Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I was in a dreamy state all today - or so I would like to believe. In this weather - its' not easy staying alert and perky - Oh, bed! can I not take you with me everywhere?

And, since I was already in the la la land, somehow, I kept thinking about shoes. Pointy, flat, studded, sandals, pumps, round toed, open toed, d'orsay, slingbacks, blinged out, peacock color (yeah, that would be lovely), blood red, ostrich, alligator, snake skin, fur trimmed, feather lined - sooo many choices but sooo few days to wear them - I thought. I already have 50 pairs and I wear, like 5 of them - religiously. So, you see my dilemma here :)

But, then I felt bad also because it meant that I wasn't giving the same energy and thought to the Diwali Mela that is coming up. I mean, I should be thinking about ways to spruce up our booth, places to put the flyers, umm, or our modus operandi to invite future clients...aargh!

Anyways, the day finally ended and I was headed home. While waiting for the train on the subway, I was fiddling with the earplugs because they got all knotted and twisted in my bag. And, then I was getting all impatient and frumpy with the train and the earplugs collectively. But, suddenly these two feet with the most gorgeous shoes emerged in front of me. Is that an apparition? No, how could that be? Well, I kept looking (read that ogling) at those blinged out monsters (in a nice way). Hmm, I thought, maybe its worth day dreaming things - because they do tend to materialize!! Ok, not on my feet, but still!! :)


ps. did I tell you I love shoes :P

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Diwali Mela 2009

Whenever I visited a street fair or a festival mela, I walked around the booths, checking out not only the products they had to offer, but also how they were being offered. My keen eye even noticed the way the products had been placed or the kind of promotion that was going on and even how the customers were being engaged. Trust me, that told me a lot about the type of company and the ethics the booth represented.

So now, its my turn to be on the other side of the table, and in addition to being nervous (naturally), I am also cognizant of how we will present ourselves. Before you say, "hey, what are you talking about?" Here's what:

Banno Raani is participating in its first ever Diwali Mela - and Shikha and I are super excited. This event is at Southstreet Seaport on Sunday, October 4th from 12-8pm. It is going to be a blast and we know it!! Yeay - super excited :)

And, I promise you that we will pass on our love for unique, timeless and glamorous styles to you through our products and services. So, come by and visit us, and let's have some fun together!! :)


Monday, September 28, 2009

Crying babies, Jesus and Superstars

Traveling by subway is not the bestest commute one could ask for, but you have to do it because there isn't a better and a more economic alternative to it.

So, I travel one hour one way to work - hanging on for life through those handles that are soo high up that I am literally hanging. I mean why couldn't they make smart design decisions and incorporate more seats and lower handle bars in the subway cars? Not everyone in New York is a Knicks player you know!

Oh, and since I am already levitating, I don't want to be made anymore uncomfortable with any sort of sound effects and that means - no crying babies, no boisterous school kids, no loud conversations (please, I don't need to know that you threw up after faux vegan food the day before), and definitely no preaching.

Well, Lord have mercy, because all these events conspired precisely one after another today on my way to work. I walked into a subway car - still yawning and wishing I was snuggled up in my warm cozy bed- when the door closed and I was snapped out of my dreamy state by a shrill noise emanating from the farthest corner of the car. "AAAIIIII....AAAIII" it went on and on and I knew it will be a while before the baby would be quietened down, and I knew I was trapped. Few minutes later, when the baby finally soothed down, my mouth started to curve automatically in a smile...then a "Thud...rurr...Hey, hurry up, you have to see what he texted me yesterday" and right away my mouth drew a straight and then a crooked line. Arrghh...a bunch of youngsters yapping away to glory. I looked at them and tried to recall if I was that annoying when I was their age. Shudder, I will keep that analysis for a later time, I thought.

After 6 stops, the bunch hopped off and I let out a little "yes" as if I had scored a tough goal. Just 6 more stops and I will be free from this entrapment, I thought to myself. But, before I could completely digest this thought, came a loud reverberation behind me, and it sounded "Jesus is our Father...he suffered for us..." I flung my hands in the air and rolled my eyes - Ok, ok, I had woken up completely now but, I really didn't need this.

