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Saturday, 25 May 2019

Kochi Journals. (Part 2)

Hello Travellers! I’m back with the second part of Kochi Journals! If you haven’t already read the first one, you can check it out here.
In this post, I’m going to tell you about few places that you can visit a little away from Kochi, which are mainly in Ernakulam. I will also tell you about my AirBnB experience. And, to conclude this sweet & short trip, there will be a lot of restaurant recommendations!! Are you set? Let’s go!!

I was truly looking forward to visit the Marine Drive in Kochi. As I have mentioned a lot of times before, there’s no place like the Marine Drive in Mumbai. So, I thought it would be pretty awesome. I might even feel at home. So, I got ready & was headed there. It is about 40 minutes away from Fort Kochi. It is on the sea lines of Ernakulam. So, you have to cross Kochi, then cross Willingdon Island & then there is Ernakulam. There are very small bridges connecting these 3 cities which results in some traffic. I dealt with traffic, no problem for a Mumbaikar. But then, it started thundering & soon it started raining heavily!! Not drizzles, just straight up pouring rains!

Can you imagine? I was all dressed up & on the way to probably what was supposed to be the highlight place of the trip. I had no umbrella or anything. I just had my wallet, not even my bag. Thankfully, I took a cab, so I changed the location to the restaurant I had planned to have dinner at. I couldn’t see any point going to Kochi Marine Drive now. It was impossible. It was raining & it was already dark because of the clouds. With a heavy heart, I dropped the plan to visit Kochi Marine Drive. But, if you are visiting Kochi, you must visit this place! I’m sure it will be perfectly lovely!

You will find this place in the many lists of places to visit in Kochi. This museum has a dance performance of Kathakali & you can get to know all the history revolving around it. This isn’t something I am interesting in, so I skipped it. But, I’m sure for those who have a liking, it will be a pleasant evening!

I stayed at Henry’s Home Stay in Fort Kochi. I took the AC bedroom flat with a hall, big kitchen and bathroom. The place was exceedingly clean. The place is also central to all the major sights in Kochi. It's a bit away from the main K B Jacob Road and placed in a very peaceful location. It is extremely safe to stay for solo travellers as well.
I went in April, when the temperature is exceedingly hot & it is impossible to step out of the house before 5 PM. So, on the first day, I took a nice nap in the afternoon & went out around 6:00 PM. Unlike Mumbai, it gets dark around 7 PM. So, for sightseeing, you can go out in the morning till noon and then 5 PM onwards.
As for my AirBnB stay, I would 100% recommend this place. It was just what I wanted. Because of such a comfortable stay, I not only got to travel but also got time for relaxing.

I usually have a lot of unpleasant experiences when it comes to food while travelling. It’s a big achievement if I don’t get an upset stomach after a trip & I’m happy to have accomplished it this time! Below are some of the restaurants I went to!

Kashi Art Café:
I was particularly interested to eat at Kashi Art Café. It had a very high rating on Zomato & all the food & travel bloggers seemed to have loved it. So, of course, I was excited to go there.
But, as it happens in most cases with me, the more I get excited about something, the more I am let down. I have rated this place at a 1.5/5 stars. I have got a list as to why it was so horrible.
Let’s start with how difficult it is to locate this café. I went around in circles & detours until I found it. And, when I did, even then I wasn’t sure if this was the place. The street on which it is located was dim lit as was the restaurant. I thought it was closed! But, I asked around & it was open & so a bit unwillingly, I went inside.

Boom! Next disappointment! It was a very small space. I think the art here was much more eloquent than Mocha Art Café. But, people can’t fill their bellies with art now, can they? Anyway, I found a place to sit. It was outdoor seating, with plants right on the wall adjacent to me. There were mosquitos and what not. It felt like I was eating in the middle of a jungle.

Boom! Next disappointment! There are little to zero options for vegetarians, which honestly sucks. So, I ordered a Cheese & Herbs Sandwich. It was, to this day, the worst thing I have ever eaten anywhere. A big slab of Paneer between 2 slices of grilled brown bread. It did not taste good, I will leave it at that.

