The Perfect Road Trip – A Dream

 

The Destination

Few months back, I started watching the TV-series, 90210. The show is set and shot in and around California. The breath-taking scenic beauties depicted in the series have led to an insane obsession on my part to visit the place. And so, my idea of a Perfect Road Trip involves driving on the Pacific Coastline of California via Lake Tahoe and Napa Valley to reach Las Vegas!\

 

The Companions

I met few amazing people back when I was in Bhilai. Two of them continued to be an integral part f my life even after I left the place. One is my best friend, Alisha. The other is my alter-ego, Isha. The journey I talk of above is a dream. And so is living my dream with these two! (I miss you guys)

Other than people, there would be a DSLR, loads of food and drinks, and not to forget, Ambi Pur!

 

The Car

I have always, always wanted to own a Lamborghini. But since none comes with a seating capacity of four, I am “settling” for a black BMW M6 convertible. “Weaving Dreams” should go on the ECA section of my resume.

 

The Route

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

My perfect road trip shall begin in Monterey. There are many places to visit in this town, such as, the Royal Presidio Chapel, Monterey State Historic Park, Custom House, Casa Soberanes, Larkin House etc. The one that I want to go to, however, is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium displays thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species, which include stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, bluefin and yellowfin tuna, Giant Kelps and great white sharks, amongst many others.

 

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En route Big Sur

Driving three miles south on Highway 1, we would spend an evening or two, walking down the streets, shopping and dining, and relaxing in one of the cottages in Carmel. After Carmel comes the highlight of our road trip – driving through the Pacific Coast Highway to reach the Big Sur. This enchanting rugged coastline stretches to about 90 miles. An early morning drive to the place, hair flowing in the coastal wind and bottles of our favorite drinks in our hands, the moments would inscribe themselves in our memories forever, one heavenly glimpse at a time.

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The Hearst Castle

 

 

From there we would drive on to the Hearst Castle by the evening and spend a couple of days at the majestic mansion visiting various art exhibits and enjoying the exquisite European setting of the mansion.

napa-valley

“Wine is bottled poetry.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

 

 

Driving early in the morning, we would head for the Napa Valley. It is one of the largest wine regions in the world. We would explore the expanse in a hot-air balloon and in the evening go for wine-tasting. This reminds me, the three of us have never drunk together. Oh wait, we are yet to reach our final destination. 😀

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Lake Tahoe

 

Moving on from Napa Valley we would head for Lake Tahoe. It is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world. And from what I have heard, it is absolutely breath-taking. The lake lies on the border of Nevada. And so, we drive a little more and there we are. Las Vegas! There’s so much to do there! I am pretty sure you are a fan of ‘Hangover’ and need no introduction to the place. And if haven’t seen the film yet, please do.

 

To avoid getting unnecessary phone calls from my family members about my weird intentions and fantasies, I shall not mention what we would do there other than visiting the desert. (That would be safe). Nevertheless, you can let your imagination soar.

I sincerely hope that none of us would be married when this actually happens. And even if any of us are, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. 😀

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P.S. This blog post is my entry for THE PERFECT ROAD TRIP contest organized by Indiblogger and Ambi Pur India.

 

P.P.S. This is a very special blog post. And very close to what I want in life. I am grateful to Indiblogger for providing me an opportunity that made me think on so many grounds and gave me a clearer view of what I want from myself and my life. It was not very easy to pick the perfect companions. But it also made me realize who, of all the people I have met, have made the maximum impact on my life. If this comes true, ever, and I will sincerely make sure it does, I will be rich and happy.

 

Book Review : Kaleidoscope

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Few months back, Spring Tide, in association with Parlance Publishers, Buddygifting, Chaisa Cafe and Bluegape, organized an online short story writing contest. Twenty five stories were selected out of hundreds of entries received and compiled into this wonderful book “Kaleidoscope”.  Here’s what I feel about each story:

 

Hunter  by Vivek Banerjee 

This story has won its author the Best Writer award in this contest. I loved the climax of the story. Quite unexpected.

 

The House by Deboshree Bhatacharjee

This story is beautifully penned down. However, I was expecting something more.

