7 things YOU don’t do in a Tiger Reserve or a forest!

India is an incredible country, home to the Western Ghats & the Himalayas & more. We have got Alpine, Rainforests, Tropical & Subtropical forests & more. 50,000+ species of plants & 40,000+ species of animals stay in India. So, yes, India has got gorgeous forests & must-visit tiger reserves. You don’t even have to be…

The oldest rock-cut architecture of India- Barabar caves, Bihar

I discovered Barabar caves when I read E M Forster’s, ‘Passage to India’. It was one of the recommended books, as part of the preparation for Verbal Ability in CAT. So, naturally I didn’t read the book then. I didn’t read it in MBA either. Because let’s admit it, who reads books (other than the…

Welcome to Sikkim

“Sabse bura log Dilli ka aata hai (The worst people we receive are from Delhi)”, my cabbie remarked. I couldn’t help but laugh at his candid and innocent ways. “Aap Dilli ka hai madam (Are you from Delhi?)” Well, you can say that I am from Delhi. Whether we go to Ladakh, Kanyakumari or Sikkim,…

Ranchi – the smart city of waterfalls, niceties & poise

What comes to your mind when you hear about Ranchi?! (Bombay people – it’s the capital of Jharkhand, just so you know.) Mahendra Dhoni, Erstwhile Bihar, or maybe the cult movie, Gangs of Wasseypur? At least that’s what comes to my mind. That, and my ex-roommate & super-cool friend, Neha Bharti from Ranchi, who shares…

A day in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh

On my recent road trip to Bihar, Jharkhand & Chattisgarh, the last stop was Raipur & then we were to go back home via Jabalpur, MP. We started early morning from Ranchi to drive down to Raipur. The trip was to end in another 2-3 days. I wanted to make the most of whatever was…

Home to Mowgli, the Pench Tiger Reserve

“But this is my home” – Mowgli As a child, I was shy. Really shy! I won’t talk to strangers, run away from people, hide in the tiniest possible corners of my home & would prefer silence to speech. I liked my own company and until people pointed out that I should be more social,…

Meet the prince of Jhalana – Rana, the leopard

Leopard is an interesting animal. It sometimes enters residential areas, attacks the pets & creates a terror amidst (otherwise terrifying) homo sapiens. Other times, it’s rarely seen. While you can certainly count the number of tigers in a forest, you can’t really ascertain the number of leopards. Why? Because it’s a super elusive animal, who…

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve: Unbelievable, Untouched & Unexplored

India is home to more than 75% of wild tigers in the world today. While that might swell your chest with pride, don’t overlook the fact that we have been excessively reckless with our resources & gifts over the centuries. Back then when we were a country of many princely states where each king harboured…

Riding down memory lane, my first trip to Pondicherry in 2013!

Today, I am going to talk about my visit to Pondicherry back in 2013. It’s a special trip because I planned it four months in advance, and saved a fixed portion from my salary every month, while proudly defaulting on my education loan EMI. Just a week before the trip, a big launch was planned at work, and I have been working towards making that happen. Everything was happening like clock work, and I happily reached Puducherry with a bag full of amazing clothes and a heart full of desires. By the way, do you know how I thought of ‘Pondicherry’ of all the places?

Running for shade when it rained – a day at Miramar beach, Goa

It needed 12 hours of drive to reach Goa, from Bangalore. We started early morning & before we knew; we all were in holiday mood desperate for an evening in beach. So, we took a halt in Karwar enjoying the beach walks & jhaalmuri. It was windy & beautiful – the perfect start to the next three days in Goa.

In Jaipur – memories over many years!

I still remember that night when I first reached Jaipur. It was a trip with friends, and we had booked our seats in a Shatabdi from Delhi. Even though I was tired, hungry & lugging around a heavy bag, I noticed the colorful railway platform of Jaipur. The coolies wore a beautiful pagdi & the sign at the exit said, ‘Padharo Mhare Desh’.

Wo ek shaam, Benaras ki!

“Don’t you ever dare to book trips without consulting me. Who asked you anyway.” This was my father’s reaction when I had announced that I booked a trip to Benaras the next month. While I was processing his response which was way different than I had imagined. My mother added, “You think money grows on…

Ye Sheher Muskurata hai!

“I am going to buy Chikankari today itself”, I told myself, almost making it sound like a project, taking all the joy of shopping out of it. In another couple of hours, I was in Lucknow, waiting outside Dastarkhwan along with 20 other people. There were a variety of Kebabs, around me, happily marinating, placed…

Kehwa aur Kahaniyan!

