My approach to life – 50 things I have learn’t.

  1. Dont stress! For every problem there exists a solution. Trust me. Find it. It’s there somewhere.
  2. Read. There is a world hidden amongst words, and sometimes an answer to your questions.
  3. Make work fun. I have a friend who has to travel 3 hours back and forth, thrice a week. He has a picnic breakfast, en route,with fellow travellers who are now, thick friends.
  4. Have a drink with your friends. Look them in the eye and say cheers!
  5. Hear Music. It has the capacity to uplift you , or to stir up your emotions. Catharsis both ways.
  6. Travel. When you don’t have money. You will see things, you cannot – from fancy hotel rooms.
  7. Travel. When you have money. You will experience a different side of your destination.
  8. Cook. It’s an important skill – and – it’s amazingly de stressing.
  9. Eat healthy. Binge on healthy food, nibble on junk.
  10. Exercise. Every day. Minimum 5 days a week. Without fail.
  11. Take Deep Breaths. Conciously. We don’t take in enough oxygen.
  12. Walk. It’s the best way to see the places you travel to.
  13. Pray. It helps. It heals.
  14. Talk to your kids. About everything. Decisions – family matters – grief – loss. Just everything. They are more intelligent than you think.
  15. Don’t become friends with your kids. Who will be their parents?
  16. Be polite to those who work for you. I once sat with two men for dinner. The difference between polite and harsh was so vast, it made me rethink what I want to be.
  17. My friends mom always told her – don’t fight with your spouse and sleep. Resolve the tiff, or then, decide to call peace till next morning.
  18. Hug people you like.
  19. Don’t be bullied or black mailed into spending time with people you don’t want to.
  20. The people you love ? – Hug them extra hard.
  21. Take naps. Sleep always makes thing better.
  22. Tough decision to make? Sleep over it. I promise you – the morning will bring clarity.
  23. Make girl friends. (Women — This is for you!)
  24. Take girls’ only trips.
  25. Learn something new every year. Let your self be challenged. Let the brain cells exercise.
  26. Dance. Even if you have uncoordinated, buckling feet.
  27. Make your bucket list. Start ticking off your bucket list, earnestly and immediately.
  28. Hug a small baby.
  29. Pour out your emotions to a dog. Nothing is more unconditional than that.
  30. Keep a clean house. Clean office. Clean mind.
  31. Follow your intuition. Your soul will always guide you.
  32. Meet your school friends. They have seen you poop in your pants. What more can they judge?
  33. Stare. At nature. At the sky. At the sea. Into space. When you come out of the reverie a few questions will be answered. Trust me on this!
  34. Meet your siblings. Have dinner with them. Talk to them. They have shared the womb you came from. The same blood runs in you’ll. What can get closer?
  35. Walk bare feet. On the sand. On grass…..
  36. Sleep on grass. On sand. Let your body meet the earth.
  37. Sit by the sea. Aimlessly. No agenda. The wave more than roars. It whispers. To you – personally.
  38. Start that hobby – the one you always wanted to. Time waits for no one.
  39. Laugh! Loudly. Happily. Copiously. 
  40. Sleep in late. Laziness is good – sometimes.
  41. Take care of your parents. They have lost at least 1000 hours plus of sleep on you – and continue to do so.
  42. Do something unusual at least once a year. Milk a cow. Bungee Jump. Take up martial arts.
  43. Don’t let age EVER get in your way. Shrug at them nay sayers and carry on.
  44. Make your kids skip school once in a while. And take them for a movie or to the park. The bond made that day stays forever.
  45. Drink loads of water. Loads.
  46. Eat on time.
  47. Don’t forget romance.
  48. Wear what you want to wear. Whats the point of wearing something in fashion and almost having an asthma attack because its so uncomfortable?
  49. Follow a rainbow. They might not exist. But they sure are pretty. Don’t let your dreams rot! Act!
  50. LIVE. BREATHE. LOVE. BE HAPPY. SMILE. LAUGH.
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Oktoberfest – Munich

The fact that we were found sleeping in our own beds, and not huddled under a park bench, is still a mystery to me. Such was the copious amounts of alcohol consumed.

Munich – Oktoberfest- Beer drinker’s haven.

My boys in beerland!
My boys in beerland!

If you don’t have a table booked in a tent (and if you do, you are my bestest friend ever!)- well then, there is away out – ahh! Way in!  Once the fest opens up, and the mad rush to consume beer abates a wee bit, make your way to the festival grounds, on a week day. We went on a Monday. When we reached the grounds, we saw that they were allowing people into tents. Exhilarated we all ran in. Our beer loving friend, ran around cajoling the beer servers ( mostly women) and got us a table.

