The Monk who sold his Ferrari

I gave this book a 5-star rating on Goodreads.

It is about living your best life, written in the form of fiction. This book is a discussion between the 2 main characters- lawyers, one ex who has turned yogi and another, who is about to have his life completely changed.

The yogi who traded his prized Ferrari for a life of wisdom and inner and outer vitality, shows the way.

Well, I wouldn’t have minded if it was wholly written in a non-fiction format as at times the dialogue and humor seemed forced.

This book can’t be read in a single sitting (not for a slow reader like me anyway). It needs to be read slowly, savoring every word, sometimes re-reading to ensure certain ideas and practices stick. In short this book needs to be studied.

Throughout my read I was reminded of how life management was really all about mind management and that I am the gardener and protector of my mind. A single pest of a negative thought was all it took to unravel the carefully tended space. I began to notice when my thoughts were spiraling downwards. I started paying attention to what was going on within and without.

It is still a struggle to pull myself up when I’m upset or angry, but I’m learning ways to control myself through meditation and Journaling.

So many interesting and thought-provoking ideas like the kaizen method (constant and never-ending improvement), philosophy of opposition thinking (replacing a negative thought with a positive one) and Magic rule of 21 (performing an activity for 21 days for it to become a habit) were introduced and dwelt upon. I’d read about some of these concepts in other self-help books, but it is never a bad idea to have them reiterated.

Of all the lessons I learnt from this book the most powerful one and the one that’s already making an impact in my life in areas like my job and my kids’ education is this – RUN YOUR OWN RACE. It doesn’t matter where I stand compared to my peers, it only matters how far I’ve come and what needs to be done next.

One practice I truly want to explore is the idea of a Dreambook. It is a notebook filled with pictures of the things, people and places that inspire you. This would be such a fun activity to do with my kids.

Every second you spend thinking about someone else’s dreams you take time away from your own.’

Time is the most precious commodity we are all running out of with every passing second. The author believes that we are all born with a purpose and every life’s mission should be the realization of that purpose, but that’s where I disagree– Not all of us have big dreams or goals. I don’t. Or maybe not yet . I believe in making the best use of TODAY, or this very minute. If doing nothing but simply enjoying birdsong as I sip my Chai makes me happy, then it is time well spent.

I can go on and on about the things that stood out for me, motivated and inspired me, but I’d love for you to try the book and taste it for yourself. It has changed my perspective, and I can’t say that about many books ( the ones that come to my mind right off the bat are ‘the happiness project’ and ‘eat pray love‘) And if you have already read the book, please share your thoughts…

Love,

Manasa

What we are… (Nov. 11, 2020)

We used to post this every Wednesday, and we thought why not begin blogging again by recording what we are upto. So, currently,

Here’s what Madhurya had to say-

Reading: Get a life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

Watching: Movie “The bridges of Madison County” and series ” How to get away with murder” on netflix.

Eating: All the dishes I prepared for the pre-diwali get-together we had with a couple of friends.

Making: Diwali diy decorations and Advent gifts for Christmas.

Wishing for: a white christmas, a better ending for 2020 and a great start to the new year.

Learning: to pick my battles with Neel and to take it one day at a time.

Thinking: about how our life is going to change with the arrival of another little one. Excited and nervous!

Listening: to many kannada and tamil songs.

Loving: that the holiday season is here. Let’s make the best of it!!!

Here’s what I had to say-

Reading: Oh! So many- The monk who sold his Ferrari, The lady of Bolton Hill, Don’t Overthink it and How to be a writer, depending on my mood and whats closeby. 🙂

Watching:  True Detective on hotstar. Just love Matthew McConaughey’s character, his negative but wise observations about life and the small-town America shown in the first season.

Eating: lots of veggies that are available in plenty at the local market. I’ve become quite the expert on meal-planning and preparing after all these years of cooking for my foodie family, and also because I’m always short on time.

Making: videos and props for my online classes.

Wishing for: this new work+life balance to continue. I don’t ever want to get back into the pre-covid rat race!

Learning: that it is all in my mind. I have the power to be whoever and however I wish to be. I have more energy and time for the things that matter to me. And the same goes for you too, my friend.

Thinking: of where to travel to, next. What would be safer, Goa or Andaman? Or a jungle? A girl can dream right?

