Coffee indulgence by the waterfront

I was in Ernakulam on a sunday evening. Happening to be a part of my trip, after cruising over fort kochi for a couple of hours and after getting down at the boat jetty I was craving for a dose of caffeine to light up my mind. Being my maiden visit to Ernakulam and Kochi, I had null idea about any cafe’s in the area. I was strolling through the marine drive walkway and my feet paused when I found a houseboat by the side. Yes, there was a cafe which looked exactly like a houseboat from outside. The cafe was compact with two floors and limited seating. Happily, I went in and climbed the stairs that was twisted around a pole and found a wooden table and bench for myself facing the waters.

As I laid my back against the seat, stretched out my legs and relaxed my body, the delightful cup of porcelain arrived in my table. The authentic south Indian filter coffee was served in its best porcelain cup and saucer. A perfect blend of frothed milk with decoction obtained by brewing finely ground coffee powder results in delightful filter coffee that can lighten up your mood. Wow, the magic this drink creates is that with every sip you tend to indulge more and more in the flavors and aroma of coffee bean. With a spectacular view to watch out with the hot cup of coffee in my hands the heaven was right there.

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Filter coffee served in cup and saucer with a view behind

From my seat, I could probably grab the best view of fort Kochi. The panoramic view had too much of awesomeness to look out for. The Indian Navy vessels, the cargo ships, the lavish cruises anchored by the harbour, the Chinese fishing nets at a distance in fort kochi, the mini cruises gliding through the waters, the cruises embracing the vast ocean as they move out of the harbour into the waters, the overall scene was a marvellous delight for the eyes. To add more beauty to the scene, the sun was going off the horizon painting the evening sky with dozens of shades of orange amalgamating with the shades of blue. With such a breathtaking view outside, sitting in the cafe sipping the authentic flavorful filter coffee was a great delight.

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View from Marine drive walkway

Sipping every gulp of my coffee with the creamy froth sticking my lips, the caffeine hitting my brain, viewing the spectacular fort kochi I felt refreshed and relaxed as I drank my coffee. The picturesque fort kochi at the eyesight, a cup of hot filter coffee in hand, watching the shores of the port as the sun dropped off the horizon, life couldn’t get any better that evening. Also, for a short eat I chose ripened banana fritters which was yummy going in my tummy. As I emptied the contents, the sky had already turned blackish blue for the arriving night. A simple cup of humble coffee in a normal cafe rejuvenated me, definitely not a daily thing for a person who lives in the land locked city. Happy and content, I left the beautiful place with my best memories of coffee:)

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Fort Kochi
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Embracing the backwaters in a houseboat

Kerala is a compact state that runs along the Arabian coast of India. This God’s own country is famous for its enthralling pristine backwaters and lush greenery. The lure backwaters are spread over a huge area comprising the Vembanad Lake and also forms an archipelago in the area it surrounds.  The handcrafted houseboats gliding and floating through the enchanted backwaters is the unique identity of Kerala. As attractive as the houseboats can get, I always had a ‘visit to houseboat’ pinned on my bucket list. So, I will be taking you on my wonderful memories of living a day in the houseboat.

Alleppey or Alappuzha known as Venice of the east is a small town in Kerala and is known for its extravagant houseboats adorning the backwaters. My story on exploring the labyrinthine canals, the brackish lagoons, as the alluring houseboats glide through the serene backwaters begins here.

We had booked a room in a three bedroom houseboat. I stepped into the houseboat around 12:00pm. The houseboat consists of a living hall as well as dining, bedrooms with attached bathrooms/washrooms, a kitchen and a bay to walk through. As soon as we entered the houseboat and got into our rooms, we were served with welcome drink. Later, I guess around 1pm the boat revved on and drifted through the waters.

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As the wheel steered, the rustic boat glided through the labyrinthine canals covered by lush tropical coconut tress on either sides. The scenes were getting breathtaking as there was a lot to catch every second. Be it the other beautiful wooden houseboats floating in the vicinity, the islands at a distance, the tall coconut trees or the blackish-green colored waters filling the area; everything in a sight was flamboyant. After floating through the meandering backwaters for a while, the boat anchored for lunch. The lunch served inside the boat was scrumptious and the food had great flavours of Indian spices. After having delicious food, the boat drifted back into the waters. To immerse completely in the serenity of the backwaters, I stretched my legs out and sat down at the bow. As the boat floated through the infinite space, I relaxed watching the lush water plants floating in the waters, the ripples,coconut tress dancing to the winds at a distance and the enthralled backwaters as far as my eyes could see.

