Wednesday, July 13, 2016

#Travelog. The Andamans- Day 1

Hello beautiful hearts.<3

Whenever I hear or see anything related  to travel I experience a small adrenalin rush.
Landscapes call me towards them, beaches roar and bring out the free spirit in me.
So when my surprise honeymoon was at Andamans, my happiness knew no bounds.
The entire wedding fatigue and nervousness disappeared.
This was the perfect time for me...Happy and free, best mood to discover more about my habibi and fall in love where literally love had the space to break free and be in air.

This trip was a prebooked tour, So the itenary may come handy for some of you who are planning for self tour.

This is how the fun on...

Mumbai—Andaman—Cellular jail

4:00 am –Cab to the airport. Sleep has won over my travel  excitements.

5:50 am – Am Flying!
The flight has taken off and my mind gets filled with the pic I saw in my friends profile of Andaman. I was taken by surprise when she replied to my comment that the place is Andaman and not Mauritius. An Island famous for its saza-e-kalapani could stand to compete its beaches internationally? Since then I wanted to see this for myself. It came as very nice surprise from my husband for our honeymoon….I hope he surprises me with Ladakh soon.

11:00 am – Andaman!
Voila…. Our step on the (is)land.  How exciting  as till now I was bored in the long flight with half hour halt in Chennai.
Ah, but again the wonderful breeze in the sunny day, the picturesque landscape of the island, walking hand in hand with my habibi and a female group commenting on our romance was enough to giveme the wide smile. Andaman airport  is small and thus bag collection took almost no time.
This a prebooked vacation and we met the tour coordinator who arranged for drop to hotel and the days itenary briefing.

2:30 pm – The adventure begins.
First stop – The cellular jail. History books mention Andamans only with the cellular jail,under the “saja e kala pani”.
There is an entry fees (extra if you carry a camera). The jail is non-functional and has a museum and a (shaheed smarak) martyrs pillar built now. In the center is a hutment which showcases statues of prisoners showcasing the work they did like extracting oil from coconut. There was a display of the handcuffs used for them. In a corner of the room was placed a throne which the then jailor would be seated on during supervision of their work. On the entry to this room is a statute of a prisoner being held to a pillar and being thrashed by a Englishman.
The cellular jail is an interesting structure. In the center is a hexagonal 3 floored tower, each side of which connects to a jail building. Aerial view it would look like:-
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Each floor of the jail building has almost 20 rooms next to each other. Swatantraveer Damodar`s jail room is the last room on the third floor. From his room one can view the hanging place on the ground.

 4:30 p.m.- Beach
After sipping on some coconut water and devouring the thick malai, our group heads on to the beach nearby.
An active beach with water sports. We both decide on jet skiing – my first time J and yup it was fun! The charges are around 300 per head.

6:00 p.m. –cellular jail (Sound and light show)
Tickets show your seat nos. Its like an open theatre, we take our seat and the show starts,  wow.. they have used good sound system! The narration takes us back to the British Raj era, it speaks of how and why this jail was formed and then follows it with what all happened here till the revolution hit. The sound uses different voices for some freedom fighters, horses, British, jail superintendents, a crowd of people etc.. In the dark it just illuminates the peepal tree, (I ask my hubby, oh was it there when we entered?) which seems to be speaking then that it was there when the jail was being constructed and is the prime witness of everything that happened here since. It has a story to tell and narrates it. The light dances around on the walls of the jail, inside the prison, on the statues of the prisoners and on the stage that is created with this atmosphere, changing its colors to the voice and the empathy that the story holds…
And then after an hour and a half the show ended. My opinion they can add more zing and techie ideas to the show; it would help do justice to the era it holds… My hubby says I had dozed off a few times during the show and my opinion doesn’t count…but hey you saw my journey till here, how can you blame me for sleeping! L

8:00 p.m. – Hotel
After some rest, it`s time for dinner and next day briefing.

As an additional but optional tour, we chose Baratang and limestone caves. It was a 1 day excursion where we would be taken in a caravan through the Jarawah tribe reserve forest, then to the limestone caves, and finally to the mud volcano.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

***Ramadan Kareem***

Hello beautiful hearts,

Wish you all a very blessed Ramadan.
Hope you make the most of this month.

Make sure you eat a healthy, high in potassium and less fat suhoor.
 I suggest milk, bananas, muesli, flavored yogurt, dates.

