Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts

Mar 28, 2014

Does the Camera See What The Soul Sees?

Did you miss the Travel tale on Thursday yesterday? On 13th we were discussing travel tips that went wrong for me, and to my relief I am not alone. This Thursday (oh well, Friday!) brings to us a guest blogger who has graciously decided to do one of her many brilliant travel posts for my blog. Divya Rai of A borrowed backpack is a traveler with a love of writing and photography. Also, of what I know her, she is a designer, an enthusiast, she is always trying out new things, experimenting, following her dreams and is pretty much good at what she does. Her blog has been featured in Hindustan times Blog of the week.

So now, without wasting much of your time, I pass on to Divya who shares with us, her thoughts on camera vs naked eye.


Camera, as we know, is a fabulous device that captures the moment beautifully, freezing the foot-prints of time for us. The joy it brings to the photographer and the subject, cannot be questioned. Or the smile it brings on to our face when we look back at those pictures re-living the moment, cannot be ignored. But the question is: how will you ever re-live when you haven’t lived it in the first place? If you can’t relive the moment looking at an image, isn’t it just a digital certification of the moment?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to undermine technology here. Or the happiness one experiences while clicking oneself, and their loved ones. Or, for the matter, the basic instinct of desiring acceptance from one’s peers and the society.  What, in fact I really wish to pin-point is our addiction to it. Essentially, the point from where one should draw the line between whether to let the moment flow, or freeze it.  
Ever noticed how you feel a “sense of deprivation” when the smart phone refuses to upload your perfectly clicked selfie, along with a ‘check-in’ that could have guaranteed a respectable number of ‘likes and comments’ on your favorite social media?  Make a very careful note of that feeling. It is a resultant of unhealthy mix of social and competitive edge to a skill called photography. It makes it all the more of an intruder in the emotional pattern of the occasion.

What happened to the old school way of living an experience? Of cherishing it with five senses, instead of trying to click the perfect photograph? When did we, on the way, gain the baggage of capturing the happiness instead of living it, thereby giving way to a complicated digital dilemma? In short, when did the camera become more important than the human eye and the experience it brings in return?
When I say ‘experience a moment’ what I really mean is the subtle intangibles of the occasion. An event is a series of moments that are woven with great intricacy. In between the consecutive moments, are the crevasses that a photographer forever struggles to minimize. And during this struggle, is the moment lost to a mix of the digital advancement and human behavioral-peculiarity.  How will the camera capture the languid tranquility of the breeze in a small town? Or the silent promises that the eyes make? Or the moment you fall in love? For me, life is in these moments that the camera’s sensor cannot capture, rest everything is a stain on the fabric of time. Trust me on that.

When was the last time you got over your ‘itch’ to freeze a juncture in time, instead of simply experiencing it? 
Ok. To get a better grip on the matter, let us do this little exercise:
 Take out your favourite photograph. Try and describe the moment in a way that I get to live it through your words, WITHOUT any help of the photograph. Tell me if you are able to convey the intangibles. If you are, then I must congratulate you for experiencing the moment too. Other than that, as I say, it is just a digital certification of the moment. 

I’ll state a real life example here. I know a fair number of people who went to experience the ‘Holi’ celebration at Vrindavan, in Uttar Pradesh recently. I too was one of the lucky souls who could attend both the events. What was highly blasphemous to the event was the aggression with which photographers were running around here and there, chasing the mirage called the ‘perfect shot’. I doubt if they could lose themselves to the jubilant festivity around them. I am sure they managed to click gorgeous images and love flipping though the album, but can they still smell the ‘gulaal’ in the air?
 It is all about that. 
Being able to smell the ‘gulaal’, long after it is all gone J

Mar 3, 2014

A dream that never came true

She had called her father twenty times by the time they reached airport. Her mom reasoned that he must be still in office and they were way too early.

All thanks to her excitement. Her dreams of visiting Disneyland were coming true. Ever since she was four, when she first saw pictures of her cousins visiting Disneyland, it was her dream destination. Twelve years after that, it was finally coming true.

Her mom had surprised her with three tickets to HongKong and Disneyland for her sixteenth birthday.

