Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A blind date with endangered species

Many travel to explore, some to rid boredom and a few to learn. But I travel for Self Exploration. My bucket list always consists of places of pilgrimages like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Uttarkashi, Vrindavan, Puri, Rameshwaram etc. My travel inspiration is always to meditate, to do yoga and to realise Self. I am quite open-minded person therefore this time I decided to go on a blind date, without planning, going to a place that is unknown, to have rewarding and unforgettable experiences. #TheBlindList can be exploring the unknown places in the world, #SayYesToTheWorld where nobody has reached before, experiencing nature to have enriching moments and spine thrilling adventures.

I went alone in hills covered with forests with my camera, telescope and a water bottle. Leaving the main road, I started walking on the steep rocks. Reaching a considerable height, upon a flat rock I adjusted my telescope for some bird watching. I was trying to focus on a pied wagtail but it was focused on sociable lapwing. My poor focusing capability and my good luck to spot it. I watched the movements of this critically endangered species for near about two minutes! Then a pair of saras crane came and started feeding upon weeds. I watched this spectacular event of a vulnerable species with my naked eyes. I was distracted by a hissing sound behind me. As I was alone I was extra careful. I turned around and spotted a king cobra coming out of bushes. I froze not out of fear but out of precaution that I become untraceable for snake. It could recognise only vibrations on ground made by feet. Another king cobra appeared. My good luck a pair of vulnerable species and my bad luck I have nothing to protect myself from these two venomous snakes. To my relief, they rolled down the rocks. On reaching ground, they coiled around each other. One of them lifted its head from the ground. The other coiled around the other. One over the other, in the air, on the ground, in the grass and on the rock; together they were everywhere. They were dancing or fighting, kissing each other or attacking each other whatever they were doing but I couldn’t kept my eyes off them. From nowhere a green peafowl came, grabbed another snake and flew away. The two stopped fighting and went away in two different directions because of fear or because of sudden disappearance of the reason of their fight!   

Before green peafowl (endangered species) could find a strong branch to adjust itself, a leopard attacked it. To protect itself from sudden attack, it released its grip. The leopard, a vulnerable species put its claws on its fleshy body. The bird tried to fly. They both rolled in air and fell on the nearby bushes. The sloth bear, a vulnerable species made a loud noise when its sleep got disturbed. Moreover, it slapped leopard that in haste lost its control over its prey. The family of smooth coated otters (vulnerable species) attacked the snake that fell nearby. After finishing their meal, the adults were giving swimming lessons to the young ones in the nearby wetland. An adult otter stood on its two hind legs, looked towards me and winked. It dived back in water. I was so much mesmerised that I forgot to shot such interesting incidents.

Meanwhile the sun moved down. I started my journey back. I felt a sticky thing on my leg. An Indian pangolin (endangered species) was licking with its long, very long tongue! I took out my camera to make a video but my conscience stopped me because after sharing it on social media, many would want to kill it for its beautiful shiny skin. I wanted to save it from being killed so I put camera back in my bag. I captured the movement and activity of that animal in my memories forever. Let us live and let them live!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Review : Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways To A Lasting Relationship by Shubha Vilas

Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways to A Lasting Relationship is a treasure trove of scriptural wisdom for the modern age. It contains six scintillating stories namely ‘The Wheel of Fortune’, ‘The Golden Letter’, ‘A Silent Voice’, ‘The Other Before Oneself’, ‘The Woman Who Chose’ and ‘A Condition About Conditions’ from the scriptures with deep philosophical truths for creating enduring relationships. The stories contains simple keys yet powerful for transforming relationships.

Forgiveness is key is the main theme of ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ which narrates the story of Nala and Damayanti. Tolerate first and forgive next is the first key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Rukmini expresses her love to Krishna in ‘The Golden Letter’ as she explores that expressing love is crucial in a relationship. Appreciative expressions of love are the second key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Trust is foundation of all relationships. In ‘A Silent Voice’, Shakuntala first starts learning to trust herself, her inner voice and then later on trusting Dushyanta, her lover and husband. Trust in others begins by trusting oneself first, inner voice second and life itself, third. Trust is the important key to make a relationship strong.

In ‘The Other Before Oneself’, the author narrates the love story of Udayana and Vasavadatta as well as Lohajanga and Rupinika who build their relationships based on quality time spent in each other’s company. Spending quality and quantity time is the fourth key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Savitri’s determination to stay with Satyavan is retold in the story ‘The Woman Who Chose’. The determination to stay together actually increases the overall levels of happiness and contentment in a human being. Savitri was resolute not to let go of the relationship even in the face of death itself.

