Jagjit Singhji-A Legend

होशवालों को खबर क्या बेखुदी क्या चीज है…This song allures and fascinates me even today. That soulful voice, soothing vibration timbre of his tone mesmerizes me, makes me believe that someone is longing for me, waiting for me and i am waiting for him to express his love for me. 

चिट्ठी ना कोई संदेस, जाने वो कौनसा देस …This song makes me weep profusely every time I hear it. Anyone who has lost his/her loved one can relate with it. In addition, the Universal Ram Dhun by him calms me, embraces me with its warmth and builds a peaceful aura whenever I listen to it.

I only knew Jagjit Singji for these songs and few more. However, they have a long lasting impact on my heart. But, after watching documentary on his life, i regret for not listening and appreciating his sublime and immortal work. 

His life was a sheer example of immense hard work, love, courage, and humour. His tussle for finding work clarifies that the only technique for success is to struggle and persevere until you are succeeded. Jagjit Singhji  recorded his voice for a commercial “Dalda Ghee” during his struggling days and that proves that it’s not about talent it’s about sustaining at every step of your career ladder. Many come and go, however, one who a stands in rain and storm eventually gets to the shore. This man persisted and made it, not easily though. If it was easy, we would not be admiring him and I would not be writing about him.

While listening to his songs or while watching him performing in traditional attire no one in his wild dream would imagine that he had keen interest in gambling on horses. In fact, he owned many horses. He had a life that every man would dream for. Fame, money, friends, parties, and celebrations! However, dreams are brittle and reality is hard so dreams gets shattered quite often and ultimately one is bound to live in reality.

There are many fears a person faces in life and to me the worst of all is losing the loved one. I know there are many like me, however, each of us at one point of time will have to face this fear. How JGSingh ji and his wife dealt with that loss and how Chitraji survived with another loss fills your eyes with tears and leaves a void in your heart as well. She was unable to sing and lost her identity after that traumatic experience. The way Jagjit Singhji gathered his senses and kept swimming in the pool of cold-blooded reality shows his tremendous courage and spirit. He intentionally kept his humorous side alive so as others do not feel gloomy around him, and this is a sign of a person who is deeply drawn in spirituality. To practice karma and dharma without getting affected by it.

The negligence I shown in past by not savouring his work and his voice is now converted into a conscious desire. To listen him, to cherish his soulful voice, and to get soaked in his euphoric effects.

I would recommend all music lovers to watch this wonderful film on the life of Legendary Jagjit Singhji titled as “Kaagaz Ki Kashti” now on Amazon Prime.

Mediocre(સામાન્ય) હોવામાં શું વાંધો છે?