So, now you know, why it was a completely horrible experience. Do not go here, folks! You will regret it!

Mocha Art Café:
This café is located in the Mattancherry & Jew Town area. It is on the first floor. There is a huge area, like a hall, where they have 3 beautiful window seats. As it is an Art Café, there were a lot of paintings hung & also some art pieces in the hall area. Inside, there was a proper setup of a café, which was the most beautiful. Plants on one side of the wall with nice lighting. But as it was kind of an outdoor seating, it wasn’t air-conditioned. So, I decided to sit at a window seat table in the hall area which at least had a fan.
I had absolutely the best food here. There were very few options for vegetarians but I lucked out. I ordered Veg Stir Fry & cold coffee. It took a lot of time to make, but there were a lot of things to admire in the meantime. The Veg Stir Fry was a very simple dish but its taste was something else. I completely loved it! It will definitely be a must-try for all the vegetarians out there! I will surely give this place a 4/5 stars!

Gokul Oottupura:
There are many branches of Gokul Oottupura in Kochi as well as Ernakulam. As I had plans to visit Kochi Marine Drive, I chose a branch there. Now, South Indian food is my favourite, which is why I always love authentic restaurants like these. I had 2 Sada Butter Dosas & 1 Rawa Butter Dosa with filter coffee. All in all, 5/5 stars! Everything was extremely delicious.
The place is not as highly rated on Zomato, but I request you to ignore it, because the South Indian food here is the best you will get in Kochi!

The problem is I build up a lot of expectations in my head about the places I am going to visit. I search on the internet. I go through possibly all the travel websites to narrow down the best places to visit. I look up a lot & lot of photos on Instagram. And, I think to myself, yeah, these places look amazing & beautiful & worth visiting. There are all these people with these perfect outfits at these perfect places with the perfect timing in all their glorious perfectness!

But, the only problem is all these are lies. The photos on Instagram have, for the second time, lead me to disappointment. What you actually get to see is always so different than these Instagram photos. There’s no perfect sunset photo. There are people everywhere, so you don’t get the perfect click. It is so hot, you can barely stay at such places for 10 minutes. There is no graffiti which your eyes can catch. It’s just all too fancy online & maybe we have to credit such amazing photographers for it. But, for me, it’s just becoming unreal. I cannot trust the perfect photos anymore. I can’t keep on going to Instagrammable sights & not find any beauty there. It’s just the worse form of heartbreak, is what I feel. Sure, all these famous travel bloggers are talented or maybe they have their personal photographers or maybe they talk to the locals to find the perfect time to visit the places. But then, all of that is behind the scenes. So, the places which they might have found with some effort are portrayed as just something that exists in that place for everyone to find.

There are a lot of disappointments around; be it travel places, be it Game of Thrones or be it overrated brands. And yet, beyond all falsifying evidence, here I am still hoping that the next place will be amazing or that the next episode will be better. I am still amazed by online photos but in such a conscious way that I know I will see something resembling it but not perfectly it. Sometimes I truly wonder what keeps me going in spite of such let down adventures & not so epic trips. 

My next trip will be to Jaipur, Rajasthan in August! Happy Travelling!

Until next time,

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Broken Houses, But Not Broken Homes. (Diary Logs #20)

Hello Readers! How are you all doing? Already relieved tomorrow is Friday? Already on a long weekend? Or just thinking about how many hours you are going to sleep during the weekend? All sounds good to me!

Here I am, with a Diary Logs post after a while. The thing with these kind of posts is that they are mostly real with a bit of added fiction. And, nothing real usually happens to get me into my over-thinking zone. But, here I am, finally, so read on!


Dear Diary,

The other day I woke up as usual & got ready to go to the office. It was an unusually hot summer day. It felt unbearable to step out of the house. But, of course, I had to. Work doesn't stop, be it scorching heat or heavy rains. I decided not to take my two-wheeler to work & instead took a rickshaw. The rickshaw driver took a different route than my usual one, but I was already too tired from the sun to tell him otherwise. All the routes were familiar to me, anyway.

