Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Am I a “Solo Traveller” ? Have I been able to shatter my fears of travelling alone?

At Kanyakumari
I was 15 years old when I had my first long journey to Padmanabhapuram Palace, Thuckalay and Kanyakumari. Though it only took nine hours to reach there, it looked like days to me before we arrived at our first destination. Prior to it, I haven’t travelled anywhere. I always wished, if my relatives’ houses were a bit far away so that, I could go and see those places. Alas! It was not.

Hence, there’s no big surprise that my travel to Kanyakumari turned out to be the longest one.


I travelled with my family and relatives. But to my utter shock, the trip did not turn out to be as wonderful as I thought.


I saw the beautiful sun rise and the sun set at Kanyakumari. But they couldn’t charm me. Travel should free your spirit but I hardly felt so.


Something was lacking. But, looking back, I felt it might be the wrong choice of company/ accommodation. It would have been nice, if my family travelled alone and also chose a good accommodation for the same. All these experiences did not offer me a beautiful picture about travelling.


Perhaps, it might have been those awkward memories that deterred me even from thinking about travelling.

When I became a journalist, my work took me to various places. I travelled just because I had to work. That was it.

Time flew by. And years after, one fine morning, I stumbled upon a travel blog called The Shooting Star and it just blew me away. Slowly, I began enjoying the virtual tours but I never thought of travelling until my profession abruptly stopped inspiring me to get up and do the job which I always thought was my life and my passion.


Now, I believe that either I was destined to travel or because my perspectives have drastically changed about anything and everything that I suddenly started thinking that only travelling could retain my sanity.

At Padmanabhapuram Palace, Thuckalay
And what a wonderful coincidence was that I chose to travel to Padmanabhapuram Palace, Thuckalay -one of the largest WOODEN PALACES IN ASIAand Kanyakumari to begin travelling again. This time, everything was different.


I was just awed by the splendour of the palace and the tranquility offered by the Kanyakumari sea. I couldn’t see the sunset and sunrise. But my heart was brimming with happiness and I could hear my own voice that I should come here again and again.

That was the beginning. I am of course a budding traveller. But am I a solo traveller?

I am yet to be one. For, something is preventing me from venturing out alone  and I realised that it’s just the sheer fear of travelling alone.


Thankfully, that fear did not stop me from travelling as I got company in one way or the other and they too offered beautiful experiences.


I kicked off my life as a budding traveller with a friend of mine. If my first travel changed my perspective about life, the second trip to Shravanabelaglola, Hasan, Karnataka made my life.

Then the next trip to visit Shakthan Thampuran Palace , Thrissur with my father made me realise that he too enjoyed travelling. On top of it, he enjoyed our small trip to the core.


Then when the opportunity to travel to Chellanam came along, I somehow mustered courage and it was then a friend of mine who told me that she too wanted to come along and I couldn’t deny.


After our trip to Chellanam, Ernakulam she was beaming with joy with her newfound experiences and that made my day too.

Hence, the question I ask myself is when am I going to travel alone.
At Shravanabelagola, Hasan, Karnataka


PS : I will soon update the blog with details on the above - mentioned places

“Would love to hear your feedback and suggestions”

Thursday, August 30, 2018

It's time to see yet another meaningful dream


Pic Courtesy : torontofilmsociety.org

I was just thinking of a dream, I had many years ago. I might have been 21 or 22 and was going through a rough phase, then. I did not know where to look for help. It was then I had this dream.

I could see two mountains separated by a deep gorge. There’s a long queue of people waiting to jump and get to the other side. The queue felt like infinity. I still remember the word ‘ infinity’ when I woke up from my dream. Still, I could see me standing at the end of the queue.


Though people were jumping, none could reach the other mountain as two gargantuan  snakes – A Cobra and a Python flying from deep inside the gorge and biting the feet of every men when they reach the middle of the gorge while jumping. They could reach only till the feet of the people who jumped.

Then they fall into the deep abyss.

It repeated with everyone until it was my turn to jump. I wasn’t thinking about anything then. There was no fear, apprehension. I was numb or maybe, stoic. I wasn’t sure except that there was no turbulence going on in my mind. I was ready to jump without thinking twice.

The moment I jumped , the gargantuan snakes, from the belly of the gorge rose above to bit. When I reached the middle of the deep abyss, I did not know what made me split my legs and the snakes could not reach me and I reached the other mountain.

Only, I could reach that mountain.

I was so disturbed when I woke up. You could imagine the impact it made then. Even after all these years, it’s so fresh as if it happened yesterday.

Since I saw two snakes in the dream, I started thinking something inauspicious was going to happen. But one of my friends corrected me saying “ That’s a positive dream. There were hurdles and only you could reach the other mountain. Your heart is giving you signs that you are going to succeed.”

And that changed the way, I started looking at life.

For many long years, I struggled and worked hard like a log. After nine years of doing many odd jobs, I landed in a job I liked the most. 

