Friday, March 28, 2014

Being "Afshan" :-)

Being myself is a puzzle which I try to solve with each passing day.
Every day I discover a new side of me which may or may not stay.
I am like that season which passes by but leaves its mark.
I am like that glow which enlightens you, yet keep you in dark!

I rhyme with out a reason and I write a poem any time, any day.
Poems make me sing, make me smile and they make me sway.
I heart my blog and even my man can't come between us.
I talk to myself here and at times trap my soul in my words!

"Being Afshan is a riddle to solve,a mind to evolve and thoughts which revolve or dissolve!"

Reading and writing keep me sane and I write to know me more.
Even as I am writing this I realize there is something more in store.
I love celebrations, I love getting decked up and I love travelling and nature.
I am thoughtful at times, watchful many times and sometimes I am a premature!

I travel in to memories and  keep the kid in me alive to enjoy life's smallest joys.
The man in my life helps me maintain poise and also bears my noise;)
I can never write a short post, so please tolerate these few lines about me.
To know more you and me should sit and talk over ten cups of coffee or tea!! :-D

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The A to Z race - "Randomness rules again"- The Theme Reveal!

When I saw more than 100 comments for the theme reveal post in the group (A to Zeders 2014) I joined to stay motivated and to feel energetic, I thought why not give it a go ? After all this post will kick off my A to Z madness. I saw many of my favorite bloggers listing out their themes in the group and thought I would write down  few lines on my plan for A to Z!

My plan for A to Z is absolutely having no plan!

Even if my thoughts are hazy for now I am hoping they will surface in my brain and ooze out of my finger tips and I successfully type any thing and every thing which may be sensible and also nonsense sometimes and attain the nirvana I attained last year!

Last year was my first A to Z challenge and this year I am more jittery because I am working now and shuttling between two cities almost every week. I don't have ample of time in my hands to read others' blogs or to even proof read my own blog. But still I am jumping in to the fire of A to Z because I know this challenge tremendously transformed me last year. I know it is not going to be easy for me but I am hoping that doing this challenge as a group will definitely boost me and I won't drop dead in the middle of it. Some of the blogs I love reading from the group are Serenelyrapt (her theme already intrigued me), IndianAmericanMom (I met her and she is a sweet heart) , Shail Mohan (her love for nature is contagious and she is also themeless just like me and I am sure you will be glued to her blog), JanakiNagaraj (her poetic skills are worth applause), BlogwatiG (She will make you laugh, think and love her blog), Pooja Abhay ( My new blog friend- She for sure will mesmerize you with her 4 liners and rhymes), Deecoded (met her last year. Her theme Love actually is lovely) , Arpita (Be prepared to get nostalgic. She will take you down the memory lane), Lizzi Rogers (She will teach you about different kinds of writing . Make sure you read her), Cynthia ( a good blogger friend  who promises, just like last year to imbibe wisdom in her kids which we all need too) , Sfurti (Another blogger friend who will take you every day in to her life with her theme -“A day in my life”)

There are many other bloggers whom I met last year, to read whom I am looking forward this year too. There are many other new bloggers and I can't wait to know their style of writing. After all this challenge is a door which opens up to a world of endless exploring. You can learn, laugh , support each other when you are panicky and you can carry this memory for life time. Only thing is don't let the challenge defeat you! Fight it with all might and you will be the winner and don't let others' support and love get to your head, bones and nerves. Have faced this bitter scenario last year and would love to be miles away from such people who in the hoodwink of motivation behave like God Mothers/ Fathers !
Image source: here

Lastly  *whistles please* . Now I am gonna reveal what you can "expect" on my blog. They will be totally random things. I am a person who thinks in a haphazard way but some times even my haphazard jottings and ramblings have a pattern. You may mostly read "few random pages of my life", "few posts on movies (Bollywood)", "few tributes to famous personalities," "few happenings which impacted me big time this year and last year," "may be few poems" and if nothing hits me that day may be a random cuisine by mom or an art work or a photograph!

Be ready to be bombarded by my randomness guys! . Will try to keep it simple silly for most part of the challenge this year. I will try to visit all your links when ever I can. I will be late but make sure that I visit most of you. Please excuse me if  I miss your blogs due to time constraints!

Lastly have a great APRIL! Brace yourself as my Fb wall and google+ , twitter and everything will be flooded with blog links:). I am sure we all are gonna bake our brains and make the April month hot and happening!
Love you all!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why this Kolaveri di ??

