Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My very first opportunity to witness a live sports game!

The IPL fever is on; and I got a chance to be a spectator yesterday at the KKR versus RR match. For the uninitiated, KKR is Kolkata Knight Riders and RR is for Rajasthan Royals :-)

I won't call myself an avid cricket buff but my husband is, so every once in a while I like to join in the spirit of the game just to give him some company! But IPL is an exception because it's just a 20 over match and the innings are over pretty soon - the worst is test cricket when they just keep playing for days together, what a drag!


We went along with my cousin and his wife - more the merrier! We got to the stadium around 2 hours before the match started so we had to brave the heat for some time before sunset. The stadium was already filling up with fans from both sides and by the time it was 1830 - the crowds were roaring!! WOW, what an adrenaline rush! I can totally understand - Cricket is a HUGE passion in the Indian sub continent!

RR won the toss and batted first, we cheered at all the boundaries and sixers, boo-ed at the loss of wickets and then......... came.......... King Khan, to support his team's innings. He looks quite lean and yes, age is showing on his face - but hey he is Shah Rukh Khan :D :D Sorry I'm gushing like a teenager here!!

KKR batted really well, and the game closed with both teams drawing at a 152. They played a super over following which ... Rajasthan Royals WON ! - What a cracker of a match! I am so glad I got to be there, thanks to my parents and my inlaws who took care of the kids at home :-) It was sure worth every minute and all the excitement!





Sunday, April 20, 2014

Too busy? I'm guessing not.

What's with this continuous trend of people saying they are 'too busy'? Since when did it become fashionable to declare you are too busy and that's why you didn't return the call, or sort out some photos or whatever xyz it is that you were supposed to do. Let's face it, we all have our priorities. 

The way I see it, noone can be too busy ALL the time. Consciously or subconsciously we allot priorities to occurrences in our daily grind and we follow that. Sure, we ARE busy. We have so much to do these days that 18 hours look really less (assuming an average person would sleep at least 6 hours). 

The point of this blogpost is how can we stop ourselves from declaring we are 'too busy'? I know of people who just don't bother keeping in touch any more, be it via social media or a phone call or a personal visit. Why? Oh too busy at work, then too busy at home etc etc. 

So what about the people who 'do take the effort'? Are they any less busier than their counterparts - No way. It's all about their priorities. 

I am actually worried about the lack of personal touch these days and it's just not funny any more. I know of people who would rather say hi on WhatSapp than connect and talk to the person. So much so that such people dither if they have to 'actually talk' and they don't know what to say.

On a personal basis, I like creating time slots in between my schedule so that I can stay in touch with friends.For example, I connect on a call when I start to cook so that I enjoy the other person's company and get done with the task of cooking as well. Two goals achieved at one go! I may not be able to make social visits all that much thanks to a really curious and naughty toddler, but we increasingly make efforts towards making anything happen. 

How nice would it be if we just reached out to each other like it was in the days gone by? How nice would it feel to pick up the phone and say hello to someone who you haven't spoken to in a long time - especially a person who may have stopped trying to say hi to you because you always seemed too busy? 

Try it today, and I guarantee a wide smile on your face! :-)



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Great Greek Sojourn - April 2014 :)

Kalimera !!


Right from the time we decided on going on this tour, it was all so exciting! After all it was Greece - bursting with historical ancient ruins, Gods, Goddesses and gorgeous architecture. There was no way we were going to miss this trip. The one question was whether our 19 month old would be okay on the trip because he is a kid who doesn't like to be restrained. So a 5 hour flight plus a lot of local road travel by bus etc - we were just not sure. Then again we decided to go ahead with the trip with the hope that even if he protested in the beginning, he would soon adjust. And he did very well ! More on that later :D

We were going as part of a group, so everything was already predecided and prebooked by the agency. Our tickets, our stay, our meals - all included. Most of the time when we have traveled in Europe, we have had to struggle with finding vegetarian food but we thought Greece wouldn't be such a big problem. After all Mediterranean cuisine is known for their focus on fresh vegetables. We were partly right and partly wrong - maybe if we had gone to restaurants on our own we may have had a better choice. As a group we had no choice but to go to the restaurants we were escorted to. Though they were clean and hygienic, they did not offer much focus on veg food. We were treated to some delicious Indian food on the last couple of nights on the tour, so that was a HUGE plus. Apart from that we had the opportunity to taste the local moussaka and tzatziki, both of which are beyond delicious! I have noticed that the Greeks really love aubergine (eggplant) and any vegetable dish will have this in some form or the other. Yum !