Listening: to Office ladies podcast and laughing along. Angela and Jenna (actors on the show) dissect the episodes of The Office, and share the backstory and facts and tidbits. I simply devour them, being such a fan of the show, especially the first few seasons.

Loving: having friends or family over for dinner on Saturday nights.

Love,

Madhurya & Manasa.

LINKS WE LOVE

Here are some of the links/websites/blogs/people we love. Hope that you might find them useful and inspiring too…

Bharatzkitchen and cookingshooking – These are my go-to youtubers for cooking videos. They make yummy restaurant-style cooking seem easy-peasy, which is very much a necessity these days with dining-out not happening anytime soon!

Goodreads – I enjoy posting what I’m currently reading on this website. It lets me rate the books I’ve read, check out what my friends are reading and also gives me book recommendations based on what I’ve already read and liked. Plus, the Reading challenge, where you can set the number of books you plan to read in a year and attempt to reach that goal, is highly motivating!

Pinterest – is where I get lots of ideas for my preschool as well as my kids’ school projects. My daughter is a big fan of this website for her daily doodling exercise.

Artforkidshub– This is a great youtube channel for kids to learn art. My son loves to follow their character sketches.

What should I read Next – I sometimes wonder how I survived all those years when I didn’t know about this podcast! This has become such a big part of my life . It’s as if Anne, the host is my family now! She matches her guests with books based on their likes (books, of course), dislikes and what they’re currently reading.

Another person I follow for book recommendations is Noelle Gallagher. I find her weird and funny and with an all-knowing huskiness in her voice that makes me yearn to pick up even the scariest Stephen King books that she recommends!

Jady A– A homeschooling mama of 5, she has her hands full, yet she’s determined to give her children the right education and discipline. I love her ideas and her laidback attitude. I mean she’s serious about the values she wants to inculcate in her children but she’s relaxed about the things that are not a priority. After all, a messy house can wait, but not kids…

Mom and me – I very recently started following this mama of 2. Her self-discipline and the way she handles her kids brings me memories of my life as a new mama in the US.

Emily P Freeman – God, please make me talk like her! This powerful woman with her gentle voice talks about Christian values, but she could be talking about Hindu scriptures too, as I see so many similarities in them! Maybe someday I’d be wise like her and have pearls fall from my mouth every time I begin to talk! 🙂 Until then I’ll stick to listening and learning from her.

Finally… Amazon, Netflix and Hotstar- I don’t know how we would have managed without these websites during the dull and dreadful COVID times. I sure would have gone crazy if I didn’t have an episode of GOT at the end of a day to look forward to!

– Manasa

Medha @ 10

“I finally reached a 2-digit age!!!” was Medha’s delight and relief at turning 10! This girl can’t wait to grow up! She’s counting the years before she becomes a teenager! God save us when she does!

Medha loves to dress up: She tries on different clothes, sometimes even mine, picks accessories carefully to go with her outfits, does her hair, puts on a lot of make-up and clicks selfies! She knows more about blushes and eye-shadows than I do! For her magazine, Glimmer Glamour, she writes that “Since nobody else is dressing up lately, I’m the only glamorous news there is.” In her very own “Salon and Spa” she gave both her papa and I makeovers, of which we have both vetoed down posting pictures, thank you very much!

She loves to dance. She enjoys dancing to Zumba videos on Youtube. And she loves listening to English music, screaming, I mean, singing along, when her favorite songs are playing on the computer. She loves listening to stories on podcasts (Check out Stories or Julie’s Library podcasts) and audiobooks. She loves reading books too (She’s currently reading the 3rd book in the Beezus and Ramona series). Medha is very good at storytelling herself. She reads books to her brother when he allows her to.

She’s so good at art. I’m shocked at how deft her hand movements are when she’s intently sketching and coloring. She’s into portraits of girls lately.

A Wall hanging she made with old bangles, wool and beads.

She still plays with the same doll her grandma gifted her long ago. But most of all, TV is her life! Yes! She watches the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna with her grandparents. She watches other soaps from the 80s and 90s with them. Fullhouse is a show which she can watch over and over again.

