Book Review | The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K.Rowling aka Robert Galbraith

It is a compelling crime fiction that will keep you glued till the last page. I was able to finish this 500-page book within a week. The death of a model, named Lula Landry, falling to her death from her apartment building was proved to be a suicide after a thorough investigation; her brother, John Bristow had his doubts. He, later on, hires a private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Book Review | The Cukko’s Calling | JKRowling | AppyTales by Anupriya Mishra

Strike with the help of his temporary secretary Robin unfolds interesting aspects related to the crime scene and people known to the model. Strike is a war veteran whose struggles are shown realistic and painful at times. Yet, nothing deviates him from the objective of finding the cues to the case and servicing his client with utmost honesty, despite having no hope in the case initially while accepting it. His financial crisis urges him to accept the case which he thought to be an open and shut case. The more he digs into the model’s life and set of complexities related to it, the grimmer it looked to him with a hint of danger hovering on him and a few others related to this case.

A clean and gripping read and a remarkable book. This book becomes one of my favourites in the crime fiction genre and I’m motivated to read more of such books. The life of the protagonist, a war veteran turned private detective, is so well portrayed, you can’t stop falling in love with the character. The story scenes in and around London and is sure to fascinate you.

You will have to read the book to know if it was a suicide or murder and if anyone was involved in building a situation for Lula to jump off her apartment. All I can say is, you would love the book more with each passing chapter and to learn how excellently the plot ripens and concludes.

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Bhootnath Market in Lucknow Has Something for Everyone

Ever heard of Bhootnath Market? If not then please read on. 😌

This bright and bustling Bhootnath Market is in the heart of the city of Nawabs. It’s one of the most famous and oldest markets in Indira Nagar, Lucknow yet maintains a low profile among tourists. People flock from all corners of the city for their various needs. It has some most vibrant shops for apparel, crockery, groceries and other utility items. Additionally, it’s known for some interesting food joints offering speciality cuisines and bakeries; popular hangout spots among youngsters. It is the most convenient and happening market in Lucknow after Hazratganj. It also has a famous Bhootnath Temple, centrally located, mainly dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It is one of the ancient temples in Lucknow and thus the market derives its name. You’ll find beautiful flower shops in a row opposite the temple which have not only flowers for temple offering but the most exquisite bouquets.

Must Visit in Lucknow| AppyTales | Anupriya Mishra
Nostalgia~Walking down the memory lanes at Bhootnath Market, Lucknow

To sum up, I walked around the lanes of this market today after many years. These lanes brought back some finest childhood memories. The rains added a hint of nostalgia and I couldn’t stop soaking myself in it and reminiscing the bygone days.

The place is easily accessible by metro, local transport or by personal vehicle if you are in Lucknow. It’s quite convenient to explore this market as it’s neither vast nor crowded like Chowk and Aminabad. If you want to indulge in some mindful shopping and eating, Bhootnath is the place to be.

📍- Bhootnath Market, Lucknow

Address:
Bhootnath Market, Sector 5, Indira Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226016

Timings:
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
.
Ps: Do not forget to wear a mask in public places and maintain social distancing.

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Longing For You

Haven’t I waited enough
Watching the ebb and flow
Understanding the pattern of time
Convincingly moving slow

Haven’t I longed enough
To get embraced
And, feel the magic
With each passing day

Haven’t I admired every bit
From the start till the end
From shore to horizon
Smiling endlessly to pretend

Take me with you now
To where I belong
Blend me in your blue
I’ve waited for long!! 🌊

Rock Beach, Pondicherry

—–

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Pretty Little Things Like Cafe Repertwahr

Cafe Rapertwahr | AppyTales | Anupriya Mishra
Cafe Repertwahr in Lucknow

Who could have imagined such a beautiful and inviting cafe on the busiest roads of Lucknow, with just a small signboard, a sufficient parking space and making absolutely no noise about it?

Located on the main Faizabad Road in Indira Nagar, Lucknow @caferepertwahr is a casual dining cafe in a dreamy setup. It’s hardly at a distance of 1.5 km from the famous Bhootnath market. The place offers a lovely ambience, cuisines ranging from North Indian, Chinese, Continental, Italian and Seafood and has a huge collection of books you can spend your time reading over a cup of coffee. The food and services are good. It’s a charming place with lots of refreshing greenery, contemporary and sustainable interiors and liveliness.

My never-ending love for pretty cafes always urge me to find one wherever I go. Sharing this as part of #AppyTalesInLucknow series, since a lot of queries poured in ever since I visited this place on Friday.

I was elated to find the queries coming to me from the people residing in Lucknow itself. So guys do check it out and make the most of it. Although the cafe takes full safety measures like sanitisation, temperature check, social distancing yet do not forget to play your part responsibly. Wear a mask, keep sanitizing and maintain social distancing in public places. It’s high time, please be responsible! 🌸

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Before Taking A Big Leap

Poetry | AppyTales | Anupriya Mishra

Hold on…

I’m busy in my world,
Admiring the sky, and
Waiting for the clouds to pass.

So that I feel,
The fresh sunshine, and
Glitter like a blade of grass.

Hold on…

Till I absorb the chaos,
Before I find my peace, and
Take a big leap.

To wander once again,
Only to find me, and
Get lost in the serenity.

So, Hold on!! 🥰

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Book Review: Everything Happens For A Reason—and other lies I’ve loved by Kate Bowler

I chanced upon this book “Everything Happens for a Reason—and other lies I’ve loved” by Kate Bowler and felt like reading it. Of course, I do sufficient background work like referring to some genuine websites for reviews and reading the summary before purchasing a book, making it easier for me to choose.

Book Review | Appy Tales | Anupriya Mishra

This book of around 175 pages is a soulful read–a memoir of the author. Kate Bowler, a divinity professor and young mother, married to her childhood love, lived a perfect life until she was diagnosed with stage IV of colon cancer at 35 years of age. The story revolves around the pain and joy of living an uncertain life—A deep love for friends and family and excruciating pain to be leaving them behind if God isn’t kind enough. The book describes her thought process and outlook towards his friends, family, acquaintance and life in general during various stages of medication and hospitalization. It is about how life goes topsy turvy with just one news.

Kate is someone who sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of disapproval. The story is about her constant fight with her disease and accepting it the way it appeared. Not getting bogged down with the treatment, prophesy, advice; how she confronts life as is and observes it deeply.

A poignant story pulls the reader deep into her life to showcase the aftermath of diagnosis and yet not troubled by it. The story has jest and subtle humour. Instead of succumbing to her disease, the author tries to look at the brighter side of life. How she deals with the negativities around her and how she smiles despite her deepest worries is what makes this book an easy and light-hearted read.

What I liked about the book is the underlying message to not wait till the end to enjoy and relish time with your loved ones or anything you adore. Keep planning the next move to live your life to the fullest!

The book has some heavy moments where the author realizes that her non-existence might bother her husband and son, but their lives won’t stop. She practically articulates the reality of life and faces it with courage. Based on her experience, The author in the appendix shares a list of what not to say to people experiencing terrible times; worth a read. At times, we say things, least realizing they can have negative repercussions. Sometimes all a person in trouble needs is someone to listen to and not advise or show sympathy. Appendix 2 is the list of how a few things could work like magic for the troubled. Must read and follow. I feel we all do it, sometimes or the other.

If she could be cured or not, I leave it on you to find. The book is simple and heartwarming.

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Top Favourite Street Food Places in Lucknow

This blog was much awaited! Among several other reasons for its great popularity and charm, Lucknow is also known for its mouthwatering food. From delectable kebabs to tangy chaats, from flavoursome kachoris to inviting kulfis and makhhan malai, Lucknow has endless tastes to offer. So, here are some of the best and my favourite street food destinations in Lucknow. You can save this post for future so that you do not miss to try any of these, next time you are here.

  • Tunday Kababi – Come to Lucknow and you are not asked to bring back some kebabs with you; not happening! The legendry Tunday kebabs here are popular across India leave alone Uttar Pradesh. They are exceptionally tasteful and melt-in-your mouth. They have a variety of kebabs—the Shami Kebabs, Boti Kebabs, Kakori Kebabs, Gelawati Kebabs, Seekh Kebabs. A word of caution is to ask beforehand what kebabs are you are going to have as they have varieties in Beef (Bade ka Kabab) and Mutton (Chote ka Kabab), Ask anyone, and you would easily reach the destination. Now they have various franchisees but the oldest one remains in Chowk.
  • Royal Café – This is my personal favourite. Known for its rich Basket Chaat and other variety of lip-smacking tangy chaats. You name it and they have it. Dahi Bhalla, Papdi Chaat, Pani Puri, Bhelpuri, Samosa Chaat they have it all to satiate your chaat cravings. What also makes it unique is Hardayal Maurya ji, the senior most chef here who personally takes care of his guests and makes customized chaats for them and garnishes with his interesting conversation along with other ingredients. This shop is the heart of famous Hazratganj market.
  • Shukla Chaat House – This is the oldest and one of the most popular chaat shops in Hazratganj. Over 50 years old shop, this attracts people who want to try authentic streetfood flavour of chaats. Prices are extremely reasonable starting from Rs 45/- per plate. This shop is old-fashioned made of wood but you would savour the taste for long. A word of caution here is not to get confused with other Sharma Chaats in and around the main shop. and painted in blue as shown in the clip.
  • Bajpayee Kachori Bhandar – This vegetarian eatery is again one of the oldest and the most popular one in Lucknow known for it’s famous Kachoris served with chole (gram), pickle and onion. The shop witness long queues early morning. Right opposite Ram Asrey (A famous sweet shop) in Hazratganj, this petite shop is a prime spot for food lovers and bloggers/ vloggers as well.
  • Sharma Tea Corner – Lucknow aayein aur chai pe charcha na ho aisa to ho hi nahi sakta. 😊 This tea corner is the main fascination of Lucknowites. The famous Bun Maska, Gol Samosa and Kulhad Chai is the classic combination the shop offers at prices as reasonable as Rs 15 per Samosa and Rs 30 per Kulhad Tea.  The shop is again more than 40 years old. You will find people of all age groups gathering and discussing matters on various subjects here, anytime of the day.   
  • Dastarkhwan – Known for its Mughlai cuisines, Dastarkhwan is a mecca for non-vegetarians. It has three branches. However, the main one is in Hazratganj where you can visit with your friends and family and sufficiently enjoy the authentic Mughlai taste within Rs 500.
  • Raheem ki Nihari – This shop exists for over a century and is another famous shop for non-vegetarian lovers who can dive into the aromatic and flavoursome motton and chiken curries with Raheem’s famous Nihari Kulcha. A half plate of Nihari costs just Rs 50. Located in a narrow old lane of Chowk, the place witnesses extreme crowd during Ramzan.
  • Sardar Ji Ke Mashhoor Cholle Bhature – The famous Cholle Bhature of Sardar ji in Lalbagh, brings the authentic taste of Punjab and are highly in demand. They also serve Aloo, Paneer Kulcha and Sooji Halwa made in Pure Ghee. Pure vegetarian shop is a delight to majority of Lucknowites.
  • Prakash Kulfi – A meal is incomplete without a good dessert and the famed Prakash kulfi falooda is unbeatable be it summers or winters. This is a must try whenever you visit Chowk. The delicious Kulfis come in different flavours loaded with dry fruits and flavours that make it rich and creamy.

