Sunday, August 28, 2011

London Diary Part 5 - Visit to Isle_of_Wight

During one of the long weekends we decided to visit the largest island of England located in the English Chanel, Yup we decided to visit the Isle of Wight . It was the home of Queen Victoria! she made Osborne House which became holiday destination for many Victorians including Charles Dickens.

We along with Amit Bhaiya (& family) and Harmeet  decided to take the ferry to Isle of Wight from Southampton port. We just had to roll our cars on to the deck and then enjoy the scenic beauty of the ride.The ride was about an hour or so , we sat on the deck enjoyed a round or two of potato crisps and tea. Weather again blessed us by being warm and sunny throughout so it was lovely!
There are around 7-8 beaches of interest in and around the isle , so as soon as we reached the port, we got in to our cars and started exploring the city and the beaches.

All the beaches were almost too crowded or busy so we just kept driving taking in all the beauty of these beaches. We had to stop when we reached the sand-down beach Man what a sight it was breathtakingly beautiful beach! it is a long stretch of easily accessible golden sandy beach.

We then entered the water , it was chilly but not as chilly as the Bournemouth beach , so we were there for around an hour or so.
We decided to have lunch on San-down beach. We had sandwiches / fruits chips nuts and of course french fries and tea! It was yummy to say the least after a being in water for a long time.

After having lunch and resting in the sun for some time, we headed for some play time! yes we did  a round of running/chasing on the beach, followed by one more round of tea and cookies.

We did not plan to stay for the night so we headed back by the last ferry to southamptom. It was a place worth visiting again!

Leaving you with few pics to immerse in the beauty of this place!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

London Diary Part 4 - Visit to Henley-on-Thames

While in England , we decided to visit small nearby towns of England to get a feel of the culture and the people .We zeroed on  a town named Henley on Thames .Henley-on-Thames is a town on the royal Thames river about 10 miles from Reading ,England .
The town is overlooked by beautiful landscape of wooded hills and green fields. Just few miles from the riverbank is the very heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.

We drove through the market place, saw the quaint church and moves towards the River bank, there is a beautiful park alongside the bank , lovely place to spend your evening  for either a walk , or if you want to sit by the river side and enjoy the nature!. You can also go for boat rides , play a game of Ball with your pet, or even enjoy watching kids merrily going on various swings and all.
Visitors can also visit the famous River & Rowing Museum . Unfortunately we did not get the chance to go there as we were so engrossed in taking boat rides and walking along the bank and gorging on yummy french fries , we missed the closing time!

It was a fun visit! The drive to Henley is also as  beautiful as the destination! But that's true for whole of England really its a beautiful country !

Thursday, August 25, 2011

London Diary Part 3 - Visit to Stonehenge

Yes the first place I vsisited while in England was not London as would have been expected, We went to thsi place of historical significance known as Stonehenge .
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire .It is believed that the first stage of Stonehenge was build more than 5000 years ago! It can be best described as some standing stones surrounding earthwork in double circles (Earliest Stonehenge was Henge, comprising a ditch, bank, and the Aubrey holes) There is still lots of debate on what exactly was the purpose of such a massive construction and how was it done .
But latest theories suggest , that Stonehenge was a place of healing – the primeval equivalent of Lourdes.This also accounts for the high number of burials in the area and for the evidence of trauma deformity in some of the graves. However they do concede that the site was probably multifunctional and used for ancestor worship as well.
When I visited the place  , I was awestruck by the  way the structure is constructed, all the stones used are massive and believed to be blue stones, which are not available in nearby regions, Its thought provoking that how these stones came from Preseli mountains, in south-west Wales.

It was a beautiful site , large plain green lands running for miles and miles and in between we see this huge stone structure, made me think of all technologies we had in past! .
We went there on a sunny /warm day , but despite being sunny it was very windy (typical England weather) . We enjoyed the site, the tour and its historical significance , had  hot coffee at the nearby cafe along with french fries ! and came back loaded with information about yet something something magnificent from our past!

Leaving you with few pictures of the beautiful Monument.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Personalized Wall Art !

I have recently moved to California for a brief period.Now as we have rented an apartment here we as usual are bounded by various do and don't mostly don't.This has left me with very few decorating options and as our stay here is not permanent I do not want to waste money on decor items which would be difficult to carry back Home.

