Posted in bakery, dehradun, himalayan resort, himalayan river, himalayas, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, landour, mountain, mountains, mussoorie, north indian, poha, Sunset, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, writer, writing

Corn Village and Landour Exploration curated by Transforming Travels

Call it co-incidence, but I have been travelling more frequently to Uttarakhand this year than I ever did before. And although I am not really fond of the pebble laden trails here, the distinct Pahadi culture never fails to baffle me.

And the fact that the magnificent views here are still hidden from my prying eyes, I yearn to return here more often.

This unique experience was curated by the Transforming Travels and the organizers Chandni Aggarwal and Mihir Panda were their usual informative and cheery best.

Day 0

We, a group of six travellers, boarded an Innova from Mandi House Metro station at 11pm in the night.  After getting acquainted with each other, we retired for the day in our car seats.

Day 1

This day started early at 6:30 a.m. as we reached our hotel Grand Galaxy, a few kilometres from Mussoorie. Since road journeys tend to leave you exhausted, I preferred to sleep till 8:30 although that comforting sleep felt like eternity.

The breakfast ritual was performed in the blazing sun at the hotel courtyard from where you could get a magnificent view of the Mussoorie-Dehardun landscape. The usual poha, poori and aloo sabzi tend to become tastier in the mountains, I feel.

IMG_20181027_093610-01

Corn Village was the first place in our itinerary and before visiting the village, our first stoppage was at an elderly couple’s place. The husband Mr. Kunwar is the head of the village and his lady is a Canadian who decided to adopt the Pahadi culture. The lovely couple greeted us with a freshly prepared lemongrass tea and to sip it in the lap of the mountains while listening to the twittering of mountain birds was priceless! The couple have opened an English medium school for the children of Corn Village and are working tirelessly for literacy here.

IMG-20181028-WA0052-01

The vibrant yellow hues of the sweet corn cobs welcome you as you traverse through the village. The smiling villagers while going around their daily chores make you forget the tiredness from the road journey. The smiling children will pester you to play with them while the elderly ladies will oblige when you ask for a photograph to capture their earthy beauty.

DSC_0040-01

1541602916420_DSC_0037-01

Lunch was a delicious affaire with make ki roti (corn chappatis), spiced wheat pancakes, sautéed pumpkins, mixed lentils, rice and sautéed greens. Each and every item was lip smacking to say the least.

IMG_20181027_132623-01

After Corn Village, Landour was not far behind. It is at a greater height than Mussoorie (some 2000m) and delicate cold winds will hit you abruptly. The colonial touches are more prominent here – stony pathways, wooden cottages, British conifers, deserted lanes and of course the bakeries.

IMG-20181028-WA0055-01

And I forgot to mention the very sophisticated boarding school kids scouting the Landour bakehouse. The bakery is pretty old – the puny roofs, the wooden interiors and the bone china cutlery will remind you of the bygone days. There is an extensive dessert menu with fresh bakes though I preferred to take chicken croissant sandwich which was ohh-so-warm. Not to forget the fresh ginger lemon tea with organic honey.

IMG-20181028-WA0050-01

Sunsets are not to be missed when you are in the mountains and the view from Lal Tibba is unforgettable.

DSC_0120-01

The day ended with a late dinner in the courtyard at the hotel and a sleep full of snores.

Day 2

The trek towards the origins of Kempty Falls had to begin early though we started late at 9a.m. A half an hour journey from our hotel to Cloud’s End where George Everest’s home stands tall. The building is in a dilapidated state with some hideous caricatures of undying love drawn on the walls. Nevertheless, the views are a thing of beauty at the canyon. The short hike to the top was a warm up for our trek and we successfully passed it.

DSC_0148-01

DSC_0164-01

IMG-20181028-WA0086-01

The trek towards the Kempty Falls origins is a descending one so expect sore calf muscles. You have to trudge very carefully as the well defined trail does get slippery in between. But the dense forests and the meadows encountered leave you breathless, quite literary. The trail foes through the Mussoorie Wildlife Sanctuary and we were told by some officials that bears and leopards are regular visitors there. Not to mention my chance encounter with a tiny snake that preferred to ran away instead of biting me.

DSC_0200-01

When you finally reach the gushing crystal clear blue-green waters of the many streams which ultimately form Kempty Falls, you can not help basking in the enchanting music. The long journey of 11km lays forgotten in the quiet of these streams.

