Har_ki_Pauri,_holy circuit of Hindu pilgrimage centers Haridwar

Any worthwhile itinerary for India cannot ignore the holy circuit of Hindu pilgrimage centers Haridwar and Rishikesh.

These are the twin cities in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand (formerly Uttar Pradesh) that you are a must-visit. They hold historical importance in Hindu culture and are just a 5 hours drive from New Delhi. This makes it easy to fit them in any other itinerary that you have.

Why are Haridwar and Rishikesh ideal places in the holy circuit of Hindu pilgrimage centers?

Haridwar is a religious city with many places of historical importance to Hinduism. On the other hand, Rishikesh, which is a short distance away, is a spiritual city.

Places of Interest in Haridwar

A Dip in the Holy GangesEvening_prayers_at_Har-Ki-Pairi_Ghat_in_Haridwar

The name ‘Haridwar’ means Gateway to Heaven. Therefore, taking a holy Dip along the Ghats on River Ganges and is topmost in the minds of all Hindus.

It has a mythological significance of washing away all the sins and leads you to a heavenly path in the after-life! Furthermore, it is also famous for the Kumbha Mela, which is held here every 12 years. This event itself draws a crowd of over a million!

Evening Prayer or Aarti at the Har Ki Pauri

holy circuit of Hindu pilgrimage centers Haridwar Evening_aarti_at_Har-ki-pauri,_HaridwarYour visit to the Ghats won’t be complete unless you follow it up with attending the evening prayer around the sunset. Besides this, the Ganga Aarti at the Brahmakund Ghat is bound to leave a lifelong imprint on your mind.

The sound of hymns, bells, gongs, and elaborate chanting creates a truly mesmerizing atmosphere. Thereafter, the visitors and devotees alike float the offerings of diyas and flowers to the Ganges river and pray for peace & prosperity for all.

The Ganga Aarti is certainly a must-do experience you should not miss at Haridwar.

Other Attractions Around the Ghats

For the tourist in you, there is plenty to explore.

You will find many quaint markets, bazaars, hotels, and restaurants within walking distance near the Ghats.

The Holy Temples near Haridwar

Mansa Devi TempleMansa_Devi_Temple,_holy circuit of Hindu pilgrimage centers Haridwar

This is an ancient temple atop Bilwa Parvat, a small hill nearby. This is supposed to be the abode of Goddess Mansa Devi, the deity who helps you accomplish the desires.

You can reach it by a trek or by a cable car, which incidentally, is always crowded! Once on top, you get a beautiful overview of Haridwar and the surrounding valley.

Chandi Devi Temple

You will love a 3 km trek to this temple located on the top of the hill called Neel Parvat. Besides, there is also a ropeway to reach to the top.

Legend has it that the goddess Chandi killed two demons Kings Nishumbha and Shumbha here.

Other Important Temples in Haridwar

You can easily spend some time temple-hopping as there are many temples to see and absorb the Hindu culture. Among these, the bigger ones like the Maya Devi Temple and Bharat Mata Mandir will surely interest you.

Hindu Family History Registers of Haridwar

The Pundits (Priests) here maintain the family history of many Hindu families. What is surprising is the fact that you can trace back these family lineages for more than seven generations! These priests have maintained these records through centuries, which is one of the most unique things that you will see anywhere!

Foodies Treat at Haridwar

Being a religious town you can get only vegetarian food at Haridwar. However, don’t let that stop the foodie in you!

There are many small shops selling street food, often with no signboards. But you will find some very authentic popular dishes here. Among them, you will love things like authentic Kachori with Sabji, Aloo Puri, Samosa, Jalebi, and sweets.

Some famous names among these shops are Kashyap Kachori Bhandar, Pandit Sevaram Sharma Doodh Wale, and Mohan Ji Puri Wale.

All about Rishikesh Along the Holy Circuit of Hindu Pilgrimage Centers

Rishikesh laxman jhoolaThe distance between Haridwar and Rishikesh is just 20 Km. What makes Rishikesh enchanting is the fact that the Ganges river is cleaner here and it is a hub of many water sport activities too, other than just the religious places. There are many ashrams where you can learn meditation and Yoga.

Places to visit in Rishikesh and Things to do in Rishikesh

…….. Continued HERE

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wizard on September 15, 2019

 

Take Vitamin Supplements

Many of us prefer to take vitamin supplements because we believe we are not receiving the right quantity of vitamins from our food. What you don’t discern is that utilizing a potent dosage of Vitamins may do more harm than any good.

Not only this, but vitamin supplements are also expensive.

Our kidneys flush out what our body doesn’t require. Therefore,  these expensive supplements end up right down the toilet.

As per Dr. Liz Green: ‘It’s invariably good to assure that you take these supplements only in the suggested daily amounts.’

