The Story of Our Not-So-Ideal Family Vacation!

After taking a long break and lazing around in the monsoon sun (yes, monsoon doesn't bring rain here in Rajasthan, just exclusive monsoon sunshine), I have a great deal to share with you. Especially about the vacation, I went on recently with my family. 

With our house in making and several other responsibilities, how we convinced my father to agree for this vacation, I have no idea. Thankful to my mother's friend in Sangli, Maharashtra, who's daughter's wedding invitation caused us to think about taking this extended vacation of 7 days in total.

When my father showed the slightest signs of approval, without further ado, I booked the plane tickets for our journey to Pune from Jaipur for the 7th of July and our return tickets by train from Mumbai to Jodhpur on 13th of July.

Day 1:

After traveling from Jodhpur to Jaipur via car and then boarded our plane to Pune, i.e., Air Asia, an International Airline. What was different about Air Asia? There were posters of superstar Rajnikanth all over it for the promotion of his latest film, Kabali. Quite a sight, I must say. The new era of marketing and promotion is here!

I took several pictures from the window seat that I luckily had. The sky changed in every few minutes. Here are some of the shots I managed to capture of the wonderful view:

Moving on, we reached Pune in an hour and a half. We hired a car for the rest of our travels, an Innova, and I slept quite comfortably in the backseat while my mother, elder brother and younger sister all sat, chatting on the middle seat and my father, with the driver on the front seat. It took us a lot longer than usual to reach Sangli because of the constant downpour. We all went to sleep as soon as we reached our destination and changed into comfortable clothes.

Day 2:

The next day was packed. We had to attend the wedding functions and they were wonderful. My mother has some truly lovely friends. Those ladies were so affectionate towards my mother and welcomed us so heartily even when they were busy.

The wedding reception was amazing. It was monsoon themed. The stage backdrop was potted plants with a mechanism that looks like it was raining because I could see the water running. The ceiling was decorated with 400 upturned umbrellas and the lighting kept changing to blue and pink and the music, Ah, the music. My favorite part. There was a band playing the beautiful Bollywood compositions back to back and the piano! The grand white piano. I just couldn't take my eyes off it. I'll share the video of the same on my Instagram soon.

Apparently, my brother doesn't like being captured.
The best part though wasn't the decoration, but the fact that the food items were restricted to 16 in total. Less in number, but amazing in taste and quality. Indian weddings are known for their pomp and show, their extravagance, but this one, this wedding in Sangli was the first one to keep the number of delicacies served to 16 which goes easily up to 80-100 in any big fat Indian wedding. Times are changing and so will the society, one wedding at a time.

Now, while in Sangli, we had the afternoon to ourselves so we visited the two popular Ganesha Temples situated there. The weather was amazing, a slight drizzle, enjoyable and the greenery. Sangli is, by far, the greenest city I've visited. The population is less, the weather is wonderful, greenery everywhere and more importantly, the people are kind and affable. A gem of a town, I must say. One of the pictures that I took:

An unedited wonder, is it not?

Some beautiful captures from my elder brother, Raghav, who loves capturing the world in his own unique way:

Day 3:

Leaving Sangli, we headed to Mahabaleshwar, a popular hill station, via car, but the rain was heavy, it took away half of the day. We visited a few beautiful tourist points over there, including a famous temple that has a Shivling in the shape of a Rudraksha that emerged out of the ground itself and there are five holes in the Rudraksha that depict the five rivers that emerged the same time when the Shivling appeared. It is also said that the water in those holes comes from these rivers and never empties or dries. I saw that Shivling, but it is fairly easy to conjure up a false but exciting tale. Here's a picture of the aisle just outside the gate of the temple taken, of course, by none other than my brother:

We ate at Mapro, an amazing restaurant in Panchgani, swarming with people. Here a picture of the wishing well:

The heavy downpour made it impossible to explore Mahabaleshwar any further, so last minute changes in the plan and we headed, in the evening, to our next destination, Alibaug, a coastal town. We reached Alibaug in the dead of the night and settled at the first hotel we saw as the plan had changed midway and it turned out to be cozy. We were snug as a bug in a rug!

Day 4:

We checked out from the hotel in the morning to visit the Alibaug Beach. It was clean, no crazy crowd, vast and the weather was amazing. Cool winds blowing, but not too hard. We had loads of fun over there and my brother took this amazing picture:

We rode a carriage that took us to the far end of the beach and back. We left when the first shower hit. Now this was supposed to be our day in Lonavala, so we headed there right after lunch. On the way, we saw various scenic miracles and took several pictures.

