Tag Archives: lifestyle

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I got an ‘OOTY’ call!

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!

– William Butler Yeats

People have always been obsessed with travelling and there is quite a good reason for it. Visiting a new place, seeing different faces, experiencing divergent culture & language is not only exciting, but also a great learning experience. It is truly said that only with travelling you realise that you are a small part of this whole wide world and there is so much we don’t know. It’s a great way to stay humble. Sadly, in this time and age, travelling isn’t about ‘experiencing’ the experience anymore! It has all come down to constantly being pressured to take the best pictures to show off the so called ‘experience’. Don’t you all agree? I am guilty too! But I have realised that living in the moment, or better yet, getting lost in the moment gives me true happiness and satisfaction and that’s exactly what my vacation to the mountains this time was all about!

Now we always get asked, “Mountains or beaches”? Honestly, I can never answer that, cos I love them both equally! But this time I got a ‘Ooty’ call, and I packed my bags and ran away for a two night stand! (how could I not include the obvious puns!?)

Yes we always like to explore new places, but there are a few destinations that hold a special place in your heart. I am not saying this just because I am writing a blog about it, but Ooty truly is my favourite hill station. I remember my dad taking me to Ooty the first time as a kid and I have been in love with it ever since.

This trip to Ooty was quite special. Why? I had a solo travel kind of experience on this trip. This trip was organized by Sterling Resorts. Fern Hill was our abode for 2 nights and 3 days.

Sterling has re-branded themselves and has come up with an interesting concept of ‘experiential holiday’. Now what’s that? Well, I have been to Ooty a couple of times before, but my visit was always restricted to staying at the hotel/resort, taking beautiful hikes, visiting the lake and the rose garden. The typical touristy thing! Sterling Holidays has taken the task of changing this and their new motto is to ‘Holiday Differently’.

view from Fern Hill resort

view from Fern Hill resort

What do they offer?

I shall talk about the room, food and the hospitality in the next section and shall quickly tell you the experiences Sterling has to offer.

No matter whom you have come with, Sterling Resort has catered experiences for all of you! If you’re travelling with family and kids, their play area, activity room , party games will keep the entire family occupied. Travelling with your partner and friends and feeling little adventurous? Their outdoor activities like hammock walk, swing bridge, tarzan leap etc will keep your adrenaline levels high! And want to keep your endorphin levels high? Just head to their beautiful & therapeutic spa and relax yourself.

screenshot from the Sterling resort website

screenshot from the Sterling resort website

Now, once you experience all the awesomeness that the resort itself has to offer, they have curated some amazing activities outside the resort specially for their guests. And no they don’t just make you do the touristy things I mentioned before. Ooty has so much more to offer and they make sure to give you the full Ooty experience.

The activities that Sterling had curated for us was something I had genuinely never experienced before. Listing down our activity itenary, day wise.

DAY 1 –

We reached in the morning during breakfast. We were told that we will be heading to ‘Toda village’. Now I did not who Todas were until then. Todas are the local tribes and said to be the first occupants of the Nilgiri mountains. The are very few in number and embrace their culture. They wear beautiful hand-crafted shawls which has a unique embroidery. It was surprising to see that the women have hairstyle that looks like they used curling iron to curl their hair, but in actuality they use no heating tools or products but just hands to make the hairstyle and it takes hours to get the look! We were educated about their history, custom and culture. Their houses called ‘mund’ are made of bamboo canes. The entrance is just around 3 ft. tall and one needs to crawl into the house. It is designed so to protect themselves from the wild animals. The todas were extremely sweet and courteous. They offered us their traditional sweet (like rice pudding) made with buffalo milk. Buffalo milk is extremely sacred among Todas and they make delicacies using buffalo milk. You can read more about the Todas here. It was a an humbling and surreal experience. I highly recommend this to you guys. Travelling is all about knowing a different culture & one must definitely educate themselves about this.

Later in the evening, Sterling had a fantastic arrangement for us. They organised a bonfire for us and invited the Todas & Badagas (Another tribe from the Nilgiris) to share their folk music and dance with us. We had so much fun learning their dance moves and enjoying it with them. You can request Sterling to organize the same for you and they would happily provide you with this experience.

