My Visit to Elephanta Caves

20170315_115636Hey friends! Summer here, is keeping everyone on toes. I hope it is doing the same for you. It has been quite some time since I blogged last. I know, I need to get more disciplined. So, here I am today, though it is a Sunday and I’ve been doing lots of things today. As the title itself suggests, I am writing about my visit to Elephanta Caves. Elephanta Caves are a group of caves located on the Elephanta Island or Gharapuri (as it is popularly known as) located in the Mumbai Harbour, about 10 kms away from Mumbai city. When you live in Mumbai, you obviously get to know about the Elephanta caves. Similarly, I also learnt of these caves long ago, but somehow, I couldn’t go there. Recently in March, when our relatives came from abroad, as a Guide I accompanied them (I know it is hilarious that I went there as a Guide without even knowing where it is).

Before going there, I did a quick research. I came to know that you need to take a ferry from the Gateway of India to reach the Elephanta Island. Then, you need to climb 120 steps to reach the caves. Reading the sentence which said you need to climb 120 steps made me dizzy. I am so unfit that I pant if I walk uphill in our area.  I gathered courage and decided that I will do it come what may!

The day of us going arrived. The previous day was very tiring for all of us as we had guests over for lunch and dinner at home. I somehow managed to get up and shower on time. We had decided to leave by 9 am. We left by 9.30 to be specific. We reached Gateway and there were guys standing with receipt books for the ferry ride. To be specific, the Ferry ride was priced at 180 per person. We were four of us.  We took the tickets and left for our ride. We were ushered into Ferry at around 10 am. We had to wait for a long time for the ferry to begin its journey towards the Elephanta Island. It was a one-and-a-half-hour journey. We reached the Island at about 12 noon. One thing you must keep in mind when you’re going to this place is that you must be ready to walk a lot. Once you get off the ferry, there is a pathway to get to the steps (yes, it is the same 120 steps). You can take a toy train instead of walking. However, it is for a very short distance. We decided to walk.

20170315_120545We walked for a long time and then, reached the deadly 120 steps. It seemed very deadly to me, one because I was too exhausted from the previous day and second because it was peak noon and too hot. There is a tarpaulin covering over the stairways, but believe me, it was super- hot. We panted all the way (at least I panted). We managed to reach the top and I was celebrating quietly as I seriously did not believe that I would make it.

After reaching the top, you need to buy the tickets for the Caves. Since I went with my relatives from abroad, I was the only Indian. The tickets were ridiculously priced. It was 30 Rupees per person for Indians and 500 Rupees per person for foreigners. We bought the tickets and made our way to the Caves. According to what I learnt there, there are 7 caves on the island. The first cave is supposed to be very famous as the main Shiva statue was being worshipped there way before Portuguese rule. It was beautiful. It was worth the 120 steps I thought. However, what made me sad was the fact that the maintenance of the same was miserable. We have such beautiful and pretty structures, but unfortunately for us, we don’t know how to maintain or I’d rather say, we are too careless about it.

After the first cave, we visited the second one. It was generally fine, but not as appealing as the first one. There were empty places in the caves. It was very apparent that the statues have been removed from there long ago. Also, the carvings and statues which were present were damaged. It is a sad sate for us. After seeing the third and the fourth cave, we didn’t want to go any further as there wasn’t much to see. We ended our trip with the fourth cave.

There were a lot of monkeys on the Island. They were literally snatching water bottles from the visitors. Thankfully for us, one of the guys there, warned us against carrying a water bottle in our hands. We were truly grateful to that guy. We captured a few pictures of the monkey drinking water from the bottle like a human being.

We walked down the stairs and this time, we hopped into the toy train instead of walking the pathway to reach the ferry. Our return journey to Gateway was very interesting as we met a couple of foreigners and it was fun to hear the children talk.

Overall it was a good trip. Except for the first cave which was magnificent, there was nothing much to see, but, it was an experience by itself. Where else would you get to go on a ferry and climb 120 steps. I’m sure you wouldn’t. You should give it a try.