I can give a list of hotels we stayed at, and these are highly recommended for comfort, cleanliness and accessibility.

Athens:         The Athens Ledra
http://www.athensledrahotel.com/

Olympia:     Best Western Europa
http://www.hotelseuropa.gr/

Itea-Delphi :  Nafsika Palace
http://www.nafsikapalace.gr/

Kalambaka:     Divani Meteora
http://www.divanis.com/meteora/default-en.html

The 3 day tour of Olympia-Delphi-Kalambaka is highly recommended.

An important thing is if you don't have the slightest clue about Greek history, I do recommend you read up a little else you are bound to feel a little lost when the guide is explaining. For example, Olympia has the ancient Olympian athletic events arena with a stadium, event locations etc. Everything is in ruins but each and every stone speaks of the years gone by. Just standing there you can imagine the sportsmen competing with each other and the spirits live on there. There's also a nice little museum in there with a lot of nice artefacts, most of them are archeaological excavations (statues etc). A lot of the statues have a head or a limb missing, maybe because they are all just so ancient.  

I highly recommend visiting the Christian monasteries in Kalambaka. They are situated on these huge beautiful rocks and they have quite a bit of history attached to them.

We also went on the 'Athens One Day Cruise' (http://www.athensonedaycruise.com/). This leisurely cruise takes you to the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina. The only regret is they didn't give us much time on the islands. For example Hydra is such a beautiful island where the only form of transportation is mules and horses. It resonated old world charm, but the cruise docked only for 45 minutes which is way too less to walk around and enjoy. We didn't even have time for a cup of coffee even, at one of the quaint lil cafes - that was disappointing.

However at Aegina, which is the biggest of the three islands, we got a good 2 hours, so we were able to walk around by the shoreline, dip our feet into a little water, and relax by the seaside cafe.

A few notes:

I should write here that there is a LOT of climbing to be done because most of the ancient ruins are situated over walls and terrace-type ruins. Some of the trails can be pebbly and rocky, but fun ! Wear your walking shoes and get set to explore - it is worth it.

If you have a toddler, also know that only a few of the ruins are located along trails that you can take your stroller on. Some of the tourist sites do not allow strollers to be taken in so you will have to carry your toddler around or let him/her walk a little of course with great supervision as everything is at a height and the pathways can get steep. Our tot got cranky due to the full schedule and the itinerary, so a tip for next time is to go on as relaxed a tour as possible ;-)


Toilets are available at all sites and are quite clean. You may want to carry wipes along because as in most of Europe, Greeks use toilet paper, no water!

We were in Greece in the first week of April and the weather is just perfect then. It was quite chilly in the mornings but progressing towards a warm and sunny clime by say 11 a.m. Evenings would get a little chilly too but so pleasant and nice. The highways and main roads are dotted with little cafes that sell bakery products, coffee, hot chocolate and the works. The best part is the fresh unpolluted air, just one deep breath completely rejuvenates you.

In Athens, you can shop for curios and other souvenirs at Placa, which is full of these little shops. Feel free to bargain, the Greek shopkeepers love it ;-)

Will write another post if I can think of anything else to add. Meanwhile if you are planning your trip to Greece, feel free to ask questions!!


And finally,  some photos on request :)







Monday, April 7, 2014

Clouds♥♥♥♥

We are on vacation ! Loving this beautiful country and today I thought I will share the pictures of some beautiful cloud formations .. enjoy!!