After the visit to Toda village and before the bonfire experience, we were also taken to the tea and chocolate factory where we saw how tea is made, the process, the benefit of each tea and also got to taste them! And of course, I bought tea and chocolates and it was the yummiest thing ever! It is a cliche I know, but how could I have come back without those?

Toda house

Toda house

The traditional Toda embroidery

The traditional Toda embroidery

gorgeous sunset

gorgeous sunset

DAY 2:

Yes, everyone has heard of the toy train and whoever goes to Ooty takes the train inevitably. But my family and I are extremely indisciplined and always miss it! Not this time! I finally sat on the much-coveted toy train. It takes you through the caves and tracks cut out between the mountains. Yes the train is slow giving you the chance to enjoy the beautiful landscape. We went to Connoor & were told we will be visiting a tea estate and have a picnic sort of a lunch! Now, this was my best experience and the highlight of the trip! The drive to the tea estate was not the usual ones. We had to reach the top point of the peak and the road was not smooth. But the more we progressed, the beautiful it got. We drove with the clouds. We spotted wild bison and the landscape, the view, it was just breathtaking. I cannot put it down in words to be honest. It was one of the things you need to experience. I just stood there alone, gazing at the mountains, the tea leaves, the clouds. One word – FERNWEH!

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The Sterling team was damn cute and they set up a sitting space for us with fruits, snacks and food! This goes down in the history as one of the best lunches of my life. It was truly the lunch with a view!

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We head back to our hotel, had tea, relaxed a bit and had their scrumptious dinner and that was the end of day 2 and we slept like babies to leave the next day!

extensive tea collection offered by Sterling

extensive tea collection offered by Sterling

The above mentioned experiences are available for every guests staying at Sterling. You can contact them and ask them to curate packages for you and trust me they will happily get you whatever you wish for.

Amenities, hospitality & food:

  • The rooms are huge and spacious. The interiors are just gorgeous and every room comes with a view! (See pic below) The bathrooms have huge mirrors with a shower cabin and rain shower. They have all the necessary amenities for you and you don’t have to carry anything with you! The room is well-equipped. They have a fully functional mini bar. The best part is they also have heaters for people like me who feel extremely cold.
the cozy and comfortable room

the cozy and comfortable room

  • Now let’s get to the best part. FOOD. We ate like pigs. I am not kidding! We just ate ate and ate! The food was hands down one of the best things about the resort. The buffet was not like those resort buffets where they over-charge you and give you mediocore food. They make sure everything is perfect and even listen to feedback with open ears. Their live roti counter was the cherry on the cake. What adds to their yummy food is the fresh organic produce from their garden. Everything tasted just too good and fresh, leaving us wanting for more. I think I gained 3 kgs after the trip! Their collection of teas and snacks satisfied my tea-loving soul to heights I cannot express. Full points to Sterling for their extensive menu and impeccable food.
Beyonce sized breakfast!

Beyonce sized breakfast!

tea. tea. and some more tea.

tea. tea. and some more tea.

  • The staff was extremely cordial and helpful. They were sweet, attentive and very hospitable. They treated us well and were quite courteous. We actually did not have any issues or problems and they provided us with everything that we wanted. Hospitality for me is a very important part of my vacation. If everything is good and the staff is rude, it is a big no-no for me and the staff at Sterling left no stone unturned in giving us the best of services.

Although we stayed at Fern Hill, Sterling Resorts have an another property called ELK HILL . We had a look at that property as well and it is gorgeous. Their rooms are bigger and they offer suites with breathtaking views. They had arranged a garden themed high-tea for us and it was the cutest thing ever! Themed parties are their star offerings and you must definitely check it out!

Garden themed high-tea at Elk Hill

Garden themed high-tea at Elk Hill

View from Elk Hill resort

View from Elk Hill resort

You can book your rooms at websites like makemytrip or booking.com or directly book with the resort if you are a member with them. They are very decently priced considering the things that they offer. Both the resorts are easily accessible from the city.

