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Monday, September 30, 2013

Road Journey To Paradise……………….

Six months back, when I was about to join my husband on yet another sailing spree, my brother gave me a bouncer of relocating abroad. I knew we were not going to see each other for a long time. That night I slept with a heavy heart. But morning brought sunshine tidings from my sister. She along with her husband planned out a prompt farewell road trip before my brother pursues greener pastures. After a lot of argument, we rounded up on the Switzerland of India “Dalhousie and Khajjiar”in Himachal Pradesh.

Me, my two sisters and brother along with their better half’s and children designed to kick start our journey with the rush of dawn. But our best laid plan got doomed due to heavy rain. Anyways we hit the road at about 6:00 in the morning from Chandigarh.We followed the Hoshiarpur-Pathankot-Dalhousie route which was pretty good. We stopped for in-between breaks for snacks due to the children’s unruly demands of nature call. It was total of 8-hr trip and we were hoping to reach Dalhousie by 4: pm in the evening. But destiny plays its own game. Enroute there was a landslide a few feet ahead of us. We were almost stranded there for two hours and resumed our voyage after army brigade's intervention.

After the two hour hitch we reached Dalhousie without much of hiccups. Although the last 50 miles turned out a bit dreary to navigate. The best part of the whole journey was the magnificent views, scattered lush green meadows with plenty of deodar trees. We bunged on various bewitched places for posing and capturing the unparalleled essence of nature. Crazily, even did an impromptu gig which rewarded us whistles and applauses from fellow nomads.

At last we touched Dalhousie at around 6:30ish in the evening and went straight to our pre-booked guest house. After a hot shower and refreshments, along with over excited kids we decided to explore Dalhousie on the same day. Built on and around five hills, Dalhousie is located on the west of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. It has two main famous chowks, one being Gandhi Chowk, and the other  Subhash Chowk . The whole place was fully congested with tourist. After relishing hot pakoras and badam milk under sprinkles of rain, we call it a day.

The next day was full of leisurely strolls and trekking around the hills. Gorged on some sinful cuisine and visited the indo/Tibetan market. Spend money on useless things and bought a few souvenirs from the local shops. Explored Panchpulla, gurgling waters of Satdhara and beautiful architectures of St Francis church. By evening we were all dead tired and headed back to our cocoons.

Woke up early next day for the much anticipated trip to Khajjair also christened “Gulmarg of Himachal. From Dalhousie it was approximately 22 kms and the road run through Kalatop wildlife sanctuary. The road was bit bumpy but the picturesque landscapes thoroughly made-up for it. I was awe-struck and flabbergasted by my first view of the God send place. Panorama views of natural beauty. This saucer shaped green meadow, chimed by Devadar and long pines have a lake in the middle complete with floating island.

We all yelled at our allocated cottage run by HP tourism which was ideally placed in front of the main sporting grounds. Mesmerized by the clean, pristine surroundings, we headed out soon for exploring the combination of forest, lake and grassland.Hired horses and chased around the whole perimeter of the orbit.  Visited the famous Khajji nag temple, clicked pictures in traditional dress and enjoyed the roasted corn. There was a sarangi vala tuning the local folk songs. Enjoyed a few shakes and tip the man heartily. We ended our day with loud music, funny dancing, mouth watering food and inebriated cocktails.

At Aurora, we started our drive back home. Uneventful for the most part, the four day trip along with crazy road experience came to an end. Although due to my sailing life, I have been to many beautiful countries but this small memorable trip will always share a special place in our hearts.

Last but the most thrilling part of our journey was the travel media - my sister’s brands new Safari “Storme”. Though it’s usually recommended to bring small cars in hilly stations but not even once we regretted our decision. This SUV is a mixture of opulence and rowdiness. It’s an eight seater monster with lots of luggage and legroom. Due to its spacious and ultra comfy character, we are planning to repeat another crazy road trip to Leh  Ladakh during my brothers next India trip.

Post written for “I Am Explorer” contest hosted by Indiblogger in association with Tata Safari.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chronicles of Pirate attack survivor…………………

Date: 09 Sep 2009

Time: 12.00 noon

It was a normal routine day. After hours of grinding, all the crew members along with officers including me were salivating on Indian desi food in duty officer’s mess. Sharing sea tales, banters or news from home was regular practice in around the lunch hour. All of a sudden, the duty officer on bridge called for Captain on the speaker which was unusual as amplifiers are used only for specific announcements. Befuddled, we all got alarmed by hearing his panicky voice. Nobody ever anticipated an attack on the area we were sailing. We had almost transited the high risk area and in the safe waters. With bated breadth, everyone waited for the inevitable. Another announcement came within seconds. Our Ship is under attack!!