કામયાબી કે પીછે મત ભાગો, excellence કે પીછે ભાગો કામયાબી જખ મારકે પીછે આયેગી. પણ ઍક્સેલન્સ મેળવવું એ ફરજીયાત નથી. Mediocre(સામાન્ય) હોવામાં શું વાંધો છે? દુનિયા નાં કદાચ 95% થી પણ વધારે લોકો મિડીઓકર હશે. Dictionary માં આ શબ્દ નો અર્થ low quality કે ordinary એવો કરે છે પરંતુ ordinary હોવું જ કુદરતી છે. અસામાન્ય ટેલેન્ટ તો ભાગ્યેજ જોવા મળે છે.મિડીઓકર હોવું એનો મતલબ capable નથી એવું બિલ્કુલ નથી. માસ્ટર્સ ની ડિગ્રી ની વેલ્યુ જરૂર છે પણ માસ્ટર્સ કરવાથી એ ફિલ્ડ નું બઘું જ જ્ઞાન હોઈ એ શક્ય નથી. કોઈ પણ વ્યવસાય કે ક્ષેત્ર માં નિપુણતા(શ્રેષ્ઠતા નહીં) પ્રાપ્ત કરવા માટે પણ પોતાના સમય અને પ્રયાસો નું પુરી નિષ્ઠા થી સમર્પણ કરવું પડે છે અને છતાંય ત્યાં અટકવાનું નથી હોતું સતત મેહનત તો કરવાની જ હોઈ છે.Excellence કોઈ ડેસ્ટિનેશન નથી એ continuous પ્રોસેસ છે. રોજબરોજ સાયન્સ, ટેકનોલોજી, આર્ટ્સ, રિસર્ચ માં એટલા આવિષ્કાર થાય છે કે કોઈ પણ ફિલ્ડ માં એક્સપર્ટ હોવું તો દૂર ખાલી ઈંફોર્મશન ને અપડેટ્સ મેળવવી ઇસ ઓલસો એ બિગ ટાસ્ક. હાં આપણી આસપાસ એવા ઘણાં લોકો મળી જાય જે એક્સપર્ટ હોવાનો ડોળ કરે પરંતુ એક્સપર્ટ હોવાનો ક્લેમ કરવો અને સાચે જ એક્સપર્ટ હોવું એમાં ઘણો તફાવત છે. Genuine એક્સપર્ટ વ્યક્તિ ક્યારેય એ કહેશે નહીં કે હું એક્સપર્ટ છું કારણ કે તે સતત વાંચતી, વિચારતી અને શીખતી હશે. પોતાની જાત ને એક્સપર્ટ સમજવી એટલે આપણે પોતાની વૃદ્ધિ અટકાવી દીધી એવો થાય. લોકો જ્યારે કોઈ વ્યક્તિ ને એના ક્ષેત્ર માં આગળ પડતી અને સફળ જોવે એટલે તેને એક્સપર્ટ નો ટેગ આપી દે છે. ખરેખર એ વ્યક્તિ mediocre જ હોઈ છે જ્યારે એણે એની સફર ની શરૂઆત કરી હોય અને હજી પણ ઘણી બધી બાબતો માં એ mediocre હોઈ શકે. Mediocre વ્યક્તિ સફળ ના થઇ શકે એવું નથી, ઘણા કિસ્સાઓમાં સફળતાને આવડત જોડે કોઈ જ નિસ્બત નથી હોતો.સફળતા માટે બીજા ઘણાં બધાં પરિબળો પણ જવાબદાર હોય છે. ઘણી વાર લોકો કહે છે કે આપણા થી આ કામ ન થાય એ તો expert લોકો નું કામ છે અથવા એ ફિલ્ડ માં આપણા જેવા લોકો ના ચાલે ત્યાં બધા એક્સપર્ટ લોકો જ છે. હું માનું છું કે આવું બોલનારા લોકો એ છે જે હંમેશા કંઈ નવું નહીં કરવાના excuses જ શોધતા હોઈ છે. બાકી આજકાલ તો ડ્યુઅલ ફિલ્ડ આથવા career ની fashion છે. Today Engineer is also an Actor, Doctor is also a Writer, Actor is also a Chef, Singer is also an Anchor.(and who does nothing is a Spiritual Guru 😉) ઑફકોર્સ, કોઈ પણ degree લઈ ડૉક્ટર નથી થઈ જવાતું, પણ હું જે sensible અને practical છે એવા વિકલ્પો ની વાત કરું છું. જ્યારે કોઈ પણ વ્યક્તિ બીજા ફિલ્ડ માં કંઈક નવું કરવાનો પ્રયાસ કરે છે ત્યારે એની પાસે કોઈ એકપર્ટ talent નથી હોતી, એ નવા ફિલ્ડ માં પોતાની હિમ્મત અને મેહનત થી જ મિડીઓકર માંથી એક્સપર્ટ ક્વોલિટી કાર્ય કરવાનો પ્રયાસ કરે છે.
વિચારો માં ક્યારેય mediocrity આવવા ન દેવી જોઈએ, અને જ્યાં સુધી આપણાં વિચારો ઉચ્ચત્તમ અને આપણે કર્મનિષ્ઠ હોઈએ ત્યાં સુધી આપણાં સપનાઓ ને આપણે પાંખો આપી શકીએ છીએ.હરહંમેશ શીખતાં રેહવું એજ એક્સપર્ટ quality છે. જ્યારે મન, મગજ અને પ્રયાસો એક જ દિશા માં સાથે મળી સફર ખેડે ત્યારેજ ઉજળા પરિણામો પ્રાપ્ત થાય છે. એમાં excellence ની નહીં મક્કમતા અને મેહનત જોઈએ. હું તો મારી જાત ને આજ થી નહીં હરહંમેશ થી મિડીઓકેર જ માનું છું, પછી એ સ્પોર્ટ્સ હોઈ, સ્ટડી કે profession. Even આઈ એમ mediocare in writing, dancing and singing so what? હું જે પણ કરું છું એમાં રસ લઈ મારી આવડત નો શ્રેષ્ઠ ઉપયોગ કરી sincerity થી કરું છું. કશુંજ પામવા કે બનવા માટે નહીં પણ મારા પાસ્ટ કરતા કંઈક અલગ અને ગમતું કરવા. મારા વિચારો માં સાધરણતા નથી એ તો હંમેશા થી જ extraordinary છે😚.
જેમાં રસ પડે એમાં ઝંપલાવવું, નવું કરવું, નવું શીખવામાં ઘસાવું, અને નવી દિશા માં છલાંગ મારવી.ન તો કામયાબી પાછળ કે ન તો excellency પાછળ કે ન તો પોપ્યુલરીટી પાછળ. આપણા To Do લિસ્ટ માં નવા નવા કર્યો કરવામાં double tick થવું જોઈએ એજ આપણી સફળતા.Mediocre લોકો બધું જ કરી શકે છે, એકપર્ટ બનવાનું અને કામયાબ થવાનું burden ના હોઈ તો !
So don’t let yourself down if you are mediocre (સામાન્ય). In fact, celebrate it because you are burden free. You are free to Explore.Experts have the burden to deliver,you do not.
“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.”
~Mary Kay Ash