How to get to Ooty:

You could take a flight or train till Coimbatore and then take a bus or taxi, whatever you are comfortable with to Ooty. It will be a 2-3 hour drive.

You can also take a bus directly to if you’re from Tamilnadu or Bangalore. It is an overnight journey and from what I have heard, it is quite comfortable too.

RATING:

Amenities – 4/5

Food – 4.5/5

Service & hospitality – 4/5

Pricing – 4.5/5

Will I revist? – Yes.

You can have a look at their website to get more information on their properties and offerings HERE

In a nutshell, my stay at Sterling Fer Hill was a great experience. I have no complaints about anything. I look forward to visiting more properties and I highly recommend staying at Fern Hill if you are visiting Ooty. I assure you won’t be disappointed.

Love,

Sindhu

One bold decision changed my life ~ #BeBoldForChange

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How many times in your life have you stopped yourself from doing something that you love? I’m guessing you would say most of the time. I have too! I have curbed my wishes, passion, dreams and desires due to reasons that go beyond explanation. Did that make me happy? No! I did not realise the fact that stopping myself from doing things I longed for did not serve any purpose. I honestly never thought about the fact that I could be harming myself. I did not have a very great childhood. I was a curvy girl who was supposed to have a fair skin tone(cos north Indian!) but ended up with dusky complexion. Can you imagine how difficult your childhood years can be when you are overweight? You are not only stereotyped about things you should or should not do, but in actuality there were things that you couldn’t do. I stopped myself from enjoying on the swing set thinking it might break because of my weight. It started there. At that tender age. My insecurities took birth then and grew everyday with me. My teenage years were not only filled with comments on my weight and colour, I had acne too to accompany me. Now I was not only given weight loss tips, but skin care tips followed them too. This continued and still continues.
 A person like me, who in the eyes of society is the opposite of pretty decided to be a part of an industry that patronizes people like me! The fashion industry. I cannot tell you the amount of courage I had to gather to start my blog. I had to be bold and courageous and take that leap of faith. I had this urge to follow my passion and be a part of something I really wanted to. Was it easy? Not at all! Is it easy now? No way! Do people really appreciate a curvy fashion blogger? Who are we kidding, absolutely not! But I am bold enough to accept the fact that I am different from others. I am not in denial about myself. I made myself aware about me being different from others and accepted myself. It was a bold step for me to dress up, put my make up on and stand in the middle of the street and get my pictures clicked! Yes, I did it! It might be very easy for others, but for me, doing that small thing in itself was an achievement. I won the day I decided to change my attitude towards myself.
I do certain small things that I generally stop myself from doing. I always wanted to do something different with my hair. I wanted front bangs for myself. This seems stupid and small, but to convince myself to do that was very difficult. What will my parents say,  will it make me look fat, will I look like a child. The thoughts were endless! One day, I just took off for the salon in the middle of the  day and got myself the hair I wanted! And boy did I feel good and liberated! I just did what I wanted to do. The compliments were endless. This is just a small example. I do such small things everyday to feel motivated.
People come up to me and say, for your body you are very confident. Yes, that is a compliment. But it is no less than telling a differently-abled person that you are doing good for the situation you are in. But I let go of such thoughts and keep myself positive and look at the brighter side of things.
People will come and tell you things, advice you. But they don’t know your journey. They don’t know anything about your life, your insecurities. You are the best judge of your life. Decide what you want in life and work your a** off to achieve it. There is no substitute for hard work. You cannot blame the hurdles of society or your insecurities. Nobody cares about your struggles. Be bold enough to  face anything that comes your way. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you and accept you the way you are. You are one decision away from being happy. I took one bold decision at a time. Are you bold enough to take that decision?
Share your story with me. I would love to read them. Happy Women’s Day!
Love,
Sindhu
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Cutting off