Nonetheless, vitamin supplements are helpful for some patients. We asked the specialists to help us identify the deficiencies and guide us in preventing them.

Vitamin D

Our body creates most of our requirement of vitamin D in response to sunlight on our skin.  We also get it from food items like oily fish, eggs, margarine, etc.

Take Vitamin Supplements

The expert view

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) representative Priya Tew states: ‘It can be challenging in the UK to reach our vitamin D requirements through diet and sunlight alone. For that reason, it’s recommended that those above 65 years get a daily supplement of vitamin D. Also try to get out in the sunlight for 10-15 minutes a day.’

You can obtain vitamin D tablets at most pharmacies. But, do not to take higher than 25 mg per day. Also, remember to cover or protect your skin in case you’re out in the sunlight for long periods.

Iron

Iron plays an important role in our body. It helps to manufacture red blood cells which transport oxygen throughout the body.

Take Vitamin Supplements 1b

You can get all the iron from your everyday diet. It is present in red meat, eggs, pulses and beans, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, and nuts and seeds.

The expert view

As per Dr. Liz Green: ‘Elderly patients should not be supplemented with iron unless there is an identified iron deficiency. This could be after an operation or if they have suffered blood loss.

‘Moreover, iron deficiency in those above 50 can be a sign of some health problem, which should be investigated fully.’

Luckily, there are several simple ways to increase iron intake without using a supplement. 

As per Priya Tew: ‘Drinking coffee and tea with a meal reduces the absorption of iron.”

‘To increase iron intake, have lots of vitamin C in diet and have a glassful of fruit juice amidst an iron-rich meal.’

Calcium

Calcium is also an essential mineral for our body. This is so as it assists in building strong bones and helps the blood to clot. All milk products are a great source of calcium. You can also get it from fish like sardines, green leafy vegetables, and nuts.

The expert view

As per Priya Tew: ‘Consuming 3-4 servings of dairy products daily gives all the calcium needed by us.’

Calcium supplement in high doses can produce abdomen pain and diarrhea. It’s best to consult your GP before taking it. 

As per Dr. Liz Green: ‘Most people should use calcium supplements only if they have been prescribed by their GP. Normally, this is because there is an increased risk of multiple fractures, especially amongst frail patients.’

B12 vitamins

Take Vitamin Supplements

 

There are various types of vitamin B needed for different functions in our body. They perform the task of keeping us healthy and nourished.

Given that you have a well-balanced food, including cereals and whole grains, you would be taking all that you require. Vitamin B12 is seen in meat, milk, cheese, eggs, cod, salmon, and fortified cereals. As we get older, it becomes hard to absorb, thereby necessitating supplements.

People lacking Vitamin B12 are at enhanced risk of anemia and many other problems such as memory impairment.

The expert view

As per Priya Tew: ‘There’s striking evidence that older people have relatively more Vit B12 deficiency. An adequate diet of fortified breakfast cereals, meat and yeast extract can improve this.’

Supplement daily doses of up to 2mg are not likely to induce any harm in such cases. In fact, it leads to a happier disposition.

Vitamin C

vitamins

Vitamin C supplements are known to ward off the common cold. While it’s correct that vitamin C helps to fight infections and disease, eating lots of vegetables and fruit would get all that you require.

The Expert View

As per Priya Trew: ‘Five or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily are all excellent sources of vitamin C.’ One of these could be fruit juices. Strawberries, Citrus fruit, as well as tomatoes and peppers, are all excellent sources of vitamin C.’

 

 

 

 

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wizard on September 8, 2019

Health Capsule for Busy People

Health Capsule for Busy People is a magic mix – Something that you can do easily and without too many instructions.

Is there such a thing?

As it turns out, yes, there is such a thing as an easy way of keeping good health. Maybe it would qualify to be termed as a Health Capsule for Busy People!

Consider this – What do you normally do when your health is down?

Don’t we all pop pills and capsules to overcome such situations? While drugs and chemicals do bring instant relief,  they also have a host of side effects. To overcome them, we take more medicines.

Is there a way out?

Of course, there is! All you have to do is follow the right way of living.

Here are some of the very small ideas or the “Health Capsule” which, if followed, is preventive and curative depending on what your present state of health is.

Health Capsule for Busy People

1. Stretching your Body (Hatha Yoga) – Have you noticed what every animal does on waking up from sleep? It Health Capsule for Busy Peoplestretches its body to the full. Not once, but many times. This is the way it would be with humans too if we were to follow a correct lifestyle.

Stretching our body should be the first thing that we should do in the morning. This will give several health benefits. Try to implement this at least in its basic form by stretching fully a few times on waking up.

Besides this, if you can implement Hatha yoga it would not only keep you away from all diseases but also set you up and make you feel good throughout the day. Moreover, it will strengthen and tone your nervous system, hormonal system, the cardiovascular system as well as the muscular and skeletal system.