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Five Things I Learnt From ‘Inner Engineering’ By Sadhguru

Book Review Inner Engineering by Sadhguru | AppyTales by Anupriya Mishra

Throughout while reading this book, Inner Engineering—A yogi’s guide to joy by @sadhguru , I was in a different zone. I was floating in a world of endless possibilities.

Sadhguru I feel has a very practical and logical approach towards life. He refrains from extreme drama and unnecessary emphasis on being overtly docile. We are humans and must be guided accordingly. Instead of expecting us to be all-forgiving and kind all the time which most life coaches suggest, he focuses on self-acceptance over denial. Transformations should happen by accepting the vulnerabilities one possess.

Here are the 5 things I learnt from the book:
✨Find joy within – Which means when you are in a pleasant inner state, you are naturally pleasant to everyone around you.
✨Do not blame your destiny – It’s a way to deal with failure. Instead, mould situations the way you want them.
✨Take responsibility- Realise that you are responsible for all that you are and all that you are not, all that may happen or may not happen to you.
✨Love is all about you – It has nothing to do with someone else. It is a way of being which essentially means you have brought sweetness into your emotion.
✨Yoga is the answer to all your questions – It is the science of being in perfect harmony and in complete sync with existence. It is not about being superhuman but realising that being human is super.

There is much more to the book than this and everyone who’s into meditation, self-transformation and introspection journey must read the book. The book also is a guiding light for those who seek the answer to questions related to life. It focuses on attaining limitlessness and how once you have attained that your journey towards transformation begins.

Another good part about Sadhguru is he keeps the audience (readers in this case) glued by giving real-life incidents and short stories inspired by life. It is extremely intriguing and relatable.

I am going to read more of Sadhguru. Let me know in the comments if you have read this book or recommend any other book by him. Leaving the Amazon link in bio in case you wish to buy this read.

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A Must Stay in Dehradun—LP Residency

If you are planning to visit Dehradun and looking for a simple yet classy, comfortable and luxurious hotel for your stay, LP Residency should be the first choice. I stayed in this hotel while I was on a solo business trip to Dehradun in April. It was supposed to be a day’s work, however, I extended my stay by one day to avoid the rush and also have some relaxing time for myself as the previous few weeks were extremely hectic. Little did I know, this hotel would serve to be a complete package of rejuvenation, good food and a great time. My two days went by so fast in the blink of an eye, quite contrary to my initial thoughts, when it looked more like a business stay to me. I was so wrong! That’s when I decided to let you folks know about this beauteous property through my blog.

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra
The main entrance of LP Residency

Location

LP Residency is centrally situated in the heart of Dehradun. It is easily accessible from the airport, railway or bus station. Since this was my first professional visit to Dehradun, I had kept my hopes extremely grounded. Of course, I was repenting my decision to extend my stay due to the constant news of sudden upsurge in COVID cases as I had also dropped my plans to move around the city. I preferred to stay in the hotel rather, which is so unlike me. I was thrilled to be proven wrong and my stay at LP Residency turned out to be an exceptionally brilliant experience.

Lobby & Check-in Process

Cleanliness, hygiene and sanitization are the first things I am concerned about. I’m extremely careful when it comes to booking accommodation. For me, hygiene standards should be high and there should not be any compromise there. The moment I got off the taxi and walked a few steps towards the entrance door, I was made to sanitize my hands and luggage before being escorted to the reception for formalities and later to my room. The hotel and its interiors were so spick and span that the air of doubt had vanished like a bubble just right there. By now I was pretty much excited to see my room only to dump my luggage and hit onto the bed as I was super exhausted due to all the travelling.

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra
Spick & span lobby and rooms of the hotel

Arriving at the hotel was already an amazing experience. The gorgeous hotel lobby with a class of sophistication and style. The courteous staff at the concierge desk and the smooth check-in process although I arrived 2 hours earlier than the expected check-in time.

The Room

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra
Suite at LP Residency

They have two category of rooms—Club Room and Suite. I stayed in a Suite and it was worth every ounce of my exhaustion which demanded something as premium as this. I forgot all my tiredness and decided to do a room tour for my fellow readers because the room was highly spacious, well-lit with some great bright spaces, tastefully done interiors and a comfortable and nicely done king-sized bed. The best part all for myself!

One part of the room had this huge bed a study table with a beautiful lamp for reading purpose, an LED TV. The other part is more like a living room with couches, another LED TV, side cabinets, carpet and other furnishings. Both of these are carefully partitioned with a wooden frame aesthetically done and adds to the beauty of the suite.

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra
Well equipped bathroom at LP Residency

The bathroom was well equipped with everything you could need: good toiletries, multiple towels and hot water as well.

One thing, however, I missed was the view from the window. But there’s enough to keep yourself busy within and outside the room that you are surely not going to miss it for long.

Service & Facilities

I was amazed to see the prompt service of the staff. Right from the room service to the restaurant, everything was as fast as a flash of lightning. Always being in profession demanding travel, I undoubtedly can say, the services and hospitality of this hotel can surpass the services of some of the 5-star hotels. The staff is prompt, proactive and highly professional other than being courteous. Every single staff member is well trained and hospitable. I was overwhelmed to meet such remarkably warm and welcoming people who were always on their toe and super delighted to serve their guests.

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra
The classy interiors and furnishings

Culinary Delights

Well, now this is my favourite part. Not because I am a foodie, I’m not! Mostly because you can not forget the taste and presentation of the food they offer and it’s going to stay with you for long. I still relish the variety of food and beverages I tried during those two days of stay. There are two restaurants in the hotel with amazing and high-quality food menu. The menu is limited to offer the choicest items.

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra
Coco—Osteria; My favourite spot, the Italian Cafe by LP Residency

One restaurant is a popular Coco—Café & Osteria and the other is named Zaffran. Coco offers their speciality Blue Tokai Coffee and is what they call a hotspot in the Hotel. This place is super chic and classy. The décor and interiors are minimal but tasteful. The limited menu also features Neopolitan pizzas freshly baked in a wood-fired oven and I enjoyed watching the Pizza in the making right from the oven to plate. If you want to watch the making video please click on my Instagram IGTV link .

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra
Kebab platter from Zaffran; the Indian Restaurant by LP Residency

The menu also features a wide selection of gourmet food and delicious beverages. I tried Neopolitan pizza for dinner accompanied with their Hibiscus Ice Tea in their hugely romantic candlelight set up in the open air with good music. It was a perfect setup for a heartfelt dinner. The servings were sufficient for two and extremely delicious! I also tried their desserts and relished the taste rest of the night.

Another favourite part was the breakfast at Zaffran! I’m a huge fan of Indian cuisines and this is where Zaffran came into play. I was served a variety of South Indian delicacies right from the crispy Masala Dosa to Utappam to Idlis with their accompaniments along with fresh orange juice. A wholesome and delightful breakfast that made my day. Can you imagine a more perfect start to the day than this?

Later for dinner, I also tried a platter of kebabs. They were super yummy and delectable. Each kebab had a different aroma and taste. They melted the moment I took a bite and the flavour lasted long.

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra

I was blown away by not just the presentation, service but also the great taste of the food. Each time it was a difficult decision to choose between the Italian or Indian restaurants because both the restaurants served unparalleled food, coupled with unmatched service. The ingredients they used were so fresh! That reminds me of the Chicken Salami and Lettuce Salad I chose to have for lunch. I can still imagine the crunchiness of lettuce with refreshing Salami slices.

I had a hard time choosing amongst all the amazing options. Trust me, this limited menu wasn’t limited at all because each time I tasted something I wanted to have it the second, the third time, so on and so forth.

You can choose to have meals in your room or the restaurant. I preferred the latter because I loved the setup of the restaurants.

Concluding Thoughts

My stay at LP Residency was enthralling. You couldn’t possibly ask for a better location as it is easily accessible from all the prime spots in Dehradun. I was totally in love with the red brick-like fascinating look they have given to the hotel on the outside and the lovely interiors of the hotel. The food was extraordinary and the staff was warm and courteous! If you want to see a video tour of my room and the breakfast selection head over to my Instagram highlights and check out the Hotel section!

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra

In case you want to visit the hotel, you can check the latest prices and availability here!

Hotel Review _Appy Tales_Anupriya Mishra

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Have you visited Dehradun or have any plans to visit post-pandemic? Let me know in the comments.

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Pictures taken by Anupriya Mishra and Aman Khan

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Landour: Concoction of Simple Pleasures and Picturesque Views

On the brink of the mountain, ahead of the famous Mall Road in Mussoorie, lie an exceptionally beauteous and magical small hill station, Landour

Landour-Uttarakhand-India-AppyTales-AnupriyaMishra
Landour, a quaint hill station is situated on the tip of the crown of Queen of Hills, Mussoorie

Landour by now might be known to many. It was my first visit and I was spellbound to see the beauty of this quaint town in the cantonment area adjacent to Mussoorie in Uttarakhand. In a short trip of four days to Mussoorie, I visited Landour twice. Rather trekked to Landour from the bright and colourful Doma’s Inn. What looked like a walkable distance of just 3 km left me panting for almost 15-20 minutes, when I reached the famous Char Dukan in Landour. Hold on, if you are not aware of these names. In this blog, I’ll take you one by one to all the significant places In Landour.

Landour-Uttarakhand-India-AppyTales-AnupriyaMishra
Doma’s Inn, a vibrant Bed and Breakfast option in Landour

Mussoorie and Landour, the twin towns, are popular hill stations from the times of the British era. Collectively these two were called “Queen of Hills”, however, the former gained more popularity among tourists and later remained calm and quiet nestled silently among the hilltop. Landour is around 984 ft above Mussoorie, located in the Western Himalaya, in the Mussoorie Range and is partly Tibet-facing. Known for its colonial architecture and picturesque sights, Landour for me is a dreamy and magical destination having abundant peace and lush views. You can bucket list this place if you love mountains and enjoy offbeat places, far from the hustle and bustle of commercial and touristy destinations. You are sure to fall in love with this place. No wonder, it’s a home to many creative minds like the authors Ruskin Bond, Allan Sealy and film personalities Tom Alter, Vishal Bharadwaj to name a few. 

This was my second visit to Mussoorie after a gap of almost a decade. My first visit to Mussoorie was 2 days and 1 night stay with colleagues over a weekend as an escape from the monotonous work. Ever since I never thought of visiting Mussoorie as I always felt it is overly crowded and commercialized. Of course, all beautiful tourist destinations deserve attention. I am however more of an offbeat traveller who loves untouched quaint places. So, this time, while I stayed in Mussoorie, I gave a piece of my heart to this beautiful town, Landour. 

Of the four days I stayed in Mussoorie, my good two days were spent in Landour. And, next time onwards I am only going to stay in Landour. A word of caution: In this blog, I am going to share every bit of my experience to make you fall in love with this place. 