Life is nothing but a bag of happy and sad moments. And we have so many people with us, around us to be a part of this bag, share this bag with. We live in a world where we put everything out there. We share everything good or bad, happy or sad on social media. We do not believe in privacy anymore.
We have always read that happiness if shared is doubled and sorrows are divided and all that crap. What if you want to be selfish and don’t want to share it with anybody? Is that wrong? Does that make you a loner? I have lived in four cities with friends in every corner of the country, yet will I be considered a loner if I choose to keep things to myself? I don’t think so! Sometimes I would like to live with myself and my happiness and sorrows without telling it out to the world! Whenever I’m sad, I disconnect with my close ones. I have always done that! I don’t answer calls, I don’t text back unless and until it’s important and I don’t meet them! Does that make me unhealthy? Absolutely not! I feel powerful and strong. It makes me believe that I can handle myself. Its true that you don’t realise how strong you are unless the only option you have is to face it! I also don’t pick up my phone and call someone and say, “Hey im very happy. I got my dream job!” For someone like me who is a chatterbox, you might think it’s difficult. But yes, I do cut off!

 
Why is it important to cut off?
We are asked to trim our hair every two months for new and better hair to grow. We cut off the rotten part of the fruit to eat the good part. Whenever you meditate, you are asked to put your phone aside, disconnet with people so that you can concentrate, be in the moment, live the moment. Do you realise the importance of cutting off? You need to live and embrace the happiness and sadness of your life. You need to own it. Cutting off doesn’t mean not talking to someone. It means not sharing your thoughts. Your happiness can mean someone’s sadness and your sorrows can make someone happy. You don’t need that negativity in life!
We generally take vacations after big life moments. When you get married, you go for your honeymoon, when you get a job, you take a trip, when you’re sad, you feel like travelling. That is cutting off! Cutting off from your regular life, the people and going somewhere that soothes your mind. If there is anything I would like to do more in the coming years of my life, it would be to cut off from the regular life every now and then and take vacations, watch a movie alone, or just do nothing and spend more time with myself.

Love, Sindhu

EAST COAST at MADRAS SQUARE ~ Review

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First of all wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. I hope you had a kick ass start to the year with all those resolutions which we never fulfill , yet make them every year in the hope of achieving them. But then hope is what we believe in right? While the entire world was pledging to diet, I on the other hand went to enjoy an extravagant lunch with fellow foodees to a very stylish place called the EAST COAST AT MADRAS SQUARE at neelangarai. Read what I had (and get jealous) and my review for the same.

 

potato & leek soup

potato & leek soup

We began with potato leak soup. The soup was creamy yet light. The caramalised onion and leak enhanced the taste of the soup.

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creole spiced fries

The creole spiced fries were crispy and balanced. The spice was a nice touch. It was served with  mint mayo which was a perfect companion for the fries.

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tomato & basil bruschetta

I am a lover of bruschetta and this tomato and basil bruschetta was nothing short of tasty. The basil was not very strong and well balanced with the tomatoes.

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mushroom & feta bruschetta

Mushroom and feta bruschetta was my favourite among all the things we had. The mushroom was so light and flavourful. The feta was not very salty hence the exact taste of cheese could be felt. It was just perfect . It was so good that we asked for a second serving!

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chickpea slider

Chichpea sliders were made like cute little buns and served along with fries. They tasted scrumptious. I never thought chole without the typical indian spicy masala could taste this good.

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vegetable & cheese sauce bake

A casarole typically a vegetable in cream and cheese sauce bake with herbed rice. If you are a cheese lover the this is a must-have. It was filling too. It was also baked perfectly.

 

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margheritta

Now this was the king of all the dishes, the favourite of the masses, the much coveted PIZZA! It was a not-so-basic margherita . Why no-so-basic? Well first of all the dough is prepared in advance and left for fermentation for enhancement. Then the cheese that was used was buffalo mozzarella. And then it is cooked in a terracota oven to add flavour at a very high temparature. And then we get this beautiful and absolutely yummy pizza. I now regret for not eating more. Regrets . Regrets .

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Aglio E Olio

It is basically a pasta tossed in olive oil with pressed garlic, minced chillies, parsley and topped with parmesan. If you are not a very big fan of tomato sauce and watching your weight and avoiding anything very cheesy and creamy, then this is the best pasta to have.

 

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puttanesca

Puttanesca was cooked in slow spicy tomato sauce and tossed with veggies topped with basil and pepper. How I love puttanesca. It has the right balance of tangy and spicy.

