Early Morning Boat Ride

One of the must do’s while you’re relaxing in the backwaters is waking up before dawn to take a boat ride across the backwaters before the sun reaches its apex.

For someone like me, who absolutely loves sleeping in, this was quite the task. I woke up groaning and despite all my feeble attempts at backing out, muffled by the duvet I was hiding under so snugly, I found myself dragging my feet towards the dock with puffy, sleep laden eyes.

The ride begins gently but slowly floating past the infamous floating cottages. As one floats by them, one also gets to witness the idol of Mother Mary and the Cross built on a rock. It is a unique experience to see the hues on the idol come to life as the rays of the sun bask upon it, inch by inch. In much the same manner, the water too turns a different shade, seemingly dark maroon or purple, a trick of nature on the irises.

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Once past the floating cottages, the boat heads deeper into the groves where one gets to witness, thanks to the sharp eye of the guide and skipper, birds of different hues and species. Hidden behind heavy sets of leaves and often camouflaged, naive eyes would never notice the birds if it weren’t for the experienced skippers whose very livelihood depends on showing tourists around and impressing them with their keen eye for discovering, what otherwise would be very hard to detect, birds and animals.

One also gets to see houses hidden within the groves, with people waking up and doing their morning chores or getting ready to head out to earn their daily wages. Boats tied here and there indicated fishermen around as well.

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Somewhere between the purr of the motor from the boat and the echoes of birds chirping, an eerie comfort somehow settled upon us as the boat sailed around. Slipping in and out of little streams, created by cutting down hundreds of coconut tress, passing through nooks and crannies, arches made out of trees bent with age, we got to witness flora at its prime, wild in its beauty. From time to time, the skipper chipped in, informing the passengers of fruits that seemed deceivingly normal but were incredibly poisonous and flowers that seemed to be withering but were actually in full bloom and were used to medicate cuts and wounds.

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The entire boat ride was about an hour and a half long. The ride ended just as the sun was about to rise to its zenith. We stepped out and onto the dock feeling energised and awakened, the impression of such tranquil beauty leaving quite a deep impression on the mind and soul.


Experiencing the Backwaters

It has been quite some time since I have woken up, feeling refreshed and well rested, rather than cranky and groggy. The sun was beaming and there was a slight breeze, whistling as it brushed through the trees and bushes surrounding us.

As I had an appointment with the Spa in a couple of hours, my parents sun bathed beside the pool while I decided on a nice, sunny swim.

I hate gymming. Gymming and running, to be precise. It makes it difficult for me, therefore, to maintain a healthy regime. As a teenager, I was an exuberant participant in multiple sports. Basketball, badminton, swimming, horse-riding, I loved them all. Needless to say, I was toned and extremely fit. University and work ruined all of it. Swimming during this vacation, was not just an enjoyable excuse but also a welcome exercise. I did not realise just how much I had missed swimming until I dipped my toes and broke the surface of the cold water.

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Fun fact regarding my swimming costume while I am at it. Only after the vacation did I realise that I could sport the bikini top two-ways. I could either choose to don it as a halter or remove the straps and sport a cute and well fitted strapless top! Also, the neon print isn’t just for show. It glows in the dark, as I had noticed, the day before, when I had my evening swim.

Soon after, I headed for my spa appointment.(There will be a blog post about it in the coming week, so stay tuned!)

Post my spa treatment, my muscles so relaxed, I could barely move, I somehow dragged myself out of Jiva (the spa centre). Smelling heavily of scented oils, I decided on wearing something light and loose since I wasn’t allowed to bathe for the next hour or so.

Quick tip: Take a shower or bath after the hour is up. The scent becomes quite strong, the more it stays on and makes you feel quite queasy by the end, if you have it on longer than 60 minutes.

I suffered and learnt this bitter truth since we we had a 40 minute journey ahead of us, followed by checking into our resort at Poovar and then being reallocated. All in all, I ended up washing up about two hours later than instructed!

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Having arrived, we hopped onto a little boat, ferrying us across the backwaters to the resort. For all those who are unaware, the backwaters are a part of the river, untouched by the current. Hence, the waters are extremely still.

On our way to ‘Poovar Island Resort’, we saw multiple floating restaurants on one side and an expanse of sand on the other. The sand was a makeshift beach of sorts, barricading the sea. The sea in this part was in a constant state of high tide and the beach was quite unsafe, with various places marked dangerous since it was surrounded by quick sand.

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Beyond the conch lay vast acres of greenery. Flowers in full bloom, coconut trees looming everywhere and small paths weaving in and out, with hammocks in full use, welcomed us as we walked inside the resort.

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From the entrance, one could see tiny cottages popping up here and there with a swimming pool built right in the centre of the entire resort. Once check-in had been done, we were escorted to our floating cottage. Unfortunately, our first and last impression of the floating cottage wasn’t the best. It was dingy and somehow, just didn’t seem appeasing.

