One month into 2016!

Hiya,

Hope this year is off to a flying start for you. (Belated happy 2016 – eleven months are still ahead of us!:)) It’s been a while since I communicated through this platform. It was quite a colourful 2015 I must say, with all its hues. How was yours?🙂

Felt gratified that I was awarded my PhD degree at the 65th annual convocation of Karnatak University, Dharwad, by Mr N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys. I was later felicitated by our Dakshina Kannada organisation in my hometown for the PhD. After the felicitation, I was given an opportunity to address a huge gathering of all ages – many of whom I had seen and spoken to at social gatherings. It was an overwhelming experience, to say the least. (These were the five key points of my speech, delivered in Tulu: a) be goal oriented b) give due importance to extracurricular activities, alongside studies c) pursue your dream career (without getting influenced by others) d) “In the race to be better or best, do not forget to enjoy the journey” e) do not forget your roots (society and culture) however high you may rise in your life.)

I was told that the speech received a very positive feedback. My husband and parents who were witness to the event were proud of me. I owe them my gratitude as they stood like pillars of support during that phase of my research work.

P and I enjoyed a trip to Coorg mid-year with friends. I went into a hiatus during the latter part of the year due to a health reason. But that hasn’t deterred my spirits thanks to my overall positive attitude. I love my family all the more whilst I am slowly getting back to my routine. Btw, my good-old interest in sketching is rekindled. I will share some sketches with you over a period of time. Let me first start with the New Year greetings.🙂

NewYearGreetings

Celebrate life!

Cheers,

RV

The show must go on

Theatre is an art form that showcases freedom of speech and expression. It is made to suit the entertainment needs of the young and old alike through its content, narration and style. Themes for a theatre performance in India are usually borrowed from the epics such as Ramayana and Mahabaratha.

Yakshagana (Courtesy: Google Images)

Yakshagana (Courtesy: Google Images)

What is the status of theatre in urban India today? The scene is not so encouraging. As of now, theatre is seen as an alternative form of entertainment enjoyed largely by theatre aficionados. And, mostly contemporary theatre it is. Although traditional theatre forms such as yakshagana, dollu kunitha, bailata and so on originated here, they are on the brink of extinction while they are gaining popularity in the West. Movies, cable television, computer games and gizmos are seen to satisfy the penchant for entertainment.

The need of the hour is to keep theatre and its forms alive in India. One of the best ways to introduce theatre to the younger generation is by including it in the school curriculum – be in the private schools or the government schools. Exclusive time needs to be devoted to nurture theatre talents among individuals. Students who are not keen on pursuing academics may wish to pursue acting as a career and take up some training. Young minds when nourished with appropriate training and exposed to such theatre forms will help in upholding theatre – a dominant facet of Indian culture. Amateur theatre clubs should be given the required support. The government on its part should continue to acknowledge theatre artists by way of instituting various awards and offering promotional platforms. Any financial assistance will be greatly appreciated as well.

Theatre, after all, brings out myriad facets of human personality to the fore and it draws attention to certain subtle aspects of life. Qualities such as humour, wit, revolt, anger, sorrow, fear, surprise and so on are depicted in an artistic manner. Relationships are given new dimensions and life is looked upon through different lenses. Those colourful clothes and props, dialogues and stories – all are woven together to give a performance that magical aura and effect.  In fact, theatre brings out the best in individuals. It acts a stressbuster to both the actors and the audiences. Thus, the show must go on.

PS: Yours truly had written this piece for a recent edition of a college journal – The Write Angle. Your comments/views are welcome.

A whirlwind trip to the space

I was sitting comfortably on the settee, all geared up to watch an Aurora through the  window sill. Chuou chuou chucho…bit by bit…I heard a quivering noise. The decibels of it only increased with every passing hour. Was it an alien, I thought to myself, for I was reading about space science just then. It was a story about a black hole that captured my imagination. I was so much caught up with the story that I began to think about gravity and Milky Way like never before. Just then a hovercraft racer zipped past and that caused a crater in my thinking patterns.

Time lapse seemed to envelope as some cosmic scenes continued to show outside the window sill unabated. Adding to it, flying cars and flying bikes crossed over one another. I was caught between scenes at my eye level and above my eye level.  A robot suddenly surfaced from nowhere. It spoke about exploring the possibilities of nanotechnology and teleportation to crack hurdles in the space. Using its sixth sense, the robot arranged for a time machine. A domino effect was seen with the usage of both the time machine and teleportation, and with people using their scientific temper to experiment with issues grappling life in Mars.

