March Musings – Why won’t women eat first?

I decided to write about women this month. If February is associated with love, then surely March is associated with talking about women right? It being International Women’s day and all? So I decided to dedicate an entire month to thinking about women, standing up for us, celebrating us, and basically trying my own version of Women’s month series 🙂

When I was little and lived with my parents and my little sister, my father had this rule at home. Everyone will eat together, the food will be laid on the table, and whatever mom cooks will need to be eaten. So especially during dinners and weekends, all of us would help laying the table, and then we’d eat together – dad, mom, me and my sister. We helped lay the table and eat together. Dinner was my favorite meal of the day.

Then I became a little older and on one summer vacation at my grandparents house, I realised that the table seated only six. How could all of us sit on the table together and eat? To my dismay, I found out that the problem was solved by serving the men food first. And not only did they have their food served first, it seemed they also deserved the best pieces from the meal cooked. Then the children were asked to sit and were served. And finally, my grandmother and the mothers sat and ate – way late into the night, with what looked like leftovers and only gravy to eat. When I asked, “but mummy, don’t you have any chicken or paneer to eat?”, she shoo-ed me away saying, go play with your cousins. I walked out wondering why my father didn’t serve food to mom, like we did back home?

Then I went into my teenage phase and started questioning everything. I asked my mom, “why do you have to eat last at grandparent’s place when we eat together at home? Shouldn’t grandmama eat with grandpapa too, if its the elders we are thinking about? Doesn’t she get hungry and tired too?” She would either look harassed with my questions or give me a kindly smile and say, “its just for a few days. Let’s not hurt anyone’s feelings by our questions, alright? At home, we will eat together, I promise.” But whose feelings were we hurting? Who decided that only women would cook and only men would eat?

In my twenties, I got married. I knew the guy I had married and I thought surely in my time, things will change. The only advice my mom gave me before I left for my in law’s place for the first time was, “Be respectful of their feelings and follow their traditions. You will be there for a short while, so try not to hurt anyone.” In the first week, I realised, that I was re-living my mother’s life. While my husband had the best intentions when we were at our own home, when we were with the elders, it was back to the men first and the women last. I couldn’t bear to let his mother eat alone. So I thought to myself, the same thing my mom said to me, “Its only for a while. I can adjust.” And I ate last with his mother.

When I became a mother, things changed. At least until the baby was a baby. I was asked to eat more and eat better than before. But once my daughter grew out of her baby phase, things went back to the previous expectation. It was then that I realised that I didn’t want to set the same example for my daughter. I had had enough. I was not going to eat last. I was going to eat with her. And if I could manage it, I would make everyone eat together.

Now, the elders or some family members sometimes pass snide remarks about my decision to eat first. Sometimes I end up eating before anyone else. I eat with my daughter and I ask everyone to eat with me. When I’m at my parents or in law’s place, I tell them, I need to eat on time and I need to eat right. When they still don’t understand, I tell them, “Remember how the air hostess says, during turbulence, wear your oxygen mask before assisting a child or an elderly with theirs. Its the same with food.”

I eat on time and I eat well, because I care about my health as much as I care about my family’s. Its high time that we question the tradition of eating last and eating leftovers. Don’t you think so? 🙂

Book Talk Series – Ten recent reads and what they made me think

It has been just two weeks and I already feel like Ive been on a long hiatus from blogging. My regular day job has taken over my life completely and is depriving me of all the things I love doing – running/writing/reading/blogging. I managed to squeeze out some time today and so happy to start this new series on my blog 🙂 I hope you enjoy reading it!!

As avid readers, we read a lot of books and if you’re like me, you’re probably devouring one splendid book after another, thinking and then jumping on to the next book almost instantly. But I also do realise, that most of the books I read, make me think and question a lot of things about life and what we take for granted, or things that should change.

So, I decided that instead of writing a monthly reading wrap up, or book reviews (unless its of an ARC or recent release), I would write about the books I read that made me think, or question things, and what was it that I thought about while reading each of these books 🙂 This will be a bi-monthly series.