Travelling from Delhi to Landour

Approximately 290 km from Delhi, Landour is well-connected by rails and roads and can be reached by train, bus or private car. If you are travelling by public transport, you will have to hire another taxi from Dehradun. A private taxi would cost you around INR 1500. Shared Taxis are also available. You also have an option of hiring a bike on rent in Mussoorie, which costs you anywhere between INR 800-1500 for nine hours depending on your preference of bike. 

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Hire a bike on rent from Mussoorie Mall Road

I travelled from Delhi to Mussoorie via Dehradun by bus. Booked my onward UPSRTC bus ticket through Red Bus App and return through UTC (Uttarakhand Transport Corporation). On each side, the ticket cost me approx. INR 700. 

If you wish to travel by air, the nearest airport to Landour is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun.

Into the Calm in Landour

I become a happy kid when I find places that have got plenty of natural beauty, silence the heart desires and air as light as feather. Little did I know Landour is such a majestic escapade. Almost 5-6 km of steep hike or drive from the Mall Road in Mussoorie, Landour offers an exquisite charm. It’s almost an hour walk but a tough one. You can also hire a cab from Mall Road and they charge you INR 200-300. 

Carpeted by all sorts of forests and plantation like the deodars, cedars, Himalayan oak, Pine, Firs, Maples and alike, Landour offers captivating views of the Garhwal Himalaya. This silent abode rests right in the lap of nature and gives an attractive view of Mussoorie and Doon valley. You can easily drive through the top of Landour and park your car at the parking lot in Chaar Dukan. Hardly at a distance of 900 meters you have the Lal Tibba and Landour Bakehouse. However, the real thrill of this place is in exploring by foot. I would only recommend this if you are a habitual walker and trekker. These views come at a steep hike and you must be fit enough to walk and explore around else you still have the option of driving through or hiring a taxi. I visited this place in April and wonder how exotic the place would be around winters, with those misty deodars and pearl-like dews resting on the needle-like leaves of the pine trees; must be a miracle to witness. 

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Landour is about long walks, picturesque views and endless peace

What to Explore in Landour?

Other than the scenic beauty which is plentiful, there are some well-known places, you can spot and would not be disappointed. Here’s a list of places from my two-day visit to Landour:

Ivy Cottage—Mr. Bond’s Favourite Spot: No, not James Bond, our very own and favourite author whom we all have grown-up reading and some of us like me still do, Ruskin Bond. He is an Indian author of British origin. He wrote many stories here and the place gives the perfect essence of the description in his books—the deodars, the window. A perfect place for an author to reside. He is one of the oldest residents of Landour. You can imagine how exceptionally peaceful this town must be back then. His choice to spend his life in a place like this is a perfect example of his love and passion for writing.

Chaar Dukan: You read this name before at the beginning of this blog. This place is considered to be the coolest hangout place in the whole of twin towns; Mussoorie and Landour. These are the four oldest shops adjacent to each other known for their Nutella Pancakes, Cinnamon Waffles and Banana Shakes. The shops here have books by Ruskin Bond, who’s a frequent visitor to this place. I had read so much about this place that I wanted to visit and have a picture here. Although the trekking up to this place was killing my excitement on few occasions it was worth all the effort. You would always find these shops full of tourists and locals who wish to hang out. There are now six shops, however, the first shop i.e., Anil’s Café is the oldest and most in-demand.

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The Famous and Historic Chaar Dukan in Landour

Sisters Bazaar: An area close to Chaar Dukan has some known shops and cafes like: 

  • Landour Bakehouse—a bakery cum café that gives the essence of colonial times and carries old charm, blends with the conspicuous theme of the town. To maintain the 1980s appeal, they have kept away from Wi-Fi.
  • Anil Prakash Store—I am extremely fond of fresh fruit jams and syrups straight from the hills and never miss a chance to grab some whenever I visit mountains. This time I had to visit Prakash Store, known for its delicious jams and jellies, right next to Landour Bakehouse. This is again one of the oldest shops in and around Landour, established in 1928. Apart from jams and jellies, they have a variety of stuff like mint dips, peanut butter, etc. and they prepare it from fresh locally grown produce. Also, they let you taste the variety of stuff they have to make your selection mindful and easy.
  • Prakash Handicraft Shop—If you are fond of everything local then you must visit this shop for Garhwali handicrafts and other locally made artefacts. 

St. Paul’s Church: Right next to Chaar Dukan, aesthetically sits this colonial-era church. It is believed to be one of the most historic churches in Mussoorie. It stands beautifully at the centre of a large area surrounded by Deodars. The church is beautifully painted in cream yellow and contrasts perfectly with the green surroundings. Its simple yet magnificent architecture draws the eyeballs of every single person who’s visiting for the first time. 

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St. Paul’s Church, Landour

Kellogg’s Church: This church displays Gothic architecture and is magnificently done. It has beautiful stained-glass windows which add to its beauty. Hardly half a kilometre away from Char Dukan, this church calls for a visit for its appealing beauty. 

Landour Language School: Behind the Kellogg’s Church is the historic Language School from the time of Britishers. During their ruling period in India, Britishers used to learn Hindi in this school. The Landour Language School is still functional and teaches Indian languages like Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Punjabi and Garhwali. Students from across the world come to learn here. 

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Enjoying the breathtaking views

Rokeby Manor: An upbeat restaurant serving gourmet Indian and Continental food. This establishment was built in 1840. The Rokeby Manor also has a cluster of cottages beautifully done. With red brick walls and wooden flooring, the cottages give an earthy yet classy appeal. It stands to be the most expensive and exclusive stay in Landour. 

Laal Tibba: Laal Tibba or the Red Hill as the name suggests is a reddish-brown hill mainly due to the soil. It is the highest point of Landour town giving the view of various Himalayan peaks. You will find a couple of spots with telescopes to give you a clear view of snow-clad peaks and far off villages for just INR 50 per person. You can also see all the Char Dhams from these spots and the view is best enjoyed during the sunrise or sunset.

Ruskin Bond’s House: Next to the vibrant BnB-Doma’s Inn at a steep descent from the Upper Chakkar is the house of Ruskin Bond. People who know he stays here, do not fail to enquire about his house with the hope, they might get a chance to see him or meet him. 

Why is Landour Still an Offbeat Destination?

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View from Landour

Landour being close to Mussoorie (approx. 7 km.) is still an offbeat destination. Landour falls under the cantonment area and as per the Cantonment Act of 1924 the plantation lies with the military. Thus, there cannot be any deforestation or new permanent construction. There has been no tree cutting for over a century and no permanent construction since 1924. Only the construction of temporary structures and repairs of the old structure is permitted due to which the town remains untouched from tourism or civilization. 

Best Time to Visit Landour

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Picture taken in the month of April

April to June is considered to be the best months to visit Landour as the weather is pleasant and makes it easy to walk around and explore the place. If you are a traveller who prefers visiting places in the offseason then you can visit all the year round as rains add a different charm to any hill station but avoid travelling by car because the roads get slippery. Landour does not witness snow. 

Fun Facts about Landour:

  • Landour was built by and for the British Indian Army
  • The first permanent building in all of Mussoorie-Landour was also built in Landour in 1825
  • Landour is named after a village called Llanddowror in south-west Wales

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Mother’s Day 2021: Smart Gifts For Smart Moms Of Today

No matter how much we make her feel special on Mother’s Day, we know every single day is a celebration of the woman she is. Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful Mothers in the world!

Mother's Day 2021 | AppyTales | Anupriya Mishra
Gifts For Mom | Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Mother, one word that brings a deep sense of affection to us. This is one selfless and pure relationship on earth. She can neither be defined nor described in its entirety yet holds such a significant position in life. She’s the epitome of sacrifice and unconditional love. She’s also a perfect manager, financer and leader who can successfully execute any task and keep each family member involved. Mother’s today are also tech-savvy and digitally proficient. She’s more inquisitive and excited about technology and gadgets than we are. No matter how well and how often we express our gratitude towards our mother for all the pain and sufferings she has gone through only to make us a better person, nothing can replace the good she has done. However, some gestures can make her feel loved and wanted whether we are far or near.

This is the time of the year other than the birthdays and anniversaries when we get one more chance to express ourselves. For me, gifting has always been a huge task as I am the most confused one to look for gifts. I know so many people who know the right nerve when it comes to choosing a gift. It is a cakewalk for them. I, however, struggle in making a selection for others and I am sure many of you, just like me, face the same challenge. Thus, to make your life simpler I have carefully thought of and listed below the top 10 items I would like to gift my mother on this Mother’s Day; for you to borrow some inspiration from. These gifts are meticulously picked considering my Mother’s hobbies, passion, health and lifestyle. With each item, I have also specified reasons for choosing them to help you make the right choice without spending hours browsing the websites.

Here’s what I recommend:

Mother’s Day Gift Idea 1: Air Purifier For Breathing In Fresh Air, Free Of Impurities And Pollutants

In times like these when the entire world is fighting a pandemic, the first thing that comes to mind is to keep your loved ones safe and healthy. Nothing can cost more than health. COVID-19 has certainly taught us some major life lessons. I would not mind spending a fortune if I have to keep my loved ones safe. Although, big researchers have not been able to figure out a fool-proof safety method against the deadly virus, however, we can do whatever is in our hand to maintain good living standards and hygiene. Thus, the very first gift idea I would like to recommend for the well-being of mothers is an air purifier to keep the pollutants in the room at bay. Air purifiers are devised to sense the air quality and remove airborne pollutants. These can be as small as 0.003 microns. It can purify a standard room in just a few minutes and can also remove pollen and house dust mites, which is also beneficial in case they are allergic to these.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 2: Echo Dot For The Satisfaction Of Instructing Someone Throughout the Day 😉

The second item that instantly came to my mind was the Echo Dot. I wanted to gift a Bluetooth speaker to my mother and then I thought why not buy a smart speaker with Alexa. It would be fun to see moms giving instructions and Alexa performing all the tasks she demands. This would be a good way to keep her engaged and entertained especially when we are all mostly at home. Also, because my mother is a great learner and takes a keen interest in experimenting with new things, I thought this can be a new and easy way out for her to stay abreast of news, stories, music, information and simultaneously explore a new gadget. There are a lot of other voice control features as well that come along with it.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 3: Hair Dryer and Styler To Make Her Flaunt Her Beautiful Hair

My mother has beautiful straight silky hair. I used to ask her why don’t have hair like you. We spend so much of our time looking good while most of the time our moms invest in is looking after the family. Since this latest trending product had grabbed many eyeballs, I thought it could be a good gifting option for mothers. They need all the love and pamper they deserve. Give them this trendy and chic looking hairdryer and styler, which is easy-to-use for her. Style her hair your way whenever you are with her and make her fall in love with her hair all over again.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 4: Foot, Calf and Leg Massager For Relaxing Her

Why should mothers be deprived of anything that can comfort their wearied nerves? I added this foot, calf and leg massager to my kitty long back for this day. On days when you could not be close to her to give her a good foot massage, this machine would do the job and remind her of you.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 5: Kindle Book Reader For Urging Her To Read

Books are a great way to stay involved and pass time and what better way than to get used to reading on Kindle. I am addicted to it. It’s portable and saves me from making space from buying and maintaining hundreds of books. Once a book hoarder, I am now a bookaholic without accumulating books. More than that being a traveller, gives me good company on all my tours without taking much space. I gifted Kindle long back to her but would love to upgrade to this better version because she loves to read and I want her to keep the pace.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 6: Air Fryer For Her Love Of Food Which She Has Otherwise Given Up

There was a time when you could not think of giving up on fried food or the use of oil. With changing times people have become more health-conscious. To keep my parents away from ailments I have urged them and even they have consciously cut down on fried stuff. Gifting my mom an Air fryer will be a good option to firstly not deprive her of the foods which were earlier not possible without frying and secondly would not increase my blood pressure level to know she has again prepared something fried like my dad’s favourite Samosas.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 7: Instant Camera Gift Pack For Developing And Building Instant Memories

Mothers are generally fond of decorating homes with beautiful pictures of their children and loved ones. What better than gifting her the Instant Camera that can capture any memory– develop instantly. She can make endless memories herself and decorate one entire wall, make fridge magnets out of pictures or the complete house with beautiful pictures. While finding an instant camera I came across this useful kit with a camera, buntings for decoration, battery, camera strap, etc.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 8: New Apple iPhone For The Love Of iPhone

You don’t need a reason to buy an iPhone for yourself or for the person you adore. You can upgrade your mom to a new iPhone or buy her one if she doesn’t have one. iPhone is a perfect gift if you can afford one because it could never disappoint you. Its performance and experience is exceptionally good and once an iPhone user will always be an iPhone user. Try it out!