beyourself #trynewthings #explore #experiment #write #mediocrityisokay

પ્રેમ એટલે …

રોમિયો જુલિએટ, આદમ ઇવ, દેવદાસ પારો જેવી ક્લાસિક lovestories જેમને આપણે epitome ઓફ લવ ગણિયે એમાં સહજીવન અને લાંબો સહવાસ સુંદર રીતે કેમ ગાળવો એનું કોઈ એક્સપ્લેનેશન કે એક્ઝામ્પલ નથી. પ્રેમ માં પડી જવું સહેલું છે પણ એજ પ્રેમ ને વર્ષો સુધી ટકાવી રાખવો અઘરો છે અને ઘણાં કિસ્સાઓમાં પ્રેમ અદ્રશ્ય થઈ જાય છે. એનું કારણ કદાચ ઇન્ટેગરિટી અને વિલલિંગનેસ નો અભાવ હોય છે. જેવી રીતે રોજે ખિચડી ખાઈ ને કંટાળો આવે એમ આ લાંબો સહવાસ પણ boring બની જતો હોઈ છે. એને ઇન્ટરેસ્ટિંગ એન્ડ હેપ્પેનિંગ રાખવાં માટે chef બનવું પડે, જે એજ બોરિંગ ખિચડી ને અલગ સ્વાદ, રૂપ, રંગ અને અંદાજે પેશ કરે. Decoration એન્ડ ગાર્નિશિંગ નું પણ એટલુંજ મહત્વ હોય છે. Chef નો એની વાનગી પ્રત્યે નો પ્રેમ એની બનાવની લગન અને પેશકશ માં દેખાય છે. મન, મગજ,પોતાના માં રહેલી સઘળી આવડત, creativity અને સમય જ્યારે એ સાદી વાનગી માં ભળે છે ત્યારે જ એ સ્વાદિષ્ટ અને લિજ્જતદાર વાનગી બને છે.

અતિશય ભુખ લાગી હોય ત્યારે સ્વાદિષ્ટ વાનગી ની જરૂર નથી હોતી, એન્જિન નવું હોઈ ત્યારે મેઈનટેનન્સ ની જરૂર ઓછી પડે છે તેવીજ રીતે પ્રેમ જયારે પ્રારંભિક તબક્કા માં હોય ત્યારે માવજત ની જરૂર ઓછી પડે છે, પરંતુ સમય જતાં એની efficiency ઘટે ત્યારે એને દેખ રેખ,જાળવણી અને કાળજી ના લ્યુબ્રિકેશન ની જરૂર પડે છે.પ્રેમ ના મધ્યાનતરે વિવિધતા અને રંગો સાથે નો સંગ જોઈએ જ્યારે અંતિમ તબક્કે સમય અને કાળજી નો સંગ જોઈએ.

મેં નજરે જોયેલું સહજીવન અને અપાર પ્રેમ નું ઉદાહરણ મારા નાનાજી હતાં. એમનો પ્રેમ મેં એમની યુવાની દરમિયાન તો નથી જોયો પણ ઘડપણમાં ખૂબ જોયો છે. અપાર પ્રેમ ની સીધી સાદી વ્યાખ્યા એટલે “અપાર કાળજી” જેની સામે ફૂલો, ભેટ,ડાયમંડ રિંગ, રોમાંસ અને શબ્દો પણ ફિક્કા લાગે. કોઈની કાળજી લેવી એટલે તમારાં દિલ અને દિમાગ માં એમના માટે સતત કંઈક સારું કરવાની ચાહ અને એ કરવા માટે અપાતો અમુલ્ય સમય. મારાં નાનાજી એ એમનો પુરો સમય મારા નાની માટે ફાળવ્યો હતો. નાની ને ઢીંચણ નો વા હતો, બેસવા ઉઠવામાં તકલીફ થાઈ તો માલિશ પણ કરી આપે, સમયે સમયે આદું લીંબુ નું પાણી અને અનેક જાત ના ઘરગથ્થુ નુસખા કરી નાની ની સેવા કરે. મને ત્યાર થીજ સમજાય ગયું હતું કે પ્રેમ માં વાતો અને પ્રેમ ની વાતો કરવી ખૂબ સેહલી છે, અઘરું છે તો બસ એ પ્રેમ માં પોતાનાં શરીર, સમય અને અહંકાર નું બલિદાન આપવું..મારા મગજ માં ત્યાર થી જ love એટલે care એ વ્યાખ્યા છપાય ગઈ. અને care કરવા માટે સાથે રેહવું પડે એ પણ સમજાય ગયું. એટલે જો love માં પડીએ કે કોઈ વ્યક્તિ જોડે સહજીવન નું વિચારીએ તો એ lifetime જ હોવું જોઈએ એમ હું માનું છું. જો આ સંબંધ નો પાયો જ કાચો હોય અને confusion કે compromise થી બંધાયો હોય તો આ સહજીવન એક સજા બની જાય છે . સજા ભોગવી તો શકાય પણ માણી ના શકાય. એટલેજ પ્રેમ કરીએ અને સહજીવન નું વિચારીએ ત્યારે માઈન્ડ ક્રિસ્ટલ ક્લીઅર અને નિર્ણય રોક સોલિડ રાખવો પડે. બસ, પછી કાળજી ની છત્રી વડે જીવન ના આકરા તડકા નો સામનો કરવાનો જેથી પ્રેમ ના રંગો નિસ્તેજ ના થઇ જાય.