This was my personal experience. However, you would probably have a different view from that of mine once you visit it. So why hesitate. Put on your shoes and just head straight.

See you soon!

Cheers!!!!

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A New Dawn

Hello friends! As you may have noticed I was missing from my blog for a while now. Over the past few days I was busy with my short story. I was writing it for the Amazon Kindle Storytelling Contest 2017. I read about this contest sometime in April when I was in Mysore. I started off writing for the same immediately. It, however, took quite some time to streamline it and take it in a proper way.  I hope to get feedback on the same from all of you.

A New Dawn is a short story. It is not a thriller or mystery. It is just a story of Disha, the girl next door. She is very simple and down to earth homemaker. Then comes in her husband, Sameer. A normal ambitious businessman who travels a lot. Sameer’s frequent trips on business leaves Disha home alone. Is she happy with the way her life is going ahead? Or does she regret living this way?

Only time will tell! So make some time to read this short story to know this relationship of trust, love and lies as it unravels.

Follow the link given above  to download the book on Amazon.

Why are you still sitting here? Rush to read more about Disha and Sameer and how their life goes on.

Do get back to me with your feedback.

Cheers!!!

Note: The Cover Page for the book is created by Mayur Sarma 🙂

My Experience in a Public-Sector Bank

Hi friends! Hope summer is at its peak and troubling all of you equally (insert evil laugh emoji). I have been blogging more about recipes and book reviews these days. I thought it’s high time I blogged about something different. As you guys are aware, I have always shared my personal experiences which have had a lasting impact on me. So here I am today, with one such experience.

Few things are so deeply etched in your head, come what may, you will never forget it. This is one such incident which, how much ever I try I’m just not able to erase from my head. Okay, it’s not like I want to erase it. It’s just too funny. I, generally, avoid going to Public Sector Banks. It is not that I have a bias towards Private Sector banks. It is just that I have always had some sort of lethargic experience at my Public- Sector Bank. It always so happens that either the staff is too lazy to do something I ask for or they are busy in some personal conversation.

Last Thursday, I suddenly realised that I must go to my Bank, come what may, as I had some urgent work. I headed to accomplish the same along with other small things at the same bank. As I entered the bank, I had a funny feeling because all the staff members were out of their seats roaming all over the place within the Bank to my irritation. I wanted to go to my locker. So, I specifically asked for the same. They told me to wait. Then after about ten minutes, a lady started accompanying me to the locker with a lot of pit stops. She was a chatterbox (Okay, people who know me from close also know that I am a big chatterbox as well, but there is a difference between chatting non -stop when you’re free and jobless and chatting when you’re at work). Somehow, I managed to reach the locker with the pit stops and was relieved to be there, when she told my signature doesn’t match. Hmm, there was no difference whatsoever in my signature, but she went to re-check it in the system. Fine, she was doing her duty, I thought. She went all the way without asking my name. She came back with the query – Madam, what’s your name? I answered. She, then, returned with a smile saying – Your signature matches. I don’t know why, I felt it didn’t. It is all system scanned right, I think it was blurry when I saw it the first time. To which I replied with a fake smile – No problem. I finished my work and ran out of the locker room, as I didn’t want to waste my precious time in this place (I know I am being mean, but this is not the first time such a thing has happened to me).

After the locker room, I had other pending work to be done – passbook updation and cash deposit. The bank is all well equipped with machines for everything nowadays (it is just that the machines are out of order half the time). I wanted to try my luck at it. I went to the cash deposit kiosk which looked alright. I started my transaction; it went on telling me that the account number is wrong. I tried twice or thrice and gave up. I, then, moved towards the passbook updating machine. It also looked perfectly alright, but it didn’t work despite my numerous trials. I gave up and finally, went into the branch once again (sigh!).