As the name suggests ‘A Condition About Conditions’ is about the conditions that have positive or negative impact on the relationships. A positive condition is the last half-key to make a relationship last for a lifetime. The stories of Shantanu’s relationship with Ganga and Satyavati and Pururava’s love for Urvashi talk about how negative conditions complicate relationships from the beginning and strangulate them in the end. Whereas Draupadi’s marriage with the five Pandavas lasted a lifetime.

Quotations that I liked from this book are as follows:

1.      Just like birthmarks on your body reveal your identity, your values are birthmarks on the soul that reveal your character.

2.      Confusion and clarification are two sides of the same coin. When the side of confusion faces you, turn it around and seek clarification.

3.      Dependence is taking, independence is giving, and interdependence is an exchange programme.

4.      When you look down upon someone, they appear ugly. When you look up at someone, they appear beautiful. But when you look straight at someone, they appear the way they are.

5.      Exposure to a variety of people, thoughts and culture is like learning to appreciate all the colours in a set of paints.

6.      Words can paint images, which no brush can.

7.      Filthy roads are better than filthy minds; at least their filth is visible.

8.      Those who are troubling others are actually borrowing trouble for themselves.

Shubha Vilas is a TEDx speaker, lifestyle coach, storyteller and author. He has delivered more than 4000 lectures on application of scriptural wisdom in day-to-day life. Ramayana: The Game of Life is his bestselling series. He’s also the author of Open-Eyed Meditations and The Chronicles of Hanuman. Curious to know more about him, then visit his website –

For all those who wish to improve their relationship with their partner it is must read book! :) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Book Review : What Will People Think? By Rashi Dubey

So, I have one more book in my collection signed by author. This time it is What Will People Think? by Rashi Dubey.

On seeing the cover page of What Will People Think?, my first thought was that it must be a self help book. But when I opened it, I found that it is full of imagination as it is a novella. As the name suggested, the story line of this novella is about to overcome the fear of ‘what will people think’ and to follow one’s dreams ignoring the gossip of the society. As success, closes all mouths! Isn’t it?

The story revolved around a girl Riya who loved to paint but her parents did not understand her dreams and forced her to take an attractive career like medical side. Her parents were extremely supportive to her brother and showed gender inequality towards her. She tried her best to convince them but all in vain. She took a strong decision to follow her dreams. She rebelled. She left home.

After leaving home and hometown, she faced many problems. She found supportive friends who helped her to grow in career as well as emotionally. However, she terribly missed her family. One day, she met a widower who is a doctor by profession but had keen interest in art. Love bloomed between them and they got married. On knowing that her parents were in trouble, she rushed to help them. In the end, her husband surprised readers by taking a bold decision which overcome Riya’s parents fear ‘Log kya kahenge’ forever.

The story is simple without much twists and turns. The story is neat and clean which can be read and enjoyed with the family. It is gripping as I finished it in just three hours. The characters are well defined and plot is easy to comprehend.  

Some quotes from the book which I liked

1.      The main motto of  this family was to stand by each other at all times and be a single unit against the pitfalls of the society.

2.      Negative people will continue to make you feel small and less but these will be the people who will cheerfully encourage you when you continue growing in your life in a positive way. This is irony of life.

3.      It is strange how people who are not your family could at times understands you much better than your close family members. May be that’s the thing about having friends.

The author is a software engineer by profession but she loves to write. This is her second book. Her first book is The Heart Affair : A short story. She blogs at She can be contacted at Her Facebook page is

Grab your copy now! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur

As I had an hour until Banke Bihari Temple opened, I decided to take a round around Lohagarh Fort in Bharatpur. It was quite a long walk as it was a big fort.
Lohagarh meant made up of Iron Fort. Jat rulers of Bharatpur built it.
Maharaja Suraj Mal built numerous forts one of them was Lohagarh Fort. The fort was considered invincible as it was surrounded by a huge moat and was made up of thick walls.  
Inside Fort there was a museum but alas it was closed on that day.
Maharaja Suraj Mal statue was worth seeing.
Numerous stories of bravery of Jat kings were written over there on the stones.
The view from the top showed some age old havelies.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Patties of a difference!

Just outside Banke Bihari Temple in Bharatpur, there is a patties shop. Though many patties shop are mushrooming these days on the roadside in almost every city. But this shop has a different style of serving patties. They slice the hot potato patties in half and put the sav (thick bhujia) in it along with finely chopped onion. Then they pour spicy imali chutney and ketchup in it. And serve it on a paper plate for just Rs. 10/. This is the cheapest and tastiest snack I ever have!

