Birding trip to Surajpur Bird Sanctuary

Before I go ahead and tell you how much I enjoyed birding at Surajpur, I would like to stress that reconnecting with nature has both physical and psychological impact that is good for human health and well-being. Keeping that in mind, it is time to introspect if your outings are just restricted to closed spaces. If that is the case, you need to get some fresh air too! In times of smoke and pollution all around and the air quality index shooting off the roof, a morning visit to a bird sanctuary will help calm your senses and will prepare you to take on life as it is. Though to be frank, I was myself coaxed to be a part of this birding trip by hubby and my daughter.

We started early around 6 am and reached Greater Noida in around one and a half hour. The parking was almost full and people of the birding group that we are a part of were already there. It was cold but pleasant and we started the walk into the forest-like space. A narrow ‘pagdandi’ helped us keep track of the direction. We got to see many boards with details of the birds that we could find in the wetland vicinity.

Soon enough, darling daughter started taking quick shots in succession with her camera to capture the birds idly resting or flying around. Some common sense rules of birding include maintaining silence so that the birds are not scared away. In addition, you need to wear clothes that act as a camouflage so you do not become the object of attention. The birds need your attention, not the other way round.

The walk was refreshing and we wanted to linger on for some more time. I would like to recommend this place and have also added a few pictures so that you get the overall idea of the place. So, wake up early and visit Surajpur to be one with nature!  

Udaipur Diaries

I had heard that Udaipur is called the city of the lakes and when I got there it was much more beautiful than what I had expected. It is also called the ‘Venice of the east’ due to its lakes, gardens, havelis, and forts. As we went to see the amazing picturesque spots in Udaipur, one thing became clear that this place was loved by the tourists and locals alike. This city was founded in the 15th century by Maharana Udai Singh on the advice of a sage he encountered on his hunting expedition to Lake Pichola. The sage bestowed his blessings that the palace the king builds will add to its prosperity. The boundary of lake Pichola was clean and free of litter which seemed to be an achievement in itself. Lake Pichola looks resplendent and you would like to instantly take a few pictures out there. This city has, for decades, inspired everyone from authors like Rudyard Kipling to filmmakers. The James Bond film Occopussy was extensively shot here.

So on the first day, after settling down at Lalit Laxmi Niwas palace, we headed off to the City Palace to witness the rich cultural history of Udaipur. It took us a couple of hours to take in the beautiful City palace after which we rested for some time in the Sunrise Restaurant. Then we headed off to the boat ride to the Jag Mandir, which is located at the center of Lake Pichola. The boat ride around the lake should not be missed as it will rejuvenate you beyond doubt. We also visited the Sajjangarh widelife sanctuary where we were able to spot many wild animals. There are golf carts functional there which will take you to the enclosures and bring you back to the fort exit. We also visited the Hathipole market where we did some shopping. But a word of caution here. Don’t trust the Uber drivers in Udaipur. If you want a cab, you should prefer Ola over Uber which are easily available. If you wish to explore the local restaurants, you can reach Chand pole by the cab and then walk up to Gangaur ghat. There are many good restaurants there. One of them is Café Boho, which we liked very much. The atmosphere is very warm and welcoming and the food is good too. Same is the case with Yummy Yoga which is a rooftop restaurant. But you will have to climb staircases so think before you plan to go there. We had our breakfasts at Padmini, which is at Laxmi Niwas and would like to add that the breakfast was good. However, when we tried out Aangan restaurant inside Laxmi niwas, it did not live up to the expectations.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Udaipur and then headed off to the next destination, Jodhpur.

Screen time dilemma

Half-yearly exams are ending tomorrow and finally I have got some time to put my thoughts to words. More so, because the only exam left is the third language and darling daughter is well-equipped to deal with French on her own. I am not exactly a passive listener for other subjects and try to give my two cents in the time of need. And yes, Google baba is always there for us when we get stuck.

Moving on from the family brouhaha, today I would like to bring up the topic of ‘screen time’ which was almost absent in our times. These days, kids are engulfed with various categories of screen time, starting from television, tablet, laptop, and our very own favourite gadget, mobile! So one thing after another and there you go. Children do not have time to lift an eyelid or go play outside; remember physical activity is a must. They are glued to the available gadget whenever they can make fool of their parents. I have noticed that some parents in an attempt to complete their work at home themselves provide these amenities to their children. They will do their own work while the child happily watches youtube videos to the hilt. Even infants these days would not eat their food if they don’t see a specific program on the tablet which the poor bai holds right in front of their eyes…

Coming to the point, needless to say that I am not against the concept of screen time, but I feel that it should be restricted by the parents and should be available to the children under some form of supervision. It is for the experts to decide how much time should be spent by a child in front of the screen. It should not happen that the child’s eyesight suffers due to the neglect by the parents. That’s the reason why grandparents are again in demand these days as they can at least engage the child in a conversation and distract his/her mind from the screen.

There are parents who are giving a mobile to their children at a young age of 10 or 11 but it should be used under guidance. Similar should be the case for all other screens. Most importantly, there should be some emphasis on the family time when either everyone eats together or are engaged in an activity. What do you feel about this topic? How much screen time are your children getting?

