Wah, Taj!

I am a firm believer of the adage, ‘Start as you mean to go’.

So, when The Husband surprised me with a staycation for New Year’s Eve I jumped at the idea.  When he shared that the hotel he chose was The Taj Gateway Hotel on Residency Road, Bangalore, my immediate response was a double thumbs up.

And that is how the of 31st December 2016 had us driving to the hotel from our home. On checking in at noon we were welcomed with a glass of Lemon Iced Tea. The check in procedure was smooth and we were in our plush room within minutes, to realize that we had been given an upgrade! Joy! Our special New Year’s package included an entry into all the parties the hotel was hosting and of course the stay with breakfast the next day.

The Taj Group of Hotels are known worldwide for their comfort, gracious service and great locations, and this hotel was no different. Our room was tastefully decorated, the bed and pillows were just right, midway between firm and squishy, always very important to ensure a good night’s sleep and wake up revived.

As we knew that we had a night of partying ahead we decided to take a nap, from which we woke up refreshed. The advantage of the location of this hotel is its proximity to the 3 most happening streets of Bangalore, Commercial Street, Brigade Road and MG Road and we stepped out to walk around all 3, shopping, window shopping and snacking for a good 3 hours. The streets and stores were gaily decorated and they all lit up as dusk fell and what a gorgeous sight it was!

Returning to the hotel we relaxed over a cup of hot tea, made to our specification, in their restaurant as we went over 2016 that had passed.

Back to our room, and a luxurious shower with top of the line toiletries later, we watched PM Narendra Modi address the nation as we dressed to the nines to go party hopping and welcome 2017.

The first party had tables pre-reserved for the guests, with eye masks and oversized coloured glasses adding the fun element. A special mention to the attentive and gracious staff who were unobtrusive but at our elbow as soon as they felt we needed something. Custom made Cocktails and Mock-tails which were delicious and food that was flavourful, with enough variety for each palate and preference. The 2nd party was informal with a buffet spread out and a bar that was perennially crowded.

Catchy music had us on the dance floor and we welcomed 2017 with feet tapping, satiated with great food and drinks and the Taj Gateway ensuring a memorable time and New Year’s Eve for us.

“I am blogging about my luxury stay experience for an activity at BlogAdda in association with MakeMyTrip“

The Story #FridayFotoFiction #Week11

The clacking of the typewriter keys resounded in the room, even as words started filling up the empty sheet of paper rolled in.

His words brought to life the lush forests where he wandered as a child, the crystal clear stream he drank from and the pine needles forming a soft bed for his nap. Of his village,  his people, his family and his only love.

He wrote stories people waited to read. Using a paintbrush that he could no longer use lodged in his mouth to help him type, in the absence of hands that could no longer paint.

Linking my 100 Word Fiction Story based on the Photo Prompt with FridayFoToFiction Week 11, hosted by Tina and Me.

What I am Thankful for NOT having #ThankfulThursdays #Week14

Even on the days we feel our worst we should realise that we have the luxury of allowing ourselves to feel that way. Yes, every feeling it is a luxury, whether good or bad, as there are far too many people who are not even allowed to feel.

In the same vein there are traits, attributes that we see in people or experience through them, which make us mentally roll our eyes and say, Thank God I’m NOT that way!

I am Thankful I am NOT;

Miserly: With my affection, abilities, compliments, time, empathy, ideas and patience, to name a few. You could be a stranger, an acquaintance or a friend and chances are you would have experienced either a few or all of the things mentioned.

Rigid: You’ll often hear people saying that as they grow older they become set in their thoughts, actions, habits and outlook. Not me! With each passing year I become even more malleable. And it is a habit that happens unconsciously.

Unaware: Of my flaws. I have a conscience that I keep shining and running, in mint condition, like a prized car. And it responds, by running over and quashing any thought that may remotely go against my natural nature.

Lazy: I love housework, walking to everywhere I can and doing as much as I can myself. The only time you might find me sitting in one place is when I’m typing out a blogpost:) At other times, that Energizer Bunny has nothing on me!:)

Know-it-all: Yes, I do know a lot but I still don’t know it all. The anticipation of learning what you don’t know is what I look forward too. That is what makes life exciting!

 

 

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Tina Basu - Being Real Not Perfect

Say Yes to ‘No’ #MayTivation

No.

Two syllables, and so much thought about using them.
Why are most of us afraid to say No?
Are we people pleasers? Or just plain gutless? I think it could be anything between the two, right?