For the first time ever, I feel, I put my foot down. My parents had headed for lunch while I decided to wash off the oils from the spa treatment I had done before. Turns out, there was no water! Shocked, upset and taken aback, I stormed out and refused to enter the cottage until we were relocated to a better accommodation.

Thankfully, post lunch, we were housed in one of the newer accommodations which had a wonderful view of the entire resort with the sea visible in the far distance and a jacuzzi installed in the walk-in bathroom!

Come evening, we had a small tour of everything the resort had to offer. We soon realised, this part of the backwaters was best suited for a weekend getaway rather than a long vacation. So we decided to shorten our stay at Poovar and head back to Kovalam after two days rather than three.

Also, it seemed Poovar Island Resort hosted day trips and the like, since the resort seemed to be bustling with people throughout our time there. It was a surprising change from the quiet and calm of Kovalam where people were in their own space and silence was a calming blanket. It doesn’t imply that it was disturbing! The experience was simply different.

We were also informed of the Ayurvedic Village (a must do for everyone, I would say!), located in a small corner of the resort, tucked away from all the cacophony and bustle of tourists making the most of their vacation. Excited, we made ourselves a few appointments, deciding on giving our muscles as good a pamper session as our skin.

Stay tuned for more updates!


First Impression of Kovalam

I am not one to lose my calm when I am around my parents. Why? Because they’re capable of doing it without my help. They lose their marbles at the drop of a hat which is why, even if I want to, I can’t. But, they know, that if I start to panic, there really is something to worry about.

Headed to Kovalam had me worried. We had a super early flight and somehow, we were extremely close to missing it. We made it inside the airport with minutes to spare and my bad choices had me swearing under my breath, incessantly. The one time I should have worn sneakers, so that I could do all the running around with ease, I decided on 6 inch heels.

Poor judgement aside, we boarded our flight without much of a delay.

A stop over later, we had landed in Trivandrum.  After a fifteen odd minute drive , we were pulling into the breathtakingly beautiful resort, Vivanta by Taj. Beautifully structured and designed around waterfalls and forestry, the resort oozed serenity and calm. Welcomed with shell garlands, we settled down to cool ourselves, sipping on some refreshing coconut water while our backs were taken to our room.

Having toured all that we could of the resort while the receptionist was confirming the details of our check-in, we decided to stop by the sea. It gave us time to have a quick trip down to the beach, something, all of us were quite eager to visit.

The sun was at its peak, there was salt in the air and the waves were crashing relentlessly on the rocks.

Yes, my vacation had indeed begun.

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We then headed back to the resort where our lovely concierge Roshin surprised us by upgrading us to the Premium Deluxe Suite. Let me just say, the room was spectacular. With a gorgeous sea view, a panoramic view of the resort, two balconies and a walk in bathroom, I was all but ready to kick my heels off and collapse into the relaxing environment that was beckoning me, enticing me never to return to reality.

Having not had lunch, I decided on treating myself to Roasted chicken breast with rosemary, potato mash, mushroom jus and sautéed vegetables.

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I got quite obsessed with mushroom jus by the end of it, my father being witness to it. He actually caught me with my finger dipped deep in the jus, unabashedly treating it like a jar of nutella.


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On our way to the sea in the evening, we got to see more of the resort, landscape and design of the resort and everything it had to offer as we bumped along on the cute buggy that was driving us there.

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The water was so still, everything was a mirror reflection on its surface. On our way back, once the boat had turned around, we got to witness the sun setting. Shades of pink, purple and orange kissed the skies and watching it, had my heart fluttering at its beauty.

With our feet back on solid ground, we relaxed some more on the beach.  Eager to let loose the water soul I host, we headed back. The swimming pool in the resort was beautiful to say the least and I really wanted to dip my toes in and swim, something I hadn’t done in ages!

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The design of the swimming pool mimicked the infinity pools that have become so famous, with one side of the pool not walled, instead, ending in a steep drop. The view on the unwalled side of the pool was basically, a never ending view of the sea and the sky meeting, two distinct shades of blue, shaking hands.

Dad decided to give me company while I swum. Having not swum in ages, I decided to really push myself. By the end of it, my muscles were on fire, something I actually enjoyed. While I headed back for an extremely relaxing and LONG bubble bath, my parents headed for their spa appointments.

I think I dozed off in the bath. The warm water and the heady scent of lotus from the bubbles had me relaxed and I lost track of time. When I got out, I felt so sleepy. It was a good kind of exhaustion, not the kinds where you are weary and want to curl up and cry. Donning a bathrobe, I collapsed on the couch, all set with my book. Soon, my parents returned from their spa appointments, smelling of oils and looking, well…sticky.