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 9: Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mopper Can Be The Biggest Help In Challenging Times Like These

I was happy to find something like the robotic vacuum cleaner and mopper that can not just wipe away the dust and floor but also your mother’s maid woes now and then. Especially during the lockdown and uncertain times, this can turn out to be a blessing for all mothers. Its remote, app and virtual control modes make it all the more convenient for her to sit from any corner, monitor and instruct this super gizmo. This blew my mind and sooner or later I am going to have one for myself too. Read about its versatile functionality by clicking on the link below and no doubt you would fall in love. This can make anyone self-reliant. Say goodbye to the maid’s woes.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea 10: FitBit Health and Fitness Tracker For Monitoring Daily Activities To Stay Hale And Hearty

Needless to say, this sleek band is the need of the hour with all the limited activities and sedentary lifestyle we have. Mothers are no less when it comes to making a move and staying active. More than that it’s like telling her your health is in your hands so keep moving and keep tracking your daily activities for the number of steps you take, calories you burn, hours you sleep and more. This is no less than a love band for your mom if you can convince her to wear it always and follow the daily activity reminders.

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If you have not given a thought to what your mother loves to do, now is the time. I believe gifts should not always be weighed with their price tag. No gift is cheap or expensive considering it is of utility to the person you are gifting it to. Make it a point not to gift things you love but what the other person would love to have. More tips on it may be in some other blog.

Super Moms Deserve Super Gifts. Happy Gifting!

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What if I say…

Life is not always a throwback. You got to live in the present and plan for the future.

What if, I say I want to fly, would you give me that initial push I need;

Hold me close to only set me free.

What if, I want to touch the sky, would you show me the path I seek;

Hold my hand only to let me be.

What if, I tell you I want to deep dive into the meandering rivers;

Would you see me dive and swim away from you?

What if, I want to start all over again, would you ever understand;

And, leave me at a safe place.

What if, I want to reach the topmost peak and cry my heart out;

Would you still let me go without looking back?

What if, I want a life without the ifs, would you kiss away my worries;

And, let me fly without wings.

PS: The first part of this poem was written 9 years back https://anupriyamishra.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/fly-without-wings/

It’s a journey from then to now, a transformation, an evolution from a bunch of experiences that come calling

What does it take to be a woman of mettle?

On International Women’s Day 2021

Being a woman is certainly not in our hands. Of course, the chromosomes play a major role here. However, being a woman of the mettle is an option, so many of us strive hard to attain.

Being a gender-neutral person, I believe in celebrating humanity than a particular gender. Perhaps, also because I, fortunately, haven’t seen a world where women are seen to be dominated. Yet, I’m not unaware of the sacrifices, compromises, pain, physical differences and emotional sensitivity she undergoes in so many ways. This is what makes the journey of a woman remarkable. And, irrespective of what each of us does, we are all beautiful in our ways. Nothing can deprive us of being what we are. All it takes is putting that extra effort into the inherent strength that brings out the “woman of mettle’ we all are.

I have always believed in paving my path, and sooner or later convinced those who matter, to support me in my decision. Whatever you do and wherever you are, if you give your heart and soul to what you want to achieve you will outshine. If you haven’t been able to find that woman in you, the time is now. Because anyone can be a woman, it takes courage to be a woman of spirit, fortitude and substance. What would you prefer to be known as?

Solo Travelling to Jaisalmer—what makes it an Incredible Experience?

I recently visited the golden city of India, Jaisalmer for good 10 days (including my train journey) as a solo traveller. Undeniably, this is one of my fondest experiences because of umpteen reasons. This was not my first solo trip. However, after staying at home in the lockdown for almost a year, planning this trip was not easy. Rajasthan and I have some strange beautiful connection. Previously, I had visited Jodhpur as a solo traveller and this time it was Jaisalmer. There were times when travelling solo in India for a female traveller looked like a far off dream. Not anymore!

During my journey, I met a lot of interesting people who had very many questions for me. And, most of them gave the impression that I’m extremely bold to be travelling alone from Delhi. I’m aware travelling solo is not a new concept; however, by now I was sure there are still a lot of doubts and misconstrued notions about travelling solo in India. On my way back to Delhi on my train, I met another lady who worked in the IT education sector and she asked me, “What is the fun of travelling solo? My 22-year-old daughter keeps telling us she wants to travel solo.” Although I could slightly clear the air of doubt she had, I thought I would pen down my thoughts elaborately for others to refer to and understand better. This blog is precisely more about my experiences related to Jaisalmer as a city and must not be confused with travelling to any and everywhere.

Who Am I and What Gives me Confidence to Travel Solo

I’m a traveller and of course a visionary (as my tee says) 😉

I think this question makes much more sense when I’m suggesting solo travelling. How you are as a person, your nature, your professional background and your age does matter when you are travelling solo. Being in my middle 30s and having worked for 15 years in the field of Journalism and Marketing, I feel I have had my own set of experiences—good and bad. I can assess a situation because of the exposure I’ve got. Corporate life teaches you a lot, right from people management, self-control to crisis management. Having had my share of troubles and combating them independently has helped me a lot to gain the kind of confidence one needs to be travelling alone. However, this does not mean people who have been at home or college may not travel solo. Everyone has their level of maturity and assessing capabilities. You know yourself the best and no one understands you better than your family. If you plan a solo trip, make plans in consensus with your loved ones and ensure to keep them informed and stay well-connected throughout your journey by any means. This also gives them further confidence in you. Do not make irrational plans and plan every minute detail possible, much ahead of your bookings.

What does Travelling Solo to Jaisalmer Mean

Inside the premises of Jaisalmer Fort

Travelling solo to Jaisalmer from any part of the country would mean unveiling a city not just rich in its heritage but also the hospitality. Not even one person I met, right from the time I stepped in Jaisalmer, not courteous enough. I have sensed the finest culture and etiquette especially in treating guests or tourists and travellers like us. Jaisalmer has ten times increased my confidence to travel solo because of the amicable hospitality and honest guidance I received from the local people here. Travelling solo to Jaisalmer will give you ample opportunity to interact with locals and merchants and understand their lifestyle, culture and business in depth. It’s always good to learn about a specific region. That is what I did the most and learned the most from my trip. People in Jaisalmer love to interact. They are welcoming and love having heart-warming conversations. They are open to telling you about themselves, their family most humbly and honestly. You can talk to them about anything under the sun and they have good knowledge about it be it sports, politics, cinema and alike. Jaisalmer is a humble abode to many scenic spots and monuments. Travelling solo also gives you an ample opportunity to meet new people, learn, unlearn and relearn and introspect. You can be at your creative best when you are travelling to such places alone.

When is the Best Time to Travel Solo to and within Jaisalmer

Part of Jain temple

Jaisalmer witnesses the extreme heat starting March until September. The best time to visit Jaisalmer is considered to be October-March. However, as per my interactions with the local people, the best months to travel are November-January. This is the time when the weather is at its best and the sun is not extremely harsh either on the skin or camera. The best time to explore this glorious city is early mornings when the forts are open and evenings when you can explore places other than forts like Gadisar Lake, Bara Bagh, Vyas Chhatri. You can cover the city in 4-6 days depending on your interest. I travelled for 10 days to have the local flavour and store as much information as I could. It helps a great deal for someone like me who is an experiential writer. Jaisalmer city is safe even after the sunset. You can watch the sunset from some best rooftop cafes and take an easy-breezy stroll exploring the alleys without being worrisome. The best thing about Jaisalmer is you do not get stares and glares from people irrespective of your persona or attire, something I find to be disgraceful in a few cities I have stayed or visited.

Where can a Solo Traveller Stay and Eat in Jaisalmer?

Explore the pretty cafes in Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer is one of the most hospitable cities I have come across, you can comfortably stay in any of the known resorts and homestays or hotels. Jaisalmer does have homestay options and you can opt for the ones you like from AirBnB. I generally prefer homestays and resorts because the latter makes me feel I’m on some official trip and I’d rather prefer feeling at home or on a vacation. During my trip, I stayed at a few great properties Bhimkothi Boutique Homestay, Moonlight Nature Resort & Hotel and Royal Haveli. Each of them was an exceptional experience and I would be talking about them separately in my blog. You have options to eat where you stay or explore some cafes offering the best Jaisalmer city view and good food at reasonable rates. Some of the cafes that need a special mention here are Café +, Café The Kaku, The Traveller’s Cup Coffee Shop (follow me for a detailed blog on Jaisalmer must-visit cafes).

The Question Arises Why to Travel Solo

Travelling in a group is fun, travelling solo is meditative

Travelling in groups is fun, travelling solo is meditative. Meditation can equally be fun for those who have experienced its beauty and strength. Travelling solo unleashes your true self. You know whatever comes; you have to tackle it alone. You learn to be doubly attentive and wise. You learn managing all by yourself, meeting and greeting new people and being at your best to experience the best of the worlds. I am not recommending solo travelling all the time, but once in a while visit places unknown all by you. Meet your inner self and explore your strengths and weaknesses. Each time you travel solo you come back more refined as a person with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You find your daily challenges trivial when you have explored a vast place all by yourself. It allows you to love yourself more and live your life more thoughtfully and carefully by listening to your head and choosing your paths and directions. Spending even a minuscule time in solitude, when the whole world around you is moving at the usual pace, is an eternal feeling; you would know only if you travel solo.

How and Where to Start and How I started

Take that first step of making up your mind and not looking back

Do not ask and do not wait for someone to answer this to you. During my trip, I received hundreds of questions, especially from women who wish to travel solo but do not have a direction. Take that first step of making up your mind and not looking back. Choose the dates, place and book your tickets. The more you think the more you will withhold yourself. I’m not an irrational traveller, but most of my travels have been successful because I plan much in advance and without thinking twice just book my tickets. There’s lot of planning that goes into researching the place and spots I want to visit, means of transportation, stay and more. The place certainly has to be carefully chosen if you are travelling alone. Research well about the place, read reviews and blogs. There’s plenty of information already, bring it to your best advantage. I can confidently say now that Jaisalmer is a good option to start with, once the weather is favourable. Start to pen down your plan more like a journal. Plan your trip day by day or even minute by minute if you are good at it. The more elaborate and well-thought plan you have, the less the hassle.

