Thursday, February 27, 2014


Standing alone and looking around always gives a better view of the situation
The best way to retrospect is to pull away from the crowd and think
And this would never fail you, cause our conscience makes us our best judge

- Vaisakhi Mishra

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quick Getaways around Mumbai

To find recluse in the lap of nature and escape the never ending days of the Maya Nagri, here is my list of quick getaways around Mumbai : -

 Lonavala and Khandala
  • 3 hours by road (Panvel Pune highway) and 3 hours by train (Khandala station)
  • Best time to visit August - September or December - January
  • Lonavala and Khandala provide perfect weekend destination for all the busy bored Mumbaikars. During monsoon the sudden rains , numerous waterfalls and lakes and complete fog cover makes the visit memorable while winters, well they are hill stations so need I say more?
  • Places worth visiting – Khandala valley, Tiger point, Shiv Sagar dam, Bhusi Dam, Pavna lake and Trekkers - Lohagad Fort(closed during monsoon) and Karla and Bhaja caves.

Alibaug, Nagaon, Kashid and Kihim
  • 3-4 hours by road (Panvel Road) 1-1:30 hours by ferry (from Gateway of India)
  • Best time to visit – Any time, though water sports are not available from July to August.
  • Why run to Goa each time for enjoying the costal bliss when all that is available not very far from Mumbai. These beaches are one of the most scenic and clean beaches of Maharashtra (Malgund beach and Anjarle near Ganpatipule beat these though). You could enjoy n number of water sports or simply laze around and spend your weekend relaxing in these pristine corners of Maharashtra.
  • Places worth visiting – Kashid is the cleanest of the lot, Alibaugh fort and Murud Janjira fort (A 15th century impregnable 22 acre stone fort built inside water), Nagaon Beach with its close to beach canopy of Betel and Suru trees. Also for all these places the most suitable place to stay overnight is Nagaon hamlet and no resorts but the cottages of the natives that they rent out to the tourists. It gives you a chance to see and enjoy their lifestyle closely, even if it is for a day.

Bandardhara and Malshej Ghat
  • 3 hours by road (Panvel – Igatpuri road)
  • Best time to visit – August to January
  • Amidst the dense Sayadris, north of Mumbai, is Malshej Ghat and close by is Bandardhara both famous picnic spots during Monsoon and equally attractive spots during winters.
  • Places worth visiting – Malshej Falls, Shivneri fort, Arthur Lake, Wilson Dam, and Maharashtra’s Highest Peak – Mount Kalsubai (Bandardhara is the base point for the trek)

Nasik, Shirdi and Trambakeshwar
  • 3-4 Hours by road (Panvel – Nashik highway) 4 hours by train (Nasik Station)
  • Best time to visit – November to March
  • Although mostly known for its religious front, these places are also historical places and beautiful hill stations. Night walk in Sirdi and Badam milk or tea in Kulhads, nothing beats that feeling. You would also end up wondering how a tiny, frail stream of water originating on the mountains facing the jyotirling Trambakeshwar becomes the mighty Godavari after some kilometers. And wine lovers do visit Indian Italy - Sula Vineyard.

Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani
  • 5 Hours by road (Overnight sleeper buses or by car are the best options)
  • Best time to Visit – October to April
  • The twin hill stations of Maharashtra are the best places to be at during peak winters and early summers. The cold winds, meandering lush green roads and fruity waif in the air make it a must visit.
  • Places worth visiting – Pratapgad, Mapro Garden (you don’t wanna miss the sizzling brownie there), Balakwadi Dam and Kate's point (you can see some weird stone structures here), Sydney point in Panchgani (provides the best view of the town), Tapola dam(1 hour from Panchgani is Tapola aka Mini Kashmir a backwater on the Koyna river where you can enjoy a lot of Water sports as well as paragliding.) If you are lucky enough and are able to visit any of the Boarding Schools in Panchgani, don’t miss the chance! New Era School has some of the best scenic views of Panchgani and that is where the movie Tare Zameen Par was shot. And well just spend the rest of your time walking around these towns; you won’t regret it a bit.
So go on and plan your weekends now...:)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Great is Best

Welcome To Hogwarts! Let the feast begin!