Love is never about you, it is always about your loved one.
Love is never about gaining , it is always about giving.

Mittal chudgar Nanavati

THE WORLD’S GREATEST EXPERIMENT-Large Hadron Collider

Building blocks of Universe- Molecules->Atoms->Proton, Neutron, and Electron -> Quarks, Gluons, and Bosons. It took around 250 years to discover this subatomic level after the inception of Newton’s universal laws of physics. Nonetheless, is it enough to answer the basic or say fundamental question of our existence? What are we or universe made up of? Where does the particle mass comes from? What is anti-matter? What is dark matter? Why gravity is so weak?

No, we do not have answers for all of these questions yet. However, we have come a long way from just proton, neutron, and electrons. Moreover, we are heading towards discovering new elementary particles and exploring new regions of the subatomic world with the help of Machine called LHC. With this experiment, scientists are anxiously waiting to discover new particles unique from the basic twelve particles that they have discovered. Ultimate aim of the project is to find the theory behind the particle mass.

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What is LHC-Large Hadron Collider?

It is a 160feet underground( approx-20 storey building) particle accelerator where protons are extracted from Hydrogen cylinder, streamlined and accelerated by super conducting magnets into two different channels (one clockwise and other anticlockwise) at 99% of speed of light and made to collide in the collision chamber, which is 27kms long. The machine is located at CERN headquarters near Geneva.

Astonishing facts of LHC:

  • Its magnets have -271*C temperature which is just 2 degrees above absolute zero which is the lowest temperature possible for any matter in the universe!
  • At the collision chamber, the temperature produced is more than Sun’s temperature!
  • There are around 600 million collisions per second in the collision chamber!
  • It produces 6GB data per second!
  • More than 10,000 scientists are working on this single project across the globe in more than 100 countries!
  • Cost for this project is ~50,000 Cr!

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Once a journalist asked to one of the scientists working on this project about the purpose for such an extensive study and the urge to know about the subatomic world. The scientist replied that as a child we all are inquisitive about our existence and curious to know how the universe is being formed. When we look at the sky, moon, or planets, when we see the things around us we are perplexed, but as we grow older, we get engrossed into daily grind of life and we move away from the fundamental questions of our existence. Such experiments and the results derived from it are the humans’ effort to keep the child within us alive, to have the freedom of thinking, questioning, and experimenting for betterment of humankind.

Here is the video explaining how LHC works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw3KuNgD-jE

Adorable, Affectionate, Sensible, and Out of the World- ‘INSIDE OUT’

‘Imagination’ ‘Emotions’ and ‘Execution’. Each of these behaviours has their own levels of intensities, which are of immense challenge to portray. Imagination is illimitable, Emotions are eternal, and Execution is the exquisite art of portraying Imagination, Ideas, and Emotions. Paradoxically, it is believed that there is no room for emotions in this world; the world is driven by smart execution. On the other hand, we realise imagination has wings, but rightfully, its implementation that provides significance to it. It is uncommon to witness an act that has stupendous strength of depicting of all of these behaviours substantially. However, lately I was stunned by the phenomenal elucidation of a story interweaved with subtle emotions and awe-inspiring execution. With customized usage of talent, traits, and technology the team of ‘Inside Out’ exemplifies the potentials of great story telling. An astonishingly creative and heartfelt love story of ‘Lava’ in the commencement of the movie leaves you flabbergasted and urging you to muse over the limitless imagination of the human brain. The exceptional animated short story of ‘Lava’ from Pixar and Disney elevates the expectations for the movie colossally.  The simple and absolutely raw story of a teen girl Riley attempting to settle in a new city and school could have completely turned out bizarre and outré if it had not been displayed with authentic audacity, wit, intelligence, innovation, and emotional essence. Riley and her five emotions will take you on a fantastic tour to your own head.

How was your day today? Where you Happy, Sad, Fearful, Disgusted or in Anger?  It is weird to imagine how the waves of emotions reverberate inside our head everyday. We are inept to recognize all our emotions or say we hardly pay any attention to what is going inside our head. Each of these major emotions plays a unique and integral role in our daily behaviours. There is a definite reasoning process behind the formation of each of our moods. Sadness is integral emotion of every human head, however, we tend to suppress it and focus on joy to conquer over sadness. Fear is foremost in any new task, activity, or circumstance and anger is eagerly waiting to blast with little upsets and setbacks. There are emotional imbalances in our head and we are unable to figure out why we are reacting in such creepy ways (For answers rush to the nearest theater).