Without further ado, here are the list of books I read in the last two months and the things they made me think about:

What would people say about my book shelf? I wondered after reading this hilarious illustrated book. Maybe a romantic idealist? Or a dreamer? An escapist perhaps? I was really curious what my bookshelf would say about me to another reader, but alas, this book didn’t have the answer to that question 🙂

This one was such a dark book. What I wondered was, how far would I go to protect the ones I loved? Would I skew my moral compass for them? How far would you go?

Thoughts while reading Margaret Atwood’s poems were mainly focussed around my own feelings with respect to death and ageing. I also wondered what kind of a world we were leaving behind for our children. The picture was bleak. I also found a poem that resonated with a story I was writing – about women and abuse and what should be done to the perpetrators.

It was such a huge book and just the first book of this series or saga if I must say! But what I really wondered was if this is how it would feel when we settled on Mars? A planet of sand dunes, where water was the most precious resource? Or are we already turning Earth into this desert?

One of my favorite reads from the last two months 🙂 If only we had the power to take back what truly belonged to us, without hurting others. If only, we were living in a time when our sexuality wasn’t questioned, but just accepted.

Oh my gosh, another classic and another five star read that I read in Feb this year. I wish I could write satire like Vonnegut. All the time I was reading this book, I wondered if we aren’t already practising some form of Bokononism already. And the best question of all, which is already answered in the 14th book of Bokononism – what hope can a learned man have for human kind, after looking through the history from the past million years? Read the book, to know the answer 😀

What is the purpose of religion, if it only caters to the well being of one or few section of the masses and condemns another section to abuse for eternity? How can educated people allow themselves to do this, in the name of religion? Can the caste system really be abolished?

My favourite part about the book wasn’t the context or all the amazing things Glennon Doyle talks about, about being a Cheetah! It was simply the fact, that here was a woman who managed to re-write her life at 40. And that was something that made me sit up and realise that its never too late to change your life and make a better version of you 🙂

Ohhh, so many thoughts and questions while reading this book. But the one that I thought about the most was, are there really parallel universes? As a person with a scientific bent of mind, it is strange that I cant wrap my mind around quantum physics. And also the fact that it seems to be coming into my life constantly, in the form of everything I read or watch..

There are few books in the fantasy genre that make me think about life lessons. I’ve been reading this series and I wasn’t a fan of the second book, even when the author provided a feminist take on a fairy tale, I found it annoying that our leading lady, despite all her strengths, needed another man to validate her. When will we stop having the need to be validated and appreciated by others?

Have you read any of the books above? If yes, did you think about the same things I did, or did you have different questions or thoughts in your head? I’d love to discuss any of the books above if you’re interested, in the comments section 🙂

The Liability of Privilege

Privilege (Definition): a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Oxford Online Definitions

I was having a book club discussion on Dr. Ambedkar’s speech – Annihilation of Caste, two days back. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I said, “I didn’t even know which caste I belonged to, until I went to college and some seniors thought I would make a good choice for a wife because I was a Brahmin (aka upper caste Hindu)”.

My co-readers said, “The fact that you didn’t know what your caste was, shows your privilege”. And how true it was.

This made me think about all the conversations I’ve had, all the tweets I’ve read, all the movements going on about the atrocities people go through on various grounds, because they weren’t privileged. And I thought, privilege isn’t something to be to be taken for granted anymore. It has become a liability.

Here are some of the ways I noticed privilege, drawing in from the observation my reader friend had made regarding my privilege:

  • If you have never known hunger, you have the privilege of being rich
  • If you have never been sexually abused, molested or discriminated against at your home or place of work, or place of worship because of your gender, you have the privilege of being a man
  • If you have never had to fight to marry the one you loved, or killed because of it, you have the privilege of being straight or affluent enough to get away with it
  • If you have never been tortured or humiliated or discriminated because you were born into a lower caste, you have the privilege of being born into an upper caste
  • If you were never stopped from doing something or never been enslaved because of the colour of your skin, you have the privilege of being white
  • If you have never faced caustic comments for being from a different race or religion, you have the privilege of belonging to a race or religion that holds a position of power
  • If you have never been held captive or bred for the sole purpose of feeding another species, you have the privilege of being human

I’m sure this list is nowhere close to being complete, but I have been trying to accept my privilege and trying to see the liability it is.

