My first Mumbai rains & the onslaught thereafter!

There are two things that Mumbaikars love to talk about – evening party scenes & Mumbai rains. The first time I experienced Bombay rains was the first of that season. In May 2019. I was returning home from Phoenix mall, Kurla. I was just 5 mins away from my place when all of a sudden,…

12 amazing experiences in the land of one-horned rhinoceros, Assam

After having visited Sikkim in 2021, I have been craving for more of Northeast India. You know, how greed works. 😀 Not for exploring mountains, waterfalls or altitude, but for finding an escape from the daily life, for reminding myself that life can be simpler & meaningful, and for meeting people who haven’t yet been…

4 days and 3 nights in Odisha: a travel itinerary

It was my parent’s 30th anniversary. Actually it was the 31st anniversary but we will pretend that it was their 30th. Because 30th sounds way cooler than 31st. 😉 We wanted to celebrate with them by taking them out on a holiday. My father was still working at that time, and he was still not…

The smoky Dhuandhar Falls of Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh

Dhuandhar Falls are situated in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Famous for its Marble Rocks, Jabalpur is also the launchpad/ central point for the most beautiful Tiger Reserves of India such as Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench & Panna. While the best time to visit the falls is monsoons, I happened to pay a visit in…

Indian Coffee House and it’s smoking, hot stories!

It was a beautiful day. Humidity was at its peak. Temperature was soaring. I was getting thirsty every 30 mins. My black kurta was drenched in sweat, and my long hair were coaxing me to use the rubber band. But I didn’t want to break the character. With a bindi on my forehead, I was…

10 things to do in Hyderabad and soak in the royal air

Back in 2008, when I first visited Hyderabad with my mother, I was surprised with how friendly the city was. Wherever we went, we found people who readily helped, with a smile on their face. Since then, I have been to Hyderabad numerous times to attend conferences, business meetings or simply to explore the city….

Sabarmati Ashram | The stunning start to India’s Great Independence

“A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi Situated by the bank of Sabarmati, Gandhi Ashram (also known as Sabarmati Ashram) is a place of mythological significance, a place of worship, the land of duty (Karmabhoomi) & a significant milestone in India’s Independence journey. On 12th…

Abandoned tales of an admired country: Kashmir of Incredible India

Disclaimer: This post is a combination of my experiences as a child who lived in North India & as an adult who has worked with people from Kashmir, travelled to Kashmir & spoken with locals. I do not claim anything. I know no mechanism to decipher truths. Only stories…that I am sharing here. All pictures…

10 things to do in Calcutta (Kolkata), the cultural capital of India

Vir Sanghvi once said, “Calcutta is not for everyone. You want your cities clean and green; stick to Delhi. You want your cities, rich and impersonal; go to Bombay. You want them high-tech and full of draught beer; Bangalore’s your place. But if you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta.” Having lived…

Thin air, low Oxygen & high altitude: Zero Point, Sikkim

A night before trekking to mountains or any other gruelling travel, I go to bed early. My body, soul & mind reach a consensus like it often happens between cross-functional teams before a tight deadline. There’s a certain calm that I feel with no anxiety, no worry and no bad memories. No matter the content…

Seven Truths about Bihar, Jharkhand & Chattisgarh

Most of you know that I was on a personal mission to visit all 28 states (29, then) of India by 2020. My own 2020 mission! I was making good progress and had done 15+ states by 2018. But then, life happened and all my travel plans were stalled & readjusted. It happens. It’s Life….

The Savanna of India: Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar

The best things in life are often chanced upon. They make their way into your life serendipitously when you expect them the least. The same thing happened to me a few weeks back when we had planned to spend a day in Velavadar. It was supposed to be a halt on our return journey from…

The flamboyant & the cinematic City Palace of Udaipur

Wherever you live on this planet – India, Asia, the US or Europe, chances are that you have heard of (or stayed in) this luxurious, heritage resort of India that floats on a lake – the magnificent Taj Lake Palace of Udaipur. Taj Lake Palace (formerly known as Jag Niwas) is known for many reasons…

A piece of Portugal in Diu, the Diu Fortress

The most fun part about taking a road trip is the luxury to take a stop whenever, wherever you want to. You can improvise the itinerary on the go & visit the places that you won’t visit otherwise. This is why I love road trips. On one such road trip to Gujarat, Diu became a…

Igatpuri, in the Western Ghats: found on maps but not by cabs

Like a coin, every tourist place has two sides. There’s often a known side that’s exaggerated in blogs & glorified by travellers. It’s usually the good stuff that someone would tell you about after having spent their hard-earned money on a trip to that place. And then there’s an unknown side that everybody knows but…

Bodh Gaya, and the lessons of life!

