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!! :)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Relishing the Challenge- Race home

Invariably every week I manage to meet up with this gang of friends. We either meet for a cup of coffee or dinner or a movie. During one such meet I was whining about how I've been grounded for too long [2months] and was itching to get back on the road. A friend Nagarajan countered saying he had been grounded forever [since his accident a few months ago]. And that  is when we decided to share interesting incidents from our trips. Couple of us took a go at it, but Nags's story takes the cake. Here is what he went through... 

The background: Nags works for a leading IT company and was being sent to Canada on work. To complete the Visa processing, he had to go to Delhi. 

I was in Delhi, but was missing my home terribly since I had not been away much and was very close to my family members. I had booked train tickets for the subsequent not knowing how long the Visa processing formalities would take. But then, I was done within a few hours and instead of spending the rest of the day exploring Delhi, I decided to get back home. Alas, Chennai isnt a hop skip jump from Delhi. I wondered what would be the easiest quickest way. Flights were not an option, I had no intention of shelling out 10k to the airlines. Instead, I threw caution to the wind and got to the station and looked for an alternative. 

I managed to hitch a ride from Delhi to Bhopal thanks to a physically challenged person in the handicapped compartment. From Bhopal onwards, I shared seat with zillion others in the compartment reserved for army personnel. I sat the entire journey, with not a wink of sleep. And finally I had made it to Chennai. The entire journey was with an unreserved ticket but without getting into the unreserved compartment.. I consider this quite an achievement. Who would have thought ~ Talk about Relishing the Challenge of not having a ticket but just the drive to get home :-) 

My family was surprised to see me home earlier than what I had told them and when they heard the tale, they dint know if they should scream at me for being so reckless or be happy that I persisted and got home 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Relishing the Challenge- Braving the storm

During a recent movie meet with friends, we were talking about going on a road trip to Goa. Then came the discussion of when is a good time to hit Goa, post rains, before new years, etc etc. And before we knew it, each of us was sharing an interesting incident from our travels to various corners of the country. The most exciting was from Karan. An IT boy, he has been in Chennai for a while now and loves driving around on his bike, his pride & joy.  I share his experience here. 

I was in Kerala, at home for a few days. And true to Kerala, it kept drizzling constantly. It was Friday evening and I was bored of sitting at home.  I wanted to just up and go somewhere but none would come alone using the rains as an excuse. D'uh!! On saturday morning, I woke up, had chaiya [tea in malayalam], put on my jacket and just took off on my bike. As I hit the road, the drizzles began and pretty soon it was pouring cats and dogs. I had no clues where I was headed, but I dint want to stop, I dint want to come back to an empty house. There were quite a few mountains and green fields around, luckily I knew my way around this part of the country. I kept riding and the rains got heavier. 

Along with the downpour, mist started settling in to a near zero visibility. I paused for a moment, wondered if maybe I should not be so foolhardy and just return home. But then, some craziness kicked in and I just kept riding it out.  The 1st break I took was an hour later. I was drenched to the bone, but there was such a big grin on my face. Feeling the wind and rain on my face, I experience excitement like never before. I stopped at a road side tea shop for a cup of tea and something hot to eat. There were a couple of elderly men sitting there sipping chaiya, who looked at me like I had lost my mind. One man asked me if I was from out of town and another commented "youngsters these days, no care for life, look at him". I was tempted to ask them what was the most crazy thing they had ever done. But then decided against it. Paid for what I had and got back on the road, this time heading back home. The two hours was exhilarating, giving me a sense of "freedom". 

No sooner had I parked the bike, mom came scolding me for going out in the rain. My mind was already cooking up plans for a longer drive, maybe to Kochi or Nagercoil the next weekend. Talk about Relishing the Challenge and living life to the full.... 

Relishing the Challenge- Up the Mahasu Peak

I was in my 1st yr of college, infact it had been about 3months since college began when we came to know there was a trip being planned to the Northern part of India. I was all kicked about it and my parents had also given their consent. It was to be a 12day trip covering Delhi, Shimla, Kulu, Manali and around.  I barely knew my classmates leave alone our seniors, but that dint faze me.

