“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (March 29, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Reading: “The Tomb of the Honey Bee” by L. B. Hathaway.
Watching: “The Goldbergs” series.
Eating: Enchiladas.
Making:  plans to watch the movie “Beauty and the Beast” this weekend.
Wishing for: the weather to remain the same next month as it can get pretty unpredictable in the month of April.
Learning: to be more active and healthy.
Thinking: of all the yummy food I’ll get to eat at home next month when we visit Dubai.
Listening:  To the latest songs from “Bahubali 2”. Love them!

Loving:  That our vacation will start in just another 2 weeks!

Here’s what I had to say:
Reading: “Dollar Bahu” by Sudha Murthy. I love her books!
Watching:  the “Beauty and the Beast” movie. I beat you to it Madhi! 🙂
Eating: Belgian Mango Waffles.
Making: Mango Ice-Cream to beat the heat!
Wishing for: a respite from the heat and a bit of clarity on my Life purpose.
Learning: Basic strokes of Brush Lettering on Youtube.
Thinking: Of ways to control my kids from watching a lot of TV.
Listening: to the podcast “The Simple Show” 

Loving: All the possibilities and beginnings a new day brings.

Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

Schaffhauser Fasnacht

This is a short post about a Carnival we went to, this year. It is called the Swiss Carnival or the Fasnacht. Over 200 carnivals take place throughout Switzerland in the week after Ash Wednesday, and most of the action is concentrated around the City Centers.

20160130_14375620160130_151320

The carnival is a fascinating mix of party atmosphere, vivid costumes, stirring tunes of drummers and piccolo players, and the weird but wonderful music played by brass bands.

Many visitors and locals simply enjoy the experience of wandering around the city’s lively streets, alleys, checking out bars and restaurants while soaking up the festivities around. We did the same. 🙂

It’s so much fun to participate in and absorb the local traditions and customs, isn’t it?

So what’s happening in your neck of the woods this weekend?

Take care and Have Fun!

Love,

Madhurya.

“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (March 22, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Watching: The Adventures of Tintin.
Eating: Bananas and Oranges in the morning.
Making:  Nothing really!
Wishing for: my husband to come back home. He’s gone to Norway. It gets really boring without him.
Learning: to meditate without any distraction.
Thinking: about buying Yoga blocks without which I am not able to do some specific Asanas.
Listening:  To myself sing.

Loving:  The murder mystery series from L.B. Hathaway.

Here’s what I had to say:
Watching:  a lovely show called “Ariana’s Persian Kitchen” whenever it airs.
Eating: Greek Wrap with Falafel, Tahini Sauce and Salad(my own recipe with lots of chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, capsicum and some grated carrot; lemon juice, salt and pepper added as per taste). And oh! with Pita Bread serving as Wraps.
Making:  plans to get my Bullet Journal up and running. Will post all about why I feel I need one and how I’m making it to suit my interests and needs.
Wishing for: cooler days, cold coffee and colorful art supplies.
Learning: to take it one day at a time; one moment at a time.
Thinking: Of all the things that excite, inspire and make me happy and adding more of them into my life.
Listening: to the podcast “The school of Greatness” and particularly to this episode. I needed to hear this!

Loving: 

This journal my sister-in-law gifted me long back. I’d been waiting to fill it with something special. But then, I had to remind myself that these days- simple, mundane, the EVERYDAY and oh ya, the fleeting – kinda days are the best of all and they better be recorded in all their hues! 🙂 And here I am, in the process of turning it into my (You guessed it!) Bullet Journal! 🙂
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

What to do when you feel like doing NOTHING at all?

We all have such days, don’t we? When you know you have loads to do, but you don’t know where to begin? When the music that would normally instantly cheer you up, starts to irritate you? When all you want to do is sit (or even better, sleep) and wait for someone to talk to you, find out what’s bothering you, listen to your woefully endless piteous whining, when you yourself don’t know what’s going on inside your head?

I go through such days. Every few months.

And when such a thing happens, it takes me a while (or a lot longer) to get myself out of the fog. A few comforting words from friends and family might help me for a while. Getting out of myself, out of my home and into the World helps too. Listening to inspiring podcasts fills me with new enthusiasm, watching Do-it-yourself videos on Youtube brightens me up. But not for long. No sooner do I bubble with pleasure than my zest fizzles out.