Personally, I feel that since New York is such a perfect amalgamation of so many cultures and religions, that preaching of a specific sect should have its own sweet place and time. I totally respect and revere other religions, but I wouldn't want someone to yell in my face how their beliefs and their Gods are the only ones who can save this world. I know I wouldn't do that to anyone. Yeah, and definitely not that early in the morning.

So, Mr. Preacher if you ever read this, please know that you are totally entitled to believe in what you do but don't expect the world to bounce with you on your music. Instead, talk about love, patience and tolerance being the virtues that we humans should aspire for ...maybe then we can all rock it out together like superstars!! Are we good?

And, I am sure you would have figured out my wish list for this week :)


image source:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rain boots

I was so happy it rained today. Infact, I had been waiting for it for quite some time now (remember my wish from last week here?). So when it poured with the grace of a wannabe Niagara (well, almost), I rejoiced and thanked God.

Now, not that I am a rain person who runs out of the house screaming with joy the minute the clouds snap and sweat it out, like literally : ). It just that I was happy about debuting my rain boots finally!! Yeah, and I think I rocked them pretty fine too.

But, (there's always a but) the only thing was that since I had never owned a pair of rain boots before , it felt kinda' weird walking in them - as if I had these fins on and was wading myself through water - one giant flip at a time. However, it felt good to remain dry - so no complaints overall.

Hmm...I guess I can now have a sticker on my car that says "Proud owner of kick-ass rain boots" .

Have a wonderful week ahead...


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Post dental warfare..

After the dentist trip, came redemption.

Kartik and I had bowlfuls of halwa, stack of pooris and loads of kaale chane today. We kept on gorging down the pooris one after another, and mom made sure they kept popping up one after know how moms are!

We ate in silence, savoring every grain of halwa, licking every drop of chane that inadvertently missed our mouth and fell on our lower lip, and smiling at each other in between because we knew how good it was. Well, we secretly wished navratri came every other weekend :)

Dear ma...thank you for being such a super cook and for making me the happiest person on earth post the dental warfare. Yumm!


from the heart

Dear Dentist,

As I visit you today, please be gentle on my teeth and gums - and make sure those drilling monster machines don't transport me into a world of pain and suffering.

It is a request from the heart, and so I pray to thee.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

A different ballgame

As we get ready to take another step in our business, it seems as if we are doing everything for the first time all over again - same nervousness, craziness and that queasy feeling in the stomach. There is so much to be done, but then done in the most fabulous of way because there's no compromise there...because that's what Banno Raani stands for... and because that's how we would like to see our clients - utterly butterly fabulous!

Thus, we work harder and get introduced to a series of new challenges as if it were some blind date.

Honestly, when we started talking about the idea of Banno Raani, we thought we will be able to get our merchandise on time, our vendors would be super cooperative and will be able to add new items speedily to our collection. Little did we know, the world of business spins on its own unique axis, and one needs to learn to be steady and patient while the whole world is in a tizzy.

So, we learnt.

Our first collection was very well received and our clients already wanted to see what was coming up next. We were eager too, to introduce our next uber collection but found that it takes time. There was a lot of back and forth between Shikha and I, and then between the vendor and us. Uufff, the number of hours we spent making them understand what we wanted!!! Eventually, they got it (thank God) and finally shipped us their samples.

We are now waiting for the samples to arrive so we can scope out what we like, and what we really really like and get ready to launch our next collection. {Side note: I was hoping we would have picked our trousseau vendor by now because that will be the next biggest addition to our boutique, but we got so tied up with the second order, that we couldn't focus on it. However, it is definitely on our list, and we push ourselves to dive into the realm of sensuous silk, intricate zardozi and those vibrant blinding colors soon :) } Dear, lovely clients, please bear with us!!

I think that's it for now - I just felt that it was important for you to know how devoted and committed we are to Banno Raani. Yes, business is a whole different ballgame and that's precisely what we are learning.

And, we love it!!

Have a wonderful night..



Don't know why - I find this pic of Marseille's vieux port eerily haunting yet totally mesmerizing...tell me, do you feel the same way too?
{Kartik took it from a bus while we were on the way to the city, and it was raining then}

Good Morning!

My eyes were throwing a tantrum and didn't want to open. Nooo let us be, they seemed to say. Then from a sliver of an opening in the blinds, the first rays of the sun shimmered and danced its way on my eyes - almost teasing and prodding them to open and to acknowledge the performance in front of them.
And finally, the theatrics of the sun paid off and I got up to the glory of an amazing brightness casting a bright golden halo on me. Ah, the beauty of nature - never ceases to amaze me.
Good Morning everyone!! :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Super duper...