Our head is an organization and these five emotions are working continuously on day/night shifts to exhibit the behaviour of ours in the conscious state. It is delightful to watch consciousness as it has been given shape and voice in this movie.  We are cognizant with the storage capacities of our electronic devices; however, we rarely pay attention to the core memories of our life, which are wisely stored in our memory storage. Memory fades away with time and even there is routine clean up activity in our head (Watch out the scene of memory clean up- it’s incredible!). So, it is essential to keep the core memories alive and safe in order for us to remain happy and joyful in our lives. This concept is explained marvellously throughout the movie (Dear Joy, hats off to your tireless efforts to keep us happy). The beauty with which sadness heals and comforts the heart by letting off the tears roll and weeping off the fears and ego defines the awesomeness of the art of execution.

After watching this movie, I have clearly understood the process going inside my head and the way emotions reflects it outside. Inside Out’s exploration of emotions will provide answers to your weird yet simple questions associated to your mood swings. No matter in what mood you are at present, just remember your well-wisher JOY is working terrifically hard to bring smile on your face.

Go rush for the movie, I bet you are going to be on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It is going to leave you enamoured with the story and its characters specially JOY and Sadness.

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A letter from INNER-SELF to SELF

While looking in the mirror today, an insightful thought caressed my mind and heart. Universe has embraced us with some exquisite qualities that we adore and we are obliged to live with it wholeheartedly. One quality that I adore the most and feel it is the epitome of my existence is my garrulous nature. My near and dear ones would strongly agree that it’s nearly impossible to cease me while conversing. My uncanny wit of conversing with utmost ease and genuineness is the foundation of my being. However, today I feel the craving of talking to myself. We have seen soliloquy acts played by actors and characters on-screen and stage. I wonder how I would perform this act as the dialogues are directly conveyed by my inner self(Maya). What Maya would say when she witnesses me playing the character of Mittal on this universal platform? Here is the monologue delivered by Mittal and written by Maya.

Hi there, it is probably the first time when the person residing within you, whom neither you nor others have ever seen, is going to chat with you. It seldom happens with individuals when their external and inner existence coincides. Individual is feverishly busy performing his role on this universal platform, however, there are times when he plays the role, but he himself is not existing in that role. You are bound to play pseudo roles may be of professional, personal, political, or social, which sometimes are inherently worthless to you. Your character in this universe may be attractive, strong-headed, and confident, but it is the perspective of others that describes you. It is not compulsory to masquerade in this world; however, every individual is masqueraded some time or other for different excuses and benefits. You and your inner self are not part of that defined perspective or opinion.

There are certain attributes of yourself that your inner self knows but your outer self never portrays. You need to remember that your purpose and cause is your charioteer for wheel of your life, not the crowd consensus. You are not a diplomatic genius nor are you an intelligent block. So do not let the geniuses of the world crunch your inner confidence, you are worthy for your innocent honesty. You are feeble in pretending, you are worse in witty answering, and you are worst in numerical approximation-its okay. Life is not all about questions, answers, and numbers. Life is simple with fewer questions, simple answers, and little numbers. You push yourself hard to act as you have planned but my dear don’t push yourself rather prepare yourself for the unforeseen outcomes. You and I both have witnessed divine results in absence of significant plans. You wear a beautiful smile on your face, yet, what makes it tough for you to have a loud laugh? Prayer, dance, and love are the traits that synchronize your inner and outer tunes, so why don’t you execute these traits more often? While you hate being lethargic, you are solely blissful while asleep; so don’t steal your bliss unreasonably. Solitude is the essential to you so give yourself that solo ride. You glow in get-together, you love to flow with festive colours, you are candid in celebrations, and you are actively engrossed in sports and events-these brings life to your being and these gives you moments to live. Gift yourself all these activities, events and celebrations, as these are elapsing over the time. Joyful tears in your eyes genuinely describes your ecstatic state of happiness, allow them to flow more often. You need to control your temper and practice patience; rest all will work my dear. Your love and your faith in love is unflinching-it is foundation of your being. Your love is mostly expressed via anger, and your care is seen in your orders. You have a unique style of scolding your loved ones with authority and right–Keep this upright. Don’t derail from the track of goodness and kindness as these are the virtues with which you have been living through.

Last but not the least you need to chat with me quite often, as these are the Pals you and I yearn for.

Yours -‘Maya’

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Divine Designed Trip To Batam-Indonesia

Life is full of uncertainties and the only thing certain is uncertainty. Well-planned things do not turn out at times, while most unplanned acts downpours with absolute happiness and pleasure. It was my impromptu act of applying visa for them, which led me to such a supreme pleasure of life: spending a month with my beloved parents in Singapore. All the events rolled out and within a week’s time, they landed into the Clean and Green city.

As the visit was unplanned and spur-of-the-moment, I was quite confused to choose from the quick getaways from Singapore. Malaysia was a good option however in Y2013; we had already explored Genting Highlands with them. KL-Kualalumpur is again a metropolitan city with glass buildings and skyscrapers. I was looking for an isolated place away from city, for leisure and to spend time chitchatting and gossiping with loved ones. Considering the travelling type, time, and seclusion, Batam-Indonesia was the perfect choice.