Dinner was as succulent as lunch. I treated myself to Garlic butter prawns for an entrée and Pesto pasta for my main course. For dessert, I chose Tiramisu with shaved coffee flavoured chocolate.

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Well fed, relaxed to the point that our limbs were almost jelly-like, we hit the bed. For the first time, in what seems like forever, I fell asleep immediately. Actually, I didn’t even realise I had fallen asleep. Middle of the night, when I awoke, parched and in search of a water bottle, did I realise that I had fallen asleep and had been tucked into my bed by my Dad. Slightly embarrassing but adorable too, I’d say.

My first day in Kerala was perfect in every way!


Chrissi Island

On our last day in Ierapetra, we decided to head out to an island quite close to it, called Chrissi Island. Costing about 10€ for a round trip, we booked our tickets, choosing from one of many boats headed there. Since we had some time on our hands before we were to set sail, we hung around the beach and also visited a Greek orthodox church.

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The architecture was one of many things that made this church stand out from the countless others that I had visited. Having been intrigued, studied and practised Christianity for a bit, experiencing the orthodox traditions of the Greeks was fascinating and so enlightening!

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the interiors but from memory, I can recall the interiors being very dark and the idols placed on shelves almost doll-like. They were draped in traditional clothing and fabrics and greek scriptures were hung from pillars and tapestries. The air inside was daunting yet extremely pious. I wish I had the chance and time to experience one of their sermons but oh well! beggars can’t be choosers.

It was soon time to head out to the island. The journey there was heavenly. With wind in our hair, flicks of salty sea sprinkling over us, the hour and half journey was completed in no time.

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Chrissi Island from afar.

Chrissi Island had two beaches for the visitors. There was one that was more visually appealing while the other was more rocky with massive wooden logs strewn all over. It being a windy day had caused the sea to turn quite rough one one side of the beach. Turns out, it was the more picturesque beach that was facing rough waters, so it was out of bounds. We therefore, trudged over to the other side where we hogged sun beds as soon as we caught sight of them.

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Fun fact about the island: Chrissi Island is strewn with Cannabis plants. The whole island had a subtle scent of cannabis and we saw massive bushes of them sprouting here and there.

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On more than one occasion, multiple names crossed my mind of people who would have lost their marbles had they known of the free abundance of cannabis on this island, their hippie souls having found paradise.As much as I would have enjoying gifting these friends of mine their idea of nirvana, the law abiding citizen in me made sure my hands stayed far away from these plants.

Mary and I took a quick dip in the sea and had the scariest time on our way back. The sea bed was known to be filled with sea urchins and we kept yelping and jumping in our skins, thinking every other moss covered rock was a sea urchin. The fear was fuelled further by the news that Mary’s sister had spent the night before in the ER, having the spines from a sea urchin taken out of the sole of her foot. I did not wish to spend my last day in Greece roaming the sterilised walls of a hospital! Thankfully, we reached land without facing multiple stabs.

For the next three hours I think, Tony, Mary and I simply slept. The wind and crashing waves were a gentle lullaby and we nearly missed our boat back home!

Having arrived back, Mary treated us to Gyros, a traditional Greek dish. With meat stuffed inside a massive flatbread along with mustard, tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce, the dish is too big to fit into your mouth. Add to that, french fries are stuffed inside the flatbread as well and trust me when I say this, you’d have to open your mouth as wide as a hippopotamus to fit one bite in.

Extremely ravenous, I hogged on it but couldn’t finish the entire dish. Wordlessly, Tony slid my plate over to him and cleaned it up as smoothly as he had his own. I think from the time we met, Tony and I have had an unsaid deal where I finish off the fatty, cheesy junk on his plate and he cleans up the greens on mine.

We ended our perfect Greek vacation by eating Souvlaki (another Greek dish) for dinner with honey raki, of course.


My vacation/visit to Greece was brilliant and filled with love and laughter. Having good friends around me made the trip all the more sweeter and I will never, not cherish the memories I made there. Plus, the water baby inside me was extremely satiated and somehow, I left Greece with a relatively decent tan. Indians, more often than not, don’t tan well, especially dark complexioned ones. I’m glad I did not resemble an aubergine by the end of it.

I have to thank Mary for being such an amazing host and guide. Without her and her family’s hospitality, the vacation wouldn’t have been half as beautiful as it was. Her kind gesture didn’t stop at being a host though. She gifted the boys with books about the Greek islands and the girls with jewellery; symbolic and carrying special meaning for each girl individually. Mine was a turquoise filled star as you can see in the picture below, meant to ward off evil, store the good and bring in radiance. I absolutely love it and am so grateful for it. Thank you Vasi, for the trip of a lifetime!

Here’s to Greece and visiting you again, sometime, someday.


Mary and me.