In order to get cheap DIY ideas I keep browsing through all the wonderful blogs, we are lucky to have!Its during one such adventure I stumbled upon this wonderful blog and this Art:

Blog and the blog owner are both captivating!

But there was one tiny issue in following the art as it is, the walls of our house are somewhere between beige/creamish white , so I wanted to bring a dash of colour through this art.

What I did is as follows :

Supplies Needed:
Canvas (any size as per requirement ) : I took the smallest one as I was trying first time and it was cheapest!
Acrlylic Water colours (I used Burnt amber/ Red/Aqua/Deep Blue)

Paint Brushes
Wooden letters

I first painted the canvases blue and red (thats the colour theme going around my living room/dinning area)
Then I painted few wooden letters Burnt Amber(to go with dark walnut wood of furnitures)
then just glued the letters to the canvas to form a quote .

Easy right!

After looking at those colored canvases for some time , I started disliking them  ..Yes Right I felt its lacking something . ie the Depth which single color gives. So I proceeded to Spray Paint it ..Classic White!

And here is the pic  to  prove that it indeed looks better!
One more!

Claim Token :GARBKWHBY9Y7

Monday, August 22, 2011

London Diary Part 2

Well I cannot go on further on how beautiful Reading was without sharing some pics of the places we visited, things we did there! We had amazing group of friends which made the stay worthwhile and fun! We would have lunch parties on weekends or movies nights or just plain old game of Card! that was really fun man!

These are some random photos taken during various seasons!.

I would like to cover each place of interest we visited in and around London in details in coming posts .

The London Diary -Part 1

That was sunny afternoon of June 30th 2009 , when I landed at London Heathrow airport.  I was to meet Nilesh after a brief separation of 4-5 months. so exceitment was there and as usual I was nervous too. Joining work in a new country , meeting new people , new work environment all this was making me a bit jittery.
Well I came out of the airport after collecting my luggage and saw Nilesh smiling.what a feeling it was.. relief passed over me and I was happy!.

London was full of traffic jams .. that was my impression of the first day! But even in chaos there was an organization , everyone was following rules which was good  to see!

Our house was in reading some 45 miles from London. After a travel of around 45 minutes , we reached reading. City was calm and beautiful to say the least. Roads were like they have been mopped just now . Seriously not seeing even a small piece of litter on road was surprising for me!
Uniformity in architecture, color coordination in all apartment and buildings made this quaint little city seem like out of a fairy land!

The house was lovely!! fully furnished and tastefully designed with large french doors*(which I had always admired) it was love at first sight!
Weather  in Reading was bit warmer as compared to London which was good for me. It was summers when I landed so it was all sunny /warm and beautiful.but to be true the temperature at our house was always 25 degrees :)

I was to join office the next day , so after taking nights rest (jet lag never hits me for at least 2-3 days).Office was beautiful as Reading is one important client meeting place for my Company offices were tastefully designed .Thanks to my office colleagues joining and first day was not as dreadful as I thought !
I made some new acquaintances  in office . Good experience all in all!

So this is how I started my journey in England!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's Cooking

Well, I made Gujarati meal as Lunch on Saturday.:) my first try at Gujarati cuisine. Now why am I posting about it .. no big deal ? Or you might say So .. you cooked Gujarati so what!.

But me being not interested in cooking till almost 2 years back... its an achievement
Yes true, when we were kid we were instructed to only focus on studies.. I never entered kitchen to even make tea till 12th .. That is even if my mom would call us, Papa would be angry seeing us in kitchen.. his  point being  there will be plenty of time for cooking right now you need to focus on what is important , ie studies..:) good for us we didint have to do anything in the house...but as  I look back now. it was hard on mom.. never got any time for relaxation as we being in remote Arunachal, there was no house help or anything:( . Well here goes my habit of blaberring again.
To cut long story short even after I was married , i was lucky to have my mom nearby so I hardly cooked as my husband liked my mom's cooking. Anyways now when I moved to London.. then I had to enter the kitchen and I started liking it also .. I tried my hand at baking and all there and loved it.
so Now in US , I have started cooking and I kibnd of like it. I cannot say I love cooking as Its like work only. but if I am cooking something other than  normal meal , I am good.

So came the Saturday Cooking Challenge I have for myself.. I am going to cook one traditional meal from one state of India every Saturday.  I love tasting other cuisines, although as a strict vegetarian my options get limited, but I will be trying recipes which are vegetarian and traditional.