...Happy 100th!!

Oh my God, already? I remember the day Shikha and I made a decision to start a business. We both were nervous, didn't know if the words coming out of our mouths made any sense...I mean what were we thinking!! But, then we knew how important this was for our sanity, for our dreams and for our hopes. We contemplated so many ideas, like, business plan, scope of our boutique, the name (from Khazana Couture to Amazing A's) and one thing that constantly sprang up was - a blog! I mean we just had to dip our hands in this blog thingy and figure out what the hell it really was.

That was then.

Banno Raani is now our sweetheart, and this blog, our love . It is meant to showcase our journey into the unknown (cliche at it may sound, it is an absloute-kosher-truth), of being first time enterprenuers and for figuring how the heck do you make things work for you.

And, then it is also a platform to share the goofy, silly, honest thoughts that cross my mind. I know you guys wonder why Shikha never writes - it is because she is shy. Shy to open up her feelings, to express herself, but I know this will change soon. Oh, and her pregnancy keeps her on her toes you get it, right?

Well, this is a celebration...hitting 100 is a big deal, and I am sooo happy that I have you all with me. So, here's a toast to Banno Raani, to you and to all the silly little things that happen in the serious big thing we call life!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IHOP means business

Why do people love IHOP? I mean, why do I love IHOP? I'll tell you why...because I love breakfast - and generally speaking, everyone loves breakfast. Its the "any time of the day" kind of love we give to breakfast for its comfort, tasty and mind-numbing deliverance.
So, when I find that most delis serve breakfast only till 11:00am, I get pretty bummed and confused. Bummed, because I kinda' expected it and confused, because I cannot understand why someone would put a time limit on serving the most popular meal of the day, and something that can bring them more footfall.

The question then becomes, what should we do for our customers. Look at what's convenient for us and offer our convenience to them. Or, chart out the interests of the customers and give them the opportunity to determine our products and services. It seems like a very simple choice to pick, but trust me, if that was the case, there wouldn't be an issue of 11 am curfews on breakfast and bummed out expectations.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Excerpts and the Weekly Wish list

"...building's most magnificent secret..."
"Noetics is proving that man has powers unlike anything..."
"...decipher the engraving...Freemasonry...Egyptian Symbolon"

These are some of the excerpts from the novel, The Lost Symbol, and if this doesn't get your attention, not sure what will. I just had to read until that very last word that was tethered to the last page got safely locked in my brain. What rush! What page-turning frenzy!

I would definitely recommend this book. Umm...because I was reading the novel until wee hours last night, I had a funny dream kinda' sorta' related to it. It was part sci-fi (me on a helicopter hovering over a city) and part dramatic (making a plea to the scientist to reveal the secrets)...yeah, like I said, it was funny :)

Now I don't want to sleep late again because I have an early morning meeting tomorrow, so I will make it quick and share with you rather speedily my wish list of this week:

  • I wish I could be a member of Noetics Science organization - they are working on some amazing discoveries on human consciousness/intelligence and finding ways to enriching the human life
  • I wish my nails wouldn't chip just as I am growing them for an upcoming event...aargh!
  • I wish there was a netflix for books...queue up your books and sit back and relax (no, Kindle just doesn't cut it -- and LCD screen doesn't qualify for a book -- a book has to have paper!!)
  • I wish it would rain now...I just bought myself spankin' new rainboots and lo! it hasn't rained at all...aargh aargh!
  • I wish I could eat Strawberry choux bun everyday (Ate it at Harrod's, can't find it in NY and am now having dreams about this!!!)
That's it from me...make sure you wish every week too....because, who knows, it may come true :D

Happy Monday y'all.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Saga continues...