Coriva and Almyra

With only three of us left, we decided to slow down and just let time pass us by. In between all the touristing and driving and sight seeing, I think all three of us (Tony, Mary and me) were quite socially burnt out. I think, we were a tad bit exhausted. Surprisingly, doing touristy stuff can get quite draining as well!

So we decided to take a bus to Coriva Hotel Beach, having bid adieu to the two people who had valid driving licences. The fantastic thing about beaches in Greece is that they are all public property. This means that even if a hotel or resort is built on the beach, the beach is not the property of the hotel. Others, those not checked in to the hotel, can simply walk in and head to the beach and relax.

And that’s exactly what we did.

Having arrived, we headed straight to the beach. The beach itself was serene and a shade of blue darker than what I had seen previously, in other locations. The sand wasn’t really sand. It was actually black pebbles which made it a bit difficult for anyone headed out for a swim. The stones were blistering hot and walking on them to get a quick dip meant frying the soles of your feet. That unfortunately, was not fun.

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Mary didn’t wish to swim so Tony and I headed out. I think mid way, we both got really competitive and started swimming really fast towards the buoy visible at the horizon. Mind you, this competition began without any words being spoken. I have no recollection as to who won though. I do remember returning and slumping on my sun bed, exhausted and breathing very heavily.

This was perhaps the only beach where I saw women topless. Almost all of them had their bikini tops off, lying face up, soaking in all the sun. It was while I was lying face down, dozing off, that Tony decided I should join the ranks of all the rest of the women out there. Without me realising, he undid the strings of my top. How I sat up and got Mary to retie the knot without flashing anyone is beyond me but hey, I did succeed.

So score 1 for me, 0 for Tony.

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We then headed back home to dress up for a fancy dinner. Mary took us to Almyra, a five star restaurant in Ierapetra. Situated at one extreme end of the island, the view this restaurant provides, is spectacular.

Built atop rocks, one gets a breathtaking view of the sea at night along with a panoramic view of the entire island, glowing like fireflies.

Having dined on some exquisite pasta and sea food, we were just paying the bill when catastrophe struck. All the bills Tony pulled out of his wallet, were blown away by a gust of wind. Running and jumping, Tony chased after his money while Mary and I looked on in horror. We were worried the bills would blow out to sea. Thankfully, they didn’t. Tony caught them two floors below our seating and had to fish one out of the swimming pool. Nevertheless, he retrieved all his money.

Our walk back home had us capturing Ierapetra in a state of stillness. It wasn’t something I had witnessed before and it was an experience all in itself. The otherwise bustling, exuberant crowds had disappeared with barely any people on the street. Our voices seemed usually loud as we debated politics on our way back, the click-clack of our heels and the swaying of the trees all round us, possibly the only sounds giving us company.


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Wearing six inch heels allowed me to reach Mary’s height cause on any other day, I think I reach her shoulder.


Bidding Sarah farewell was an adventure of its own. She had to take a bus from Agios Nikolaos to the airport, so we decided to make a trip of it.

We left early morning so as to have more time on our hands to explore Agios Nikolaos. Despite it being 8 or so, the sun was bearing down on us, making us sweat like crazy.

Unlike Ierapetra, Agios Nikolaos attracts more tourists and is more stereotypically Greek in its layout. The landscape is similar to Santorini with more white exteriors and architecture. The terrain isn’t flat and has a lot of uphill/downhill driving unlike Ierapetra which is flat and stretched out.

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Since none of us had grabbed breakfast, we stopped by one of the finer Greek cafes which were reputed to serve the best frozen yoghurt and coffee. As is well known of me, I conveniently forgot to document the name of this cafe. Oops. BUT, the frozen yoghurt, oh my god! I am very selective about my yoghurt, half of them taste medicinal to me. I was therefore, weary, despite Mary urging me otherwise. I gave in and ordered a frozen yoghurt with muesli, mangoes and cranberries.


My extremely divine yoghurt.

I fell in love with it. Is it possible to fall in love with food, because I did. I guzzled down the yoghurt within three, maybe four spoonfuls and was already contemplating, ordering another one. Unfortunately, my extremely massive cup of coffee decided for me. Now when I think of it, my order must have seemed so weird, piping hot coffee with a size of Fro Yo. Hah!

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Once we had catered to the needs of our tummies, we decided to head out to the bus stop to drop Sarah off. Unfortunately, Mary was unfamiliar with the directions. Greeks are so incredibly sweet! Even if they were unaware of the route, they still tried to help. This didn’t bode well for us, since we were more often than not, sent off into the wrong direction. The time spent following the wrong paths had us all tensed since we were all worried Sarah might not make it. In our panic, we also almost died at one point. Dipa had taken over the steering wheel since Sarah was too stressed to drive. We were going uphill and had to stop, to get directions obviously, when the car started rolling backwards. I think all of us swallowed our screams and thankfully, Dipa got back on track and we didn’t encounter anymore almost-accidents. Thankfully, just in the nick of time, we reached the station and we made sure Sarah boarded her bus.