The rain made it impossible for us to head straight for Lonavala. The way was blocked when we were just 2 kilometers away from entering Lonavala and we had to take a detour which resulted in the loss of an hour. Now the hotel that we were supposed to go to was situated in such a place that after reaching almost as close as we were to Lonavala when trouble came that the way was closed for tourists because of only God knows what. The rain was the root cause, of course. Now we took a detour to our second option and headed to Hotel Lonavala and in the way came the first and India's only wax museum. Art has so many forms, and not one fails to bewitch me. I created a video compilation of a few statues which you can watch on my Instagram.

Now, Lonavala would have been a lot more fun if we hadn't got stuck in traffic on its narrow roads and top it off by the heavy downpour. So as we retired in the evening to our cozy rooms after a long walk, a little Chikki (Famous sweets) shopping and eating to our fill, we dozed off instantly.

Day 5:

The next day, we headed out early to catch up on the few places we couldn't visit the other day and found an absolutely beautiful spot that now easily takes a few hundred MBs on my iPhone (Yeah, I got an iPhone when my Xperia Z1 was sacrificed to my carelessness! *Sobs*).
Here are a few pictures from that spot:

We saw the Bushi Dam and a few other spots in the close vicinity, a few hundred waterfalls and a few brave-hearts bathing in the same. We checked out a ceramic shop and I could only admire the perfection and beauty of those creations as we already had bundles of luggage to carry back on our train journey back home. We did take a few mugs, though. :D

Around half past twelve, we arrived at Imagica, a popular amusement park, situated at an hour and a quarter's distance from Mumbai. The park has three variations, a theme park, a snow park and a water park. It was way better than I had imagined. Creatively constructed, fun for all ages. Since it rained that day too, the outdoor rides were closed for a while, but the indoor rides were pretty great as well, and my mother agrees. We went to the theme park and the snow park. 

The theme park was amazing, it had so much to offer that we lost track of time. You certainly cannot explore it in one day if you don't arrive as soon as the gates are opened. The structures, the rides, the colours, you just can't help admiring it. 

So the first ride was Deep Space, an indoor roller coaster. Of course, I didn't know that when I excitedly heard myself say, 'I'll do it!'. Yes, I'm afraid, I'm afraid of heights and roller coasters and other scary rides and I was kind of thankful that the outdoor rides were closed because I was scared that my sister would drag me along to ride Nitro, the outdoor, scary, roller coaster.

But, I did it anyway. My sister motivated me and my brother mocked. So you know, mixed effect. We were told to take off our spectacles before we got on the ride which reduced the fun, but I have to say, I screamed and I enjoyed it. It was short, though. You can check it out on Google.

After this, we had lunch and then the other Indoor rides after going to the Snowpark. Honestly, I prefer Jaipur's Snow planet over the Imagica one because I had more fun there. Yes, this one's larger and has more rides, but we only spent half an hour in this one and a full hour in Jaipur one.

The Armada!
I'm almost there, Rapunzel!
This pretty Waterfall!

I loved the ride 'Mr. India' which was based on a popular Bollywood movie, Mr. India. We took pictures, had fun and set out to Mumbai at around 6:30 in the evening.

Stuck in the traffic, we arrived at Mumbai at my relative's place at around 10:00 p.m. or probably even later. I slept all the way! 

Day 6:

The weather was nice, it rained but softly. The day was marked for shopping and that we did. My sister and I went to Linking Road, while my mother, father, and brother chose to visit the mall, Inorbit. We met at the mall, later in the day at 7 and browsed and shopped a little more, ate and returned home. 

Day 7:

The next day, we were all packed and ready to leave by 11. We reached the Bandra Terminal just in time, thanks to traffic, of course. The journey was, well, alright. Our co-passengers were three elderly people, one couple and a man. The old man and his wife chatted with us while the third man just slept the whole way. The old man had partial paralysis. Just yesterday, my father told me to tweet to the railway minister that every coach should have a digital screen that shows the upcoming station, the time of arrival and the time of the halt in order to reduce the worries of the elderly, the physically challenged and the others. Would you assist me in the same? 

