Thursday, July 31, 2014

Temple Run Overdose


Have you played Temple Run? Have you ever imagined yourself in place of that man in temple run? If you haven’t here is my tale of terror but with a twist :P Temple Run at Angkor Wat!
On the lazy dawn of July 28th, when my eyes just refused to open, when I slept like a baby in my blanket, and the rain poured with a sweet melody against my window pane, my phone buzzed and decided the fate of my coming week. I picked my phone and stared at the bright screen with my still sleepy eyes but woke up with a jolt after reading the message there. “Open your door and let the game begin!” was the message flashing on my screen. I opened my door to find an old scroll with a rather strange message in it.



I knew the answer instantly – Angkor Wat. But what did the scroll have to do with me. About an hour later I got another message “Come to the ruins or your friend will vanish in the fabled jungles with no trace”. But which friend? And why Cambodia! I still did not believe the message. After another hour I got a new multimedia message with a picture of my friend Fatima and I figured out the whole thing!
I am Archaeo – Detective Vaisakhi Mishra and Fatima is my partner in crime. We had recently been on an adventure spree, which was more like working endlessly and last month had caught a gang of thieves trying to steal an old manuscript from Peru’s National Museum. Fatima had then left for Cambodia in search of a new mission, but had been out of contact since 2 days now. Somehow all this was related, I was sure of that. With no delay I started planning for my trip to Cambodia. But wait! Got yet another message – “48 hours, that is all you have.” I panicked and was lost completely! Didn’t know what to do where to search, how to reach Cambodia and go to Angkor and how to get by partner back! That is when my Mom pitched in with her new world wide web discovery – Skyscanner.co.in! Yes detectives need their super awesome Moms during crisis!
Skyscanner – What a savior! Not only did it give me flight information and book tickets for me in no time, it also helped me find a car for rent and a good affordable hotel for a week. Detectives don’t earn much, but luckily Skyscanner got it all for me and my Mom within a lakh. Didn’t know how much time it would take me to find Fati but had to believe my guts right? So 1 week it was.

Skyscanner Help : 











As soon as I reached Siem Reap, Cambodia I had my taxi waiting for me, but not without a dark surprise! How I had obsessed over this ancient province! Not even in my wildest dreams had I imagined my first trip to Cambodia would be like this! Anyways the Taxi Driver gave me another note!  -


It had my heart beating fast. Anyone standing next to me could have heard it and my Mom did. I was in no shape of talking to anyone, so my mom did all the talking and we finally reached the hotel. Freshened up and left for Angkor right away. Before we reached our destination I got another message – “Welcome to the dark realms of Angkor and let go of all your fears, for in darkness you will find solace, in ruins you will find friends!” Yes I too was puzzled with this message! But not for long. As soon as I reached the Angkor Archaeological Park Entrance I got the biggest shock of the year! Amrit and Fatima were standing there, all in smiles!!! And my face – I would have cried cause of anger, I swear! And to add to my misery my mom started laughing too! Apparently it was their plan to draw me out of my work den and finally enjoy my work in real sense. They knew how much I wanted to visit Angkor and so on the eve of friendship day they decided to give me this weird gift! Huh friends I tell you :/
Anyways post that day, I had the time of my life in Cambodia – Dreams met reality, Obsession satiated! What more would you need! But wondering how I managed to plan out my rest of the week that I had kept for finding my not so kidnapped friend? Skyscanner again! (No brownie points for guessing this :P) 



Since I had spent just 80 thousand of my budget in travelling for this epic fail quest of mine I decided to use the rest to explore the following places. Taxi in 20k thanks to Skyscanner again :D Post cards from each site for you guys :D















Oh, did I mention food! Cambodia gives you a taste of spices very close to our Indian cuisine. So people who are scared of travelling cause of food issues, do not worry Cambodia knows how to treat its guests!

