Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nainital!

I've been wanting to go there for quite some time, and really quite surprised that having grown up in this general region that I still hadn't been there. The mid-October weather was perfect, a slight chill in the air but the sun was warm.

We stayed at Shervani Hilltop, which is a really lovely place. It's a series of blocks so you get a sense of privacy and a non-hotel feel, instead of being a large block with a corridor down the center. There are gardens at many levels as you go up or down to your room, flowers everywhere and tastefully done up modern rooms. They have central heating as well, which made the nights very comfortable too, especially with little kids who refuse to stay covered up at night!

There really isn't much sightseeing to do in Nainital, and we didn't want to do the things that all other tourists do, like go up in the rickety cable car. So apart from a drive up to the Raj Bhavan, which is quite a majestic castle like building, we made our own agenda of cafes and walks and sailing at the Nainital Boat Club. It was the perfect way to spend a relaxed week with kids.

Wandering in the terraced garden at Shervani Hilltop. The flowers were simply fantastic. What a beautiful sight. Kudos to the gardeners.

Marigolds will always have a special spot in my heart!

All 10 sailboats of the Nainital Boat Club lined up ready to go out! We sailed in the turquoise and green ones.

The buildings of the resort have a nice charm to them, without any of the shabbiness that usually comes with anything old and charming!

A resplendent dahlia in the terraced garden.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kasauli, a trip down memory lane

A trip to Kasauli is always fun. It's a place that I've gone to innumerable times since I was a child and I love it still. Luckily, the town hasn't changed much, it's still a cantonment town so it's kept its original character of old British style bungalows, some maintained beautifully, others in rather a shabby state, but there isn't too much happening in the town, which limits the number of visitors who make it up the hill. Vehicles are not allowed on the upper mall in the evenings, so it's a nice place to walk with the kids and stroller.

View of the TV tower from Mount Walk which we gave up pretty quickly since the path was too rocky for the stroller.

There's always a great variety of geraniums at the Club. The back verandah is a favorite place to sit and relax for a while.

Old world simplicity in one of the cottages on the property.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Oh my, the blog is 10 years old!

It seems that my blog has turned into a flower photo blog!! But when I go home, I love to spend time in the garden and the beautiful flowers are hard to resist. The girls love being outdoors too, the little one relishes getting muddy which is very unlike the elder one who was always so particular about not getting dirty!! It's nice to see their similarities and differences!

In other news, this blog is 10 Years Old!!

Whoa, how did this happen! I really had no idea I would still, albeit occasionally, be doing this, when I started a blog in August 2004 when we lived in Bangalore. I read about blogging and weblogs in the paper, haha!! I remember always having to explain what a blog was, and why it was so interesting to blog in the first place!

Who can resist collecting some fallen Sada Bahaar! Not me!

A gorgeous variety of hibiscus.

Euphorbia might have thorns, but it's all-year-round blooms are worth it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

on being grateful

We lead a gilded life. We take it for granted, instead of appreciating that it's really not how it is for everyone. This morning when I was chatting with one of the maids, she mentioned that she met her kids after 4 years when she went home to her village a week back. It's absolutely unbelievable to me, unthinkable really, to have kids and not be able to see them, to touch them, to hear their little voices every single day. But to so many people in this world, it's another luxury that they cannot afford. So the children grow up in the village brought up by grandmothers, while their mother and father earn money in the city. People lead harsh lives. They take tough decisions to better their children's futures, to build their own house, to maybe have some savings. It makes me thankful for all I have. It makes me want to hug my daughters a little tighter.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

that feeling of home

So much has happened in the past year, that's its been so hard to keep up with it all. We had a new baby, we moved to a new country, our elder one started proper school, we set up home again! I remember before we moved in, when we were still searching and then once we found our current apartment, I would want to fast forward ahead to a few months to the moment when I could sit back with a cup of coffee in my hand, look around and sigh in happiness. I'm there. I do it every day. Every single day.

It gives me so much pleasure to have found a lovely house and to have set it up for my family. We already have so many memories here, of the little one sitting up, standing up, saying tata, crawling excitedly to the door when it's time for big sis to go to school! It's these memories that we are making every single day that make the house into a home, to a memorable place. The elder one is just 4 but remembers our old apartment in Dubai so clearly, she relishes telling me how her room was, what she did, where she danced and colored. It's simply beautiful to hear her. Now it's time for new memories in our new home.

My morning coffee break is what I aim for when I wake up at 530am!!

The kids room! A large format print of an old photo of mine taken at the IHC in New Delhi.The carpet is a beloved relic from my childhood. I love seeing the girls play on it every afternoon. It's made of cotton so it's washable and its really soft to walk on, not rough like a durrie.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The beauty of Bougainvillea

A flashback to some bougainvillea blooms from last year. I adore this color, when it's a mix of pink and red, some orange thrown in as well. Bougainvillea are such common flowers, but there really is something so wonderful about them, they seem to make even the dullest corner come alive as they bloom.




Tuesday, September 02, 2014

into the light

I've always been a fan of dramatic shots when it comes to light and shadow. It's something that stops me when I'm doing my chores and makes me run for the camera. Earlier it was easy to capture these moments, but with two littles in the house, I have to plot and plan to keep them busy while I take my shots! I'm not always successful, and they run into the shots or sneak in cute dimpled hands, which quite frankly often "make" the shots! Here are some where I wasn't interrupted.




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The rain, ah the joy of the rains!

Monsoon rain! How wonderful it is to experience it all over again! After so many years of living in the desert, its simply magical to see dark clouds, smell the rain and be surrounded by greenery everywhere. It's probably something one takes for granted, but not anymore for me.


A cup of coffee on the balcony!


Pouring rain!

A little baking. Simple khara biscuits to go with tea and coffee.

Friday, August 08, 2014

My girls

Some days are a breeze. Some aren't. On those days all you do is question if everything you are doing is really making a difference or not. No one said being a parent is an easy thing. It's a minefield of doing the right thing, juggling beyond your wildest imagination, keeping your cool, forgetting about yourself and living in a constant state of exhaustion and fear. But then the little ones say or do something like run up and kiss you and all your worries and tiredness vanishes. They return at other times, when you least expect it, but maybe when you better able to cope with it. I just want to hold on to those moments, when I feel absolutely invincible, with both my girls hugging, kissing and nuzzling me.

That's what it's all about.




Thursday, August 07, 2014

Kabini, a few glances

A few photos from our trip to Kabini in June. It was our first trip there and we loved it. The jungle safari was really great, even though we missed out on seeing a tiger. We did see elephants, lots of deer, several eagles, Indian bison, peacocks, owls etc. I loved the light in Kabini and really enjoyed taking lots and lots of photos there.


A cup of tea one morning.


A lovely verandah outside our rooms.

What a treat to walk through this arbor every day. The aroma was just mesmerizing.