2. Meditation – Meditation has a gentle and soothing effect on our body and mind. In layman’s terms, it is a method that introduces you to yourself and can transform our personalities. most importantly, it promotes emotional and physical health by bringing mind-body equilibrium.

3. Deep Breathing– There is nothing better than a few deep breathing exercises when we are looking for a shortcut to improve our health. Above all, it relaxes our mind and has a rejuvenating effect on our mood.

4. The Right Food and DietFood has a direct long-term bearing on our health. You would have noticed that inHealth Capsule for Busy People the short-term, it has an effect on how we feel and can make us energetic, sleepy or dull. It can also make us feel restless or irritable. While in the long term, it can lead to, or prevent lifestyle diseases! Therefore our food should be fresh, warm and delicious. It should also be in tune with what our body needs.

5. Relaxation – Relaxation is not about not doing any work or taking long naps. It means learning to rest, cleanse and refresh both body and the mind. The right technique of relaxation can help us to fight fatigue and mental dullness.

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wizard on September 7, 2019

My Dad – The Worrier

My dad was like many others, always worrying about the well being of his kids (and now grand-kids). This had, quite rightfully, earned the title of being “Dad – the worrier”.

“Watch out!” said my father, pointing at the toddler, who was merrily making his way towards the edge of the bed. “He might fall and get hurt”.

Holding the baby by his waist I pulled him up and looked up to my sister, who was smiling.

Dad’s anxiety was legendary and we had almost started expecting it certain “known” situations.

There were these tell-tale signs we siblings had grown up. These made us exchange a chuckle or two when he would behave exactly as predicted.

My dad was a gentle soul, a good person who was by nature a nurturing and a caring parent, His caring ways were deep-rooted and I do not recall a single occasion when he did not provide for everything we ever needed. Not only throughout our childhood but also in the adolescent years.

This was no mean feat because his income was meager, yet we lived a better lifestyle than many with better means. This spoke a lot about his immaculate planning and caring. He ensured that we studied in the best of institutions, traveled during school holidays every year. We also had the most contemporary clothes and comfortable living standards than our peers.

My dad was very fastidious about our safety.

Quite naturally, sometimes it went to an almost humorous extreme. Because of this, none of us siblings ever learned swimming in our childhood. That’s because he used to worry whenever we were out for long, without a valid reason. My Dad – The WorrierThankfully there were no mobiles in those days; else I am sure he would have made good use of it trying to find out if we were in trouble of some sort.

As we grew out of teens, we would often ask him not to worry. Much to my mom’s amusement, my younger brother once called him “Dad, the worrier”. He would come to see off or receive all of us even after we were grown-up; as if he feared we lose our way and might get lost.

After we siblings got married, his worrying nature did not cease.

It increased further when the grandchildren were born. He often worried about the toddlers getting hurt by the sharp edges which only he would notice. If he had his way, he would put a helmet on the kids’ heads all thru the day as they went about crawling in the house.

Set in a classic mold, he went about his duties as a responsible parent, and subsequently as a grandparent. He gave all he had to inculcate the exemplary qualities of his giving nature by his example. I sometimes realize that I am not half as much a responsible husband and a father that he was!

As he grew older, we would insist that he should not come too far away bus stands, or railway stations to see us off or receive us during our visits. However, he would never listen and continued doing so. But I somehow got my way and convinced him to come and drop me only to the nearest taxi stand.

I still recall my last visit, when we had a light argument about him coming to see me off.

He had finally relented and came only till the local bus stand near our house. As we stood talking, waiting for a bus, I felt the need to reach out and hug him but could not muster the courage, as we had always held him in that awe. When the bus arrived, I left him after touching his feet and took a window seat. He was looking up as if he wanted to say something. True to his nature, he waved and said: “take care during the journey and look after yourself”.

I had been in similar situations during the past few years too but somehow this time, I did not want to leave him. As the bus started moving I waved at him, and holding myself back, closed my eyes.

“God, keep my father safe from sharp edges of the world”.

Soon thereafter, he left us– in the prime of health, exactly the way he had lived – without a fuss and without being a burden on anyone, after finishing all his responsibilities of this life.

I pay a tribute to my father on the occasion of the “Fathers Day”

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wizard on September 7, 2019

Cherrapunji (or Sohra)

Cherrapunji (or Sohra) is located 56 km from Shillong, in the East Khasi Hill district of Meghalaya. It has dropped its name “Cherrapunji” given by the British and has been rechristened as Sohra.

It is a little known yet one of the “must-see” destination for all tourists. The average rainfall here is 12,000 mm a year which makes it the “Wettest place on Earth”.

It has the highest rainfall record for a single day as 2455 mm recorded in 1974.

The heavy rainfall has sculptured many rock formations, imposing cliffs and waterfalls all over the southern slopes.