I asked them whether their machines were out of order, to which they replied affirmatively. Hmm, the next question I asked was whether their manual cash deposit system was in place. The Manager assured me that it was. So, I went ahead and filled up the counterfoil and challan and went to cashier to hand it over, when he looked at me in shock (he looked as if I showed him a gun). He told me that their systems were down and he couldn’t help me. To which, I said – But the Manager told me that it is in place. He called the manager and said – Sir, the system is down, so how I can accept cash deposits and the Manager was like – Oh I didn’t know that (I was about to ask, aren’t you the manager, but somehow shut my mouth). Disappointed, I turned to walk away from the branch, when I saw one of the staff, who happens to be a youngster just resting on his chair (as if he is sleeping at home) just staring at me. I turned away the first time, but I could feel him staring continuously. I was like what the hell is wrong with this guy. I wanted to ask him, but, yet another time, I forced myself to shut my mouth. I just ignored the entire situation and rushed out of the bank because one thing I’ve realised is how ever hard you try, some things are never going to change, public-sector banks being one of them.

I kept thinking about what happened at the bank until I came home. I couldn’t control my laughter when I narrated the entire incident to everyone at home. That is when, Mummy (my mother – in- law) suggested that I blog about it. Why not, I thought! It would make a good experience to share, with hundreds of people.

Though I enjoyed narrating it today, I was super irritated that day. I hope you guys enjoyed reading it.

Note: I have deliberately omitted the name of the Bank for various reasons. One more thing I would like to specify here is, I am in not promoting any private sector bank over a public -sector bank. It is just my personal experience.

Cheers!!!

‘The Machan, Lonavala’ – A Review

IMG-20150703-WA0014Hi friends! I am a day late this time. I am sorry for that. I should’ve come on Thursday! Though I am late, I am proud of myself for making it here punctually. I have given reviews on books and shared a few recipes. It’s time now for some place review. This is not exactly a place review. It is a place cum hotel review. This has been waiting for probably 2 years now to find a place on my blog. Finally, I’m here with it. The Machan is situated at Lonavala. For those of you who do not know where Lonavala is located, let me tell you. Lonavala is situated near Mumbai and Pune. It is about two hours’ drive from Mumbai. It is a hill station surrounded by greenery situated on the Western Ghats. It is a perfect place to visit during monsoons.

The first-time ever I went to this place was during June 2015. Yes, it was during monsoon and I had no idea whatsoever that I was going to Lonavala. It was our first wedding anniversary and by then, I was familiar with the Mumbai Pune Expressway. My husband was giving me a surprise. He just told me to pack our bags for two days and so we left. As we were reaching the Mumbai Pune Expressway, I kept on pestering him to tell me where we were off to, but in vain. I kept thinking for some reason that he was taking me to Panvel. The Mumbai Pune Expressway has a deviation towards Khandala and Lonavala. When he took that left turn, I was sure that we were going either to Khandala or Lonavala. My husband had sealed his mouth. He just didn’t give it away. As we reached our destination, that is, The Machan, we saw a beautiful canopy of plants in the entrance. It is something which I will never forget in, probably, the next 50-60 years. We, then, slowly entered place.

IMG-20150628-WA0010The Machan is a beautiful hotel which offers tree houses and ground based cabins for stay with buffet lunch and dinner. It is situated in the interiors. I was astonished to see how the reception was made. I will share a photo of the same with you guys. It gives you a forest feel. The tree houses and cabins are very nicely made. When you see from down, you can see only the tree house in the middle of greenery. Isn’t it a perfect place to spend your small vacation in? It, surely, is, when it is also your first wedding anniversary. The entire experience, gave me a princess feeling. We were tired after our drive. So as soon as we reached, we had lunch and napped for a while. The lunch, here, is buffet, as I mentioned earlier. Whatever spread was there, it was delicious. We spent our evening sitting on the deck in our room. The deck overlooks the Western Ghats. What a beautiful sight it was. We spent our entire evening just enjoying nature. We couldn’t venture out anyways because we weren’t sure how safe it is. The next morning, we ventured into the woods (as you may call it) soon after breakfast. It was scary. The very thought about going there at night scared me. However scary it was, it was wonderful. We ventured into the deep woods like a nature’s trail on our own. We found it very amazing. We could see our tree house from the woods. It looked so beautiful! We couldn’t believe our eyes. We just sat quietly with the sound of trees rustling and birds chirping. It started drizzling slightly. We enjoyed the tiny raindrops

