Archives

My Korean Friend: Lee Shun Si

I have had the opportunity to travel very far and wide. While one of the travels, an old Korean woman happen to sit next to me in a flight. She was taking a solo flight back home after visiting her daughter in the USA. Though she was bit reluctant to start a chat with me, maybe because she was not very comfortable in English, she finally opened up and started telling me about her family. It’s a strange human phycology, that we don’t mind sharing our happy and sad moments with total strangers. She had a lot to tell and I was enjoying every bit of whatever she was telling me in her fragmented language. Her name was Lee Shun Si. What I could make out about her life was that after getting the higher education from the US, her daughter decided to stay and pursue her career there. She, having lost her husband long back was living in Seoul along with her son and his family. She was happy and contented with life and her only desire left was to see her daughter get married to some decent chap. I somehow feel that the family bonds in the Asian culture are very strong. The flight was long; I also shared some moments of my life’s journey with her. I told her that I would break journey in Seoul for two days before I catch my flight for my final destination. She was pleased to hear that and gave me her address and asked me to visit her place while parting ways on the airport.

korean food

korean food

Next day after having had a good sleep in a hotel, i went out to explore the city. Seoul is a beautiful and finding her place was not a difficult job. She was pleased to have me at her place. I liked the culture of opening footwear outside and then she introduced me to her son and his wife who looked beautiful donning an cotton kitchen apron and busy preparing delicious dishes. After our introductions were over, we sat around a low table to have a meal. Sitting cross-legged and having a meal with rice as a main dish was yet another new and pleasant experience for me. Their life style was simple and yet impressive. I was really fascinated with this whole set up and made a mental note of having that kind of low dining table for meals in my place back home as well.

I had wonderful few hours of my life with them and was happy to make new friends. When I wished them good bye they were all smiles and with a promise to be in touch with them, I bade them goodbye!

Be Careful with Your Thoughts

I hundred percent endorse this statement that we become what we think. A negative attitude leads us nowhere and under the same circumstances if you go ahead with a positive attitude you come out as a winner.

One of my acquaintance was taken ill few months back. She was to be operated for a simple hernia but during the course of the operation doctors found that she had strangulated hernia which meant that many parts of her intestine were bad and needed to be operated. The operation which was supposed to finish in half an hour continued for nine hours. when she was wheeled out of the operation theater she was altogether a different person. I could not recognize her and i was shocked to see her condition. Doctors put her on DI list i.e. dangerously ill list.

Positive thoughts

She was in the ICU and selected few were allowed to meet her. When she gained consciousness and realized her physical situation, she smiled despite the pain she was going through. When doctor approached her and asked how she was feeling, what she said still rings in my ears. She said” Don’t worry doctor, i shall overcome this and very soon will get well”. Doctor was very pleased so see her this attitude. He said you have done your part in winning this battle now its for us to see that we send you home hale and hearty.

After eleven days of staying in the ICU she was removed from the dangerously ill list and it took her nearly two months to be shifted in the normal ward. I visited her in the hospital and was very glad to see her gaining strength. She was keen to leave the hospital and wanted to get back home now. She asked me to draw away the curtains from the window so that she could have a look at the blue sky and the birds flying high. When i was about to leave her doctor also came and looking at her he said that she is alive today only because of her will. She never for a single day thought that she might not survive this surgery. He said that in his long career as a doctor he has not seen many patients with this strong determination to live.

Now she is back home and is living her life well with her children and husband. Needless to say , i too have  learned a very important lesson from her.

Cheers! Stay happy!

My Latest Adventures – Srinagar – Part 3

The morning next day was bright and shine, contrary to our expectations as the weather reports earlier had suggested it to be cloudy conditions in Srinagar. Our schedule for the was supposed to cover the local tourist spots of the city which were- Pari Mahal, the Mughal Gardens and the very famous Dal lake. We left the hotel early morning for our very first destination which was “Chashme Shahi”. To our escort was a local taxi which was a Travera. The taxi driver was a local Kashmiri which was quite evident from the unique accent he had while talking. He suggested us to first visit Pari Mahal which was a few kilometers ahead of the Chashme Shahi gardens.