Places to see in Cherrapunji (or Sohra)

Mawsmai Caves – These miles long limestone caves provides you a unique tourist experience. This is also the main Cherrapunji (or Sohra)attraction of Sohra.

Dain-Thlen Falls – These waterfalls are 5 km away from Cherrapunji (or Sohra). Daiñ Thlen means cutting off the Thlen (a serpent monster).

Noh-Kalikai Falls – One of the most striking waterfalls and the highest in Meghalaya.

Cherrapunji (or Sohra)Noh-Sngithiang Falls – Also known as Mawsmai Falls. These are several waterfalls cascading down to a canyon.

Thangkharang Park – It offers a panoramic view of the cliffs and the Kynrem falls.

Khoh Ramhah – The “Giants Basket” also known as “Motrop” is an imposing single formation in the shape of a giant cone.Cherrapunji (or Sohra) caves

Living root Bridge – This is made of entwined roots of rubber plants. It is located at the Laitkynsew and Nongriat villages.

By the side of the Pomsohmen stream lays the cremation ground of the Sohra Syiemship (Cherra chieftain). This ‘Ka Kpep Syiem Sohra’ or the sacred cremation ground is located 1 km from the Sohra market.

Hints for Tourists

Cherrapunji (or Sohra) is a one-day sightseeing trip. It is a two-hour journey by road and one must start early from Shillong. If you reach it around 9 am you can catch the glimpse of the plains of Bangla Desh. Chances of clear siting reduce thereafter as the clouds start rising from the valley.

How to Reach Cherrapunji (or Sohra)

You can hire a private taxi for around Rs 1500/-, which is the best way to reach Cherrapunji (or Sohra). Besides this, Meghalaya Govt has a regular luxury coach service too. This starts from the Tourist Office located at Police Bazaar, Shillong. Alternatively, you can drive down in your car and stay the night at one of the many Airbnb homestays.

Book it at least a day in advance to ensure a timely visit to various dites.

If you finish your trip to Cherrapunji by 2 pm, you can visit the famous Elephant falls and Shillong peak on the return journey.

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wizard on September 6, 2019

Scotland of the East Shillong

Introduction

Shillong, located in the picturesque hilly region of Northeast India also known as Scotland of the East. Its inhabitants belong to the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes. They have a colorful lifestyle and cultural traditions.

Sites to Visit

The main attractions at Shillong that earn it the name as Scotland of the East are its scenic beauty, parks, waterfalls, and panoramic views. This is mostly because of its numerous waterfalls which look best during monsoon season.

Amongst the various tourist attractions at Shillong are:

The Shillong Peak – Located  10 kilometers away, at an altitude of 1,965 m it gives a spectacular birds-eye view of Shillong city. 

Botanical Garden– Located in the heart of City offers a vista of exotic plants species.

Ward’s Lake -Located inside the Botanical Garden, it is ideal for an idyllic place for short garden walks and boating.

Churches – Shillong has several historical churches which are very well maintained. Amongst them are the Cathedral of Mary Help and the All Saints Church.

Waterfalls – The Bishop and the Beadon Falls are other beautiful spots ideal for picnics. Also, the Fruit Garden, Polo Ground, and the Golf Course are also worth visiting in Shillong.

Nearby Places

Maphlang Sacred Grove – Approximately 22 kilometers away from Shillong, this grove, considered sacred by the locals contains fantabulous fauna.

The Orchid Lake Resort. About 10 km from Shillong on the Umaim Lake offers excellent opportunities for swimming and various other water sports.

Lump Nehru Park.  Co-located with the Orchid lake resort is this park where one must check out the flora, aviary, and orchidarium.

Scotland of the EastCherrapunji.

This is the worlds second-most wettest place. Located 54 kilometers away from Shillong, it has been rechristened as Sohra. Co-located with this is the wettest place in the World – Mawsynram.

The annual average rainfall at Mawsynram exceeds 1,200 cms.

Its famous limestone caves are a must-visit. 

The landscape is surreal and the drive will justify it being named as the Scotland of the East.

Jakrem– Located Sixty-four kilometers from Shillong this is a popular health resort. It has hot sulfur springs, believed to have curative medicinal properties.

Scotland of the East - ShillongDawki– This is a border town, 96 km from Shillong which provides a glimpse of Bangladesh.

Ranikor – Located 140 km from Shillong this is an angler’s paradise containing a huge population of carp and mahseers.

How to Reach

Air

Guwahati’s Borjhar Airport is the nearest international airport at a distance of 128 kilometers from Shillong. Regular Taxis are available from there. 

Rail

Guwahati at a distance of 103 kilometers is the nearest railhead. From here a full  Taxi will cost you around Rs 1500/-. Shared Taxis cost Rs 300/- per head.

From here, the buses are also available at a regular frequency.