When Sid tagged me on the Project 365’s mind boggling prompt – Bone contention, I was in a fix. Not because I have no content for this contention topic but I was confused as to what name I should give to this post. I finally rounded on Why this Kolaveri di!? I am sure all Indians are aware of this song. The song got viral some 2 years back and it was on every one’s FB page, mobiles and was forwarded feverishly! Will you believe if I say this song was played even in the taxis of Malaysia and Singapore when I visited!
Dhanush might have dedicated this song to the girl who cheated him but I am stealing his song title and dedicating this post to all people who accelerate the urge in me to kill them or sometimes the urge to slap myself due to the mistakes done by me. Well coming back to the topic, here I have to enter in to the skin of the person who opposes my thoughts or issues I strongly care about or has differential opinions to mine! Here I am writing down scenarios where a person misunderstood me and we kind of had a big argument and disagreement. I am actually not giving out all the details and I have cut down the conversation to 1/10th of the original one. I will present you two scenarios here where I am myself in the first and I am the one who is in the opposite position in the second. Let us name that friend/ relative / cousin or an on-line friend as Mrs.Helen Good. Don’t ask me why I chose this name :P.

 I badly needed her help and yes I bothered her, bugged her and bombarded her as I felt I can take the help, she being a good friend who helped me in times of trouble. Below is a conversation which actually didn't happen. It is tweaked a lot. In the first scenario I am myself. Read on!

Scenario 1 (I , me , myself):
Me in the face-book chat window.
Me: “Hello. How are you doing?”
Mrs. Helen Good: “I am fine. How are things at your end?”
Me: “All well. So how is your health now?”
Mrs HG: “Doing great. Little weakness is still there”
Me thinking, should I ask for help or not as she is still sick!
Mrs HG: “Hope you are excited about the blogger meet we are about to have.”
Me: “Yes. I am. Sorry to disturb U but can you please let me know if I really will get a special pass where we get a chance to interview Amitab Bachan and Shabana Azmi likes?”
Mrs HG: “Yes there is a chance :) "
Me: "You think I should contact the PRO first for that or can I directly go to venue and ask."
Mrs HG: "I think you can go and ask."

Time flew and after two months, on one fine morning after repeated pursuits to talk to HG I pinged her again.

Me: "Hey. How are u doing ? You are not visible these days."
HG: "What help do you want me to do now madam?"
Me: "I did not ping for any help ! What opinion do you have about me? Not sure why you asked like that. Sorry for any inconvenience. "
HG: "I can't talk normally right now. I don't have a problem helping or guiding you but I should set my limits before some one burdens me or takes me for granted."
Me: "Did I burden you? I am shocked to hear that."
HG: "I can't be a selfless helper anymore. I have my own challenges and blah blah blah. It will take time for me to converse normally with you."
Me: "OK. Please forget this and me and move on."
Image source : here

Scenario 2 : (I am Mrs.HG here)

 Me in the face-book chat window.
Me: “Hello. How are you doing?”
Mrs. Helen Good: “I am fine. How are things at your end?”
Me: “All well. So how is your health now?”
Mrs HG: “Doing great. Little weakness is still there”
Me thinking, should I ask for help or not as she is still sick!
Mrs HG: “Hope you are excited about the blogger meet we are about to have.”
Me: “Yes. I am. Sorry to disturb U but can you please let me know if I really will get a special pass where we get a chance to interview Amitab Bachan and Shabana Azmi likes?”
Mrs HG: “Yes there is a chance :) "
Me: "You think I should contact the PRO first for that or can I directly go to venue and ask."
Mrs HG: "I think you can go and ask."

Time flew and after two months on one fine morning after repeated pursuits to talk to HG I pinged her again.

Me: "Hey. How are u doing ? You are not visible these days (I need some help actually)."
HG: "What help do you want me to do now madam?"
Me: "I did not ping for any help ! What opinion do you have about me? Not sure why you asked like that. Sorry for any inconvenience. "
HG: "I can't talk normally right now. I don't have a problem helping or guiding you but I should set my limits before some one burdens me or takes me for granted."
Me: "Did I burden you? I am shocked to hear that."
HG: "I can't be a selfless helper anymore. I have my own challenges and blah blah blah.. It will take time for me to converse normally with you."
Me: "OK. Please forget this and me and move on."

 Did you notice that I copy pasted the same conversation twice? In the first set where I am myself and in second set where I am Mrs.HG I highlighted few words in red. These words are the ones on which I laid emphasis when I was myself and when I was Mrs.HG respectively. OK. Let me make it easy for you. In the first scenario I laid emphasis on , "please" coz I asked Mrs HG's help even if she was sick. I hesitate a lot. I am a good person according to me and hence I added please but I needed help urgently so I didn't hesitate asking. My emphasis was on words , Sorry and please. I can never gauge the reactions or thoughts of the other person so I was happily unaware of the fact that she was burdened all the time till she blasted me after 1-2months and she is happily unaware of  the words which offended me!!
Here my emphasis was on all her rude words. I was too shocked and too surprised to react!

In the second scenario I am Mrs HG and may be Mrs HG is me. Here the emphasis is laid on the repetitive requests and sorry and please are trashed.  I even read between the lines and understood the conversation as per my convenience .I was sure that the other person asked, "I need some help actually".