If you visit Bharatpur, don’t forget to taste patties from this tiny roadside shop. You can even alter some of the ingredients as per your choice and taste!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Moringa Puri – Tasty as well as healthy

I love to experiments with food. Here is one of my successful experiments, which turn out to be tasty as well as healthy.

For making moringa puri we need moringa powdered made from dried moringa leaves. You can purchase it from the market or from me. :) Moringa is rich in Calcium and Iron. It helps in removing malnourishment in children and helps in relieving joint pain in elders.


Wheat flour – 1 cup

Suji / Semolina – ¼ cup

Ajwain / Carom – ¼ teaspoon

Moringa powder – ¼ teaspoon

Ghee – ½ teaspoon

Salt to taste

Oil/ Ghee for frying


1.      Take wheat flour and semolina in a bowl and mix them well.

2.      Mix salt, ajwain and moringa powder in it.

3.      Pour warm ghee in it and rub it well.

4.      Knead the dough with warm water and left it for 15 minutes.

5.      Make small balls and roll them with a help of rolling pin.

6.      Deep fry them on medium fire.

7.      Serve them hot with channa or potato tomato veg.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

In search of Miswak

Meswak, a medicinal tree is disappearing fast from Haryana because of industrialisation and its medicinal value. Its roots are used as local toothbrush or are used in industries for making toothpastes. Its twisted barks are the homes of many poisonous animals like gauhwera (poisonous lizard), snakes and goha, a huge lizard. Even biju (honey bedger) loves to live in them. Therefore, people in fear chopped this tree mercilessly. I want to plant this tree in my garden as most of the birds love to eat its berries. They are delicious and are available in attractive colours like pink, white, red and purple.

I searched various nurseries for this tree. And Alas! Most of them had never heard of such a tree though it is native tree of this region. Surprisingly I tried near about 100 nurseries both private as well as officially hold by government. I hunt for it not only in Haryana but also across the length and breadth of the country. I explored Google for it but all in vain. As this tree grows well by its seed dispersed by birds or by humans. There is no tree near my garden therefore, this method was not feasible.

When I told my mother about my problem that I was not able to find nursery of Meswak tree. She asked about its local name. I told her it is also known as Peel, Pelu or Jaal and its botanical name is Salvadora persica. She recalled that when we used to travel by rail about 30 years back from Hisar to Rewari then on Jatusana railway station that fruits used to be sold by local vendons in leaf donas. She suggested that there must be a forest of this tree near that railway station and you might find some trees there but preferably go there in monsoon season as baby plants will be easily visible.

Following her guidance, today I went to Jatusana and found some trees growing here and there. Baby trees were not much there. But found a few. I noticed some kikar trees, teent bushes and monsoon mushrooms. 
The scenic beauty was awesome. Gigantic rocks were standing in pride ready to tolerate the simmering heat of sun and waiting patiently to gently kiss the clouds. It was mesmerising to watch nature’s creation. Although rocks were cut in different shapes and sizes even then they were holding oneness and unity. It was peaceful and calm view.

While returning home, I saw many purple moorhens feeding in a paddy field. A day spent well! A fruitful day!! :)  

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Drink water

“Please have some water.” A bureaucrat asked me.

“No, thanks.” I replied.

“In hot summers like this, we should drink more water as we perspire a lot.” He gave a philosophical dose to me. And signalled me to drink some water.

“No, thanks.” I repeated.

Even on his repeated requests when I didn’t have water then he said, “Ma’am, do you have taste buds like Gurgaonites....................? That you drink only beer and nothing else.”
I laughed aloud.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Missing bus

While travelling through a public transport I never get down in the middle of the journey. When I have to then I get into the trouble. How? I boarded in a bus from Sawai Madhopur for back home. The way was long, the driver was driving the bus too rashly, and I found it more adventurous than a fictional ride in 7D theatres. I was exhausted and feeling tired. My legs were paining as I was sitting for long hours moreover there was not enough space to stretch my legs. There was a strong urge in me to walk a bit to relax my legs. I was hungry too.

The bus stopped at Alwar station. Before getting down the bus, I asked the conductor, “How long will be the halt?”

He replied, “40 minutes!”

Thinking that there was ample of time I got down the bus. I bought katchori chole, a famous dish of Alwar from the vendor. As I started eating it I realised my bus was not there where I left it. I was bit worried as the station was big and to search my bus was a tedious job. I took a big morsel and started thinking while chewing.

