All posts by kosha

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colombo and last day at the best villa ever

I loved Colombo. at least the little that we saw. and specially the galle face hotel.

might go there again one day. and spend some more time.

places to visit: galle face hotel, the barefoot café and the ministry of crab.

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^^ galle face hotel ^^

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^^ more of galle face hotel ^^

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^^ the barefoot garden café from where I purchased by favorite coloring book. coloring is now new obsession and SO therapeutic ^^

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^^ this villa will forever be my happy place. and I am pretty sure we will end up going back there, soon ^

galle

we spent three whole days here.

our trip, as was unanimously agreed by all three of us, was all about food and relaxation. and that’s exactly what we did. we went to good restaurants, slept, swam and played mono deal.

all of us have v hectic city jobs and this trip was planned to get away and come back rejuvenated.

galle was just the perfect place for that. it has numerous good restaurants and spas. some of the ones we liked the most were, the closenburg hotel poolside bar, peddler’s inn pizzas and the amangalla hotel restaurant.

we also enjoyed just walking around the fort area and visiting its boutique shops. we ended buying some fun {a.k.a hippy} clothes, curios and lots of bath and body products at the spa Ceylon.

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^^ lunch at amangalla was gnocchi, sri Lankan chicken curry and watermelon salad ^^

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^^ can’t remember the names of the drinks but every drink we tried was SO good {but hard on the wallet} ^^

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^^ us. outside amangalla ^^

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^^ view from our table at the closenburg hotel. unfortunately we forgot to take pictures outside the pool area {signs of a really good time} but its a MUST go ^^

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^^ galle fort sunsets ^^

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^^ pesto pizza at the peddler’s inn cafe^^

sri lanka

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two of my friends and I took a short weekend trip to sri-lanka last month.

we went back and forth a lot before finalizing the destination. since we had just 4 days and it was only the three of us.

we short-listed galle, which is in the southern province of sri lanka, as our base because of its beautiful beaches and old Portuguese fort town vibe.

BUT the highlight of our trip was by far the amazing villa we stayed in {pictures below}. I cannot recommend this place enough. it was small {just three rooms}, served amazing breakfast, had a cozy vibes and we almost had the place to ourselves completely.

on our last day we left for Colombo early {our flight back was from here} and spent the day in Colombo – which to me was quite the surprise. I did not expect to enjoy the city so much. it was a short but wonderful few hours in the country’s capital.

 

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^^ the beautiful villa we stayed in, which was about a 10 minute tutu ride to galle fort area. it looks like a homestay but its a hotel with the friendliest staff. and a small restaurant – which serves food all day ^^

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^^ this is where we sat all day lazing around playing mono deal and eating and drinking when we weren’t outside ^^

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^^ the breakfast area – I love how everything in the villa was so open and minimalistic ^^

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^^ our room – yes that’s an open bathroom, it was  slightly awkward walking in to this, considering we were sharing a room between the three of us, but we figured out our bath plans soon enough ;) ^^

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5 years today

how time flies.

today {which is a fairly light work day} I got several linked in pop up emails with some of my ex colleagues congratulating me  on my ‘work anniversary’. I clicked on the links out of curiosity – what work anniversary was this? it had only been 10 months since I joined Platinum. the link connected me to my work anniversary here {I had added the url of this blog  to my linked in page a long time ago}. then it hit me, I started this blog  5 years ago, today.

I still remember typing out my first blog post those many years ago. at a different desk on a different computer. I was so passionate about this little project. it was something I had been thinking about for so very long. it was like my very own online diary – noting down all the events, days and moments of my life which I didn’t want to forget. at some point I even wanted to make a career out of it {I still wouldn’t mind actually, if that could work ;)}

SO much has changed since. I’ve moved houses and jobs and met new people. I still look through the blog posts and feel so grateful for all of my experiences {a big reason I started this in the first place – is gratitude}

over time blog posts have appeared less often. but they haven’t stopped. haven’t let go of this domain name and don’t plan to.

my new year resolution for 2017 amongst several others was to blog more. and I plan to stick to it. even if it’s probably a little to late in the year. that’s okay…

life right now? is all about my new job {which is not so new anymore}, oscillating between being overly ambitious on some days and a wanting to be a  house wife on others, marriage {so much to learn, such a long way to go}, family {trying to spend more time with my old and making an effort to get to know the new}, my absolutely adorable niece {who we ALL obsess over} and the moments in between – traveling, hanging with friends and just being.

other random facts/things ..

my new favorite gift to give  – {specially when you have limited notice} – ellipsis bakery -  you can order their glutton-free or multigrain products on scootsy and they deliver it at your doorstep within 20 mins all packed up.