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Floating Houseboats in Alleppey
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An authentic houseboat that was passing by
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Sitting at the bow and watching the backwaters

After embracing the beauty of the poised backwaters, our boat stopped by for Tea/coffee and snacks. Meanwhile, we stepped out of the boat and visited the paddy fields in an island. The day was spent completely in the lap of nature. Later, sipping on my cup of coffee, I relaxed in the couch of my boat, listening to the waves of the waters and the winds. The boat halted around 5:30pm signing off for the day. Having ample amount of time with the night arriving, we chilled out in the boat, made friends with the fellow boat mates. We were served with delicious dinner and then watching the silence of the calm waters I let sleep overtake me.

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Evening ride

Mornings were absolutely mesmerizing. As the sun appeared with the rays lighting up the earth, life began. The local fishermen started launching their nets into the waters in their tiny boats with the public transport boats and ferries moving around. Slurping my cup of morning coffee I watched the misty backwaters. The breakfast was served and the boat started moving for a ride. Since I opted for one day stay, it was my time to leave the boat post breakfast. I stepped out of the boat packing my memories of royal indulgence in the lush coconut lagoons, floating through the enchanted backwaters in a beautiful houseboat. The time spent on houseboat is to be cherished forever and I would love to go back again when I need a tranquil break away from hustle of city life.

Additional details:

  • Houseboats are available all over the backwaters of Kerala. Yet, I would suggest you to visit either Alleppey or Kumarakom.
  • You can stay for as many days in the houseboat but I feel one day of stay is sufficient for absorbing the beauty of backwaters.
  • Houseboats beyond three bedrooms lose their charm as they look too huge and vast as a building and I feel the antiquity is lost.
  • Book a single bedroom houseboat for a private date or a romantic getaway.
  • Alcohol can be carried over but it is not provided in the houseboat.
  • You can ask for Vegetarian food in prior in case if you are vegetarian. For Non-vegetarians, local fresh sea-food delicacies will be served.
  • Nearest City: Ernakulam/ Kochi
  • Nearest Airport: Kochi
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Nature’s red pom-poms

The mercury levels have augmented, juicy watermelons have filled the markets, the mangoes have appeared again, prone towards cool liquids have increased indicating the arrival of summer. As the heat waves set the temperature high, going out in burning summer is a tedious task. In case you are going out in a two wheeler then you definitely don’t wish to move out in this season.

Living in Bengaluru, the signs of summer are getting subjugated everyday. When I go out in this burning hot environment, I look up to areas where there is shade. Certain roads in the city are covered with century old trees which forms a canopy and cease the harsh rays of the sun. Then there is the annual red bloom that happily takes a kickstart in april and stays till first quarter of June. Since my childhood, I have been mesmerized by the beauty of vermilion bound May flower. On another casual day, on my just another outing in the city, under the boiling noon I again got bewitched. In a stretch as far as the eyes could see, various shades of red-hued pom poms were dazzling here-and-there in the canopy. Yes, the enchanting May Flowers have arrived painting the city with distinct hues of red.

The bloom of Royal Poinciana is restricted to the months of April-June in the Indian subcontinent and indicate the hot flares of the sun hitting the Earth. Royal Poinciana commonly called as May Flower or Gulmohar in India adds beauty to the surroundings wherever it blooms covering the area with its distinct shades of red.

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Royal Poinciana flowers close-up look

I was riding with my friend in the 3rd main road, Sadashivnagar which connects to CV Raman road. So, this particular lane runs along the borders of Sankey Tank which is a huge lake in Bengaluru. As we were riding, at a distance of 50 yards away, I found a full bloom Royal Poinciana standing tall adding bright hues to the area. Being a nature enthusiast, I stopped for a while, clicked some pictures of the bright red flowers and admired their rivet beauty.Again, as I resumed on the road, I found the red patches blossoming happily in the tree in many parts of the city.

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Near Sankey Lake, Bengaluru
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Flamboyant display of flowers

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Being an admirer of the bountiful Royal Poinciana, I would always love to see the flamboyant display of flowers, ruling the area where they blossom. I have a strong wish that these trees should be planted in a row along the streets so that we can celebrate the prolific bloom and enjoy the marvels of nature. During off season, these trees are densely populated with leaves which provide shade. Also, the other trees in the city which forms a canopy providing shade to the streets should be thanked as well. It is impossible to bear direct sunlight attacking your skin whenever you are out. I actually experienced this in a traffic signal junction where there were no trees. Waiting for an odd 100 seconds for the green light was like placing myself inside an operating microwave. Coming to those areas covered with lush trees, the effect of sun is barely felt. I wish the trees get saved, keeping the environment cool and the planet remains green so that life exists for many more centuries.

Save trees, retain greenery 🙂

Additional details:

  • Royal Poinciana: Flowering Plant
  • Scientific Name : Delonix Regia
  • Common name : May Flower/ Gulmohar/ Flamboyant tree.