I am still attached at the hip to the book...almost done...will resume tomorrow with my thoughts and what-nots!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Center of Attention

You know how I get around books -- don't want to eat or drink or do anything, just finish the lovely pages of characters and plots. Well, I just ordered the newly released Dan Brown's Lost Symbol - and it has kinda' become the center of my attention for this weekend -- let me tell you, this book is huge, its awesome and the info in there is just mind-blowing. I am addicted and can't wait to finish the 400 odd pages...yeah, it's that good! That good, that I haven't been conversing much with Kartik - but he knows how I am when I am reading a good book, and so he gives me a nudge now and then hugs me - just to remind me he's there -- aww, he's the best ever and I love him for that!! : )
Back to Langdon now...catch up later

Until then, you have a wonderful weekend...much love :)

Friday, September 18, 2009


They give me what I want: height
They give me what I need: confidence

Thursday, September 17, 2009 do you do it?

"How did you do it? Please did you plan your Euro Trip...mind sharing some tips and tricks?" Well, my friends and family have been asking me for some time now and, I thought, hey,why not share it here?? Side note and truth be told: I am the designated trip planner for my family, and I really take my role seriously along with intense pride. Nothing more important that a fun-filled, sun-soaked, adventure-sprinkled vacay, right?

Ok, so I started my research with Google Maps - the aerial view of continents, countries and the rivers/oceans between them gave me a rough idea about the travel time between them. For instance, once I was convinced that going from London to Paris kinda' works, I then used Google again to search for ways to travel between these 2 cities - so I searched for "Best way to travel from London to Paris" and "Cheapest way to travel from London to Paris" and got some really good answers back. But, before I go on and on about tips and preferences, please know it all converges to a good BUDGET. Yes, you should definitely have a budget set right at the beginning because that will determine the choices you make. So, please make that as step # 1 in any type of trip planning you undertake, ie, local or international.

Ok, back to planning, once I had decided that travel by train was the best and cheapest way to get to Paris, I then had to decide where to look for a hotel - a) should it be close to the train station where the train arrived b) should it be near the shopping center or touristic sites c) should it be close to the train station/airport connecting to the next desitnation. You see, these questions were important (along with budget ofcourse) in helping me pick the appropriate hotel. We finally stayed at TimHotel Louvre, which was close to Louvre and also walking distance to shopping and other major attractions. It was also close to the train station connecting us to our next destination. Now, don't fret, I will list the websites for your benefit because otherwise this article would be incomplete and I would run the risk of sounding like a nagging voice in your head, "do do, do it this way...can't you listen??"

Back to planning: before I targeted the next stop after Paris, I did a quick search of "Top 10 cities in France" and since I knew I had to definitely put Madrid on my radar, guess where I threw the pin? Marseille baby!! South of France and close to Spain...worked out perfectly. And ofcourse I had to do some more research, so thats when Google walked in again.
Like really, Google is the big grand daddy of searches, so please please take full advantage of it.

Alright, I hope you get the idea that this madness does really follow a method, and planning is not that hard {in this wonderful age of internet}. And, with that I would like to list the coolest and most helpful websites that may turn out to be the next grand daddy of searches:


Hotels (prices are awesome, and most of the listings include breakfast in their price) (sometimes you do get competitive prices and if you end up booking 10 nights, you get a night free)

Travel Info/Forum (you can also get 1-day and multi-days itineraries too)
{type in a question, like, "alternative places to touristic sites" and you will get tons of really honest and practical advise}

Now, I don't believe in slathering with you inane websites, because these few will do just fine and collectively are a powerul source. They (in conjunction with Google) will get the work done and I urge you to use any or all of them as you plan, say that weekend trip to Boston or that one day getaway to upstate New York. And, when you are boarding that plane or train or renting that car for the trip of your lifetime, pat yourself on the back for doing a good job (ahem, and maybe thank the nagging voice too!) :)


**update: I had maintained a working document as I planned along, and I am sharing with you just to give you an on the words below**

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Random thoughts that make up my day

Oh, please don't tell me you don't have such thoughts!! I am like loaded with such randomness, which in a way allows me to be more creativite and, ummm, let's say.. more human : )

Well, well, onto my thoughts already, so here they are:

  • Controlling hair, but hair is on strike
  • Outlook so smart, capitalizes P in porsche automatically...Outlook is definitely male
  • Why do I have to follow rules..whats the impact if I don’t
  • Why just thinking inside/outside the box? What if thinking in a triangle or on an open ended line? Is it still conforming?
  • Why does the cafeteria food always have to taste yuck…why?
  • Cliché holds – men with slicked back gelled hair are really that mean
  • Dreams are like cashmere – soft and light to touch but thick and strong enough to keep you warm
That's my Wednesday for you...


