Escape Of Today, Autumn Of Tomorrow

If you follow me on Twitter, you’d know how much I love sitting by the large windows of my living room. It should be no surprise then if I say, I am sitting by one of those lovely windows right now as I type this. I am also cozily tucked into a throw and intermittently staring at the marvellous sight that is the balcony of a couple living in the opposite apartment block. Beautifully and just adequately lit by their lamp in the corner and some candles on the table, I can imagine what it must be like to sit in the cool breeze, crisp air and sip some red wine & nibble on chocolates. The gorgeous flowery plants all around the parapet hide the view but it’s a good guess they are having red wine. I’d if I was sitting there and chocolates would be a definite yes! Hubby nods in agreement, but also nudges me to not stare so hard.

Containing myself, I get back to my screen. It is almost 7:15pm, sun has set and the skies are slowly losing their beautiful hues of dusk to blackness. Getting used to the sunsets in London can be a challenge for someone who has lived all her life in a tropical land. We rise and fall (into bed!) with the sun over there, and it feels cumbersome to do it any other way! That is the reason I best like this time of the year here. The days haven’t yet become short and dark, and everything outside is pretty great too. I mean, what’s not to like about autumn. From the way it’s spelled to nostalgia attached with Enid Blyton story books; from scents and softness of the season to its distinct foliage.

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Need I say more?

This is also the time when I begin to click the big tree at my office square everyday, capturing the changing leaf colours and density, in the hope that I will make a stopgap video out of those frames! I know I will go replenish my stock of scented candles soon and buy fresh produce of the juicy berries and apples so my fruit basket can mirror the season colours! And that reminds me, autumn is also the time to cover up again, to bring out the boots, soft cardigans and coats that I had so happily stowed away. I will, of course, refrain myself from getting a new wardrobe but the shops are already lined with such sumptuous textures that it is going to be difficult to stop! I quickly glance at hubby who looks immersed in a book, so I don’t bother telling him of my temptations now. Around the house, all the rugs and cashmere blankets will be shown some sun before it becomes a scarce commodity, along with doling out some soups, leafy healthy preparations out of this new recipe book that hubby gifted me and find more & more excuses to stay indoors to catch up on movies we missed during the busy outdoors-y summer.

I suddenly look out the window again and I don’t see any shadows in that balcony. Just find a faintly flickering candle all by itself on the table. The road below has also quietened now. Well, Sunday has almost come to an end, and it so appears that my fond remembrance and wishful planning for the season have taken me away in thoughts too. But then, it is something to look forward to, isn’t it? Reality surrounds us, and Sundays have become mere reminders of Mondays more than anything else these days. But what is a Sunday devoid of wishfulness, of yearning, of tiny escapes of the mind? It is in these tiny escapes that I tighten my grip on reality and live it, shape it fully.

I now have a reason more to love the autumns!

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Photo of the tree at the office square from last year!

PHOTO: #ThrowbackThursday To Celebrating In Style!

Who doesn’t love celebrating in style! And this week’s #throwbackthursday post is just about that!

I secretly booked a table for two at the Vertigo42 for 7pm. Nonchalantly took him up the streets, and by the time he began sustpecting, we were already there! The expression on his face – priceless!

The place offers some really good champagne & dessert options. And the view is simply gorgeous! It was one of the most memorable evenings we’ve had in London so far.

It’s all at affordable prices, good for celebratory evenings, in small groups of 4-5 people and absolutely great for the view. Check out the website: Vertigo42 for details.

It was his birthday after all!

PHOTO: #ThrowbackThursday To Henley On Thames

This week’s #throwbackthursday post is all about taking everything as it comes. Fretting over how something did not pan out as you planned is only a futile attempt at how you can recover from the situation, and make the best of what you have.

A question on tonight’s #TravelIST chat about Travel Mishaps was what led me to this post. “Ever been in a Travel Mishap with a happy ending?”. Henley on Thames is one of the few that I could put into this category!

