Ticha Satkar…. A story of Admiration

I remember the blog I wrote on women’s day 2 years back. This year I read a story about women’s admiration, from my favorite story teller my mother. After reading it I realized how much connect and influence I have from the Women in my family.

At times we just ignore these subtle blessings of being part of family that has such thoughtful, free and educated women while we effortlessly keep getting permissive.

Instead of writing more on the story, I would prefer to post it here as a surprise for my Mom. The story is in Marathi. Initially I planned to translate it in English for this post. However, The richness that comes in native language could never be replicated in translations. So Here we go..

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Written By Mrs. Meenakshi Raverkar

Please Click to read pdf. ‘TiCha Satkar’

 

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Indore…. A paradise for food Tourism

 

P.C.: Google Images

Today on the occasion of 73rd Independence day, at Lal quila, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about a very interesting thing “tourism”. In last few years, there has been a significant rise in Indians planning international holidays. A well-traveled citizen can contribute same to the society if not more than a well-educated citizen. If we refer to history, travel was an integral part of the scientist, philosophers, and socialists. They travelled and brought the best out of the world in their countries. But to do so, it is very important that we know our country first, we know the best practices in our country, we should know the best part of our culture, our traditions, our history and of course food.

We all know that India is a country where every 50 miles, the climate, language, tradition and eating habits change. A simple question comes to mind that if Indore has to attract tourists, what it could be? What is USP? and within a second the answer comes: “The Food”. Food and Love bind people across the globe and we are blessed that Indore is full of love and filled with foodie people. Not the entire country, but after travelling almost all major cities of India, I can say that the kind of variety of food that we Indories have, no one else in this country has. We have a sense of pride for our city, where ever we go, each Indori carries that. And food is one thing that binds all Indories across the globe.

A lot of people are passionate about specific tourisms, like mountaineering, biking, hiking, beach holidays, camping, star gazing, jungle safari and many more. Then why not we initiate for food tourism. A tourism in which you try different cuisines. We should look at Indore as paradise for food tourism. In India, People are crazy for our food particularly the Chappan dukan and Sarafa night food stalls. The taste of JoshiJi’s dahi wada and Johny hotdog is unmatched. Khopra patice from Vijay chat house is a must try and a true idori’s heart lies there. Many of us are fan of Sapna Sandwich since college days. Of course I need not mention the all time favourite poha jalebi.  I see foodies from across the globe coming in and having best of their eating experience for food. If any city in India can initiate food tourism, then it essentially has to be Indore.

Food tourism will definitely add more tourist coming to Indore, Indore can have making and cooking experience centers for tourist. During a visit to Cambridge, one person asked me about the recipe of papad. People are very determined to try making Indian recipes as it takes efforts to make. Making some Indian dish gives them a sense of achievement. Having experience centers for making the Indori snacks and visits to various innovative food zones will compel foodies across the globe to come over. Tourism improves economy of the place. More people coming from outside compel the governments to put infrastructure. Indore citizens have proven their determination in Swachh Bharat Mission not just one time but every time. Indori wants to improve, get better out of the best. A clean environment and good food is the best combination for relaxed food travel destination. I am convinced that we together can achieve this. What about you? Shall we make Indore… a paradise for foodie?

Reconnecting with YOGA!!!

IMG-20171221-WA0047Although yoga was part of my upbringing; after teenage, I kept on getting busy in lot many other things and yoga shoved off. Soon I put on weight, got back pain, neck pain problems, etc. etc. I got alarmed when I noticed thyroid levels being high at the age of 28 and decided not to have any further lifestyle diseases.

 I started doing Yoga at home it helped control weight and back pain but I started reaping real benefits of yoga when I joined a Yoga studio called “Sohum Yoga studio” near my house. Mr. Umesh Dwivedi, my yoga teacher helped me get rid of the everyday thyroid pill. His way of teaching yoga is very effective for lifestyle diseases. And this was the time when I got reconnected with Yoga. I could not only maintain weight and manage back pain but also my tight muscles got flexible and relaxed. It got me more inclined towards Yoga, then Ayurveda, and eventually into the Indian traditional way of living. This was not enough… I wanted to do more and learn more.

Iyenger yoga is relatively newer way of practicing yoga. I got a little insight to it at Himalayan Iyenger Yoga center at Dharamkot. It’s a lovely center in Dhauladhar ranges. I met few passionate Yoga practitioners there. Here only I read Patanjali yoga sutra and learned about Ashtanga yoga. My belief towards yoga got stronger.

Yoga is a magic that we have inherited from our ancestors. It has tremendous healing power both physically and mentally. Unfortunately there are very few real yoga practitioners in present day. We have mix of power yoga, cardio, aerobics etc. in the name of Yoga at many yoga centers. There is a serious need for promoting research in purest forms of yoga.

Yoga is not just doing some pose but it is learning to balance, be stable, control body and breathe and be calm. Yoga is way of life. I can never have enough words to express my gratitude towards Yoga and people from whom I learned the little yoga that I know.

The Hometown

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To me Indore… is synonymous to hometown, parents, childhood. It reminds me of the mischiefs that me and my partner in crime (my brother) did.  Its streets remind me of every moments I spent with my friends. Its markets remind me of tenacity to buy something. Whenever I told someone that I am basically an Indori, the first reaction I got was oh… its famous for food right? And I always nodded proudly. And always added Indore’s Market and city’s culture to it. But my city is changing now. It’s making the nation proud. It has got a new identity… “The cleanest City of India”.