P. S. : The photos have been shot only for representational purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dainty Diet

On a weekend, I had a relative’s ceremony to attend in my native. Well, my native is spread over the Dakshina Kannada District (Mangalore) of Karnataka and parts of Kasaragod district of Kerala.  As the event was being held close to my maternal grandparent’s place, I decided to go directly to my granny’s and then attend the ceremony. My granny’s house is surrounded by lush plantations and the local vegetation in all the directions.

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I stepped myself out to have a look on the cultivated nature and it was merely ten steps on my feet, something stopped me. My eyes were witnessing the  12feet high tree that was filled with juicy water apples (also called as Java apple). For a moment, I felt like skipping the event and drool over the luscious fruit. Yet, controlling my taste buds for a wait of few hours I left to the event. The moment I got back, I made a place for myself right under the tree, sat there waiting for the fruit to fall into my hands (Laughs). There were few fully ripened ones at the height where I could reach out; thus by leaning my body in various postures possible I got hold of the twigs of the tree, bent them a bit and plucked the scrumptious delight. Later my uncle plucked a huge number of fruits using his farm skills and we had hundreds of water apples to nosh.

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Just plucked water apples

Those greenish-white water apples were so tender, mouthwatering, juicy, perfectly ripened moreover it was fresh and handpicked directly from the lush trees of the vegetation. Drooling over this succulent fruit during summer definitely made me forget the beating heat around. Having forever cravings for this delectable fruit, visiting my granny’s during the right season of water apples made me feel lucky. Enjoying on every bite of it, sitting under the tree surrounded by lush greenery around was worth going all the way from Bengaluru to my native just for a day.

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Water apples hanging in the tree
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Water apples 

Fruit details :

  • Binomial Nomenclature : syzygium samarangense
  • Local Names: Water apple, Java apple, Malay Rose Apple, Jambu Nerale (Kannada)
  • Colors: White, Pink, Green and Pink
  • Tropical Fruit
  • Grown during late spring/ summer

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Cherry blossom of Garden City

Every year, as the winter arrives the earth jumps into air-conditioned mode. Later as the winter departs, leaves shed off from the trees, rustle with the cold waves. As the outgoing cold waves get amalgamated with the incoming warm waves, the spring arrives. The trees adorn with the fresh leaves, the pollination accelerates and then there is huge bloom 🙂

The tress of the world welcome the spring blossoming with bright hues. As far as spring is considered, Japan takes hands-down pride in flaunting its cherry blossom. Yet, I feel every portion of the world has a polychromatic bloom as well. Whenever I head out in spring, all that seeks the time of my eyes are the trees filled with flowers or baby mangoes hanging from the tress in Bengaluru. These days, when I go out roaming, I had a ravishing view of the flowers blooming in the city.

The city is embellished with various hues of pink. Be it Cubbon park, Sankey road, Domlur, Old Airport Road, Rajajinagar, palace road (Places where I have been) etc are all amplifying the aura of the city with the pink blossom. The trees are completely covered with pink flowers which looks like cotton candy stuck here-and-there in the city. I wish I could gaze at the bloom forever. This cherry blossom look-alike gives justice to the title that Bengaluru holds as the Garden City of India. Even though the smoldering summer takes a head-start in the city with the mercury levels rising up to the extremes, the pinky patches all around the city makes your move worth of getting out into the streets.

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Sankey road
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Somewhere in Rajajinagar
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Sankey Road

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Taking a thought out of the box, Bengaluru is known for its growing economy and the expanding dimensions of the city. As a result, various news get circulated which involves cutting down of trees to build a flyover, buildings, roads etc. I just hope the trees of Bengaluru stay strong on ground and gleam as the sumptuous jewels of the city. This city without the cherry blossom of the lush flora is like a kingdom without a plush palace.

Save our trees, save the Planet.

P.S. : The images are taken in a basic cellphone camera and thus lacks high definition.

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Walls that Inspire

I strongly believe that every piece of art should have a story of its own. This piece of art has a story associated with it as well. Here is the story linked with more of my daily routine. While traveling anywhere I make it a point to extract the beauty of what I get to see and record them in my memories. So on my daily commute to office in the morning, I depart my place around 07:40 am and my cab usually navigates through M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Manipal Center and old airport road. As soon as my cab arrives near the stadium around 08:00am I always look around as this area has a lot of greenery as there is cubbon park right next to the stadium.

As we move ahead we get the army base camp for a long stretch. I usually sleep in the cab and in case I am awake, I will be peeping out of the window. So, one such day when my eyes were kinda open, I was near Manekshaw Parade ground traffic signal at that time. As the cab left, after reaching a 500 yards ahead on Cubbon road, the engine stopped at Manipal Center traffic signal. I was looking out, towards my right and my eyes widened. I guess the building I saw is probably army quarters, but what caught my eyes are it’s block wall fence. The wall was simply beautiful. The patterns that the wall had been painted with; added beauty to the street actually. I must say, this wall remains as one of my favorites in the entire city. The total area looks so beautiful indeed. This wall made me fall in love with the city again. The combination of canary yellow and brick red color of the wall did not just remain for my views.