We were given a rough itinerary and told to bring warm clothes as some of the places we were going to visit would be cold or damp. It was the month of October, so most of these regions were just getting over the monsoons. We landed in Delhi and hopped into a bus heading to Shimla. After settling into our rooms, we were told that the 1st site to visit would be Kufri. It was like the Dodabetta of Ooty, it offers a 360 degree view of the valley below. Kufri was once a part of the Kingdom of Nepal until the British took over the area as part of the Sugauli Treaty. Infact, legend has it that the region remained quite obscure till the British 'discovered' it in 1819. Since then, it has been welcoming tourists from various parts of the world.

Our teachers had consulted with the locals and suggested we make it to the Mahasu Peak before sunset to get this panoramic view. We walked along the winding roads till we reached a path that led up the hill. There were no proper roads, only stones and rubble with cedar trees on either side. As we made our way up the path, through the forests, we spotted quite a few tourist on horses, some going up while others were making their way downward. 

Mahasu Peak is infact the highest peak in Kufri. Took us quite a while, somewhere along the way a few of us thought we would not be able to go further, maybe we should just sit there and wait for others to return, but braving the rough terrain, we trudged on. Now, this was a moment where I truly did end up Relishing theChallenge. We finally emerged atop the mountain and it was beautiful. The flat terrain had a few hawkers; some selling fruit chat while others sold chai and soft drinks. We quenched our thirst, tried some fruit chaat and spent some time resting our tired feet. We also noticed a small spot that was the hub for adventure sports. Apparently, when it snows, the peak transforms into a skiing arena.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Relishing the challenge- (mis)Adventure

There I was, in 6th Standard when our class teacher announced we were going to do something different the next day. It was Saturday, we normally had school -full day. We wondered what it could be, but had no clues what was in store for us.

The next morning, as always we got to school, the only difference being all of us were in colour dress [no uniforms, a Saturday norm]. By 10 am, our teacher announced we were all to assemble outside the main gate. Curious, anxious and nervous,we all stood in a line waiting for some instruction or guidance. Within a few minutes, there she was, asking us to follow her down the road. And then she announced that we were going on a small trek. Now, this was a small locality Thazhayuthu in the town of Tirunelveli. We had not gone on any treks leave alone heard of the word.  

Those of us who had a cycle rode on, and others walked along with the teachers. We must have walked for nearly a kilometer when the teacher brought us to a halt and pointed to a row of hills ahead. "That is where we are headed" she announced. 

*Gulp* I had no clues what was awaiting us up ahead but had a bad feeling at the pit of my stomach. I can walk, but have never climbed anything that did not have steps on it. And I was on the big built side, so thoughts of me slipping sliding or falling down kept crashing into my head. My friends reassured me and what do you know, I actually made it to the top without any mishaps. And what a view we had of the town below. Too bad we did not have cameras back then. The teacher had one and this is a picture from her camera. 

I was the cautious one, who stood back while others went ahead wandering around exploring the hill top. And in an hour we were all set to descent. This is when I met my fate. A bunch of spotted a smooth rock and thought it would be easier to slide down and reach the bottom faster. In spite of our teacher's warning, we went ahead and began to descent down that path. I don't know how much time passed, but I woke up on the ground with the teachers looking down at me with a worried look on their face. I spotted the hill on my left but had no memory of how I made it down here. Apparently, I had slipped and came tumbling down all the way. I could barely stand, leave along walk; I was woozy and could feel blood trickling down my face.

Our vice principal came over in an ambulance and I was hauled away to the nearby hospital. Had quite a few cuts, bruises and gashes. But luckily, no broken bones or major damages. I was in and out of consciousness for a day or so and then was sent home to recuperate.I recall mom & dad telling me how I nearly visited death and was brought back to life. Even today, they talk about the incident with fear in their eyes. Took me about 10 days and I was limping back to school.