Mrs HG found me rude and I found Mrs HG rude. The conversation, arguments and disagreements I had with Mrs HG are not as simple as I mentioned in the above conversation snippet.  They are HUGE, COMPLEX and the story is long so no narration as of now as it may become a novella which no one would be eager to read but one thing I want to conclude here is -> It is very tough to crawl in to other person's skin. It is tough to wear their thinking cap. It is not always possible to be empathetic! 

If they are fighting their own demons they may treat you as that demon at some point of time. Yes. I am not aloof of such complications.I might have also done that at sometime. They expect you to thank them 100 times and zip your mouths even if you want to get few things clarified or need some guidance. If you ask guidance you will be projected as a selfish person who only knows to take help. What ever good you do before and after that will be wiped off from their memories. Similarly you may not realise that there actually was a possibility that you might have pissed him/her. You may not be aware of the fact that he/she is doing a big favour and the friendship won't stand in the same line of FAVOUR!

 I decided to break all my ties with that person coz I was not able to fake friendship after a weird conversation and disagreement we had. When  I spoke in the same style I was tagged as a weirdo and that I am highly offensive. I just reminded the message I got months back and walked out of the conversation and also her life! No one loves the other person more than they love themselves. Every one has the challenges, demons, vulnerabilities and emotions but no one thinks that the other person's challenges are bigger than theirs'! .

The guest prompt for the post is to be in the friend's shoes and let readers know what it was like doing it ! To me it was like Kolaveri.I named it as Kolaveri – as Kolaveri means murder. There are various meanings of kolaveri, ranging from the urge to kill someone or a deep anger to kill someone. Kolai means murder, very means mania says yahoo  . Click to know the variety of meanings. Whatever is the range of meanings the gist is kolaveri di is murderous intention. Not that I want to kill some one now but putting myself in the shoes of someone who is opposing me brought an urge in me to kill myself as it was deadly tough, bone chilling ,mind numbing experience. So I will never be able to defend the opposing person. I can definitely think like them and understand why they spoke like that but can never defend them. Ya I can definitely offend them :) 

 Have a great time friends. Happy Holi. I am glad I successfully posted this one on Bone of contention. I had a different intention before I started writing this but right now am not in a mood to write an explosive post , hence this one! Lastly Dhanush's Kolaveri which inspired my post's title and more than half of my post! I dedicate this song to Sid;) 

Try not to be some one's Kolaveri and live your life. Do read a poem- "You and me war"  written by me more or less on similar lines few days back :)  Two stanzas from the same poem :

If I do a mistake I don't think twice.
If you do a mistake you are experienced and wise.
If I am used to something you call it a vice.
If you are used to something you say it is nice!

If I break a promise I am heartless and take you for granted.
If you break a promise you understand the situation and are sainted.
If I am judge-mental I probably don't know the world's way.
If you are judge-mental you know it all and hence you dare to say.

This post is a part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least one post a day based on the day's prompt.Today's Prompt was a 'Free Prompt' provided to all of us, Guest Authors.
The Prompt!
Thank you Sid for pushing me to write this :) Have a nice time!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The "Caged" Love

Tahir joined the college to pursue his MBA. He is a very talented boy. He is gifted with the writing talent. His friends always used to exclaim that he is a store house of enthusiasm , energy and he has a ocean of emotions which when he penned always felt magical! Only thing which no one understood about Tahir is his dislike towards parties and social gatherings. He had an aversion to people. He used to come to college , finish his classes and go back to library or his room. Every one wanted to know the secret about Tahir. They wanted to crack the code and share it with all. They used to force him , probe him with questions but he was always cool, composed and just passed on a sweet smile when ever people crossed the limits.

There is no girl in the college who didn't try to get close  to Tahir in whatever possible way but he was always shy and used to retort when it used to go beyond limit. Some thought it was just cute as he is shy. Some others thought he is too naive or too rude! He never bothered about what others have to say but he always used to shun when ever there is a pretty damsel trying to woo him in the vicinity!

"A bundle of boredom," "Weirdo" , "Nerd" - He got all possible labels a person as boring as him can get. Nothing flinched Tahir.

Finally the day came when every one will be leaving the college with flying colors. Tahir was recruited on the day 0 of interviews. One of the prestigious banks, Bank of Scotland recruited him and every one was obviously jealous of Tahir's success as he was the only one selected in interview. The gang of boys despised the fact that he will fly soon, where as few threw remarks that even if he succeeded it is of no use as he neither has girl friend nor an interesting life style!

His parents and sister came from Delhi to Lucknow to attend his convocation. Every one was in high spirits but they seemed dull. Fellow students were surprised as one more puzzle loomed in front of them and they were not able to crack it. They just couldn't understand why on earth were the topper Tahir's parents so gloomy.