Do not invest precious time in making iftaar.
Whenever you get time prepack stuff to prepare in the next day.
Keep a diary handy to add stuff you want to buy next time you go for groceries.
Add stuff you want to cook for iftaar in your diary as and when you remember them.
In this way you wont have to keep thinking of what you will have in iftaar everyday.
Cook only as much as you can eat, dont go overboard.

Give and encourage charity.

Drink sufficient water from iftaar till suhoor and take time out to walk half an hour after dinner.

Take a nap during the day.

Dedicate most of your time for salaah and Quran recitation, listening, understanding and memorising.
Try to memorise the duas and verses which you always wanted to but didnt find time for.
Start small but its important to start and keep following.

Be sincere in your duas and I pray they get accepted.

Beautiful hearts, please remember me and my family in your duas.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The relaxed mind sings...

Hello beautiful hearts...❤

I have been traveling around my hometown past few weeks.
The temperature has reduced and so has the city noises.
The serenity of the place has brought a peace to me.
As I sit in my balcony sipping my evening tea , I watch the life outside with delight.

I remember the quote from Bollywood song...'mai shayar to nahi, magar aye haseen 
Jabse dekha maine tujhko 
Mujhko shayari a gayi'......translated as I am not a poet, dear beauty
But after seeing you,
Poetry has come to me.....

 My relaxed mind feels as if speaking to me the below lines...

I wish I was a bird 
I would fly so high,
Into the vast blue sky. ⛅
No borders, no visas for me,
I am free I am free.

I wish I was a flower.
And would bloom so wide,
Every morning on the green tile.
For the little girl who sees me
The world would look so right.

I wish I was a star
Which shines so bright so bright
To give the direction sign
For the wanderers of the night.

Do comment if you ever experienced this feeling....and dear friends your suggestions are always welcome.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sheer Khurma - An Eid delight!

Whenever I hear "Eid Mubarak" I picture the sheerkhurma next and voila, after a little chat with the relatives here it comes. Green, white, brown, saffron all vibrant colors floating around in ivory and oh, the slow but charming fragrance filling my nose, my lungs and my heart. I can feel my tongue salivating already.
I am sure many of you would share this feeling.
Eid and Sheerkhurma have made a bond since traditions especially in Indian muslim houses.
I did not find much ado of it in middle east or the US.
Here like other celebrations, On Eid day, people are welcomed with sweets.

As you know, I am not a fan of sweet products, but i always look forward to this treat.

So wherever I am, I make some of it during Eid. This makes the day complete.

So lets see how we prepare this bowl of goodness...
(You will have to start preparation at least 2 days before the date you want to serve this.)


You will need:
50 gms almond
80 gms cashews
50 gms pistachio
30 gms charoli/chironji
            Try to get in Indian stores or in the bakala(middle east). In case not available in your location,             you can leave it out.
1/4 tsp saffron
50 gms raisins(must not be sour)
2 litre milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cardomom seeds powder
2 tbsp ghee
1/2 cup vermicelli

  1. Soak almond overnight. When soft, drain water. Peel and cut them into thin strips.Spread on a plate and let it dry. almond thin slices
  2. Soak pistachio and cashew for around 3 hours. Peel pistachio. Cut cashew and pistachio into thin strips and spread them till dry.                                                    thin sliced cashewthin sliced pistachio
  3. Soak the charoli/chironji for an hour, then peel them. discard skin. This takes more time because the size is very small. Spread on a surface to dry.In case you do not get charoli, you may skip this or use pine nuts.
  4. Once these dry fruits are dry, we need to roast them.In a pan take 2 tsp of ghee, heat and then add the dry fruits. Keep stirring till a nice aroma is sensed.
  5. Take out on a plate and let it cool. You can make till here few days before and store in air tight container. roasted dry fruits
  6. Heat ghee till it melts in a pot. Add the vermicelli and roast till it is slightly brown. Add raisins.
  7. Add the dry fruits and roast for a minute. You should be able to see that the raisin have blown in size.
  8. Add milk slowly, stirring it along.
  9. Keep stirring till it boils, then reduce flame.
  10. Add sugar, keep stirring. Mix in cardomom powder and saffron.
  11. Boil this till the milk reduces by 1/4th amount.
  12. Serve it in bowls.

A tip:
You can even add evaporated milk. If you would want to add condensed milk, be sure to reduce the sugar initially.
If you like a little more flavor and color, Add chopped fresh dates or dry dates powder when you add milk.

So try it and let me know in comments if you liked it. Suggestions are always welcome.