And she’s a foodie. She loves to try different foods, gives us suggestions and ideas on what and how to cook, helps me with the cleaning and chopping of vegetables and sometimes even whips up a tangy juice or a fruity souffle herself. But she hates exercise! It’s a big struggle to get this girl to do our daily exercise. She will cry and complain and whine away…… but eventually she will come and do her bit. It’s the same with her school work! Once we push her from the claws of inertia, she will go with the flow!

According to Medha, currently her-

Favorite food is – Mac and Cheese

Favorite book is – The Fudge series by Judy Blume.

Favorite show/movie is – Fullhouse

Favorite thing to do is – Draw

And, she is bored of – her brother!

What drives her crazy is- her brother, again!

Best Buddy is- not her brother, Nidhi.

She wants to be a – Fashion Designer or an artist

And a thing that makes her very happy is – being outside.

On her birthday we baked 2 cakes – one, a banana cake and another one- a red velvet cake. Both turned out delicious! I’m not posting the pics here as the pics don’t do justice to the cakes. But I followed this blog for the recipes. I’m going to try her other recipes too!

Anyways, every minute with this fire cracker of a girl is a minute full of hysterics, intense drama, catfights and bucketfuls of tears……. nothing short of a bollywood movie!!!

– Manasa.

Madhav @7

Madhav just turned 7!

He has grown taller yet not an inch wider! He is smarter, naughtier, yet he remains the apple of everyone’s eye, including his sister’s, though she will fiercely deny this! Ha! Sibling rivalry! Not a day goes by without the 2 squabbling and skirmishing, pinching and pulling one another’s hair, complaining and crying. I feel like all our energy and time goes into understanding and solving their bickering!  But I see how much he idolizes his big sister, following her around like a puppy, agreeing to watch her girly shows (and sometimes even enjoying them!) and going behind her for a hug (telling me it is because she is cute and ‘fluffy’!)

Madhav can’t sit still for long. He’s always on the move. Cycling is his most favorite thing to do. He loves to exercise as well. In the evenings when we workout together as a family, he chooses the hardest videos for us to follow! Slender and supple that he is, he’s able to do a lot more than we can and  he kinda shows off his athletic abilities while we huff and puff!

He sleeps with his grandparents and enjoys chatting about life with his grandpa and tasting the delicacies prepared by his grandma. He has a sweet tooth and when nobody is watching he gobbles up packets of bourbon biscuits. He’s also very fond of Mangoes right now.

He dives deep into whatever catches his eye and heart. He loves flipping through the encyclopedia and learning as much as he can. God save us if he doesn’t understand something! He will not rest until it is crystal clear to him. He has been slowly working his way up the multiplication tables.  He knows up to 13 now.

He is very clean and neat in his work and his physical appearance. He diligently follows the 20 second rule for hand-washing. He takes longer to complete his work as he will keep erasing till the words look perfect to him!

He loves to watch Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna on TV with his sister and grandparents. He is good at drawing portraits, pencil sketches and origami.

Here’s what he had to say when I asked him a few questions about himself-

Favorite food– Dosa

Favorite game– Chess

Favorite show– Brainchild on netflix

Favorite character– Ninja Turtle

Favorite book– Tinkle

The best trip he’s made so far– Switzerland

Who he misses seeing due to covid-19- Shristi

What would he like to receive as a gift for his birthday- A Magic set (He wants to be a magician!)

This is what his sister, Medha, had to write-

Madhav my annoying little brother. You are turning 7 – Wow ! that’s  amazing! When you were little I would cut your hair, make you my servant and I a Princess! Sorry! Sometimes I would make YOU a Princess too!  You would look so cute! But now you say no.

BUT WE ARE STILL  BEST FRIENDS!

 Happy Birthday  Madhav

This time we can’t celebrate your birthday nicely. We can’t go out , we can’t buy gifts because of the lockdown, but we can still celebrate your birthday with all the things we have at home,  like, we can make homemade cake , watch a movie in our home theater etc. So we can still make this a best birthday .

FROM-

XOXO YOUR BIG SISTER

MEDHA!

And celebrate she did, by baking a delicious loaded coffee and chocolaty nutty cake and making a card for her little brother.

Manasa.

Kerala

You can read my sister’s detailed post from 4 years back when she took a trip to God’s own country.