Once we bid adieu to her, post relaxing and freshening up, we headed to Mochlos.

Mochlos is a small village that serves food right by the sea. The view is absolutely breathtaking but getting there isn’t easy. The roads are winding and topsy-turvy. One has to be extremely skilled to drive down the roads to get to it but the views on the way are spectacular. On our way there, we stopped at Panorama, a tourist spot from where you can take pictures and get a wonderful view of the horizon.

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Come evening time, we had safely arrived at Mochlos. We seated ourselves at Kapilio where we all decided to dine, pescetarian style.

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Spaghetti with octopus braised in red wine.

While Dipa and Tony decided to order the fish platter which had an assortment of fish, Mary and I decided to have Spaghetti with fish on the side. I loved my dish and still dream of tasting it again, sometime soon. Having never tried octopus before, it was a first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I think I prefer it more than squid now, which is saying something.

While we dined, we had the most beautiful view. Honestly, I don’t think any meal since, has trumped my experience there.

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As it was getting quite late, we decided to head back, which was another adventure of its own. The roads were pitch black with no reflectors placed anywhere, nor were there any lamp posts. It was a little scary, especially when turning on the mountainside, since there was no way of knowing if there was a car headed from the opposite direction until too late, but we reached home, safe and sound, nonetheless. We crashed soon after, the sights of Mochlos making for the perfect dream.


Poetry Recitals and Art Exhibitions

During our reunion, Aakriti had informed me of an art exhibition. It was no ordinary exhibition. It was combining two very different creative styles. Poetry would be recited about art that would be displayed. Aakriti was one of the few chosen to recite and I couldn’t be prouder. The concept was intriguing and it had been way too long since I had allowed myself to indulge in two of my favourite interests – art and poetry. So, excited and eager, I arrived at Dhanraj Mahal where the exhibition was taking place.

The team behind TARQ were presenting Parag Tandel’s third solo exhibition titled, ‘Chronicle’.  Focusing on ecology and migration, Tadel creates sculptures cast in resin that represent memories from childhood.

The poets invited for the exhibition were all members of The Poetry Club which is why, besides a recital of poetry influenced by the art, there were poets reciting some of their creative work unrelated to the exhibition as well. The poets had been allowed to go through the sculptures well in advance and were given the liberty to choose which display they wanted to base their poetry on.

Before reciting, each poet not only introduced themselves but also spoke of how and why they got into poetry in the first place.

Aakriti wrote her poem based on Trap I


Image taken from the official webpage.

I can picture it all too clearly
When someone asks me where I came from
It looks like a cocoon
That houses and nurtures the butterfly
But when you come from a sheltered existence
Even the fibres wrapped tight
Around your once feeble wings
Feel like a trap.
These walls were my rose tinted glasses
Stained with blood and doubt, I was told,
Perhaps to have me believe that the outside world
Can never be as safe or untouched
As the claustrophobia that surrounds me.
If only underexposure 
was the true measure of being free
Of trouble and pain
Because my wings hurt
They're overgrown and yet
Trained to feel the strain
Of this sinewy home
I want to fly out of. 
There's light above and light below
And I long to be illuminated
By anything other than a refraction of that light.
But I know that when that pod opens
And the reins curl away from my skin
And my wings find room to stretch out
I'll have nothing more than a day
To take in more than the hues of red
Before I create my own cocoon
To house another cloistered soul like me. 
Maybe the circle of life
Is a perpetuated series of growing pains.

Devendra wrote his poem based on Extinct Form III


Image taken from the official webpage


How strange is living,
stranger yet to die
Not knowing the who
Never pondering the why
Cursed be each moment
Spent only to deny
The prophet of my soul
My truth it decries
In whispers and persuasive
Signs, in the desperation
Of denial and screams
I never let escape
Hear them yet choose
Comfort in mediocrity
Call it fair compromise
Alas a blatant excuse.
For I fear that
Which is at stake
It is my conscience
For it shall take
My soul; if ever
Pure ambition shall fall
And become empty premise
What shall I become?
But an empty shell
Resounding sameness and banality
It is not weakness
But emptiness, I dread
Choose to know mine
Yet consciously deny, I
Keep ambition at bay
The perfect fail-safe
For a dismal day
To gloat in the knowledge
Never intend to comply
(I) Choose complacence over pride
Familiarity; over the sublime
Instruction of my will
Instead of the paragon
I choose, a lie.
How strange to choose
To live not a day
Forever myself I deny
For I always knew the who
Knew always the why.

Here are some more of the art pieces that were on display.