Here are a few other things I try-

  • Traveling and exploring a new place, even if its a new restaurant in town, and meeting new people helps.
  • Retail Therapy helps some, but buying more stuff only creates buyer’s remorse in me.
  • Reading a good book helps too, but finding a book that will make me forget myself, my “worries” (’cause, seriously, most of the time my worries are my own creations!) will take me a lot of tries before I lay hands on “the one”.
  • Putting my phone and other electronic gadgets aside does the trick many a times.
  • Going for a long walk, preferably through streets lined with trees, with birds keeping me company perks me up.
  • Meditation helps and so does journaling- dumping all that noise in my head down onto paper.

I try everything I’ve mentioned above, one by one, little by little. And when they too fail to lift me up and put me back on track, then I……………………………………………………………

Don’t worry…. I don’t take this great blessing called Life for granted. So I’ll Thank God for letting me live, breathe and enjoy another Glorious day. I’ll Thank him (or her) for letting my loved ones live, breathe and enjoy this Glorious day too. And I’ll list the other big and small things I’m grateful for. And feel myself getting better.

Taking a deep, deep breath I’ll trudge on. The first few steps will be rocky, strenuous, an uphill climb. I’ll even find myself going back to where I began. Then I remind myself that I’ve been through this path. Many, many times before. I’ve seen its bends and experienced its falls.

I know I’ll make it past this hurdle and onto a smoother terrain eventually, however long it takes. I know I’ll be myself again.. 🙂

Thanks for being so patient with me. I hope my rambling makes sense to some of you at least.

With a truckload of love for y’all,

Manasa!

On a “Musical” Journey in Salzburg

The hills are alive with the sound of music…

Do you remember this song from the movie “The Sound of Music”?

It’s my absolute favorite!

Ever since I watched this movie (and re-watched it about a hundred times!) I made up my mind to visit the beautiful city of Salzburg, home of the Von Trapp family (based on whom the movie was made), before they fled from Austria during the Second World War. Salzburg is also the birthplace of the World famous Musician, Mozart.

The drive from our home to Salzburg took around 5 hours. Since it was Christmas time, we enjoyed beautiful vistas of snow-capped mountains throughout the journey. In Salzburg, we checked into hotel Motel one and took the public bus to Altstadt (Old Town) which is the city`s center. Public transport is pretty cheap here.

20161228_115533

From the moment we set foot on Salzburg, I fell deeply in love with it. Located on the banks of the river Salzach, the city is filled with effortless old world charm. Walking around the old town, we admired the beautiful Baroque architecture found in many churches, museums and residential buildings.

Salzburg Cathedral is the most significant religious building in the city. This cathedral was built in honor of Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius. Over the years, it underwent extensive damage, especially due to fire, but it has been reconstructed and enlarged ever since.

Towering over the city atop the Festungsberg hill and approaching 1,000 years of age is the “Fortress Hohensalzburg”. A visit to this fortress is a must when one is in Salzburg.

20161228_121451

It can be reached after a strenuous 15-minute climb from the centre, or a quick ride up via the funicular railway! The fortress consists of various wings and courtyards. Some of the highlights inside the fortress include the Golden Chamber, which is richly decorated with gold-studded ceilings and walls, the Salzburg bull organ, Bedchamber, Torture room and the watchtower. The views from the watchtower are spectacular, giving us a commanding view of Salzburg and it’s surrounding mountains, villages, and foothills.

The next day, we took  The Sound of Music tour. It is a bus tour taking us to the sites where the movie was shot. Our tour guide was really cool, telling us anecdotes about the movie, the story of the real Von Trapp Family and some interesting facts about Salzburg. Apparently the movie makers made a lot of changes to the story.

We visited many places like…

Palace of Leopoldskron – The part of the movie where the kids fall from the boat into the lake after the song “Do re mi”, was filmed here with the palace used as the back of the house.

20161229_09301220161229_093437

Nonnberg Abbey – This was where Maria was a nun in the movie as well as in real life, but it was also where the real wedding  between Maria and the Baron was held in 1927.

The Gazebo Rolf and Liesl sang ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’ under this Gazebo.