After five years, I started again being restless. I could not be complacent anymore. My heart started telling that it’s time you prepare yourself to make the next big leap.

I do not know when it is going to happen …

Maybe, it’s time for yet another dream…

“ Everyone has ups and downs in their lives. Do you have any motivational stories to share with me and others. I am all ears.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

My New Blog on TRAVEL & FOOD

It's been a long time since I posted something here. It is just because I have started a new blog on my new found passion TRAVELLING & FOOD.

I will be writing here MALAYALI GIRL'S TRAVEL STORIES.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

THAVALAYILLA KULAM - Pond sans Frogs


Sometimes, it’s the stories behind certain places that leaves an indelible impression on your mind. I love to hear such stories.

And this is one such story…

Ponds with water lilies are not a rare phenomenon in Kerala. But I really do not know what made me stop my vehicle and ask about that particular pond at Parassala, the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu. I was on my way to Kanyakumari and the journey began from Thiruvananthapuram. 

Padmakumar Chettan, a local living in the area became curious when I started taking its pictures.

He came to me and said “ It’s called ‘ Thavalayilla Kulam’ (Ponds sans Frogs)." 

" What a curious name," I said.


" Yes, indeed," and he voluntarily started narrating the story behind it.

“ The story is old as well as interesting too,” he said. 

Marthanda Varma was ruling Thiruvananthapuram which was under the Kingdom, then called ‘ Travancore’.  He used to visit a temple which was near to this pond. The frogs in the pond were so fond of him that they would cry whenever the King left the temple and the place.

“ Just imagine, thousands of frogs crying at the same time,” he said with a little smile on his face and continued the story.

After some time, their pleading became too unbearable that somebody cursed the frogs - ‘Let there be no frogs in the pond '.

“ That’s it, and thus frogs ceased to exist in this pond and hence the name,” he concluded his little story with a sad face.

Wow! What an imagination?

But he couldn’t answer questions like who cursed the frogs? What was it called before?

Still, it’s a lovely little story, right..

I believe certain questions have to remain unanswered to make them more alluring. What do you think?




  • ‘Chettan’ – brother
  • Thiruvananthapuram – One of the districts in Kerala, the southernmost state of India.




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Irresponsible Journalism at its zenith


Ullal ( Bangalore, India )

On September 12, at 6.30 pm, Sharat a 19-year-old boy left his house at Ullal to meet his friends. Unfortunately, he never returned. When his parents failed to trace his whereabouts, they decided to seek the help of the police.

 After two days, they received a whatsapp video. It was of Sharat and he told them through the video that he had been abducted and appealed to his parents to save him by paying a ransom amount of Rs 50 lakh. He was so frightened and told them that they would kill him if his parents did not act fast.


I read this news from an online portal and became greatly concerned about the way they have reported the news.

It says “Kidnappers Demand Rs 50 Lakhs To Free Bengaluru Teenager, Cops Suspect He's Faking Abduction.”

  • What would be the fate of the boy if the abductors happen to see this news? They could easily make out that Sharat’s parents had sought the help of the police. Will they spare his life after that?
  • Secondly, the prejudiced remark of the Police that he is faking an abduction. If they have made such a remark, then it is irresponsible and highly deplorable. They failed to realise the gravity of the situation.
  • Without even a second thought, the media have chosen to report the callous remark made by the Police and have underplayed the intensity of the situation by reporting that the boy is faking an abduction. They have also quoted another newspaper to substantiate it – another paper sans discretion.

Was the media unaware of the backlash such an irresponsible reporting could cause or were they just shutting their eyes to it?

For a moment, I wished that he was faking it. Alas! It was not.

Three days after, Sharat’s body was found floating in Narasimiah lake ( at Bangalore). He was strangled with a Nylon rope. The abductors were nobody but his friend and his henchmen.
Of course, the abductors could have known through several sources whether Sharath’s parents approached the police or not. But my point was that the media could have refrained from such reporting, especially when it has got something to do with the life of someone.

The pen is definitely mightier than the sword, but there are times, it also should know what restraint is.


This link will show how they reported it Kidnappers Demand Rs 50 Lakhs To Free Bengaluru Teenager, Cops Suspect He's Faking Abduction

 - Shalet Jimmy

Friday, September 1, 2017

How to make Noodles with an ' Indian ' touch?

Today, I took a break from my routine work as I was not feeling well. I did not even feel like having food. Since I was taking medicine, I should eat something, right... Hence, I managed a breakfast of raw papaya and milk.

A few hours after, I started feeling hungry. At the same time, I was not in a mood to order food. So I thought of some quickfix but it shouldn't look like a quickfix too.

That remined me of how my mom used to cook Maggi noodles. Thankfully,  instead of Maggie, I had a packet of Yippe noodles... Thought I would try the way she used to cook it with an Indian touch.

Most of you might be aware of this method . Still, I want to share it here as it came out yummy.