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my new favorite office snack – {albeit an unhealthy one}  I recently discovered my childhood favorite, Domino’s {Express Food} chocolate chip cookies on amazon and was ecstatic!

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my new favorite drink – mango orange green tea at café zoe

new favorite pass time – playing mono deal with the husband post work

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new favorite thing to do ever – watching leheir’s videos on REPEAT.

 

 

 

 

athens

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athens, a stark contrast from the rest of the places we visited in Greece, has its negatives and positives.

few parts of the city give you a slightly creepy vibe. something about it makes you feel unsafe. but then some parts are just so beautiful  that you can’t believe that all these parts belong to the same city.

more then 50% of Greece’s total population lives in athens. you can tell, athens is v. crowded. and filled with people of different ethnicity {which isn’t really the case elsewhere in Greece}.

we didn’t get much time here but managed to see quite a lot of the city {courtesy the sweetest lady taxi driver we met at the port, who offered to take us around the city in a day, at a fixed cost. I have her email address – for any one planning to visit Greece soon}

we visited the acropolis, the placa, temple of zeus, chapel of st. George, the national library, the supreme court, monastiraki square and the Olympic stadium.

we got v lucky. the sky was an amazing unforgettable blue that day and all the pictures we took – turned out so well.

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^^ Athens is also the city of graffitis {I haven’t read this anywhere but its what I would call Athens otherwise} there seriously is not a place other than the famous monuments which is not covered in graffiti ^^

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^^ this is the view from a really cool rooftop bar we went into inside the hotel A for Athens ^^

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^^ fancy blingy pants i bought at a shop on the road. I really really love them ^^

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^^ the most amazing dinner at our hotel restaurant, the grecotel pallas Athena which only didn’t top the list of our favorite meals in Greece coz A and I had a silly argument throughout the meal. I cant even remember why!^^

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^^ the good parts of Athens^^

also since this is the end to all the Greece vacation posts- I feel the need to conclude with how A always somehow manages to win people over in all the trips we do together. it’s so v strange but every time I travel with him I see the impact he leaves behind. it may be a conversation with the taxi driver in Athens or an old lady we met at the ferry who we played uno with, but when we say our good byes they are always so emotional {and that has so much more to do with A than I} he always manages to strike up an interesting conversation and talk to them about things that matter to them. there’s so much I learn from him even after all these years.

something I always want to remember when i’m mad at him about silly things.

on vacations and Paros

Vacation is so often cast as a luxury now … a bourgeois game of Instagram tagging and food photos. But for me, in Sifnos, I came to know it as the time in the year when you find not only rest, but also the strength you need to meet your work and your life when you return to them. In the years since, it’s been hard to be an American writer and take vacations like this. But I would never want to live the other way — without them — again

excerpt from an interesting article on new york times I read the other day. its about a writer who visited a remote Greek island and on the writer ‘learning’ to take a vacation.

don’t get me wrong. I vacation like how most people do. Instagram tagging, food photos and the works.. visiting the most popular islands and making sure I cover them all even if I end up spending as little as two days in each.

no way of vacationing is right or wrong. but i would want to try it the other way next time. rent an apartment. for a month or two even. go some where unpopular. read books, draw, paint or cook. explore the city/island/village. like really explore. go to places that aren’t necessarily touristy.

the closest we came to doing that in Greece, was at Paros. Adi and I both read about the island online. we didn’t know of any one who had visited there, before we made our bookings. but the pictures looked stunning and so we took a shot at it.

and to be honest, before our ferry ride from Santorini to Paros we almost contemplated cancelling and staying back in Santorini for a few more days. all our friends were going to be staying back longer and we did love our time with them.

but the bookings were done {non-refundable} and so we went along.

boy, am I glad we did?! it was the surprise element of the trip. I still remember walking into the main street of Naoussa, Paros from our hotel up in the hill. I had to stop walking just sink it all in. everything was so picturesque in Naoussa. there were ducks, cafes, octopuses and boats. all of a sudden. out of nowhere. and there was this buzz. {not loud or touristy like in Mykonos but just quiet local buzz}

we ended up eating Italian that night {finally we had had too much of souvlaki}. after dinner we walked around the cute little town and then headed back to our hotel, sat on the deck and talked. a lot. under the stars. that moment, it was all SO perfect – that we made a pact to come back. maybe on our 10 year anniversary. but this time with family and friends.