It is said unplanned and sudden trips are the best. Not that the start of this trip was anywhere close to "best" but yes the trip in it self was a memorable one. And thanks to the new travel wizard in town - Skyscanner end minute planning didn't spoil much,

P.S. - This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at BlogAdda.com

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weird Black Desires

The mysterious shroud of a colour bold
The alluring darkness hiding tales untold
The shade of evil but also of heroes
The tempting hue of space’s mythical doors

The moon, the stars all shine bright
But not without the black enhancing their light
Jasmines, empty road and sparkling silver sea
Wouldn’t be romantic if black hadn’t been

Black is power, Black is might
Black is beautiful but also is fright
It burns down the pride of crime like fire
But also portrays splendor of insatiable desire

Amalgamation of all the colours and none lack
Has not been a colour deep like BLACK

Black is the colour of evil, but it is also the colour of desire mystery and elegance. For now let us talk about desire. What in black would you want to own. Car, Dress, Guitar maybe even a horse? Is that is, does the list end there? Well for me it doesn’t. Here are five, relatively weird things I wuld want to have one day, if I can.


1.    Black Pup – Those adorable eyes, the innocence and then the faithful follow you where ever you go” nature. How can one not like dogs!! But unfortunately people have preferences there too. Whites, pugs and poodles. What about the cute black ones, are they not the same? I would love to have a cute black pup, which would grow into a huge faithful friend of mine one day.


2.   Black Victorian gown – Did I ever mention I love the Victorian era dresses and architecture? Oh how I would love to attend a Gothic Victorian themed wedding in a black evening gown! Victorian era itself stands for power and wisdom and with that if we have black adding to its glory, it will speak of elegance and power as well! Why shy out, be bold and beautiful with black always.



3.   Black Robes, Quills and Wand – Didn’t you guys get the reference here! HARRY POTTER it is. I can never let go of my Potterhead alter ego. If only I could go to Hogwarts for my education, roam around in those black robes, sit in the dimly lit room and write my poems in an old parchment with a black quill and black ink. Yes I want all of that; if not Hogwarts atleast the rest of the black wish list items for the make believe dream of this Potterhead.


4.   Black Boards – Since I went into education from my book world this is another thing I want! Yes Black, not green not white not even plasma TV but black boards! Remember when we were kids, and we played with chalks, stole chalks from school and pretended to use them on anything black at home and be teachers ourselves. I believe it was the black making the colours draw our attention and not the dusty chalks. The same doesn’t happen with green boards or white boards. When I was in 10th our school decided to get plasma TV and presentation format for kids instead of black boards and I totally hated it. My thought then was “Where will the monitors write quote of the day and lecture info”. Lame but it got me worried. I wish I could get a lot of black boards and slates for kids and let them have fun with education.

5.   Black Smudge Free Charcoal sticks – I love sketching as much as I love writing and my favourite tool Black Charcoal Sticks. But the ones we get in market smudge. So 
I wish, I wish, I had a lot of Sticks
       Of charcoal dark and black
              That draw my thoughts and dreams
                     But not let them fade or smudge
                           And be my words to world one day!




All things in black have their own appeal, and for me these have special places. What in this world makes you say “Does it come in black” or “WhatTheBlack”. Do Let me know!

P.S. This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zest

A life lost in the mundane bivouac of day to day tensions, jobs, competitions and duties is a life wasted. We all want to pump up our lives, fill it with crazy fun, silly happiness, carefree days; but end up saying ‘too tied up with work to think of anything else, all we can do is dream.’ But why? Someone said don’t fill your life with dreams but memories and experiences. Do we want our memories to be boring always? Lately I too have been caught up with the mundane insanity we tag as busy life these days. But being the kind of person I am, I have been using every way to break the spell and zest up my life.  Not too loud and crazy to term them, but five simple things that zest up my boring work to home-home to work life.


1.    Music – Music is everywhere all we need to do is listen. Every time I feel low, worked yp or am irritated I start radio or my playlist. If neither is available, I start singing to myself. Music not only calms me down it gives me energy to go do what I want to do and challenge the work that has been eating my patience. Simple things can give us great satisfaction and happiness and for me music is that. From Niladri Kumar’s Sitar to the piano tracks, every note of music makes me feel alive.