Pari Mahal has was something less of a palace (mahal) and more of a step garden. This terraced garden was situated above a hillock from where the complete view of the Dal lake could be seen. The Mahal had six terraces each having  beautiful and well maintained gardens. After enjoying the beautiful view of half of the valley from Pari Mahal we came down from the hill to visit the Chashme Shahi , which is known for a natural water spring coming out of it.  The naturally effluent water was really cold. The tourists stood in queues to get a photo clicked with the natural source of water.

Next up were the Mughal Gardens, first one was the Nishat Garden situated right in front of the Dal lake.  An interesting fact about the garden was its architecture. It had 12 terraces which represented the 12 Zodiac Signs. There were channels of water running throughout the stretch of the garden.  It was adorned by various trees like that of Chinar, Chestnut, Wlanut etc. The Garden was an assortment of garden, lake and mountains which gave it the look of Paradise. 

IMG_0284

Our next destination was the Shalimar Bagh.  The most pleasant sight in this garden was the beautiful Kashmiri school kids which came on an outing with their teachers to the garden. There was a huge fallen Chinar tree around which the school kids were playing games. The cascade of the Chinar trees were planted across the entire length of the garden, one of which was marked 400 years Under one of these gushy shady Chinars we relaxed on a rug which we were carrying, very handy to sit wherever one feels like.

The adventure shall continue in the next post …
Till then admire this cute Kashmiri girl who specially posed for the camera.

IMG_0342

My Latest Adventures – Srinagar – Part2

I found Chandigarh an exceptionally beautiful and well planned place. Now we were looking forward to our next destination and that was Srinagar. We got a bit confused as to how we should undertake the journey, by road or by air. We finally decided that it will be best for us to take a direct flight from Chandigarh to Srinagar.

After a wonderful sleep we got up fresh in the morning and were all ready to leave our friend’s house right on time. We had a fantastic start of our journey – the front wheel of the car got flat! Yes, the moment we all settled inside the car and were saying our goodbyes to the family, the driver discovered a flat tyre. We got delayed by half an hour to reach the airport, but managed to check in on time.

Our flight for Srinagar was via New Delhi. It took us nearly three and half hours to reach Srinagar. The skyline was clear and I could see the big Himalayan ranges. The moment our plane crossed the massive Pir Panjal range I had the very first glimpse of the valley. Needless to say it was breathtakingly beautiful!

Most of the people travelling were tourists and there was lot of excitement in the air. A young and handsome Kashmiri boy was waiting for us in the airport arrival lounge. Within minutes all our luggage was packed in the boot of the car and we were whisked from the airport to the hotel. We had planned to stay in a hotel near the Dal Lake (the famous lake of Srinagar). Two nights we had booked for a boathouse stay.

The hotel was exactly, how it looked in the brochure. It was exceedingly peaceful with spacious rooms and huge gardens. The beds were very comfortable with clean soft Egyptian cotton fitted sheetsFirst view of Srinagar. After freshening up, we were served tea and coffee in the room itself.

So finally we were here. Those who don’t know anything about this place, I would like to give a quick summery. Srinagar is situated in the Kashmir Valley and attracts large number of travelers from all over. This magnificent city lies on the banks of the Jhelum River which is a tributary of the Indus River. The city is well-known for its stunning gardens, lakes and houseboats.

We had plans to visit nearby places like Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Phelgam as well. In my next write up we shall catch up with our visit to the mugal gardens and the famous dal lake.

Till then Cheers!

My Latest Adventures – Srinagar- Part1

sukhna lake chandigarh

sukhna lake chandigarh

When our flight touched the soil of India, I was much delighted simply for two reasons. First i was back after a long gap and secondly this time we were planning to visit a place claimed most beautiful by many of my acquaintances. Long before staring our journey, I had purchased a book on Kashmir which had a brief history about the place and a detailed list of all the tourist sites.

We could have easily taken a connecting flight from Delhi to Srinagar, but one of the girls, Venus, in our group was from Chandigarh. She was an Indian and wanted us to visit her city first. Her parents lived there and I too was keen to see that place as I had heard that it was the first planned city of India designed by a French architect Le Corbusier.

Chandigarh surely is a beautiful city. I was fascinated by the greenery of the city, something lacking in most cities of India. The lay out of the city is very impressive. The city is divided into various sectors with a market place for each sector, interestingly, they do not have sector 13 there as the famous architect considered it an unlucky number.