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

I was dazed with the scenes around me, and for a moment I felt like the superhero Iron Man who had to escape from the fear of captivity and save his life. I called for help from the guardians of the galaxy. They arrived in no time and took me away through a wormhole to the space town. Our spacecraft sure looked like a UFO. A feeling of euphoria set in me.

PS: How do you find the sci-fi story? Yours truly happened to weave it for fun.🙂

Welcome MMXV!

Here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year 2015. May this year be a lovely year for all of us!

Any New Year resolutions? Any wish-lists? Well, yours truly made one last year only to find it safe in the system. Lo, when the list surfaced before the eyes just now, felt happy to see some accomplished.🙂

We had an amazing 2014 with travel to some exotic locations in Europe. Some countries on my bucket-list such as Switzerland and Spain were covered, much to my delight. Portugal was refreshingly amazing. France was charming as ever. Italy was enigmatic. Felt like donning the mantle of a tourist guide when we got to visit some countries in Europe the third or fourth time. It was a wonderful stint in Belgium. Visited all the major places of interest such as Brussels, Louvain-la-neuve, Waterloo, Ghent, Ypres, Antwerp, Brugges, Liege, etc.

Significantly, in 2014, I managed to submit my PhD thesis. I got an opportunity yet again to lecture in a communications school at Ghent, Belgium. Btw, I have got back to a full-time academic career. Hmm…in the midst of our respective careers, both P and I continue to engage in short travels in India as well. We had been to Dandeli (an exotic locale in North Karnataka) recently where we were close to nature’s bounty thanks to the Jungle Lodges experience.

Time is a precious commodity in extraordinarily busy cities such as Bangalore. It gets reinforced every now and then thanks to the maddening crowd and traffic. It has changed for the worse since the last time I worked here a few years ago. Hope to find some calmness and peace in this otherwise culturally vibrant city.

Catch you soon!

PS: Our niece Saanvi and nephew Kanishk brought us endless joy as they arrived in July and November 2014 respectively.🙂

True essence of education

The hallmark of education is to unleash one’s true potential. Education, in this context, simply does not refer to a parochial type of formal training. It is the essence of being aware of oneself in the gamut of a metaphysical environment. Surroundings, upbringing, reading and social contacts add to the understanding of oneself. In all, these factors aid in defining one’s self-concept. 

Self-concept is the realization of one’s worth. When it is achieved, one begins to focus on one’s strengths and work on areas of improvement. This in turn leads to a refined personality where confidence and humility act in equal measure. Thereafter, one’s self-esteem, which is nothing but one’s estimation of oneself in comparison to others, shall be on a higher plane. 

Given this context, it is only apt that a child is made to understand both its strengths and its weaknesses. Of course, the strengths need to be highlighted more. A mentor or a teacher’s role is of paramount importance as the child grows, so that the child is moulded into a deserving rather than a desired shape, as
dictated by society. It is important that a child is made to think for itself, without being forced into acting in a particular fashion.

Fine-tuning and conditioning of the mind at a young age is of utmost importance. This is all the more true in an age where distractions abound, thanks to technology, which acts as a pawn in fulfilling a child’s desires. Materialistic pleasures seem to rule the roost for a child, who easily falls prey to them.

Understanding child psychology and its nuances/dimensions is very relevant. Innovativeness in teaching and learning is the need of the hour. Thus, this calls for sensitizing teachers to awaken young minds in a manner that brings out the best in them. Education, in a formal setup, has to be imparted using appropriate pedagogy. The pedagogy has to bring out the innate self of the child, which should manifest itself in showing appreciation for life and its simple pleasures.

The ultimate aim of education, in the words of Swami Vivekananda, “is the process by which character is formed, strength of the mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened, as a result of which one can stand on one’s own feet.”

PS: I had written this editorial piece for a recent edition of a college journal – The Write Angle. Your comments/views are welcome.

Travel and marvel

We love a lot to travel,
for there is something to unravel.

Each experience is like an opulence,
worth a lifetime of reverence.

Our trips are well-defined,
and they leave us refined.

Some jaunts take us to nature’s beauty;
while others, to man-made bounty.