Our ship BW LION was attacked some 400 nautical miles north-east of the Seychelles. This was the longest range of pirate attack off the Somalia coast ever.

Bw Lion before the attack

 All hell broke loose.Instantly all ran for their muster points.Two other supernumerary congregate and myself on bridge as it was our muster station on emergencies. Using binoculars, I saw two speeding white skiff boats just 10 miles away from our liner. Due to the enormous size of vessel and being loaded with crude oil, we could only increase the speed to some extent. But the skiffs rapidly came towards us.

I looked out of the bridge window and saw one small boat with five black people just 20 yards away. All of them clearly were carrying the rifles. Kudos to the officers including my husband who went away on deck to turn on the water/fire hoses. Within minutes we heard an almighty bang. One of the men carrying a bazooka aimed right at us. The grenade struck one level below. It was the Captain’s day room.The fire alarm went berserk as the rocket propeller pierced into the walls and the entire quarters engulfed in blazes. Few of the crew members scurried towards fire spot with extinguishers to prevent the flames spread across other areas.We heard continuous plunk of bullets.

Somalian pirates with rocket launchers and AK-47

The bombardment lasted for more than two hours, and several areas of the ship, including the front bridge area, were damaged by Ak-47 and rocket launchers. Two of the pirates even gestured towards us to stop the engines. But that was out of the question. The only measure was to take evasive actions, repelling the attackers not to board the vessel.
Concurrently a distress call and radio mayday was sent to the office and to international maritime security services. Throughout the two hour ordeal, people from UKMTO were in constant touch and guided us with further actions.

Needless to say we all were scared shit, especially the wives. Our security was the top priority for them. One of the officers was with us at all times. The main intention was to drag  the pirates as long till they ran out of fuel to make it to shore. At last after continuous chasing the Master and crew were able to prevent the marauders to board, through a combination of evasive maneuvering,  maintaining full sea speed, effective use of water hoses and anti-boarding measures. Also we got air help from the French naval in nick of time.

Picture captured from air plane during the attack

We were directed to sail towards the nearest shore possible. We burst into a round of applause and happy tears when were told the pirates had been defeated and now are in safer waters. Everybody took a sigh of relief.

Hours after the chaotic moment’s reality smacked. Not a soul ever wanted to imagine the aftermaths of being captured.Salute to Captain and other officers who showed tremendous courage and professionalism throughout the nightmare.

After signing off from the ship, me and my husband was invited to Singapore office and a lavish party was organized in our honor. I still get goose bumps whenever I revisit the incident. But the black memorabilia is a thing of the past  and it had made me more stronger. I do not live in constant fear now and the unpleasant incident certainly does not dissuade me to sail again.
After all……………………………...................................................................................................

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Saturday, September 21, 2013

One Lovely Appreciation.........................

One month of blogging and a recipient for honor. Thank you Vishal for recommending my name for “The lovely blog award”. It positively hit the right cord. Your own blog is full of heartwarming poems, funny fictions and sanguine writing. If you desire to indulge in some splendid stuff do visit his blog.

 Initially I started writing for myself but all the comments and appreciations from fellow bloggers stimulated me to take it seriously. For me reading new blogs and interacting with virtual world is my best reward ever. My blog is my secret den and do not wish to share it with my 400 FB friends.I want my post to be read with unbiased eye.

Now for the One Lovely Blog Award I’ll share eight facts about myself, share five lovely writing quotes, and nominate five other bloggers for this award. There aren’t any rules for this award so nominees are welcome to share eight facts about themselves and pass the award on.

   Selfie facts …

  1. Emotional donkey. Two drops of tears can melt me with flicker of an eye.
  2. Passionate about collecting books, currencies and diaries.
  3. Gym Obsessed
  4. Firm believer of “Dress to the nines”
  5. Hopeless romantic
  6. Gigantic gossipmonger
  7. Gold medalist in National shooting championship
  8. Forever craving for home cooked maa ke haath ka bana khana..

These are just partly facts about me. If you want an introduction for another crazier side of me tab HERE.

Five quotes of wisdom……………….

  • The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything they just make the     most of everything that comes along their way.
  • “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
  • I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.
  • “Hare k friend zaroori hota hai”
  • I don’t do fashion, I AM fashion.