 

Tale of the Knitting Yarn by Nabanita Dhar

I have often come across Ms. Dhar’s Indiblogger profile but never read her work, for no apparent reason until this one. Well, this, according to me, is the best story. I simply loved the use of Irony in the story. For me, you’re an uncontested winner.  🙂

 

Voice Male by Renuka Vishwanathan

This is also one of the top five stories of Kaleidoscope. It started off pretty well. The title, however, gave the climax away.

 

The Domino Effect by Deepa Duraisamy

This is a very well-thought plot. The story absolutely does justice to its place in the “Top Five Stories”.

 

The hike to the Temple by Prasanna Rao

This is again a gripping tale with an interesting climax.

 

Food by Vaibhav Mukhim

Well, this was a failed attempt at becoming a Dan Brown thriller in roughly 6 pages.

 

Happy Puppet by Bhavya Kaushik

This one surprised me with its well-researched and kuch hatke concept. I have read Bhavya’s work before and this story didn’t disappoint me either.

 

The White Dress by Garima Nowal

This was a quick and exciting read; a page turner. I am a fan of ‘flukes’. And this story had one.

 

Karma is a bitch by Rafaa Dalvi

The story progressed agreeably to a remarkable end.

 

Redemption by Harihar Adarsh

This story is different because it is not set in a contemporary period and not-so-different because its clichéd storyline.

 

The Last Date by Sarvana Kumar Murugan

A decent read highlighting some really important and grave social issues.

 

I love you too by Khushi Gupta

A love story stretched over a lifetime, penned in a few pages. Good job. The best thing about the story is the one-liners, every now and then. “Sometimes, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”

 

Alive Inside by Nehali Lalwani

Again, a story that leaves you surprised.

 

Theory of Evolution by Balaganesh Pitchai

Woah! Hats off to this guy for coming up with something like this! Although, I think the concept is too good to be finished in a few pages. This deserves a whole novel.  🙂

 

‘I’ Operated by Smriti Mahale

I read and read and read and read some more. But alas, nothing happened. The story doesn’t do justice to the intriguing title it bears.

 

The Star that Shines on Me… by Parul Tyagi

I think this story should have been one of the top five stories. While reading this story, I felt like I am reading some work of literature. It’s wonderfully written. The climax, however, was a little weak. Overall, bravo.

 

The boy who sold books by Anurag Bhatt

This was again an interesting read. First person narrations are always more absorbing.

 

Chaos by Rahul Biswas

Umm… it was okay.

 

Secret of the murderous wood by Sanhita Baruah

A story involving werewolves and vampires has become too clichéd. This, is one of them.

 

First Contact by Aman Mathur

A sci-fi bringing out a brutal reality. A story with a moral.

 

The Journey of My Life by Shishir Dhingra

Like I said earlier, I love flukes. And I love them more when they happen in a train journey.

( I have my reasons. Something similar happened to me, once. I met a guy. And our story also ended in a marriage. His marriage. With someone else. Now stop laughing and read the next review.)

 

The Unknown Destination by Aniruddh Naik

To be honest, the stuff went over my head.

 

Crazy Scarf by Prabhat Singh

A love story that makes you go “aw”. Yes. Only one ‘W’.

 

When love oozed out blood by Ayush Agarwal

A dramatic tale focusing on homosexuality and coming out of the closet. Again, a story with a moral.

 

Since the review got pretty lengthy, I haven’t mentioned what each story is all about. I would leave up to you all to find that out. I have just expressed my honest opinion about each story.

You can grab a copy of this wonderful book here!

 

Book Review : Smart Phones Dumb People?

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Author : Parthajeet Sarma
Genre : Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 :  9789380619569
Rating : 2.5 out of 5

When I first heard about “Smart Phones Dumb People?”, I was truly mesmerized by the title itself. So much so, that I didn’t even care to read its excerpt and quickly agreed to review it. I was happy to lay my hands upon it.

 
The book begins with an incident that explicitly suggests the dumbness of some people today which is then compared to the smartness of Phones, and the rest of the book tries to answer the question “Smart Phones, Dumb People?”

“As gizmos take over our lives, and in some cases reduce pressure on our gray matter, have we become less intelligent? Have we become dumber?”

The author of the book, Parthajeet Sarma, is an award winning innovator and successful entrepreneur. A fan of free markets and technology, he likes writing and talking about holistic approaches towards addressing ‘base of the pyramid issues’. This is his first book.