What’s the big deal about a tent you say? One can sit outside and drink too — open air and all that!

Sure!! So we thought. But the tent was complete madness. They had a band playing in the centre, and suddenly a man would get up and try to go bottoms up on a litre of beer! And everybody around him would cheer him, egg him on, the band would pick up a beat to keep in time with him, and if he failed the entire tent of 3000 people would boo him! But if he made it…. he was proclaimed a hero!! AND – if he stood on a table to gather attention, he would be unceremoniously escorted out of the tent! But only after he made his attempt at the bottoms up!  We had to vacate the tent by 6 pm though!!

 

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The music band inside the tent
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Sitting outside
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Bottoms up!

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My beer crazy friend! See the size of the glasses
My beer crazy friend! See the size of the glasses.
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IMG_2277 Beer glasses are cleaned with lightening speed! And filled as rapidly as a fighter plane breaking the sound barrier.

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Beers arrive in barrels. On horse carriages. Horses with shining coats, going clip clop.     

When we went to the fest in 2013, we were shocked to see rides. What were rides doing in a beer fest?! One half of the fair ground is all rides. And the fair ground is massive. Unbelievable rides, horror shows, and the works. It put universal to shame!

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This one swings and then drops down! FAST!

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Haunted House.

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It takes you up, up, up. Makes you

wait, keeps you hanging, then – DROPS!

Viktualienmart   This is an open farmers market (open through the week!) We stopped here for lunch. The vegetarians had options of fresh breads, dips, magnificent display of olives, cheeses of all kinds, and smoothies and juices (you think we touched juices??!!)  The non vegetarians – went mad! Bratwurst! The world famous – Pork suasages. We had to use a wad of tissue paper to stop their saliva from drooling, as we were sitting right next to the stall and the smell was making them loose control! Word of suggestion – eat and go for the beer fest! And there is no place better than this. Also pick up some good gourmet stuff to take back home. I picked up some red chillies. They just reached out their spicyness and whispered wonderful things in my ears.

Dallmayr: Very fancy gourmet store. They have this orange liquor called Naranja. YUM!

 

Restaurants and Pubs: Munich is the gourmet destination of Germany. You will be surprised with the food.

Hofbräuhaus München. Old german style restaurant. Great food. Try their mushrooms.

Augustiner Dom : Old School german. comforting.

For some gourmet names – click here.

Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl   : for them pork sausage lovers.

The Lowenbräukeller : Beer garten! My favourite beer in Munich.

Some more famous names.

We did not do too much of eating and absolutely no sight seeing. Concentrated only on drinking. Both the times I was there.

The hotels are frightfully expensive during this time. And if not booked on time – not available.

Go with friends. We went, just two of us, in 2103. It was amazing. But with friends (and mind you, they should be a little on the eccentric side) – it’s an unforgettable experience.

Eat well before the fest. Go to different tents and taste all kinds of beers. The Weiss beer in Munich is very very nice.

Cheers!!

Mr. Jaysinh Mariwala – my mentor, my guide.

I have had a very rough year! (There I admit it!)

The elder kid left in 2012. I felt like my arm had been wrenched out of my body, and my skin was peeled from my face. At some point the husband and me settled down. Every night when she was safely in bed, I could function without hyperventilating. In 2014 the younger one left. I thought I had my emotions down pat, and knew how to deal with the hollowness!! Not true!

The twilight hours would find me moping around. I have lots to do, a busy household, work and great hobbies. But nothing seemed to light up and shine! I needed a dose. A shot of effervescence and bonhomie.

I had forgotten about Jaysinh Mariwala.

Mr. Jaysing Mariwala
Mr. Jaysinh Mariwala

I met him 3 years ago, in Mahabaleshwar. He helped shape our house, and helped shape me.

When I entered uncle’s home for the first time, I heard loud ear blasting Indian Classical music. He and me clicked instantly. How could we not .. love of whisky, cooking, books, and indian classical vocal music – in that order. (He has a humongous and stunning collection of music.)

He cooks – and so well. I must have eaten quite a number of meals at his place, and not once have I ever eaten the same dish. One evening he made fondue, and when I put a piece of the cheese covered bread in my mouth, the taste left me so surprised I almost choked. He had cheekily used blue cheese and made his own version, and man was it good! It just illuminates the point of how creative he can be!