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Proper time

This past Saturday Kartik, Dhruv, Shikha and I spent our evening at Manish and Deepa's new because they are expanding and need more space. Ok, ok, don't get me wrong - nothing against their weight, just that Deepa is due anytime. But, boy o boy, her energy and stamina was so good that she was having fun right until we left....and it was me who was yawning and ready to hit the snooze button. Oh, please, not that I am getting old -- just your girl here needs some precious beauty zzz's :)

The party was fun, and it was great seeing 2 pregnant ladies in the house -- both gushing about whether a snowsuit makes sense, should the blanket be organic or pima cotton, what kind of socks should there be during birth -- aah, so many tips and tricks that I could have written a short article on it :) But, yeah, the evening was really entertaining and I would like to thank both Manish and Deepa for being such great hosts, and organizing the whole thing on their own when clearly they have other important things to worry about. Surely, goes to show that you don't need a "proper" time to do things - wherever there is a will, there surely is a way. And, that is an attitude that we can use in other areas of our lives too. What say?


Monday, September 14, 2009

Integrity...the Weekly Wish List

Sometimes I wonder - what is integrity? Do people carry it in their wallet like money and spend it on as needed basis? Or is it something that people wear underneath their shirt, keeping it close and at the same time protecting it from stains? Or is it something that runs in their veins and jogs with their existence?

Things to think about....

And, keeping the integrity of the weekly feature alive, herrres' the wish list:

  • I wish Federer had won the 2009 US Open...del potro you watch out next time!!
  • I wish people would just let me get off the subway first before they got in...ok, the train needs to be emptied before it can be filled again..simple
  • I wish I could tell off easily - especially to those who just b-s around
  • I wish I could fly...yeah, fly, just fly
Happy Monday y'all


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Madrid and more...

After 2 days in Marseille, we took a flight to Madrid, which lasted only 1.3 hours -- and I remember almost jumping in my seat with anticipation and Kartik had to literally hold me down. As soon as we cleared immigration, picked up our luggage and walked through the terminal towards metro - something jolted me out of my a pleasant way that is. I kept walking but I could not get it out of my system, and then it was clear to me -- Madrid was my sense of smell, and this musky whiff of a man passing by was what had shook me out of my dreamy state. Now, I was ready for Madrid for it had already defined how my days will be spent there.

Fervent travelers that we were turning out to be, we freshened ourselves up quickly after reaching the hotel, and off we were on our touristic expeditions.

Every corner I passed, it seemed as it was infused with a tantalizing aroma dragging me, hypnotizing me into a world that I did not know existed. When I walked into a cafe, it wasn't the smell of the pastries, coffee and sandwiches that I noticed- it was the sweetness of how welcoming the servers were and how fast they were working to keep the orders flowing - its the smell of their hard work and their dedication that I remember. Next we went to Plaza Mayor around 1pm, and guess what? Afternoon siesta was on, and I could tell - and I don't have to tell you why. It was something my breathing orifice could pick up like a snap!! Well, the entire day and the next was spent exploring the little streets and history of the city-- everything enhanced even more so because of how it all smelled -- fruity, saline, rich, fun, desparation (for some), joy (for most), fearlessnes, artistic (tons of museums) and seafood (paella, tapas, anyone!!)

Madrid was a beautiful city, the people even more so. I am so lucky to have visited this place and to have made it as the final destination my trip because I was able to hold on to the memories a little longer.

Pics coming later...but before that I am sure you want to know what happens to my fifth sense - the sense of touch/feel. Without thinking too much about it, this was my lovely husband Kartik. Because of him, I had such a blast and was able to really enjoy each city the way I did. I was able to absorb and feel the eccentrities that come with traveling so much in such a short time. It was because of him that all other senses came together perfectly.
I am so thankful to you Kartik, for being so accomadating (with my inane requests for 3pm tea breaks), patient (with me taking all the bathroom to myself and that too for 2 hours) , obliging and loving throughout the entire trip, that I couldn't have asked for a better traveling partner. Thank you for a wonderful time - especially since this time was invested in making my dream come true!