Europe and its countries are scintillating.
Asia and its countries are mesmerizing.

Our lens aids in packaging memories,
which in itself act as boundless glories.

A good travel partner matters a great deal –
it is just like having a fulfilling meal.

Far and wide we will continue to travel,
as we tread on life’s canvas and marvel.

Norway

Norway – a country so close to my heart

Canine attraction

Bow! Bow! Bow! So I heard the sound.
Wow! Wow! Wow! So was I spellbound.

Hop, hop, hop – so I went to the scene of action.
Romp, romp, romp – so were they tended on with passion.

Lo, a bunch of five cuddly puppies lay in the garden!
They looked up as if to say we were their guardian.

The mother dog was a brownie,
She looked scary and scrawny.

We offered her bread and some solace,
And her puppies, some shoelace!

They began to run and play,
But they were too tiny for a relay.

Ah, they left us bowled over by their mime,
Only to attract from us a gleeful rhyme.

They were sure to guard our home,
while we were away in Rome!

Lovable puppies

Lovable puppies

Swiss Time

A big hello to you from Switzerland. Hope you are well.

The travel bug has bitten me this season too. After a trip to Portugal and Spain last week, we landed in yet another beautiful and rich country – Switzerland – two days ago. We have explored Basel and Zurich so far. It will be Luzern tomorrow. This was one of the countries in my bucketlist. P planned it around the time of my birthday.🙂 Although a third visit for him to the landlocked country, he seems to be equally enjoying the visual treat offered by nature and the cultural facets unique to each city.

Well, the weather was just perfect until this evening. The temperatures rose to 30 degrees celsius at times. A feeling of irony set in as we experienced scorching heat in Switzerland! But as we travelled upwards to Luzern (Lucerne) this evening, closer to the Alps, there was a torrential rainfall! Phew! Mother Nature and her idiosyncrasies – I thought to myself. But that didn’t stop us from appreciating the hues of the city.

A visit to Interlaken and the surrounding, exotic areas is in the schedule next. After a tryst with nature there, we shall be going to Neuchatel, Bern and Geneva. Btw, many sites here have been taking us back in time…reminding us of our visits to Norway.

As usual, we have our LP guide with us. The brochures from the tourist info points too prove useful. All the moments are being captured using our DSLR camera. Hope to find some time to post some pictures as well.

Btw, if ever you are planning a trip to Europe, don’t hesitate to contact yours truly for some free tips/advice.😉

PS: Apparently, author Mark Twain had visited Luzern years ago.

Vacation time

It was a very hectic April for yours truly as the labour of love (thesis related) came to a fulfilling end. May has opened up vistas for travel and fun here in Europe again.

I am presently enjoying some lovely weather at Florence in Italy…dashing off this post from the third floor of our hotel that is overlooking mountains with the blue skies almost brushing them. The view in front of me looks like a neat canvas! Well, P and I arrived in Florence on Saturday. We went to a beautiful place called Siena in the Tuscany region, on Sunday. It was Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera yesterday. The details of the visits shall be posted later. Btw, this is my third consecutive trip to Italy! We decided to choose scenic, nature friendly options this time over the usual touristy ones.

Wow, this country is rich in art, culture, (cuisine) and history. With nature’s artistic and magical touch added to it, Italy is no doubt a traveller’s paradise! It’s exploring time now. Hence keeping the post short. Ciao!🙂

Time to ponder

I was reminded of this article against the backdrop of international women’s day observed on March 8th. Well, I had written this article for a college magazine in 2005. How is the situation now? Time to introspect!

Yet another international women’s day was celebrated on March 8th. Some called it as a the day for women to rejoice and celebrate their womanhood. Some resigning to their secondary status compared to their male counterparts only sighed a deep breath, as if to say it made no difference to them. While a few others used it as a forum to ponder, debate and discuss problems/issues confronting women.  What were your thoughts on this day?

Women have been able to carve out a niche for themselves in every sphere of life. They have been able to do justice to their roles as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. However the principle of gender equality is yet to come to stay in India, or for that matter in many parts of the world. We find only a few crusaders or feminists who uphold women’s rights and equality that are actually well laid down in the constitution.

The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of the Indian Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women. The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution made in 1993 had made provisions for reservation of seats in the local bodies. But the long-pending demand for 33 percent reservation for women in the Indian Parliament is yet to materialize. What are your views on this?