Everyone teased her that at her age she should have grown out of that childhood fantasy, but it was as strong as ever. Disney was the start to her dream of being an animator and at sixteen she was crystal clear towards her ambition to work for Walt Disney.

They checked in swiftly and waited for her dad to arrive before they proceeded for security. Little more than an hour was left to board their flight.

Her enthusiasm was slowly giving way to worry. Forty minutes to boarding and still no sign of her dad. His phone was now switched off.

Thirty minutes to boarding, they called his office. They explained he was on leave. Twenty minutes to boarding, they passed through security and emigration.

Keeping their fingers crossed, they checked with his colleagues and friends. No one knew where he was.

They were announcing their flight. However, neither of them could move without her father.

Her mom called the driver. He said he had dropped boss at the airport about six hours ago.

The airline staff called for their names.

A message beeped.

Her father had landed in Dubai. He had left them and moved to Dubai for a new life with his girlfriend.

She stood there, weeping. Fully knowing, that she didn't want to visit Disneyland ever in her life.


This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided.  The prompt for today is "No, Thanks - A destination you would never want to visit and why?".

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of March "Aditi Kaushiva" here.

Also, check out the post by a non-blogger who penned down her feeling.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here. 

Feb 27, 2014

Once, when travel meant something else

So, Travel Tale on Thursday is here again. And guess what? We have a guest for this Thursday, writing an offbeat post of her Travel tale. Sakshi Nanda, of Between Write and Wrong does shubh aarambh of her travel tales at my humble abode.

Without wasting much of the time, I now pass on the baton to her -

Steeped in nostalgia I write this.
Of life and times when school was special even in its sameness of routine and evening play among kids for the newness, for who knew who the ‘denner’ would be that day? Of times when Sundays meant meals on a chatai in the garden, all 12 members of this joint-family together and festivals nothing short of spectacular. And of a life when travel did not mean packing large suit cases and leaving the house home-alone but something else entirely …
Say, going to Paltan Bazaar the day before Diwali. A kilometer’s walk, which at 7 years of age seemed like visiting another city. Dressed in my fineries, mirror work on a suit especially altered to fit me, walking with a skip in my step matching in energy the silver buntings lining the road, dancing in the festive wind. There, we crossed our ‘Chitra Kutir’ already, where all 6 children of the family went to learn to draw birds and setting Suns. Crossing roads that seemed a mile wide, no traffic lights though. And then it would loom large, the red 6-sided clock tower – one of its kind. They say once the clocks worked just fine. The gongs could be heard till our house, clearest at mid-night. ‘Clock tower! We have reached the clock-tower’, the younger two would chime. I would join in too, holding the elder sisters’ hands so tight. Rejoice! Like a pilgrim’s progress complete. Beyond the big banyan tree by the tower’s side lay Paltan Bazaar. Decorated like a bride, herself welcoming us with a broad smile and open arms. And then we would enter and shop – for puja and patakhas, diyas and sweets. A kilometer away from our protected space, but happy as if it was another world. A different world we had travelled to that day.
But we needed to charge our Fiat Padmini too.
Sunday evenings were reserved for a trip up Rajpur road, beyond Jakhan and to the pakora shop there. 6 kilometers and 45 minutes of travel, done at the speed of a very lazy Sunday light, by my uncle. 6 kids variously seated within. Sardarji key Pakorey, right where the nearly-flat road would end to climb up to the Everest, as if. The fiat windows rolled down would show us green hills and houses so distant from each other. Big, but standing so alone. Not lonely though, for thick trees lined the roads and stood as sentinels to the mansions too. And soon enough, we would smell the mixed pakoras rising crisp from the hot oil. Spot the long hungry queue too. In no time, the oily paper bag would stare at us with its empty mouth. On a stomach full to the brim, we would walk around a monastery a few steps away. Tibetan was not a word we knew. We were blissfully ignorant of who the people in this neighborhood were, or the pain behind their coming here. We were 6 kilometers away from our home. At the foot of the hills which held Mussoorie up. That is all that mattered. For so much we had travelled!  
Mussoorie was special.
Three Bajaj Chetaks, a complete family on each and off we would go, to map all 30 kilometers. The farthest that I remember, as a girl sitting between her father and her mother. With a kid brother standing between my father and the handle, with enough room near his feet for rajma-chawal packed in a casserole. To be had at a bench in Company Bag, destination Mussoorie. This was flying, on wheels. Wind in the hair, truly. I remember how silent we would be. Shh, don’t disturb papa while he’s riding in the hills. Or maybe because, we did not feel the need to talk. Just travel higher and higher, taking in the valley with our silence. Being one with what home meant spread below in the vale, even when whirring so many meters above it. Rolling back down in the evening then, all three scooters side-by-side. Sunset time, and the birds would return to their nests. They have to. All travels must come to an end.
To our child minds, travel meant being a certain distance away from home. No Samsonite brimming over with clothes, or tickets to fancy places. There were so many people in the house, so many cousins to keep you company, and so many new places to visit “far” and “near”. Experiences to gather, impressions to form and memories to cherish.
All, steeped in nostalgia.
Like I am now, thinking about what travel meant when I did not know what all it could mean.  