20161229_095824

St Gilden/Lake Wolfgang – This spectacular vista is seen in the opening credits of the movie. Also, on one of the mountains, the starting part of the song “do re mi” from the movie was shot. St. Gilden is a picturesque village by the Lake Wolfgang where Mozart`s mother was born.

20161229_110718

Church of Mondsee  Located in a small town called Mondsee on the shore of lake Mondsee, this is one of the famous churches in Salzburg. This was where the wedding of Maria and the Baron was shot in the movie. The Wedding was shown as a grand affair in the movie  while in reality it was a very simple occasion.

Mirabell Gardens – Finally the tour ended at this garden where the ‘Do-Re-Mi’ song was shot with Maria and the children.

While most of the scenes picturized indoors were shot in Hollywood studios, we got to see the places where the outdoor scenes were shot. We also passed the house which was used as the facade of the Von Trapp family home and the mountain Untersberg where in the beginning of the movie, Maria sings “the hills come alive..”

In the end the Von Trapp family are shown to escape over the Alps to freedom in Switzerland (while in reality they took a train to Italy). The best part of the tour was listening to the songs from the movie and singing along with “Maria” as our guide played them on the bus. I highly recommend taking this tour if you are a big fan of the movie just like I am!

Located in the old town is a small Christmas market, known in German as Christkindlmarkt. We spent some time after the tour window-shopping there before dining at one of the restaurants.

We ended the evening by having the famous Sacher torte, a Chocolate delicacy specialized in Austria, and a slice of  Apple pie, at the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, where you get the original Sacher torte .

(Another Sound of Music fact- Julie Andrews, the actress who played “Maria” stayed at this luxury hotel during the shoot for the movie).

20161228_19335920161229_170109

Finally, on the last day before we began our journey back home, we stopped over at Hallein salt mine. Salt is one of the most important natural resources in Austria. Salz in Salzburg means “Salt”. Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau transformed this treasure of the mountain into hard cash and had Salzburg developed into a magnificent Baroque city. This is one of the oldest mines in the world. The tour around the mine can be accomplished using mine trains, mine slides and a bit of walking.

I’m so glad we took this trip. I look forward to visiting this place again, maybe in Summer?

20161230_104829

Love,

Madhurya.

 

“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (March 15, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Reading: “One Night in Italy” by Lucy Diamond.
Watching: The movie “Beauty and the Beast” this weekend. (P.S: I don`t know whether Mike is ready to watch it with me!!).
Eating: Nothing specific, but drinking lots of lemonades lately!
Making: A list of things to buy for our upcoming trip next month!
Wishing for: The days to pass quicker to see my chipmunk niece and nephew!
Learning: Some new Yoga poses lately .
Thinking: About starting another Crochet project.
Listening: To some beautiful Tamil songs.
Loving: The spring weather we are getting to enjoy here this week!
Here’s what I had to say:
Reading: “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, a book about Writing.
Watching:  the movie “Logan” this week, hopefully.
Eating: Outside food a lot, as we’ve been attending too many ceremonies.
Making: time to make something- a Bullet journal maybe? Or a Top for myself?
Wishing for: Some more holidays!
Learning: to control the urge to check messages or mails or simply browsing my phone! Ugh!
Thinking: about how working moms do it all! I surely wouldn’t be able to manage home and outside work, given a chance.
Listening: to the fruit vendor going, “Santhra, Papeeta, Appul!!!” (Orange, Papaya, Apple) outside.
I’m going through a phase where I absolutely do not want to listen to anything on the radio- not even my favorite meditation music! I wonder why!
Loving: the feeling of satisfaction I get after cleaning up a messy room or a closet bursting with stuff.
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

Urban Eatery- A Restaurant Review

A Zen-like Place awaits you amidst the bustle of Secunderabad. Opened this year (or maybe the end of last year), Urban Eatery occupies a wide area of the shopping street of Trimulgherry. I doubt whether they’ve been advertising much; I’d never heard of it until I saw it! If I wasn’t paying attention while we were out shopping, we would’ve just zoomed past it.

IMG_20170312_091506 (1)

The moment I entered the eatery I was struck by how spacious, how cool, how minimal the design is with huge, clean, open shelves; the not-so-extravagant, but cozy seating arrangement; the aesthetic display of desserts (including the traditional Indian Sweets) with a few books placed around thoughtfully, for those of us who love Books just as much as (or maybe more than) Food.