Stories of women being ill-treated by their husbands, especially in rural areas come to light every now and then. Female foeticide is on the rise. The ratio of male to female population is appalling. “Empowerment of women” has almost become a cliche. There are some pundits who say women have entered the erstwhile male-dominated domains and point out where is the need for empowerment. But isn’t this only a minuscule percentage of the female working population? Does it depict the microcosm of the real India?

We are still tied to social systems where “restriction” and “taboo” for girls rule the roost. People, especially ones the conservative bent of mind, rejoice at the birth of a male child and there is a pall of gloom when it is a female child – again mostly in the rural areas. If given the right opportunities with a congenial atmosphere and mental support to boot, she can simply do wonders in any field. Does it need a mention anymore? She is now up flying as a pilot and adept at maneuvering the engine of a train. She is able to balance career and domestic chores with ease. Shouldn’t she be treated on par with the male bastion? In other words, shouldn’t she get her just deserts?

The all-powerful emotions

I am elated…I am disgusted. She is on cloud nine…she is shattered. There were peals of laughter…there was a vale of tears. What are these opposite shades of characteristics? In simple terms, they are emotions one experiences during every second of one’s life. How one reacts to a particular situation depends on one’s mental make-up. Upbringing and surroundings too matter a great deal.

Given a trying situation, A may react in a calm manner, B may turn hyper and C may show lukewarm response. The reaction may result in an unending argument or amicable settlement if it happens to be a dispute. Otherwise too, in the everyday “drama” of life, one may don the mantle of an angel, always helping others, or that of a villain trying to pull others down or stab them in the back. The target group is bound to react in a particular fashion. Action and reaction of human beings are adaptable and change from person to person and one situation to another. The idiosyncrasies of human behaviour have a role to play too!

Love, hate, anger, pride, ego, happiness, passion, rivalry, sadness, etc are all a state of mind. They cannot be measured in specific terms. They say the mind too maketh a man to a great extent. So, if the mind has such a pride of place in shaping the character of a person, why not mould it into in a mass filled with 3Ps – peace, positive energy and progression?

Be level-headed. Observe people. Try to study their body language. The eyes say a lot. Talk to people. Reach out to them. Your life gets a better meaning and becomes all the more interesting. This is not philosophising about life, but rather adopting a pragmatic and positive approach to it.🙂

PS: I had written this piece for a college journal years ago!

Uncanny Cotton

She is an epitome of determination,

And she catches our imagination;

“Meawe” is her way of greeting,

And this is a start to an eventful meeting.

We call her “Cotton” endearingly,

For she sports a thick fur elegantly.  

A street feline that she is, she appears rustic.

But her grace is dotted with mystique.

She comes home inspecting, only to bring her litter –

Two cuddly kittens, who, together form the big hitter.

Our home is theirs, and eventually we are to be the foster parents.

This continues year on year and the boundless joys are our patents.

Pouncing and prancing, the kittens leave us mesmerized.

In no time, they grow up, gifting us memories king-sized.

Cotton with Brownie & Blackie

Cotton with Brownie & Blackie

PS: Hope you’ve had a great start to 2014. May all your dreams come true!

An alien and an ally

Cool and silent was the night as I kept wandering around my granny’s backyard. Humming a lilting song, I was dreaming of an idealistic future one could have. Amidst the croaking of frogs and faint sounds of insects, there was I simply enjoying the bliss of human solitude.

Suddenly as my thoughts soared high, I looked up the sky. Lo! Something came flashing just above my eyes. For a moment, it did give me quite a turn. Ah, here was a strange creature with multiple legs and a tail…its body covered with radium-like sparkling stripes. With its zombie-like eyes staring at me and its two purple-coloured wings briskly flapping around me, it was – needless to say – quite a horrifying sight. Braving my fear, I asked, “Who are you?” The poor creature quivered and answered in a plaintive voice: “I belong to planet Zonca. I had come to planet Earth with my bosom friend. Leaving her alone in our spacecraft, I went in search of a surprise Christmas gift for her. Now I find myself here. I have lost my signal wristband and I have no means of contacting her. I feel so helpless.”