Hotel Review: Ride Inn Café & Resort in Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Early morning at Ride Inn Cafe & Resort in Manali
Early morning at Ride Inn Cafe & Resort in Manali

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” -Oprah Winfrey

Sneh and Godwin, the owners of this enthralling property, have certainly proved this to be true. If you get a chance to stay at this place, you would know. You can easily relate to their undeniable love for bikes and travelling. These reflect in unimaginable ways. Every element they have used for adding aesthetic value to their hotel is well thought of and crafted assiduously. It not just speaks of their fascination but exudes enormous attention to detail as a traveller. Ride Inn, a motorcycle-themed café and boutique hotel, and as the name suggests may seem more inviting to bike lovers; however, this is not just limited to bikers or bike enthusiasts. We drove into this place and enjoyed a four day stay experiencing and evaluating every corner. I will take you through the observations and experiences I had, staying here.

Ride Inn is nestled amidst the mighty the Himalayas and offers a 360-degree view
Ride Inn is nestled amidst the mighty Himalayas and offers a 360-degree view of the mountains

Nestled Amidst the Mighty Himalayas: Imagine! You stay at a place with a 360-degree view of the mountains, river Beas flowing adjacently, picturesque orchards surrounding you when you step out of your room, a landscaped garden at your disposal. You are at Ride Inn. Yes, a place that is no less than divine, when it comes to the sceneries. It’s a perfect abode to spend quality time with your loved ones or just be yourself in a dreamy set-up and enjoy your own company. You would require crossing the stunning Shanag Bridge, Nehru Kund, which lies on the Manali-Leh Highway, to reach this resort. Crossing the bridge in itself would give you goosebumps and make for a joyous ride.

The garden area at Ride Inn is beautifully landscaped and a perfect place for bonfire

A Perfect Destination for Comfort and Pleasure: I was amazed multiple times for different reasons. I realized I was not only exposed to bewildering sights but also a magnificently done hotel. The exteriors have an earthy appeal considering the colour, texture and the moderate use of wood. I later got to know the architecture of Ride Inn drew inspiration from old Himachali Kathkuni architecture. It is a traditional form of architecture prevalent in Northern Himachal Pradesh and is eco-friendly. Such architecture is weather-friendly, aesthetically pleasing and stable for years. In addition to this, Ride Inn is designed to ensure comfort and provides rooms and corners, giving personal space to guests. Each corner is distinct. The garden area has logs of woods for seating arrangement and bonfire; the attention-grabbing café too has cosy corners done differently; I would like to mention in a separate point. Also, they have a sufficient parking space that can contain up to 8-9 cars within the premise.

Vibrant, cosy rooms and the wooden furnishing keep you warm
The vibrant, cosy rooms and the wooden furnishing keep you warm

Warm and Comfy Rooms: This is one of those hotels where you would not want to step out of your rooms. I am one restless person, always on foot and never taking a rest. When I visit a place, I am a traveller and not a tourist. I do not believe in wasting a fraction of second because I love to explore. Ride Inn changed that for me. Most of the time, I was busy finishing my work on the laptop and enjoying coffee breaks with a surreal view right from my balcony. The room is compact and cosy with simple wooden furnishings and dreamy yellow lamps. A nicely done bed and a neat and clean washroom with all amenities like hot water geyser, toiletries and a balcony with a view. You would find a floor rug and a small cabinet with extra blankets for extremely cold weather. It only shows the thoughtfulness and planning that has gone into making and maintaining this homely abode. Generally, when I visit a cold place and stay in a hotel, I have to ask for extra comforters. This beforehand concern, to ensure the comfort of guests, pleased me.

The décor elements at Ride Inn Cafe are made of bike gears and are very interesting to see
The décor elements at Ride Inn Cafe are made of bike gears and are interesting to see

The Roof-Top Café & Food: I never found the cafe vacant, not even once. People, especially youngsters, frequently visit here. You can sit in this roof-top café with a view, read books, work and spend hours with some good food at your disposal. As earlier mentioned, each corner is distinct. The décor elements are made of bike gears and are very interesting to see. You would find glass tables decorated with bike gears, stools made of motorbike seats with a spring, tissue holder made of nut and bolt, lampshades made of some iron spikes, I am sure they are called something in riders’ lingo. They have a washbasin area with a Yamaha oil tanker used as a water dispenser, Rajdoot accessory made into a soap dispenser and a bike tyre into a washbasin. If you have to witness the height of creativity, zeal for standing out and passion for your work, Ride Inn is the place to be. One part of the cafe is converted into a dining area and is extremely vibrant. They have made a dining table from a scooter (Bajaj Chetak) with serving bowls mounted on the top. Then there is a comfortable floor-seating arrangement with a view on one side and a slightly sophisticated seating arrangement with wooden tables, chairs and bean bags on the other. The centre of the café has a furnace made of barrels. A vibrant wall with stickers all over and interesting travel quotes on walls everywhere are sure to inspire you to travel more and of course to revisit Ride Inn whenever feasible. 

Ride Inn menu is loaded with lip-smacking dishes; offers curated dining experience and divine desserts
Ride Inn menu is loaded with lip-smacking dishes; offers curated dining experience and divine desserts

The food at Ride Inn needs a special mention because the owners Sneh & Godwin are chefs themselves. So you can imagine how carefully they must have put the menu in place. Each cuisine is carefully curated by them and passed on to the chef in charge. The food is sumptuous. I have had the best of foods but whatever I ate here was a perfect balance of spices, aroma and taste. The presentation is simple yet chic. A lot of attention has gone into the cutlery to complement the furnishings. Once you have absorbed all of this, try their divine dessert. My personal favourite is Apple Caramel Blondie. It tastes heavenly! Slightly warm and melts in your mouth to leave a creamy, caramelized taste to relish for long. Everything on the menu is so perfect that you might feel satiated but can never get bored eating the same dish.  

Enjoyed the warmth, service and the room with a view
Enjoyed the warmth, service and the room with a view

Good Hospitality and Service: Right since the time I stepped in to Ride Inn till I checked out, I found the staff and management extremely courteous, helpful and always on their toes. They guided us on various things. They told us about the place, food, explained the menu thoroughly without rushing and served us the best and most delectable dishes we had ordered. If I sound too full of praises, please know that it is worth it. After all, it is a well-trained staff that makes your stay an exceptional one. No matter how good a hotel is, if you do not find them hospitable enough, you ruin your mood and eventually the trip. Ride Inn hospitality is good.

Sneh & Godwin - The owners of Ride Inn (Image courtesy: Ride Inn)
Sneh & Godwin – The owners of Ride Inn (Image courtesy: Ride Inn)

More About the Owners – Sneh & Godwin, the owners of this place have too many things in common. Call it a coincidence or destiny; they are both professional hairdressers and chefs and have an unparalleled love for travel. The duo is making excellent use of their commonalities and serving fellow travellers with the finest of experiences in the form of Ride Inn. After exploring India extensively in the last many years, they fell in love with the Himalayas and decided to make it their home. Being hair artists, they also offer salon services at Ride Inn (I’m yet to explore). Constructing a luxurious building is one thing, infusing life through experiences, intricacies and cautions another. And, that is what the two masterminds have done through Ride Inn.

Evening at Ride Inn Cafe & Resort
Evening at Ride Inn Cafe & Resort

If you ever visit this place, do not just stay here like you do in any other hotel. Instead, feel the emotions that go in every bit and the very existence of this place. Observe; to learn how you can make a difference if you are passionate about something. You got to feel this place more than just staying in at Ride Inn. So next time when you visit Manali, you know your favourite dwelling. Ride in to Ride Inn!

—-

Website: https://rideinn.in/

Location: Across Nehru Kund Bridge, Burwa Road, Manali

E-mail: info@rideinn.in

Contact: +918894539495; +918894594951

Book Review: I Will Survive by Sunil Robert

First thing first, this book is a marvel for teenagers, period!

Having said that it’s not that people of my age and above shall not read it. There are takeaways for all age groups. How does one expect a book on comeback stories of a corporate warrior—Full of challenges, learnings, hardships, cut-throat competition, leadership lessons, trials and triumphs. Yes, it does have all of that.

And, it heavily reflects upon the author’s inspiring journey through the testing times, battling poverty to support a family of six right from his childhood and coming through with flying colours.

Tough life dealt with a sense of optimism and urge to fulfil dreams, this book is a fine depiction of how one has the ability to transform his or her life if they focus on the positives and ignore the negatives.

Every chapter is summed by some thoughtful and practical learnings applicable and relatable to all of us.

Since the author starts his journey through his childhood hardships; how being unable to pay the school fee bills to pursuing further studies alongside job to mastering the art of writing and communication and to excelling in public speaking that led him to support a family throughout since a very young age and also give him a global recognition.

A fine read I would say. If you have a school going kid about to step into his or her teenage, make them read this book for preparing them for future challenges. Because, no matter how much we avoid it thinking they are too young, the truth of the fact is the world is highly competitive and favours those who can build strong relationships and have passion, energy and a clear vision.

The book has numerous tips to apply in practical life for a definitive success.

My takeaway from this book is ~ you often feel instead of scattering your energies in diverse activities you should be more focused on one thing for profound results. The author from his experience strikes off this mindset. He writes that all the wide experiences define your identity in an unfathomable way.

@westland_books

#anupriyamishrarecommends

——

Let me know in comments if you liked the book review. 😌

Pages: 191

Publisher: Westland

Buy: I Will Survive: 1 https://www.amazon.in/dp/8189975986/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_PfFxFbTHC21AN

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Book Review: The Mother I Never Knew by Sudha Murthy

Life is a big quest. If you start finding the reasons for everything, you may just end up losing your sanity. There are many sages who advice not to dig into the past.

Contrary to which, this refreshing book with two novellas present a gripping family drama of two men who are on their respective expeditions to validate some life events and bitter truths they explore later in their lives.

Why I found this book riveting and worth writing a review is because it comes with a strong message of coming to terms with past mistakes and not running from them. The sense of satisfaction one gets in exploring the unexplored and mending mistake knows no bounds and the book passes the message mightily. Once you face your biggest fears and accept the truth, you have nothing to hide or run away from. You can live peacefully in utter joy. Makes so much sense to me.

Sudha Murty needs no introduction. Her writing is simple yet intriguing. Even in her simplicity of words she gracefully weaves a plot within a plot. A simple story unveils an unexpected ending leaving you in absolute bewilderment.