He took a left turn from my street & we went to a lane which is always full of traffic. I was shocked to look at the state of that road. On both sides of the road, there was destruction. Total chaos. All the little houses, shops & other establishments were torn down. Some completely. Some partly. On some houses, there were no walls. On some, there weren’t any windows or doors. On some, the living room was gone. And then there was one, where you could see directly inside the house. It was on the first floor. Everything on the ground floor was torn down badly. And the visuals upstairs were evident. Green-coloured walls in the living room. A partly broken screen of a 24-inch television. A single wooden cabinet with a lot of belongings from clothes to utensils to documents. A broken house.
Of course, all this was for road widening & I’m pretty sure most of these constructions were illegal. But, they contained real families. Even if it was an illegal house, it was a real home with real people. I thought how the scenario at that home might have been just last week?

The husband must probably be a labourer returning home after a day’s hard work. Or he might have a sales job, selling anything from toys to socks to mobile back covers outside the railway station or outside parks. Or he could be working at a decent enough job & could be earning black money.
Who knows? But, the point is he was in his home just last week, maybe even happy.

The wife is probably was a stay-at-home mother focusing on raising & educating her kids so that their children might have a better livelihood. Or she could be working as a maid; sweeping floors, cleaning toilets, washing clothes & utensils. Or she might have a job as a low-key chef. Or she could be working as a teacher in a Municipality school.
Who knows? But, the point is she was in her home just last week, maybe even happy.

Maybe just last week, they might have had a pleasant evening. An evening where the husband, his wife & their kids were all sitting in the now-torn-apart living room with green-coloured walls, having a discussion over tea & a cricket match playing on the now-partly-broken screen of the TV in the background. Maybe they were even happy, despite circumstances. Maybe they knew it will be the last time they will be happy in that little house which was a home to them. Broken Houses, but not Broken Homes.

Until next time,

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Kochi Journals! (Part 1)

Hello Readers! So, this is the first part of a two-parter post on my travel tour to Kochi, Kerala. Now, I have been to South India before. There are a lot of beautiful places there. Munnar & Pondicherry are few of the ones I have visited! And, now another place added to the list – Kochi! So, here we go with all the amazing places in Kochi!

This trip to Kochi was a short vacation & I took full advantage of it by roaming all around in the little city. About Kochi, it’s quite a small city with not much to see. This is what everyone told me, but I still went ahead with the plan only to find out that it was indeed a small city with not much to see. But whatever Kochi has to offer, it is pretty beautiful & worth seeing.

There are three areas where there are most of the sight seeing places in Kochi. First is near the Fort Kochi area. Don’t be too excited. The area is named as Fort Kochi. There isn’t an actual fort there. Another area is near the Mattancherry Palace, which is about 10 t0 15 minutes from Fort Kochi. And lastly, there are a few places in Ernakulam & Willingdon Island.

~~Fort Kochi Beach~~
Everyone loves beaches, right? Some even prefer beach vacations to mountains & snow. Same goes for me. But, you see, the thing is I’m from Mumbai where we have the gorgeous Marine Drive. And, wherever I go, I always compare the beaches to Marine Drive. So far, not a single beach has won. Not Pondicherry, not Goa & sadly not even Kochi. It was a nice setting and all, but I didn’t quite feel at peace. And, I always NEED to feel at peace when I am in front of the oceans & seas & lakes. I did check it off the list though!

Just before the Fort Beach road, there is a little lane which is the most amazing thing I have seen. On the left, there are hotels which are the ones you see on Instagram. They have colourful walls or walls with saplings all over it, which are quite good for taking photos. And, on the right side, there are these food outlets with outdoor seating underneath the shadow of the huge, nice & green trees. It’s almost as if it’s Europe. You are sitting on these wooden benches having delicious food. There is a roof of branches & leaves above you. In the background, there is the sound of waves from the beach. If you can imagine this, then I’m sure, you are already feeling happy & wanting to visit.