Road

National Highway number 40 an all-weather road connects Shillong with Guwahati. Moreover, the road from Shillong to Sohra has beautiful scenic sites that aptly showcase this as Scotland of the East.

The State Transport buses and the private transport operators operate and offer services to the various places in Meghalaya. The main bus stand is located in the heart of Shillong.

Where to Stay

Accommodation is easily available in Shillong. Also, there are many all-inclusive budget homestays hosted by AIRBNB that you will love! 

You will get many hotels that cater to the needs of travelers in Shillong. These can be booked as per your budget.

IMPORTANT Travel Information

Foreigners require a restricted Area Permit to visit Shillong. This can be obtained from the Foreigners’ Registration Office at Delhi.

wizard on September 6, 2019

Waiting for you
Sanjana asked the driver to start as she got inside the car and closed her eyes to relax as it was going to be a long journey.
Soon she started feeling drowsy, and the images from the past week started coming into her mind.
It had been very hectic lately, which had made her postpone the trip repeatedly. She decided not to delay it any further. The car had come early in the morning, and she was on her way, she reflected with satisfaction.

She was slightly surprised when she had got her posting orders, as the district collector here a few weeks back. Happy, she was going to be closer to the small village where she had spent a better part of her childhood.

Not many people had heard of Ambekot.

It was a small village far into the hills with no railway station and a bus service that was as good as not being there. In her mind, there was no other place more beautiful than that. She had carried memories from her childhood memories right through her later life.

The car took the detour at the base of the hills and started a bumpy ride along the narrow road winding up the unrealistic slopes. Nothing seems to have changed, she reflected.

A fleeting thought occurred to her that she would see to it that something is done about the road at least; but then she dropped the thought. Maybe, remaining slightly inaccessible was a good thing in the long run to preserve its natural charm.

Fifteen years is a long time.

She wondered if the school was still the same or had it changed. Most of its students were the children of local farmers from the nearby areas, except for a few like her whose father was the resident doctor at the local hospital.
Maybe I would meet some of the classmates she thought, although she had come unannounced, not wanting to make people “prepare” for the DCs visit.

She looked at it as more of a homecoming and a personal visit to catch up with her past.

Her mind went back to her colleagues at the school. How many would have ventured out of the village, she wondered. Not many as most would be working on the ancestral fields, cultivating flowers, which was the traditional vocation here much before horticulture started to gain prominence as a lucrative option.

One face that sprung to her mind was that of Paresh, that naughty and playful son of the local grocer; so very different from the rest of them. He always had a twinkle in his eyes. What set him apart from the others was his sincerity of purpose in everything that he did. While everyone was studying to be a doctor or an engineer, Paresh was very explicit that he would be a teacher; and in the same school!

There was no reason not to believe him.

What set him apart from others was also the fact that at the tender age of 14 he pronounced his undying love for Sanjana. It was quite hilarious when he said so initially, but soon everyone realized that he had meant it.

When her dad decided to leave the village, Paresh was one of the few people who came to see them off at the railway station twenty kilometers away.

He was the only kid amongst those present and was unusually quiet throughout as if debating in his mind about something.

The train halted for just two minutes.

He got in along with the others as the last goodbyes were being said and surprised everyone by thrusting a small gift-wrapped packet in her hands, wishing her the best.

And then, as the train was rolling out, he pulled himself closer and gave a fleeting kiss on her cheek.
“I will be waiting for you forever.”
Before she could realize or say anything, he was out of the train just as it started picking up speed.
In his way, he was funny and yet was serious about life.

He could spend hours alone, feeding the pigeons or the fish at the village pond.

As they came close to the village, there appeared herds of cows along the road, bringing the car to a halt, interrupting her thoughts.
She recognized the ancient banyan tree nearby that signaled the start of the village. It was said to be centuries old. Not much had changed around it. She looked around as the car started to move, trying to place the landmarks from her childhood.

The clump of trees near the clearing ahead marked the village pond. Asking the driver to halt the car, she stepped out and started making way towards it. Reaching the bank, she observed the flock of ducks swimming lazily in the pond, their leader right ahead, knowing where exactly should they be going. Away from the crowded city, the noise and the pollution, she realized how beautiful and serene this place was.

As she sat down on a stone platform under a large tree and looked around, she realized she was not alone.

Someone was lying down in the coir hammock hanging between two trees not very far off.
The person in the hammock too apparently became aware of her presence and looked up. A wave of recognition swept over her as she saw the familiar features and instantly recognized him as Paresh. Despite the amount of salt and pepper hair on his head, he looked almost the same and seemed to recognize her.

She did not know what to say or how to react.