When you are at a position of privilege, it is easy to feel victimised, even without actually being a victim. I would think, why is the world so angry? What do they want from me? Why can’t they leave me alone? Oh gosh, I’d rather not read the news or discuss this subject because it affects my anxiety and my depression. I feel so helpless! What can I even do to help? I’m afraid..what if I stand up and am noticed by someone who holds a position of privilege and power? What if I’m trolled? No matter what I do, someone hates me..

And yes, a lot of those thoughts and fear and anxiety come because of my privilege. I don’t want to lose it, I realise. This liability and this safety net. I know it makes me a coward in many ways. But then I try. I try to read more, discuss more, and acknowledge that I don’t have to think about half of these things because of my privilege, whereas there are millions who don’t have that luxury.

My friends say, sometimes, just talking about it is enough. Just stepping out of your bubble is enough. The fact that you’re trying to empathise, is at least a start. If we don’t talk about it, how can we even begin to make the world more humane?

So, I’m trying…and I’ll keep trying…

P.S.: My intention was not to sermonise or hurt anyone’s feelings or sentiments by this post.

Girl’s Night Out – A Cinderella Story

Photo by cottonbro on

The three of us met each other outside the society gate. I was dressed in a pink skirt and a simple white top with sneakers. Anjali was wearing jeans, a light sweater and bright red lipstick.

“Hi..where’s Parul?”, Anjali asked, as she saw me approach her. I was right on time. It was 7 pm. Which meant Anjali was early.

“Let me call her and check.”, I said. “Ok, she said she was just waiting for her husband to reach home, to take over child duty. He just came in, so she’ll be here in 5 minutes.”

Five minutes later, we saw Parul walking towards us in a pretty autumn blue dress and high heels. Her curly hair wasn’t tied in its usual bun, but open in all its glory.

“Wow, you look super!”

“Wow! The red lipstick really suits you!”

Both Anjali and Parul blurted out, complimenting each other almost instantly. I smiled and agreed. The three of us looked very different from how we looked every evening, when we met at the park.

“Ready? The cab is here”, I said.

The three of us got in and we were silent for the rest of the ride, which didn’t last longer than ten minutes, since the decision was to go someplace close, in case an emergency arose back home, with the dads handling the kids.

We had met through our respective four year olds in the playground a few months back. One of us would always be working late, one of us trying to squeeze in the evening run, and one of us had to monitor her kid, since he wouldn’t leave her out of his sight even for a minute. We always met in our work out clothes usually, and just said Hi to each other. And listened to our kids chatter. It had taken us two dinners with the kids and husbands, to plan this evening. When its dinner at home, it was next to impossible to unwind.

We reached the pub walked in.

“Wow, this place is beautiful! Let’s order!”, I was already excited. I didn’t care there was no one there. I just wanted to talk and unwind. I wanted to re live my 20s I guess.

So, here we were. It was 7:15 pm and the pub was empty. Looks like we had completely forgotten about how this worked. But not to be deterred, we ordered our drinks. A Long Island Ice tea for Parul, A Vodka with Sprite for Anjali and a Gin Spritzer for me. And lots of finger food – bruschettas, lotus stem fries, watercress nut salad, to name a few.

All a woman needs is a few drinks, good music, good food and the company of other women. I wish someone famous had said these lines, or maybe they have?

While we were into our second round of drinks, we became unhinged and told each other our stories, or one of our stories at least.

