10 songs guaranteed to make you happy

Loved most of the songs

In Case of Fire, Use Stairs

I’ll admit it. I do just want everybody to get along. I am one of those people who wishes we could hug everything out. Because I can’t escape this part of myself, I have decided to force it upon you all. The following is a tiny smackeral of songs that I promise will make you smile. You might even feel inspired to launch into your own little happy dance.

Seriously. If you are not smiling by the time you get through the list, you let me know; and I will dispatch some bunnies to your house with a cache of red balloons and little baskets of chocolate buttons. [Don’t lie just for the buttons. It is a very time consuming process and the bunnies will only bestow them on the truly deserving.]

I tried to include actual videos and live footage. But a couple are slide shows [I did that…

View original post 627 more words

Advertisements

Just like that!

Picture 079.jpg

“Purani Jeans aur Guitar…” @2003

(Guitar is behind me, Elvis poster and that favorite Jacket my brother gifted)

I was going through old photos to find my marriage pics because my 4 year old wanted to see it. Strangely I was not able to find even a single one in facebook, picasa, flikr or old harddisc, some of the hard disc are corrupt, great discovery of losing all the data that I don’t even remember.

While going through the pics I realized I used to be so happy and bubbly those days, ie before June2006. Happy with friends, happy cooking something in the garden, happy to get a new poster, joyful with kiddoos, happy in cutting moody cakes, making small surprises for friends, decorating the house with handmade stuff on festivals, celebrating nothingness with family, charm of visiting new places, the list goes on. In all this, the point to be noted was, I was wearing good fitted smart clothes but they were not the super high brands or super expensive ones that I wear now. We were going to places but they were not luxury outings that we do now. The car or bike we drove was not BMW high end product. Everything was under budget and normal for a middle class Indian family. But the smile in those pics is getting reflected in the eyes too, the sparkle is visible.  I can feel the smell of those stuff, the new poster in my room, hand painted walls, own designed suits, handmade pond, the turtle in it,  everything. The music, the taste, the smell – All, I can feel!

But for the last 10 years, I feel nothing. The smile was missing when I got promoted, when I got a salary hike, when I drove my BMW, when I went to my dream places like Venice, Zürich, Helsinki, London, Uday Vilas palace, anywhere. When I wear some of the most expensive clothes, watches, perfumes, anything. When I try to play with my kids, mundane chores of the house. The feeling, the memory, the smile, the association is missing. I don’t get sparkles in the eyes nor do I get excited or feel anything. Why? The attachment is gone, the feel is gone, and the depth is gone, lost somewhere, burnt and carried away with the ashes of my brother. Death leaves us buried inside, everything inside dies, am living a pseudo life, a life without meaning, a life without feeling. Just because I have to keep moving, just because I have to keep breathing, just because I have to keep taking care of people near me, people I am responsible for, people who matter to me, people who are my life. It’s scary somewhere deep inside to loose someone again that I am not able to fully attach with my own kids, I don’t feel anything. Neither their success nor their laughter. Because am totally not into it. Deep inside I guess I have this feeling of what if I lose this person, I fear when they go out, I fear when they travel, I even fear when they go to school, what if they will never return, what if this was the last time I talked to them, what if this was the last touch. That ‘what’ keeps me packed inside. I want to feel the fresh air again, the smile again. I want to set free again! But how? How do I come out of this fear? How do I start living again?  How can I be the person I saw in the pics before 2006? I have no idea. Till then I guess the expression, the feeling, the laughter in my life will remain the typical Plastic smile, same in all pics always. Why do I need to publish this, it’s in an impulse. I might not do in after few minutes. Might be accepting it opening will change something. Might be facing it bang on will decrease it somehow. Let’s not judge!

 

Vienna, Austria

dscf7875

Welcome Vienna – From Helsinki we went to Vienna and then Bratislava, Slovakia. So this write up is in continuation with my last one (Helsinki). Here I will try to cover main points of  our Vienna stay (4-5 days). Below pics, kids are ready to explore Vienna, Bye bye Helsinki, till we visit again.