Time taken to explore: 45-60 minutes

~~Chinese Fishing Nets~~
If you do your research before travelling to Kochi, you will find ‘Chinese Fishing Nets’ in all the ‘Must Places to Visit in Kochi’ articles you read. You can not only visit these, you can also fish there. It's very different than the usual fishing. It’s quite a fun experience if you decide on doing that. I skipped on it as I was satisfied by viewing them from the beach itself.
You can get a view of these nets from the beach itself, but if you want to check it out & fish, it's a 5 minute walk from the beach.

Time taken to explore: 25-30 minutes

~~Santa Cruz Cathedral~~
This is one of the must-visit places in Kochi. The premises of the Cathedral are spread out & it’s a big place! I always find churches beautiful, but the Santa Cruz Cathedral was something else. Once you enter, you are mesmerised by the beauty of it all. The ceiling especially is a piece of artwork with many paintings which are related to the religion. When you walk up ahead, you see how amazing the entire setup is. When you look back, you see the beautiful coloured glasses on top of the entrance door, which is perfect for taking photos!

Time taken to explore: 20-30 minutes
Timings: 9AM to 1PM & 3PM to 5PM

I was roaming around Kochi on a two-wheeler which made travelling much easier & inexpensive. On the first day, I roamed around all over Kochi, noting down where exactly the places are & then I went to these places on the next day. So, this is the other part of Kochi, closer to Ernakulam.

~~Mattancherry Palace~~
Mattancherry Palace is also known as the Dutch Palace. It’s set up in a big area. There is a museum inside the palace with many informational pieces, wall paintings, murals & so on. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

What I found completely weird is the that the place did not look like a Palace at all. I couldn’t even imagine it to be glorious back in its time. It was deserted with not much tourist attraction. It was just a small 2-floored bungalow which we see in villages. Anyway, I went in. I can’t come all the way to Kochi to not visit a Palace just because it doesn’t look like a Palace now, can I?

I went in & started the tour. It was quite hot which is why I couldn’t stop at each piece of information to read. I just walked by admiring the murals, looking at swords & other artefacts. I absolutely loved two things about the Palace; the beautiful ceiling & the architectural masterpieces of windows in every room. Only because of these two things, the palace had an aura of royalty.

Time taken to explore: 30-45 minutes
Entry Fee: Rs. 5-10
Timings: 9:45AM to 1PM & 2PM to 4:45PM

~~Paradesi Synagogue~~
The Paradesi Synagogue is based in Jew Town & probably among the oldest Synagogues in South India. It is at the end of a little street, adjacent to the Jew Town lane. It gives similar vibes as to the Mattancherry Palace. Before entering the synagogue, there is a small room with paintings depicting a story & up ahead there is the Synagogue. It was undoubtedly lovely. These remarkable building merge the colours with glass structures so well that it’s incredibly wonderful. I sat there for a while & it was quite peaceful.

Time taken to explore: 15-25 minutes
Entry Fee: Rs. 5-10
Timings: 10AM to 12PM & 3PM to 5PM

~~Jew Town~~
Jew Town area is quite hyped & solely for shopping. It has a lot of shops to collect souvenirs, from jewellery to cotton kurtas & so on. It all looks authentic & you feel like buying a bit of everything. Bit of advice, don't! I used to do that. On my Udaipur trip, I shopped half the size of my luggage & it was just a lot! Souvenirs for my parents, brother, all friends! It was crazy. And after Udaipur, this is my 3rd trip & I have learnt well. I barely do any souvenir shopping on my trips now. It has started to feel like all the stuff is the same, despite the place!
If you do want to shop, then this is the place. It is the most active in the evening hours.

In a nutshell, yes, Kochi is beautiful, but you need to find the beauty. It’s not just sitting there waiting to be praised. It’s the hidden fruit, you need to understand & work towards finding it. And when you do, you will know your efforts are paid off.