Anjali had been a theatre actress before she got married, got a 9-5 job and became the mother of two. You could see in the way she spoke, the ageless beauty of her face and her expressive eyes, that she must have been a very popular actress back then. She told us about how she could get any man she wanted and about her wild, hectic and exhilarating days from back then. Until she was pressurised into getting married because she was ‘nearing the age’ and that’s what society expects right? Luckily for her, she had the option to say no to the guy at first. How could she marry a stranger? Then they courted each other, and she realised that she had fallen for this simple, shy, conservative guy. He was the first guy she had met through this arranged marriage meeting and the rest was history.

Parul talked about how for her, it was known from the start that the children in the family will marry the men or women their parents chose for them. She loves her parents so she trusted their decision. Then began the stream of men she had to meet to decide who would become her husband. Strangely, she didn’t like any of them. Her parents grew frustrated and impatient with each guy she rejected, until they met the guy she would eventually get married to.

“So, what was it about Tarun that made you choose him over others?”, Anjali asked.

“Hmm, I was attracted to Tarun’s quiet personality, I think. He didn’t say much, but he held his ground with the things that mattered to him without sounding pretentious or condescending. He actually listened when I talked or rather rambled about things and we both realised that we both loved going on long drives. What more could a girl want?”, she replied with a smile.

Almost as if on cue, the two women checked their phones and said, ‘oh just checking if the guys are alright with the kids and if they had dinner’.

We laughed and drank some more. We questioned the societal norms and expectations people have for women all the time. We wondered if we would’ve been better off not being married at all. But then we wondered, what would that kind of freedom entail? We had no idea if a word like that could ever exist for a woman. Where she could be free without expectations or intrusions or judgements.

The music changed and we got up to dance. We were drunk, but it was so fun. We didn’t have to worry about being mothers or wives that night. We were just us. We were free tonight.

When the night was finally over, the three Cinderellas got a ride back home and changed out of their magical dresses and shoes, and transformed back to their normal day roles with a smile.

Sometimes, Cinderellas don’t need to go to a ball to find their Prince. Sometimes they need to go to a ball to find themselves 🙂

Blessed Be The Mystery Of Love

Oh, to see without my eyes
The first time that you kissed me
Boundless by the time I cried
I built your walls around me
White noise, what an awful sound
Fumbling by Rogue River
Feel my feet above the ground
Hand of God, deliver meOh, oh woe-oh-woah is me
The first time that you touched me
Oh, will wonders ever cease?
Blessed be the mystery of love

Song by Sufjan Stevens from the movie, Call Me By your Name

I watched the movie ‘Call me by your Name’ last night and loved it even more than the book. That is very rare. But more on that on a different post – my books to movies post part 2.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

What I wanted to talk about though was the universal subject on which art is made – love and specifically romantic love.

Why is love so essential, yet so difficult? Why must human beings desire it so much and run after this feeling, only to have their hearts broken? I have heard from almost all my friends that they’ve experienced the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ kind of love but, it never works out, or never actually stays.

In books and movies or other kinds of art – like paintings or music, we are sold the idea of passionate and eternal love. But is that true?

All the love stories I’ve heard about have been fleeting in nature. If the lovers in question do end up together by a stroke of good luck, then I’ve seen the passion fade as life takes over, or I’ve seen accidents take away the loved ones. For most of us, we never get to experience the kind of love we are told about. Sometimes we get to experience it, but like this movie/book, it is fleeting. Maybe a summer fling, maybe a short affair, maybe unrequited, or maybe one without a happy ending.

We all know this. We’ve all experienced this feeling of longing for something more, that feeling that would make us come alive. But we know that it’s useless to long for this feeling. It’s temporary, or it doesn’t exist. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hater. I am a romantic at heart. But all the stories I’ve heard and all the feelings I’ve experienced, have turned me into a cynic. I wish I could believe in love, in eternal, passionate, romantic love. But I know that would be like looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow. Isn’t it? Or do you think otherwise? Or can you tell me a love story that doesn’t end in heartbreak or sadness?