Reached Vienna airport, from here in that bus to the hotel. Below are the pics of our roof top in  Le Méridien. It gave a beautiful view of the city.

Our tour operator always takes care of good stay in terms of vicinity, food and comfort – Le Méridien Vienna – This hotel with an old-world exterior is a 2-minute walk from the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), an 11-minute walk from the Hofburg Imperial Palace and 1.7 km from Wien Mitte-Landstraße Bahnhof train station. Although we had to wait almost 2 hours for our room due to a big group and they were giving rooms one by one.

Austria’s capital, Vienna is well-known for its cultural events, magnificent sights, coffee houses, wine pubs, and the Viennese charm.

History – Vienna’s history dates back to the first post-Christian century when the Romans established the military camp Vindobona. Today’s cityscape is characterized by the abundance of baroque buildings created mostly under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Joseph, who was largely responsible for the monumental architecture round the Ringstraße .

dscf8126dscf8136

Places to See – Schönbrunn Palace – the former summer residence of the imperial family, is one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque palace complexes. The land had been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569, when the wife of Emperor Ferdinand II had a summer residence built there in 1642, which she called “Schönbrunn”. The palace and garden complex built here from 1696, after the Turkish occupation, was redesigned from the ground up by Maria Theresia after 1743. For most of the year, the Habsburgs resided in the countless chambers that a large imperial family needed in addition to the formal state rooms.Today, the palace is part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage due to its historic importance, its unique grounds and its splendid furnishings. (www.schoenbrunn.at)

A wedding photo shoot was going on at that time. Below are some of the pics.

Other palaces – Hofburg Palace, Church, museums etc. We did visit a church which had something related to Trinity but I am not able to recall it’s name at present.

The above pics are of our walk near the hotel, we tried to explore the area, Hofburg Palace and surroundings.

From this place we were on our own and almost got lost from the group, we decided to meet at McDonalds over the phone. Unfortunately after walking for more than 5-6 kms also we were not able to locate McDonalds, no one was able to help on the streets (If it would have been India, people would have dropped you to the place by then). Then finally we asked a Tourist Center and they told in the market there are three McDonalds, so which one. Finally we settled for the nearest one and had our much required burgers and coke. The other group had it in their McD! Half day went like this. Later on we realized it was quite near to our hotel. Then in the evening we went to an Indian Restaurant because most of the people in group were used to having Indian food, so I was deprived of trying out Austrian cuisine. Every evening we tried different Indian restaurants.

Above – The Hundertwasser House in Vienna bears the unmistakable hand of the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Hundertwasserhaus can only be viewed from outside.
Right opposite the Hundertwasserhaus, however, is the Hundertwasser Village, which is open to visitors. It was created out of a tire workshop in 1990-1991. The artist created his own shopping center here with a “village square”, a bar and numerous stores in the typical Hundertwasser style. Below, a lady walking by caught my attention.

dscf8014

The next day was Guided City tour followed by Private cruise. Later, the other day we went for Art Home, museum of natural history and shopping. The Guide was Chinese and Bus driver Austrian. Driver was very particular about time and from the hotel itself we was angry because people did not turn up on time. Finally, by evening he was literally shouting at us and we had to tell him to leave. So he dropped us in the middle and went, the poor guide tried to cool down things but we were happy without him, so she said she will walk to the hotel which was near the market and we all went for window shopping.

Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum were built in the Neo-Renaissance style. They not only hold remarkable art and natural possessions, but are also architectural masterpieces.

The Museum of Natural History is among the largest of its kind and one of the most important museums in Europe! They have permanent and special exhibitions, monthly programs, research, planetarium and a place to shop too.
Tuesday: closed

You will need 2-3 days to cover all the exhibits and programs. We had to rush from one room to another to cover each section. I loved the old coin and rocks area and kids liked the Huge animal and space exhibits.