Extinct Form I – Image taken from official webpage


Memory – image taken from official webpage


Extinct Form V – image taken from official webpage

While Kejal did not write based on the pieces displayed, she recited a few poems that she had written previously for gatherings at The Poetry Club.


 He smiled an unfaltering welcome smile 
He knew five words in english 
"Please come in madam, good day." 
Yellow teeth were frequented by red spots 
The smile a crescent moon on his face 
The position never changed
Full moons were not for the uneducated. 
On good days, he smiled. 
On bad days, his smile was broader. 
On frustrating days, it stuck to his face 
Like a brightly painted tattoo. 
His trade depended on it. 
She wore her smile upside down. 
Frowning, they called it. 
It meant you were sad. 
It was the price you had to pay
To buy pity. 
On good days, her tears came easily. 
Snot dripped about her unclean nose 
A prop in her daily dress up act. 
On bad days
she had to suppress her happiness. 
"Look sad", they said. 
"No, look sadder." 
On frustrating days
she had to be slapped, kicked, threatened. 
"We want your tears", they said. 
"We want to buy pity." 
So she frowned. 
Her trade depended on it.

Listening to the poetry stirred something inside me. I had stopped writing poetry myself and had disconnected myself from the art of listening, reciting and writing poetry. Witnessing this exhibition brought back that dormant part of me to some extent.

It was fascinating to see people from different spheres of life, come together for a few hours, all sharing a mutual love for poetry and a certain cynicism towards life. Also, existential crisis. It was selfishly, very comforting.

It was a wonderful experience and I am so glad Aakriti invited me. I hope I can witness and participate in these more frequently, as time passes by.

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Sunny Brighton

Before I start gushing about the amazing time I had in Brighton, let me just put it out there that my travel buddy and I are starting to make a habit out of cutting it very close when it comes to boarding trains. As exciting as it is, to race against time and make it to the station with minutes to spare, I’m really hoping, this trend of ours, ends soon.

Unsurprisingly, Arv and I made it just in the nick of time when it came to boarding the train. An empty carriage and hushed conversations helped calm our pounding heartbeats as we sat down, sweaty and out of breath. Time passed peacefully and within an hour, our train was pulling into Brighton station. From there, a quick two minute journey had us arriving at Hove where Arv’s absolutely adorable grandmother was kind enough to be our host during our time there.

Being utterly oblivious at times, I was so busy pushing my ticket into the machine to get the doors to open, that I did not notice Helen waiting for us until I saw Arv hunched over, enveloping her in his arms. Not having met Helen before didn’t seem at all awkward or weird, she made me feel so welcome, I couldn’t stop smiling!

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Arv, who sort of looks like Wolverine here and his Nana, Helen.

She was such a bundle of positivity, energy and love, I felt at home immediately. She drove us to her place where we had amazingly healthy food along with delicious Camomile tea although we had been warned beforehand by her that cooking food was not her forte and she did not enjoy it one bit!

One of the many things I enjoyed about my time with Helen included listening to her life travels and her interactions with people. Besides this, her house finally fulfilled and brought to life, my long harboured imagination of what a proper British house looked like, thanks to the countless books I read, written by Enid Blyton. She is also one of the coolest women I have ever come across. I absolutely adored her joie de vivre when we decided on a selfie. To be perfectly honest, she looked the most glamorous out of all of us in it!

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With the sun beaming down on us, my friend and I headed out to Brighton Pier having said goodbye to Helen and having planned a quick meet up before our train back to London. Before all this happened though, I got to witness Arv and Helen scrutinising maps of Brighton. This was because despite living in a world of gizmos and gadgets, ours failed us. Between Arv and me, we had three mobiles, all of which refused to function and decided to die due to lack of battery.

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While walking along the beach, I got to witness buskers of immense talent entertaining the multitudes of people who had stepped out of their houses to enjoy the sun and take a dip in the sea. With the sea water glimmering, ice cream cones everywhere and squeals of delight echoing from all sides, we approached Brighton Pier with a lot of excitement.

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Street buskers; Three men sitting absolutely still, balanced on soft balls held in one hand.

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As Meredith Grey once said, ‘The carousel never stops turning.’

Having entered Brighton Pier, the competitive gamers in my friend and me awakened and we headed to the arcade with steely determination. Maybe it was because I was still exhausted from work or it just wasn’t my day, I lost every single game to my friend. For someone as competitive as me, this was quite a heavy blow and my friend didn’t make things easier. It took all my will power not to push him over the railing of the pier as punishment for reminding me of my defeat, every single chance he got.

We took a break from the games from time to time, stepping out to enjoy the salty air and the sound of crashing waves, drowned by the laughter that flooded me from everywhere.