Our trip began with a visit to an aunt who lives in Cochin. After a hearty breakfast and family time we made our way to Thekkady. By the Pandikhuzi waterfalls we stretched our legs and enjoyed watching the mountains and the milky water snaking down. There were shops thronged by visitors eager to try fresh fruit salads and other local delicacies. We too tasted some and drove on.

Pandikhuzi Waterfalls

Club Mahindra Tusker Trails at Thekkady is located close to the gates of Periyar Tiger Reserve. A trek was organized by the staff at Club Mahindra, who took us through the bustling streets of Thekkady and into the cool and calm interiors of the jungle. It wasn’t such a wild experience; there were people and a Devi temple too. It was a pleasant walk though; we got to bond with the other guests of Club Mahindra.

Then we booked an Elephant ride at Tusker Trail Elephant Ride and Jeep Safari where we rode on elephants on a muddy path strewn with elephant dung between coconut trees, banana plants and fig trees. We didn’t opt for the Elephant bathing experience. Maybe we should’ve tried that!

One chilly morning we went on a jeep safari into the Periyar tiger reserve. The jungle was too green and dense, unlike the dry grasslands we were accustomed to. A misty haze in the air, the tiny glistening ponds, all added to its ethereal beauty.

We stopped at Gavi, an Eco-tourism spot inside the jungle where we went boating on the emerald waters of kochupamba. We then climbed up a mountain, spotting a variety of birds all along, and reached the Sabarimala Viewpoint, where we enjoyed a panoramic view of the Sabarimala temple. At the Valley view, we were treated to breath-taking views of the misty mountains and the wooded valley below. This perfect location impelled the kids to perform some Yogasanas right there! We took a tour of Cardamom plantations where we had to be very careful as the area was thick with blood-sucking leeches! I remember watching many guests at the dining area, warding off these bloody buggers with heaps of salt.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks were served right there and so it was a full-day event.

For a bit of culture, we decided to watch a performance of the ancient martial arts form called the Kalaripayattu at the Mudra Theater for Kathakali and Kalaripayattu. Before the stunts began, the members performed a ritual of prayer. It was dark inside the arena, so a bunch of lights lit at strategic locations provided a suspenseful glow. We watched with bated breath as kids (the performers didn’t look too old) performed acrobatics with swords and fire. They were swift and supple. We sincerely hoped they wouldn’t break their backs or set the whole place on fire!

Our next stop was Munnar, a hillstation, a honeymooners’ paradise. Well, we were in a big group with a bunch of kiddos, so it wasn’t such a romantic experience for us. There was fog all around, which made it difficult for us to see the road ahead or the edges beside. The hills were so steep, it was exhausting to get to our rooms from the reception at the Club Mahindra. But the green tea plantations on mountain slopes, the clouds hanging low, all made for some mind-blowing views and awesome pictures. I would wake up refreshed and do yoga on my balcony, overlooking the hills.

club Mahindra Munnar

There were roadside food stalls, serving steamed dosas and spicy maggi. Water gushed right beside the roads and underneath them which made me so uncomfortable whenever we got down from our vehicle. The poor visibility made me hold my kids closer to me. It worried me to find people posing for pictures on the middle of these roads, where the fog made it hard to tell whether there was a vehicle coming or not.

At the Sun Moon Valley Boating recreations by the Mattupetty dam kids had fun on the speed boats. We went to a beautiful spice garden for a tour. There was a stream running beside as we walked inside the garden packed with herbs and trees. We learnt a lot that day, about trees like cinnamon, (Did you know that bay leaves came from the same tree? I didn’t!), about cocoa sheathed in thick green coats, about medicinal herbs like Adulsa (used for cough and cold). We shopped for some spices and ayurvedic medicines at the store.

We went to Eravikulam national park, native of the famous nilgiri tahr- mountain goats. After a long wait for tickets, and the bus that would carry us up a mountain, we were dropped at a point from where we had to cover the rest of the distance on foot. It was drizzling almost the entire time which made it difficult to spot any wildlife, but the rain-soaked trees on hills and water gushing down them made our walk worthwhile. We saw the Strobilanthes kunthianakurinji or neelakurinji, that blossoms every 12 years. Nilgiri Hills, which means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji.