Two days before our scheduled departure to Kashmir, there was news about stone-pelting & open firing in the valley. They were showing live footage on the news channels. It would scare the hell out of people like us who began watching TV in the 90s & have heard only one kind of news when they…

Mountains NEVER called me. I showed up uninvited.

The Mountains are calling and I must go”. When John Muir wrote this in a letter to her sister, in 1873, sitting somewhere in Yosemite Valley, little did he know that in another 140 years, his letter would become public knowledge and his words would form one of the most popular headlines ever to announce the love for mountains. When I think of mountains, I think of my childhood. That’s where it all began anyway.

I am out of Bombay & Bombay is out of me. But there’s more.

One fine day in the January of 2019, I decided to move my base from Ghaziabad. I badly needed a change of scene. So, I started exploring my options which (I realised after a while) didn’t exist. In times like these, I turn to wiser people for advice. Even then, I turned to one of the…

We are back & it’s awesome!

I want to begin by saying that you all are amazing people. The whole of last year, most of you kept hounding me about why I am not writing anymore. And I kept telling you that I would, as soon as I get some free time. To keep it off my mind and back, I…

Away from the noise, the life in Manoribel, Mumbai

Every Monday, I drag my body with half a soul to work & begin running, only to take a pause on Friday night because the next morning won’t come with alarms and reminders. Sleeping like no one is watching on Saturdays & Sundays often help me find the rest of my missing soul, only to…

For my next spiritual retreat, I would head out to Ladakh, and this is why:

When I think of Ladakh, my compartmentalised heart gets flooded with joy, my three decade old memory that is on its way to develop early Alzheimer’s, starts behaving extraordinarily & pieces together my one week long Ladakh trip day-by-day. In that moment, my ever-anxious mind somehow manages to calm down, my heart beats a bit…

The city that’s called Mumbai & known by many names!

It’s the city of dreams. It’s the city of dreams; it’s the city that never sleeps; it’s a mahanagri where people come to realise their dreams, struggle day in, day out, travel in local trains, go without food for days, travel on foot, risk dehydration, and wake up every day to do what they got…

Dream-like, Mysore Palace – of colors, domes & art!

Some places elevate your mood, and make you feel special. Mysore Palace is definitely such place. I have been to Mysore 7-8 times in last 10 years & have never missed paying a visit to the royal palace for it makes me feel special. When I visited the palace for the first time in 2008,…

Sign up for a visual treat at Pushkar fair, 2018

Somebody said that all good things in life are free. I couldn’t agree enough – a warm sunny afternoon in December, or dipping your feet in a gushing stream of water, or the colorful spread on an otherwise clean sky on evening – all are free, and the best of experiences. I thought I had seen…

The quest for Neelakurinji- the once in 12 years wonder

2018 was the year of many things – of data breaches, of executive resignations, of political upheavals, natural disaster, of new records in Sports. For me personally, it was a year of new insecurities, never-known fears, and long days that were spent being stressed. 2018 was also the year of Neelakurinji, the flower that blooms…

12 Lifetime experiences from Incredible India

‘Which one is your favorite place?’, people often ask me. And when I take time to think about one, they are like, ‘Come on, there’s got to be a favorite’. And I think harder but I can’t seem to place one as favorite over others. Because it’s just not the places but what you have…

Coffee tales straight from Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Once upon a time, there was a country that drank tea. The country and its countrymen were happy sipping this sugar-laden beverage until one Baba Budan Giri decided to give Coffee to his country, and thus began the coffee journey of India. It’s being said that Baba Budan Giri brought Coffee seeds to India and…

How to NOT be a spoilsport when travelling in groups

Remember School Picnics when the senior most kids would occupy the last seat and you would be left with the ‘unwanted’ ones – those next to the teachers. And while sitting on those hot seats, you would eye the back seaters who would play Antakshari and dance, while the only awesome company you had was…

A weekend trip to the British Summer Capital – Shimla

I remember the new year of 2018. One of my many resolutions were to grow my Instagram followership by posting daily. Did it grow? Yes, but not substantially. It just feels like yesterday- scrolling my Instagram feed & looking at my ever-stagnant Twitter followers on the 31st of 2017. And it’s September of ’18 already….

The touch of love: Allepey Backwaters, Kerala

Kerala – God’s own country is not called God’s for no reason. Dotted with coconut trees, situated by the coast, with sultry weather most of the year, balmy air in the evenings, full of tea plantations in shades of Green, with myriad beaches & backwaters, pioneer of Ayurveda treatments, skilled in Kuchipudi & their own…

God’s own country needs us. Show some love for Kerala

I have been going to Kerala for years now. Munnar was almost like home with its picturesque views and Green landscapes. We would often pick our car from Bangalore or Mysore and drive to Munnar enjoying the forest reserves and wildlife sanctuaries on the way. And it breaks my heart to see Kerala suffering this…

Happy 72nd, India! STAY INCREDIBLE.