Batam is a small island in Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago. It is just a short ferry ride from Singapore. When looking from the high towers of Singapore, Indonesian Batam and Bintan islands appear very appeasing and inviting. Island promises completely contrasting environment from that of busy metropolitan city. There are two ferry terminals in Batam and three to four ferry agencies operates between Singapore and Batam. We preferred Batam Fast ferry for our travel and landed at sekupang ferry terminal. It’s perfectly said ‘Whenever you travel you have a story to tell’. And here it is. Indonesia has VOA(visa on arrival) and upon arrival at sekupang, we progressed for immigration. Unlike Singapore, where immigration procedures are trustworthy and visitor friendly, Indonesian immigration was not hassle free. Immigration staff denied VOA for my parents without any valid or sensible reason. They were aware about our holiday in their country, and our eagerness to resolve the matter. After prolonged discussion and negotiation they finally agreed to grant VOA( Ofcourse after we injected vitamin M). Such personnel and incidences tend to crumble the image of the country in the heart of their visitors. However, there are always two sides of the coin. Precisely, we cannot be judgemental about any person, place, or circumstance.

Indonesia’s currency is IDR-Indonesian rupiah and shockingly its 0.0047 times INR. Inflation rate in Indonesia was recorded at ~7.26% in June 2015. However, it is one of the potential countries in the world  for development and growth. Handling the currency transactions was a lot fun as there were 1 lac rupiah notes as well. Average rates of items were in million rupiah or more, so we need to convert them in SGD to correlate the rates.  

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Cab from KTM Resorts was waiting for us and once we were through the immigration, it dropped us at the resort. We were welcomed with a souvenir and a chilled fruit juice that refreshed and revitalized us. Resort is built at the coastline far away from the city and it is enormously spacious. The distinctive characteristic of the cottages was their structure. They were tree houses built on the substantial tree trunks. Resort had lush green lawns, huge trees, peaceful ambience, and above all quite surroundings. Resort provided in-house cab facility for commuting from room to dining and other areas. Dining area is projected a bit into the sea so one is able to hear subtle sound of the waves clearly. Dining or playing indoor games in this area, you would feel you are on the Cruise. Resort had all the essential enmities like Gym, Swimming Pool, Indoor games, Wifi, etc. We spent our first day in the resort itself roaming around, relaxing, playing snooker, Carom, and chitchatting until late night. It was amazingly savouring to play carom with parents after such an elongated time. Batam is renowned for its variety offerings of seafood. However, we being vegetarian, preferred our own lunch and snacks, ‘Ma k haath ka khana’( Mother’s made food). The city also offers one of the best soothing spas and massages for relaxation. Next day we had booked a full day cab for city ride and visiting some famous spots in the vicinity.

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After having breakfast at the resort, we headed for the city tour. First location was Adhi Vinayakar hindu temple. The temple reminded me of the havellis and ghats exhibited in the old Hindi movies. We offered prayers and then left for Nagoya shopping Mall in the centre of the city. Shopping mall was as usual but, the only distinctly surprising thing was it replicated items of all classy brands ranging from bags, perfumes, watches, mobiles etc. We were smart enough for not buying any item from the mall.

Barelang Bridge-an architectural marvel is about 25 kms from the city area. It is a chain of six bridges that connects various islands in the south of Batam. Barelang gets its name as an acronym from three islands’ name-Batam, Rempang, and Galang. The full stretch of six bridges is about two kilometres, built 40 meters above the sea level, which provides the spectacular view of oceans and islands.

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Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple is without doubt one of the greatest Buddhist temples in South East Asia. The primary chamber consists of statues of Buddha, and the side chambers are Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) and Guan Gong deity. Purity, serenity, and divine atmosphere enriched us with complete blissfulness. Beachfront family Fun Park was at superb location offering activities for all. We had teh tarik(tea) at the park and also coddled ourselves by riding enclosed roller car reminding myself to always keep the child inside me alive.

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Our trip to Batam was in a true sense ecstatic with divine design. As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned. That is what you call GOD’S WILL- Anonymous

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Coffee Culture and Sophistication

Last Saturday while having Mocha Latte @ Café Galilee in the national library, I wondered how the culture of Coffee has influenced our lives in recent times. These days, Coffee is the most popular and preferred drink across the world. With international chains located throughout the sphere, it is effortlessly reachable today than it was in the previous time. Adolescents studying in cafes with their notes, ipads and tablets, business personnel having meetings, couples having prolonged chatting, and others accompanied with books, mobiles, laptops etc. all of them enjoying their time while sipping their favourite cup of coffee. I am sure cafés are not good option for studies, however, when you have easy access as well as money, no doubt it will be your favourite place to hangout. Pondering on this thought scene from the movie-English Vinglish resounded in my mind where Sridevi was struggling speaking English and was fumbled while ordering coffee in the US café. This situation prevails with more than 50% of Indians who belong to small towns or cities or who are not familiar with this culture of English and coffee. They are earnestly waiting for their cities to be equipped with basic necessities of toilets and electricity, exposure to such westernized culture is nowhere in their ascetic expectations. Familiarity or acquaintance with this culture is not an individual characteristic or virtue that defines a person. However, we fail to understand, and either underestimate or overestimate a person based on their English-speaking ability and their cool demeanour in such international cafes and bars.