Despite of roaming around the streets, there are still a lot of places I couldn’t find. Like some viewpoints of the beach or the graffiti art. But, I can say that I tried my best & I'm happy it was a wonderful trip.

I will be back with another post to tell you about the most amazing stay I had at AirBnb. There will also be some restaurant recommendations, per usual! And, also some real travel talk!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Have You Read Nora Ephron Yet?

Hi Readers! I am completely determined & have worshiped myself to reading these days. I have read 4 books so far in May. And two among them are written by Nora Ephron. I am always looking for new books to read. So, I essentially ignore the unread books which stare at me from my bookshelf, to go online & download other books. It's so good that I don’t have this attitude in real life, haha!
So, among one of my surfing sprees, I found a list of books to read among which there was this book named ‘I Remember Nothing’ by Nora Ephron. What caught my attention was the description which read, ‘If you read this in a train, then people will give you weird glances because you will be laughing all the time!’ So, of course I had to read it. Who doesn’t love laughing in a train while reading a book & freaking people out? So, here we go!

When I started reading the book, I came across her other work & then I realized why the name was so familiar. She has written scripts for movies which are my favourites – ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ & ‘You’ve Got Mail’. Now that I have your attention (because it’s impossible for anyone to not LOVE these movies), let’s talk about her more, shall we?

These two books are essentially essay collections relatable mostly to women of any generation. Some are hands down the funniest stories you might have read. While a few others are more simple like something we talk about over dinner. From Nora’s writing, you can understand that she is quite funny & all too relatable. I cannot stress this enough. Relatable. Relatable. Relatable. In both her books, she talks about her personal life in such a way that you will go… “ME TOO!!” or “This is like reading my own story!” or “Hahahahaha!” Narrowing it down to her books now.

This is the first book of essay collections written by Nora which was amazingly well-liked. I read this book after I read the second one. It definitely has more stories about her personal life & lessons she has learnt.
She has written about common problems that females face, such as how the neck doesn’t hide your age & the struggles of carrying around a purse & hair dye & having all clothes in the colour black & being high-maintenance! She talks about the impact of infidelity in marriage. She talks about 2 divorces & finding love a third time. She talks about parenting & all the struggles of it & also the realities. She fondly expresses her love for her apartment & also talks about the heartbreak when that one recipe from that one tiny restaurant which suddenly disappears leaving her bereft. How can anyone not laugh at such close-to-heart incidences? Some time or the other, we all have faced such things! And, to know someone else has to & has turned it into a humorous narrative is more than I can ask for!

~~Some lines from the book~~
About Hair-
“Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”

About Love-
“Years pass and you say to yourself, was I really in love, or was I just kidding myself? Was I really in love, or was I just pretending he was the man of my dreams? Was I really in love, or was I just desperate?”

“It’s much easier to get over someone if you can delude yourself into thinking you never really cared that much.”

About Books & Reading-
“I read these novels in a state of suspense so intense that you would never guess I have read them all at least ten times before.”

“Every so often I look up from the book and see a roomful of people waiting for me to make a decision about whether the music is too soft or the thunder is too loud, and I can’t believe they don’t understand that what I’m doing is Much More Important. I’m reading the most wonderful book.”

About the Truth:
“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

“We know in one part of our brains that we are all going to die, but on some level we don’t quite believe it.”

This was the first book I read by Nora Ephron. She has written this in her late years when she is old & doesn’t remember things. She writes about forgetting names of people in such a way that you do feel bad for her, but on the other hand the sequence of the story is so funny that you have to laugh at the whole thing!

She also talks about the early stages of her career in journalism while hinting at vast gender inequality which prevailed in 1900s. She talks about marriage & divorce. She opens up about her flops. She expresses her opinions about the boom of technology. Some chapters are filled with her personal stories while some others are little stories. I think my favourite chapters are the ones which involve food – ‘My Life as a Meat Loaf’ & ‘Christmas Dinner’. The writing is such that it has a subtle underlying sense of humour.

