hour at least; so please avoid.

Mystic Mukteshwar

It’s hard to miss the Mystic Mukteshwar lodge, it’s as picturesque as it can get. You are welcomed by Aunty, Vivek bhaiya, their staff and instantly you feel at home. For me, the fresh air, the calming vibrations of the place instantly took away the fatigue. I just couldn’t believe my eyes, the birds nest, the beautiful bells, the lil veggies growing here and there and the lovely cohabitants of the place makes you feel like you have been there for ages.

The food is included in the package and you get to have the most delicious food ever. The staff spoils you rotten. We have travelled a lot but getting really tasty food in the mountains is a rarity. Home cooked food is what they have to offer and it will leave you well fed and a strange amount of satisfaction. Tea and coffee is available round the clock and as many times as you want. I simply fell in love with their dining hall, it’s not hard to imagine a winter evening near the fireplace with friends and family. A tip, please be courteous and adjusting, it is not a hotel but a lodge run by people who don’t treat you as pax but house guests. Also if you are getting home like hospitality, which is rare these days, the least you can do is not treat the people as errand boys. The warmth of everyone on the property is hard to miss, consider yourself lucky if you get to meet lil Seher who is a bundle of sunshine, she is the cutest kid you will find with the coolest family who allow you to spend time with their lil one without an ounce of worry. We used to spend the afternoon playing with Seher, reading and drinking tea. Do meet the dogs as they truly are a fun pack and the most docile beings you will ever come across.

Their cottages are neat and tidy, something that lodges are made of. Try keeping the phone away and avoid TV and be one with the nature as much as possible. It is one of the best experiences ever, it makes you one with the nature. Go for long walks to the temple or the lil market that is nearby. In the evenings, often Vivek bhaiya takes the guests out in his car for a ride in the jungles to see the sunset. It truly is one of the perks of being there.

The couple of days of holiday was over in a blink but the heart was heavy leaving the place behind. There is something very soothing about the place, maybe it is about the people who run the place, Manju Aunty and Vivek bhaiya who don’t treat this as business, and the staff who are always there to lend a hand and cater to you. If nothing else the sheer beauty of the place put together with a lot of love and care truly wins your heart. The lil gift shop in the premises is a must raid place, make sure you pay a visit! By the time we left, we had already made plans to revisit. And we were not the only ones; everyone we met there had visited or visit this place every year. Yes it’s a place where you long to go back to, year after year, we are waiting for January to go back, just pray we get some snow as we have seen the pictures of the lodge during winters and its heavenly.