He was caught by surprise too.
“Oh, Hello,” finally she could say, “Paresh, isn’t it?” she smiled.
“Yes, and I know it is you, Sanjana,” he laughed as he came closer. “I knew you would come back someday.” He added.
“Yes, I had to come,” she said, “One does not forget the days of childhood.”
“I know. I have been expecting you and waiting for you ever since I heard you were coming as the DC.”
“What? You knew??” she was surprised. “But how could you? I joined just last week.”
“Oh, I do keep track of the world around me.” He said.
Then with a straight face, added, “And you have been my world since those school days.”
They both laughed.

“So nice to see you, the first person from my past on coming to Ambekot.”
“It is always nice to come back, Sanjana.”
“Yes, I know,” she said. Then asked, “How have you been Paresh? Still here?”
“Of course! Where will I go?” he said, “I always knew I wanted to be nowhere else.”
“I know. You were always sure of what you were doing.”
“And you were not?” he asked.
“Well, not many people were as sure as you were, in the school days.”
“Maybe.”

There was a pause as they caught themselves gazing into each other’s eyes.

“So you stuck on to be a teacher here in the school?” she asked.
“Hmm. Well, yes initially, then I became the headmaster.” He smiled.
“Oh, great! I am glad.”
Then asked, “What about the family?”
“Oh, no family.” He shook his hands dismissively.
“I am alone now – always a loner.”
She smiled back.

“What about others? Anyone else still around?”
“They left long back. I would have too, but I had promised, I would be waiting for you.”
As she glanced around casually, he could spot slight discomfort on her face.
As if to make the atmosphere lighter, he said, “Time for a peck on the cheek, Sanjana?”
“NO!!! “
They both broke into laughter.

“I am going to see the school, you mind showing me around?” She asked.
“Well, you carry on; I cannot accompany you at the moment,” he was groping for some excuse, “but shall join you soon. Till then you can meet the others.”
“Okay then, will catch up with you later,” saying so, she shook his outstretched hand, reluctantly turned and made her way to the car.
“Okay then, will catch up with you later,” saying so, she shook his outstretched hand reluctantly turned and made her way to the car.

The school was not very far from there, and she reached in a few minutes. On the way mused upon the chance encounter at the pond. Something was out of place.
It was nice meeting Paresh, but then why did he hesitate to come to the school with her? She could not fathom this.
There appeared to be no one around as the car halted within the school premises.

Not surprising, since it was an off day.

Maybe there would be a caretaker who could show her around till Paresh came.
She asked the driver to look around as she ventured out to the classrooms and playgrounds.
Nothing had changed, except maybe a basketball court had been made on wooden flooring, and some classrooms seem to be having new steel furniture.
She saw the driver coming with someone. It was Parvati, the school maid, who used to ring the bells marking starting and end of the classes and recess. She had grown older too.

She introduced herself.

Parvati was thrilled to see one of the students come back to the school and started to cry. Sanjana hugged her lovingly and asked her way to the headmaster’s office.
“That office is closed,” Parvati said. “I will get you some tea, till then you can stay here in the staff room. ”
“Oh, OK”
She waited, wondering when Paresh will show up.
Soon Parvati appeared with a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits.
Sanjana asked her to sit down and tell her about the school. Parvati could barely nod her head and smile.

After all, DC is a big post as far as the simple village folks are concerned.
Waiting for you

“When will the headmaster come?” Sanjana eventually asked.
“Madam, the headmaster won’t come.”
“But I am told he will be coming shortly.”
“Who said so, Madam?” Parvati asked. “There is no headmaster.”
“No headmaster?”
“No, for the past few months now, there has been no headmaster,” Parvati informed her.

“But what about Paresh? Is he not coming to the office these days?” asked Sanjana.
“Paresh Sir? How can he come, madam? He will never come now.”
“Oh, and why so?” intrigued, she asked.
“Because madam, Paresh Sir died a month ago. His body was found near the pond where only his hammock remains now.”

 

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wizard on September 5, 2019
Really Crazy Better Half – Part 1

The Gods must be Really Crazy 2

A visit to the mall with the spouse on early Sunday mornings is almost like a really crazy ritual that cannot be altered. It is generally in the garb of buying the essentials and “urgent” groceries that have miraculously exhausted over the week. I have tried weaseling out of it on quite a few occasions. 

This does not always work.

So what does a man do next?

Give in meekly, what else??

This time around, I got the orders to be ready at 9 am sharp since the kids were asleep.  Incidentally, this is the really crazy as that the “kids” she alludes to here are actually adults of above 25 years of age!

Thinking about the consequences of delay, I got ready at sharp 9 am. I even avoided glancing at the newspaper headlines, least it shifts the onus of delay being caused on me. Having learned over the years that it is a woman’s privilege to delay I keep quiet as she goes about putting the last touches – you know where!

With age and experience, a man “ought” to also learn what certain really crazy gestures and syllables mean. Obviously, I have faltered in some of these aspects. Or maybe I know but it brings humor in life if one “forgets” selectively.