I liked this one more than the first one. It was simply funnier & more relatable. I honestly need to question myself on how is it possible that I relate to a 70-year old lady.
Both of them are pretty straight forward and don’t have a lot of direct humour. It’s just an underlying humour which translates the tragic every-day events into something funny & relatable. I have given both the books a 3.5/5 on Goodreads.

~~Some lines from the book~~

About Gender Inequality-
“If you were a college graduate (like me) who had worked on your college newspaper (like me) and you were a girl (like me), they hired you as a mail girl. If you were a boy (unlike me) with exactly the same qualifications, they hired you as a reporter and sent you to a bureau somewhere in America.”

About Desserts-
“Here’s the thing about dessert- you want it to last. Dessert is so delicious. It’s so sweet. It’s so bad for you so much of the time. And, as with all bad things, you want it to last as long as possible. But you can’t make it last if they give you a great big spoon to eat it with. You’ll gobble up your dessert in two big gulps. Then it will be gone. And the meal will be over. Why don’t they get this? It’s so obvious. It’s so obvious.”

About the Truth-
“It’s my experience that no one but your very close friends is truly interested in your children.”

About Love & Pain-
“I remember the pain. What you really forget is love.”

I hope I have inspired you all to pick these books up, especially all the ladies out there! If you know of any similar books which are possibly more funny then let me know in the comments below!!

And, I promise, Kochi will be up next! Very soon!!

Until next time,

Friday, 10 May 2019

Hippie - A Thought Provoking Novel.

Hello Readers! I have read 12 books this year & I'm very proud about it! I had a target of reading 19 & looks like I'm going to read a lot more than that. It feels truly amazing. Page after page, book after book. It is so illuminating. So much to learn from every single one. My latest read was Paulo Coelho's Hippie.

When it comes to Paulo Coelho, I'm already 100% biased & I cannot keep an open mind. Because he's one of my favorite authors! He's brilliant. He writes so eloquently & so easily takes the reader into an entirely different universe. He makes us swim even when we can't. He makes us fly even when we don't have wings. He makes us dream about life & death. And more so, he opens our minds to so many perspectives which we never would've even imagined! Hippie is such another masterpiece. Sure, it has its ups and downs. But, what a story!
It's inspired from Paulo Coelho's own life. Along with a woman named Karla, he takes the Magic Bus to travel the world. From Amsterdam to Nepal. Fascinating isn't it? That's the base story and it revolves around the life of a hippie. Travel. Music. Drugs. Alcohol. Sufism. Dance. Independence. Solitude. Companionship. And what not.

It's kind of my rule to not review amazing books because I'm not worthy of doing that. So, instead, this post contains some of the amazing quotes from the book. Hope you like these & go ahead to read the book.

"Love is to allow everything. To not spending your time thinking about the sunrise or enchanted forests, to not swim against the current, to allow yourself to be filled with joy. That, for me, is what it means to love.
It's to maintain your freedom, but in such a way that the person at your side never feels trapped by this. It's a calm, serene thing, I'd even say it's solitary in some way. Love for love's sake, for no other reason - such as marriage, children, money."

"Sufism recognizes a single truth: nothing is divisible, the visible and the invisible are one, each of us is merely an illusion in flesh and bone."

"If we stay quiet for an hour, we'll begin to hear God. But if we cry out with joy, God will also hear us and come down to bless us."

"I think sleeping is a way of talking to God through our dreams."

"A life without love isn't worth living. What is a life without love? It's a tree that bears no fruit. It's sleeping without dreaming. At times, it's even an inability to sleep. It's living one day after another waiting for the sun to shine into a room that is completely shut up, painted black, where you know where the key is but have no desire to open the door and go out."

"The more we allow the world in, the more we receive - be it love, be it hate."

"I love you and I'm not looking to explain my feelings."

