Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waiting for Monsoon :)

Sweet-smelling wet soil, cloud-speckled skies and the sounds of raindrops lend a certain kind of freshness to the air to give a heartfelt introduction to monsoons and prepares you for the magical moments...

After scorching heat of this summer everyone is eagerly awaiting monsoon. Monsoon in India is dramatic. It's beauty can not be described in words. Parched land suddenly gets soaked with  water and earthy smell of first rains waft through the air.I can't wait to smell first rain.

As heat is increasing, weather is predicting for monsoon coming. It has touched Kerala this week, hopefully by next week we will welcome tiny drops, which converts into soothing rain..

The Monsoons are pouring in the South... I love monsoons, the pitter patter or pouring rain, the thunder, the lighting, the first rain smell... I m missing it all now, thought we saw small drizzle few days ago and climate start stabling in these hot parts of India. Once it come, Agra will become more beautiful and green. And I m waiting eagerly for it!!

Rains bring freshness in our surroundings... Check out some Rainy pictures :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Favorite Novel: Out of My Mind

As an avid reader, choosing one of my favorite novel isn't easy. I have read hundreds of books over the years. but there is one novel that stands out in my mind... OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper.

Imagine not being able to walk, talk, or do anything for yourself. Many can not imagine life wihout being able to express their thoughts and feelings to others. This is reality for Melody, a fictional character who have cerebral palsy. As a person with a physical challenge, I can relate to some of the challenges that Melody faces.

Out of My Mind is about a fifth grader named Melody who has a photographic memory and is very intellegent. The problem is she can't talk or write and her only source of communication is through a communication board with words and pictures. Doctors and teachers believe that she is incapable of learning. Therefore she is placed in a special education class where she is taught repeatedly the same alphabet lessons with other students who babysat instead of taught.

One day, Melody becomes fustrated with the repeated lessons in class. It is realized that she needs more than just the same old alphabet lessons and Melody is given an opportunity to attend classes with other fifth graders. Now she faces new challenges such as bullies and preconcieved assumptions. She is able to atend classes with an an aide of a college student. Another breakthrough comes when Melody is finally given a "voice." Her "voice" is given through a special device which allows her to type in what she wants to say and it speaks it for her.

Melody is given the opportunity to prove her intellegence when her class enters a competion. They make it the Nationals but inclement weather forces the team to leave ealry without Melody's knowledge. When she learns this information, she is devastated. One day a near tragic accident occurs, Melody's couragous act changes how everyone views her.

I liked this novel because Sharon M. Draper does a wonderful job making Melody a couragous inspirational person instead of someone to be felt sorry for. We do not see many books about children or adults with a physical challenge unless it is a life story about a famous person. Unlike Melody, I can walk, talk, write, and do a lot for myself. Still I can learn many things from Melody, that the urge of knowledge and constant trying is the key to success.

I think that this novel is a great way to educate people about cerebral palsy. This novel is a tribute to children and adults who live with cerebral palsy and to the people who take care of and support them. I believe if people took the time to educate themselves about people who live with physical challenges this could break down some of the stereotypes that is very common today.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chandigarh: The best planned city in India

Chandigarh is the best-planned city in India, with architecture which is world-renowned, and a quality of life, which is unparalleled. Chandigarh is a union territory of India that serves as the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana. The name Chandigarh translates as The Fort of Chandi. The name was coined from an ancient temple called Chandi Mandir, devoted to the Hindu Goddess Chandi, present in the city's vicinity. It is occasionally referred to as The City Beautiful. 

Chandigarh stands as the first city in India to be designed from ground up. It was established in 1953, a few year after the partition of British India into the nations of India and Pakistan in 1947. The Government of India under prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru hired French architect Le Corbusier to plan the city.

As the first planned city of India, Chandigarh is known internationally for its architecture and urban planning. As per a study conducted by Ministry of Urban Development, Chandigarh has emerged as the cleanest city in India, while also topping the List of Indian states and territories by Human Development Index. Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas in Northwest India. Chandigarh has the largest number of vehicles per capita in India. The administrative control of Chandigarh is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Main Attractions:

Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, or ChattBir Zoo, is a zoological park located near Zirakpur, that houses hundreds of different mammals, birds and reptiles. One of the major attractions of Chatbir Zoo near Chandigarh is the lion safari. The work on zoo had started long back in the seventies and today it has been developed as a full-fledged zoological park. The Royal Bengal tiger is the pride of Chattbir zoo. Visitors are taken on the adventurous trips to the Asiatic Lion reserves, where animals roam about freely. You can also find distinctive species of birds. The zoo is open every day of the week except Mondays.