“What is the colour of bus - steel grey or blue?”

I can’t remember.

“Is it a new bus or an old one?”

I can’t remember.

“Is it a Rajasthan roadways or Delhi?”

I can’t remember.

“Where it is coming from?”

I can’t remember.

Then, what do you remember?

It is going towards Delhi.

By the time I was done with the spicy katchori, I began moving around in search of buses going towards Delhi by looking at the display boards in the front of the vehicle. To my surprise, near about half of the buses were going to Delhi. I asked conductors and passengers to help me in finding some clue about my bus but all in vain. I tried to convince myself not to worry even if you didn’t find that bus, you could catch another to home and could leave the luggage in missing bus as it didn’t contain any thing that precious to trouble yourself.

As I was passing in front of the buses to check the display boards, I found that the front pane of a bus has a crack, a crack of very small size. Now, I recalled that my bus has a huge crack in the front pane on driver side. Now, I started my search for a broken pane. And I found it so easily. I boarded in the bus with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Teachers’ Training Course (TTC), Sivananda Kutir, Netala (Uttarkashi)

When I sit in padmasana and closed my eyes to meditate, I visualise fast flowing holy river Ganga (Bhagirathi), Sivananda Ashram, my teachers (Guru) and sometimes batch-mates. I slowly try to drag my mind to my object of meditation but surprisingly it jumps back to the serenity of river Ganga. My mind remains calm while meditating on the river Ganga and the ashram situated near it, may be the time I spent there was the most peaceful time of my life!

Spending one month with the persons of different cultures, age groups, professions and countries was an experience of its own kind. But we all had one thing in common- a very strong desire to learn yoga which might be the reason that we stayed together for 30 days.

The yoga teacher was nice and caring. She explained everything in detail and tried to clear all our doubts. While practicing difficult asanas she encouraged the student to do it in its best possible way, only gave the required support and never let the student fall off even if the student’s weight is too much and the body is too rigid. I was impressed with her on the day we practiced 108 Om Surya Namaskar, she spoke continuously without making a single mistake of left and right side. As I yoga teacher myself, I found it difficult to do.

The teacher who taught Bhagwat Gita always told stories, shared experiences and solved life’s complicated problems in a very simple way. He always encouraged the students to ask more questions. One day a student asked, “If a person moves while doing meditation, does it means his Kundalini is awakened?” He replied, “It means the person is going through a mental or emotional cleaning process and you should help that person.”

The food was sattvik without onion and garlic. Mostly they give south Indian food like idli, appam, idiyapam, rice and sambhar. Sometimes they give north Indian food like rajma rice, chickpea rice and parathas with pea potato veg. On the last day of the course, delicious treat was given which include samosa, gulab jamun, palak paneer, fried papad, ice cream, kheer and rice.

I was proud of my knowledge about yoga and Indian philosophy before joining the course. One of my batch-mates, a foreigner guy could perform much better yoga asanas than me. Not only that, he knew Indian philosophy much more than me. May be God sent him in my life to annihilate my ego!

The air was clean and environment was serene. The mountains, waterfalls, clouds, stars, moon, sun, rains, rainbow were mesmerising. The silent walk in the nature helped me in understanding myself better. The desire to eat delicious food and to surf on internet brought me back in this materialistic world otherwise I would have stayed there forever.
Dear readers, you can read my experience of Sadhana Intensive course here

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A lost card

On the last day of Teacher Training Course, Netala one of my roommates gave me a handmade card. I kept it in my bag and decided to write a blog post about it after I returned home. I was registered for the next course, which was to start after 5-6 days. As I had some free days, I decided to go for trekking to Dayara Bugyal and Gaumukh.
I divided my belongings in two parts. One I took with me and the other I left in the ashram. After I returned to the ashram, I became busy with the tight schedule of studying and practicing yoga and sadhana. On the completion of course, when I returned home, I unpacked my things but could not find that card. I searched my notes, clothes and other items thoroughly. I even searched different pockets of my bag but could not locate it. I undoubtedly remembered that I did not throw that card but safely placed in my bag. Even on repeated searches, there was no success. At last, I dropped the idea of searching it and thought that it might be lost somewhere in the journey.

Today, I finished Samadhi Yoga by Swami Sivananda. I placed that book in my book self and took out another book for reading. As I opened it, to my surprise I found that card lying in between page no. 28 and 29. How it reached, there is still a mystery for me!