I started.. no not with my State , but with birth place of father of our nation.. Yes Gujarat!

Well I made Lunch which consisted of :

1.Gujarati Kadhi
3.Leelva nu bhaat
4. Makai nu bharta
5. Batata nu Shaak
6.Tuvar nu daal
7.kakdi nu raita

It turned out great!!
I did not include any snack items like dhokla and that will be one more challenge , i will setup for myself once I accomplish this:)

Next Week!! We are going to the land of Tagore!!! Wish me luck!!

ETA : A pic of the Gujarati fare!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happiness is a Choice: Is It:?

Is it really? Can we choose happiness despite being deep down in sorrow or pain or hardships.May be we can.
It actually boils down to perspective perspective of how to see life, how you think of it . What is your measurement of happiness or what will make you happy.It can really be as simple as a cup of Hot tea on a sunny afternoon with family. Or even the Rarest of diamond might not make you happy.
Yes we might think or make ourselves believe that we need House/Money to be happy. Yes we do need it . to survive not to be happy. You can /will be actually truly happy when you feel at peace with yourself.Well I mean is that If you are alone and not busy (not doing some chore) and still feel that nothing is missing..everything is in place , life is beautiful above all you do not have a nagging feeling that something is missing I have left something, I need to tend something ..Then You are at peace .
 I am not sure how many people are lucky to feel this constantly in their lives.. I know I do not .I have periods when I feel happy , that is when I think everything is going to be fine.. again here point is my perspective of when I think All is Well. It depends on what my priorities are . What is of out-most importance to me might not even remotely matter to other. So Its all perspective.

According to me to feel happy we need to change this perspective we need to see things in a broader view. According to me Health might be most important thing , and Why did I have this is because I see health issues in my family . My mom is diabetic and is now suffering from its complications like Nephropathy /High BP/ODEMA .list is really long . I have seen my brother getting diabetics at an age of 25.. I see all my uncles and all suffering from one ailment or other. So my circumstances/ what i have seen/ pain I have felt seeing Mom in pain has made my perspective what It is today.
Now for someone , who has never seen an illness as mundane as fever in his/her family , for them maybe health might not be such a big issue ..if someone is not able to go to college due to lack of Money or even cannot get treatment/save someone because of financial issues, for them Money is the biggest concern , they will think we will/can be happy once we have money

So this perspective or opinion which we form base don our circumstances is very very personal >And the fact that each of us will have our share of issues/concerns/problems while we are in this world is also true,.. after all this is the Journey we call life. Think of it in terms of food.. Will you like your aallo-tikki - if it does not have any salt/Masala.. what good is that. Similarly Life without a few what ifs/buts /and worries will be boring

What God want us to do is get through each phase and learn from the experience. Though I am saying it but I fail to understand that learning we will have by seeing family member's sick seeing them in pain .. or what learning will a child of Somalia have.. that you might need to beg for food or stare to death.I am still trying to figure these things ..Why Do we have so much sufferings for some people .. What good can a starving child do/bring to this life experience.

Sometimes I feel , My Mom being sick has all demerits She an independent women had to leave her job as teaching(which she loves) and come to Bangalore due to Health issues, as Arunachal does not have advanced medical facilities, My parents have to be always after being together for almost 30 years due to her health as my papa cannot leave his job . he has one more year for retirement. I see her getting bored at home with nothing to do as she faces language issues in South.But sometimes I feel , maybe her being sick brought us all together as a family . We now share each and everything. All of Us siblings are also more close then ever. But this could have been achieved by some easier means also right :) like talking/spending time etc. But its difficult to see someone you love suffer

I see my bro suffering as this age.. reason we give is he was overweight to make ourselves happy that is by blaming something  we could have controlled so that we don't feel totally helpless ..But then you can see poeple heavily overweight and still do not have any issue not even high cholesterol But then to counter this  Sugar is something of a manageable disease, we can manage it properly if we set our mind to it and can lead a perfectly normal life with this.. What About young children who get cancer at very young age, or young people who get heart attack without any warnings So its again all what we make ourselves believe, can we take charge and . meet the issue head-on or do we want to die in self pity. But thinking brave and not comparing ourselves to someone better off then us is a huge task .Its not as easy as saying yes you need to look at the bright side.

So although I can say OK try to be happy, but how to do that is something I am learning yet..

Keep you posted f I get the answer.. But I think this is one of the toughest trail I have set myself on..