My brother took this picture at one of the stops:

We reached home at 7 in the morning and finally, I took a deep breath. There's nothing more exhilarating than returning home after a long journey, is there?

This yatra might not be ideal for you, but within my definition of ideal, it fits perfectly. We were all together, we created memories and we had the time of our lives, what else matters?

Did you enjoy reading? Let me know in the comments and do share what you've been up to all this while! I have another travel story to share and hopefully, I will.

Want to read another of my travel escapades? Here's one: Travel Story: Escapade in Mumbai!

Until next time,
Be kind to one another.
Bye Bye! :)

Importance of Growth and Development Of Your Child

In this furiously advancing age of technology, health is the being ignored more than Internet Explorer. Kids spend more time playing with their advanced tech toys like iPads or mobile phones then the swing in the park, which apparently used to be the idea of fun, a little while back. With minimal physical activity and bags of Cheetos in their laps, the only thing the children of this age are getting good at is how to expertly gain weight at the age of eight.

This has been the cause of worry lines on the faces of most of the parents. Due to lack of the right intake of necessary nutrients, exercise and sometimes hormonal disturbances, the growth spurt that was supposed to be hitting the child decides to take a backtrack. To achieve the right height and weight as per the age, the child has to be provided with a balanced healthy diet as well as plenty of physical activity.

The lost growth not only affects the child's physical form but also traumatizes them mentally. Comparing themselves with their peers and often getting bullied for their appearance, these children face far more challenges than they are capable of and hence this becomes a leading cause of depression or a subdued personality..

Ages 3-9 is the crucial growth period for the children, if not given proper proteins and nutrients in this period, often leads to an undernourished body which invites lots of other diseases. To prevent the same at an early age, awareness in both parents and children has to be spread and taught.

Undernourishment occurs when the person doesn't eat enough nutrition to cover their needs for energy and growth. It often leads to muscle weakness, weightless and fatigue.

A good physique is the key to confidence and gives an impactful presence to the person, opening several doors of opportunities. The children should be made of aware of this so that they themselves do all that is possible to enhance their growth

In this advanced age, parents can easily educate themselves about the required nutritional intake of their child. Regular checkups with a pediatrician will help to identify any irregularity at an early stage. Parents should encourage their children to engage in sports and help them choose one of the sports they enjoy and develop the same over time. A habit inculcated at an early age stays for a lifetime, so I've heard and experienced. This practice is important for both the mental and physical health of the child since a deep insecurity developed at an early age leads to nothing but dissatisfaction and insecurity for the whole life, increased manifold.


Pediatricians say that "3-9 years is a critical growth phase for children. However, inadequate growth can sometimes happen due to fussy eating, illness or for several other possible reasons. Growth lost in early childhood requires specialized nutrition in order to catch up, but parents must make sure that adequate nutrition is provided so that catch-up growth happens".

A child falling behind on growth requires a higher dosage of nutrients than normal to catch up on the lost growth and development. Horlicks has introduced a new health supplement, Horlicks Growth+, that has all the required high-quality necessary nutritions that are required by a child to catch up on the lost growth and development faster. Designed and recommended by international pediatric experts this drink is clinically proven to show visible growth in 6 months in children in the age group of 3-9 years who are lagging behind  in achieving the right height and weight.
You can read more about it here: Horlicks Growth+ 

"We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the foundation of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made and his senses are being developed. 
To him, we cannot answer 'Tomorrow'. His name is 'Today'." 

~Gabriela Mistral, 1948

What, in your opinion, is the importance for a child to catch up on lost growth?
Share your view in the comment box below!

Until Next Time, 
Be kind to one another!
Bye Bye! :)

Break the 'Fairness' Stereotype with Banjara's Proud Of My Colour Campaign

Banjara to break the 'fairness' stereotype with its bold new campaign
~A campaign against colour bias~

The Indian obsession with fair skin dates back to several centuries. The innate implication was that if you have fair skin, you are somewhat superior to others. The quest for fair skin and the negative bias to dark skin happens right from birth and reaches its peak during the marriageable age. Girls are told that they will not get a good husband if they are dark or asked to try for various remedies to make their skin fair.

Taking a stance against the perception “fair skin is only beautiful”, Banjara’s; a natural cosmetic brand conceptualized and supports social movement #Proud of My Color. The campaign aims to change the perception that fair skin does not mean beauty and that the focus of skin products should be on healthy skin and not skin lightening. Along with the launch of the campaign Banjara also highlighted the benefits of their newly launched skin wellness range ‘Skin Positive’.