Tahir's Mom : "You can't stop him Hussain. He is going to Scotland. It is a job which half of the Indians can only dream of."

She was shouting in a high pitched voice in a corridor next to the library. Rajesh, Tahir's class mate who was standing inside the library at a window near to them started overhearing their conversation.

Tahir's Dad: " We got to stop him. Now we can hide the secret under the wraps but if he goes the whole world will know."

Mom: "Why should the whole world know? What is the big deal even if they know Hussain? We can't just let him live like a dead body." Sobbed Tahir's mom.

Dad: " What about our religion ? community ? relatives? What will I tell to them when they ask me when I am planning to get my son married?"

Rajesh came closer to the window so that he could hear better!

Mom: "People will not keep firing questions at you through out their life. They have to stop on some day Hussain!"

Dad: " I can't take all this . It is so shameful. I can't bear this trauma." Saying so Tahir's dad removed his spectacles. Tears welled up in his eyes.

Tahir's mom approached him. She held his hand gently and told in a soft tone, "He is our son Hussain. We can't just spoil his life."

Tahir's sister Nazia entered the scene.

"Mom, dad where have you been. Bhayya is searching for you. He needs your help to get ready."

Looking at their expressions she realized what they would have been discussing.

Nazia: "Mom, dad just let it go na. Atleast for today. Today is Tahir's day. If you can't be with him atleast stay silent. Please don't start an argument here."

Dad: "Why not ? I know why he is going to Scotland. To meet him!" said Tahir's dad seething with anger and frustration.

Nazia : "Dad, you can't change something which already happened. You will be disappointing him and yourself too!"

Dad: "How can I show face to my relatives?"

Tahir who was hearing all this by standing behind a pillar entered the scene. "Dad. Michael knows me from long. We are meant to be with each other. If you can't accept us please don't come in between us."

Tahir's dad had mixed expressions of sadness, anger and pity! Rajesh left the library in two long jumps and the news travelled in university like a wild fire!

Every one started eyeing Tahir and giggling. Girls finally understood why he was an introvert and some boys teased him, some maintained their distance where as some bullied him. Tahir did not flinch.

"Sheesh. You are gay! You are not a man. You can't play with us. You are untouchable. You should be abandoned from the cricket group. " These voices echoed in Tahir's head at that moment. He is used to them now. There were moments in his past when he felt so vulnerable that he even thought of suicide many times. His own mom and dad were aghast by their son's acts.

His liking towards woman's products, his desire to get nailpolish on his hands, the way he wanted to dress, all these things used to shock his parents. His father beat him mercilessly with a wooden cane till his body could take no more. His dad made him take oaths that he will try to at-least pretend to be normal till he finishes his graduation. He googled every thing about being a transgender and showed to his mom and dad but his dad never softened! His mom however , read , empathized and warmed up to him eventually though she always used to face the wrath of the neighbors and their perennial questions. Tahir never spoke to his dad after one night when he beat him with his leather belt. No other punishment could repair Tahir's mind or mend his traits. 

He was 18 when he got attracted to Michael, a boy whom he met during a trip. They became pen friends and then facebook friends and skype friends and they were inseparable. Tahi'rs life bloomed all of a sudden. Michael was the first guy in his life who understood him. Michael felt the same about Tahir. Their relationship was going strong much to the disgust of Tahir's dad. His mom kept mum but sister used to talk and try to understand him with each passing day. Finally she was in a position to just let him go and not cut his wings of freedom.

"Caged" love: Image source : here
Tahir was a bright student and Michael was highly creative. Michael wanted to become a professional photographer and Tahir wanted to be an investment banker. He is quick witted and a hard worker who used to finish all friends' assignments but never used to mingle with any! The day has finally come when he finally would get an MBA degree in hand and would be able to fly to his dream land where Michael lives and pursue his career and live happily!

The same day his open secret became the talk of the college campus. Every one eyed Tahir with curiosity as he started walking in the corridor fuming, towards his room. His sister tried to console him and his mum stayed mum as always. Convocation started and every one's name was called. Tahir was awarded the best student of the batch award. He got a gold medal too. He was asked to deliver a speech. He shivered and it took a minute for him to stay focused. After he gathered his composure he started talking.
"Today's date will  be permanently etched in our memories. I feel privileged to receive this award for outstanding performance from the hands of our honorable Chief minister. Today I want to thank my mom, dad and my sister for making me what I am. My mom is my pillar of strength. My sister is my admirer and I adore her. My dad hates me and this my friends is the biggest reason for my success."

Many people gasped. Few shuddered and a murmur started in the crowd.

Tahir continued, "I am not a normal person as per the norms of the society. Few used to call me weirdo, few tagged me as a psycho and few took the authority to even abandon me from their colony, community and society. Few more had the guts to suggest me to commit suicide! All because I am a gay."

This statement received more gasps and aaahhs and oooohs from the crowd!