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We then headed to Palm Court for lunch since Arv was in the mood for Fish and Chips. For someone as healthy as him, it was quite a surprise for me to witness him cleaning up a gigantic plate of deep fried fish and fries or as the British like to call it, chips. I decided on Mashed Potatoes with a Pie made out of mackerel, shrimps, peas and salmon. It was delicious but for someone like me who is very picky about her sea food, it was quite…fishy.

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We then walked around the Pavilion, deciding against entering it, wishing to enjoy the weather rather than feeling jealous strolling through the pleasure palace for George IV. The pavilion was beautiful though. With a wonderful combination of Indian and Oriental architecture and a very picturesque location, the pavilion is something everyone headed to Brighton must visit even if, like us, you decide against entering it.

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With time running out, we decided to walk towards the station and enjoy whatever Brighton had to offer on our way to it. Our walk was quite the enjoyable one with a sea gull almost raking Arv and my skulls as it flew over our heads. We also walked through a vintage market that had a concert/gathering going on. The heady scent of incense sticks and vintage collections on display in the market, made for quite a fun experience.

Just when I was about to point out to my friend that I had not come across any street art, walls upon walls of street art appeared before us. Here are my favourites!

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It seemed our competitive nature had not yet been satiated since Arv decided to race me up the stairs to the platform. He duped me though! While I raced up, he casually set his pace, climbing the stairs one at a time. Just when I thought he wasn’t actually racing and stopped sprinting, he made a sudden dash for it and won.

No worries though my lovely Mavericks, I got my revenge later on.

Soon, we reached the station where we met Helen. She handed us a bag full of goodies for our journey back home which was so incredibly sweet of her! Having said our final goodbyes, we boarded an extremely crowded train and spent most of the journey, standing or rather dozing off, leaning on each other, the heat and exhaustion from our long walk, finally getting to us.

Coming back to my Brighton tale, remember when I said, I got my revenge on Arv? Well, my friend, who refused to adhere to the phrase, ‘Let the girl win’ got a taste of his own medicine when we decided to race from the tube station back home. From the minute we got off the tube, the race began. The first to touch the door of the house would be the ultimate champion and I can proudly say, it was yours truly despite Arv downing a double espresso for the sole purpose of winning the race.

The victory was made sweeter by the fact that my friend is actually a runner, who participates in marathons while I shamelessly give him the most judgemental looks for participating in them.

Anyway, that my lovely Mavericks, brings this travelogue to a close. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reliving it while penning down this fond memory.

Oxford Moments

It’s funny how life works.
Having huffed and puffed about the stagnancy and boorish routine I had somehow found myself settled into, writing on this platform was just not happening.

I was seriously considering deleting this blog because I had turned it into a ranting stage. It didn’t bode well with me and I thought it’d be better to say farewell to this piece of me while it still had something good left in it.

Just then, a friend of mine stepped in and suggested visiting Oxford. It was not just a brilliant idea but also a break both of us agreed we needed, since we had both had quite exhausting weeks lately.

That being said, come Sunday, I arrived bright and early at Paddington station, excited to be visiting the quaint town of Oxford. Surprisingly, my friend who is ALWAYS on time, decided Sunday was the day to rely on wrong travelling information and cut it very fine when it came to boarding the train.

We made it though. At 8 sharp, the train departed and we were off !

Upon arriving, I was made aware of the fact that we had no itinerary planned which in the end turned out to be the right decision cause wandering around, discovering alleyways and sharing moments with friends, is on any given day, much better!

We started off by visiting the Mound. Although we decided against going all the way to the top, we did walk through a small alley that reminded me of descriptions in novels by Charles Dickens, rekindling a love within me, I feel I had forgotten.

Before delving deeper, apologies before hand if I don’t accurately label all the places we visited. Amidst laughter, conversations and simply taking in the view, I think retaining names was far down below on the priority list.

My friend, being the giant he is, took the lead most of the time. It was better that way because Mr. Big Feet wasn’t the best at reading Google Maps and more often than not realised the fact that we were headed in the wrong direction 200 metres after. This way, he walked more than me and my short limbs had some respite from time to time.

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We headed to Christ College but were turned away since opening hours began mid afternoon. Lost, we turned around and continued walking aimlessly but not without some beautiful sights!

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Somehow we found ourselves entering the Oxford University Museum of Natural History where we grabbed a small snack and somehow got into a very excited conversation about men instigating snakes into swallowing them.

We’re fascinating people, aren’t we?

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During our little break from touring, we got in touch with our mutual friends residing in Oxford and we decided to meet up within the coming hours.

The real sightseeing began after we all met up and it was so entertaining!

We visited quite a few colleges and also got to take in the epic staircase where Harry Potter was made to wait when he first walked through Hogwarts, just before he got sorted!

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Stained windows of cathedrals and ornately designed high arches, as I have mentioned countless times before, have always fascinated me. Needless to say, my camera roll was flooded with them.