As a cursor to Proud of My Color, a short film was created that focused on how most often the pressure to be “fairer” began at home. The film captured the concerns and apprehensions that older family members have about skin colour, especially when it comes to their daughter’s marriage. The film till date has garnered 3 million views and continues to attract attention.

Commenting on the communication objective, Ramesh Vishwanathan, Managing Director, Banjara’s said, “We wanted to change the perception that beauty is beyond fair skin. A woman should feel gorgeous in her natural skin color. The focus of skin products should be on making the skin quality and making it healthy and not skin lightening. The highlight of these short films is to educate people to get over their unhealthy obsession about fairness.”

Proud of My Color, has built a Facebook community of over 2 lakhs and has received support by celebrities like Padma Lakshmi, Actor & Writer; Renuka Shahane, Actor; Radhika Nair, Model; Nidhi Sunil, Model; Jane De Suza, Author to name a few.  

Links to the Facebook Page

About Banjara’s
Banjara’s brings a touch of nature in people’s life to make them look and feel beautiful with the best effective hair and skin care products. Banjara’s products are available across 60000 outlets all over south India and prominent modern trade chains as well as e-commerce sites. From a humble beginning of just 6 different herbal beauty powders the portfolio is now 60 products strong. Banjara’s is a sponsor of ‘Proud of my colour’ movement and endeavors to launch products and campaigns with focus on healthy skin and not skin lightening.

About Proud of my Colour
Proud of My Colour is a crowd-sourced, volunteer led movement that provides a platform to celebrate the inspirational stories of people who have not allowed the colour of their skin or existing bias against it to affect their lives.. Proud of My Colour, has built a community of about 2 lakhs+ supporters and has received support by celebrities like Padma Lakshmi, Actor & Writer; Renuka Shahane, Actor; Radhika Nair, Model; Nidhi Sunil, Model; Jane De Suza, Author etc.

Do you support the Right to Die?

Do You Support The Right To Die?

Euthanasia means the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

In a recent conversation that I had with my teacher, here's what I had to say: 

Death isn't cruel. Sometimes, it's rather peaceful.
For someone suffering, death is the only medicine. Would you call it cruel? It's the way it chooses to arrive that is cruel.


The most obvious question:

Only for the one who is relieved. What about the related people?

The related people thank the stars for this help that they didn't have to do themselves. At least someone, the one who truly cared to see them relieved. Why don't they make it legal? Is it really wrong? I wonder.

I think it's rather selfish of related people to think that their dear one should stay as long as they can even though they cannot perform the basic functions. They depend on you for everything and can't do a single thing themselves. Half of the body is wrecked, all slaughtered just in order to keep that heart beating. Is it really worth it?

I've been to the Intensive Surgical Unit of a Hospital myself, as a patient though not in the least bit as horrific a condition as the people I saw there. I would give anything to remove that image from my mind, but I can't. I can't and it hurts to know that their related ones don't see what they're going through.

I don't say that you should give up even when there's a chance of betterment but to keep someone suffering, to prolong that period just in order to keep them close knowing that sooner or later they will go away, I don't think it's justified.

If that person is in such pain and suffering that they can't talk, can't tell you what they want when they want it, is it really right for you to decide that they should stay just so that you could have some more moments with them, to see them move their eyelids or the tiny little finger in order to convey to you that they are not dead, yet?

What would you do?

Would you choose they stay and keep battling with life, take 4 hours to muster up the energy to move that tiny finger?

Would that make you any happier if they died themselves, in the end, while working up their every last breath to make sure you knew they were there?

Why do you think it's not legal in India?

For someone unaware and extremely patriotic would immediately point out that foreigners don't love their people as much as we do, I'd like to know what makes India not legalise a practice that ends up working rather more effectively in giving peace to the people they love more than Havans they perform in their name after their demise?

Share your thoughts in the comments below and be humble in stating your point.

Until next time,
Be kind to one another! 
Bye bye! :)

Haiku: Wildlife

Haiku: Wildlife


flourished the wildlife
a habitat camouflaged
from eyes of vultures

A Haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five; traditionally evoking images of the natural world.

Also read: Haiku: After the Sunset

Share your thoughts in the comment box below! :)

Until next time,
Be kind to one another!
Bye bye! :)