the next day, I wanted to book a boat and explore the caves in anti-paros, but eventually we decided to stay in and explore the island instead. we took a local bus to parikia. walked around the town. prayed at some churches along the way. bought some nic nacs and then spent two hours eating brunch and chatting with a local greek at a bar in parikia.

at night we made reservations at one of the most famous restaurants in naoussa {or all of Paros, as we learnt later} called Yemeni. we got a table which was lucky because apparently they are always booked out and you need to make  reservations weeks in advance. we tried the beetroot truffle risotto, zuchhini flower balls and stuffed mushrooms. and washed it all down with a bottle of local white wine for dessert they got us a chocolate cake with ice cream {which we didn’t order, it was on the house}. it was by far our best meal of the trip.

we headed back to Athens the next morning with such a heavy heart. if I had to redo my vacation in Greece, I would have definitely spent a lot more days exploring Paros. this island,  there was something magical about it.

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^^ view from our room in hotel papadakis. the best part of visiting a non-touristy place are the hotel prices. ;)} ^^

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^^ some more hotel pics^^

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^^ downtown Naoussa^^

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^^ first Italian meal in Greece. I think my favorite thing to do during a vacation is walking from one restaurant to another, reading their outdoor menus and eventually choosing the one you liked the most :) ^^

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^^ brunch at acute bar in parikia ^^

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^^ greek goodies I bought at the local store in parikia. as you can see, anything with olive oil – and I had to buy it ^^

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^^ dinner at Yemeni, our favorite meal in Greece ^^

 

santorini

Santorini was the expected highlight of our trip.  we had a wedding to attend, and A was meeting his university friends after a v. long time {the last time we met them was at our wedding in Mumbai in 2015}

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we spent three nights, three days here at a quaint colorful hotel Aquavatos at Kamari beach. although, not as popular as the well-known fira and oia, Kamari a.k.a. the black sand beach was one of my favorite places on the island. all the restaurants we tried here {at least 3-4 different ones} served excellent food. also, it’s home to some of the best bars I’ve seen {special recommendation: mango bar}

the day we landed, A had a bachelor night to go for and I, a hen party. the bride’s sister had planned it so brilliantly. we were about 15 girls, all from different parts of the world {when I say different I really mean it. we covered austria, phillipines, america, united kingdom, india and nigeria} the hen night started with some wine tasting at a winery. the venetsano winery in particular. this was where I first experienced the infamous Santorini view. i’d seen SO many pictures but nothing could prepare me for that. I still don’t think I could ever get over that VIEW.

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we tried four different kind of wines all locally made accompanies with some tapas. it was very chilly and at some point during the tasting they had to give us blankets to cover up.

our next stop for the hen night was a restaurant in fira, blue volcano {semi decent food and v cute waiters ;)} I ate chicken souvlaki {no surprises} we watched the sunset there. and just when I thought the views couldn’t get better, they did. that’s the thing about Santorini, every part of the island takes you by surprise.

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the night ended at the tango bar. and if you ever go to Santorini, this is one place you wouldn’t want to miss . the views from the bar were something else. so were the cocktails. and the people and the vibe. that night event though i was with a group of girls I had never met before, we got home when the sun came up. one of the best times I’ve had in greece.

… and then we spent almost all of the next day in bed {no surprises}.

at night I forced myself to get out. even if it was without Adi. i went with the bride and a group of her friends to an open air theatre in kamari {a first for me} and we saw king arthur under the stars with a glass of wine and LOTs of popcorn. my ultimate movie experience.

 

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the wedding day

adi and I started the day early. we went on a small cruise ship to nea kamini {an active volcano}. on getting there, we had to trek to the top of island near the crater. Adi has always been so fascinated by volcanos and I cant remember the last time i saw him this excited about anything. he may have picked up atleast 20 volcanic rocks during the trek up to the crater, to take them back home to Mumbai.

after the trek to the top and back down, we got back to our little boat and on to the next stop: the volcano hot springs. highlight: we had to jump from the boat into the warm waters of the volcano spring. the mud by the shores of the island is said to be therapeutic and we rubbed the volcanic mud all over our bodies. aah. I need to go back just to do that again.

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that evening, back in Santorini, we attended the most beautiful wedding ceremony. at the santos wines winery.

it was a Christian wedding {one of my firsts} between an indian boy, born and brought up in London, and a Pilipino girl, born and raised in austria. the wedding was a beautiful mix of different cultures getting together. that, right there, was what made it so special.

after the wedding we went to the theros wave bar for the reception and after party. and for some more wine and dancing.