All the walking had the men feeling hungry, so we stopped at a cafe where I had one of my infamous moments. Having not paid attention to what the others were ordering, I squealed in delight and shock when one of them asked me what chocolate I wanted.

Here are the reasons for my extreme delight:

  • Extreme sweet tooth
  • It’s chocolate. Excitement is a must.

The sudden quiet that settled had me very confused. That was until the man at the counter cleared the air. Apparently, you get a chocolate cookie free with your drink. So my friend wasn’t actually being nice or making a sweet gesture.

To be honest, I have had so many incidents of this sort, besides my nostrils flaring in embarrassment, I don’t think much else happened.

We then walked by the canal and after one too many uncertain and hesitant answers, decided against punting. Having done a poor job at hiding our exhaustion, we decided to take a break and just relax, soaking in the sun that was not supposed to be out at all! I think had we not, my feet would have bled into the soles of my shoes and my shoulders would have snapped.

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We then started back for home and made it just in the nick of time. Two achievements made during our little sprint to the station included  my running skills being acknowledged and the acceptance (I believe women all over the world will appreciate this one) that I, as a woman, am always right and my friend (who’s a guy) is always wrong. Hah!

All in all, the day was such a blessing and comfort. It made for not just great memories that are still echoing laughter but also for a relaxation of the soul, something that was dearly needed. So the trip was a definite win.

Signing off with a picture of us with our wonderful guides.

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From left to right: Yours truly, Arv, Debasmita and Emile.

Till then Mavericks!

Sun Kissed

With the delicious smell of melted cheese and ham wafting through the air, I woke up, all smiles, on my second day in Greece.

After gulping down chocolate milkshakes and munching on crunchy sandwiches, we decided on heading out to the beach. Mary being the delightful host that she was, had it all planned out. Sun screen and water bottles packed into our bags, we had soon hit the road.

The beach Mary was leading us to was called Mikri Poli, rather it was a resort with a very picturesque beach.

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The beach at Mikri Poli

From the minute we landed, Dipa and I were a tad bit too excited, having stumbled across an Ictotherapy Spa. For all of you who don’t know what it is, Ictotherapy is a kind of spa treatment where you dip your feet in water and tiny fish come rushing towards you and nibble at your soles, eating away at all the dead skin, making your toes and feet extremely soft to the touch. Since it did not open till mid evening, we decided on heading to the beach and having a lovely dip in the sea.

Our way down to the sea was tiring but so beautiful.

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Dipa and Mary decided to try out the very fancily designed swimming pools, so it was upto Sarah, Tony and me to find beach beds, a task that didn’t take up too much of our time. Soon enough, we were swimming and splashing around in the sea. Having brought wooden paddles and tennis balls with us, we tried our hand at the Greek version of tennis and were not so bad by the time we stopped after being terrible at it for at least an hour.

Hey, practice makes perfect. There’s a reason why we say it.

We were joined by Mary and Dipa, who had lazed around in the pool and had had their own fun while we frolicked in the sea. Dipa and I then headed to the spa to get our feet nibbled at by fish and boy was it an experience.

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The sensation of these fish going at it at your feet is a weird mix. You feel ticklish but relaxed all at the same time. After about twenty minutes of feeding these fish my dead skin, I was allowed to take my feet out of the water and have them massaged and cleaned up. By the end of it, I kept hugging my feet, THEY WERE SO INCREDIBLY SOFT !

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Having planned our spa treatment perfectly, we met the rest of the gang outside the resort and headed to the village called Makris Gialos where we would dine on divine Greek cuisine. The setting of this village was extremely beautiful and calming and the gentle sound of the waves crashing on the rocks made for the perfect tune while we chatted and licked away at our plates.

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The village of Makris Gialos.

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I have no recollection as to what everyone else ordered at the sea side cafe, but I can still taste the silky smooth Cheese Cream Chicken with fries, said and rice that I had decided on savouring.

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Amazing Cream Cheese Chicken with Fries, Salad and Rice.

Before we headed back home, we decided on capturing a picture of Manos Stephanapolis, the name we had given to our car and its two fantastic drivers, since Sarah was leaving the next day.

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Sarah and Dipa with Manos Stephanapolis.

Once back home, we showered and dressed up and hit the city. We dined on food and raki at a restaurant called Meraki and then spent the rest of the night, walking around Ierapetra.

We walked past and around the fort guarding Ierapetra and then spent countless minutes staring at the clear sky, wishing to come across a shooting star.

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The fort guarding Ierapetra.

We ended the night by sitting on the beach, munching on amazing gelato and sharing stories of places we wished to travel to and what we would call ‘our happy place.’

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Here’s a blurry picture of all of us. From left to right: Dipa, Tony, Mary, Sarah and me.

Keep your eyes peeled Mavericks, another post about my travels in Greece will be up before you know it !

Till then…