I have my roots from a small town in Gujarat where even today it’s hard to find any international coffee bar or food chain. Thus, it is quite natural not to be conversant with the universal coffee culture. I had my first encounter with this culture over a decade ago when I went to Café Mocha with my friend in Ahmedabad. Café was not an international chain franchisee that is easily accessible but it was an individual café bar with hookah facility. Passing through the aisle of hookah bar, we felt we were aliens in this westernised world. Youths with funky bold dressing, attitude in their gestures, power of paisa, their confidence and coolness, it clearly revealed they were born into a regal culture. The coffee place was sophisticated and fancy with an acoustic barrier from the outer world with pin-dropped silence. Waiter with pleasant dressing and perfect etiquette greeted us and gave us the menu. Glancing at the menu at the right side, (I guess you understood what I mean) I felt espresso was bearable to pocket and known to the senses through BRU and NESCAFE commercials. The place was classy, with creative ambience. There were many fashion & style magazines, newspapers, and books on the table. We were a bit uncomfortable but we were not making desperate attempts (I will come to this later) to be associated with sophistication. When the coffee came, I was utterly embarrassed with my selection as it was a pure black coffee without milk. Sugar sachets tangled me even more, as there were two types of sugar, brown sugar and white sugar sachets (now they also have zero calorie sweetener). I barely knew about their difference and application. With self-effacement, I added sugar to espresso and without asking for milk or anything else finished my so-called cup of espresso. We spent much lesser time in the café than the money we spoiled by ordering the wrong coffee. After this uncomfortable experience and making myself inferior, I decided to know a bit more about this coffee culture.

In Surat, one of my friends introduced me to café-coffee-culture, which I think is still one of the best cafes in the city. His obsessiveness with coffee and remarkable knowledge about the coffee beans types, roasting, aroma, and flavour was impressive. In GGCL, my workplace, we had CCD coffee machine which made me addictive to a daily dose of coffee. In Singapore, there are almost all worldwide coffee chains as well as superior individual café bars so one can have deeper insight into the royal culture of coffee. Once I was introduced; and now I am integrated with the world of coffee. I would never like to miss any opportunity to taste, read, or dig more information about it. Be it for its health benefits, its history, its variety, its preparation methods, its famous spots, its origin, etc. Of late, i came across the method of preparing coffee using filter paper. I believe whatever you learn you must apply so recently I bought ‘Boncafe Gourmet’ coffee that is prepared with coffee filter, and believe me ‘happiness is trying new things’.

I would come back to the desperate attempts people make to show sophistication. I think they ignore this thought- ‘Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication-Leonardo da vanci’. They try too hard to fit in, pretending to know everything, overdoing some behaviour, to show they belong in that elegant place. Pretentious people rattling their knowledge of cuisine and restaurants, the magazines and books they have read to show how classy, literary, and sophisticated they are. Elegance and class comes from a great deal of worldly experience, in-depth learning about the things, places and its people, and having a refined understanding of different cultures. It is also about being comfortable with differences, luxury, austerity, anywhere you go, and in any diverse circumstances. I am emphasizing on this to remind ourselves not to make judgement based on attitudes, appearances, and dispositions.

A person becomes sophisticated when he is liberated. When you are open-minded, accepting diversity, ready for different experiences and venturing into unknown you are liberated. Many simple yet captivating things around the world can interest you. Don’t think, fret, and sweat about not knowing because it’s the only key to know. You are born with natural curiosity to learn new things, just grab the opportunity. My next take is to learn more about culinary varieties and try my hand on them as well. What’s yours next take???

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If you are willing to gain from my story of ‘Coffee Culture’ here is an article from Times of India on ‘World’s most popular coffees’. It will give you an insight about the differences, combinations, and methods with which cappuccino, espresso, americano etc. are blended and served.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food/drinks-corner/The-8-most-popular-coffees-of-the-world/articleshow/45777353.cms

Nature’s Wonderland- New Zealand- Part-I

‘Nature’s wonderland-New Zealand’ as I call it. It is also called as ‘Paradise of the Pacific’ consisting of two main islands named as North Island and South Island, this archipelago lies roughly 2000km southeast of Australia. New Zealand was the last landmass on the earth to be discovered, making it the youngest country on the earth. New Zealand’s area is 300X of Singapore; however, bewilderingly population is equivalent to Singapore (4.5 million). That is how one can relate to the densely populated Singapore vs. sparsely populated Kiwi country. Free of traffic, free of queues, free of noise, free of pollution, and free of hustle, bustle, and jostling visitors. On this trip, we had planned to discover the nascent landscapes of southern island starting from Christchurch-Greymouth-Franz Joseph-Queenstown-Mt.Cook-and back to Chirstchurch. We had seven days strewn between these locations.