Adding a new favourite author in my list hereafter. I’ll be reading more of her books and have decided to make a collection of her novels. Hope you like the book as much as I do. #bookreview

@_sudha_murthy

@penguinindia

@penguinukbooks

Pages: 206

Publisher: Penguin

Buy: The Mother I Never Knew: Two Novellas https://www.amazon.in/dp/0143422251/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Pg6wFbEC35E6V

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Sunsets That Made Me Sway

Sunset brings with itself melting emotions of bygone days;

Golden days that make you sway to an unheard tune;

Tunes those were once the songs we hummed;

With our fingers intertwined only to watch it give way to night;

Those sunsets were different than the sunsets of today;

Sunset was an emotion then, it is just another evening today;

Each sunset was then captured in the eyes and saved in our souls;

Today I capture it with my camera to praise it as nature’s galore;

Sunset is an emotion, I remind myself again;

Lost in its beauty, I go down the memory lane.

Skin Problem is Common, Living with it is Not. Here’s What You Need to Know

After the scorching heat of summers, monsoon showers bring a refreshing change. However, this also leads to a lot of skin and hair problems. I have been extremely vocal about personal care and hygiene and all the more when it comes to using the Herbal/ Ayurveda products over chemicals. Most of the products I use are fresh and straight from the kitchen or kitchen garden. However, this season I tried it all and nothing really worked.

Although I have a healthy skin that’s neither prone to pimples nor acne, however, this season brought some new experiences to me just like the lockdown. I could notice acne on my chin, making my skin slightly worn out and rough. Took me a few days to understand what it was and how it could be cured. I really was in a dilemma if these were blackheads, whiteheads or acne. Meantime, I read a lot about it, tried various homemade remedies but of no use. If it wasn’t for the lockdown, I would have rushed straight to a dermatologist and shelled some good money in treatment and medicines. I’m sure many of us would not be very clear on what acne is. I’ve collated a list of points from my research on acne. Hope this helps because skin problem is a common problem but living with imperfections is not.

Acne must be timely cured. Keeping your skin oil-free can avoid these.

Small in Size, Big Trouble

Acne is very common in the humid season. It’s not just prevalent in adolescence but can happen at any age. Imagine me getting acne in the mid-30s for the first time, yeah right. As per Harvard research, acne is caused by inflammation in and around the sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland secretes an oily substance, called sebum that lubricates the skin. The exact reason for this inflammation is unknown, however, excessive sebum secretion clogs the gland which may result in acne, a kind of bacterial infection. And acne may further lead to blackheads, whiteheads or even pimples. Thus, it’s important to cure them at this very stage.

Whatever be the reason, one must, in general, take good care of skin and be extra cautious while treating acne.

  • Eat healthy and avoid oily food – although none of the scientific studies has proved that acne is caused due to a specific kind of food. However, eating fresh food is advisable for a healthy gut and skin.
  • Wash face with a mild face wash/ cleansers twice a day-Limit your face wash to two times in a day as excessive wash may further cause inflammation and irritation. Read on to know more as this is a very crucial step I’ve taken it in detail.
  • Avoid direct contact with sun or pollution – Use sunscreen only once the acne is cured else it will make your skin further oily
  • Do not over scrub or bleach excessively- Overdoing of these two is never a good idea. It breaks your skin and causes irritation.
  • And, most importantly do not ignore acne as if ignored they can be really dreadful. Do not wait for them to vanish on their own as they would not.

Oily skins are more prone to acne and thus, I decided to keep my skin oil-free by regular washes. Tried various home-made products—Besan or gram flour ubtan, cucumber, tomato but nothing really worked. Acnes are awfully stubborn, unlike pimples. I must have bought and tried 5-6 types of different face washes that promised oil-free skin. Unfortunately, I have hoards of them now as none of them was highly effective.

What Worked for Me?

Only when I had given up hope, I came across a Multani Mitti Face Wash by The Natural Wash (TNW). Like other face washes I tried, it did promise an oil-free and radiant skin. With little heart, I thought to give it a try only because it claimed to be Organic and an Ayurveda product. Moreover, Fuller’s earth is a soothing component used since ancestral times and known to be oil-absorbing and a natural cleansing agent. Nowhere did the product mention about treating acne, however, at this time all I wanted to get rid of was my oily skin as humidity is at its peak.

About Multani Mitti Face Wash by TNW

No exaggeration. It does work wonder!

The first time when I applied this Multani Mitti Face Wash by TNW, the earthy aroma and the smooth texture of Multani Mitti mesmerised me. Even after the face wash, the aroma stays for long giving you a fresh feel. It is said that the first impression is the last impression and I was convinced with the first experience of this product. With regular use of it, twice daily as I’ve mentioned above, for over 10 days now I see a significant difference. My acne have not just reduced, they have vanished. Also, perhaps because it was just the beginning and I did not have plenty. I’m an ardent believer of standing by the genuine brands and products, the ones that stand by what they promise. TNW is one of those.

Anything that stands by its commitment and proves to be effective and authentic needs a special mention. And, that’s what I stick to. My ongoing acne woes in this humid season were resolved by Multani Mitti Face Wash by TNW after trying my hands on multiple products. I highly recommend this product to people prone to acne or pimples as it absorbs the excess oil from your skin and clarifies it. It’s 100% natural, Sulphate and Paraben free. Multani Mitti or Fuller Earth has healing properties. Since ages, it is known to have exemplary benefits:

  1. Fights acne and pimples
  2. Removes excess sebum and oil
  3. Deep cleanses skin removing any form of impurities
  4. Evens out and brightens the skin
  5. Act as a cooling agent in treating tanning, pigmentation, sunburn, rashes, and alike
  6. Improves blood circulation
  7. Keeps away blemishes, blackheads and more

Why Not a Multani Mitti or Fuller’s Earth Face Pack?

You can definitely try Multani Face Pack as well. I find applying a face pack slightly cumbersome and I often tend to forget to apply regularly. Face wash can be easily brought into your daily skincare regime so this Multani Mitti Facewash by TNW is a must-try to experience the difference.

I have always shared my personal experiences so that you can make a wise choice. I have successfully overcome the acne woes, I hope this piece helps you to get rid of an irritable skin easily. If not, then timely consider a prescribed medication. Keep glowing and spreading your radiance!!

Wish to Purchase?

You can check out the products on TNW website https://www.thenaturalwash.com/ and choose as per your skin type and requirement. If you wish to buy the same Multani Mitti Face Wash, here’s the direct link: https://www.thenaturalwash.com/products/multani-mitti-facewash?_pos=2&_sid=5b3adeed4&_ss=r .

About the author

Anupriya Mishra is a Journalist and Branding professional having more than a decade of experience. She supports local businesses and strongly believes in supporting meaningful causes for social upliftment. For specific queries, you can drop a line in comments section below or follow her social media pages for regular updates.

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Book Review: The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma, a renowned author and one of my favorites, who never fail to fascinate with his charming narrative, unique story-line and of course a life-transforming message. He doesn’t hide behind some twisty titles. His book titles are as straightforward as his description. I find it very appealing as that makes me confident, as a reader, whether or not the book entices me. The 5 AM Club was one such book which drew my attention amid hoards of books in a local bookstore.

I bought The 5 AM Club first thing as the lockdown regulations were slightly eased out. The last few months during the lockdown were difficult. Precisely because of the routine that was completely disturbed as stay at home was a new thing and we were all getting accustomed to it; still are. And I must confess this book really helped me to a great extent. I’ll tell you how as we move forward. In the meantime, I would like to say you need to own this book to make a significant difference in your life. Own this book to “Own your morning and elevate your life.” and bring it to practice. Easier said than done! You bet I tried hard and still trying, going through a difficult time in adapting to the things mentioned in this book. It’s not only about waking up at 5AM, it’s much more.

In the process of trying hard, I’ve faced mood swings; felt happy in the first half of the day and agitated and sleep deprived in the second. I have felt bloated with energy and enthusiasm of seeing the morning sun one day, and also felt fatigued the other day. However, despite the crankiness and exasperation, as days pass by, I feel a happier and content person. One must know, The 5 AM Club is not about the morning routine, it’s about a total transformation of how you live your life. The way you live each day comprise the way you live your life. Any good change in your day automatically results in an improved and enhanced life. You are sure to see a better version of you and this is certainly no magic or shortcut. That’s what makes this book all the more practical and logical. Nowhere does it suggest depriving yourself of anything, even a seven and half hours of sleep each night is recommended which is a fair deal. Isn’t it? Do not just go by speculations, feelings or hearsay. Robin Sharma has meticulously backed every single fact with scientific reasoning and thorough research. This is another interesting aspect of the book that will leave you in awe, driving you to be a better version of yourself. In this book, Robin Sharma has methodically put forth the 20/20/20 Formula, the 10 tactics of lifelong genius and the Twin Cycle of elite performance. You would not know the beauty of these, if you do not read through and also start bringing them to practice.

The 5 AM Club is not a preachy book with life-transforming messages. The entire book is intricately weaved around the four main characters. It’s interesting to read how the lives of these four strangers are intertwined together from the beginning till the end. You would find similarities in their lives and struggles. After a couple of chapters, you would feel deeply engrossed in the setup and characters. Robin Sharma has made a perfect concoction of emotions, drama, inspirational journey and practical theories and examples.

“Often a bad example teaches us more about who we wish to become than a good one can ever provide”—The book has many such relatable lines that would leave you to think and relate to any bad experience that disappointed you initially, but later turned to be in your favour. “Your excuses are seducers, your fears are liars and your doubts are thieves.”—So do not let any of these deter you. It’s not going to be an easy road as earlier mentioned. You would want to ditch the idea of The 5AM Club every single morning, but only a consistent effort will lead to a beautiful change and a better you, a better us and a better society in large. Encourage as many people around as possible to be the change. This book is not to be shelved, but passed onto younger generations who are gullible enough to adapt to things easily. Let The 5AM Club be the new generations’ bible while we learn to adapt to it now, because it is never too late. Otherwise, as the book says, “Too many among us die at thirty and our buried at eighty.”—a powerful line to awaken your soul and rouse you. It continues to say, “If you sense your life’s a mess right now, this is simply because your fears are just a little stronger than your faith. With practice, you can turn down the volume of the voice of your scared self. And increase the tone of your most triumphant side.” Thus, practice and consistency is the key!

Leave your comments below, letting me know what you think about of the book review. Was it helpful? Also, if you have read the book or willing to read, do share your thoughts.

Pages: 314

Publisher: Jaico

Buy: https://amzn.to/2E0aPQJ

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Book Review: The Spy by Paulo Coelho

In The Spy, Paulo Coelho shares an intriguing set of incidents related to Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” MacLeod, popularly known by the stage name Mata Hari. She was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan. She was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I.

The beauty of this book by Coelho is that it revolves around a real character with real incidents with a touch of fiction. Little did I know about Mata Hari before I got my hands onto this book. Perhaps that was one reason to stay glued to the book other than the captivating style of writing the author possess. The story begins drawing an imagery of a strong and independent woman and of course not on a very positive connotation, “Her only crime was to be an independent woman.”  This gives a subtle underlying message of a woman who has lived on her own terms and has not been treated well by the society. The first few paragraphs in it unfold the challenges Mata Hari had faced from being penniless when she arrived in Paris to being an affluent dancer within a few months. A couple of pages in the book only talk about the luxury items she used to carry in her suitcases while she used to travel from one part of the country to another for her dance shows.  She was as bewitching a courtesan as she was a dancer and ‘the era’s richest and most powerful men’ dreamed about her and some of them also made up to her.