In the book and in the movie, there is also something that Elio’s father says to him in the end – “We have only one heart and one body. But we get hurt once and in order to stop feeling anything, we start to force ourselves to feel nothing. And by the time we are 30, our heart and body have wasted away. Soon, no one will even want to look at our bodies, let alone have the desire to touch. So don’t let your heart and body go to waste. Don’t stop yourself from feeling.”

I know that makes sense literally, but while I agreed to part of what he says, about letting yourself experience your feelings, I wasn’t sure I wanted to believe in the fact that you could fall in love only once. What do you think? Is real, true love, a once in a lifetime deal, that only a chosen few get to experience? Are the rest of us condemned to just keep longing for it? Or are the rest of us so blind to our fantasies, that we are unable to see what is right in front of us? Are we missing out on a chance of happiness and the kind of love that brings contentment rather than passion, because we’re looking for the wrong thing?

Whatever it is, I guess the mystery of love is here to stay, and here to inspire our feelings, so that we will have a never ending supply of stories, movies, and art about love 🙂

I couldn’t stop myself from putting down all the ramblings from my heart and mind, after watching the movie. The book, the dialogues, the acting, the story, the music – it all made me feel things that I believed I couldn’t feel. I cried after ages last night. I had no idea why I cried, but I cried. It felt good for a change.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, Illustrations by Rovina Cai – Book Thoughts

Bookish Discussion:

Isn’t it great when you discover a book that is under hyped or was never on your radar and you just happened to stumble upon it and it made you really happy? Which is one such book you stumbled upon recently and loved and would recommend to everyone?

Thoughts on Elatsoe:

Story Blurb: This is a story written by an own voice author about a 17 year old girl – Elatsoe/Ellie and her heroic adventure. Ellie belongs to the Lipan Apache community and lives with her family in an America where humans and supernatural beings co-exist. I was instantly attracted to this world since X-Men is one of my favorite movies and worlds to be in. Like X-Men, there are people with good abilities and then there are those with abilities used to harm others. For instance, Ellie can raise the dead and her best friend is the ghost of her dead dog, Kirby. But then there are also Vampires and Faes, and evil ghosts, amongst other supernatural beings inhabiting this world.

Trigger Warnings: Death of a loved one, xenophobia, some amount of torture and gore, murder

When a seemingly innocent yet tragic accident claims the life of her beloved cousin, the story starts and we go on an adventurous and really scary journey with Ellie and her friends and family to bring her cousin justice.

Plot, World building and Writing Style: The story isn’t as straightforward as I expected it to be. In fact, what is interesting is that while we get to read Ellie’s story and find out who the villain is, the illustrations on the top of each chapter tell us a different story, about Ellie’s great great grandmother – Six-great, and in some ways the stories are connected, yet not connected as well. I really enjoyed the simplistic world building, as well as the familial and friendly style of writing. I need to check out more of Little Badger’s works 🙂 There are some very scary and gory scenes in the book, which spooked me out completely. I love the horror genre, so I was absolutely delighted by those scenes. But if you’re weak of heart, then maybe, read this in the day 😉 I also enjoyed all the little back stories narrated by Ellie’s parents, about their folklore.

Characters: There are quite a lot of characters in the story, but interestingly, they all stay with you. My favorite characters however were Ellie, Kirby and Jay. All three of them are so amazing together. They gave such a fresh face to what friendship is. I think there might be some romantic feelings that Jay has for Ellie, but I loved the fact that everyone accepted that this 17 year old can be asexual and that its completely normal! When will we have that in our world, I wonder. Soon I hope.

I think the only thing that was slightly disappointing for me was the cost and availability of this book. I wish it was more hyped and I wish it was available in countries like India. Even the hardcover on Amazon India is very expensive. So I had to buy the kindle version of the book, however I don’t like reading illustrated novels on kindle one bit. Maybe one day, I’ll get my hands on the book 🙂

So, have you read this book? Do you have any recommendations for books with asexual representation that I should read? 🙂

Will you support my writing?