Saying No is usually preceded with a lot of internal struggle and stress and sometimes even after all that you end up saying Yes, to favours you didn’t want to do, tasks you were trying to avoid and sometimes lending money and things you actually did not want to.

The fear of being disliked and shunned by people, coming across as selfish, are usually the top two reasons.

But.

Believe me when I say this, they world does not end when you say No. The Earth keeps circling around the Sun, not bothered about the word you used. People whom you say No to find someone else to do them the favour they wanted out of you or lend them something you refused to. If people dislike you for saying No, it’s still ok, the Earth shall still continue circling around the Sun but hey, you’ll like yourself more! For being brave enough to say No! So there!

So go on then, use the two syllables when you need to. Or substitute it with it’s other lengthier forms like, ‘I would not be able to…’ or ‘I cannot help you with this…’ or just coin your own!

Say Yes to more ‘No’ and breathe easy and smile!

The Place #FridayFotoFiction #Week10

Picture Credit: Saumy Nagayach

Lush tea estates carpeted the ground as far as the eyes could see. That slight nip in the air so fresh it took a while to get used to the unpolluted feel of it and colourfully clad tourists dotting the scenery. Smita let out a sigh as she took it all in, wrapping her shawl around her a little tighter. She remembered their honeymoon here, all those years ago. This was the place where she and her brand new husband had become lovers from strangers. This was the place she chose to tell her husband she would be leaving him.

Written for #FridayFotoFiction #Week10

5 Apps you are Thankful for #ThankfulThursdays #Week13

#Thankful Thursdays :5-apps-you-are-thankful-for-thankful-thursdays-prompt
#Thankful Thursdays :5-apps-you-are-thankful-for-thankful-thursdays-prompt

 

Technology is a wonderful thing!

It has made life so much easier for most of us. Yes, it does get its share of brickbats too, but it depends how you use it, right?

After the advent of the Mobile Phone we thought life had changed. Then Mobile Phone Apps followed and we realized what true change, and convenience, really was.

My Mobile Phone is the most important accessory in my life right now, like it is for many others I’m sure. And the Apps I use for everyday purposes have certainly made my life easier. Even though I use them often, some everyday too, I rarely pause to think of them thankfully. What better time and way to do so than with this week’s prompt of Thankful Thursday, hosted by Amrita and Tina?

So here are the Apps I am thankful for

Google: From looking for how much time is required to boil an egg perfectly to where I could get the best Ghevar in Chennai or what is the best time to travel to Assam, the Google App that has all the right answers. It’s lightning fast, it’s convenient and I have no idea how I survived before I discovered Google!

Google Maps: My sense of direction is so skewed that if you follow mine for the supermarket a few blocks away they just might lead you to a neighbouring state! Which is why Google Maps is another favored app. Moving to a new city 3 years ago, or when we travel to a new city, this is the app that helped and continues to help us find our way around. Since we love driving to places too, the convenience of being warned of  traffic blocks ahead, or immediately getting information about the nearest Petrol Pump if we are low on fuel or the next Restaurant, if WE need to fuel up makes navigating a comfortable experience .

MakeMyTrip: We travel a lot, which means we need to book tickets. With MMT we can compare prices and get the best deals on flight or train tickets. Their booking a hotel along with the tickets is a great addition too. When are are sure of our future travel schedules we book our tickets as early as possible and have gotten lucky with with unbelievable prices sometimes!

PicMonkey: As a writer it is always a plus to enhance blogposts with custom made posters and images. On Instagram too, it is aesthetically pleasing to announce or publicize your posts with unique images. This is where PicMonkey is a boon. Their mobile app is so easy to use that within minutes you could create a poster/badge/picture and resize it according to where you need to use it for (twitter/Instagram etc) and you’re done!

FreeCharge: My online wallet. Pay bills, book movie tickets, order your Gas or even donate to religious/educational/Women’s and more causes, at the click of a button. And that is not all, enjoy special offers and money back too on selected payments.

Jabong: I know we were asked to mention 5 Apps, but this post would be incomplete if I didn’t add my most favourite shopping app, Jabong! What you see is what you get, no cheating on the quality of anything you buy from Jabong. Easy exchanges and returns and money is credited back to your account or credited to your Jabong account. A special mention to their excellent customer care and after sales service!

 

Be Positive #MayTivation

Be Positive.

Have you ever paused and realized the amount of pressure these two words can put on others and yourself?

Human beings come inbuilt to experience a range of emotions. Some, like love, happiness, contentment, and more are those we know as Positive emotions. Then there are the not so popular ones, like anger, hatred, despair and the like all neatly clubbed under Negative emotions or Negativity.