Feb 14, 2014

24 hours in a city

Yesterday I was scheduled for second travel tale on Thursday, but with internet acting up; it comes in a day late. My first Travel tale was on my birthday weekend in Mcloedgunj. If you haven’t read it already, check it out here.


Have you ever done twenty four hours in a city tour? Ever since my childhood, I had read glossy articles on twenty four hours in a city in travel magazine on board a flight or coffee tables. As much as they fascinated me, I never could imagine travelling through a city in twenty four hours and seeing enough.

I arrived in Copenhagen on a Saturday morning (11.40 am), after a hectic work week in another city of Denmark. With a little more than twenty-four hours in the city, I was out on street within minutes of checking into the hotel pre-booked by a friend.

(12.15 pm) With a map, a small list of must-see and public Wi-Fi subscription for next 24 hours, I walked past the City Hall to enter the famous Walking Street.

(12.30 pm) Walking Street (Strøget) is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe. From local brands to designers of France, from roadside café and stalls to classy restaurants and night clubs, band performers and street vendors, souvenir shops, exhibition and much more is available on this street. As most of the market is shut on Sunday, Saturday is the busiest day on this street.

(1. 15 pm) Walking through the street, stopping by to pick souvenirs, I stopped in front of the famous The Round Tower. The round tower was originally built as an astronomical observatory. It has an observation deck at the height of 35 mtrs, which is open for public. A 200 mtr spiral way leads to the observation deck. A beautiful bird’s eye view of the Copenhagen can be seen from the deck.

(2.00 pm) Crossing the street, stopping by to click pictures and shop, admire the beautiful architecture of Royal Danish Theater, I reached Nyhavn or so to say New Heaven. Waterfront close to the harbor, Nyhavn is the entertainment district of Copenhagen. Starving and cold, I loved the food that restaurants offered. It was an experience to sit on street side and eat while the temperature was 2 degrees and restaurant offered a blanket while I ate.

(3.00 pm) A pasta and cup of cappuccino later, I walked down to the harbor to see The Little Mermaid. A bronze statue, set on a rock at the harbor, which has been a tourist attraction since 1916. However, 1.5 km walk from Nyhavn, it was a light disappointment.

(3.30 pm) Tired after the long walk, I took a bus back to hotel.

(5.00 pm) People had told me Tivoli is a must see in Copenhagen. Fresh after an hour of rest, I was standing in the queue for the entry to Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli is an amusement park and pleasure garden in heart of Copenhagen. One of the most beautiful theme park, Tivoli lives up to its fame. Rides, restaurants, fairs, shops, and much more is available for entertainment here. Trying on rides, and roaming around amused I didn’t realize where the time passed by.

(9.30 pm) At Tivoli I met a few colleagues and although there are more than enough options to dine in at Tivoli, we decided to dine in outside and then hop discs and lounges of Copenhagen.

(10.30 pm) After a quick soup and pizza dinner at a restaurant, we entered a local bar. Copenhagen is quite lively at night. Men and women hanging out in groups, can be found on street and in front of all bars and restaurants.