Our guide from Club Mahindra took us to a Cardamom plantation called Gudumbara, where we learnt how the plant is cultivated, harvested and dried to be used as spice. At an ancient, dilapidated building there was a furnace maintained at 60 degree for drying the cardamom for 18 hours.

We explored the plantation which was almost like a jungle with its packed vegetation and an eerie quietness. It was damp everywhere and with leeches festering the place, it was quite an adventure! All memories of this trip fade behind the singular memory of seeing blood oozing from our legs and having to clean out wet clothes and drying them with hair dryers in various rooms we stayed at!

There was ziplining across a small lake, which everyone tried. Trudging our way through wet, muddy roads on a jeep, we went to a windy point. The views of the farms below and the hills around were stunning!

Driving down from Munnar to Guruvayur temple in Thrissur was a feat in itself. The roads were dense with vehicles and fog!

We visited the beautiful but overly crowded Guruvayur temple the next day early in the morning. After the chaos of the visit we strolled about in the temple complex, visiting hotels and shops and purchasing traditional clothes and ayurvedic books to study.

Manasa

Binsar , Uttarakhand

After Jim Corbett National Park and Nainital, our next stop was Binsar, about 150 km away. The journey was uphill and winding. Since almost everyone, except me and a couple of others, suffered from motion sickness, it was a quiet journey, punctuated with frequent breaks for vomiting!

On our way, we stretched our cramped legs and ran about in the lush green Golf grounds of Ranikhet. I was told that parts of the movie, Raja Hindustani, were shot here.

Ranikhet

We finally reached Binsar, located on the Jhandi Dhar hills of Himalayas. This was the summer capital of the Chand Kings that ruled over Kumaon between 11th and 18th centuries.

We fell in love the moment we set eyes on our hotel, the Club Mahindra Resort Binsar. The beautiful cottages with their sloping green roofs simply blended into the surroundings. It was a bird-lover’s paradise. We could simply enjoy the views of the mountains with tall oaks and pines, the motley-hued birds that made their homes in the gardens, the rich flowers in their full bloom attracting a variety of critters. We didn’t have to set foot outside the premises. We all had much to do right inside the cozy confines of our resort. There was karaoke, art and craft, zip-lining, rock-climbing and other activities. The food spread was delicious, but we walked the extra mile (literally) to find cheaper alternatives to our dining experience. We went exploring up the slopes of hills nearby to see the locals and their daily lives up close, and sometimes lost our way too!

One morning we drove up to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary where we stopped at KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam) Resort. We snuck up to its wide balcony and stole glances at the majestic snowy Himalayas. The clouds were being nasty, trying to hide the jewels behind, but we were still blessed with a few sightings. We were shooed away, as the views were solely reserved for the guests of KMVN!

To Zero Point

We hiked the winding path up to Zero Point with an awesome Guide who taught us so much about the flora and fauna of Binsar. We watched a noisy woodpecker building its nest, learnt about the medicinal value of Rhododendrons, watched the sunlight dapple our path through the shady branches of Oak trees, observed the spores dotting the underside of fern leaves and simply went crazy with pleasure at finding ourselves at such a divine place. At zero point (the highest point of Binsar) with the clouds still teasing us, we had the Darshan of Himalayan Peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Shivling and Kedarnath. Our Guide regaled us with tales of trekking some of its slopes. We began dreaming of the day when we would go on such an expedition!

After a relaxing stay at Binsar, it was time to make our way back down to Khatgodam. On our way we stopped at Naukuchiyatal Lake for a boat ride. Before I knew what was going on we were strapped with life vests and shoved into a boat without a driver! We were on our own! Only later did I learn that Prasad wanted to go on a pedal boat, while the others chose a motor boat that came with a driver! I spent half the journey fuming and fretting, refusing to join him in pedaling. I kept thinking what would happen if the boat overturned or something. Was the lake too deep? Would Prasad, who was the only one at the time who knew how to swim, be able to rescue us?! And then as I felt brave enough to enjoy the stunning views all around me, I joined him in pedaling. We made our way back. What an exercise we had that day! We deserved to gorge on plates of crispy pakoras and spicy maggi at the eatery beside the lake, while watching a flock of ducks putter about.

