About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kerala

The other day a bunch of us were talking about travel, and the conversation steered towards Kerala. All of us were sharing our experiences to different destinations and finally we all ended up discussing the Padmanabhapuram Palace. Iit is about 50kms from Trivandrum, infact closer to Nagercoil. So, anyways, the meet ended and as I was heading back home, my thoughts lingered in the palace. The first thing that comes to my mind is the trip we took through Dad's office- The India cements when we were in Tirunelveli and the next connect to this palace is of Varusham 16. 

Back in the days when we lived in Tirunelveli, we used to do a trip every 6months or so, through dad's office. It was the office picnic of sorts. The very 1st one i remember distinctly was to Thiruparappu falls and areas around it. The next time it was Trivandrum- the Palace, manimuthar falls, papanasam, mundanthurai and places around. These weere fun mainly cos there was another family we were quite close to and they would also be travelling with us. I was the only kid [yes, this was way before my sister came into this world and the other family had their son]

Ok, coming back to the office picnic trips, the bus drew to a halt outside the Padmanabhapuram Palace, and we were all told to hop out, explore and be back within 2-3 hours. I wondered "Wow, what is there in this old place that is going to take us that long to explore?" Boy, was I wrong! It was magical, and for a kid who has never seen a palace of any kind, this house was palatial to say the least. So many rooms, and each one inter connected, narrow pathways, the beautiful wooden frames running through the exterior of the house, a huge hall with seats all around [resembling a royal durbar] called manthrasala, but the one thing  that had me zapped were the teeny tiny entrances and staircases. 

The entrance of this palace is called as Poomukham, which leads to an ancient door of palace.  There was a brass lamp with a knight on a horse hanging there. Another aspect that I remember [thanks to a recent visit to the palace] is the Thai Kottaram with the Kannithoonu (a pillar made with wood from jackfruit tree with beautiful intricate floral designs). Rumour has it there is a tunnel connecting the Thaikottaram with Charottukkottaram, and it was used extensively during days of war. 

No the steps were tiny, it was the archways and entrances that were small. It was almost like the people who lived here were no taller than 3 ft in height[you beg to differ?]. The staircases were almost vertical, a straight climb upwards. Sheesh, it was nightmarish, especially since I was tall, even back then [all of 11yrs old studying in 6th std]. I was fascinated with the walls and all the paintings on it [made using vegetable dye]. And then there was the majestic King size bed- a wooden cot made up of 64 different pieces of wood which are of medicinal quality. The Queen's dressing room nearby had a another cot, except this was made of stone. 

As we finally made our way downstairs out to the garden, I spotted the mandapam[resembling a temple hall]. If you've seen Varusham 16, you will know what I am talking about. Called the Navarathri Mandapam, all the pillars here are made with stones and it is the only place in the palace made of stones. This place was used for cultural performances only and audience were members of the Royal family only, outsiders were not allowed.  There is also a clock tower within the palace grounds which is over 300yrs old, but still works perfect. 

I would love to do another trip and explore the palace some more. Am sure I would notice things I dint the last time around... 

These photographs were taken on dad's old film camera and edited wee bit... Wish there were more, wish I had been more interested in photography/travel back then.. But then heck, I aint complaining!! :)

You can read more about the Palace

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Skywatch Friday- Walk amidst the trees

A text from a friend "Girl, we are planning a tree walk on saturday with a few of my friends and our kids, coming? It is from 4-5pm in the Tree park in Kotturpuram" I instantly replied "Yep, will be there"

Armed with a bottle of water, I headed out towards the park, only to find the lot of them already out and about. I spotted them near the water pump, and a small make shift shed of sorts. My friend asked me to pull out the buckets and pot from the shed, while she took charge of pumping water. 

The kids were all between 4-10 and some had a tiny bucket with them, which they insisted on using. It was quite amusing. The park is not huge, but has quite a few trees and young saplings, and a path between for people who like to walk. Amidst these trees, we also spotted an adult male spotted deer that soon disappeared into the wilderness. Wondered where he had wandered in from. 

The adults in the group carried the big buckets, pouring into the smaller ones and guiding the kids towards the plants. It was amusing listening to them advice each other, get playful only to be pulled back by their parent. The best was when my friend's son P wanted to water the wild weeds and I told him they were wild plants that needn't be watered. He turned around and said 'but those plants also need water no, why you saying no put water on it?" I realized explaining this was going to be tricky..