(11.30 pm) Our next stop was Ice Lounge. Managed by Absolute, Ice lounge is one of the popular places in the city. At minus 7 degrees, the place was still bustling with people trying various flavors of Absolute in ice glasses.

(12.30 am) Close to Ice Lounge, we found another local discotheque which is popular amongst locals.

(1.15 am) Tired and hungry after club hopping and dancing, we found solace in coffee and croissant at seven eleven.

(1.30 am) It was time to return to hotel and hit the bed. One of the advantages of staying close to city center is that almost everything is walking distance or say a bike ride away.

(7.00 am) Not ready to waste any moment of my time in the city, I was up and about at 7.00 am. After a hearty breakfast provided complimentary by hotel, I rented a bicycle from hotel along with an umbrella and started riding around the city without an aim.

(7.15 am) First stop was at a popular local market for vegetables and groceries. The market is divided in two glass sheds, as salt and sugar which accommodate several beautifully decorated counters.

(8.00 am) By the time I got out of the market, I had bag full of sauces and a small carton of cupcakes to carry back home. I passed the Rosenborg Castle and the garden (old royal palace and now a museum) and rode all the way to Amalienborg, the current royal palace.

(8.30 am) Aimlessly riding around the palace, I stopped by to salute the royal guards and chit chat, (in which they weren’t interested and all I received in my response to the enquiry about the guard change timings was a glare) and returned back to the hotel.

(9.00 am) I checked out of hotel, left my bag in the cloak room and asked receptionist if she could suggest me what I could do with next three hours. She suggested I take a bus to “Visit Carlsberg”, brewery turned into visitor center.

(9.15 am) Thanking receptionist, I was on the 9.10 am bus to the brewery. After a fifteen minute ride, bus dropped me in front of the Jacobson hill.

(9.30 am) Several odd turns later, I found my way to a crowded entry in otherwise scarcely populated hill. From there followed a guided tour of Carlsberg history, from beginning to becoming second largest brewery in the world.

(11.30 am) By the end of the tour, the on and off drizzle had turned into a slow but steady snowfall, and not to mention I was tensed. I hurried back to the bus stop and found a luckily found the bus that took me back to the hotel.

(12.00 pm) I thanked and said good bye to the receptionist for map, guidance, converting my currency and calling a cab, and dumped my bag in the cab. I had a four o clock flight to home.


Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of February "Kathy Combs" here.

Also, check out the post by a non-blogger who penned down her feeling.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Oct 13, 2013

UBC Day 13 - A visit to Pujo Pandal at CR Park

I earlier mentioned that I was going to see pujo pandal with my friends in C.R. Park. CR Park pandals are the most famous durga puja pandals in Delhi. There are six or seven pandals in that area, each more beautiful than the other. With music, food, festivity and prayers, CR Park pandals are a must visit. 

At the K block pandal, there was a mad rush of people to get in. However, with some patience and resolve, we managed to get in. Here are some pictures from the pandal.

After K block, we went to try our luck at B block. We couldn’t manage entry there. However, we could see the idol from a distance. Presenting you a picture that a friend clicked.

Today being Sunday, I am taking a break from my story. Please come back to read the next part tomorrow.

Sep 9, 2013

Friends and Italy- my happy traveller wishlist

I have always been an elaborate planner. Especially when it comes to travelling, one of my favorite pas-time is to plan holidays. I sit for hours in front of my laptop, searching for fare prices, reading travelogues, contemplating over finances and making a list of dream destinations.

I recently listed seven places I really want to go to. But when for Indiblogger competition "Creating Happy Travellers" by I had to pick one that will be happiest – I’ll pick Italy.

Few years ago, with release of Eat Pray Love, Rome became a famous destination. But if you are as big a Mario Puzo fan as I am, your love for Italy is as much as your own nation.

Sep 2, 2013

Seven places I want to travel to.

This is going to be a tough post. I mean my list of must visit places is so long that it seems impossible to list down top seven. Most of these places, I have been planning forever now. I once read in one of the cards that I should include my travel plans in my prayers and I will get means to fulfill my dreams. So here is an attempt to list down top seven.