Rock Garden and Aquarium in Sector 1, Chandigarh, created by Nek Chand, now sprawling over 64 acres of several thousand sculptures set in large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges, Nek Chand's creation also combines huge buildings with a series of interlinking waterfalls. Built of industrial waste and thrown-away items, it is perhaps the world's most poignant and salient statement of the possibility of finding beauty in the unexpected and accidental. Chandigarh rock garden is an epitome of creativity and innovation. It is a unique garden that consists of various art objects. But the best part about the rock garden is that each of its artwork has been made by using industrial & urban waste. It is located in Sector 1 between the Capitol Complex and Sukhna Lake. The credit for laying its foundation goes to Nek Chand, who was the then Road Inspector in the Engineering Department of Chandigarh Capital Project.

Shanti Kunj garden ( Shanti Kunj - Abode of Peace ) in Chandigarh is situated at a very peaceful place that is free from any noise and pollution. Therefore, it has been rightly named as Shanti Kunj. It is located between the Rose Garden and the Cricket Stadium in Sector 16, Chandigarh, India. In the Chandigarh Shanti Kunj park, you can find different varieties of plants and trees like vertical shaped trees, trees that provide shade, trees apt for environment and flowering trees. Also the garden contains a plenty of medicinal plants that are utilized to cure several diseases,rees, streams, pools, crossed by curved bridges & meditation nooks, spread over 18 acres of land. There is a natural stream that runs through this garden and also is responsible for dividing the whole area into five different segments.

Sukhna Lake in Sector 6, Chandigarh, a beautiful man-made lake created in 1958 in an area of three square kilometers. A Recreational spot, the lake provides facilities for boating and water skiing. Surrounded by lush green vegetation. Sukhna Lake is a beautiful lake that lies in the foothills of Shivalik range. Sukhna Lake serves as a great picnic spot and due to calm and serene atmosphere it is appropriate for morning walk and meditation as well.

Rose Garden, Zakir Hussain Rose Garden Asia's largest Rose Garden located in Sector 16, and is spreaded over 30 acres of land having over 1600 different species or roses. Chandigarh festival of gardens is one of the most popular festivals listed on the national calendar of festivals. It is a three-day extravaganza that is held in the month of February, mostly during the last week. Initially, this festival was called Rose festival and was started to motivate people to visit the rose garden and savor the marvelous sight of the blooms.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recycling Stuff...

These days, it’s not uncommon to be told that we all must play our part in saving the environment by recycling. But is it actually worth the effort? Well, look at this statistic: the average plastic shopping bag takes roughly 1,000 years to entirely decompose in a land fill site. Keep in mind, you’re just talking about a single bag so that’s a very long time. Estimate the number of trash bags you use each year in addition to those plastic shopping bags. Then times that by everybody in the country… it all adds up. A good idea would be to recycle the bag instead of letting it sit in the landfill slowly breaking down. Hundreds of things are recycled nowadays, for instance old worn tires are chopped down and utilized as tread for playgrounds and plastic shopping bagsplastic bags can be remade into clothing. Majority of items are candidates for reusing.

Even though it may look like that the recycling efforts of one person can’t make a difference, multiply that small difference by everyone in the world and the results could be phenomenal. Also, recycling can help to generate money for poor residential areas while benefiting the earth. Everyone wins... 

Maybe you don’t realize how long it actually takes every item you throw away to rot. It was mentioned befre that a plastic bag takes roughly 1000 years to entirely break down. A glass jar may actually take up to one million years to rot and styrofoam may never rot at all while other items, such as disposable diapers and milk bottles, can take hundreds of years. This can all be recycled, so why just throw it away?

Taking even small amounts of time to recycle can help to make the earth a nicer place for the generations that will come after us. Always remember: RECYCLE, REUSE and REDUCE..

Obviously, there are several things we can’t recycle at the moment, but with the technology becoming even more advanced we might find new ways of recycling and new uses of different materials. For now, there’s absolutely no reason we aren’t able to recycle plastics, metals, and glass etc. Recycling these items is reasonably convenient, so it’s a great idea to help the earth. With each person doing their part, we can all make an impact.

Why is recycling important?

Recycling Saves the Earth
Recycling Saves Energy
Recycling Helps Mitigate Global Warming and Reduce Pollution
Recycling Reduces Waste Products in Landfills
Recycling (ALSO) Helps in saving Money

As the population of the world increases, recycling is becoming increasingly more important. Let’s not only focus on keeping your home-town Green and Sustainable, let’s join and share this message with friends, families to make our planet healthier.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Delhi Dining...

Delhi, the capital city of India is one of the busiest metropolitans of the country. Being a major political hub, celebs center and one of the famous tourist a destination, the city attracts people from all over the world. The availability of varied cuisines makes the city of Delhi famous as a gastronomical destination.