Looking at my fixed gaze, the creature went on to say: “Don’t worry, I’m as harmless as you are. You can take my word for it.”  A wave of sympathy ran through me. On an impulse, I collected some logs of woods and made a bonfire. The flames were so powerful that they licked the sky. Sure enough they attracted the spacecraft – a flying saucer – which was heading back to its native planet. With flaming signals reaching it, the flying saucer came down swiftly. The alien happily climbed on to it. Reuniting with its friend, it waved a gleeful “thank you” at me.🙂

PS: This is an abridged version of a sci-fi story I’d written for a college journal few years ago.

Lights of hope, prosperity

A new festival arrives and this time it is one of lights;

These lights stand as a beacon of hope to perish the evil sprites.

The surroundings look welcoming and brightened;

It is about time to recharge and feel enlightened.

Earthen lamps and lanterns are the cynosure of all eyes;

Fireworks are avoided or kept to a minimum by the wise.

Ecofriendly alternatives are the best for celebrations;

It is just to contain pollution and its ramifications.

The festival is a delight to the connoisseurs of food,

The menu is elaborate and extremely good.

Deepavali heralds a renewed phase of prosperity;

It is celebrated with vivacity and it enjoys popularity.

May the festive aura greet you with rapture!

I sign off by wishing you a bright future.

Festive lights

A striped attraction

Stripes of white, black and yellow hues caught my attention;

The bearers of these stripes lived in an open mansion.

Oh, they were walking up and down majestically,

And I dreamt of joining the bandwagon magically.

One of them came so near, brushing against our vehicle.

And this was the closest sight ever I could chronicle.

Indeed it was the Bengal tiger that left me in raptures.

I kept gaping at it and made some friendly overtures;

It responded with a loud purr that left me enchanted.

It went on the prowl, leaving its footprints implanted.

I was left pondering why the big cats are so magnetic;

It’s just that their wild-but-innocent ways are enigmatic.

How I wish their tribe is protected from poaching,

And we could preserve our ecology from spoiling!

Big cat

PS: This big cat was so lovable. It earned the nickname Shule from yours truly.🙂

A trail to remember

Tweet…tweet…tweet …so I heard the beeps;

The beeps suddenly turned into shrieks and then into peeps;

And this goaded me to jump from my comfy seat.

As I walked up to the next room and looked up, I sighted something very sweet;

They were birds…the red-vented bulbul variety!

I grabbed my lens to capture the homely rarity.

There were two bulbuls perched on the chandelier in the drawing room.

They were chattering away to glory and I was tempted to join the chorus with a boom.

Oh, what joy they brought as they kept playing, letting themselves loose.

Ah, they were so chirpy in the concrete abode, in a way appearing recluse.

They inspected every corner under the skylight as if to build a nest;

And it seemed like they were putting all their skills to test!

Lo, by then, a third bulbul came calling out and the trio bid a goodbye, leaving a trail.

Huh, guess what sort of a trail?! They were the ‘droppings’ that looked like a rail…! 

Red-vented bulbul

Friendly Volda

After our trip to the fjords, we travelled to Volda on the west coast of Norway. Mountains, seas and pretty villas form a dramatic backdrop to this little town. Volda University College (VUC) here is popular for higher education.

I was going there the second time. Here’s an extract from my travelogue in 2009: They say parting is a sweet sorrow, and now I get the meaning of it completely. Everyday at Volda was a wonderful experience worth remembering a lifetime. I will miss people here for their kindness, friendship and hospitality. I hope to return to this beautiful place and country sometime in the future! 

How's the landscape?

How’s the landscape?

Yay! And, my dream did come true. (Yeah, do believe in the beauty of your dreams.) It was more of a social visit this time in Volda. My first visit rewarded me with genial friends, who also made it to my wedding in India. The same friends invited us couple over to their place for a stay. Hmm…it’s hard to describe in words the fondness I have for this place and people. Anyway, let me try. Volda is like a fairyland – it’s so far away, yet so close to my heart that it can light up my spirits anytime! Its kindhearted and friendly people and scenic beauty conjure up images of a divine land.

Our friend T picked us from the bus station and drove us to his home in Volda. Well, it was a great feeling to be going there the second time and that too with P! T’s chirpy wife A greeted us with so much warmth. She had taken a couple of days off from her work. It was a lovely big home and the surroundings were awe-inspiring. We were escorted to a neatly made room, which was going to be ours the next three days. Here’s a recollection of our memorable stay there.