Here we are teaching kids to water and take care of plants, and then we tell them certain plants dont need water.. Quite an awkward situation.. I decided to leave these tricky things to the parents  and distracted him to the spider on the lamp post. Kids being kids, got distracted and all swarmed around trying to catch a glimpse of the spider. One kid announced "let us pour water on the spider and see what happens"... Jeez, what is up with kids of today!!scary... lol... 

As we walked around, there were a few regulars who asked us if we maintain the place, or who takes care of the weeding and so on. Some came from a few kms away to walk, and said the park seemed run down over the past few weeks and wanted us to do something about it .

Sure felt good to have done this activity, and we hope to continue it for as long as possible and rope in more hands.

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

 About the park- Source: TOI 
The transformation of this area, which was once overrun by tonnes of waste and thick vegetation, was initially carried out in 2008 by the Public Works Department with support from Nizhal, a non-government organisation.Nizhal sourced and planted 240 saplings of over 100 different species of tropical dry evergreen forests/indigenous, naturalized trees/shrubs. Students and volunteers have been helping the greening process by pumping water from the lone hand pump to water the plants and adding manure.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My date with Vista D90

There he stood, looking dashing in bright red, coming towards me in a lazy stroll kinda way.... I knew it, even though Blue was my favorite colour, on him i preferred the Red... And thus began the date, not one quick cup of coffee or dinner, but one that went on for 3days... Read on to know how amazing this date was,

Out of the blue, well, not really out of the blue, one day about a week ago I spotted a tweet from @Blogadda saying “one more slot available for anyone who wishes to review the Indica vista D90” and the sneaky me clicked on reply and sent “me”, and the rest as you know is what happened. Oh, you don’t know? Well, I received a mail from Blog Adda and the dates were fixed. I would have the “yet to be launched” TataIndica Vista D90 for 3days, 28th through to 30th Jan.. Wow, this was yet another 1st time opportunity and experience for me.

This was a campaign that Blog Adda was doing in association with TATA Motors to promote the new TATA Indica #VistaD90 using bloggers across the country. The bright shiny red #VistaD90 arrived home Monday noon, and the excitement within mounted. I had checked if the vehicle was available around a weekend but was told this was the only free slot. As they say [wonder who that ‘they’ is] beggars cant be choosers… bla bla… How I would have loved to have done a weekend trip in this beauty!! 

That evening, piled the entire family in, well, not entire- grandparents and mom [yes, all 3 sad in the back seat, comfortably without having to kill anyone] and we headed towards Marina Beach. Felt nice, almost like I owned the car [if only]. The bright red caused quite a few heads to turn, no no one crashed into a light pole like they show in those TV ads. I fidgeted with the various features, tried out the rear view adjust knob, paired my phone in the music system, made and received calls, played music, and even tried cheating by not wearing the seat belt to see if there was a alarm waiting to sneak up on me, which it did..

From the wide roads, we squiggled our way into the narrow road off Greams road towards Haji Ali. Phew, no scratches or glitches. *Wipes invisible sweat off the brow*.

The next day, it was time to rope in the bestie and her little munchkin for a ride. The little one made my day and month and maybe life by asking “this red car is yours Aarti? It is nicer than the other silver one you have”:D Like a girl strutting around showing off a new dress, I showed off the car here and there...talking to people, getting their inputs, hearing several sides to a coin.

Oh, how can I forget? It was thanks to the Vista D90 that i made a trip down to Vadapalani to pay my friend a surprise visit at her newly opened pastry store. Some of the streets made me flinch, wondering if it was a bad mistake bringing the car out here, but then I live to tell the tale.. :-) We picked up a few treats and got home with a big smile.

Some of the cool features in this hatchback are
  • The neat rear view mirror adjusting knob placed near the driver’s side
  • The Drive information system that is quite informative and handy
  • Good space and legroom in the backseat
  • The dashboard, one of which displays the kms left on the fuel along with the clock and temperature. This also displays the avg mileage.
  • The music system and speakers. They are definitely an improvement over the previous versions.
  • The powerful AC, it got cold quite rapidly and i had to tone it down.
  • The light around the key slot .Cool thing, you don’t have to fumble for it in the dark

The Downers:
  •  Am nearly 6ft tall, so for someone of my height to sit comfortably in the driver’s seat it is a bit of a challenge. Head grazes against the roof and it is not a comfortable feeling
  •  Lack of space to store things- like a water bottle or the phone. No pouch behind the driver & passenger seat either.

Well, am sure this car would have quite a few takers, given that it is a sleek model, fitted with the same engine as the Fiat and the Manza interiors.

To know more about what some of the others bloggers thought, follow #vistad90 on twitter !!!