After snacking on sweet corn and chai, we geared ourselves for Dehardun where we decided to have a grand dinner at Kalsang Ama café. I somehow never understood how these mountain cafes are able to dish out better pizzas, pastas and sandwiches than our high grade Delhi restaurants. The café scored excellent on quality as well as quantity.

And as usual, we decided to retire for the day in our car seats and reached Delhi in the morning hours.

Such rural explorations with unchartered trails are a speciality of Transforming Travels. Not to forget the comfort factor involved during road journey as well as hotel/resort stay.

 

Advertisements
Posted in gemstones, musings, ruby, sapphire, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Rubies all the way!

For a rationale human being, wearing astrological gemstones does come at a price. For instance, people calling you religious and superstitious. And trust me, it is a big price to pay!

I have been made to wear about four of them – pearl, coral, ruby and yellow sapphire/amber in chronological order. I threw away my first pearl ring (which my departed maternal grandfather gifted me in 10th grade) because I could not write fast enough in my pre-board exams. (Ring in pinky finger does slows you down).

Then I wore it again, but I had a tendency to throw it away – I believe it was never meant for me.

Then came the coral because apparently my planets were misaligned and blah blah! Truth be told, my mind was misaligned more than my planets. At God knows how many astronomical units, these bloody planets can not affect me at the same rate as my mind can.

Getting back to our topic, coral was on my left finger and then the ravishing blood red ruby on my right one. I did not pay much attention to the ruby one, though I always relished looking at rubies in my childhood. After a year I was advised pearl again and that too combined with the coral one as a pendant. Imagine having to carry that much weight around your neck. Harry Potter, you have my sympathies when you wore Slytherin’s locket around your neck.

Last but not the least, the yellow sapphire came and trust me I can not afford to lose it or even throw it away. No puns intended. I might have spent a good smartphone’s worth on it.

I never knew the value of my blood red ruby ring until the day one of my colleagues pointed out her fondness for the same. Not once but more than thrice.

She still asks me from where did I get it and I always tell her I will tell you, though I forget to ask the friend who got me the ring, the name of jeweler.

There are more than thirty faces on this ring and I counted these after five years of first adorning it on my ring finger. You know why? Because I took it for granted, I took its sheen, its beauty for granted like we always do with so many people and things in our life. My colleague made me realize the lovely shine it reflected and refracted whenever I moved my hands or gestured angrily or threw my palms into my head when I wanted to pull away my hair.

Too bad, it took me five years and a person to finally see the beauty of this stone…..

But now I love to savour the shine of the ruby ring and deliberately move my finger at different angles so that I can bask in those little rays of light from the gemstone. They do make me happy, however small that might be.

Imagine what a solitaire would do!

Meanwhile that Slytherin’s locket or rather the coral-pearl duet lies away in my Mom’s dressing table. I think it has become a horcrux now because when I finally took it off, a wave of relief swept me. It probably took a part of my darkness away.

I can not believe what I am writing but it is 2 a.m. in the night and spookiness prevails.

But yes, the ruby stone is beautiful, better than any piece of jewellery I ever had.

Posted in Uncategorized

Fast Food and Cafe Convention

As food bloggers and enthusiasts, we are mostly concerned with exploring different varieties of dishes here and then. But have we ever wondered the hard work and research that goes behind the food items at our restaurant table or the delightful customer experience? The recently organized Fast Food and Cafe Convention answers these questions.

Here are some of the sessions that we attended:

Life beyond Classics by Rajnish Kansal, National Head, Mc Cain: Mr. Rajnish elaborately talked about how new ways of serving the regular classics is working very well, like serving maggie with fries. There was an exhibit by the Mc Cain group where Mr. rajnish explained that Mc Cain specifically focuses on potato products and a lot of research has gone into creating the perfect potato. The researchers at Mc Cain have spent around 10-12 years in getting the perfect potato which has more solids as compared to the traditional one. They have their own farms and processing units and the chefs have created ready to eat dishes which are yummy to the core. Mc Cain also holds live culinary workshops innovation sessions.

IMG_20181030_134306-01

E-commerce and restaurants – The New Guest Experience by Sahil Jain, founder of Dineout: Dineout was borne out of the idea of providing a seamless experience when customers look for outside eating options while taking care of convenience and savings. Dineout offers categories of eating joints – lounges, pubs, desserts etc. Through customer loyalty programs, technology solutions which help in getting customer preferences, automated campaigns which offer discounts on customer preferences etc Dineout believes in helping restaurants by more returning customers and higher revenues. Additionally, the restaurant menus updated at Dineout gets automatically updated at Zomato, Swiggy and FoodPanda.