I was in the queue, adjusting my mask & ensuring social distancing. My family was already inside the premises & I was still at the security check. Queues frustrate me – not because I have to wait for my turn but because there’s always some pushing & shoving going on. People behind you want you…

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…

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…

Ditch your routine and chase the monsoons in Goa

Most of the days I wake up dreading what’s awaiting me during the day (not all, but parts of it). Some days I wake up with a smile on my face, because I got to sleep till late that day. No points in guessing that those days belong to weekends. Sleeping till late is not…

The trip of a Lifetime: 7 nights & 8 days in Leh Ladakh

Did you have a best friend when you were growing up? The one whom you would look forward to meet every evening. The one who would totally get you, talk to you the way no one had, listen to your problems, give you workable solutions & won’t make a big deal out of anything. The…

How you can take 12 trips in 12 months

‘How do you travel so much?’, I am often asked. The simple answer to this one is, ‘Well, I want to.’ Then, people ask me how do I manage to travel so much. Well, to that, there’s a bunch of things I do to manage travelling in a schedule as busy as it gets. So,…

Mehrangarh Fort: a photo story

My close friends tell me that I am an old soul. And they are right for I am an old soul. I love all ancient things & I see the beauty in them even if they are broken, ruined or chipping away. But some old things are as good as new. Ain’t they? Mehrangarh Fort,…

The Golden Sunset from the old Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

One of the many luxuries that travel brings with itself – is the gift of time. You could wake up at your own leisure. Go, take a walk, come back, rest some and then leave for the sight seeing. There’s just no better way to relax than this. Right? Well, no. Wrong! While we might…

Built Four, Shown Two; Char Minar from the city of Nizams

“Banaunga Chaar, dikhaunga do” said my Guide pointing towards the three, visible minarets of the Char Minar and moved forward with a stride that was increasingly difficult for me to match. We were in the acoustic marvels of India where you could clap at one end and the echo of it would be heard at…

The place of epiphany: the great Ashoka & Kalinga War

After having won the never-before Kalinga, the great emperor achieved what no one had done before him. But at what cost? This question would haunt him day and night & soon the great Mauryan emperor renounced everything and turned a monk. Over the years, he would play an instrumental role in heralding Buddhism in Indian…

The Scotland of India: Coorg, Karnataka

“Why don’t you go to Europe? It’s gorgeous.” “If you can’t afford Europe, explore Asia. That’s equally beautiful too.” “What’s so great about India that you take every other trip domestic only.” And if you think that, you clearly haven’t explored India because you can draw parallels between every other foreign exotic location and an…

The Jewel of India: Kashmir

Imagine yourself opening a box that’s been lying in the storage of your house. You don’t want to go, open the box because you dread the dust, the allergies & the dark. You know the box houses precious items but you put it off because – “who would enter the moist, damp & dark storage?”….

Paradise on Earth – of Tulip Gardens, Kashmir

गर फिरदौस रूहे ज़मीं अस्त  हमीनस्तो, हमीनस्तो हमीनस्तो!  If there is a paradise on earth, It is this, it is this, it is this! I never knew that Kashmir was so beautiful until I saw it. I often heard about the place as a child & I grew up reading about Kashmir & its beauty…

The eternal sunshine of a snow-clouded mind!

