A Day trip to Chikmagalur

One of the best trips we took last year was a One-day trip to Chikmagalur. Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law who made this outing possible for me and Mike.

Chikmagalur is a town located in the Indian state of Karnataka. My sister-in-law is well-acquainted with the place as she worked there for a few years; So SHE became our special tour-guide for the day.

We began our journey early in the morning at about 5.30am. With a distance of 150 km from Panemangalur (where we were staying), it took us around 2 and a half hours to reach the town. It was one beautiful ride! India is at its prettiest, very early in the morning, when there is less traffic. Driving through the majestic Western Ghats during Sunrise was absolutely breathtaking!

20161204_070613
Western Ghats

We were quite starving by the time we reached our destination, so we made our way to the Town Canteen. Trust me, we ate one of the best Dosas we’ve ever eaten in our lives (Mike was eager for more!)

After our breakfast, we drove to Mullayanagiri. Located 15 km from Chikmaglur, Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka. Standing tall at 6330 ft, it is also one of the highest peaks between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. After parking the car at the foothills of Mullayanagiri, we began our trek up the hill. Enjoying the panoramic view of the Western Ghats and the beautiful Coffee estates of Chikmaglur, we climbed up further. Talking, regaling one another with our stories, singing and falling (just me!), we trudged on for another hour!

20161204_133638

20161204_110843
View from Mullayanagiri hill

We took breaks in between for fruits and biscuits (Again thanks to my sister-in-law, who’d packed every essential needed for this trip!).

After climbing the steep hill, we came across a muddy road used for vehicles, which was closed for construction purpose (Mullayanagiri can be reached through road as well). Another hour and a half’s trek took us to the foot of a temple. A 600 steps later, we finally reached the Shiva temple, which is at the highest point of Karnataka. (Lord Shiva is called Mullaya around here, and that’s how the hills got the name Mullayanagiri). The views atop were awe-inspiring!!

20161204_110900
Steps to Mullaya Temple

A couple of hours later we were back where we began.

And then we drove from there to Manikyadhara, where there is a beautiful Waterfalls (As we were too tired by then, we did not walk down to the falls). The view of Bababudangiri hills from there was Impressive!

20161204_134016

After resting at Manikyadhara, we visited the Bababudangiri shrine, named after the Sufi saint Baba Budan, who was and is still revered by both Muslims and Hindus.

Then we drove to Belur. Located in Hassan district, Belur is one of the major tourist attractions in Karnataka. The beautiful temple sites of Belur and Halebidu, at the heart of the Hoysala Empire, form the richest sources of Hindu art and sculpture in the country. I was too young to appreciate this amazing wealth of art when I came here the first time, so I’m happy I got another opportunity to visit this place. The geometry and design of the Hoysala Temple architecture and the beautiful carvings left me dazed!

Sadly, we were already short of time and had to head back home, so we skipped visiting the temple of Halebidu.

20161204_164231

But I must say I had one of the most wonderful experiences in India and I’m proud to come from a country so rich in Heritage and Beauty!

Love,

Madhurya

“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (March 8, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Reading: “One Christmas in Paris” by Mandy Baggot. This weather makes me want to read  only cheesy romantic books!
Watching: Bollywood Filmfare awards show on Youtube.
Eating: Salads. I’ve been feeling the urge to eat salads before the main course (which I never did before!)
Making: Plans for our next vacation in Dubai.
Wishing for: A stress-free week at the office.
Learning: Some special verbs in German language.
Thinking: About the time when Medha was a year old and I used to sing the Kannada version of “Bits of paper” to her with actions and she would love it and repeat after me in her own way.
Listening: To all the peppy tracks played on  the radio.
Loving: That we have to wait only a month or two for the Sun God to shower his blessings on us here.
Here’s what I had to say:
Reading: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan- a book I bought when I was a part of the Noveltea Book Club, but never got around to finishing it. I WILL now!
Watching: a lot of animated movies, as the TV is under the control of a couple of 6- and 3 -year olds!
Eating: A lot of the sweet and succulent flesh of Jack-fruit this season. Best Dessert ever!
Making: All sorts of Herbal Tea for kids and me, to battle our persistent cold and cough.
Wishing for: things to remain just the way they are…
Learning: to go with the flow and pay close attention to my instincts. They know what’s best for me!
Thinking: about doing something special this Women’s Day.
At that very moment Medha interrupts my reverie with a  “I’m a Woman too. Let’s both go out shopping today!”
Listening: to Bollywood songs as I type, specifically to this song, as the kids dance to it, while I “work”. I can’t stop dancing too!
Loving: Long, Lazy Summer Days (Have I said that before?!?! Oh yes! But. I .do. love’em. so .much!) and Reading, reading and more reading!
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