Our breakfast

Our breakfast

Pongal and raitha

Pongal and raitha

Day 1 –  A filling continental breakfast was waiting for us after we refreshed ourselves. We had a long chat with A & T and then we headed to VUC where we got to meet another friend J Y who had also made it to our wedding with his three children. Later that evening, we offered to cook some rice and sambar for dinner.

Yummy cheesecake

Yummy cheesecake

A, T & their son Ø enjoyed it, although it was a bit spicy for them. Any guesses as to where we had our dessert? At  their summer house (hytte in Norwegian), which was at a distance from their regular home! They had built it themselves and we were in awe of their hard work. Yummy eggless cheesecake made by A specially for us adorned the table along with some redcurrants fresh from their garden, soya milk and orange juice. We simply binged on all of it. Later, P & I got an opportunity to meet their first daughter S. Mia, their cat, did say a meow to us. It was tough catching hold of her though.

Mia

Mia

Day 2 –  After a sumptuous breakfast, we had been to a late friend E’s place where we met his wife and son. E had shown me around in Volda, Ørsta and Ålesund the last time. He’d taken me to his home too where both he and his wife let me pick up apples from their orchard. (I’d felt like a child.) Namaste was his way of greeting me.  E was extremely passionate about India. He’d lived in India for many years and it was like his second home country. He knew about the country much more than native Indians themselves do! So many artefacts from India beautified their home. As fate willed it, my dear senior friend died of an ailment a year before our visit. I’d mourned for him and I’d realized how friendship transcends age and nationality.  We then went to A’s mother’s home (a beautiful one again!) where we picnicked before heading to a historical Ålesund, about which I shall write later.

Great entertainers!

Great entertainers!

Day 3 – J & S who were the owner-couple of my abode during my last visit came visiting us at our hosts’ home. They were a family of four then, now five. It was such a joy to see the children (all of whom were under five years of age) rambling and prancing. Ah, children make great entertainers especially when they’re in high spirits! We also went walking down the town with them and we happened to visit their home (a new one) later. Btw, in the morning, P and I were invited to VUC to interact with a group of students who were going to India a couple of months later on a study trip. The students had few questions regarding travel within India as also regarding Indian culture. We went around the campus visiting the library, media labs and the international office, and pleasant memories flashed to me from the last visit. C from the international office welcomed us in her usual sprightly ways. We met a couple of faculty members over coffee and a couple of others in their offices. We also managed to say a hello to SL, Dean of the department.

P1100599

Redcurrants

Back home that night, we cooked pongal and raitha for all of us. (We’d purchased the requisite ingredients from an Asian shop the previous day.) There was some yummy dessert waiting for us: fresh strawberries and redcurrant juice. J Y too joined us. After a lively get-together over dinner, it was time for us to leave. They dropped us to the bus station. J Y’s son too arrived at the bus station to greet us. Wow, what great hospitality was shown towards us both by all our friends there and we were touched to the core. The bonding and bonhomie among us were exceptional. My trip to the fairyland came to an end with a lot of sweet memories to cherish. We’re now waiting to meet our Norwegian friends again and host them in our country.

PS: This post is dedicated to my friends in Volda and I decided to publish it today as it happens to be International Friendship Day!🙂

Exotic fjords

Hey, have you heard of fjords? Fjords are long strips of sea seen between steep hills, and they are a specialty of Norway, one of the Scandinavian countries. For travel buffs, a visit to the fjords should be on their bucket list!

Our journey through the fjords begins...

Our journey through the fjords begins…

Heaven...

Heaven…

We had hired a SUV at Trondheim for our exciting journey to the fjords. We had friends from Poland, Russia, Iran and India who were accompanying us on this memorable journey.  In fact, our Indian friend A had arranged the entire trip. Our Polish friend M was the driver. He was chirpy all the way, driving for almost eight hours around the fjords. The roads seemed treacherous at times and there were quite a few hairpin bends too. Here is the route we traversed: http://goo.gl/9nxwB. We drove for around 800 km in less than two days, stopping every now and then to enjoy the scenery around us. We went berry-picking for a short while. In another mountainous belt, we found snow. We played in that snow-clad mountain going up and down; we made a snowman too and rejoiced. Oh, the child in each one of us was predominantly seen!