IMG_20170312_091626

IMG_20170312_091520

I knew I’d come back again; If not for the Food (which I loved just as much), at least for the Ambiance. “Tranquil” is the Word I’d like to use here.

IMG_20170305_171508

The First time around, we just had Coffee and Doughnut. They have a Coffee Day Dispenser and the Cappuccino tasted just like the one that’s available at CCD (For those of you who are not aware- Cafe Coffee Day) and the Doughnut tasted good (I didn’t mention ‘great’, please bear this in mind). Their desserts could use a touch of flavor-  appearance-wise they are drool-worthy, but their taste and texture need to be improved upon.

IMG_20170312_091921_01

So far we love their Veggie Soft Roll (sliced open and filled with the yummy gooey goodness of Cheese and Veggies), Urban Omelette (packed with veggies and the right amount of spice and taste) and Waffles.

IMG_20170307_181133

IMG_20170312_093529

Kids loved the making (the butchering?!)  and the taste and pop pop of Magic Pops in the Stone Cold Red Velvet Ice cream they chose.

IMG_20170307_181102

These are the ones we’ve tasted so far, and we’ve been there thrice already. We will be going back to try the hodge -podge of other delicacies they serve like Pizzas, Chats and Burgers. And why not? The Food here doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket!

I’m glad we found a quiet corner for ourselves, so close to home. It is a place that floods us with sweet memories of San Diego. We don’t have to try too hard to imagine that we’ve  just walked into a bakery by the beach there. Now if only the huge glass windows looked out to the Deep Blue Sea and the White Sandy Shore instead of a jam-packed road, then we’d be in heaven, right here, in Secunderabad!

Love,

Manasa.

A Day trip to Chikmagalur

One of the best trips we took last year was a One-day trip to Chikmagalur. Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law who made this outing possible for me and Mike.

Chikmagalur is a town located in the Indian state of Karnataka. My sister-in-law is well-acquainted with the place as she worked there for a few years; So SHE became our special tour-guide for the day.

We began our journey early in the morning at about 5.30am. With a distance of 150 km from Panemangalur (where we were staying), it took us around 2 and a half hours to reach the town. It was one beautiful ride! India is at its prettiest, very early in the morning, when there is less traffic. Driving through the majestic Western Ghats during Sunrise was absolutely breathtaking!

20161204_070613
Western Ghats

We were quite starving by the time we reached our destination, so we made our way to the Town Canteen. Trust me, we ate one of the best Dosas we’ve ever eaten in our lives (Mike was eager for more!)

After our breakfast, we drove to Mullayanagiri. Located 15 km from Chikmaglur, Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka. Standing tall at 6330 ft, it is also one of the highest peaks between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. After parking the car at the foothills of Mullayanagiri, we began our trek up the hill. Enjoying the panoramic view of the Western Ghats and the beautiful Coffee estates of Chikmaglur, we climbed up further. Talking, regaling one another with our stories, singing and falling (just me!), we trudged on for another hour!

20161204_133638

20161204_110843
View from Mullayanagiri hill

We took breaks in between for fruits and biscuits (Again thanks to my sister-in-law, who’d packed every essential needed for this trip!).

After climbing the steep hill, we came across a muddy road used for vehicles, which was closed for construction purpose (Mullayanagiri can be reached through road as well). Another hour and a half’s trek took us to the foot of a temple. A 600 steps later, we finally reached the Shiva temple, which is at the highest point of Karnataka. (Lord Shiva is called Mullaya around here, and that’s how the hills got the name Mullayanagiri). The views atop were awe-inspiring!!

20161204_110900
Steps to Mullaya Temple

A couple of hours later we were back where we began.

And then we drove from there to Manikyadhara, where there is a beautiful Waterfalls (As we were too tired by then, we did not walk down to the falls). The view of Bababudangiri hills from there was Impressive!

20161204_134016

After resting at Manikyadhara, we visited the Bababudangiri shrine, named after the Sufi saint Baba Budan, who was and is still revered by both Muslims and Hindus.