General musings

This month saw the untimely passing away of two stalwarts of BJP, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. It is indeed a sad month for the party as these leaders are irreplaceable. The void that they have left cannot be filled by anyone easily. Both the leaders were very knowledgeable and had a large fan following across the nation. May their respective souls rest in peace.

Right now I am a little excited on hearing the news that our very own badminton player, P. V. Sindhu has won the World Championship. Incidentally, it is her mom’s birthday and she has dedicated her win to her mother. What a nice piece of news to end a Sunday with. Sindhu was trying to win for the last couple of times but could bag the medal this time round. Coach Gopichand must be on cloud nine and why not. It’s a big honour for the nation.

The situation in J & K is slowly returning to normal. It will take a lot of time though. Due to the militancy, the development could not take place but slowly people are realising that the government decision to scrape Article 370 was the right one. Recently read about a couple who left their high profile jobs to settle down in Laddakh and help in the overall development of the region. Thanks to them, solar panels have been installed in many schools and children are getting the education they so rightly deserve.

I have been reading a book or two and the next post would most probably be a book review. So, stay tuned!

Random musings

The suicide of VG Siddhartha has yet again brought depression to the forefront. He was unable to pay his debts and as a result chose the easier route to eternal peace. He didn’t want to take any further blame for the dire situation at Café Coffee Day. CCD is a popular coffee outlet for the youngsters as one can sit there without being disturbed for long. Even free Wi-Fi is available.

Depression can ruin anyone’s life but when it goes out of hand it takes the form of suicide. People with depression are so despondent at times that they don’t think even once how their near and dear ones will cope with the situation once they are gone. The mind plays games that no one knows about. It is very necessary to contain the problem before it goes out of hand either through medication or counselling or both in moderation. The role of family members in providing support to the depressed is also of utmost importance.

Another interesting piece of news that I came across today related to a customer asking for a non-muslim guy for delivering food from Zomato as saavan is going on. He received a befitting reply from the founder Deepinder Goyal, “We aren’t sorry to lose business that comes in the way of our values.” Actually it is a dangerous trend which should be contained as early as possible. Such absurd demands cannot be met and they only show the mental bankruptcy of the person demanding.  

India is a secular state and people should be encouraged to treat the fellow men in the same regard. There should be no distinction based on caste or creed and everyone should be treated with equal respect though sadly that is not the case. But the bottomline is that whenever there is an opportunity to put things right, we should do that as was done by Zomato founder.

Goodbye, Beetle

Beetle, as a pup

I lost my baby Beetle yesterday. He was a pet dachshund and lived his life to the fullest, being ill for about a month before moving away to a whole new world. I am still coming to terms with the fact that he is no more around and I can’t take his name often. I am remembering all the good moments spent with him one by one. He was always active and jovial at home. Outside of home, he used to become a bit territorial but we could manage that. I was his mom and he was closest to me though Harsha and Eva were also very close to him, something I witnessed when his last rights were being performed. All of us broke into tears as we shared a bond and Beetle was our family member.

What was the most funny thing about Beetle? Well, he had a liking for the carpet in the living room and used to dig right in its middle whenever he felt like. It was as if a tunnel was being built with all diligence. This breed, dachshund, are famous for their digging and hunting capabilities. Also, he had a very loud bark, enough to scare a non dog lover. He used to guard the gate with all his might and wouldn’t allow anyone to come in easily. I had to lock him up briefly before I could even talk to the person at my door. Whenever I felt low, he would come and sit with me and try to comfort me.

Beetle was a perfect apartment dog and stayed with us for close to 15 years. We will miss him terribly and the void cannot be filled by anyone else. I feel like I have lost someone very near and dear. Hope he finds even more loving parents in his next life. You will live with us in our memories, Beetle! Goodbye for now.

Blog: Daily musings

Was checking my e-mail and it came as a rude shock that my Amazon Prime order has been converted to pay on delivery. They didn’t provide any specific reason for it, though. The maid has not turned up (she can have a headache too) and I am left wondering how to cope up with that.

Hubby dear has got a new music system installed in the car and he gladly takes us down for a demo of the same, gadget lover that he is. We hop into the car and praise it liberally. Darling daughter is busy with her own stuff, this being the last week to enjoy holidays as it is back to school from July 1st. I casually pick up the newspaper only to be bogged down by the horrible and unfortunate news of a depressed teacher killing whole of his family as he and his wife were not keeping well. Strange are the ways of the world…

I try to turn my mind to something else and request Alexa to play some songs. Alexa promptly starts playing my favourites. Definitely a mood booster, that is. And Alexa has her moods too. When she doesn’t want, she will not turn on the lights. Does come up with some or the other reason.

The pet dachshund is hard to please these days and will do his own thing. Even in summers he seems to love the sun and is found lying in the kitchen where the sun comes in. Old age has set in.

Yesterday darling daughter came back from swimming with a serious concern, “Mumma, why don’t these 3-4 year old boys go and change in the men’s room?” I said that their mothers or helps must be bringing them to the ladies room. “Yes mumma, but how come they have the audacity to do that!!” My girl was sufficiently concerned and I had to say that I will bring up the matter on the group. Women’s liberation jindabad!

Have a wonderful week ahead!