My friend and I missed a train out of London for Brighton. We had an entire day planned for Brighton, only for it to be completely ruined, thanks to some confusion! We did fret over it but soon enough we decided to hop on the next train – to wherever it may lead in an hour’s time heading outwards of London. And Henley on Thames was it!

It was a small sleepy town, with sprawling bungalows and lush lawns, and the residents enjoying themselves on a siesta for sure. But boy! it was beautiful! The boat ride on the River Thames gave me plenty to capture. And unable to pick one among those, I thought I will make a collage of all that was picturesque of this small but wonderful town!

How we spent our time there? Well, we took on the mood of the town pretty quickly. We walked through the silent streets, ate a long lunch at a local cafe, sampling some of their local tea and biscuits. We then took the boat ride, stood on the Henley Bridge & enjoyed the view. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

And we could not have been happier about missing that train to Brighton – we later heard it rained there that day! Ha! Like I said in the beginning, most often its best to take things as they come!

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My Five Little Things of 2014

It only seems like yesterday that we packed our bags and with them our lives to move to London, which by the way was exactly a year ago! Life changed after that 9-hour flight. Settling into a new city, our new home, new jobs, newer (better!) lifestyle, and the totally unpredictable weather was not only challenging but also most remarkable, in every sense of the word.

And as we settled in, I began to appreciate life’s little things a little more, and with them have chanced upon some of life’s important truths too. Perhaps it was the distance from home and loved ones that made me think a lot more and these realizations slowly made their way into me /us.

Here are my top 5 things:

1. Sunshine

Living in the UK definitely makes you appreciate sunshine a lot more than you might have ever done in the past, especially if you have lived closer to the equator before. Longing for some golden rays into your bedroom as you wake up or in your living room as you sip your evening coffee, or even while you step out for a walk in Hyde Park – sunshine makes everything that bit sweeter.

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2. Homemade food

There is absolutely nothing better than a home-cooked meal. But it took me almost 4-5 months to realize this! I used to venture out everyday during lunch – from Habibi’s katsu curry, Whitecross farmers market’s stalls, Pilpel’s falafels to even the light-n-healthy soup-places like Pret and Eat. They sounded fancy, and tasted fancy too but all of them were lost on me in a few months. And eating out adversely affected my health too. Thankfully, Amma’s simple recipes came to my rescue and I began to carry packed lunch from home. Not only do I feel better after eating homemade meals but also have started to enjoy cooking in my kitchen, along with exploring the healthier options from time to time.

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3. Importance of exercise / discipline

I am still quite surprised how almost everyone here has at least one hour dedicated to exercising, every day! It does not come naturally to me at all. But, call it peer pressure or just a sense of inspiration from seeing people all around, I have managed to introduce exercise into my routine, albeit very slowly. I go to practice yoga at the sessions held near my home by www.ourparks.org.uk/ – If you live in London and love group exercise sessions, then you must sign up for these – the best part is they are free!

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4. Ties to our roots

Without sounding too melodramatic about it, I admit that it feels great to celebrate all our festivals no matter where we are. It reminds us of our traditions, our simple joys, our ways to get-together with family and friends and create more memories. Thankfully, London has all the avenues to help you celebrate any Indian festival that you want to. From Mehendis at parlours to Durga Puja pandals to firecrackers and colours of Holi, you name it!

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5. There is no greater support system than Family

I don’t think I need to elaborate much here. We thoroughly enjoyed the numerous skype and facetime sessions, the groups on whatsapp only added more colour to daily conversations and occasional long ones helped me steer away from any self-doubting traps. I cannot emphasize enough how satisfying it is to be close and in constant touch with one’s family and how happy it can make one feel!

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And I’d be lying I didn’t admit and add, that 2014 has only been about London! I constantly looked for newer experiences – whether it was in trying a new cuisine or discovering unusual cafes in the small alleys or the chic champagne bars of the city. More on all of that in a later post. Despite the grave requests from our friends and our own brave attempts, we could not manage to speak the accent (yet!) but we are so chuffed about the progress we’ve made to make our language sound a bit more colloquial! 😀

And with that thought, here’s hoping to an even better 2015!