Summer Reading Fun

To me, Summer is all about lazing around, doing nothing but reading, hopefully with a bowl of fresh fruit to munch on or a glass of sparkling juice to sip, by the side. And that’s what my kids and I are mostly doing these past few days, as the temperatures soar outside. We are trying to make the best use of these days before the usual rut kicks in again by mid-June and we get busy with school! (Plus this time there’s the double bonanza of our littlest one starting big school too! Double Trouble, I call it!!)

So… We are forgetting all of that. For now. And immersing ourselves in reading and crafting and big-time movie-watching! Yay!

Since I’m big on setting goals for myself and my family, I decided to make a Bingo kind of reading challenge for Medha and I. Madhav will have his own next year, maybe? Before we began, I checked Pinterest and Google for the keyword, “Reading Bingo”, and found a ton of ideas. Basically, a Reading Bingo is a game where we read all the books listed in the chart, one by one. There will be all sorts of suggestions in it, like “Read a book by Dr. Seuss” for Medha, and “Read a Historical Fiction” for me. We will complete one book after another- I’ll read on my own, of course, and Medha will read with my help as she is still a level 2 kinda reader? (I don’t know where she stands. Maybe there’s a test for finding out?)

img_0303

img_0301

We will stick stickers (Golden Stars!!!) to the charts after we complete each book and reward ourselves with something special after we finish the whole challenge. Medha is way ahead of me, already! That girl is very competitive!! While she might tear through all the books this summer itself, I might need the Monsoon and the Winter thereafter too, to trudge through all the books I’ve chosen. Some of them are mighty big, you see…

img_0307

I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to read some of the books we already own, but never read. And also re-read the books we read long back. I’ll be renting or buying the rest of the books only after we read the ones we already possess. It pinches me that I buy more books than I am capable of reading!

img_0296

Also, I’ll be reviewing some of the books along the way, Medha’s including. So, please visit us often to check on our progress and give your valuable suggestions. I’m all ears…

Love,

Manasa.

Granny Crochet Table Cover

Mixing different colors of yarn has always been my style of crocheting. To me, Crochet is all about colors and that too vibrant Spring kind of colors, which really brighten up any room for any occasion.

For my next crochet project, I decided to make a Granny Crochet Table Cover.  I thought of using up some of the yarn I’d purchased at one of the shops in Salzburg (Oh! A review of our visit to Salzburg is due, next week maybe?). “Bravo Originals” is the name of the brand and they cost me just Eur 1.00 per 50 g! I bought balls of yarn in pink, blue (light and dark), green, red and yellow colors.

20170101_070525-1

 I used a crochet needle of size 3.5mm for this project and followed this pattern.

It took me almost a month to finish this project! (You really don`t need that much time, but I had some lazy days in between!)

Once I completed the squares, I placed them in the order I wanted before joining them. I hand-stitched the squares together.

20170225_180337

I felt too lazy to give it a border as shown in the website. And my sister suggested making pom poms all around the edges. Now what in the world is a Pom Pom in crocheting?? I have no idea!

20170226_153855

So I decided to keep it as it is for now. I LOVE it! I hope you do too… 🙂

Love,

Madhurya.