He cooks, he paints, (they are all over his house and range from abstract to realism) he reads, he conducts music concerts, he gives talks, he treks (Yes – still! Twice a year – Himalayas and other obscure places!) and he runs his own Hospital, which has taken off and is now extremely successful. By now, I mean – it’s only 4 years old. He did something as amazing before that – I am sure.

A few months ago, I was sipping whisky and chatting with him. He said, a week before that, he felt a tightness, in his chest, while playing golf (Hmm! that too.) and again the next day when he went for a walk (Yes! that also – he is amazing I am telling you!). So he took himself off to the hospital, and by the time his daughter in law came running in, (he lost his wife some, many years ago) he had already signed himself in for an angio and further action if required. And a week after that he was in Mahabaleshwar, porting around a sorted heart, after undergoing a stent placement! And (Yup! that’s not the end!) he went for a trek to Nagaland one month after that.

And (there are many ands to this man!) a few months before that when I met him, he was sporting heavy bruises on his face. Seems he had gone for a trek and a small stampede happened and he rolled 40 feet towards the crevice of the mountain and stopped rolling at the nick of time. Undaunted that man, still got up, put an end to the trek, saying he knew when to retreat, and planned another one a few months later!

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uncle and the husband.

When my husband meets him, I see adoration and extreme happiness in his eyes. We always go home smiling and grinning. The past seems more happy and the future is welcome with all its angst. He is my injection and my guide.

I keep his picture handy. I keep him in my mind. When small problems of life attack me and threaten to spill my confidence I think of him. He says he never feels lonely, living alone in the woods, as he does. He has so much to do, where is the time to feel lonely and unhappy.

The man has had 2 by pass surgeries, and a few stents. He still lives, still drinks, still walks every morning, still laughs and God! Tells bawdy jokes after a couple of drinks!

He does not apologise to life and does not let life apologise to him. There lies the secret of his success, because he knows that there is nothing he cannot do.

I stopped feeling bad for myself. I stopped the self pity. For I have uncle as an example to guide me. I meet him and my life shines. I talk to him and I hear the voice of a mentor. I drink with him and enjoy the whisky even more.

I love that man. And he is all I ever want to be.

 

MY UNIQUE MARIWALA UNCLE

PS: HE KEEPS SNAKE ANTI VENOM IN HIS HOUSE – KNOWS HOW TO AND, HAS ADMINISTERED IT TO MANY PEOPLE!

Budapest

I’m afraid, this post is going to be about only drinking and partying. No touristy info, no gyaan and no insights. I cannot – because all we did for 6 days was drink, laugh till tears stormed our cheeks (and in that state, how can one look around?) and ate.

It was hot in parts, in the middle of Sept. So if you don’t like the heat, DO NOT go before that. It was crossing 40deg C in the earlier months.

We have friends who lived in Budapest for 16 years, and they still go there ever so often. Nothing like a local showing you around. We saw places small and big, wonderous and awesome because they took the pains to take us, and show us the side of Budapest most people would not see. Unfortunately they were as mad as us, and as uninterested in tourist shit as we were.

What you must know about Budapest —

  • It is cheap. I mean in terms of money. The currency is called Forint. It is lower than the Indian Rupee!!!!! Yes! I swear! They did not adopt the Euro. So 10000 Forint is 2500 INR.
  • The population is as classy as the currency is cheap. The women were hot, well dressed and gorgeous. Alas, the men were not fat, but just about ok looking!
  • Buda and Pest are two sides of the city, divided by the Danube river. Buda is more residential, ultra green and some places are out of a fairytale book. Pest is the commercial side, with the Parliament and shopping and restaurants etc.
  • Check out the weather before you leave. Unlike other European countries, Budapest has a more temperate climate. Having said that, they still get very hot summers and cold winters.
  • Stay in the Pest side.
  • Uber is not easily available. Nor are taxis. We got caught in a cats and dog kind of shower and were stuck without a taxi for 30 long, soaked minutes! On a normal evening (and no evening was normal for us!) Taxi’s can be booked. Do not hail off the road. It seems, they charge way more. Use the METRO ,TRAMS and BUS. We bought a 3 day pass, and it was super convenient. Most, to all, parts of the city is covered by the public transport. Very efficient!
  • Eat early. Most restaurants and pubs stop serving food, by 10pm.

 

EAT DRINK PARTY

The first thing I have to share and the most important are the Ruin Pubs.

 

Ruin Pubs.
Ruin Pubs. Planked and boarded. Chipped Paint. But OH! so wild!!