***UPDATE: Pics below -- enjoy!

Street Signs -- very artisitic

Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena

Plaza Mayor - a must

Candy shop at night -- flame to the moths :)

Me enjoying helados...yummm


Friday, September 11, 2009

Marseille and Cassis

This time around, the train wasn't until 11 am, so we took it easy. After a hectic day touring Paris, we had a nice sleep, got up warmly (still relatively early), ate filling breakfast and braced ourselves for our next destination. Again, didn't know what to expect, but excited nonetheless. Marseilles was beautiful, it was what I call a tasty place - and as you guessed - it along with Cassis served up as my sense of taste.

So, where do I even begin? The minute we popped ourselves out from the metro station like 2 nicely toasted loaves of bread, the saline air sprinkled like crystals on my tongue and I could tell I was by a port. But, what a port! The most amazing confluence of ships, humans and buildings that one could ever imagine. Our excitement had found a solid footing. I looked over at Kartik and I could see how happy he was to be on this wonderful tip of France.

We checked in (again got lucky with out hotel location), freshened up a bit, had some tea and snacks and set ourselves on the mission of getting to know the place a bit more. Our first attraction to see was Notre Dame church, which was located on the highest peak of the mountain that overlooks the entire city...what a breathtaking view! After we came back, we went on a foot tour of exploring the older part of the town: Cathedrale de la Major, Palais de Longchamp, Porte d'Aix..we walked and walked until we could walk no more. But, the energy was still alive, and it saw us through our way back. I could almost taste the rawness of the port, and what it meant to be in a place so old and so historic. I would just like to quote Wikipedia on this "Humans have inhabited Marseille and its environs for almost 30,000 years: palaeolithic cave paintings in the underwater Cosquer cave near the calanqueof Morgiou date back to between 27,000 and 19,000 BC; and very recent excavations near the railway station have unearthed neolithic brick habitations from around 6,000 BC " I guess its pretty clear.

The next day we prepped ourselves to see the Calanques of Cassis (45 minutes away from Marseille by train), and boy was that some adventure. When we reached the station, there was no shuttle or bus or taxi to the city. But one lady who spoke a little English heard our plight, and was so nice that she helped us out and even dropped us at the Calanques trekking site inspite of the fact that she was getting late for an appointment.(Benedicte, if you ever read this, this is a special shout out to you -- thank you for saving our day and for being so generous with your time. We truly, and I mean truly, appreciate it. If ever in New York, you know who your tour guides will be :o) )

We started the uphill climb, and as we turned the corner, my heart skipped a beat, like literally! The vision before me was dream like and I couldn't believe I was in the midst of this grandeur. The blue-green water spread out in front of us like a fancy silk bedcover and the calanques (limestone valley with steep sides) bordered the water like a grand marble wall. I kept thanking Ganeshji for bringing me to such a beautiful corner of the world with the man I loved most in my was just perfect!!

While trekking back to the city, we came across a small beach, and I just had to take a if this blue green liquid was holy water that would rid me of my sins :) I swimmed with my eyes open under the water and just reveled in the joy...yes, even the salt in the water tasted sweeter : ) Again, we could not find a taxi or bus or shuttle and had to walk back 4 km to the train station...oh, we were so burnt and tired and lost, but somehow made it and screamed with insane relief when we saw the station. Oh, and we ate an orange at the station to celebrate our sweet success of making it back!

To sum it all up...both Marseille and Cassis were visually breathtaking, but its the taste of their history, of their seafood and of our adventure that I took with me.

Happy Friday!!!


ps. Due to some technical issues, can't upload the pics now. Will definitely do so tomorrow....

***UPDATE: Marseille and Cassis pictures for you to enjoy:

Marseille's Notre Dame Church that overlooks the city

Kartik by one of the oldest Church by Vieux Port

Marseille - Vieux Port (just lovely)

Calanques at Cassis

The tranquil waters and jagged edges - perfect harmony

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I was so nervous that we would miss our train to Paris (it was an early morning one) that I asked for a wake up call and also put an alarm on my phone and Kartik's phone. Everything rang at the same time and was powerful enough to jolt me right out of bed. I had already taken out our clothes the night before, so that saved us time on thinking and contemplating. Kartik and I zoomed from one corner of the room to another like robotic cartoons (ahem, I was Jerry and he was Roadrunner), packed our stuff and were on our way to the Train Station. phew!