Then we drove to Belur. Located in Hassan district, Belur is one of the major tourist attractions in Karnataka. The beautiful temple sites of Belur and Halebidu, at the heart of the Hoysala Empire, form the richest sources of Hindu art and sculpture in the country. I was too young to appreciate this amazing wealth of art when I came here the first time, so I’m happy I got another opportunity to visit this place. The geometry and design of the Hoysala Temple architecture and the beautiful carvings left me dazed!

Sadly, we were already short of time and had to head back home, so we skipped visiting the temple of Halebidu.

20161204_164231

But I must say I had one of the most wonderful experiences in India and I’m proud to come from a country so rich in Heritage and Beauty!

Love,

Madhurya

“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (March 8, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Reading: “One Christmas in Paris” by Mandy Baggot. This weather makes me want to read  only cheesy romantic books!
Watching: Bollywood Filmfare awards show on Youtube.
Eating: Salads. I’ve been feeling the urge to eat salads before the main course (which I never did before!)
Making: Plans for our next vacation in Dubai.
Wishing for: A stress-free week at the office.
Learning: Some special verbs in German language.
Thinking: About the time when Medha was a year old and I used to sing the Kannada version of “Bits of paper” to her with actions and she would love it and repeat after me in her own way.
Listening: To all the peppy tracks played on  the radio.
Loving: That we have to wait only a month or two for the Sun God to shower his blessings on us here.
Here’s what I had to say:
Reading: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan- a book I bought when I was a part of the Noveltea Book Club, but never got around to finishing it. I WILL now!
Watching: a lot of animated movies, as the TV is under the control of a couple of 6- and 3 -year olds!
Eating: A lot of the sweet and succulent flesh of Jack-fruit this season. Best Dessert ever!
Making: All sorts of Herbal Tea for kids and me, to battle our persistent cold and cough.
Wishing for: things to remain just the way they are…
Learning: to go with the flow and pay close attention to my instincts. They know what’s best for me!
Thinking: about doing something special this Women’s Day.
At that very moment Medha interrupts my reverie with a  “I’m a Woman too. Let’s both go out shopping today!”
Listening: to Bollywood songs as I type, specifically to this song, as the kids dance to it, while I “work”. I can’t stop dancing too!
Loving: Long, Lazy Summer Days (Have I said that before?!?! Oh yes! But. I .do. love’em. so .much!) and Reading, reading and more reading!
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

Summer Reading Fun

To me, Summer is all about lazing around, doing nothing but reading, hopefully with a bowl of fresh fruit to munch on or a glass of sparkling juice to sip, by the side. And that’s what my kids and I are mostly doing these past few days, as the temperatures soar outside. We are trying to make the best use of these days before the usual rut kicks in again by mid-June and we get busy with school! (Plus this time there’s the double bonanza of our littlest one starting big school too! Double Trouble, I call it!!)

So… We are forgetting all of that. For now. And immersing ourselves in reading and crafting and big-time movie-watching! Yay!

Since I’m big on setting goals for myself and my family, I decided to make a Bingo kind of reading challenge for Medha and I. Madhav will have his own next year, maybe? Before we began, I checked Pinterest and Google for the keyword, “Reading Bingo”, and found a ton of ideas. Basically, a Reading Bingo is a game where we read all the books listed in the chart, one by one. There will be all sorts of suggestions in it, like “Read a book by Dr. Seuss” for Medha, and “Read a Historical Fiction” for me. We will complete one book after another- I’ll read on my own, of course, and Medha will read with my help as she is still a level 2 kinda reader? (I don’t know where she stands. Maybe there’s a test for finding out?)

img_0303

img_0301

We will stick stickers (Golden Stars!!!) to the charts after we complete each book and reward ourselves with something special after we finish the whole challenge. Medha is way ahead of me, already! That girl is very competitive!! While she might tear through all the books this summer itself, I might need the Monsoon and the Winter thereafter too, to trudge through all the books I’ve chosen. Some of them are mighty big, you see…

img_0307

I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to read some of the books we already own, but never read. And also re-read the books we read long back. I’ll be renting or buying the rest of the books only after we read the ones we already possess. It pinches me that I buy more books than I am capable of reading!

img_0296

Also, I’ll be reviewing some of the books along the way, Medha’s including. So, please visit us often to check on our progress and give your valuable suggestions. I’m all ears…

Love,

Manasa.