Fine Art Museum – The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) is one of the most important European museum buildings created in the 19th century. The monumental structure, built as part of the Emperor Franz Joseph I expansion of the city in 1858, was intended to both unite and suitably denote the artistic treasures that had been collected by the Habsburgs over the centuries.
Monday : closed ( and unfortunately it was Monday, so we could not visit)

dscf7969

Our Private Cruise Dinner –  Normally, the cruise along the Danube River is 3-4 hours and they serve Austrian dishes, but as our group was totally Indian (80 people), we were served Indian buffet-style along with live Music and Belly Dance (not Indian 🙂 . They did try some Shah Rukh Khan songs too but the choice of songs was really pathetic. Hop aboard the boat and off we went for illuminated Vienna night tour. Below are the pics of inside of the boat, kids enjoying the view and in the third pic here, my son trying to search for the dancer he fell in love with.

I guess I was comparing it to Venice or Zurich tours so did not find this a very overwhelming experience but you will experience the city of Vienna from a different perspective.

dscf8291

Seegrotte Hinterbrühl –The mine stays at the constant temperature of 9C in any weather. For those who forgot to bring their woolens, there are blankets available for renting at a nominal 50 cents. Going under the ground is always fascinating experience. Here you have a chance to visit an old gypsum mine that was flooded.

dscf8345

They partly filmed ‘The Three Musketeers’ here & the ship was left as a souvenir. During the war it served as a plane parts factory.

An old model is put on display in one of the caves. I did enjoy the tour although it was slightly overpriced at €9. Overall it was an ok, but I feel it’s not worth a second visit. The snacks shop outside is overcrowded cause of long wait to go in the cave, our kids enjoyed ice-cream and chips there.

Before the caves we had gone to the below place, if someone can help me with its name.

dscf8212

This is the trinity, I was talking about earlier.

 

Our day ended in yet another Indian restaurant, this time punjabi food. Next day early morning we started for Slovakia.

This is somewhere in the middle of Vienna to Bratislava. You are not allowed to eat inside the bus, so when the driver stopped to get fuel and we came out to get fresh air, we all settled down on the side road itself to get our hands dirty in Veg Biryani and Samosas!

My younger one got upset here because he did not get his double share of a chocolate. Finally he was busy with the flowers. Then we started for Bratislava.

P.S.

Hitler –  Seeking a career in the visual arts, Hitler fought bitterly with his father, who wanted him to enter the Habsburg civil service. After his father’s death, Hitler eventually persuaded his mother, Klara Hitler to permit him to pursue his dream to become an artist. As she lay dying of breast cancer in the autumn of 1907, Hitler took the entrance exam to the Vienna Academy of the Arts and failed to gain acceptance. In early 1908, some weeks after Klara’s death in December 1907, Hitler moved to Vienna, ostensibly in the hope of renewing efforts to win acceptance in the Academy of Arts. He lived in Vienna from 1908 to 1913, after which he moved to Munich. Being fascinated by Hitler and in general history, this was also a major attraction for me to visit Vienna.

No farewell yet to Vienna because we came back in the night. But closing this blog here only, will continue about the next place in later write ups. Good day guys!

 

 

 

The story teller

img_6551

In India these monkey story tellers used to be common, but now a days they are seen only in folk based restaurants or special events.

I won’t go into the details of right or wrong treatment to the animals in this but unfortunately  this is a vanishing story telling art.

 

 

A home maker

When we have kids, the whole life revolves around them. How to behave, how to react to things , what to eat, where to go, everything. What do we get at the end, nothing.

I left my very rewarding and respected job before my second child was born (5 years back) because in the new city that we shifted I did not have support system to take care of them behind my back. Now after years, am considered a good for nothing home maker who has nothing significant to contribute in anyone’s life. Am the first to get up in the morning, do everything to make life smooth for the family, the last person to sleep, but still most of the people ask – what do you do the whole day? As if angles come and do things by magic.