Naukuchiyatal Lake

We drove past Bhimtal with its Island Aquarium on our way to Khatgodam. There we spent the night at a cozy hotel before we caught a train to Delhi the next day. The Capital was eerily quiet as some kind of Bandh was going on. We were glad to be out of Delhi and on our way to Hyderabad.

Manasa.

Dear Appa

Dear Appa,

You turn 60 today. Happy Birthday! 🙂  

60! What a milestone! How does it feel?

We thought of writing this letter to you as a gift, as there’s nothing else we can give right now. And of course, we are sending loads of love and prayers your way.

While we were growing up you were working in places like Libya and Muscat. Even though we missed having you around all the time, we were able to afford a better lifestyle, thanks to all the hard work you put in, so far away from your loved ones. We remember the first time you left us. It was to Libya and a ton of people-your family, your subordinates from work- had all gathered at the airport, sending you off. As we watched the plane depart, we all burst out crying. I guess it goes to show how much you were and are still loved.

Manasa– Of all the things you’ve told me, the thing that I always remember the most and which changed the course of my life was when you asked me to take over your place and look after amma and madhi, when you weren’t around. It made me more responsible, a grown-up, all of a sudden. You wrote us letters. Letters that taught me stuff like the difference between ‘riding’ and ‘driving’; letters that told me tales of your adventures working in a desert environment; letters that answered my big questions on God and Love.

When we knew you were coming to visit us, our happiness knew no bounds. They were the best 30 days every year!

There was nothing you did not know, no book you hadn’t read, or so it felt to us as we were growing up. You were a fount of knowledge, our very own encyclopedia! You knew so much about all the bands, the music, the comics, the movies you grew up watching. We were introduced to Abba, Beegees, Neil Diamond, qawwalis, The Sound of Music, The Pelican Brief, John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, and Erin Brockovich quite early on.

You’ve always been the Master of a show, any show. You can set a stage on fire with your ultimate singing, dance moves and wisecracks. Our friends and family can’t stop praising you for all the entertainment over the years.

Madhurya – I remember all the times you and amma stayed awake waiting for me to return home from parties or my volley-ball practice sessions. And driving me to work early in the morning (even when YOU didn’t have to leave so early for work) and waiting to pick me up and driving through rush-hour traffic, while I dozed off!

Manasa – You were patient when I looked for jobs in the UAE, often taking me along for work, where I shadowed you and learnt so much. And when I was down and depressed you were always there for me, trying to cheer me up. I remember how you drove me around to my job when I finally snagged one and it was quite out of the way from your work. I can still picture your ruffled hair and your tired eyes, but you never complained about the traffic and long hours. And then it hit me, no man would ever be able to do the same for me. Ever (Sorry Prasad!)

Madhurya – Thanks to you and amma for everything I’ve achieved so far. Thanks for trusting me enough to let me make my own choices. Thanks for the freedom, the education and the love you have given me.

We thank God for your health and your presence in our lives. Sorry you won’t be getting the big birthday bash we’d planned for you in Udupi. That will have to wait till we get through this pandemic. We love how you and amma are keeping yourselves sane and healthy with exercise and prayer during this lockdown. You guys are an inspiration!

We love you Appa and so do your sons (in-law) and your grandkids. We look forward to many more years, stories, lessons, blessings and love. With you.

Love,

Your daughters.

And NOW from the littlest member of your fan club… ( drumrolls please….)

Nainital, Uttarakhand

We booked a day trip to Nainital from our resort- Club Mahindra Corbett National Park.  I remember walking along Mall road with the Naini lake (lake shaped like an eye) on one side and the Kumaon hills on the other. It was vibrant; The streets were buzzing with people. Hawkers were selling colorful knitted shoes, scarves and hats at exorbitant rates.

We took the aerial ropeway to get us to the Snow View Observation Point. The cable car seemed rickety. With hearts in our mouths we made our way, trying to enjoy the magnificent vistas of Nainital and its vicinity.

 There was quite a bit of walking involved and that too at high altitudes. We felt heavy and out-of-breath. There was an amusement park and a lot of eateries. We hired traditional costumes for the kids and had their pictures taken. Then we spent some time at the observation point trying to catch a glimpse of the Himalayas.  