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The same evening, we also took a walk around the property. It is a very huge property. The planning that has gone with The Machan is incredible. They have different types of rooms. They have a huge family room as well, if you’re planning to travel with your family. You also have a cozy room like the one we stayed at, if you’re only two people.

We stayed there for two nights and we really enjoyed every moment of our stay. It was very special. I would give this place a rating of 9 on a scale of 10. If at all you are planning to go somewhere this monsoon, The Machan at Lonavala is the place. If you find that the weekend is too much, then, you can just hop in on a weekday, when the tariffs are low compared to that of the weekends.

I am going to share a few photos with you all. I hope you guys enjoy it.

Cheers!!!

My Review on Danielle Steel’s “Winners”

9780552159128Hi friends! It is review time again. I know, I’m back with a review very fast this time. I have been reading way too much, these days. I am a huge fan of Danielle Steel. I can’t stop myself from picking up her book from the library. I just love how simple, but, yet how brilliantly she writes. This book ‘Winners’ is mainly about this girl Lily and her father. Lily loves skiing and she is practising to go to the Olympics. One tragic morning when she goes to the mountains to ski along with her trainer, due to bad weather, she and her trainer both fall off the chairlift. The trainer loses his life while she becomes a paraplegic. In fact, her dad would have warned her against going as it was snowing. She assures him that there is nothing to worry about as her trainer is very experienced.

She is rushed to the hospital and the doctors decide to go ahead with the surgery. That is when the specialist Dr. Jessie enters. She is a mother of three kids and she is all the time trying to balance family life with professional life. Her husband is of a great support to her. He is a doctor too. When she gets a call from the hospital to come for the surgery, her husband tells her to carry on. He assures her that he will manage. She is advised by her husband to go carefully since it had been snowing the entire day. As soon as she reaches the hospital, she explains to Lily’s dad the exact situation and convinces him to go ahead with the surgery as that’s the only option. He agrees, but he is still not happy about her being the surgeon. He feels, some experienced surgeon should take over. Everyone assures him that Jessie is the best and he finally gives his nod.

While on one side Jessie successfully operates on Lily, though she will be bound to wheel chair her entire life owing to the extent of damage on her spinal cord; on the other side Jessie’s husband goes to drop off his son at a friend’s place meets with an accident. The son manages to come out of it with a small nose injury while her husband Tim dies on the spot. Jessie comes to know of that after the long surgery early next morning. She is completely broken. Bill, from the beginning is quite rude to her, since he feels that she is not the best. He comes running to her to ask something, when she says that her partner will take over from her for the day, he is furious. He taunts her. When he goes to meet his daughter, he comes to know from one of the nurses that her husband passed away the previous night. He feels bad for his behaviour. He apologises for the same.

He wants to somehow make sure his daughter gets back on her feet, but Jessie tells him that it is impossible. He wants to take second opinion, so he decides to take her to London. Nothing works out for him. Everyone is of the same opinion as Jessie. So, he finally sends Lily to Craig, a rehabilitation centre for people with fatal injuries. He is impressed with how Craig is set up. After seeing all the facilities and after seeing how much Lily loves it, he decides to open a Rehabilitation Centre called The Lily Pad for kids under the age of fifteen with injuries (Craig admits kids over the age of fifteen).

Bill joins hands with Jessie, his old friend Joe and Jessie’s friend. They carve out a plan for Lily Pad and execute it. How they build Lily Pad from scratch is the next part of the story. To see what happens in it, you need to quickly go and grab the book. So don’t waste time here…

See you soon.

Till then, Cheers!!!