We had a warm welcome by my friend’s parents. Nice and warm couple. The table in the dining room was laden with so many delicious snacks. Even though I restrain myself from not eating too much lest it upsets my stomach, I still had a fair amount of fill in my plate. Cup of tea never felt so good. We were asked to take rest for some time before going for a brief sightseeing in the evening. The moment my head touched on the pillows, I drifted to a peaceful sleep, never realized that I was so tired.

After two hours of sleep, Samantha woke me up. She looked quiet fresh and was looking really pretty in the Indian dress she was wearing. Venus asked me, if I too wanted to try the Punjabi dress but I declined….well maybe I was not too confident about carrying it gracefully.

We went to see the Rock Garden first. It was amazing. How could a man make such a beautiful place out of waste and broken items?! It is a big garden…all rocky with artificial streams….nice place to hang out on holidays. In its last section there were huge swings. Some cultural program was also going on. We did not stay there for long as we were to go and see the famous lake of Chandigarh. The Sukhna Lake is quiet near to the Rock garden, but the place was very crowded. People from all age group could be seen there. Some were taking a walk on the path next to the lake, some were just chilling with friends, and some were busy boating in the lake. We also descended few stony steps that leads to the water and sat there for a while. From there we went to see the Rose garden. One could see various kinds of Roses there. One little kid came to me and requested for a photograph with him. It was fun. From there we went to see the city center. A big shopping complex – with all kinds of things. I purchased a belt from a small shop in a corner. We loitered around the whole complex and later on went into the Indian Coffee House for relaxing and refreshing.

Next day we were to take our flight from Chandigarh to Srinagar. Some people who had already been to Srinagar suggested us to go via road from Jammu to Srinagar. As it takes nearly 8 – 9 hours on road, we decided to fly to Srinagar.

The story continues…..Cheers!

My Latest Adventures

Hi there! I have been away from this blog for a long time…..but now i am back once again. Oh! how i have missed not sharing the interesting moments of my life with you all.

Recently, i had the pleasure of going on a wonderful vacation to a place popularly called as ” The Heaven On Earth”. Well it is Kashmir in India. I and my friends had this wonderful opportunity to stay there for a fortnight. We had an amazing experience. From the weather to food to local customs and traditions we loved it all. Though there were some security issues…not that we faced any…but we were definitely advised to remain on the alert.

I have traveled through so many parts of India, that sometimes i feel like a native myself. India is undoubtedly an amazing country. One get to see so much variation…each state has its own flavor.

In the coming days i shall share with you my visit to Kashmir and i am sure you will love it as much as i did.

Stay tuned….i will be back. Cheers!

The Pink City – Jaipur – Hawa Mahal

After having our lunch we went to see the legendry Hawa Mahal also known as the ‘palace of winds’. I had seen the picture of this place on various travel guides but this place was much more impressive in reality. Initially we stood across the road taking its pictures with so much traffic whizzing by. The market was buzzing with routine activities and there amidst this entire hum drum was standing this palace with five storied exterior a fascinating landmark of Rajasthan. This palace was built with the purpose to provide a place from where the ladies of the royal family could see the royal processions going down the market area through the small windows decorated with intricate latticework. In all there are 953 small windows. Our guide told us that this palace was designed in the form of Lord Krishna’s crown. Come to think of it the exterior does looks like a crown. The palace is built of red and pink sandstone. Its architecture is good and apart from crown it also looked like a beehive.

There is a big courtyard with a fountain in the middle just as you enter the palace. It was probably a place where the royal people used to celebrate the festivals. We had to climb through a narrow passage to reach the upper floors. There were no stairs, just a ramp to reach there. The view from the top was fantastic. The royal ladies must have had a great time watching from there. There was some nice stain glass window work inside the palace as well.

We had a good time here. Again the shopkeepers were kind of trying to lure us to buy things but we were now smart enough to evade them. We rushed back to the hotel to relax and pack our things as we were to leave for Agra the day after.

I am so glad that I came to this part of India. There are so many memories for me to visit whenever I am low or alone. Who so ever is reading this blog must make a genuine attempt to have a tour of Rajasthan.

So long………