2.   My Nieces and small kids – Aren’t the adorable!! Kids – We always look at them and wonder, lucky them no worries of life have touched them yet. But why not become kids and let go of all your qualms at times! My nieces bring a huge smile to my face always. Their innocent talks and cheerful nature makes my day. And my neighbors’ kids – returning after a 9 hour shift and 4 hours travel and she calls out your name and starts jumping with glee, you are bound to let go of the tiredness right?



3.   Sports! – Oh I have no issues in being the zombie for a month if it is for Football. I cheer my favourite teams like crazy. Shout and dance at the sleepy midnight when my favourite team scores a goal or wins a match. And stream Tennis matches everywhere and anywhere cause Federer is worth it! Yes I am a sports fanatic and am glad I am that ways cause it makes me zesty! :P


4.   The moon, the winds and empty road! –Being the nocturnal creature that I am, it is not difficult to guess moon makes me happy. Yes it might be silly but who said silly things can’t make you happy. Just take a stroll in an empty lane, that has jasmine flowers smiling here and there, under the silver full moon and tell me you won’t be contended? Go for a long drive on a full moon night and have tea and at some dhaba at 3 o clock in the night. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Or just sleep on the terrace, or window bay or in your lawn and stare at the moonlight sky full of stars! It is happiness at its best! Remember Zindagi Milegi Na Dubara? If you don’t believe me listen to what Katrina says to Hrittik!


5.   Rain – Be it the light drizzle or the heavy pour, rain washes away the dust of worries and rejuvenates our soul for sure. To be drenched in happiness one has to find the music in the thunders, smiles in the lightning and love in the showers. Nope I am not a romantic, yet I am not untouched by the magic of rain, the Petichor and the freshness.
Kuch Paigamon sang aata hai sawaan
Kushk aangan ko mehkata hai saawan
Gulmohar ke bag ko sajata hai saawan
Bechan mann ko behelata hai saawan!

Loud, Adventurous, Thrilling, Exciting - Zest has a different definition for all I guess, but for me it is in these things cause all they lift my mood and spirit....:)


P.S. - This post is a part of the Zest Up Your Life #zestupyourlife activity in association with TATA MOTORS ZEST and BlogAdda.com

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Haze and Fragrance of Durga Puja


Amidst the deafening bells and drums
These is a scent that sets the calm
The conch shells are blown loud in praise
But peace dwells in the smoky haze
The divine aura does spread all around
But with the burnt smell and not the sound
The festivity is on its peak
And I stand here drifting deep
In the magic created by the traditional incense
Lemony, light, burning wood; difficult to define this fragrance!


Clueless of what I was just talking about? It is always difficult to describe wind, touch and smell but didn’t realize how difficult that was till now. So instead of talking directly about the divine scent that I was trying to describe, and failed pretty bad I guess, let me give you the background so that you guys can relate.
Durga Pooja is the biggest and most important festival of West Bengal; this is something everyone knows. But did you know that it is also the most important festival of Orissa! Orissa and Assam being a part of Bengal in the past have similar culture to that of West Bengal and when we talk of Durga Pooja I can never let Cuttack out of it. Visiting Kolkata is a huge deal during this festival but so is visiting Cuttack.

Durga Pooja, being the extravagant event that it is, is celebrated in every nook and corner of these cities in sarbojanin pandals. The Mantras and hawans set the religious atmosphere in the entire city but with these is the abundance of flowers offered to Ma Durga Ma Sraswati Ma Lakshmi Kartikeya and Ganesha. Everywhere you go you are accompanied by the sweet smell of roses and jasmines. Then you have people who flock at these pandals to celebrate this auspicious week, all decked up and have to say drenched in varieties of perfumes. No pandal of Durga Puja would be complete without the bhog and the aroma of the freshly cooked Khichdi and kheer! Overpowering right? But what if there was a smell that could drown all these and sustain and rule your minds? As a kid I used to go on Pandal hoping with my family and loved the aroma that lingered on the entire city, but it was my last visit to my home town that made me realize what the aroma actually was.