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Boarding a flight from stunning Sydney, we landed in charming Christchurch. Amazingly awesome weather as a melange of autumn, winter, and monsoon was an ecstatic experience. ‘Autumn is a season where every leaf is a flower’-Albert Camus. I have always been fantasized by the fall season captured and displayed beautifully on the big screens. The maple leaves in the movie-Mohabbatein have enormously enticed me that I landed in its lap in Chiristchurch. Maples leaves detached from their autumnal boughs formed a sunset orange carpet for us. Like a kid and with other kids in the garden I rolled, jumped and played with the bunches of yellow and sunset orange leaves. Your body blossoms and skin radiantly glows in such weather of fall’s colours, cold breeze, and tiny raindrops.

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A catastrophic earthquake created havoc in Christchurch in Y2011. It was a dreadful sight for New Zealanders that killed 185 people and shattered the infrastructure of around $15 billion. Some economists have even estimated that it will require 50-100 years for New Zealand economy to recover. However, the pace at which the construction works are going on in the city one can be optimistic about its fast recovery and growth.

After a day in Christchurch, we boarded a train to Greymouth. Tranzalpine train journey is one of the most scenic train trips anywhere in the world. It is operated by kiwi rail from Christchurch via Arthur Pass following the winding Waimakariri River to Greymouth on the South Island’s westcoast. Train has huge glass windows and one open coach to feel the climate, witness the gorgeous clouds cruising the misty mountains, and for taking pictures of the terrific terrain. We had a halt of around 2hrs at Greymouth station. It was a spectacular sight of bikers getting ready with their bikes, mountain hikers with their backpacks, walkers walking through the walking trails. New Zealand is a country with thousands of kilometres of tracks to choose from whether it’s for biking, hiking, or walking. There are some legendary cycling and biking events, which are internationally recognized and attracts the enthusiasts from all over the globe.

I was quite amazed with the conversation I had with a girl traveler or backpacker from The States. Her story or journey truly implicates what travelling is. She was in New Zealand from past three months traveling along the North and South Island all alone. Staying at backpackers lodge, working for living, new country, new odd jobs, earning for just living and exploring, then fly away to another place like a free bird. This is what travelling is, to experience, to explore, to adventure, and to leave the comforts behind to find new thrilling life. People here were willing to pay not for pleasure but for experience.  At the start of our journey, we were pleasantly surprised to meet girls travelling alone but then we came to know it was so common for girls to travel alone in such countries. It defines the standard of safety and security in this country as well as the guts and practice of travelling with which they are grown up. Ironically, we go for holidays and call it as ‘Travel’. In my wildest dream, I have never imagined to travel alone. However, I definitely want to travel with my partner for at-least a month without any hotel, rail, or bus bookings in advance, without knowing the next stop, without comfort, working for just living, relaxing and exploring, just adventure pure adventure.

From Greymouth we had a coach to Franz Joseph. Franz Joseph Glacier is one of the best locations to witness exceptional scenery of the mountains covered with snow in the west coast of southern island. There are guided scenic helicopter flights, which offer an hour-long flight tour to view the Glacier as well as a quick halt at the top of Glacier. The view of the Glaciers from the scenic flight is breath-taking. We had booked a cottage in the valley of Franz Joseph Glacier surrounded by dense rain-forest and ice capped mountains. Weather was extremely chilly with temperature as low as Zero deg C. There was an electric heater system in the bed apart from the usual room heater, which made our stay comfortable and relaxing. Our room was equipped with a cooking range. So, we had our own cooked food with Australian Red Wine-Blend of berries minced with spicy pepper.  If I had to name heaven on earth, I would definitely name it Franz Joseph. There are only 300 permanent residents in Franz Joseph that comprises of hotels, motels, and restaurants staff. This Celestial place leads to a spiritual orgasm in the arms of Mother Nature.

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Next day early morning, we boarded a coach to Queenstown. Their Pilots (Driver) who gives interesting commentary of the surrounding areas, history, and specialty of the places, rivers, and peaks distinguishes coach travel in NZ. There was free Wi-Fi available on the coaches as well; however, the outside beauty surpasses your interest from fabricated pleasures. We made our way passing through Lake Matheson, which was formed around 14k years ago from the Fox Glacier and is famous for its perfectly calm water that reflects the surrounding forests and New Zealand’s highest peak Mt.Cook and Mt.Tasman. It was a picturesque view of cerulean water with the reflection of the majestic mount peaks, misty clouds, and surrounding terrain. 

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We headed towards Wanaka and Otago region crossing the bridge named Gates of Hasst through Hasst Pass. As we travelled through, we discovered seemingly endless open pastures, colourful orchards, and sun drenched wine yards. Farms are the chief and most significant part of the New Zealand way of life. Island features sprawling farming landscapes, grazing black & white cattle and sheep in lush green lawns. While sheep, cattle, and dairy farms are most common, you will also notice deer, goats, horses, pigs, and stunning dogs in the entitled areas all over the country.

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to be continued in Part-II