Consider this –

The wife enters the fresh vegetable wing at the mall, quite forgetting about the husband in tow and rushes to get a shopping trolly; which apparently is in short supply. Her energy levels are at their peak right now. I always felt that a wife has that “extra” energy level for shopping, which she keeps hidden as a reserve.

As she gets a shopping trolley, my normal utterance at this point generally is – “A trolly? You mean, you will buy SO MUCH!! You told me it was just a few things!”

In our earlier days of marital disharmony, this was almost always greeted with an angry sideways glance. These days, it is generally an amused and really crazy smile of a winner- “caught you off guard, partner” sort of a thing.

Then she goes about picking up things and from afar shouts at me, “Why don’t you pick up some tomatoes while I am…..”

Some tomatoes??

“How many?” I ask.

The Gods must be Really Crazy

“Just a few.”

“Few is as in … Is it half a kilogram, full kilogram or what?”

“Oh,” she glances up from whatever she is doing. “Take about a kilogram.”

“And oh” she adds, “Pick out a bit of Okra and cucumbers too.”

I look at her incredulously.

“How much?” exasperated.

“A bit”, she repeats.

This time I give up, my sense of good humor taking a back seat and busy myself picking out okra and cucumbers. Then I select a few good-sized eggplants, a tray of eggs, etc, etc. After all, I know the routine! I just want to get home and have a relaxing Sunday without brickbats on mundane things like shopping!

The really crazy outing is not over yet. I got to go look up if something or the other is available in the groceries enclosure.

And then comes the worst part of it all – standing in billing queue.

The most glaring difference in perceptions comes to the fore now. It is about the queue. I hate it if they are long and she loves it! Because it gives her a chance to keep the shopping cart next to me and shuttle about getting more and more items one by one while I wait my turn. Sometimes this causes a really crazy “between the spouse friction” which one gets used to with the passage of years of disharmony.

The tastes never meet.

Who says marriages are made in heaven? I muse – must be a pretty funny guy sitting out there having a balcony view of his creation every Sunday morning! And smiling.

After all, life would be pretty much boring without such really crazy togetherness.

 

 

 

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wizard on September 5, 2019
Europe on a Budget

Europe on a Budget Friendly holiday

If you are planning to travel to Europe on a Budget, this is the right place to start.

I say so because I have personally been on this trip a short while back and it was a very learning experience.

Most websites are there just for earning through hotels and other deals package deals. I will give the small little hints that are the most important yet never revealed anywhere else. To travel to Europe on a Budget you got to do something different and away from the beaten track.

Why Should you Book Yourself?

There is no fun in giving away your hard-earned money to someone who puts you on a bus, plane or a train with 50 others. Or going on an itinerary that you have no control on, eating food that someone else orders and staying where someone else decides!

You can easily do much more and stay almost three times the number of days in less than that package trip!

Where is the fun of discovering things first hand when you know everything about what is coming next? Remember that the best way to do Europe on a Budget is also planning it yourself.  This fact itself cut down almost 30% of the total price if you want to go to someone else.

Therefore, I hope what I am going to give now is going to be of help to someone who is trying to plan Europe at a budget.

Things to keep in mind

Doing your homework

  • Do your homework properly. Plan your visit well and all the transit flights of train Journeys well in advanceEurope on a Budget Friendly holiday. This way you can minimize the cost of travel for this entire visit.
  • Stick to your plan so that there are no changes and move further increase in costs.
  • Go as a couple because the cost of stay would be almost the same whether one person stays or two.

Baggage Policy – All airlines ask for extra money when you book any luggage other than your handbag.

Besides this, extra baggage also ties you down where movement is concerned. Therefore, it is best to travel with as less baggage as possible.

Stick to nothing more than one backpack.

You will be amazed at the flexibility and the level of comfort that this would give. It will also add to the savings while planning Europe on a Budget.

Don’t fall for “Deals” – Budget generally means adopting means like walking, traveling by public transport. Avoid places where there is a very high entrance fee.  You must decide not to succumb to glib talk or so-called “deals”.

Remember for every “deal” there is someone trying to sell something which is otherwise unsalable. E.g. there are 20 museums in Paris. So there’s a “museum pass”.

Do you have to see them all? It’s not only impractical but also time-consuming. It makes more sense to see one or two in detail, others are just the same! Also, there are days when museums in Paris are free! Here is the list of FREE entry to all museums.

 

Preparation for the journey

Remember the sequence in which these should be done.

Passport – First of all get the paperwork done. Sometimes small things like expiry date of your passport can also get you in a last-minute problem while getting a visa.

Visa – Get a Shenzhen Visa – this would see you through most of the European countries except for UK, Scotland, and Ireland.

In case you want to go there,  start off all these procedures at least three months before your departure.

Remember certain countries have easy visa procedures. Make them your first stop. France is one of the friendliest where Visa is concerned.

