A Memoir on Chile Independence Day – Or As The Chileans Call It, Fiestas Patrias.

Today is the independence day of Chile, which is also called Fiestas Patrias or dieciocho, the 18th. Having celebrated this grand day in its mother country, I promise you that the one week of celebrations preceding the independence day and on the day itself are unmatchable. And why shouldn’t they be?

On this date in 1820, Chile overthrew Spain and freed herself from 300-year-long captivity.

Chileans are thrilled around their independence day and celebrate it with honesty, love, and passion. Children, students, adults, grandparents all dress up, decorate, cook, visit their families, talk, celebrate, drink, host barbeques, dance, sing, and act.

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My First Glimpses of Bali, An Island for Everyone – And Some Essential Travel Tips

I write this piece while sitting on the balcony of a beautiful Balinese home, with a lush green garden, with the blooming frangipani canopying over the sunlit courtyard and its tiny temple, and with towering palm and coconut trees swaying in the distance. And as I listen to the water falling over an artistic fountain while drinking tea, I know that there is nowhere else I would want to be in this moment.

Having been in Bali for ten days, my wanderlust soul and ever-wandering eyes have experienced and seen a lot.

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I Am Going Nomadic.

 

I have given up my apartment, packed my bags, said my goodbyes, and off I go with my backpack, a pen and a notebook, and a one-way ticket to the world.

I have been in namma Bengaluru for a year now. Before that, I was in South America(SA), teaching, living, and traveling. After having been nagged by my family to return, I came back last year.

During my nine-months-long adventure in the passionate continent, I did more than I could have done in a few years. I hiked active volcanos, made friends from all over the world, learned Spanish, taught English and realized that I might have a few traits of a good teacher, stayed in a tree house, stayed with local Quechua communities on the remote islands of Peru, got mugged, held monkeys and sloths in the Amazon, night trekked to stumble into the deadliest frogs and snakes, lost myself in the Inca ruins, wandered in the fathomlessness of the Atacama desert, and struggled to get job interviews and tried to prolong my stay.

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My Love and Hate Relationship With the Colorful India – A Story and Memory Postcards

As I move onto a new journey that takes me outside India for a couple of months (watch out for a more detailed post on Monday), I couldn’t help but reminisce about the places that I have lived in and visited in the last one year I have been in India.

India — a country with distinct religions from the ancient Hindu to the declining Zoroastrianism, with a myriad of languages and dialects from Konkani to Jarawa, with a plethora of geographies from fathomless deserts to treacherous glaciers, with a vast network from modern sea links to old hanging bridges, with a wide assortment of food from homely dal roti to mouth-watering, overnight-cooked chicken biryanis, with a range of commutes from rusted Hero bicycles, serene camels, and obedient bullock carts to fancy Rolls Royces, from peaceful Tamil marriages that are held for two hours during daylight to exciting Punjabi wedding functions sprawled over many days in luxurious hotels spread across India; we have it all.

This large and miscellaneous congregation of people — that India is — sometimes makes me proud, but sometimes the restrictions of this collectivist society suffocate me.

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Relearning The Most Important Principles of Life–  With The Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer and aviator and a unique philosopher. He served as a pilot in the French army, flew for commercial airline companies, and also in his leisure. He wrote in the air.

On one of his flights from Paris to Saigon in 1935, his plane crashed in Sahara, and he was stranded in the desert with his navigator. They were far away from habitation and only had a few fruits and a day’s supply of liquids.

Dehydrated in the arid Sahara, Antoine began to see mirages and hallucinated vividly. On the fourth day in the desert, a Bedouin found them and saved their lives with a native dehydration treatment.

Inspired by his experiences in the Sahara, Antoine published a children’s fable for adults called Le Petit Prince or the Little Prince in 1943. This book is not only one of the most favorite children’s books, but also one of the most popular philosophy books. It is the third most printed book after Bible and Gone With the Wind.

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How to Score a US Tourist Visa on an Indian Passport – The Real Process and the Broken Myths

Getting stuck on borders multiple times and having paid a lot of extra money for the last moment flights because I could not cross into the neighboring country without a visa, I realized that an Indian passport is not the strongest one. Though there are ways to make it stronger.

A valid US visa not only allows you to visit the US, but it also allows you to visit many more countries which let you in with a “visa on arrival” or an e-visa (if a US visa is stamped on your passport). For example Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Georgia, Mexico, Philippines, Turkey, and more.

To make my dream of traveling to the US and these countries come true, I just applied for a 10-year B2 US visa, and, it was approved. 

Please read through the detailed process in this article. I also pledge to clear all the myths that envelope the US visa process.

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9 Months and 3 Countries – Golden Highlights of My South American Adventure

In the nine months that I was backpacking through South America (SA), I visited three countries: Chile, Peru, and Bolivia.

White roses, pink bougainvilleas, golden marigolds, and red hibiscuses bloom throughout the day in my parent’s garden, but then comes night, and the queen of the night takes over. These memories from SA waft through my being as the scent of the queen of the night drifts through my parent’s garden and settles in our wistful dreams.

Hope you enjoy these golden memories.

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Peru – In the Golden Foliage of Poetry and Pictures.

 

Oh dear friend, would you convey my message if you travel to the mystical land of the Incas.

 

photos of peru

 

Could you find that old lady who guided me to the bus and tell her that I dream of her hair as I dream about the Himalayan snow.  

Could you find that little mystery-eyed girl who would be bigger by now and whisper to her that I would come again to play the game of “donde estas” with her in her home.

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Let Your Life Flow Freely – She Knows Her Course Better than You Do.

Let life happen to you — Rainer Maria Rilke told a Young poet, Franz Xaver Kappus when he expressed his doubts about his poetry to Rainer in a letter.

 

Out of all the golden words that Rainer said, this advice struck me the most when I read the twelve-letter correspondence between him and Franz. Those letters are a brilliant read. But calling them a read would be undermining them.

The art that those twelve letters hold in their hearts thrives with life and hope and advice. That art is like that thunder which roars at night. That art is like that lightning which dances across the grey sky. That art is like that twilight which doesn’t know any bounds.

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How to Score a Peru Visa on an Indian Passport – From India and South America

I traveled in Peru for a little more than a month, as the immigration officer at the Arica-Tacna (Chile-Peru) border crossing had stamped my passport with a one-time stay of thirty days, though I had a 183 days and one-year-valid Peru visa stamped on my blue passport. To get to stay a few days over a month, I had gone to the immigration office in Cusco to extend my stay. 

The immigration officer listened to my pre-rehearsed story that elaborated how I was in love with Peru and a month to explore it was too short. He stamped my passport with more days and suggested me to request the immigration officer next time to allow me to stay the entire duration granted by visa. I would have told the young immigration in charge at the Tacna border that I intended to stay for the whole period, but I was still new to long-term travel. 

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