Our snowman :)

Our snowman

Atlantic Ocean Road

Atlantic Ocean Road

The Atlantic Ocean Road that we drove along offered some panoramic views – seemed like we were headed straight to Paradise. The entire atmosphere was rhapsodic! We travelled through the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel. This 5,769-metre long tunnel is an underwater road tunnel and connects Kristiansund to Averoy – two terrific locations. We travelled with a lot of excitement on the 1,257-metre long Gjemnessund suspension bridge. We stopped there for a brief time to enjoy some special views and for some photo sessions too. Well, life in Norway isn’t very simple – you need to avail of the services of ferries and/or tunnels to reach the mainland faster. And, you will have to pay for these services each time.

Geirangerfjord

Geirangerfjord

Can you locate some neat abodes?

Can you locate some neat abodes?

We halted overnight at a neat place in Hellesylt, which was overlooking the awe-inspiring Geirangerfjord. Along with NĂŚrøyfjord, the Geirangerfjord is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. We took a guided cruise across the Geirangerfjord. There was water gushing down the steep hills in the form of different strands and this was called the Seven Sisters. The climate was really cold and it was time for some cappuccino on the cruise. We could see people kayaking on the sea. The snow-capped mountain peaks with their varied hues took us to a different world altogether. Geirangerfjord is a 15-km long fjord. We were closest to nature’s bounty and we went into raptures at the visual treat. And this was my second trip across the scenic fjord in less than three years! Could I have been luckier than this?!🙂

Visual treat, right?

Visual treat, right?

After a climb to the peak, we entered in and rested for a short while...

A wooden enclosure to rest after a climb to the peak

Of course, this time it was a new experience travelling with my sweetheart and a new set of wonderful friends. We enjoyed one another’s company as we sang and exchanged some banter while on the road. Our two-day trip to the fjords ended with a steep climb to Snøhetta, apparently the 24th highest peak in Norway. Oh, there’s so much to write about this trip to the fjords, but I think I need to end now. Btw, for any specific information on the voyages I write about, feel free to get in touch with me via this site.

PS: The posts sometimes may be delayed due to time constraints, but rest assured that the experiences are ever fresh.🙂

It’s life…

In the company of rich and lovely flora at an institute of higher learning and amid all the calmness surrounding it, I sit to contemplate on what’s life…

Life is a humdrum affair for some while an exciting affair for others, with striking alterations and altercations in the way it’s dealt with…

Life is meaningful when it’s lived well, meaningless when lived less…

Life is a challenge with all its ups and downs – to be accepted and responded to with measured calmness…

Life is mostly what we feed into it – as we sow, so we reap…

Life is a game of probability where winning and losing have an equal chance…

Life is a cellular miracle where each cell needs to be nourished with good care until it wears out…

Life needs dignified handling with the passing of years, as it assumes different roles and forms…

Life needs to be respected – its reputation to be guarded…

Life is more beautiful when it’s wrapped with meaningful doings where we go the extra mile to touch another life (be it in any form) or simply reflect on the simple pleasures of living…

Well, it’s life – live it, love it, enjoy it!  Never say die!

Cheers!

PS: If you have any thoughts to share on life, feel free to post them here.

Globetrotting in a different style

It’s been a month-long sojourn for yours truly in different avatars – as an inquisitive traveller, as an alert travel guide and at times as a cooperative co-guide too. This time the travelling treat is being enjoyed mostly with dear parents who arrived in Belgium almost a month ago. It’s been a wonderful experience. Gosh! They have infectious energy and enthusiasm levels.

During the week they arrived, we did some sightseeing in a few places in Belgium: Leuven, Antwerp, Louvain-la-Neuve. We then left for a week-long trip to the UK where we visited England (London, Bristol) and Wales (Cardiff). It was time for France (Rennes, Paris) next. We were back in Belgium and then after a day’s break, we went on a week-long trip to Italy (Pisa, Florence, Rome, Venice) and Vatican city. It was Cologne in Germany and Septon in Belgium the last weekend. There wasn’t even a single dull moment while revisiting some of these places, thanks to the fact that I viewed these places from a new perspective this time. :) 

The weather has been okay. It feels like winter at times. We plan to go to Brussels tomorrow. Well, looking forward to enjoying a few more trips/outings in Europe with them. They seem to be liking it here too. The planning of the trips with my dearest P has been paying off and the feeling is great. Btw, I was missing blogging. Hence this short blog.😉 I shall be back with my signature blogs soon.