We went boat-riding on Nainital. It was magical! The unspoiled natural beauty on one side, the hills stacked with multi-colored buildings among towering trees on the other side, the emerald lake beneath our boats, all put us in a blissful mood, except when the boatman made us move here and there to get some good (& some weird) family pictures. The boat seemed to be losing its balance at such times. I don’t remember how much we paid for the boats, but I remember it being quite expensive.

We ladies were on a mission! Tibetan Market- that was our target. It was densely packed with tiny stores and gullible tourists willing to shell out high prices for beautiful clothes, jewelry and handicrafts. We loaded our bags with quite a few things, much to our husbands’ dismay, while they prayed to Maa Naina Devi at the alluring temple beside the market.

We visited the famous G B Pant High Altitude Zoo, where we had to do quite a bit of walking on uneven paths as the animal enclosures were scattered on a vast area.

Manasa.

JimCorbett National Park

The Tiger is  a large-hearted gentleman with boundless courage and when he is exterminated – as exterminated he will be unless public opinion rallies to his support- India will be the poorer by having lost the finest of her fauna.

-Words by Jim Corbett, a British hunter, tracker, naturalist and an author of several books. He played a key role in establishing the Corbett National Park in the 1930s.

This was 4 years ago. I was going through pictures of our trip to the World famous Jim Corbett National Park. We flew to Delhi from Hyderabad and drove to Club Mahindra Resort in Uttarakhand, about 240 kms away. It was raining cats and dogs and the city was clogged with traffic. Boy were we glad to leave the crowds, the sludge, the air thick with pollution behind! 

Our rooms were spacious, cozy and clean like all Club Mahindra Resorts. The Resort is situated on a riverbed, so we simply splashed about in the water or relaxed on boulders beside the river in the mornings. There was a big pool at the resort that kept the kids busy for hours. And the food? It was quite a spread. There was too much food! And so expensive too. So now and then we tried other dining options like the dhabas and other little eateries. The Resort provided good entertainment for the whole family in the evenings. There was bonfire, music, dance, laughter and good socializing with the other guests.

We booked a guided walking tour to the nearby Garjiya Devi temple which took us beside a river, across an old bridge, through a jungle, on a narrow path hugging a hill and down across the river (Kosi river ?) again with a hop-skip-and-jump on boulders. It was quite an adventure with the little ones. Our guide was very helpful as he led us. A long queue of devotees was snaking its way towards the temple situated on top of a hillock. We simply bowed to the goddess from the outside and headed back to our rooms, this time in auto-rickshaws. 🙂

Apart from a visit to the Jim Corbett Museum, where we had a glimpse into the life and times of Jim Corbett, we even went on an eco-tour of a Kumaoni village, where a local family served snacks and beverages. We explored the village, watched locals carry pots of fresh mountain water from a pipe where we took a refreshing sip or two, visited the spooky temple and enjoyed the beautiful views of river Kosi flowing down below

One morning we even went on an Elephant Safari in the Seethavan, about which I have already written at length here. It fills me with joy to look back on that memorable event, even after all these years.

And then the Jeep Safari…. I can’t get enough of it. I mean we’ve gone on so many, yet it thrills me every. single. time.

I simply enjoy waking up early in the morning when it is still dark outside, bundling up and making our way into one of India’s enchanted jungles. To my mind it feels as if we’re about to enter the Jurassic Park. A wave of awe and fear washes over me. Jai Shree Ganesh, We send up our prayers. We are determined to spot a Tiger or a Leopard or an Elephant, but you never know what you might find. Or not. As the gate closes behind our jeep, we leave the world of men and enter the abode of the untamed wild.

It is refreshing to breathe in the cool, unadulterated air of the Jungle; The environs look like the fresh face of a child as it wakes up; The sky still, but vibrant, the early morning sun splashing colors as it takes center-stage. What’s not to love about an early morning foray into a Jungle, especially if it is one of the oldest, most prestigious Jungles of India?!

We did not spot a Tiger or a Leopard, but we had a great time watching a variety of birds like the Bee- Eaters, Black Drongos, Common Flameback Woodpeckers, Red Jungle Fowls. A playful Jackal wished to walk only on the paved road, instead of limiting itself to the rough woodland. It kept following us for quite a distance.

Book I’m currently enjoying

We went on to explore Nainital and Binsar about which I plan to write next. So please humor me.

Manasa.