"Yes. I am a gay and to me it is as normal as being a guy who falls in love with a girl to get married and to bear kids. Actually my situation is much better as population can be controlled."

Few chortled at that statement.

"I tried to change. I tried a lot but I couldn't. My dad beat me with a thick leather belt and there was a night when I almost killed myself. After 19 failed suicide attempts and completely broken heart I was wandering aimlessly when I met Michael in one of the seminars during my twelfth standard final days. We clicked in nano seconds and there was no looking back. I realised he had similar "normal" traits I had and in our own small world we were gay, I mean happy ;-) "

This  lead to some more smiles and cheers in the crowd.

"Obviously there was resentment at home. One fine day my dad even tried to get me married to a girl even before I finished graduation. She ran away the moment I said, we can live together but I swing the other way. I am a gay. I still remember her perturbed reaction :). I was in touch with Michael via skype, phone and we met once in an year.  It has been 8 years now and we are still going strong. You see there is no other girl to hamper our relationship and if there is a handsome guy I make it sure that Michael doesn't get a chance to look at him." Tahir said this with a wink which made people whistle and clap.

" I am gay and this was a punishment to my dad. This is my bad karma, he likes to say that always. The good thing out of this bad karma is that I have put every drop of my sweat and blood in my MBA and here today I am in a position where I can earn a living and the icing on the cake is I am going to Scotland. That is a dream land as my Michael lives there. A lavish life, lovely partner in midst of alps and doing what you really want to do. How many among us are lucky enough to achieve this?"

There was a pin drop silence and every thing Tahir spoke echoed in the auditorium.

"I am handsome, so is my partner and you need not pity me that I am wasting my good looks by falling for a guy. In fact I can write a book titled "Advantages of being a gay" in the next 5 years!"

People were listening to him with rapt attention now.

"However I will never be able to write a book , "How to get in to good books of your dad or society in general if you are a gay!" Sorry dad, I can neither make you proud of my decisions nor can I make you happy by my success but I don't want to be sorry to myself through out my life, so I can't alter my decisions! Irrespective of the memories I had, I will miss home. I will miss you sis and mom. We shall meet soon. Now I would like to call Michael on stage, my true inspiration , a creative person , a professional photographer who loves to write and paint, a person who always and all-ways had my back. He is a Phd in psychology and we will soon start living together." Michael ran on to the stage and hugged Tahir. There were mixed reactions among audience . Few had tears in eyes. Few expressed disgust and few were neutral.

Whatever may be the varied expressions and reactions Tahir and Michael celebrated the best day of their life. Tahir flew to Scotland in few months. They got married. It was a simple event with just few close friends and colleagues. Tahir's dream life started but he had to go further from his parents to get closer to the love of his life and he is still waiting to see if his dad will warm up to him.
Image source: here

Let us hope and pray that in the coming years may be he will change his attitude towards Tahir!

"To love and to be loved is the biggest victory.
  To love and to get the approval of everyone is the biggest mystery.
  Love has no boundaries or logic and at times it is caged.
  Lovers in bloom always rekindle the love and stay young even if they get aged!"

After many hurdles Scotland has legally approved the same sex marriages. Read this news on BBC-  Registration opens for same sex marriage in Scotland . It 
becomes legal on 29 March. Let us hope change comes eventually through out the world!

This post is submitted for Indiblogger's  Go Further to get closer contest. Do watch the British airways ad below on youtube

 and do visit when you are here! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

La belle dame in the beau France!

Allo everyone:) .The mere thought of a holiday to France is enthralling to me. I read about few destinations in Southern France during one of my journeys and decided that I will sort out my finances and visit France when ever I can.

France is the land of love and romance with extensive history. If the delicious French cuisine is to die for, the wine and champagne should be tasted at least once in life. There are many holiday destinations in France. The land of Eiffel tower attracts majority tourists. People who love adventurous skiing in the snowy Alps in winter and mountaineering in summer will love holidaying here. The natural beauty of France, marvelous landscapes and beaches are mesmerizing. If I get a chance I would love to holiday in France for sure. Below is my agenda the day I plan flying to France :)

Skyscanner is an amazing app which helps in comparing the flight rates and rounding on what suits you best. It also helps in searching the hotels and book cabs at your desired destination. Thanks to Indiblogger which helped us in knowing more about this cool app. Below screenshots show how this app helped me with my search! After a lot of research I rounded on a place called NICE to visit first in the France. I need solemnity, solace and rejuvenation and this place looks like it has what all I need for!
A glimpse of Skyscanner website
I explored little more with the help of skyscanner on my mobile and rounded on British airways which suited my budget. Find the screen shots below which helped me with my search. I have seen apps and websites like Makemytrip and many more but there is nothing like skyscanner. It is a one stop shop to know the flight rates and explore the places and know the duration and many other small big miscellaneous details.