We arrived in Paris at around 11 in the morning and right away I knew that this city was my sense of sight. I couldn't take my eyes off of anything that crossed my way - a lady in leopard pants looking ultra fab (how did she do it), the gold carvings on the station door, the subway(metro) stop that looked more like a museum...everything just lay in front of me and all I had to was absorb them - xerox them through the iris and store them in the cushy pockets of my brain for retrieval at a later point in time.


When we came out of the subway station to walk towards our hotel - I just gaped at the gigantic structure that stood in front of me. It can't be? Such a big place in the city?? Noooo....but, I couldn't fool myself any longer because I knew what it was and what it held. 2 words. Louvre, Mona Lisa. We were lucky that our hotel was a block away from this historic spot and I was a teenager.

Grand Palais, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, all the lovely bridges, Galleries Lafayette, Jardin des Tuileries, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Academy of Museum, the awesome Parisians, the ice cream seller - all of them are neatly pressed on my eyelids - like a transparent screen, and all I have to do is close my eyes to let the projector of my mind play this episodic film.


Paris taught me that something can be grand, outlandish, huge and yet be delicate, intricate and personal at the same time.

Both Kartik and I fell in love with Paris -- and yes, it was love at first sight!

Some pics for you...

Le Pont Neuf one of the historic bridges

Academy of Music

At the contrast in this sculpture

Kartik and I at Louvre :)

Grand Ball Room

you know what this is...don't you?

Paris streets at night (the quiter part of the city)

More coming up next...have a wonderful night!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Five Senses and London

Yes, the Five Senses, and this is how I sum up my Europe trip. Each place a necessity, a complement to my existence - and yet so foreign, so distant.

So, where should I start first - my most basic sense or the place I landed at first. Umm...I will actually build on the order of the place visited, and walk you through each experience. Ready? Off we go..

The minute our plane touched Heathrow, I just knew I had come to a special place. We off-boarded, went through immigration, picked up our luggage, and then finally hopped on the tube to start our precious journey. So, what really was London to me? I thought long and hard and couldn't help but admit that London was my sense of hearing -- the accent, the blaring of trumpets at Buckingham Palace, the tone of the telephone ring, the squeaky horn of the famous black taxi, the gong of Big Ben - just about everything. Every place I visited had a soundness to it-- as if I could almost hear the history being played out in front of me.

Everything about London was a delight, and Kartik and I had such a wonderful time exploring the crevices of a parochial culture that once commanded the whole world - no wonder, you could hear the Queen in any part of the world :)

And, here are some shots of London for you...

had to take a picture of these...

men in uniform

old window mechanism at tower of london...thought this was really cool

Ofcourse -- the gorgeous Big Ben

how vintage..

Kartik -- posing at Trafalgar

The next sense coming tomorrow...


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quick hello post the europe trip

When I was young, I traveled a lot. Dad had an international business, and thanks to his client meetings and deal closing "handshakes" in countries outside India, mom, Shikha and I got to be his deafult travel partners : )
I remember those queasy feelings in airplanes, the excitement of arriving at foreign aiports, those luxe treatments at hotels, those candy and stuff toy shopping excursions...oh, and on and on I can go. So, while I got to visit Asian countries (Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand...and I will throw in Australia here too) a lot, I never got a chance to explore Europe. So, I dreamed...dreamed of walking down those cobbled, cafe filled streets and smelling the freshly baked baguette and coffee being brewed...of saying bonjour and merci beaucoup...of just absorbing the grandeur of those massive palaces, fine furniture and fine clothing. Yeah, I dreamed a lot.

And, then I woke up last week to find myself living my cool is that??

ok, ok I will be sharing with you my favorite bytes and pics from the trip -- so please check back tomorrow!

Oh, and since Mondays are a wish list day, and I have already skipped 2 of those days, I will jot down few of mah' wishes : )

  • I wish vacation days lasted longer than the wait leading upto them
  • I wish I could speak French more fluently...dacor madame/monsieur just doesn't cut it
  • I wish I had bought that flamenco dress...such colors and flamboyance...ola senorita!
  • I wish Airport workers were friendlier and happier...I mean c'mon, how hard is it to smile
  • I wish I could find brewed tea in cafes, not just brewed coffee (yes, I am sooo a tea person)
  • I wish I could type at the speed of my click..blah blah blah :)
Happy Tuesday, and loads of Hugs!

Missed you guys... :)


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