Ingredients

1 packet Yippie noodles ( Masala flavour) ( any flavour will do )
1 Onion chopped
1 Green chilli  ( according to its size )
Coconut oil - 1 tablespoon
1 small carrot
4 French beans
salt - a pinch
Garam Masala - half teaspoon ( or according to your taste )

How to make it?

Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to a pan . Once the oil gets head add the chopped onion and saut it for a while. Then add Green Chilli sliced into 4 pieces ( I haved added only 1 green chilli as it was a bit big.) Saut it for a while.

Then add Carrot  and French beans sliced into small pieces. (You can add soaked Green peas too. But I have not added it here). Add a pinch of salt ( according to your taste ) Saut it for a while.

When the vegatables are cooked, add the masala that you get along with the noodles packet. Then add half teaspoon of ' Garam Masala'. Saut it for a while..Taste it and if you think it is less salty, add it as required.

Then pour water so that the vegetables are immersed in it. Boil it and then add noodles. Cook it until the water is absorbed completely and get it dry.

Your noodles with an 'Indian' touch is ready. I would say this recipie has a slight inclination towards Kerala as I have used coconut oil and garam masala.

Hope, you will like it.




Monday, August 28, 2017

Good Food & Good Mood - VELLARIKKA PULISSERY ( Kerala dish )


Why Food?

When I started this blog 8 years ago, never in the wildest of my dreams I thought I would include a page for 'Food'.

Why? Because all my life, I had seen nothing but women slogging away in their kitchens. Their lives were confined to those four walls, completely unaware of the world outside.  And I never wanted to end up there. Hence, I shunned that little corner of my house, vehemently.

Years after, when I was tired of eating outside food, I decided to cook.

Even then, I never thought of making any elaborate dishes. While working as a journalist, I had just one holiday. Half of the day, I would spend sleeping and then I would make something very easy with few ingredients to satiate my hunger. I could always order something if it had gone wrong.

Then I shifted to Bangalore. Unlike the hectic journalism days, I had ample free time in my hands. Besides, a sudden shift in the place started upsetting my bowels.  And I was left with just one option - cook my own food.

To start with, I had limited utensils. Besides, I used the induction stove. And also I did not have the COCONUT GRATER.

Did you hear Coconut Grater? Yes!  You heard it, right.

I will elaborate.

Don't think about making yummy Kerala food without coconut and coconut oil, hence, a coconut grater is a prerequisite.


When I started learning the art of cooking and indulging in it, that little corner which scared me as a symbol of enslavement suddenly turned out to be a symbol of liberation. Cooking has started giving that liberated feeling. 


Last month, when I went to my home in Kerala, I decided to try some dishes. I was so overwhelmed to find that my brother asked my mother to learn the recipes of all those dishes I made for him. I realised there's happiness in cooking food and serving people.  The appreciation felt good same as I used to feel when I get accolades for my story or my writing.


You would not find here dishes which required elaborate cooking. That's why I am calling my Kitchen ' A BACHELOR GIRL'S KITCHEN '. It will have some KERALA DISHES  which you can prepare easily if you are a single woman with a kitchen with limited resources.

Why Kerala dishes?

Because I am a Keralite
{A Nazrani Malayali Kochu (dear) from India}


So Let's start with

VELLARIKKA PULISSERY-  



I am taking the quantity suited for a single person.
Main ingredients
1. Yellow Cucumber - (small - Peel it and scoop out  and discard the inner juicy flesh and cut the hard flesh into small pieces - not too small) - (You can also use ASH GOURD instead of Yellow Cucumber)
2. Sour Curd - One small packet
3. Coconut - one-half (grate it)
4. Coconut oil - 2 tablespoon
5. Curry leaves - a few
6. Dry Red Chillies  - 3
7. Green chillies - 3
8. Cumin Seeds  - 2 teaspoon
9. Mustard Seeds - 2 teaspoon
10. Turmeric Powder - 2 teaspoon

How to make it

Put the chopped Yellow cucumber, 2 green chillies ( sliced as two strips ) and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt ( required ) in a pressure cooker in water which should be enough to cover the vegetable pieces. Three whistles are enough. ( If you don't have a cooker, you can just boil it in a small pan after covering it with a lid)

Grind the grated coconut, cumin seeds and one green chilly in a Mixer to make a smooth paste. Pour it in the utensil (Pressure cooker/pan) and allow it to boil for some time. Check the salt and add accordingly if there's less salt.

Take another pan and pour 2 tablespoon coconut oil. When the oil is hot, splutter 2 teaspoon mustard seeds. (The mustard seeds used in the Kerala dishes are a bit bigger than the mustard seeds used by others). Put three dry red chillies, curry leaves and one teaspoon turmeric powder. Once the raw smell is gone, put it in the pan which contains the boiled vegetables cooked in the grated coconut mix.

Your Vellarikka Puliserry is ready.



Please note: I am using the induction stove to prepare food.