When I last visited Cuttack during Durga Puja, it wasn’t the flowers that hit my senses. It was a sweet, very faint, but somehow strong – lemony, mixed with sandalwood scent, a tinge of pine maybe, a very evident burnt wood smell that occupied the smell sense sector of my brain. It was the smell of what we call “Jhuna” in Oriya and “Dhunno” in Bengoli aka Frankincense or Dammar. People have heard about the Dhuan Dance performed during Durga Puja but people hardly know about the key ingredient that makes the dhuan a healthy feel good smoke. Frankincense is one of the five key “arpans” done to goddess Durga and in every prayer or aarti of hers, and the dhuan is used to pray to her. But at the Chandi Durga Pandal of Cuttack this godly resin – Frankincense, slowly burns on burning charcoal, throughout the day, making the whole area a place where you could come and spend the whole day without any qualms and you would not want to leave.  Scientifically these resins calm our minds and lower our BP. Wouldn’t you want to let go of all your troubles always? Frankincense is often imported from the Arabian countries else Dammar of the Sal trees, which is found in abundance, is used for the dhuan. Though Frankincense is stronger in terms of fragrance, Dammar is powerful enough to drown the scent of the flowers and fill your senses.





To experience something ethereal you don't always have to travel to exotic places. My trips to Orissa always turn out to be memorable specially during the Pooja time. I wait year long just for Durga Pooja, for the festivities and the ambiance and the spiritual power, but somewhere I feel the essence of all this is in the blur of the dhuan and the scent of the divine. That is what sets Durga Pooja apart from every other festival. Wish someone would come up with some ideas of letting us rejoice in the fragrance of Frankincense every day, let go of all tensions, sadness, depression. But till then this year long wait is worth it! Can’t it be September already! Are you guys planning to attend Durga Pooja in your localities? Do they also use Frankincense or Dammar? Do you think any other scent trumps this fragrance? Let me know in your comments : )


P.S. - This post has been written for the #InspireAFragrance contest by Indiblogger and Godrej Aer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Black Is Beautiful!

Black is beautiful, Black’s mysterious!

Everything in black has its own appeal. From Men in Black to Women in black, from black eyes to glossy black hair, from black sedans to the Black Pearl – Everything in black in bound to turn your attention towards it. No wonder even beauties like Katrina Kaif and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had to sport the black to draw attention to the diamonds they were flaunting. Don’t men in black suits and ties make your heart flutter? Why does Christian Bale ask for everything in black? Black is the colour of most number of cellphone in the world. Ever wondered why? Don’t most of us get attracted to shows with black or monochrome posters? Guess not because everybody loves black! Personally I love the dark and the secretive stuff and I subconsciously I relate black to it. Often I wonder how can people call black boring and mundane? Anyways thinking about Black there are five things that I would definitely want to own, five things completely in black:


1.    A black Ferrari La Ferrari – Someone said “Dream big and grand, because they don’t cost you anything. And dream only then you can think of achieving it!” Damn straight. So now I dream of Ferrari ki Sawari and in style in black.


2.   Wardrobe in Black – Now if I do drive a black Ferrari, my wardrobe has to be a fit for the classy wheels. Oh! How would I love a section of my wardrobe with sharp and awesome black gowns and dresses! Every time I used to watch Rendezvous with Simi Garewal I thought she had defined her style in white, I would do that too just with Black though.
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3.   All Black Shoe line - Perfect Wardrobe requires the perfect matched shoes too and no exaggeration here but even now I wear shoes and sandals only in black. So I would want a whole range of shoes, heels and wedges that are black, glossy or matt but black means beautiful!


4.   Black iPhone 5S – Do I need to tell you why iPhone 5S? The camera the LED screen, the music quality, all I really want to ask does it come in black? Oh Yes It Does and I totally need it. Ever since I clicked some pics with my sister in law’s iPhone 5S all I have wanted is one of this bitten apples in my hands!


5.   Arkham Knight – What a girl can’t be a DC comics fan? I am a big time X-MEN and Batman Fanatic but no matter how much I would love to have a secret Bat cave of mine and a bat mobile I would ask only for what I can get – An Arkham Batman miniature figure.

Not being too greedy now am I? Black is also synonymous to classy so my desire list had to match it! If you had to choose five things in black for yourself what would it be?
I would let Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman help you decide if you are confused!


P.S. This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com.