Special Cuisine of Delhi

This capital city of India does not have any special cuisine, which can be related solely to the place. Though, being the city, which was earlier ruled by the Mughal dynasty for centuries, one of the most popular cuisine in Delhi is Mughlai. North Indian delicacies are even quite famous in the city.

Other Cuisines of Delhi Dining

Delhi got a mixed culture owing to the fact that from time to time the place has been invaded by Mughals, Afghans, Turks, Parthians, Scythians and British who did leave an impression of their characteristic food habit over the city. Apart from the favorite Mughlai food, a food lover can even taste sumptuous Indian, Chinese, Italian or Continental dishes served by the different restaurants in the metropolis. Besides that, Delhi is famous for its road side food. 

Famous Restaurants in Delhi 

Be it renowned cuisine or any road side junk food, Delhites are very much fond of tasty food. Connaught Place, being the heart of the city, houses numerous famous restaurants. Besides this, the Village Bistro Complex is even a popular dining destination in Delhi. Some of the renowned restaurants in Delhi, which are a must visit for a food lover, are:

Diva: Launched by the renowned chef Ritu Dalmia in the year 2000, Diva is a known destination for people who love Italian food. The place is more popular among youngsters for its perfect ambience.

Moti Mahal Deluxe: Moti Mahal, the first choice to all Delhite food lovers, is known for its  Mughlai taste

Punjabi by Nature: As known from its name, this restaurant is famous for serving heart-winning Punjabi dishes. In its exclusive interiors, Punjabi by Nature offers many  specialties which you can never found anywhere else.

Mainland China: Mainland Chin is famous for serving varied Chinese delicacies, even serves some of the best Chinese platters in Delhi. The place attracts food lovers for its extensive menu served in high class decor. Mainland China has 2 outlets in Delhi. 

Saravana Bhawan: Die hard south Indian fans prefer this one for all the authentic South Indian food.

Gulati’s: Offers buffet lunch, Good food and peaceful ambiance. The Kulfi shop just outside the restaurant is a must have.

Some of the other desired dining destinations in "Delhi Dining" are:
The Yum Yum Tree
Bukhara - ITC Maurya

Indian Accent
Slice of Italy
Smoke House Grill
Boheme for Mediterranean, European, Italian, Spanish

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Shopaholic in Me...

I have never referred to myself as a shopaholic- although I'm sure my family attest to the fact that I am one. I love shopping- I agree. But I'm not the manic shopper type who has to shop come what may. I don't empty my coffers at shops and I haven't sold my soul to the Devil in exchange for designer duds. At least not yet. :P But I enjoy shopping. I love the feeling of popping in and out of stores, finding out the latest trends, sometimes just window shopping or trying out a couple of clothes or shoes. And sometimes actually buying stuff.

Shopping in India can be a delightful and thrilling experience where you will be able to buy just about anything you are looking for. One of the fun parts of living in Delhi is discovering young designers. And there are many. 

I recently discovered a new line called Neiya, a collection of funky dresses with great prints and bold colors. The designer makes them to order - all at very affordable pricing.

The other day, I took a stroll to Dilli Haat bazaar. It designed to give the feel of a traditional, rural village market, Dilli Haat features 50+ individual handicraft and food vendors representing the many, major cultures and regions of India. So naturally, one will find the hand block paper products, wooden handicrafts, ethnic jewelry and stuff like that.

Recently had a chance to explore Moon river Defence Colony, Delhi. This luxury shop has oodles of gorgeous items - home accessories, art, fashion, jewelry and textiles. Check it out if can.
Some people shop only when they need to. Some shop when they have loads to spend. But for me its fun whether I have $400 to burn or just $50. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Delhi Zoo...

The Delhi National Zoological Park is among the finest Zoological Gardens in India. Situated near the Purana Quila or the Old Fort, near ITO, was established in 1959 and is spread over a massive area of 214 acres and has 22,000 variety of animals and birds. Within the din and bustle of the city this is one place where you can find a serene environment. The visitor enter the park through the Mughal Kos Minar and they get the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the expansive garden.

Though the gateway you will find a beautiful gravel path that will divide quickly. To the left is the administrative building and the library while to the right you will see the path leading to the zoo. There are lots of animals like Gir Lion, Zebras, Spider Monkeys and Chimpanzees, Rhino etc. You will also have the opportunity to see innumerable reptiles and birds. Comb Duck, Parakeets, National Bird Peacock, and many more.

What is noticeable is the philosophy in which the park is maintained. There are about 200 variety of trees displayed here. All the species of trees are properly maintained and there is a description for each of these. The zoo offers fine travel facilities and there are mobile vans that you can board for a tour.

Timings summer 08:00 to 18:00 hours, winter 09:00 to 17:00 hours. Closed on Fridays and National Holidays.