Posts tagged backtothebasics

Loitering Around Shakrala (Mehli) Village, Shimla – In Photos

Memoirs of a Three-Week Stay in Mehli, Shimla

 

Himachal feels like home. 

Here I run with little children in their parents’ green fields. I almost join the lithe girls in their hop-scotch game. I explore every obscure path that can be (or cannot be) stepped on. Every tiny dhaba seems like a food stop. I never shake off the red-black curious beetles that embezzle my white-green Kashmiri kurta. Whistling thrush is my new loud neighbor (I won’t say friend for she hardly seems to care). I click and research the birds I see from the balcony of my one-bedroom guesthouse.

We are in the village of Mehli Shimla. (Later when we would tell the locals where all we had stayed in Himachal, they didn’t understand Mehli but recognized Shakrala, a village of rural Shimla under which Mehli falls, I guess). Mehli is our first stop on this indefinite Himachal Pradesh trip. 

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Can You Believe This Is Bangalore? (In Photos)

My motive with these piece — a collection of day outings in Bangalore —is to show how real Bangalore is. Not the cosmopolitan Bangalore city of the Manyata Tech Park or Cubbon Park or Forum Mall and Koshy’s that every outsider like me knows. I wished to bring forward the old city, the city dense with flower shops, colorful food, coconut stalls, cycle hawkers, chaotic streets, and ubiquitous hot chips corners. Bangalore would be incomplete if we don’t mention its giant trees jutting out of buildings and breaking out of concrete roads, multicolored Hindu temples with a cornucopia of deity sculptures towering above, the most random stuff being sold in bazaar shops, old-style South Indian eateries authentic to their practices even 100 years later, and the feeling of the night during the day when thick Bangalore clouds threaten the residents way more than they would like.

In this essay of Bangalore photos, I share moments that have sparsely studded almost ten years of my life. Starting in 2010, I arrived in and left Bangalore so many times I won’t even try to count my moves. Irrespective of how much I wanted to let go of the city, Bangalore didn’t leave me, not so soon.

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The Pandemic, Onset of Our Indefinite Nomadic Journey, Crossing Barricaded Indian State Borders, Collective Helplessness, and Fundraiser Campaigns

On Indian Roads Amidst the Second Wave of the Pandemic, Collective Feeling of Helplessness, Fundraisers, And Hope

 

Here in Himachal Pradesh.

I’ve finally ended up in the Himalayan mountains of Himachal Pradesh, and I would live here for the next few months. This mountain excursion was always the plan for the summer and now as my fingers freeze, I wonder why I chose Himachal. Because I love the mountains or because I’m familiar with the Himalayas from my last four-month trip to Dharamshala in 2019?

In the Shimla area of the mountains where I’m at, summer is not well-known. Locals talk about hailstorms and snowfall even during the months of May to July when the plains of India scorch. During the summers, rains in the lower part of India are scarce but right now heavy rain falls outside my one-bedroom-and-hall house. I have kept the netted house door open by sticking a thick foot mat between the door and its frame. The temperature is no more than 11 degrees outside but when all the doors and windows are closed I stifle, a claustrophobia I picked up, perhaps, by growing up in a very open garden-facing independent house of my parents.

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5 Tried and Trusted Online Organic Stores in Bangalore (Farm+Homemade)

(Phone-Based and) Online Organic Stores in Bangalore That Deliver Fresh, Natural, Preservative-Free, and Personalized Food Items to Your Doorstep

 

Grocery stores in Bangalore line every street. But we can never tell the origin of the fruits and vegetables there. Is the grocery we buy pesticide-free, or are we eating vegetables swathed in medicine? 

I love to cook. And, I love to shop for groceries. I will not survive a cloth retail store, but I will be so lost in a vegetable market you won’t find me for hours.

Something about the fragrant vegetables and their vibrant colors pulls me towards them. My attraction to the farmer’s markets and organic stores in Bangalore could be attributed to my foodie nature. Food is a blessing in my simple life. I’ve been cooking since I’m a little girl. And I’ve been overeating ever since I opened my eyes.

For the past 4-5 years, I’ve been focusing on eating healthy food and living a conscious life. I’m being mindful of the source and content of my food. My diet has shifted heavily towards vegetables, fruits, whole grains, juices, nuts, yogurt, and other light food products. I try not to purchase items with liquid glucose, edible color, all-purpose flour, palm or vegetable oil, flavor enhancers, and other such redundant and unhealthy items. You would be surprised to know how little you can purchase if you vehemently avoid these ingredients.

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Meditations on Writing and Life From Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own

Exploring Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own for Wisdom on Writing and Life

 

Virginia Woolf was once asked to speak about women and fiction.

Woolf wandered the streets of London, sat by the riverside, pored over shelves full of books in the British Museum, went to luncheons, and considered the then state of literature. While working in a constricted space in that London where women weren’t even allowed to walk on turf paths in colleges (only men and students could), Virginia created a masterpiece on why there were limited women writers and even more limited writings by them.

Woolf delivered the lectures in October 1928 at the women’s colleges of Cambridge University. Published in September 1929, A Room of One’s Own is an essay based on those lectures.

Woolf went back to the works of Proust, Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Kipling, Keats, and many more known and unknown writers to understand the truth. She read fiction written by women and studied her contemporaries’ books. She contemplated why the writing of men scorned women and if women were writing good fiction.