Various events in her life unfold and have been presented in an exceptionally dramatic and fascinating manner, so much so that I could not stop myself from going over and beyond the book to know more about Mata Hari. And, to also probably relate how much of what Paulo Coelho has written is her real life and how much of it is a fiction. Paulo Coelho in his usual style has managed to generate curiosity around the protagonist and score brownie points for revealing a character not many know in today’s world. The lady dancer was having the best days of her life, breaking the conventions, setting her own rules, raging popularity, getting attention from all influential men until she had to pay a hefty price.

The scene moves to World War I, when the country was only suspicious about each other’s activities, Mata Hari’s lifestyle came to question. She was arrested on accusation charges of espionage. The story moves in the form of letter exchanges between the protagonist and her lawyer. She was alleged to be a spy agent for France and Germany. Part of the story also traverses through her thoughts between writing letters and waiting for the final verdict. She discloses various events of her life from being sexually abused by her school principle to receiving materialist favors against sex to her other encounters with men and eventually self-realization of how wasteful her life had been.

She has been projected to be guilty of the choices she made and her heart full of remorse and repentance except considering working as a spy when she says, “I am a woman who was born at the wrong time and nothing can be done to fix this. I don’t know if the future will remember me, but if it does, may it never see me as a victim, but as someone who moved forward with courage, fearlessly paying the price she had to pay.”

Somewhere the book lacked the charm of a typical Paulo Coelho book, mainly because unlike his other books, there was no takeaway for the reader. Despite portraying a strong renowned character, the feeling of content and joy to know such a character was somehow missing. Had it not been for the love of author I enjoy reading, I would not have picked up this book. I’m sure it impacts differently to different people as those who would have known about her history and grew in Holland, Paris hearing about her in stories would be able to relate better. While I did my petty research to do a comparative study on the amount of fiction and reality that’s been presented in The Spy, I came across an exciting piece on National Geographic, exclusively on Mata Hari if you may wish to read more about her (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2017/11-12/mata-hari-history-killing/).

Pages: 186

Publisher: Penguin

Buy: https://www.amazon.in/Spy-Paulo-Coelho/dp/0143429167

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Death is Never an Option

Losing someone close to you is painful, however what’s more painful is not being able to comprehend the pain a person must have been going through when he was alive. The entire nation is mourning over Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate and unnatural death. People are also emphasising on mental health and with open arms welcoming people to pour their heart unto them. Then the same majority is busy trolling the Bollywood bigwigs on promoting Nepotism. I fail to understand why people are so judgemental all the time. Not a single being on this earth is a pure soul. People who leave no stone unturned in pinpointing others are full of profanity. They are the real troublemakers.

I am extremely heartbroken with Sushant’s death because it reminds me of losing someone dear under somewhat similar circumstances. Having said that I am absolutely not in favour of blaming anyone and putting them down because then there’s no difference between something that may have worried the passed away actor and our actions. Everyone has their own fate. Life’s full of struggle and you got to face the challenges and be strong enough. Someone has rightly said, “Tough times never last, tough people do.”

Our society is full of hypocrites. They are best at humiliating someone by their own damn statements. Targeting someone in particular can lead a person in the same situation as other. Stop bullying! Which industry doesn’t promote nepotism? I have worked with big media houses all my life and I hated this industry only because of the nepotistic approach, biases and ruthlessness. Although I have always and throughout loved my work, not the double standard people I’ve worked with. Giving up is never a solution, fighting and overcoming every bit of a challenge is.

Not sure what mental state of a person forces him or her to take this extreme step of suicide. I’m sure it’s just in the spur of a moment. I neither promote this act nor do I hold respect for people who take this dire step only because it’s not the person who dies, it’s also the family and friends whom he takes along. Some crucial part of his or her loved ones always go with the person who departs from this world.

Everyone makes way through hardships on his own. Some get the support from “godfathers” and some may not reach to that height because they had none, and it’s absolutely frustrating but fine. Live with it! Either learn to bend or learn to accept and move on. There’s no way one can break you until you do.

Who doesn’t have problems? Who doesn’t face difficulties? Who doesn’t face sarcasm and bully? Who doesn’t have to fight hard with the system and wrong practices to make space for themselves? Everyone has to and so have I. Plenty of times!

I feel proud to have stood strong and faced the problems all alone. I never stood silent, always fought for what was wrong. Yes, the outcome was either I was pushed to extremes or I moved on. In both the situations I was always content that at least I spoke and fought for my rights or for the rights of other people. This is no great act, it’s normal. Why am I sharing this is so that more and more people can speak up against bullies.

I had a boss who misused his power in order to control people. He treated people like bonded labours, shouted at them in a way that even your parents would not have yelled at you that way. You would feel ashamed of working in such an environment, coming from a decent family and professional atmosphere. Some managers make people work with respect and some with fear, he used the latter. He would make everyone work 16 hours and inhumanly call you the 20th hour for more work and then even shout at people, insult them for hardly any fault without appreciating their efforts even for once. I was stunned. Why? Because I had seen people tremble while talking to him, they fumbled because of the fear to be shouted and insulted more. Moreover, in my entire career of almost fifteen years I had never come across a manager like that.

I had worked in professionally sound places and having a sound work culture. Even in my family had I not seen anyone raising their voice on any individual. This was terrible, shocking and inhuman. I flagged some of the issues, knowing nothing would happen because I was trying to raise concerns relating the top guy who can use/ misuse his power. Sure, nothing happened as expected but there’s always a sense of satisfaction to give him back as he would think twice before ill-treating others.

Speak up! Bring to light such bullies and idiots who think high of themselves. If you do not speak up neither would you be at peace nor would this professional manhandling stop. Fight it out and don’t give up. Be it any industry, you’ll always find such people. Bring them to limelight so that their acts are known to the world. Do not leave it on people to speculate. Dying is not a solution! You can save so many lives by guiding them from taking one wrong step. Remember, God is your saviour and He always has a bigger plan for you so don’t be afraid and don’t give up on life. All God wants is to see you fight through.

If you have faced something similar please share in comments and leave your thoughts.

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शहर छोड़ दिया मैंने

दो वक़्त की रोटी को मैं निकला था गाँव से

अम्मा बिलख-बिलख रोई , बापू भी थे बौराये से  

क्यों जाते हो शहर को, इन खेतों को पीछे छोड़

अपना घर यह गांव है, बाकी सब है माया मोह

न आई बात समझ तब, चल दिए सीना चौड़ा कर

शहरों में पैसा है, गाँव में आखिर रखा क्या है

एक छोटा सा है खेत, खून पसीना बहे अपार  

आंधी तूफ़ान आये और कर दे सब बेकार

गर आंधी से बच जाए धान, कितना मै पाउँगा

कुछ आ भी जावे तो क्या ही बचाऊंगा

अरे घर कैसे चलाऊंगा जब है बड़ा परिवार

इसलिए अनसुनी करके, निकला था लाचार

किया मजूरी, धक्के खाए, सहे हर हालात

भीषण सर्दी गर्मी में न लौटा अपने गाँव

गांव जहा थक जाने पर माँ गर्म दूध पिलाती थी

नीम की ठंडी पुरवाई सारे गम भुलाती थी

कुछ पैसों के लिए बनाया अनजान शहर को अपना

आ पड़ी विपदा जिसका नाम था कोरोना

हालात फिर बदले बोला निकलो अपने घर

ये शहर नहीं था अपना, कोई न था हमदर्द

चल दिए पथिक हम वापिस अपना झोला लेकर

क्या होगा आगे इसकी किसी को न थी खबर

न जेब में पैसा, न ही खाने का कोई ठिकाना था

चल दिए हौसला लेकर, तिनके सा कोई सहारा न था

कितने मीलों दूर चलें, चप्पल ने भी साथ छोड़ दिया

दो सूखी रोटी खा के, गाओं की ओर रुख मोड़ लिया

फटी बिवाई, निकला खून, तार की उन सड़कों पर

जो शहर को जोड़े गाओं की उन कच्ची गलियों पर

वो लम्बा सफर तय कर, अधमरा सा घर पहुंचा हूँ

अब लगा यहाँ अपनापन, शहरों में बस धोखा है

सब भागे कमाने की खातिर, न मनुष्यता, न प्रेम है

जहाँ देखो वही बस इंसानों की होड़ है

नहीं चाहिए ज़्यादा पैसा, करनी नहीं मजूरी  

गाँव मेरा घर है, शहर जाना नहीं ज़रूरी

दो वक़्त की रोटी, यहीं रहकर कमाऊंगा

अब शहर नहीं जाऊंगा, अब शहर नहीं जाऊंगा

Wrote this a month back in the plight of migrants during COVID-19, posting it now. Hope you like it. To follow my daily updates and content follow me on Instagram @appy.tales.

Book Review || Sur/Petition by Edward de Bono

I had mentioned in one of my Instagram posts, “Life is about constantly working on yourself.” Further to this, the excellent book by author Edward de Bono, explains the necessity of going over and beyond competition to sustain and win in the global marketplace. Edward de Bono, the author of this book encapsulates the need to move beyond old competitive strategies. In a world, where everyone’s constantly thinking of going ahead of their competition, it is time to focus more on creating/ manufacturing value that goes a long way i.e. competing with yourself.

The book is for individuals, who are competitive, creative and always strive to go over and beyond, especially when it comes to strategic thinking. We anxiously watch and focus on what others are doing, and often forget to translate our own thoughts and to work towards value creation. Competition is just a bottom line to any business and is a traditional way of looking at things. What’s more important in today’s time of global connectivity and marketplace is to unleash the vast potential of ‘integrated values’ that revolves around any business. A deep study, research, knowledge and understanding of any business is important to be in the competition. However, reinventing ways to go beyond competition by exploiting and leveraging strategies and values, around the product or service you aim at, makes all the difference.

What I loved about the book is, it’s published in 1993 and each word stands true to this day. Bono talks about preparing for the time when there’s a slump in the economy. He also mentions how it is important to stand out if one deploys serious creativity, concept design and R&D and elaborates on the application of each one of these. Although the book speaks more from the business mindset, it is yet well relatable to any profession you are in. I could relate to it from being a marketing & branding professional to also as an entrepreneur.

It will inspire you to go beyond not just average but beat the best of the bests through quality, creativity and giving serious value for anything. The book does not say that the competition is wrong; it just tells you how to think beyond the competition. In other words, to be extraordinary, it’s important to beat the ordinary by providing unexpected products and services. You can’t just replicate business to be in the global marketplace because if you do so, you’ll never be able to create a monopoly. Monopoly is the art of ‘Sur/Petition’. It is the art of breaking the rules by unleashing the value propositions to stay ahead of the game. Being the best or producing the best is not enough in today’s competitive world. Sur/Petition is the need of the hour because value backed with strong strategy, concept and R&D can never go wrong.

Bono explains every aspect of the behavior in a world of competition to the aspects that fall under sur/petition and how the two are different. With thorough experience and life examples, he has done an incredible job in writing this book for generations to come. There’s lot to learn and follow. The initial few chapters would make you feel; you know things already because we have been in the competition state always. Do not stop there. The second half of the book brings you the interesting ways to stay ahead of competition through sur/petition. Go on, read this book and leave in comments how you felt about the book. Please like and share if you found this review useful and follow me on my social media.