Worth a nomination………………..

I can still add infinite numbers to the list.

Hearty thanks to all for their support and kind comments. Congratulations to the winners.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One Helluva Transit - Panama De Canal

My sailing life has given me few incredible lifetime experiences. When my husband told me about our next voyage, I was on cloud nine. The Panama De Canal- one of the seven man –made wonders of the modern world and monument of the Millennium. It’s a 50 mile ship canal that connects Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The sole reason behind constructing the most difficult engineering wonder till now was to enable ships to avoid long navigations and made it possible for them to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific in half the time previously required.

In the canal ship crosses three set of locks, The Gatun, The Pedro Miguel and Mira Flores locks. Unlike the Suez, which is at sea level for its entire length, the landmass is above the mean sea level. These locks have been created to lift ships upto 85 ft above the sea. Although there are 12 sets of locks total, there are only six massive pairs of locks that ships use for transit, each 1,000 feet long and 110 feet wide.  Each filled with water or emptied in less than 10 minutes, and each pair of lock gates takes two minutes to open.You can read more detailed history of the canal up here.

Due to the large size of our ship, it took us almost 20 hours to complete the transit. And without wink, camera in hand I enjoyed the whole ride with a gaped mouth. I was dumbfounded by all the work and engineering that went into building the whole design of the canal. Phenomenal sense of human fortitude and ingenuity! I am totally overwhelmed to experience such a magnificient thing up close and personal. Also I came to know about canal’s Live-Cam facility. People can watch you live while you cross. Although I was bit late to get the news, otherwise would have asked my folks to watch the whole transit experience online.

I will include some of my pictures to share with those who have not had the pleasure of seeing it in real life yet. So Hop-in and enjoy a free ride to magical Panama canal.

The ship approaches the lock gates at a reduced speed.
The ship enters the lock gates which is narrow when compared to the
size of the ship
The lock gates are then closed enclosing the ship inside it. To lift up the ship,
water has to be pumped into the lock chambers.

When water is pumped, the level of water increases inside the lock chamber
lifting the ship up.

The lifted height equals the height required for the ship to proceed to the
 next lock chamber.

Gates closed when ship finishes passing through them

When the water level equals the level of the Atlantic ocean side, t
he outward lock gates open up, leading the ship to the sea passage.


 Bon Voyage......................................................................................................................................

Sunday, September 15, 2013


What’s on your mind? By the title of my post, you must be thinking about my obsession for the social network site. Voila!! You are darn correct. Aren’t we all have become its slave? Like a morning ritual we search for our phones to see how many cohorts have showered us with likes or comments. Almost half a day is consumed by dangling like puppets in the hands of social media sites. We have become so reliant on technology that we forgot how to communicate in real world. Calling friends on Bdays, sending cards, voicemails have become obsolete.

Before the birth of facebook I was the queen of orkut. Unfortunately the latter died a cruel death. I joined facebook in 2010 when the whole world was engulfed by the “storm of swag”. It was like a fad. Everybody just wants to belong to never ending virtual gathering. Initially I was awe-stuck finding my old school mates, colleagues, hell even neighbors under one roof. Click a button and enter into the time machine. Interacting with old school mates, filling the missed gaps, sharing pictures, chatting, relishing comments all was new and fresh. Undoubtedly it is still the most powerful form of media for communication today.

 But appears with passage of time, whole concept of face booking has changed. Now people send you request just to peek onto your lives. Though you have customized privacy settings but that’s not liable for people in your list. It has become more of your little black book, an online album or a media to rant n rave about political or social issues.

I feel Facebook has become a place for people to flaunt their success or brag about futile mundane things. Some studies also shows that people who use it excessively are more prone to depression, anxiety, personality disorder or jealousy.More the users look at happy post or joyful pictures of their facebook friends, more it leads to resentment. With personal experience I have seen people gets envious of you by just looking at your travel sojourn pictures. The amount of “likes” and comments you get is another part of their antipathy which leads to strain in personal relationship.

After being a facebook junkie for almost three years, they should reward me with a doctorate degree. I can boastfully psychoanalysis different facebook personalities. I myself was a facebook addict but now it’s not a compulsion. I post my pictures regularly only for my loved ones due to being away from them so often. It’s my way to keep track on my friends, to kill my boredom onboard or playing candy crushes. But anything done in extreme will definitely affect one’s health, mental peace or social relationships.