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Water color painting of the wall

 

I have been doing paintings based on old doors, windows and walls these days. So, I got this random thought that why don’t I paint something that’s so beautiful in my city. Why cannot I give a shot at painting  by taking inspiration from the walls of Bengaluru and highlight the beauty of it. Also, what made me love the wall is that at few places, there are trees in background which amplifies the entire view. Thus, I went ahead and painted the block wall fence with those trees in the background. Now, every time I see my painting, my mind goes back to the beautiful wall near Manipal Center, Bengaluru.

So, in case if you are in Bengaluru and if you are wandering in and around MG road, then if at all you pass by Manipal Center, give some seconds to observe and you can find this beautiful wall flaunting those patterns in brick red color.

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Revisiting the Shopping Hub of Bengaluru

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Commercial Street

Shopping is fantasized by majority of women around the world. No matter you claim yourself to be a shopaholic or not, at some point everyone do go for shopping to refresh the wardrobe. In the present era, we have everything right in our hands; internet and the highly evolved online shopping has made life easy for us. Basically, since two years I am too much into online shopping. Living in Bengaluru, I used to fancy those goods available outside. It’s been almost two years I did not step into our own shopping hub, the Commercial Street in Bengaluru. It so happened that one of my friends wanted to go on shopping to Commercial Street. So, I accompanied her on a Sunday.

I started off from the starting point near Soch. The whole street was looking so colorful. After visiting this street after such a long time, I started feeling refreshed when I began exploring the area. The collections were so amazing that I ended up shopping for myself. I actually found too many good stuffs that even shortlisting on what to buy was difficult for me.

I got into a very narrow lane next to Anand sweets. Oh my god !!! my eyes got wonderstruck. Tops, kurtis, bangles, earrings, bags, clutches, sandals and what not! were popping out everywhere, literally in every sight of my eye. This particular lane is too narrow for more than 3 people to walk in a row. What you get here is one of the best in the street. The more I went on exploring the lanes, the more I got exposed to the Indian fashion. We Indians love wearing western outfits but at the same time our love for Indian wear doesn’t leave us. We turn on our creative minds, mix up ideas and come up with Indo-western trends. I got awestruck looking at the types of clothing and there were innumerable ideas running in my mind like which category do I try, which dress might look good etc. Coming to the accessories, you will love being an Indian for those beautiful jhumkas, bangles. Watching them decked up in a stack looked pretty.

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Indian ethnic earrings

 

After indulging for a couple of hours in shopping, stomach starts craving for some food. This street has a lot of options for food but Konark remains my ultimate favorite. After a tedious time of shopping down the sun, a happy lunch was a must. Man chow soup and Paneer fried rice at this place are my all time favorite. After making my tummy happy, reloading my energy I could get back into the street and have a look at all the bright little-big things out there. You can also slurp on lemon soda drink or Ice gola and roam around.

The best part about this street is that you get everything here. There are outlets from various brands to choose depending on your choice. What surprised me are the non-branded clothes. They were so bright, colorful and beautiful as well, at a very economical price. You can shop in this street with a budget and get really impressing clothes only if you are talented in choosing the best from the rest. From Indian outfits in Ibrahim street to western outfits all over the commercial, there is a huge variety of clothing lined up everywhere.The whole area is decorated with glittering  accessories, that drags your attention towards it. Apart from this, what caught my eyes were those wide range of footwear by the side of the lanes.

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Tops from Commercial Street at a very low price

 

Though I did not buy a lot of items, strolling through the road and every tiny lanes adjacent to it was simply amazing. I felt like I got something back which I had lost. Online shopping is great but it is virtual. Going out to the street, checking out those tiny shops, I could get hands on the running trend. Those earrings, neckpieces and many other accessories in a bunch on display were such an appealing sight. Exploring those narrow lanes packed with clothes, accessories and footwear was exemplary. Adding more to it, the street would have seemed dead without the crowd. With the dense crowd around, I found enthusiasm in  the people. The street has a charm of its own. A lane which is one stop for all the essentials.

While leaving my home to visit this street, I had no clue that I will end up having such a happy day. But, it is the magic of this street that attracts you by its glamour. Looking at so many options available, this street promises shopping delights to anyone. You can start from 100’s and go on until thousands. Having shopping plans in mind, before you open your shopping apps, give a day or some hours to yourself, go out into the shopping streets and explore, otherwise you will never know what is happening in the market. Feel the fabric, the metals, the glitters of the accessories, have a look on the quality and then buy it. Trust me, this can be a stressbuster as well as a day out for you.

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