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mykonos

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” - Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky.

I cannot emphasize the importance of travel enough {especially when you are working a 9 to 9+ job like mine}

travel has the power to change you. change your perspective on things and just generally help you look at everything around you more positively and with less judgment.

about two weeks ago, we started our trip to Greece with Mykonos {i won’t count the few hours we spent in Athens before we caught the blue star ferry to Mykonos, because all we did was sleep.}

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opting for ferries {cruise ships?} for our internal travel was one of the better choices we made. the waters of the aegean sea are so breathtaking and what better way to see it than by boat? you also pass by a whole lot of little islands on the way, each one with its own charm.

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we stayed at a cute little all-white hotel on paradise beach called the Paradise View Hotel. the positives – its right by all the beach clubs {about a short 2 to 5 minutes walk, depending on the beach club}, there’s a bus stop right outside the main gate {with a bus taking you to mykonos town coming in every 30 mins}, amazing views of the beach and a beautiful hotel pool and jacuzzi easily accessible from all the rooms. the negatives – none really.

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my favorite part about mykonos was mykonos old town. the white winding streets you see on all the greek postcards and movies, the windmills and of course, little venice. you could spend an entire day walking around old town. it’s also great for shopping {not if you’re me though. A would give me the worst look every time i even entered a shop. So lets just say i didn’t get to buy much in greece other than a few nic nacs to take back home for everybody}.

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^^I would also recommend having a drink at one of the beautiful bars in little venice. we selected the coziest little bar with outstanding views of the old town and the sea ^^

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^^For meals – we pretty much ate only souvlakis. you can tell from the different pictures of the all the souvlakis we tried. our favorite, by far, was the souvlaki at souvlaki story in mykonos old town^^

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^^after much coaxing I also managed to convince A to accompany me to the tropicana beach party. i’m pretty sure he was glad we went. we had a blast. the music, the people and the view were all on point!^^

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we had a v short stay in mykonos. there’s still so much more i would like to do. but that we can save for our next trip back to greece, because i am pretty sure we will be coming back :)

the big fat greek wedding

okay it’s not really big, or fat even. but it’s a greek wedding {technically}

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after monthsss {6 to be exact} of v. hard work at the new firm i am now working at  {which btw does not like being named}, A and i are finally off on a short but much needed vacation.

Two of A’s closest friends from his university days in london are getting married in santorini next week. and ofcourse, we had to be there for their big day.

since we had to fly down to greece for their wedding, we decided to make a trip out of it and visit a few other places around. we will be visiting athens, mykonos, santorini and paros.

i haven’t been before and have seen so many pictures, can’t wait to leave already.

back to the basics

how-to-win-friends

starting a new job is hard. you have to adjust, adapt and prove yourself all over again. changing two jobs in less than a year is harder.

but it’s a choice we make. one with long-term benefits.

recently i read an article on the importance of emotional intelligence in a professional work environment and it referred to dale carnegie’s book on how to win friends and influence people. growing up i’d heard of this book a thousand times. but never really got down to reading it.

but a few weeks ago i decided to check on what the hype was all about.

the book was published in 1936 and was one of the first and most bestselling self help books ever published. and i get why now. everything in the book, published decades ago, holds true even today. and there’s so much to learn and so v inspiring. once you begin reading it you realise that apart from several other benefits it’s even v helpful in pushing you forward in your career.

i’m about to start reading his other book, how to stop worrying and start living and can’t wait because for one, i know it will make A v happy. he’s always telling me about how i need to get rid of my ridiculous worrying habit.

PP

i’ve had a technical issue and could not access the blog for a while. hence this long over due post.

have been SO busy with work lately that i’ve had no time for pretty much anything else {which includes spending time with A or any from the family for that matter}

also, i’ve started working at a new firm. 2 months ago. somewhere i’ve been wanting to work for a while. squite happy about this change {well, except for the long hours bit}

my 2017 resolution is all about figuring out the perfect  work – life balance. any corporate lawyer out there who has managed to figure it out already, please contact me. i’m all ears!

musings

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“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the greatest motivations for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. – Fredrick Backman”

truest lines i have read in a while.

from the book ‘a man called ove’. it’s a new york times best-seller and i can’t wait to begin reading it.

i’ve said this before but nothing beats the feeling of having just finished a great book.