Local Journeys within Europe

I decided to cover Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Rome, and Athens. Therefore, I gave myself 4 days (three nights) at all these places. It eased out my Visa issues and also enabled getting the cheapest air tickets. For traveling from one country to another within Europe, I traveled by train local low-cost airlines (EasyJet and Vueling).

Booking all these tickets was the first step after the visa was granted, and since it was done 3 months in advance the costs were fairly (and surprisingly) low.

Booking of hotels and places to stay

This is very important while planning Europe on a Budget because it will determine how much you are going to spend on sightseeing and local travel.  In order to do Europe on a Budget, you should try to minimize this.

If you are going to be out seeing places most of the day, it makes no sense spending too much to book up a hotel full of luxuries.

It is therefore very important to book a place which is in the center of things. On the advice of my son, I looked up AIRBNB  which give me some amazing advantages in terms of location as well as budget prices.

Things to carry

Clothing – Check out the weather during the time when you are traveling and prepared your baggage accordingly.  Carry only one set of warm clothing.  Do include an extra pair of shoes and an umbrella because Europe is known for its frequent changes in weather.

Medicines – take 5 days dosage of antibiotics, paracetamol, aspirin, anti-diarrhea and vomiting, bandaid and a full supply of any medicines being used on a regular basis.

Small immersion rod – There will be one place in five where you would be stuck for a cup of coffee! Try and Carry a pen-sized immersion rod and a few sachets of coffee!

Get a good quality cell phone or a tablet along with a backup charger. This is going to be your most trusted companion to the entire visit. Do not get your phone bills inflated by subscribing to the overseas data or roaming services.  You can get Wi-Fi almost everywhere and by using it intelligently, you would be able to manage everything.

Collection of Information 

Europe on a Budget Friendly holiday

Download an offline map app on your phone. I used “Ulmon maps”, and it turned out to be the best maps free app you will get.  It not only shows you all the places but also gives a clear description of everything.

You should download the maps of all the cities that you are going to visit.  It might take up a lot of space in the hard drive but it would be worth it. Remember, you do not need data – you will find Wi-Fi everywhere if you plan well.

 

 

 

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wizard on September 5, 2019

How to Improve Sex Life and Sexual Libido

Millennials these days have a major issue of how to Improve Sex Life and Libido. This is a short write up about how to overcome this and does not substitute professional counseling and treatment.

How to Improve Sex Life and Libido

An alarming number of the younger generation are falling prey to lack of libido, an issue earlier associated with advanced age and medical issues.

When couples fall in love, they cannot keep their hands off each other. But generally is such a honeymoon does not last too long as either or both the partners’ libido tends to go on a decline for one reason or the other.

This leads to a feeling of rejection and being unloved. If the problem is not controlled at initial stages, it spirals down to bigger problems often leading to breakups.

What are the reasons for lowering Sex Life and Libido?

It is unbelievable that a person we loved so much at one time suddenly stops being attractive or desirable. Therefore, one has to understand that there have to be certain reasons, which need addressing at the earliest.

There can be many reasons, but the most common ones are –

Relationships. If couples are in an abusive or unhappy relationship, it is unlikely that they will be like having sex.

Stress. Overwork and work-related related stress either at the office or at home is another big issue that comes between a great sexual relationship.

Medicines. Sex drive is also affected by Antidepressants, tranquilizers, steroids, medicines for BP, etc.

Physical Illness. Sex is the last thing on our mind when we are physically ill. Chronic illness can result in worry, depression, anxiety, and a total disinterest in sex.

Diversions. Being in love with someone else, despite being in relationship with the other can lead to a disinterest in sex.

How to Improve Sex Life and Libido

Loss of libido is not an illness. Working out a relationship can help overcome it easily. The trick is to identify and address the root cause of the problem – not the symptoms. Whatever happens, one should never try to give the blame to the partner for this is a problem that needs to working out together. Some of the methods to kick-start your sex life is:-

Dialogue. We often ignore the most obvious solution. We talk to everyone except our partners. Meaningful dialogue and discussion is the best solution in such situations.

Physical Fitness. As brought out earlier, if we are ill it takes a toll on sex life. One has to physically fit and strong and should, therefore, do regular exercise and lead a healthy life.

Relaxation. Overwork is also one of the killers of a good relationship. A person must be relaxed to be romantic.

Spending Time Together. We always spend more time together in a relationship when it is new but soon tend to take each other for granted. Be conscious of this and try to spend time together.

A Healthy and Nourishing Diet. A good diet has an essential role to play for a good sexual relationship. Things like chocolates, avocados, peaches, strawberries, and pineapples are perceived to provide aid to the libido.
Also flex seeds, oysters, red meat, sesame seeds, and yogurt are good for sexual libido.

Counseling. At times, relationships reach a point where meaningful dialogue is impossible. In such situations, go for professional counseling and seek advice about How to Improve Sex Life and Libido.

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