"All she'd ever done in her life was outrun others, but she would never be able to outrun herself."

"She wanted everything to change, but was incapable of changing herself."

"She wished they could see her for her beauty, but all anyone ever saw was the hurricane, and they never sought shelter from it. They preferred to flee to safer ground."

In case, you are a loyal reader & actually read all of these quotes, you must have already downloaded or ordered the book, I hope! I will try to write a couple more posts about some of the books I have read by Nora Ephron. And, I will get to writing my Kochi travel posts soon enough as well! Stay tuned!!
Until next time,

Thursday, 2 May 2019

April, What a Month!

Hello Readers! How was your first month of the financial year? It sure went by in a flash for me. As for my personal goals, I achieved quite a little but as for my professional goals, I won big time! So, here we go! Check out the books I read, the TV shows/movies I watched & the places I explored!!

I went to 3 places on back to back weekends; Nashik, Pune & Kochi! It sure sounds like I am living the dream, but to be honest, staying at home doing nothing is just as awesome to me. So, in all these trips I got the best of both worlds. I explored the cities & also took the much needed relaxation.

Sula Vineyards, Nashik:
I had always wanted to visit Sula Vineyards. It is something almost every person in Mumbai has done. So, finally the plan was on & I went there with my 2 colleagues. It was a 2-day awesome trip. I didn’t feel like committing an entire post to it. So, here’s a quickie.
We chose a bad time to visit but if it wouldn’t have been now, then the whole things would have gotten cancelled. It was a fun trip & everything went soothingly well with almost no hiccups. We went to Nashik by train which was a pretty quick 3-hour ride. We reached Nashik by 10 AM. We got dressed up & left soon.
Sula Vineyards is quite popular in India. It has been around since 1998 & it was doing pretty good. Most people prefer Sula wines. There was an entire Tour of the factory where wine is made along with some knowledge sharing. At the end of the tour was what everyone likes; Wine Tasting! Unfortunately, I hate wine so I barely had any. I just wanted to experience the whole thing & check a mark in the checklist!
There are many spots in the Sula premises to take photos & we took opportunity of each one of those! Check some of the photos below!

In the evening, we had a nice dinner at a roof-top restaurant. The next day we had a train to catch, but it was delayed for more than 3 hours. We had more time to lazy around & chill, but instead, we chucked the train option & booked a cab home. It was a fun impromptu road trip which we will always remember! So, that was one of my most successful trips with friends.

I spent the next weekend in Pune. My mom & dad were already there & I thought of joining them for a day. This trip was for the sole reason of relaxing & not thinking about anything except where to eat. All of Saturday, we planned on where we will eat. More precisely, I planned on where to go & my parents just followed it. Both the places were amazing!  So, I had a nice lunch, an amazing afternoon nap, a nice dinner & then again, a wonderful night’s sleep & I was back the next day!

Kochi was definitely the highlight of the month! This was my 3rd trip within the first 4 months of the year! It was a 3 days’ trip which went by in a flash. I got to see a lot of amazing places in Kochi. I will be writing a full-fledged blog on that soon!

In a nutshell, the highlight of the month was definitely some explorations & relaxations while travelling!

If you recollect from this post, I was supposed to read these 3 novels; The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, Lost Man by Jane Harper & Hippie by Paulo Coelho. But, of course, whenever I plan on reading particular books, I end up reading something else entirely. I read one novel, two poetry books & one non-fiction book. More details below!

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy:
I have very openly expressed my thoughts on this novel. You can check it out here & here. I truly do not wish to write more about it. It was a 1.5/5 stars or even less, but I know I hated it.

Love Her Wild by Atticus:
I had been following Atticus on Instagram since years now. And the fact that I was a part of his journey from online publishing to physical publishing is something I find quite amazing! So, I finally read his book of poetry & of course, I liked it. Although, I had just read Rupi Kaur’s ‘The Sun and her Flowers’ & compared to hers, it felt a bit less intense. Still, I liked the words, some were just so incredibly brilliant! Here are my favourite lines:

“Love is diving headfirst into someone else’s confusion and finding that it all makes sense.”
"Even those we love the most can be a poison to our souls.”