As many of you will know, I aspire to be a published writer one day. I do count my blogs as published writing too, but I’ve also been submitting short stories on Reedsy at least once a week and would love for you to have a read and leave me some feedback or comments if possible:)

If you would like to read some of my submitted short stories on Reedsy, you can check them out here 🙂

Thank you so much for supporting me on my writing journey 🙂 I am also trying to finish the first draft of both my previous NaNo projects this year. I’ll keep posting updates on my writing life here, if this is something you would be interested in reading about as well.

Do you enjoy writing?

What are some websites that you have found useful that I could follow too?

DUNE by Frank Herbert – Book Thoughts

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

Frank Herbert, DUNE

With all the Classics that I’ve read lately, with the exception of Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury or Kurt Vonnegut, I found that the writing style is quite verbose and hard to follow. However, with all the Classics, once you’ve made the effort to read through the tome and navigate the language, you find that you have experienced something valuable. As a reader, you feel the depth and the immense vision all these writers had. How progressive they were, even during their time.

It is difficult to read J.R.R Tolkein, Frank Herbert, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy. But oh my gosh, all the unabridged classics Ive read so far, have felt so good once I read them.

Dune is the first book in the 5 part epic sci-fi series written by Frank Herbert first published in 1965. I bought this beautiful edition of the book and read it to be on time for the second movie adaptation starring Timothee Chalamet. The book is 600 pages long, and this edition also has a foreword by his son and lots of Appendices.

Thoughts on Dune, the first book:

1. The plot is expected. In fact, right at the beginning you know what is going to happen in the end. The rest of the story is about the journey and the world building and introducing the readers to the world of Dune and how Muad’dib comes to power.

2. The world building though, oh my gosh. I cant imagine the vision of Frank Herbert, and how he thought of such a rich world in 1965. He has covered it all so deftly in the first book itself – the ecology of Dune, the philosophy and religions, the trade and commerce of Arrakis along with other planets that form a part of the Guild (us Earthlings are a part of that too..heheh), of the political structure, I mean, I was simply mindblown by the world building 🙂

When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.

Frank Herbert, DUNE

3. I was also blown over with the philosophy of the book. The mind as a source of extreme power is key to this story. All through the book, the author hints at the power of the mind, in controlling oneself and in controlling others. You wonder, whether there is truly some magic that is at play, or is it years of training and selective genetics that has created the leaders and their supernatural abilities. You wonder, if the prophecy created Muad’dib, or did Muad’dib use the prophecy and religious beliefs of the Fremen and the Bene Gesserit to further his accession to power.

There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times to develop psychic muscles. — Muad’Dib

Frank Herbert, DUNE

4. Now coming to the characters – I think for me, this is where the first book fell short of my expectations as a reader. I’ve read some very good fiction and for me, the depth of a character and their character arc is very important. However, except for Lady Jessica, Stilgar, and the cruel Baron, I found most of the other cast unimpressive and almost flat. The worst disappointment was the main protagonist – Paul Muad’dib. I couldn’t feel anything for him throughout the book. He felt cold like the night dessert and completely devoid of any emotions. I couldn’t understand any of his feelings and to me, he felt even more cruel and calculating than the evil Baron. I hope they do a better job in the movie. Maybe the later books do justice to his character, but I don’t know if I’ll be reading the other books in the series.

5. There is zero romance in the book and the depiction of women and their role is close to none or mostly negative and inconsequential. Probably expected from the patriarchal society and mindset of that time. Chani is shown as Paul’s soulmate, but oh gosh, their relationship feels stripped down to ‘the mother of my first born’..gahhhh. And Lady Jessica, although powerful, kind and intelligent is shown in quiet a negative light throughout the book – as a conniving witch. 

I’m not sure if Ill be reading the rest of the books in the series. It seems like a huge commitment. Or maybe I’ll just read one book a year – like a five year plan LOL..:)

Bookish Discussion:

Have you read the book Dune or the entire series? What were your thoughts? Who was your favourite character?