Swach Bharat abhiyan (cleanliness drive) was launched in year 2014 and Indore City was declared as the cleanest City in India’s first swachchata sarvekshan (Survey) in 2017 and I am confident that the city will make it this year too. The way, Municipal Government is driving, is . However, It’s the spirit of Indore Citizen that helped city achieved what it has achieved. People are so involved in act that in my every visit some or the other person asks “do you find the city cleaner?” and when I answer positively, I can see the pride and satisfaction on their face clearly. This taught me few thing. Firstly, if you want to drive something from the roots, the sense of belonging in everyone is must. Secondly, you must seek for continuous improvement. And lastly, its people who drive the change. I see the change in mindset. Even if somebody throws something on the road by mistake, other person will pick it and drop in the designated bin. When citizens get it in them, the governance becomes easier. Yes… My hometown is changing and I am loving it.

 

A thought on Equality

On the occasion of 109th international women’s day, I wish all lovely ladies, a very happy Women’s day. I am sure you enjoyed the day.

Today. We are living in a world where many girl children are abandoned, very few get opportunities for education, every other day we hear news about sexual harassment or domestic violence and many are deprived of basic health and hygiene. If the woman is educated and independent, still she suffers for lack of safe working environment and fights for equal pay and opportunities.

There are many mind blocks put sometimes by society and at times by woman herself. There is an endless debate on the role of a woman and her ‘code of conduct’ in the society. Today each one of us is so opinionated about men and women that we naturally say or act in particular way.

But did we have such discrimination all along our thousands of years of history? I don’t think so… In ancient India Women were taught war skills, political skills, they explored and studied Vedas and Upanishads same way as men did. They also had authority to choose their partner, they had ‘swayamvar’. We worship Godesses and celebrate them. Depiction of Saraswati for knowledge, Lakshmi for wealth, Durga for Power, Mahishasur mardini for justice are the evidences that women had a lot of respect in ancient India. Nauvari sarees are proofs that women fought war or at least knew war skills.

There are many socio-political events and invasions that changed Indian culture. And in many aspects, what we call Indian culture is not actually “the Indian culture”. I do not intend to get into history but want to make a point that its time we get back to our basics.

I do not believe that role of a mother is superior to that of a father, sacrifice by a sister is bigger than that of a brother or home maker is a wife and not a husband. But I believe, and each one of us should believe, that life is same for everyone so everyone should get equal opportunity to live it to fullest.

In nature’s lap

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Away from urban lifestyle, without any pollution, only smelling soil and trees, only hearing birds,  feeling the calmness of the chilly breeze, experiencing every breathe, the nature gives a wonderful treat.  The peacefulness of the nature reflects in smiles, gestures and in life. We start living life. I am experiencing the same thing here right now. Mountains have always attracted me. This time on my solo trip to Dhauladher mountain ranges, I decided not to do anything that spoils nature not eating packet food, carrying water with me always so that I do not buy any bottled water, drinking coffee/ tea in mugs or glasses.  and trying to walk all around the hill station. I find myself more close to the nature this way. A calm afternoon at a small cafe sipping tea or coffee on the mountains  watching people, children, monks around with out making any conclusion about life is a retreat by itself.

I never thought that seating quite close to a waterfall can make mind so quite. Watching snails move could make heart so happy.

Yoga and trek are adding more life to this trip. The mind is more peaceful and free.

 

Paris: the city of art, Museums, fashion and love

IMG_0137When we decided to take a break in Paris on our way to US this May, we prepared a long to-do list for my first trip to Paris. We had 4 days there. It was quite inferential that we won’t be able to see all listed places and decided to just go with the flow. We had booked hotel near Gare de l’Est. If you plan to use public transport, then staying in vicinity of a metro station can save lot of time. We reached in the evening, checked into the hotel and went for a small walk before dinner. It was raining and quite cold outside. Nice weather and good food gave a warm welcome to the city of art, museum, fashion, culture, love and whatever you want to call. This city is like a charismatic lady with a great style. Everything looks so perfect that you don’t like to take off your eyes.

We started from Sacre Coeur as most Museums were closed on our first day owing to Labour Day. We walked most of the day and got the flavor of the city. Alas… What style and glamour the city has. I strongly believe that to get the true flavor of the city, you must walk on the streets. And here we are Champs Elysees. What a lovely place. So vibrant yet so formal. You get sunlight till very late in evening. It might go up to 9 PM. we were quite hungry by that time, and looking for some vegetarian food was a big task, as French apparently do not opt for vegetarian meals. Well… I and my husband both eat eggs, so if we did not get good veggie option, we asked for eggs.

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Champs Elysees

Next day we started with masala dosa at Sarvanna Bhavan near Gare du Nord. And we geared up to get Paris Pass which we had booked in advance and put it to full use. We also get 2 days metro pass and Museum pass along with Paris pass. This gives you free entry to many Museums and attractions with in the city. To be precise… after getting Paris pass, we paid entry fee only at Eiffel tower, all other entries were free including river cruise… although there are long queues at every museum/ attraction for pass holders as well. But I recommend a Paris pass, if you are planning to visit many attractions in Paris in 3-4 days. It’s a good deal.

For next two days we used the free metro pass and museum pass and visited many of the attractions. And last day we went to palace of Versailles. The palace is very huge and beautiful. Not just the architecture and art work of the palace makes it special but its vast garden are jaw dropping too.

At the end of the four day trip I had many photographs, a caricature, souvenir, chocolates with me… But the most important are the memories, that perfect city layout from the top of Eiffel tower, the evening spent at champ de mars, the Mona Lisa painting , the Mummy at the Louvre’s, perfectly preserved paintings, artifacts, and other objects of historical or cultural significance in different museums can never be erased from my memory. I can only try but can never express my experience of city called Paris. To me its city of perfection.

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Picture taken from top of Eiffel Tower (Paris is ready to Host Olympics in 2024).