There is so much pressure to be positive/feel positive/think positive from everywhere, be it family, friends, social media even those whatsapp forwards that do the rounds that most of us are guilty or even afraid to feel anything ‘negative’ and talk about it when we do.

Suppressing any emotion tends to magnify it and it usually finds an outlet in some form. Kind of like putting yourself on a strict diet, thinking of the food you’ve decided to deprive yourself of and then giving in to one mad moment and binge eating, only to regret it later and realizing that portion control works better than deprivation.

In the same way it works better to experience every emotion you may be going through, keeping in mind not to let the not so pleasant ones stay back and become a habit.

Feel everything you go through, do not suppress that, and do not hold onto it either. And after you’ve done so, let it go and feel the relief. Remember portion control works better than deprivation.

This is what Being Positive should be truly about.

 

A Fine Man #WordyWednesday

This Week: Sentence Prompts

Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder.
– Nikita Khrushchev

Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.
– Henry David Thoreau

My Story based on the prompts for Wordy Wednesday – Week 3

‘Why can’t you be like him!?’

Ramakant was the example citied every time some exasperated parent wanted to give an example of a fine human being to their errant child.

Ramakant rose before dawn, he had cultivated the habit of early rising as he was a firm believer that it was unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.

After sweeping the inside and outside of his hut he washed his clothes, watered the few plants surrounding it, cooked for and fed his aging parents and dressed neatly and left for work, as the sun rose. He was so precise and punctual you could set your watch by him, remarked his neighbors often.

He made sure to visit a temple before taking the train to work. After invoking the reigning Lord or Goddess blessings, Ramakant also took a few pairs of ‘quality’ shoes or slippers left on the threshold by devotees. A creature of habit, he identified the ones he would pick on his way in and they would leave with him on his way out.

Ramakant was also the first one to reach the caveraneous godown of his paper seller boss. As he opened the one window in the tiny room called the ‘office’ and began dusting around his personal dealer saw it as a signal to approach the back door, where Ramakant had a neat pile of paper ready to sell, and pocket the profit.

Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder, believed Ramakant.

 

Book Review: Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane

My only memory of Surpanakha was from a fleeting mention of her in Mythology, The Ramayan to be precise. I knew of her as Ravan’s ugly sister who was attracted to and tried to entice Laxman and had her nose and ears cut off as a punishment and to teach her a lesson.

Kavita Kane takes this commonly known skeletal description and uses her imagination and words to paint a complete picture of the little known Lanka’s Princess.

Surpanakha was named Meenakshi – the one with beautiful, fish-shaped eyes- because of her mesmerising golden hued eyes at birth and loathed by her mother, Kaikesi, ever since. As, a daughter after 3 Sons, Ravan, Kumbhakarn and Vibhishan, was still unwelcome and looking at her ‘ugly face and prominent curved, like claws, nails’ her mother secretly referred to her as Chandranakha.

She grew up watching Ravan, her eldest brother and the apple of her mother’s eyes being cherished and applauded even as she was neglected and all that came her way were taunts and jibes. Ravan was the one who bestowed the name Surpanakha – as hard as nails- upon her after she attacked him by gouging at him with her nails for killing her pet goat, Maya. And the name not only stuck but went on to become her personality, with each passing year and incident firmly rooting her head strong and defensive temperament.

Puberty bought with it a gift of beauty and Surpanaka blossomed into an attractive young lady physically and a shrewd, manipulative schemer mentally. Armed with the knowledge of magic and witchcraft taught to her by her Asura Grandmother even as her brothers were tutored in the Vedas, Upanishads by their Rishi father, she was beautiful and dangerous. The grudge of never having been treated fairly kept growing alongside the thirst for vengeance from her family. Ravan was her special target and she secretly vowed to destroy him at any cost. Little realising that the cost she would be paying with would be immense.

Marrying her brother’s enemy, Vidyujiva, against the wishes of her family was the first step in her plan of revenge. A move that she thought was calculated and would bring her happiness and grief to her family, but did it? Did her cunning plans work, or did they backfire? Did she find love and acceptance or gain anger and bitterness which fanned the flames of vengeance even further?

Kavita Kane writes simply and beautifully. Her descriptive language brought alive the lavishness of Lanka and the many layers of Surapanakha’s personality beautifully. Kane’s words roped me in immediately and as the story progressed I found myself going through a myriad of emotions directed at, and sometimes with, Surapanakha. The story makes you reflect at what is right and what is not, and whether what you’ve believed them to be so far is the truth.  An easy and engrossing read, and a book that calls out to you with its stunning cover and a story to match.

I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.