Pages: 240

Publisher: Penguin

Buy: https://amzn.to/2MmlPbQ

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An Ode to Lockdown 2020

I do the dishes, my nails get chipped,

And, I often forget to do my hair.

I juggle between my work and household chores,

Unlike the times earlier.

My hair is all messy these days,

My dress mostly a pair of pyjamas.

I do the laundry, broom and wipe,

And, cook various meals in a day.

Unsure, if I should crib or be thankful,

Of the time that made me do all this.

Making me value all workers, domestic help,

And respecting the hard labour they put in.

The job we sometimes think to be menial,

Is extremely cumbersome.

I’ve treated every being with respect,

I do now more than ever.

Lockdown has taught me not to take things for granted,

Since they don’t come your way easily.

Life can go topsy-turvy any moment,

Make the most of it before it flees!!!

YouTube link for the video: https://youtu.be/UIShNKwg7S0

Book Review: India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha

Just finished reading India after Gandhi. It is a book written by Ramachandra Guha, an Indian historian and economist. I must say it carries intricate details of the post-independence era. One thing, however, needs a mention that the book completely and absolutely revolves around Nehruism.

Someone has rightly said that people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. This book made me realize how true that is and how ignorant we are of the factual reality. Our academic books did not cover any of these and we have no good reason to distil the facts. We were made to study the Akbars and Aurangzebs, however, never was there a clear picture of what happened post-independence.

The book unveils all the challenges, disturbances and also on various occasions reinstates, how none other than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru could run the country, shattered in pieces. Quote unquote, Pandit Nehru followed and directed Gandhi Ji’s dreams and principles. Both wanted a secular country—one not divided by religion, caste, creed, ideologies, and language. I believe, this became the base for all irrelevant measures taken or important actions not taken, during the period after Gandhi.

Little did it talk about Lal Bahadur Shastri. Where we all until date, speculate and debate reasons of his death, Guha in one line has simply presented saying, he died of a heart attack. Period!

The era of Indira Gandhi’s regime is then described very meticulously in full length and breadth. Guha is known to have his loyalties towards Nehru dynasty and the Left-wing. Time and again he has also been criticized to distort facts and truths, however, I’m not the right person to comment on that as I, and rather all of us have been kept aloof of the real facts.

What we have is the Left version of facts and the Right version. Till date, we do not know what’s the actual version of ‘India After Gandhi’. The best thing about the book is, if you are not thoroughly aware of the flow of incidents or the background, you will get ample of information and knowledge here. The book covers a lot of chronological details wherein, you’ll not just refresh your memory but also fill the gaps of historical events.

My advice would be to chew this book, but do not digest it. This 900 pages book is addictive, interesting and at least worth a read. You must always know all sides of the version to make the right choice. The ball is in your court!

Please leave in comments, your opinion about the book review or the book, if you have read it.

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Jallianwala Bagh Through My Lens

Jallianwala Bagh, a place that witnessed the worst massacre on April 13, 1919. If you’ll visit the place you will realise the agony which the masses had undergone with no escape at all.

They were shot dead by the British Indian Army on the orders of Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.

Pic 1 – The only entrance and exit the place has, which led to thousands of people entering the garden for a gathering. Who knew they would never exit the place

Pic 2 – The narrow lane of the corridor which could not allow people in such large numbers to exit and save their lives

Pic 3 – Windows of rot iron where the army men climbed to point their guns towards the unarmed Indian public

Pic 4 – Now, there’s a pyramid like stone, kept to depict the spot from where gunmen shot thousands of bullets in all directions. They horrifically killed masses which included men, women and kids

Pic 5 – The wall which has many bullet marks safeguarded till date

Pic 6 – The well which engulfed many bodies of people who jumped in it as an only option to save themselves, but unfortunately could not

Pic 7 – Granite stones mounted on a wall with history etched on them in golden ink in languages – English, Gurmukhi, Hindi

Pic 8 – Flame shaped memorial in the memory of the tragic incident and those who lost lives

Winston Churchill called the 1919 massacre of Indian protesters “monstrous.” Queen Elizabeth said it was “distressing.” Prime Minister David Cameron went with “deeply shameful.”

However, none of the Britain officially ever apologised for the grave mishap.

I’m deeply touched with the incident and whenever I think of it, the flash of incident appears before my eyes as if I was present there.

On this day, I take the opportunity to pay my tribute to thousands of families who lost their loved ones and the souls who battled till their last breath for survival. Jai Hind!!

Quarantining, Are You? Here Are Some Smart Ways to Do It

100 ways to quarantine and it’s not gardening. Read on…

Quarantining has become the most trending topic due to the uncalled guest, COVID-19. Nevertheless, it has brought people back to basics, giving us a time that was missing in our lives since last many years.

If you look at the positive side, forgetting the worries and boredom for some time, quarantine has helped quaran-teaming while sitting at home. Meetings which otherwise looked difficult, management who could hardly trust their employees have all come together on Skype, Zoom In and alike to connect and plan further on a day-to-day basis.

Quaran-tone has become another popular thing. What can people post on social media, especially the influencers, sitting at home? Thus, posting regular fitness videos and yoga asanas have become the in-thing. People have started taking care of them in a more serious and disciplined manner. Else, they would end up being a couch potato, which hardly anyone wants in today’s time.

Quaran-time, the best time when you socialise on live-chats, video chat with your multiple friends and family through one window. Never have I ever been so social in the last five years. The busy routine at work kept me aloof. I used to forget calling back my well-wishers and now I simply can’t do without seeing them at least once in a day.

Not only that it is also the time to quaran-tame. Many of my friends are taking out time to train their pet. Taming, loving, patting, treating and spending time with furry kids, who otherwise longed for hours for us to come back home after a 10-hour shift at work and driving through the traffic. The adorable doodles are finding it terrific.

Not sure about others, however, one thing I would love to mention is quaran-toming around this period. After ages, I have picked a scholarly book on Indian history, extremely bulky, and the good part is I’m about to finish it. I started reading it twice before but due to lack of time, gave up after a few pages.

Quarantining is not that gloomy as you see. All you need to do is make the most of this time as it’s hopefully never going to come back, I wish. So, hum to your favourite quaran-tunes, tap your feet, click your fingers and try some moves. Try all that can keep your spirits high. Learn new things, polish old ones and sing to glory.

No time is bad. It’s just the way you perceive it. Help people in need by donating in whatever little way you can, supporting them howsoever possible. Spread positivity and absorb good vibes. You can’t get everything so live in the moment and make the most of it. Quarantine has so much to offer if you redirect your energies to learn and evolve. Don’t just quarantine, pick one of your types and share your stay home story in the comments. Stay home, stay safe!!

This is #MyStayHomeStory. What’s yours? Leave in the comment and use the above hashtag.

From Janta Curfew to Lockdown and Everything In-between

Janta Curfew to Lockdwine during COVID-19
Get addicted to good things and withdraw from the bad ones!!!

We often plan big things for ourselves without knowing what the next moment hold for us. Corona came to our lives in one such way–unpredictable, unexpected and without any prior warning. People initially took it as just another news, until the hard-hitting news of rising death tolls from neighbouring countries and the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation hit our screens.

Was it too difficult to understand that we are facing a global pandemic and have to follow some precautionary measures? Well, I fail to understand how and why. Much before the Janta Curfew, I asked my domestic help if she was aware of the situation and she told me two things; firstly, there’s some disease which is being spread (she, of course, wasn’t much aware of the details) and secondly, to keep distance with people who have cough and fever. I added whatever more information I could add to her knowledge and told her to keep washing her hands, use sanitizer despite washing which I had kept especially for her and also maintain hygiene in her family and teach her kids the same. One more day at work and Janta Curfew was announced. We both have been at our respective houses since then.

The point I want to make here is that if the government has a role to play in such a crisis, so does the community. We can complain endlessly about what the government is not doing or should have done better, while we as an individual fail to carry our small responsibilities of educating people of the situation, if not more. Nevertheless, these testing times I’m sure shall bring some positive changes in every individual’s life. Somewhere, in the daily race of making a living, we had forgotten what the essence of life is–What it means to be with the family without taking a call or being on WhatsApp, how fun it is to catch up with childhood or college friends and exchange some pictures of the birthdays we used to attend, how sometimes cooking becomes a recreational activity for partners and taking care of your mind, body and soul brings out a new you.

Sounds great, isn’t it? So here I am sharing all that the first week of quarantine taught me.

Being at home – I think the most challenging phase was the first 2-3 days when I was clueless and did not know how to spend time simply sitting at home. I was going crazy! There was no specific time to sleep, but the waking up happened to be on the usual time dot 6.30 am and then do what? On the third day, I made up my mind to sleep on time and plan my next day to finish most of my work during the office hours. Read a book in the night and fall asleep. I have successfully learned the art of being at home.

Managing my chores – It has mostly been either office work or home chores for me. For the first time, I could plan my day and manage 100 per cent of both simultaneously without compromising on any of the two. My home looks like a prettier version of home, with cleaner and greener corners as I’ve strategically placed green plants in my living area. It feels good!

Finding time for self – Despite double the work, spend time on social media, watch News and web series, do something creative at least one day a week. But, most importantly exercise/ yoga and meditation for physical and mental development is extremely crucial in today’s time, which was missing from my daily routine. No matter how hard I tried with work, the daily driving and traffic took a toll and I ended up exasperated with no energy left to do anything by the time I was back home. This only energizes me and keeps me super active to be more productive.

Finishing all pending tasks – Pick all the pending tasks one by one be it some half-done painting, a craft, a write-up or a novel; finish it off. There will be no better time than this. If you look at the positive side, you have also been wanting this time for yourself. Now that you are doing some good by being at home, do some good cleaning the clutter and finishing the unaccomplished projects.

Getting over of online shopping addiction – Yes, a very common thing and thanks to this time when all online services are suspended, I find myself withdrawing the cravings of shopping online. Although groceries, veggies and milk do become a necessity, I still feel better without having the urge to buy anything non-utility!

Reading books I never had time to finish – Pick a book you always wanted to read but knew had no time to finish. I have picked up a book on Indian history I always wanted to finish. I tried twice reading it earlier but left it mid-way because of the lack of time. I’m glad I could make it this time.

Planning itineraries I have been dreaming of – Most of you would know by now, how big a travel freak I am. One thing I love the most doing nowadays is planning itineraries for my dream destinations. This might sound weird, but by doing this I keep myself updated on my favourite subject while I plan for my future travel. Additionally, as I have been counselling some folks on travelling, I am doing my bit and preparing myself well in advance.

All in all, I am an extremely optimistic person who has firmly believed since a very young age that whatever happens happens for good. I have the least doubt that these testing times certainly have something good in store for everyone. However, waiting for the time to get over and do nothing will be insane. Get up, make a wishlist of the things you always wanted to pursue or complete but could not due to lack of time and take it one-by-one. The satisfaction you will get after you start achieving them will be unparalleled. I shared my wishlist with you, time to know yours. Leave in comments some of the things you always wanted to do and now getting the time to do it. Stay home, stay safe and upgrade yourself for the post-quarantine period.