I recall the day I returned to school, our Principal was just entering and she saw me coming down the road. She enquired about my health and told me "this is a lesson for you, now you are ready to face your next challenge"

Now, this is one aspect of my life where I did end up Relishing the Challenge. I have since then been on quite a few treks, I do get scared, I freeze at times, but I have managed to complete the course... 

Travelling made fun with Coupondunia.in

So, it has been a few months since I took off anywhere. The itch has been around, the yearning to get away but just been tied down with too much happening. I keep reading about so many travel tales, so many people wandering the world and makes me long.... Hopefully soon... 

In the mean time, I wanted to share about this cool site I chanced upon that might help you when you plan your next holiday. 

Am talking about  CouponDunia, an amazing site for finding coupons & deals for online stores like FlipKart, GoIbibo, Dominos, SnapDeal, Myntra, Pepperfry, ShopClues & many more. Did you know that CouponDunia is also India’s Largest Coupon & Deal site, and has over 152,000 Likes on  Facebook?? 

CouponDunia covers deals/coupons for products across various categories from Books, Clothes, Perfumes & Watches to Air Tickets to Electronics.

They even have an option to subscribe to deals/coupons for specific online stores, so that you get an e-mail the moment a new deal/coupon is added for that online store.

Be sure to check out their featured coupons, where you can find great deals from new online stores. 

Here are some deals that caught my eye !

Amazing Deals for Hotels on GoIbibo. Save with GoIbibo Coupons

Delicious Pizzas from Dominos. Save with Dominos Coupons

Discounts on International Flights to US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand from Yatra. Save with Yatra Coupons

Happy travelling..  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Adults in the Toy Train?

After a good 4hours walking around Coonoor, we were making our way towards the exit at Sim's Park when my friend was telling her daughter about the Toy Train. The Kiddo looked up at us and said with all innocence "but how will you all fit into it, how will you come to Ooty?".We laughed and then explained to her that though it was called the Toy Train, it was for people of all ages and sizes...

A steam engine takes place of honour outside the Coonoor station after having given years of service to the railways. 

 It was my last day there in Ooty and my friend's husband [well, he is also a dear friend now] suggested we explore Coonoor and maybe try the Toy Train from Coonoor to Ooty. We all chimed in "Yayy", but then came the question of how do we do this? logistics? I suggested Bus or cab, friend's hubby A said "We'll drive down, you guys come by train, I'll drive back to Ooty and pick you up". I screamed at him saying that was a stupid idea and no fun. Finally, we hired a cab from the resort, picked up tickets for the train journey from Ooty station and headed out.
 A church i spotted while waiting at Coonoor station

The clock was about to strike 4.25 as we rushed into the station, spotted the TTR and found our compartment and seats. It was very different from the Mettupalayam Ooty train, probably cos we were in the  2nd class compartments. The seats were wooden planks, and small cubicles with small rickety windows. Anyways, we were all excited and quite high :-)

The train took one hour to complete the 18km journey, but the sights were worth the time. The lush greenery, endless mountains with green fields, clouds gliding across the mountain tops, and the herds of Bison that were grazing along the railway track that paused to give us a look [ i kid you not, they stared right at us as if to say Whats up?]  and ofcourse the 16 tunnels. Our cab driver had mentioned that some parts of the Chaiyya Chaiyaa song from Dil Se had been shot here on the tracks and we wondered where.

We crossed Wellington, Ketti Valley, Lovedale before pulling into Ooty station. The kids were excited to spot our cab driver on the platform. What a fun journey that was!!

The train operates through the day, about 4 times, from Ooty to Coonoor and back. The last on schedule is
4.30pm departure from Coonoor to reach Ooty at 5.25pm. You will see a chart with timings in Ooty station,  and the counter opens 45mins before the train departure time. 

The cost of ticket for the 5 of us in 2nd class was Rs138/- .. If you go early, you can grab a seat in the 1st class.

This post is also an entry for momentum of moments contest of www.redbus.in