Professor Dumbledore’s voice reverberated in the room and was drowned in the sea of loud cheers from us, the students. The castle walls came alive with the deads coming out of them and the candled sky ceiling washed the whole room in lights of jubilation. I was eating away all the delicacies of the world with my new friends when Professor Snape turned my chair and smirked “It is time for your first Marketing Lesson. I am your client and you have to convince me to eat the food here.” Ugh, umm, weird…that never happened in Harry Potter did it?

I woke up from my amazing dream, rubbing my eyes, wondered why had my regular wizard fantasy turned so weird today. And as soon as I was back in senses, the answer was staring at me. I slept on my laptop, on my study table and now a blank black screen was my mirror and to sharp blinking lights my alarm.

Ok people, jokes apart. I was researching for colleges for MBA and then remembered about the Indiblogger contest Knowledge is Great and these two resulted in the cocktail dream I just described. MBA – Which college does the word trigger in or minds when we hear this word? Please don’t say IIM, think large, think big and think amazing. Harvard, Cambridge and London business school right?  Well the mere thought of studying in an old castle makes me go totally crazy - in a good way though, and which place would be better than these. But it made me realize knowledge is great, great ocean actually. We limit ourselves to Engineering CA or medical, and then MBA and we are done, but there is so much more to education. While doing my research I got a bit side tracked and started exploring more about Cambridge. Did you know Cambridge offers 51 courses alone, including some very interesting courses like linguistics, theology and religious studies, and creative writing! Theology and Religious studies is what Dan Brown exploits max using a shield called Robert Langdon. The course of creative writing promises students will learn the art of the short story, flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, reviews and critic writing, travel writing, novel writing and blurb writing in the first year of study. As a blogger it makes me fall in love with the university just for this course. I mean does it not look like your ticket to fame! No wonder Enid Blyton was great with Noddy as well as the famous five series.

And knowledge and opportunities in great Britain is not limited to all this. Don’t we all swoon for the British accent? *Let the guilty you dance a bit, no crime, I am in the same league :P* Is Sherlock not the most famous series in the world right now? *What an inane question right?* Well all this is the brilliance of the place where arts is still allowed to breathe freely. In the rat race of being doctors and engineers, the universities in Great Britain are known for their novelty in the field of arts. But science is not side lined either. Let us not forget this land is home of 65 Nobel Prize winners. And Oxford and English are synonymous words to the world. Remember Kabhi khusi kabhi gaam, The Raichands made it a tradition to study in London for it was the best place to study in. Oxford and Cambridge have been voted as one of the best places in the world to study at, numerous times by Times. 

Knowledge is also appreciated equally along with imparting it. UK provides point based visa, all on your knowledge and worth. 40 points is all it takes to be in a great place, in a great castle, in a great county side locale and to achieve greatness in life. And people who don’t want to study and yet make knowledge their standalone friend, you get a free friend from UK – the graduate entrepreneur visa. Stay and sketch your dream into reality!

Looks like I am doing PR for UK now, doesn’t it? But seriously all of us were envious of The Hogwarts’ students, weren’t we? Knowledge is great and if I could I would specialize in defense against dark arts from there. But reality is always...well it sucks. So back to real world **sob sob**. I want to do Executive MBA from Judge or London Business School now. Aye, I know, I am embedded in the general cycle of engineering MBA and job. Hey, but from a great place could be fun right! At least I showed you the options I came across during my mundane venture, didn’t I? Guys, knowledge is great and there is no fun more thrilling than learning new stuff every day. We want everything larger than life every time, then why not Knowledge or at least the where and how we gain knowledge from? A food for thought to all…and I am back to my bed…imagining a four poster one…:D

Let the dreams begin!

P.S. - This post has been written for Knowledge is Great contest organized by IndiBlogger and British Council.

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