Forget thankfulness or gratitude, my work is not even recognised by anyone because I am a simple home maker. On the other hand, the bread earner is respected and praised and given his due regards because he is the .. well Male of the house!

A women working and managing home is supposed to be superwoman- handle everything without being tired ever. But she does get a bit of respect because she is working. Home mom is worthless. Why??

Leave your self respect, your life for someone and expect nothing in return. Keep moving, keep doing!!

Is it not pathetic

Helsinki

Helsinki (capital of Finland) has been awarded city of design by UNESCO, is considered most honest and livable city in the world. When I heard we were going to Vienna and Helsinki in summer vacation, I was overjoyed and thrilled. I always prefer less commercial and close to nature places and Helsinki is one of the best cities of Europe (small country of just 5.3 million people). We went by Jet airways from Ahmedabad to Delhi and then to Helsinki.

img_4260

Delhi International Airport above to below is the Helsinki Airport

 

dscf7128

View around Helsinki from the window of our bus taking us from airport to hotel. All sign boards etc have three languages – Finnish, Swedish and English.

dscf7122dscf7524

Education
Finnish education is considered one of the best in the world. Our guide gave a lots of details about the languages you need to learn, the way it works their and how they are the best in education in the whole world. Summing it up, it’s definitely worth trying school/college in Finland. There is a near absence of poverty. For residents, school lunch is free, preschool and college are free. Most students are healthy and know three languages (Finnish, Swedish and English). The best and the brightest want to become teachers in Finland. The teachers are given high respect and trust because they make the best human beings out of small kids. They don’t follow quick fixes but believe in strategic and permanent growth.

dscf7337img_4324

Reached our Hotel Kamp –  is a 5-minute walk from shopping in the Market Square, a 6-minute walk from the Ateneum art museum and 2 km from Temppeliaukio Church. Breakfast was complimentary and they have an Asian kitchen also. Food was very good.

dscf7142dscf7306dscf7296dscf7305dscf7299

Below – World heritage site – Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with tourists and locals. Originally named Sveaborg (Fortress of Svea), or Viapori as called by Finnish-speaking Finns, it was renamed in Finnish to Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland) in 1918 for patriotic and nationalistic reasons, though it is still known by its original name in Sweden and by Swedish-speaking Finns.

dscf7573

dscf7748

One of the Submarine of World War II time, below is the sleeping beds.  dscf7740

The island is beautiful and you can see people relaxing under the sun. It’s a poets and painters place.

dscf7486

Helsinki is a food heaven, mostly people prefer local and fresh food. If Japan has sushi, Finland has reindeer meat, which is processed and canned to last for months or even years. Take home a can of this specialty.

Our guide informed that people will not smile or be courteous, be in buses or shop, anywhere, but it’s not considered rude here. There is a level of trust.

Getting Around in Helsinki
The city is walkable and compact. Public transport is good, bus, trams and metro. It’s very economical to travel and goes on trust, so you don’t have to show ticket but if caught will have to pay fine.

dscf7538

A walk in the market square, buying some souvenirs (Cups in the pic-  the double hole in the handle is for married and one is for  single people )

dscf7537dscf7534

Street artist on the corner left. Cycles are very common mode of transport in Finland.

dscf7531

Wishing locks I guess! Near market square.

We took a private cruise in the evening on Hudson River (from Market Square)

Winter World, Helsinki – Snow attractions and activities are available in any weather. Igloos, ice sculptures, toboggan hill, kick-sledding and tandem skiing. You have to take tickets and some group trips are also arranged. Below are some pics, we had a great time here and it’s a must visit.

We had a great time in winter world and I would love to visit it every year.

Some of the streets, park near our hotel, in the below picture they are preparing the street for some flower decor.

Giant Wheel

A different experience

img_6549
Men on wheel

It’s amazing to see these people risk their lives for such things!

img_6550
Giant wheel