IMG_20181030_131437-01

Doubling revenue from marketing campaigns by the Xeno co-founder Pranav Ahuja: Pranav lucidly explained that through Xeno, about a lac customer campaigns have been created which are unique and specific to each customer. The favourite dishes of the customers, preferred day and time – these data points are utilized using Alfred – personal marketing assistant by utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence. Who, where, when and what to send – Xeno is there for the restaurants. Xeno has been catering to Biryani Blues, Nandos, Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell, Sumo Sushi etc.

 

Posted in Aerocity, art brunch, brunch, cake mixing, Christmas cake mixing, delhi, desserts, JW Marriot, JW Marriot Aerocity, luxury, luxury brunch, mercedes e class, painting, Sunday brunch, things to do in delhi, Uncategorized

Charming Art Brunch at JW Marriot Aerocity

Delhi winters have their own appeal and what better to enjoy the winter sun than to soak it in while relishing good food and drinks? The plethora of food festivals and brunches offer a promising experience.

IMG-20181104-WA0002-01

JW Marriot Aerocity recently organized an Art Brunch where they were many attractions. The most prominent one was the live painting on Mercedes E class by artist Jai “Zaiu” Ranjit in the playground area. It was a treat to watch the uber luxury car getting painted in myriad colours.

IMG-20181104-WA0003-01

The customary cake mixing ceremony also happened here and for us, it was the first time. The variety of dry fruits – raisins, cashews etc were hand mixed in liquor according to the directions by the chef.

IMG-20181104-WA0001-01

IMG-20181104-WA0012-01

Since it was an art brunch, the desserts were according to the theme. Edible paintings and chocolates fashioned in brush strokes were one of the many culinary attractions. A live band and an extensive food menu made up our Sunday.

Posted in bacon, cheese, fish, grilled fish, mascarpone cheese, mushroom pizza, Pasta, Pizza, risotto, Salad, spaghetti, spaghetti carbonara, Uncategorized, veg pizza

BricknBean Cafe, M3M Mall, Gurgaon

BnB signature salad: Talk about the taste and talk about the presentation – everything was spot on. Specially the usage of wooden cutlery – so earthy, so rustic. The salad is subtle with the goodness of skinned oranges, fresh rockets leaves, crunchy roasted almonds, soft Buffalo cheese and pomegranate seeds.

1539926248940_DSC_0056-01

Grilled vegetables pizza: Thin crust rules the roost these days and when slathered with a good quality warm mozarella cheese, leaves no stone unturned to astonish you. The juicy cherry tomatoes, sliced yellow and green zucchini, chewy mushrooms and tangy black olives contribute towards the loveliness of this masterpiece.

DSC_0063-01

3 mushroom risotto: Subtle cheesiness, juicy and chewy shiitake, button and porcini mushrooms define this dish. Overall good taste but could have been more flavourful.

IMG_20181018_124853-01

BnB Signature pasta: A version of the usual spaghetti carbonara. The way the cheese blends with the Al Dante spaghetti is phenomenal and when combined with firm not chewy bacon, this will blow your mind.

DSC_0077-01

Orange garlic grilled fish: Top marks to the presentation. And equally top marks to the flavour and texture. The lightly crusted fish is so mellow plus the welcoming tang of orange with chopped garlic is so refreshing. The juicy grilled vegetables – yellow and green zucchini and mushrooms are well doused in the Italian herbs mixture.

DSC_0085-01

 Brick N Bean Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Overthinking, poem, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Inmate

Amidst the swarms of crowd
I feel lost
Defunct and helpless
As a future less womb

In these ocean of mindless thoughts
I yearn to find my sanity
Doubting whether it is lost forever
Or still hiding within me

Unhindered musings enslave me
Binding my heart in their chains
Shackling my prudence
And my pride

Oh those shackles!
Slithering from my heart
To my feeble mind
Entangling every speck
Every shred
The last dregs of wisdom..

My soul is still untouched
Is it still mine
Or have the thoughts snaked around her as well?

Am I still left?
Is my essence there?
Or is it extinct
In the bloody swathes of binding reverie

Oh what am I?
If not
A prisoner of my own mind…