I will make a checklist before my travel starts. The highlights would be like below

·         Passport, Id card and other essentials should be in place.
·         Plan for the currency exchange to Euros after arriving in France
·         Planning proper accommodation with the help of SkyScanner.
·         Planning the trip in the right time of the year, preferably from April to October.
·         Learning basic French words to not face any difficulty during the local sightseeing :)
·         Meticulously spending the Euros and being vigilant so as to avoid getting lured.
·         Last but not the least carrying the medical kit in case of emergency during the travel period.
When I Scanned the Sky :)
Where to holiday in South France ?:  It is a big question as the place is vast!. A holiday in Southern France is purely divine in winter as well as summer. Other than the crowded July and August rest of the year is off season and is calmer. The city which you must visit in South France is “Nice” in Côte d'Azur. It is easy to plan day trips to places like Monaco, Canes Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Menton from there. Aix-en-Provence situated further east is beautiful. You can book accommodation in a rental villa too. One can go hiking in the golden yellow fields or a day can be spent by visiting the nearby ski resorts. Cities in Provence such as Avignon, Arles, Nimes and Marseille are great to visit during the winter season as winter is sunny and pleasant. Even if swimming in Mediterranean is tough as it is cold one can enjoy a sea side stroll. The calanques are a major attraction of France holidays, which are steep-walled inlets of the sea, good for adventurous hiking and the sight is breath taking. Shared below are few glimpses!
The wide beach in Nice. Image source- here
This is a calanque. Isn't it breath taking ? Source -here
Camping holidays in France:  A holiday to France is incomplete if you miss the beaches of southern France. Camping in France should be in your to-do list. Camping is the best family holiday and you can stay in a luxurious tent or a mobile holiday home or a caravan. For an enjoyable camping holiday in France you have to first decide your budget and location. Again the skyscanner app will come handy here if you are facing challenges to contact people and know the details. French alps and beaches can make you dreamy.  With mouthwatering Croissants, magnificent lunches, coffee and amazing weather camping will make holidays to France memorable. Holiday caravan  secluded from the hustle bustle or a mobile home make the duration in France more interesting.
A camping holiday in France
Beach holiday:  France is a place for  perfect beach holidays with clear blue waters and warm climate. There are many pristine beaches. Cannes and Nice are famous for beach holidays and for family outings. A visit to Alps for a ski holiday makes a France holiday quite adventurous. Whether you are a professional skier or not you will have the ski slopes fitting your skills. Along with diversified cultures the holiday destinations in France are good for an adventurous trip. The treks, rock climbing, camping, cycling, canyoning, white water rafting and hiking make the trip more thrilling. With excellent beaches, rides and facilities France holidays are peaceful. Fishing holidays in France are good for fisher men and also  for anglers who just want to fish for fun.

Holidays of choice in France:-)

Walking holidays in France altogether give a different perspective. With necessary maps one can walk carefree. The self-guided walking trips or couple walks can be short or long and exciting. France has an amazing coastline with variety of beaches. If shores of Brittiany are rugged, Mediterranean is sun drenched. You can swim, surf and relax and also get a hotel accommodation overlooking the beach. You can hire a boat and enjoy the French Canal Boating Holidays. You can enjoy the scenery, rich heritage and history during boating. Driving holidays in France are good too. You can self-drive or rent a car and plan your trip. Villas, gites, apartments, hotels and chateaus provide an excellent holiday accommodation to tourists in France. There are many cottages and hotels at affordable prices for a perfect France holiday with in the budget. The luxurious accommodation and facilities like crèche, babysitting provide relaxing time for families with children. I would love to sit relax , enjoy the French wine and other cuisines and just get lost in the dreamy land of France!
Oui.  A holiday in France will totally leave you in awe.

This is the true blue color of water in Mediterranean at Nice - Source : here
Walking Holiday in France. Solitude can be a bliss!
Image source : here
From learning French to eating the mouth watering Croissants and holidaying in these exotic locations of Southern France , every thing linked to France is in my to-do list. I started dreaming about France from the day I read a beautiful ballad  "La Belle Dame sans Merci" by John Keats. I am charmed by the place, history, Leonardo Davinci, the art and the rich culture. I want to visit the Cannes Film Festival. I want to get amazed by Monalisa at the Lourve and get amused at the Palace of the Versailles. I will be visiting the fashion capital of the world and the most romantic city- Paris and stand on the top of Eiffel Tower with my man as well but the place "Nice" is just etched in my mind , so it would be nice if I  plan my trip by starting with Nice.Let me know your dream destinations and how you will plan for them ?
The famous French Wine, Bread , cheese and grapes. Source: here
John Keats- Source - here . I love his poems and quotes :)

"Merci for reading my dream trip to France.

After writing all this I am definitely in a trance!
Bonjour my dear readers till we meet again here with the same fervour.
If you liked this write up share your views and vote for me hereAu revoir :-)!"