The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.

Frank Herbert, DUNE

Traveling during Covid Times – Fratelli Vineyards and Japalouppe Equestrian Centre



2020 had been a hard year for travellers around the world. All of us had to be cooped inside our homes to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from the dreaded virus. Now we’re in 2021, and the virus is still around. The vaccines are hopefully around the corner, but some of us have started taking tiny steps to travel and be outdoors again, taking whatever precautions we can.

Traveling after covid will be different. I think all travellers will accept this fact, that traveling will now have to become more local, more responsible and definitely slower. I for one, am glad for that. Earlier, it was difficult to plan slow travel for people like me, because we had to be in office for a certain number of days. But work from home seems like the new norm, and suddenly, lots of ‘work-cation’ avenues seem to be opening up for working parents of nuclear families 🙂

So, when we returned to Pune in November, we planned our first travel trip with another friend and their family to a near Vineyard – Fratelli Vineyard. This vineyard is around 185 km from Pune along the Solapur side and it took us approximately four hours to reach here.

Pre-requisites for staying at Fratelli:

  • Book your rooms in advance
  • Need a covid test or a medical certificate confirming that you don’t have the virus
  • Arogya setu app update

We left home at 10 am from Pune and reached the facility at 2 pm. The roads were surprisingly good and thanks to all the work from home, there was hardly any traffic. We stopped by a few times for nature calls and to eat home made lunch by the roadside. We also came across this beautiful water body called Vir Dharan, just an hour into the journey and noted it down for future plans to probably come here for a picnic 🙂

Vir Dharan

The Vineyard and resort is situated in a remote end of a village and its perfect for a destination where there are hardly any people and where you can easily practise social distancing. The resort in itself is majestic, and when you reach, you are given a welcome drink – for us it was sparkling wine and pampered with a huge spread of Indian and Italian lunch. Our friends were a day early, so we had the advantage of having an opened bottle of wine and home cooked food already waiting for us 🙂 They have four rooms available for overnight stay, and we had booked all of them, so it was even better – for safety and convenience both 🙂

The view from our room 🙂

The resort has a common dining area and their wine manufacturing and tasting area is downstairs, in a separate place. The wine manufacturing tour was shut down due to covid, but that didn’t dampen our spirits one bit. We spent the next two days simply relaxing, drinking wine with cheese, and being completely pampered by the service of the staff on premise there. Our kids were delighted to be able to run around uninhibited on the property and the cooks would cook up delicious meals all through the day for us. It was the most relaxing, and fun three days that we had and I highly recommend the place, for their service, cleanliness and their wines and in-house cooked meals 🙂 I got to spend a lot of time reading on the grass, soaking up the sunlight and it was a reader’s dream come true! 🙂

The next place I want to talk about is : Japalouppe. This place is around 25Km from Balewadi, Pune, situated just before the toll on the old Mumbai highway. Imagine my surprise when I found out about this gem of a place from a friend and didn’t know that this place has been in operation since 20 years now!

Pre-requisites for Japalouppe:

  • You need to book in advance again, especially for weekends, since they seem to be overbooked lately
  • They have different batches – morning, afternoon and evening batches and separate tickets for children below 7 years and adults
  • The ticket includes a tour of the animal farm, a pony ride if you’re lucky, and a meal that is cooked in the canteen on premise

Again, we planned to go with the parents of my daughter’s friends so the children could have a weekend outing. We went for the evening batch which starts at 3 pm and wraps up by 6 pm. They’ve started these batches especially for the weekends to avoid over crowding and annoying the animals.