We need to establish technology boundaries, set aside time for other activities. Get factual in real world. Like most things in life, Facebook is what you make of it. And it cannot be more than what it is.


                                           Make it a fraction of your life not your LIFE!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Life Is Beautiful........................................................

Few months back, I woke up with the shocking news of Jhia Khan suicidal demise. That shocked me to the core. All the media dogs and papers were full of crapy reports. Rumors were due to failed love relationship, the young actress took the extreme step.

I was still reeling on the entire raison d'ĂȘtre of jiah khan when another news broke away. One of my seniors wife from college committed suicide along with her two small children. It’s more difficult to digest when you know the victim personally. Unfortunately this time it was dowry demand.

Another grave incident still invigorates in my mind, though I never want this special person to read this post as it might hurt his feelings which is never my intention at any cost. An intelligent boy of 17 tried to commit suicide because he failed to get into any medical institute. Sadly this time the cause behind the horrendous act was pressure and depression to excel in studies.

Am no psychologist and cant judge a persons state of mind but I am unable to figure out that how these situations can lead a person to take his/her life. Is this the only short-cut to end your life tribulations? Is this the only option to cope with pain? We all are dealing with our troubles. Everybody has their share of bumps in life. Joy and sorrow, its part of our lives. Its god’s way of balancing the act.

 If ever you lose control of your emotions, think about your loved ones, your family; reach out to them open up to them. They are your pillars of strength. Don’t lose hope. Visit hospital, trauma centers, see for yourself how people are fighting with dear life, hoping to win death. How no amount of money can bring them normal existence. There is a reason why god has chosen us to be human being. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love.

 Family and friends plays a major role. Be compassionate and kind. Check for warning signs of depression and the cause behind it. Listen to them heart to heart; don’t try to reason their mind-set. Tell how much you love them and they means to you. Yesterday I read a very beautiful piece by Rachna how a young child lost a life’s battle in order to fulfill his parent’s dreams .Don’t force your kids to compete in rat race. Let them free, allow them to discover their own paths.

Life is beautiful. If winter ends can spring be far behind. The journey might be little shaky but its temporary. This is your life, fight for it. Fight for what you believe in. Fight for what’s important to you. Help others to fight off the suicide evil and make your life worthy and beautiful once gain.

“Take a deep breath, Pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, and start all over again”

  Written for Write Tribe for On World Suicide Prevention Day-Sep 10

Friday, September 6, 2013

Seven lessons On Successful Blogging...............................................

Most of the fellow bloggers do not know that my baby blog has been delivered exactly a month back. Please do not look shocked and befuddled. You must be thinking how a novice blogger can blab about lessons on blog success. Trust me am not.

Few years back one of my friend has introduced me to the world of blogs. But they were just good reads for me. I never actually introspect the reasons behind writing a blog. For me they were like diary entries, way to polish your writing skills or improving english. Foolish me!!

However for about a month, am on reading spree. Read numerous blogs mostly from India but I noticed some of very skilled writers with amazing knack of writing are living in a lost world. No comments no followers nothing on social upfront. They might not be interested in promoting their blogs. That’s shame isn’t?
I remember after writing my first two blogs, nothing came and I felt bad & sad. But I made a point to comment on anonymous blogs with sheer sincerity. May be due to my altruistic reasons, my blog kick-started and I made some wonderful virtual friends.

These seven lessons are the product of my short-span research and observation. Please correct me wherever I go wrong.

1)Blog Design- Before embarking on my blog binge, I visited many other blog designs and templates. I made a list of all the specific elements which attracted me and encompassed on my own blog. Background, colours, fonts, images, typography all should be according to your blog theme. Bold backgrounds or artistic usage of fonts can really spoil your appetite to read the contents.

2) Post often- One should write blogs often and maintain regular schedule. Let other readers feel your presence. The more we blog the more readers we get.

3) Compelling titles & fresh content-The first thing leads to any blog is the catchy title. Tittle represents a lot about your content. It’s like a perfect window dressing. But that’s not all. Do not copy or imitate other bloggers. Readers are interested in original & fresh writings.

4) Comment- Constant commutations is the key ingredient in building your blog base.If we desire for readers to comment on our blogs, they also deserve encouraging words in return.

5) Revert-Your comments need to be reverted. I have seen not all bloggers reply back on their blog comments. Respect your audience and value the attention they give your posts.

6) Blog contests- One of the best ways to build your reader base, exposure and polishing your writing skills is to participate in blog challenges. It’s the fastest to interact with fellow bloggers and receive priceless comments.