This post is submitted for #TravelsmartwithSkyScanner contest by Indiblogger in association with SkyScanner

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pelancongan Kepada Malaysia ( Tour to Malaysia) !

We went to Malaysia – Singapore for honeymoon on a holiday package with Welfare Holiday Tours whose offers seemed exciting in the beginning but we were dissatisfied by their implementation which made us hop around the places with certain time limit allotted to each place which was very less. 

As soon as we landed in KL (Kuala-lumpur) the capital city of Malaysia I was flabbergasted by the size of the airport and it took us some 15-20min to understand from where we need to collect the baggage. We boarded a subway-metro which took us to the point where we had to collect the baggage. The first thing we did was to search our cab driver who was holding a placard with our names on it. After a tiresome journey in Srilankan airlines and tasteless food we were so relieved to find him . Of course we had no idea then what all food options we would be having in the forthcoming days! The cab driver Raja is from Tamil Nadu and got settled in Malaysia . It was my first international visit so like everyone else I was also surprised by the clean – wide roads and neat traffic and more surprised by seeing too many Indians especially Tamilians who were settled there from long. I am not sure on this but may be as TN is the nearest Indian state to Malaysia Tamilians were high in number there.

Raja dropped us at hotel Ancasa saying another Guide Christopher will be picking us from hotel next day in the morning. Meanwhile we can roam on our own in areas around the hotel, he said . He told just adjacent to hotel there is China town which is good time pass as it is Chinese New year. We were greatly relieved as soon as we entered our magnificent and luxurious hotel Ancasa.  Our room was in 11th floor and the view was great from there as we were able to see a huge Bank – May bank and KL tower and also Petronus- Twin towers from the room window.
Below are the snap shots ofHotel An-Casa , KL tower & MAY-bank (in order) from the hotel room window
Another interesting thing we spotted was Mc-D from the room window so it was decided we would have lunch there as we reached very late and the free unlimited buffet breakfast closed by 10:30 and we were in no mood to try any new cuisine. So we headed straight to Mc-D and had the usual French fries and non veg meal along with coke which seemed heavenly then .
PS: I never liked MC-Donalds!

Five things which I experienced in Malaysia and which I would love to experience again are listed below:

1.) Chinese Newyear : After a satisfactory meal we headed to China town which was all glowing in red due to various decorations as part of Chinese New year and there was too much of hustle bustle in shops . The note worthy things there were chestnuts which were yum and also guavas which were the size of small coconuts. The vendor who was selling them seemed to be Yo-Yo with all his DJ kind of pics pasted on his cart. He was very vibrant and gentle when he was dealing with us  and did not mind posing for us!
Chinese New year celebrations at China town
Chest nut and Guava Vendor
We roamed for an hour or so and in some shops we found it amusing and funny to see that there was a recorded tape of an old lady shrieking in a very happy tone regarding the sales/offers/products. She was shouting some thing like Pork for some ringgits and that offer was valid only for that day. I was not able to make out exactly what it is but understood only one thing that ringgit is Malaysian currency and 1 ringgit = 16 Rs and a word of advise here.If you keep converting a ringgit in to rupees you will never be able to purchase any thing there. Even if I converted I found some fruits/ food items and clothing (T-shirts etc) were reasonably priced . After purchasing chest nuts and T-shirts and having some juice we came back to hotel to rest for a while. In the night we came out on our own asking the Taxi for near by famous shopping center in KL and got down at BB plaza surrounded by KFC and the majority of the crowd were Chinese celebrating the Chinese new-year!
     KL-tower in the night
After roaming around and having some veg-roll from an Indian stall which was tasteless, purchased an orange juice to drain it. I purchased a leather belt and came back to hotel as we didn't find any thing interesting to buy .Below is the pic showing Malaysian currency.
Malaysian currency
Before describing the city tour we had the next day let me brief Malaysian History for those who are interested! Malaysia is a country in southeast Asia consisting of the southern Malay Peninsula and the northern part of the island of Borneo. Malays probably moved into the peninsula eventually reaching northern Borneo and displacing the indigenous Dayaks. Europeans arrived in the 16th century. Gaining independence in 1957, it joined with Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak to become the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. Singapore gained independence separately in 1965. Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city with a population of 24,800,000. This is what our guide MR. Christopher briefed to us on the first day of the tour which covered the city tour. For more information you can google.

Christopher also explained that the type of Govt in Malaysia is constitutional monarchy nominally headed by paramount ruler (commonly referred to as the King) and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a non elected upper house and an elected lower house; all Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers (commonly referred to as sultans) except Melaka and Pulau Pinang (Penang); those two states along with Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia have governors appointed by government. Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., right to maintain their own immigration controls).