When the Lehman Brothers crashed, many people who had bought out dilapidated buildings to renovate and flip over, were told by their bankers that they can no longer be funded. One genius turned his half boarded, semi falling down (but safe), planked, unpainted building into a pub. And called it a RUIN PUB. It became an instant hit and took off as a fad. For one drinks and parties harder, especially when the money is chewed up and gone. To forget!! To live!! (Hungary has just got on its feet again!) So – the ruin pubs! They are huge. And most of them play different sorts of music in different floors/ areas. Its not your classy pub. Just the way it is, boarded up, with peeling paint. But the food, booze and music is world class. (and cheap!!)

Some of the ones our friends took us to – Instant. Fogasház. Let me repeat —– GO THERE. Even if you are 80 years old and reading this ( I don’t think I have an 80 year old reading this .. ) The concept is mind blowing.  ( I would have used an F word here – but i might have a 60 year old reading this)

Gozsdu Courtyard. This place is mad. Its a huge alley, with pubs, restaurants, fast food joints and Strip clubs (Yeah!!) on both sides. It’s a You – will – definitley  –   find –  something –  of  – your  – taste- : kinda place. We went almost all nights. Food in most places shut by 10 pm but one can party till dehydrated and puking! UMM! The men in this holiday want to make sure I let you know about — KLIK. Ladies strip thingy. In the middle of Gozsdu! (But what the hell – even I thought it was an excellent marketing gimmick)

Cactus Juice. Very nice underground pub. Great food.

360Deg Roof top bar. Fab fab views. Great drinks. good food. But hey!! Either book, or go early!

Gödör Area. Amazing place. Its an open pond. With an adjoining garden. Get your food, drinks and sit by the pond and eat and more importantly – drink! Hear the music some kids are playing around you. Chill, relax and let go.

Gödör
Gödör   Breathe – Enjoy – Relax.

Frucht Térász. Open air bar close to this pond.

MIKA. Great open air restaurant. Bump into loads of tourists here and meet some interesting people.

Bordo. Another open air restaurant. Great food.

Rakpart – Pier Bar. Bar by the waters. Great feeling, sitting by the river, sipping drinks.

Tokio. Amazing amazing oriental food. Good for vegetarians also. Very close to the river.

Pomodoro. First class Italian food. Must go.

Bombay Curry Bar. Now this one!!– you have to go to. Even if you are not craving Indian food. The food was fresh, wholesome. The service warm and welcoming and the decor very brisk and entertaining. They have 2 restaurants. One in Andrassy area, and another in Corvin area.

Sugar Shop. I am a pastry chef. It takes a lot for me to get excited about desserts!! This shop was a marvel. Very cute, excellent pastries and great ice creams. They even have a candy store.

Daubner Pastry Shop. I want to work there.. in their bakery! Frankly the pastries were nothing I want to dance and sing about, but their baked goods!! OH MY! OH MY!  Things I have never had before. Sorry!  Cannot go on with the description. It evokes very hungry lusty memories! Its on the Buda side, so use that time to drive around and see the greener side of this crazy city.

Gelarto Rosa. Near the Basilica. Firstly it’s not only a gimmick, the flavours of ice cream available are humongous and they also taste amazing. Fresh. Fantastic.

Famous Rose Ice cream
Famous Rose Ice cream

Choose your flavours. Try and choose at least 2 distinct colours. Why —-

 

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That’s why!! 

BESIDES THE EATING AND PARTYING:

SHOPPING :  Shop!! A lot! Because it’s way cheaper here than anywhere else. Because every thing is available here. Because retail therapy will keep you away from drinking too much!

My friend who is an Louis Vuitton fan, entered the shop to check out the prices and came back hyper ventilating and flapping. It took her two long sips of water and a few deep breaths to tell us all, that the prices were low! Needless to say, pockets got burnt.

Go to the Andrassy Avenue for all the designer stores.

For smaller more intimate stores ( and even the bigger names) go Tovörösmarty tér.

Vass Shoes: Very famous custom made shoes. My husband had a huge grin on his face for the entire hour he was there and for a few hours post that! They have for women too, but its more famous for men’s shoes.

THERMAL BATH. We went to Rudas. Awesome, must do experience. On Sundays men and women are allowed together. Carry your costume and be prepared to soak up a life extending experience. I will not describe this is detail. All I will say is – go! HAve fun. Relax.    PS: Carry a botlle of water! See the details here!

Basilica : you will end up passing it.

Basilica
Basilica

For stunning, panoramic views and great pictures, go the to Castle District.  Look for events taking place. We went when a chocolate festival was on!

 

In parting – I do tell thee! Budapest is happening! Amazing and Outstanding. If you like to see something different, feel something different .. make  your trip!