In the essays, Virginia emphasized — while showing her detailed thought process — “that a woman needs money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

In addition to being a seminal work on feminism, A Room of One’s Own is an infinite pool of wisdom on writing and life. In the essay, Virginia Woolf argued passionately and statistically about how cultural, spiritual, and financial restrictions may limit our creative freedom.

Given the essay has so much to read into, I will only delve into the lessons on life and writing that Woolf was so benevolent in sharing with us.

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Homestays in India – Pros and Cons, Tips, and Tried Homes

Finding Cozy, Green, and Affordable Indian Homestays With Amicable Hosts For Short and Long Stays

 

I wrote in detail on homestays in India in this recent piece on accommodations in India. I won’t repeat all I said there about Indian homestays, but I would share my experience of traveling in India and staying in different places. 

I’ve been living in India for more than thirty years(I’m an Indian), but I’ve also been traveling in India for about 18 years. My journey started with living in paying guest houses across Rajasthan when I was 15. Then I spent four years in a girls hostel in Delhi, followed by a short stay in a shared Mumbai apartment. Finally I shifted to living full-time in Bangalore, Pune, and Delhi homes. 

Those were my engineering and corporate years. In between, I traveled within India and experimented with various kinds of stays(both with friends and alone). Now I travel full-time. After putting up at hotels, resorts, hostels, paying guests, serviced apartments, I often choose Indian home stays over other guesthouses. 

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A Definite Guide to Purposeful, Healthy, and Mindful Living

Purposeful, Healthy, and Mindful Living.

 

 

I had planned to share lessons from the book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” and experiences from practicing a sustainable and conscious lifestyle in this piece. But as I wrote, I also added health concepts I had learned (and practiced) growing up in India, lifestyles I had studied from books, and ways of living I had seen while traveling.

So now this article is a conglomeration of the most logical, useful, and effective ideasthat I’ve foundon living a healthy, simple, and, yet, purpose-driven life.

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Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2020

Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 25 percent — that’s only 12 books — were non-fiction. The rest were fiction books and children’s tales.

I started reading non-fiction in 2017 when I started this blog On My Canvas. I always read stories and novels, but nonfiction wasn’t a big thing around me. Not that reading fiction was a trend in my social circle either. I can count the selected few readers amongst my friends, batchmates, and colleagues at my fingertips.

There was one guy in college who loved Shakespeare and read philosophy. There is a poetry lover and creator who is still a great friend. Some of the elites from Vidya Mandir and other high-class Delhi schools could talk about Mark Twain and J.R.R Tolkien but only seldom did I see them with a book. Or maybe I wasn’t noticing books at that time myself. 

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A Stunning Sunset at Mandalay’s Irrawaddy River

A Myanmar Sunset on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay

I saw one of the most ethereal sunsets of my life on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in Mandalay. That Myanmar sunset was enough to convince me to wake up before 5 every morning for my twenty day trip in Burma.

It was the last day of 2019. My friend and I had just spent the day roaming around Mandalay ruins, discovering pagodas and ancient temples in the historic town of Innwa, and strolling around Innwa villages. There was a hot pot lunch in between at a place called the Little Panda Hotpot and BBQ Buffet. It wasn’t one of my brightest ideas to stop for a hot pot when we had hired an auto-rickshaw to show us around Mandalay. But the kind driver waited patiently for an hour. Also, I could not be blamed for the do-it-yourself hotpot for I didn’t know the restaurant would ask us to grill and cook everything ourselves without even helping us light the fire under our wok. Let us blame everything on the language barrier.

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Blunders I Made as a Novice Traveler – Backpacking Tips Included

My Backpacking Journey: Mistakes, Learnings, and Tips for New Travelers

 

Dreaming About Backpacking: A Wannabe Beginner Backpacker

 

My first solo international travel was a two-week trip around France and the UK in 2012. 

I don’t know why, but I had this urge to be a backpacker on that short journey. India was not high on the backpacking lifestyle then, and not so much even now. So I assume I had been influenced by the foreign backpackers roaming around Connaught Place and the Janpath market in New Delhi. Refusing the advances of the beggars and the hagglers, the travelers strode on. In that ten-minute walk from the Rajiv Gandhi metro station to my office on Janpath, I was transported from the billowing metro crowd to the cosmopolitan Janpath life to my corporate day enclosed within 500 square meters. The free travelers swaying along with their red and blue backpacks mesmerized me.

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Celebrating 3 Thriving Years of On My Canvas – And Future Plans

And just like that, On My Canvas completed three thriving years on the internet.

Congratulations to us all who have been part of this budding platform through which I want to spread love, life, and hope. I cannot thank my readers enough for sticking with me all the while, for sending me immensely inspirational messages day and night, and for asking me to write more and more. On some hard days, I could not have done it without your endless emails and witty comments.

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Your Guide to Finding Isolated Hotels in Madikeri, Coorg

We all have been stuck inside homes for about six months now. Though usually, I am planning a birthday trip around this time of the year, as September approached I got anxious that I might want to go somewhere. But would I be able to step out of Bengaluru or even my house?

Then I remembered the article I had written on traveling in the Pandemic. For those who have read the guide know that I only suggested traveling by car to an isolated homestay or a guesthouse near the woods. Thus you can change your view, hike around, be in nature, and even work with the lush forest swaying in front of you. 

Remembering my idea, I started searching for isolated hotels in Karnataka (I don’t feel like crossing the border, yet). But as I pored over hundreds of hotels and guesthouses over various websites, I decided to dedicate an entire guide to isolated hotels in Madikeri, Coorg as most of the properties I liked were from this area. 

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