The book gripped me instantly at its Prologue. However, as I read more, my interest level began to fluctuate. I liked the book in parts. The book contains some really interesting facts and mentions some really fascinating people and organizations. The author has expressed many positive views on Innovation, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Priorities and Corruption, and coupled them with suitable facts and figures, and various examples. However, there’s not much “out of the box” content in the book. So, despite the good part, the book lost me at certain places. There were times when I thought to myself “Is this really needed here?” The reason I felt that way, is that I just don’t agree with the title after reading the book. The two, in my view, just don’t go together. Like I said earlier, I was impressed by the title. But the content of the book, I feel, doesn’t not do justice to the title, and vice-versa.

In a nut-shell, when you weigh the good and the bad together, the bad does tend to go down but with a small margin. Overall, it was a decent read. Fun, interspersed with few yawns, here and there.

You can grab a copy of the book from Flipkart.

Because, Delhi

 

 

My three-year long stay in Delhi finally came to a halt on July 1, 2013. I was kind of devastated (please bear with my exaggeration) when I learnt in April that I was to leave Delhi by July. I started to look at the things present around me differently- the roads, the shops, the food, the dog, the pigeons (so many!), the beggars, the books, the heat, the sweat, the longing for winter, the desire to get drenched in rain and the reasons to hold on to the place. I also began to appreciate things that were not present around me- cow dung and cows, muddy roads, judgmental eyes, nagging fingers etc. I was expecting myself to wail on the railway platform. Or at least, shed one tear, just one, like a hero or something. But I didn’t. In fact, I was so occupied with managing the fourteen bags that I had with me that it took me about 43 minutes to realize that I had already crossed Delhi. But it didn’t take me any more than 24 hours to realize that I am brutally in love with Delhi! Yes, I miss Delhi.

 
I made friends. I lost some. And I concluded you never lose friends. I loved (again). Then, I un-loved (again). And I concluded, Karan Johar contradicted his own “Hum ek baar jeete hain, ek baar marte hain.. Pyaar bhi ek baar hota hai” crap in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I traveled on the road that led me to narcissism from self-loathing via self-discovery. I began to write like I had never written before. I met new people. Good people. I met writers, people who are fond of writers, people who find writers annoying and people who are indifferent towards writing. I had the privilege of attending various Indiblogger Meets. But for some reason or the other, I missed each of those. At least, I had the privilege of having an option to go and attend an Indiblogger Meet! (Now, I don’t). The three years were not a roller coaster ride. It was a journey- a beautiful, long, hauntingly pleasing and pleasingly surprising journey. And I loved every part of it. And I am gonna miss it. In fact, I already do.
I miss getting food delivered at my doorstep at 1 AM. I miss spending time with my two absolutely gorgeous friends. I miss the streets, the metros, the ease, the comfort and the love the city bears in utter disguise! I miss “Me & Him” where I could get the perfect hair-cut for just 99 bucks! I miss the food- Tandoori Momos from QD’s, Traffic Jam, Bun-butter, Food Factory’s Hyderabadi Biryani with Raita and all the food that has added more to my weight. They said, you’ll get slim once you start living in a hostel. HA HA, people. HA HA!

 
I will miss the long walks around the campus on cold winter nights. I will miss that Rikshaw wale uncle who took only 20 bucks from us, no matter how far you ask him to go! God bless that man. I will miss my Alma Mater. The red walls. Nescafe. The huts. Frappe. Soup. I will miss it all.  PS. Miranda House looks gorgeous during monsoon.

 
There are just, just so many things I will miss. There’s just nothing I would ever wanna forget. It was all too good to be true. May be, whatever happened in Delhi, would have happened to me anyway. May be, I would still have been able to discover myself, and what I want, had I lived somewhere else. May be, I give way too much credit to Delhi. But why shouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I? After all, it’s Delhi! And some chapters of life are beautiful simply because they happen in Delhi. I love the place with all its flaws. That’s the kind of true love people talk about, right? Well guess what, I am in love. And I hope, someday, I will be reunited with the one I love. Till then, a new destination and a new journey await me. 🙂

 

PS. I finally cried on the sixth night.