A little background about the place – Japalouppe actually started off as a purely Equestrian and horse riding training centre. But only a few years back, they started extending their farm to rescue and take care of abandoned animals. Their animals are the friendliest I’ve ever seen, and they mentioned they’ve adopted or rescued dogs, cows, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigs, and many other animals from the streets or callous owners. The children are given a little bucket with carrots, leaves and bread crumbs that they are allowed to feed as snacks to the animals. And the best part was that you can hold some animals such as birds, guinea pigs, lambs and the rabbits. My daughter was delighted and probably left a bit of her heart there 🙂

We wrapped the outing off with their high tea and canteen cooked snacks of mini pancakes with chocolate sauce, vada pav and idli chutney. We had all worked up an appetite ourselves so the snacks were even more delicious 😉

And that’s a wrap. We ensured as much as possible to have our masks on, and wash our hands or use sanitisers. Both facilities along with guests on site made sure that the required social distancing protocols were observed, which in itself is hard to do in a populated country like mine, hence commendable. I was also happy to see people being civil and mindful of the virus and following the required norms.

I can’t wait to visit few more nearby places and soak in the beaches or mountains or whatever nature has to offer. If I do manage to visit someplace nice again, I’ll write about it.

What are your travel plans for 2021? Have you started traveling to remote places with family or close friends? If yes, I’d love to read about recommendations in the comments 🙂

2021 Goals – Reading and Life – Keeping it Simple

I was talking to my sister and best friend two days back and telling them all about my goals or to-do lists and my best friend said, “Prachi di, have you added some chill time in your goals too? Your goals sound too much, even to hear about!

We laughed it off that day, but a day later, I realised I was again setting myself up for failure by slotting in too much. So, I went back to my original 2021 goals draft and edited it to make it simpler 🙂

The key words for me this year will be : Simple, Share and Soothe.

That is, I want to keep my work, life, goals – simple. I want to try and share my writing and thoughts more, and I want to do things that will soothe my body and soul this year 🙂

What are your key words this year?

So, here are my revised goals for 2021:

  • Reading : I’ve set up the same 72 books to read goal on Goodreads, but its not going to be a hard and fast rule. I want to read for joy and to widen my horizon and thought process. So I want to try and include more of the following in my reading:
    • Non fiction reads
    • New releases
    • Books from my existing TBR shelf
    • Finish the below series:
      • Deathnote series
      • Throne of Glass series
      • Curse-breaker series
    • Read as many books as possible by the authors below:
      • John Boyne
      • Kurt Vonnegut
      • Neil Gaiman
      • RF Kuang
      • V.E. Schwab
      • Rin Chupeco
      • Fredrik Backman
      • Others, if discovered, will be added
    • Track my reading better – via graphs if possible

  • Writing : I still feel like I’m not where I want to be with respect to my writing life. I’m definitely improving my writing practise and hours each year and I’m happy with that. I feel like I’m still quite far from publishing a novel, but one has to write a book first 🙂 So here are my writing goals this year:
    • Write 500 words daily – This could be as part of journaling, or blogging or writing a short story, or a chapter of my novel WIP. I can take 1 day break in a week, but that should be it. This was inspired by Stephen King’s memoir on writing
    • Track my writing practise using the tracking mechanism that V.E. Schwab uses, which she kindly shared with her followers on IG. I found it simple and easy to follow 🙂

  • Other life goals for this year : As with each year, I like to add something that will help me grow as a person and some self care routines. I also remove some goals that aren’t working out or don’t look feasible. So for 2021, I want to try and stick to the following goals for my life:
    • Run or walk daily (with 1 cheat day a month) for 30 minutes – so that’s a total of 353 days and I’m on track so far for this month 😀
    • Try and do more charity to help children in need, wherever and however I can
    • Try and learn a new skill or practise an old one (maybe something from the ones listed below):
      • Learning a new language on Duolingo
      • Gardening
      • Rekindle playing the keyboard or drums

And that’s it! Those are my goals or things I want to try and attempt and achieve in 2021 🙂 You’ll notice I haven’t included driving a car or traveling in this year’s goals, since I cant plan for them with the current situation. Wish me all the best!! 🙂

How about your goals? What have you decided to do in 2021? Do leave me a comment or a link to your blog in the comments, so I can stop by and cheer you on too 🙂