कुछ बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी सदियों रहा है दुश्मन दौर–ए–ज़माँ हमारा India – one of the oldest civilizations of the world, famous for its unity in diversity, blessed with changing landscapes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, tolerant of religions and faiths where Hindu kids celebrate Christmas as much as they celebrate Diwali, Christian…

15 gems from 15 states of Incredible India: travel today!

As most of you know, Life on Weekends was born in the November of 2015. And since then, I have been blogging on and off, but travelling constantly. I began as a naive traveller who would want to holiday anywhere (and everywhere) glamorous, dress well & click pictures (tons of it), and spam my Facebook…

Are you thankful enough? You would be at Hall of Fame, Ladakh

Come Fridays and my mind lights up a like a bulb. I get all the 51 ideas to make my life awesome, and not only the Left or the Right, but unknown sides of my brain get activated because my mind is endlessly creating lists of ‘how to make your weekends awesome’. It doesn’t end…

Five places of evergreen tourism of my state, Uttar Pradesh

“Where do you come from? Delhi or Noida?” “Which part of Delhi do you come from?” When I answer, ‘Ghaziabad’ to these questions. I swear, their eyeballs bulge & tongues come out. People in Delhi & all the villages and cities around Delhi think that people from Ghaziabad dress in Black kurta-pyjama, speak in vernacular…

The ever so young & ever so wise – Amer fort of Jaipur

Situated at a height & spread across an area of 4 kms., Amer keeps a watch on Jaipur, from 11 kms. away. Amer probably never goes to sleep, partly because it stands guard over Jaipur, but mostly because it’s always thinking of the good times, remembering it & taking pride in it. Decades of royal…

The poetic Chittaur of Meerabai

मेरे तो गिरधर गोपाल दूसरो न कोई॥ जाके सिर सोई। तात मात भ्रात छांड़ि दई कुलकी कहा संतन ढिग बैठि बैठि लोक ई॥ किये टूक लीन्हीं लोई। After many battles & political tug-of-war, Chittaur was rising again but this time with the melody, like never before. Chittaur by then had witnessed many episodes of pride, valor…

Game for some bird watching in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary?

Freedom is a funny thing. You only get to appreciate it once you don’t have it. The more you fight for it, the more you crave it. How does freedom feel like? To me, it is – spreading my wings & flying high with nothing to control me or pull me back. The sky is…

The legend of Chittaur: Maharana Pratap

पड़ी अचानक नदी अपार¸ घोड़ा कैसे उतरे पार। राणा ने सोचा इस पार¸ तब तक चेतक था उस पार।। I grew up reading about the mighty horse that would often figure in poems and stories of my childhood. Chetak was said to be unbeatable. He was faster than wind, louder than thunder & sharper than…

The mighty warrior of Mewar: Rana Sangha

Chittaur hadn’t celebrated to its full yet, and destiny played its cards.  After the untimely demise of Rana Kumbha, Chittaurgarh came under dark once again and silently watched itself getting broken into parts. Now, all Chittaur had to do was wait – wait for its redemption & resurgence. Luckily, Chittaur didn’t have to wait for long….

Great wall of Kumbhalgarh – of King Kumbha of Chittor

Enter Mewar and look around – you will find yourself surrounded by forts to the point your eyes may stretch & beyond that. These forts are generally accompanied by lakes, ponds or bawris (stepped wells) now tended by localites who would don colorful attire from top to bottom. While ladies will be seen in tye-dye…

953 Jharokhas and one big Hawa Mahal

A king admires a palace & secretly wishes to build a similar/ better one in his own country and thus ends up building a beautiful, huge palace with many outlets to the outer world. The search for a ‘home’ never ends. A home – that’s yours, where you find peace, where you can be yourself….

The state of colors: Rajasthan

Like most kids, I also dreamt of fantasy lands where there were mountains of chocolates and taps full of Maaza. My fantasy land was perfect. I could watch TV all day, play whenever I want & roam around wherever I want. There would be no restrictions and I would feel at home in that place….

12 Lifetime experiences from Incredible India

‘Which one is your favorite place?’, people often ask me. And when I take time to think about one, they are like, ‘Come on, there’s got to be a favorite’. And I think harder but I can’t seem to place one as favorite over others. Because it’s just not the places but what you have…