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banofee pie

Finally the favourite part of the entire lunch had arrived. It was time for dessert! First we had the banofee pie which was served with ice-cream . It was crispy from the outside and had a banana filling below the whipped cream. The whipped cream was light and enhanced the whole experience. The ice cream had a tinge of cinnamon which added a different flavour to it.

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theobrama

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Ok doesn’t that looks yummy? It tasted even yummier. This theobrama is a six layered chocolate cake which has milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate sponge, ganache, white chocolate. I individually tasted each layer and couldn’t pick a favourite. All of it was yummy. This is also a must-have and I shall definitely order it in my next visit.

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The decor is simple and sophisticated. They took the minimalistic route and nailed it. What I loved the most were the stone sculptures which spoke about the history of our state. I am a lover of such things and was highly impressed.

They also have a cafe, a flower shop, a shop natural beauty products, a furniture store and a few more things. It is a stylish place and for someone like me, I was just mesmerised. It was green and silent and beautiful. A perfect place for a date or a fun time with your family, everything will be perfect here. I am going to take my dad here for he loves good food and a sucker of great ambiance .

POINT METER :

Food – 4.5/5

Ambiance – 4.75/5

Variety – 4/5

Value for money – 5/5

Will I visit again? – Yes

Over all it was a great experience dining at East Cost at Madras Square. Special mention for Mathangi who personally took care of us and made sure we taste the best things. The staff was courteous and made our experience even more delightful. I wish it was close to my home so I could visit often. Well some things are worth the pain. Hope to visit the place soon.

Thank you foodeebuddee for inviting us to giving us a yummy dining experience. Please download their awesome app to know about restaurants and read reviews and recipes. Use my referral code MXIKSD2O to sign in and gain points .

Love,Sindhu

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“I am not FAIR, but i’m lovely!”

The country’s obsession with fair complexion has been there forever. And I don’t see a change in this mentality in the near future. We have been brought up in an environment where being fair is termed being beautiful and it’s considered to be the most superior quality a woman could posses. And no please let’s not think that it’s just the case with the uneducated and people in remote areas or the traditional families have this point of view. It’s the educated people, the ones who study from premier institutes like IIM & IIT too have this mentality. Now that they are so well qualified, they deserve a fair, thin, tall & beautiful girl. That’s what they slogged their asses off. Believe me, I have done my research.
And it’s not just the men. We women, we demean other women. We too give in to this hula-hoop of being fair and beautiful and objectify women. We want to get  fair, our mothers want us to have fair complexions, else we would end up with a bad spouse. Yes my mother feels and believes and is rightful in thinking that my complexion is directly proportional to me finding a good spouse and my married life. My education from a premier institute, my personality,my work is all nothing but a waste. I’m not a good marriage material because I’m not fair. My mother and my sister are ‘blessed’  with fair complexions. They wonder why am I the ‘unfortunate’ one. What possible wrong or sin my parents would have committed to be punished like this.
No I am not playing a victim here, neither am I portraying my parents as villains. They have given me a beautiful life and the courage and education to speak up and write this. I am just a simple girl like you. I’m writing this on behalf of the girls who go through this situation in their daily lives. This issue is not big or small. But it definitely is a psychological issue.
This is a long battle. Almost seems like never ending. You cannot change people. But you can change yourself. And no by changing yourself I don’t mean you need to go under cosmetic treatments(although there is no harm in it, it’s a personal choice), I mean is that you don’t need anybody’s validation. You have to change your perception about yourself. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m not fair. But I’m lovely!”. You have to have the courage to say “I am tanned, I’m brown and this is my skin colour. Deal with it”. Don’t let anybody, not even your family to bring you down. Value yourself. It’s the only way you can make the opposite person realise your worth and look beyond your physical appearance. My skin colour doesn’t define me, it doesn’t represent the struggles I have been through, it has nothing to do with who I am. It’s just a part of my body and it’s an important part. I might as well embrace it.
Stay strong, love others and be kind.
                                                                                   Love,
                                                                                             Sindhu