I love history and the facts. I loved visiting Istana Negara and Masjid-e-Negara

2.) Masjid- Negara Our first stop was Istana Negara which means National palace, the royal residence for the King and queen. They did not allow us to enter inside , so we took some snaps at the entrance of the palace where there were boards with details of the palace, constitutional monarchy as well as the hierarchy of all the sultans who ruled till then.
Istana Negara Entrance
Our next stop was a monument built in the memory of dead warriors in 1st and 2nd world wars. You can check it in the image below.
War memorial
We in Game OVER tee shirts bought at China Town :P
Then we visited Masjid-negara which means National mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. As we entered inside we realized that wearing a burqa is must to walk inside till the point where tourists are allowed. All foreigners maintained hijab as they entered inside. It was very bright to watch all sea of people dressed in purple hijabs.
As told by our guide Christopher and as we roamed we realized it’s a strict Islamic country and we were told that there Muslims are even punished if they are caught eating food in day time during the month of Ramadan! They can carry food items to their homes but shouldn't eat in open. There is an Islamic museum which we wanted to visit but missed

3.) Kualalampur Bird Park and KL tower:  KL has one of the largest bird watches in Asia but due to time constraint we couldn't stop by! The next time I visit I will definitely take time to spend at KL Bird park . It has world's largest freeflight walk in Aviary and houses some exotic birds. Being a nature lover I am sure I would love it there.
Image source : Here
 Our next stop was the world famous KL tower or Telecommunication tower which is the seventh tallest tower in the world used for broadcast purposes with an observation deck on the top most floor and a floating restaurant.The tower also acts as the Islamic falak observatory to observe the crescent moon which marks the beginning of Muslim month of Ramadhan.(go to wiki for more). The tallest telecom tower is Tokyo sky tree in Japan.
This KL tower image is from wiki
We went to the top most floor of the tower from where we had amazing views of the KL city. It was a unique experience and I would love to go there again. Petronus towers were also visible from the windows of the KL Tower.Check the snapshots below!
Petronus towers
KL- city view
We had lunch in Little India where there were shops selling clothes from Mumbai, Kerala etc. We had some south Indian food which tasted lousy! 
4.) Petronus Towers: Next stop was obviously Petronus/twin towers .The night view of Petronus towers is extremely beautiful. There are offices inside and you are not allowed to go in. Tower 1 has Petronus offices and Tower 2 is given for lease to other offices like Accenture, Mc Kinsey etc . It was the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004 till it was surpassed by Taipei-101 in China but they remain the tallest twin towers so far. Both towers are connected by Sky Bridge and it’s an amazing sight to watch in the night where the zenith of the towers shine like twin stars competing with the sky!

That night we picked up courage and tasted veg noodles full of vinegar in China town. They were edible but the surrounding crab and frog dishes were not so welcoming. Hence we finished the dinner asap and enjoyed the rain outside. Being a tropical country there is sun as well as a daily evening drizzle in Malaysia. The two day stay was enjoyable with occasional drizzle , little India (which almost gave the feel of home :)) , China town, visits to all the tall towers and knowing the country's  history! 

One more thing is hibiscus is national flower of Malaysia and we could see lampposts in the shape of hibiscus almost everywhere and you can see the hibiscus flower on the currency note too!The 2 day stay was noteworthy if we keep aside the food and the whiffs or sight of the food ! We thought may be they will react in a similar way when they come across Indian spicy food.:)

5.) Genting Highlands: The next day we packed and were all set to go to “Genting Highlands” .Its my most favorite place in the whole trip . On the way we also visited “Batu” caves which is to the north of KL city where there is a Hindu shrine of lord Muruga. 

It acts as a focus of Hindu  festival Thaipusam which was happening when we visited Malaysia . You can witness many Indians there , mostly Tamilians and it’s a famous pilgrimage site for Hindus all over the world. While climbing the steps to go inside the cave you will come across many ferocious monkeys scaring you and trying to snatch things from you .I almost ran on the steps to escape from all the mischievous monkeys! Outside there is world's largest Lord Muruga’s golden statue which is 140 ft tall , a golden shrine and inside the caves also there is a shrine.
Lord Muruga at Batu caves
If you travel further north you will reach Genting highland-resorts with a Theme park also called as Genting Island which is more like a man made island developed to attract the tourists! As we were taking many hair pin bends and were about to reach Genting highland there was a remarkable drop in temperature and we didn't feel like having the local cold drink Kickapoo which we bought at Batu caves as it was burning hot there. We felt as if season changed from summer to winter in minutes and we started groping our bags for sweaters and shawls.

The main attraction of Genting is The First World hotel which held its place  in the Guinness records as the world's largest hotel in 2005 . it was the largest hotel till 2008 when The Palazzo of Los vegas replaced it. Now The first world hotel is the 4th largest.

Nevertheless if you go to Genting should stay in this place which is like a township full of entertainment and fun. We thought of going for foot massage and fish pedicure but we felt we had no time and to be honest we didn't feel like spending a lot on it ;)

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