Swami Sivananda’s sayings were creatively scribbled on the front of that yellow coloured card. Inside it was written beautiful messages and some nice words about me. Although I am not that good as she had mentioned but it is polite of her to say so. I thank her sincerely. It wasn’t a card but a hug folded in it!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary

During winter season, most of us have visited Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary which is near Gurgaon. It is popular because of its easy accessibility, nice restaurant and good connectivity with roads. There is one more bird sanctuary lesser known because of not that good roads, non-availability of food and water. In Jhajjar district near about fifteen kilometres from the Jhajjar city, Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary is one of the most wonderful bird sanctuaries of North India. It is located near Delhi and Gurgaon just an hour or so run by car. It is a great picnic spot!

One can reach Bhindawas by following Google maps to some extent but there is no need to take a long round about as Google maps shows. When one is close to the sanctuary, one can follow road maps or can ask villagers for short and good roads leading to Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary. It is man-made wetland. It was constructed to store excess water from JNL Feeder and its channals at the time of power failure of Lift Canal System. It spreads over 1074 acres. Around the lake, it has 12 kilometer long vehicle track. The road is kachcha at few places. There are small islands, which enhances its beauty. 

While travelling through the nearby villages, one can spot quite good number of birds like jungle babbler, black drongo, Indian roller, woodpecker, white throated kingfisher, parakeets, common hoopoe, shikra, laughing dove, greater coucal, blue peafowl and spot billed duck.
The migratory birds one can spot there is flamingo, great egret, comb duck, northern shoveler, ruddy shelduck, whiskered tern, Earasian marsh harrier, Palla’s gull and common teal. Along with birds one can also spot neelgai, jackals, jungle cats, monkeys, cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep. There are two watch-towers with great view. There are many picnic spots with the beautiful view of lake and islands in it.

This year there are many attractive birds there. If you are planning to visit then take the food and water with you. And do not forget to take binoculars for better view!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Book Review : Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas

Stand strong is the fourth book in the series of Ramayana – The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas. The author has written Roar with Courage, Conquer Fear and Adopt Patience based on Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda and Aranya Kanda of Ramayana epic respectively. Stand Strong is the modern retelling of the Kishkindha Kanda of Valmiki’s epic Ramayana. It is an excellent read for mythological readers. And it is a very special book for the spiritual aspirants. Author compared a spiritual aspirant to lotus, black tulip and fish.

It tells about Lord Ram and Lakshman meeting near Rishimukh mountain, Lord Ram’s friendship with Sugriva, killing of Vali, brother of Sugriva by Lord Ram, Lakshman’s anger for delay in search of Sita kidnapped by Ravana, sending of monkey-army in all the four directions to look for Mother Sita by Sugriva, returning of three armies without any information, in the south the fourth army reaches near the sea and Sampati, brother of Jatayu helped them in their mission. The language is lucid and simple to understand. It inspires to find out simple solutions to the complex problems and to stand strong in difficulties by conquering fear. The narration is gripping and one can easily relate it with one’s life and its experiences.

Author has embedded the story with beautiful gems. Some of the quotes which I liked are as follows :

1.      Accepting other’ imperfections gracefully is the sign of perfection. Accepting one’s own imperfection honestly is the sign of progress toward perfection.

2.      When one competes with oneself, one invites celebration instead of competition. When one compete with others, one invites competition instead of celebration.

3.      When life is peaceful, one goes to buy challenges. When life offers challenges, one goes in search of peace. Between looking for challenges and running away from them lies the art of facing them with courage.

4.      If in the beginning and in the end, we are nothing, why then in the middle do we think we are something?

5.      When one is proud of being detached to attachments, one is in fact attached to detachment.

Near Rishimukh Mountain, the description of meeting of Lord Ram with Hanuman brings tears to my eyes as the disciple meeting his Master is depicted admirably. Physical, mental and emotional changes one goes through after meeting the true master are explained so well. Lord Ram thought that what an old, fragile sanyasi is doing in this uninhabited forest? And Hanuman thought that why these two princes whose bodies should be adored with jewellery were wearing the dress of sanyasi and were carrying bow and arrow like warriors?

Lord Ram, his real Master come to meet Sugriva and his companions. Hanuman’s mother once told him, “You will never have to go looking for your master and that your master will come looking for you!” How right she was!

Author has described all the characteristics so well. But his description of Lord Ram is beyond words. He described Lord Ram as You are so beautiful that no painting can ever do justice to Your beauty.

This book is the must read for motivational readers and spiritual seekers. The part of the book that describes about the meeting of Lord Ram and Lakshman with Hanuman near Rishimukh Mountain should not be missed. I must say it is one of the best creations by Shubha Vilas. Hats off to the author!