Tons of ice-creams, volumes of ice & electricity bills running to pages – is how we beat heat here in North India. For all the love we have shown to the moon in our poetry and novels, we ended up offending the big daddy & he has decided to teach us a lesson with soaring…

Shhhh! The pursuit of Erotica in Khajuraho

An overnight train journey in a second AC compartment with a bunch of young people, my book & a good looking husband who knows a lot of random stuff is how my pursuit for erotica began. As I busied myself with the days of Malgudi, a chemistry was building up between the guy I married…

India beyond mountains & monuments: the incredible life

When Yann Martel won the Man Booker Prize in 2001 for his book, ‘Life of Pi’, many applauded his writing style, his imagination & the ability to build characters. Look at the protagonist – Piscine Patel, who was teased as Pissing patel, and his ingeniousness to rechristen himself as ‘Pi’. Tremendous & Terrific! I, however,…

The incredible Karnataka: of beaches, lighthouses & hills!

I have never been a party person. Those have always bored me with their obsession with absence of Vitamin D, music that threatens your eardrums & rules about how to dress up, who to speak with & how much to speak. I don’t like that. I like places that let me be where I can…

The Surviving Wheels of Time of Konark Sun Temple, Odisha!

What do you think when you think of time? Plenty at hand? Never enough? Fast slipping through fingers? Or Who cares? Or do you wonder where did it all go? I regularly look at my wrist watch & back calculate – how much is left till I finish this presentation, excuse myself from another meeting…

Jai Jagannath – echoes of enigma that remain a mystery!

“Jai Jagannath! Jai Jagannath! Jai Jagannath!” The small compound was echoing with these loud shouts. And with that went many hands in the air, of devotees! I was tempted to join them in chanting when another sound came from the background. It was a familiar sound; I had often heard it in movies – typical…

What they don’t tell you about Travelling – that goes wrong!

It all sounds state-of-the-art: weekend getaways, candid shots, losing oneself in the middle of nowhere & leading a life that’s a little better, a tad bit more fulfilling & slightly enriched than others. But travelling is not always as glorious as the listicles or podcasts make it sound. It’s uncomfortably sometimes, can be dangerous if…

Five ideas of perfect Valentine holiday destinations!

Come February & people begin talking about Valentine’s Day. From the time I can remember, there used to be such energy in school that we no longer needed Physics Classes to understand Laws of Conservation of Energy. We just knew. Exams would be round the corner. Revisions would be on. But the second week of…

Where they worship a Royal Enfield: Incredible India

India is an incredible country. We got all sorts here – admiring cows, paying respects to Banana & Banyan trees, marrying little girls to the idols in temples, worshipping in a place riddled with mice or bats & planning excursions to places with large ice bodies. And we do all that in style, in faith…

Chasing Strawberries in Mapro Garden, Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar

Some of the best memories of my life somehow have food in it. These memories – of a great conversation over holidays, gorging ourselves with rum & raisin cakes, a late night party with pizzas and drinks, a trip to some place remote with nothing in tummy but Maggi & Chai & the best –…

Top five holiday recommendations for the first long weekend of 2018

Much like the first date of teenage years, I am excited, hopeful & highly optimistic about the first weekend of this new year since this means vacation. Have you thought of the venue yet? 26th January is a Friday (drum roll) & the non-banking populace of India can spend these three days in style. It’s…

Bhimtal Diaries: The station near the hills

A chanced picture on my Facebook feed, a familiar name and the appetite for a break took me to Bhimtal last year where I spent three days, off the grid. No Facebook, no WhatsApp, no emails and no phone calls. Don’t believe it? Okay, 3 phone calls every day. Still, don’t believe me? Well, a…

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…

Of Incredible India: Asaf-ud-Daula & Bada Imam Bara of Lucknow

Unmatched Heritage, proud legacy, splendid stories, indigenous craft, envious art & architecture & delicious food – India is all that & more & this is precisely why India is incredible. In this series, we will bring the untold stories from the nooks and corners of the country, waiting to be heard. Stories from the forgotten…

Hungry for travel? Here’s your 2018 bucket list!

2018 is here and with that comes 16 long weekends and at least 20 days of paid leave for us – lesser beings – who have to work (supposedly) 9 am to 6 pm, five days a week to earn a living & thus the means to – travel, travel & travel. No matter how…

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….