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver:
I have been following Rega Jha on Instagram, who is the Founder & Ex-Editor in Chief at Buzzfeed. She is the most intellectual, self-aware & sensible young woman of this generation. I have a list of book recommendations from her & so I finally decided to read this one. ‘A Thousand Mornings’ is another book of poetry by Mary Oliver. Even though it was published in 2012, while reading it felt like it was written by someone centuries ago. That’s because of two reasons. Firstly, it had that old soul vibe to it. And secondly, it is very difficult to understand. I couldn’t understand a lot of it, so I’m sure it must be something profound. Here are some of my favourties:

“You fuss over life with your clever words, mulling and chewing on its meaning, while we just live it.”
“For some things, there are no wrong seasons. Which is what I dreamt of for me.”

Ikigai by Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia:
This is a book I never thought I would read. I am not into non-fiction. I don’t find it remotely interesting. I read to imagine a different world & mainly as an escape mechanism. But, when it is non-fiction, it is not an escape. It’s just life & people telling how to live. And in this particular book, it talks about living to be more than a 100. So, obviously it was not my thing & I didn’t like it much.
          I thought this book was about finding something from within or finding some psychological answer to questions. But, it turned out to be just science. Focusing on diet, finding a purpose (ikigai) in life, forming social ties & so on. I didn’t expect this from the book. This is telling me what I already know & me choosing not to follow it. Because, to me, that’s not living!
          What’s the point of living to be a 100 if all your life you just followed rules & did nothing crazy? This book talks about living more than a 100, but aren’t we supposed to add life to numbers & not numbers to life? So, no. This was not my thing. I would rate it at 2/5 at best.

Watching TV shows & movies is an integral part of my life. It’s what my weekend plans are made of. So, here we are!

Game of Thrones:

(Includes Spoilers.)
I want to take a second & talk about Game of Thrones, which is the most important thing going on in my life currently. I wake up at 6:30 AM on a Monday morning to watch it live & talk about it for the rest of the week to whoever listens. I read about its theories & I laugh on its memes. The hopes & expectations that I don't have from my own life, those I have from this show.
          Talking about the first 2 episodes, there were a solid let down for me. There was no action at all. Everyone thought that they were creating a base for all the main character deaths so that we will feel more horrible later. But, then they go ahead & don’t kill anyone. So, yeah, I’m disappointed because my favorites are still alive.
        Yes, I love how Arya is the one to kill Night King. I choose to ignore the flaws in it. But, apart from that, so many disappointments. The dark episode when you can barely see anything. The most hyped Battle of Winterfell was such a normal battle with not much content. I went ahead & watched the 40-minute YouTube video of how they made this allegedly epic third episode. I understood that they wanted to portray a lot of things. It’s just that it didn’t fall through the way they wanted it to. Hence, all three episodes are 80% disappointment. All comments on this are welcome!

Made in Heaven:
While I was in Kochi, I ended up watching this entire series. It was brilliant, entertaining & also real. It focused on so many things we see today, like, infidelity, LGBTQ discrimination, class difference & so on. It was a refreshing show!

The Upside:
The Upside is this amazing movie starring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston & Nicole Kidman. You just have to watch it!

If you remember, I had made this list of 19 things to do in 2019 & I am slowly & steadily reaching there. While some things seem to be impossible to achieve, others are quite closer to completion. One of the most important things I wanted to do was donate clothes which I finally did. I think I must have donated more than 20 pieces of clothing which felt really amazing.
            Secondly, watching TED Talks every week is going great! I am doing it weekly without ever missing out on it. And, lastly, I have cut down a bit of online shopping. So, I’m proud of that.

So, that was April for me! Travelling, Game of Thrones, Reading & again Game of Thrones! What was your April like? What are your May Goals? Let me know in the comments below!!
Until next time,

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