7) Endorsing – Writing brilliant posts are not the end of job. Promoting and sharing your blog on relevant platform is must. Thanks to social media sites, we can now spread the word about our blog instantly.

The sole reason to write this post is to gather more information about essentials of blogging from veteran bloggers.If you have something to share, please enlighten me.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

7 Peek a Boo-Columbia

For last few days in almost all my blogs or comments I brag and squirm about my nomadic lifestyle. But not even once I shared any of my traveling experience in words. So finally following my fellow bloggers steps, I thought of sharing my very recent expedition. These days mostly we are sailing in and around US of America but due to changing rules and regulation one cannot go ashore in any part of America. So you can well imagine me being a total prisoner. But at last my wish come true & today i got a chance to unleash Columbia. See how diligent and sincere this blogging journey has made me. In spite of terrible migraine, killing feet and sunburn, am trying to write my words correct. So please forgive me for not writing about history and cultures of Columbia. We had only twelve hours for sightseeing, hogging, shopping and posing. It was short trip but worth the wait. After all beggars can’t be chooser’s. Right!!

Here am sharing few amateur pictures of my trip. Mind you am not a proficient photographer and I like posing then capturing. While looking at the images, you are requested to ignore your rants of critical mind rather endeavor pictures through your heart. 

Bienvenida Columbia..............................................................................................

City-long short

The Famous Fort
Personal Cruiser's
Beautiful Clutter
Blue Heaven
Cargo Carriers

Enjoy Columbia through my eyes.............................................................................

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SEVEN Childhood Crushes......................................................

“Ringa Ringa Roses Pocket full of Poses Husha! Busha! We all fall down!

Am sure most of us have played this rhyme countless time during childhood. We have so many foolish childhood memories hidden somewhere back in our minds. And watching your own kids going through the same stage doing the same crazy innocent things must have taken you to your own infancy period. There has been a fast change since then. Games, stories, rhymes, comics, cartoons, everything has been altered in accord with child’s psychology. Irrefutably certain changes are absolutely wonderful for growing kids but still I find my childhood had been much simpler & more constructive. These days’ children prefer indoor games over playing in the greens. I remember I hated leaving my friends in the evening due to my mum’s endless calling & bickering.

Like my father, my mother was very strict & disciplined when it comes to our studies. Time slots had been assigned for our every activity. After school we were only allowed to watch cartoons for an hour and twice a day on Sundays. God how I detested it. I had my share of cartoon crushes. Some were my idols & friends in my dream world. My love for cartoons has still not vanished with time. They are my stress busters and helps me in uplifted my mood after a dark day.

Let us go down the memory lane and revisit our childhood obsessions…………………………..............

TOM & JERRY-They are the most classic cartoon characters. I love the rivalry & all the comedic fights between the two iconic characters Tom the Cat & Jerry the mouse. With their crazy chase and funny frying-pan fights, Tom and Jerry have been making us giggles for as long as I remember.

JUNGLE BOOK-“Jungle jungle baat chali hai ,pata chala hai, aree chadi pehenkar fhul khila hai fhul khila hai”.I am feeling so nostalgic by just writing & humming these lines. Mogli, baghira , bhaloo the fantastic three  with honesty and intelligent traits. I loved how every story ends with a moral lesson. A must watch for children!!!

HE-MAN – He-Man and the masters of the universe. I was blindly in love with this character. Though at that time I was very small & hardly understood the story. But still for the love of the man, I use to watch it without blinking.

 DUCK TALES- The first ever Disney cartoon.Adventures of Uncle Scrooge and his three cute ducklings. And the best part is Uncle Donald’s nasal voice. Hilarious aren’t they?

 PANCHTANTRA-How many of you remember the story of tortoise & geese. There are more then 100 stories in panchtantra with a moral ending. And I want my children to read these beautiful stories in future.

POPEYE- Popeye and his family & look alike nephews Peepeye, Pupeye, Pipeye Poopeye. He was one of my childhood crush & now by taking inspiration from him married a sailor. And so I call my hubby Popeye………:)

PINGU- And the last but the cutest of all Is Pingu. Pingu & Pinga in there lovely igloo. He is the reason why am obsessed with penguins. My car key ring, soft toy, curtain holder has a penguin image. Funny!!

I can see smile on your faces!! I wish they should telecast them again so that I can understand these cartoons better and laugh my guts –out.I would love to hear about your favorite cartoons.