“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (March 1, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Reading: “The Woman on the Orient Express” by Lindsay Ashford. (Thanks to Manasa`s review, I felt inspired to read this book).
Watching: The weather turn wet and gloomy due to the rain and storm!
Eating: Mostly Bananas and Guavas!! Of course the regular meals as well.
Making: Plans for my next Crochet project.
Wishing for: The long weekend to come sooner.
Learning: To keep myself calm at work.
Thinking: Of singing more often just to keep my mood light and happy!
Listening: To the pitter-patter of raindrops.
Loving: Our morning drive to work; listening to nice music while discussing our plans for the day!
Here’s what I had to say:
Reading: “Instruments of the Angels”- A Waters Dark and Deep- Book 1, by Monica Leonelle- A book I received for free to post a review on Amazon.
Watching: the kids get super-excited about their grandparents’ marriage anniversary.
Eating: Mostly salads and Yogurt-based dishes, as the temperatures soar.
Making: a new set of resolutions, blog posts and journal ideas, as it is the beginning of another month.
Wishing for: my cold and sore throat to subside so I can be fully myself again.
Learning: the basics of sewing through this free mini class.
Thinking: of ways to brighten our day (not literally, as it is too bright outside already!) and add some cheer to others’ lives this summer, as the heat threatens to sap us!
Listening: to birdsong outside every morning, as we drink our second round of Tea upstairs, on our new outdoor sofa set.
Loving: these long, lazy summer days and not having to send the kids to school in a rush.
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

Perfection is for Gods!

I read this line in a magazine and felt so relieved! If Perfection is for Gods, then I need not be perfect. I don’t have to strive hard to be a perfect mom, daughter, wife or a daughter-in-law. There is no need for me to work my butt off to publish the perfect post. I’m only a human, after all. I make mistakes. All the time. And Perfection is for Gods, right?

That thought freed me. Now I can focus on simply Showing up and Doing the Work, and giving it my all, instead of worrying over the enormity of what lies ahead, how hard the task is or how it needs to be perfect (or almost-perfect) before it is put out for the world to see (and praise or criticize).

img_20170227_112020

Perfectionism can be demotivating. If I don’t have something really good to share, then I simply turn my back to my blog; If I expect to be praised all the time I cook something, then I’ll never try to be innovative in my kitchen; If I expect Medha to score very well in her exams, then I’ll scare her from trying something on her own and from making mistakes.

Mistakes are good. Making mistakes help us to learn and grow. Our Mistakes, our weaknesses make us human. As I read in the same article, “Let your weaknesses show. It is as titillating and attractive as showing a bit of your slip”- How beautiful and apt is that! Mistakes tell us what we are doing differently and what can be tried next to get the desired result. We only need to recognize that what we’ve been doing so far will not help us get to where we want to go. And we need to change course. Or, even better, sometimes  those same “mistakes” might lead us to an unexpected, but a surprising new destination.

I was one of those perfectionists myself (Not sure I’m completely over it yet)- Not doing a thing or trying something different because I couldn’t see the perfect end result before I began;  Not happy with what I’d make or write because I was too obsessed with being good enough or authentic enough. I’d compare myself with others way above me and fall short in my own eyes. I’d snip my ‘art’ right at its bud! It left me feeling miserable.

But not anymore. Now I tell myself (over and over again) that it is just me, Manasa, a mere mortal, who is just one of the many that come and go on this big, beautiful Earth created by God. It doesn’t matter if I sew the worst-fitted dress or write the most boring blog post  (like, I’m probably doing right now! Thank you, if you’re still reading this!:)) or do the ugliest painting ever. I’m sure I will. And it doesn’t matter one bit.

So… Make I will. Write I will. Sew I will. And do everything else that speaks to my heart. Every Single Day. 

It doesn’t mean I’ll have to do a shoddy job or a mediocre art just for the sake of doing. I’ll do the best I can with the resources I have. I’ll do it with love (to God and towards myself). I’ll let the Higher Power guide me. I’ll let my intuition pave my way. I’ll plunge into the darkness even if I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. And someday I might strike Gold, But most days, it is just going to be work, work and work. And guess what, I love this “Work”. If what you’re doing is something you’ve always wanted to do, like me, then you’ll feel pleasure in the “Doing” itself.

So I’ll keep on doing. Keep on going. And enjoying all along the way. I’m no Perfectionist. I’m not Perfect. I’m just a human. I’m  only a Doer.

Love you loads for being so patient with my rambling!

Manasa.

A visit to Allmend, Frauenfeld

When Mike suggested we go for a walk on a warm lazy Sunday afternoon, I gave into the idea, but not without a tough fight, as I had to pull myself away from the book I was reading.

20170212_132826-1

But as we neared Allmend, I had to admit I felt glad to be out and about.

We drove from Dachsen to Diessenhofen, before stopping at Allmend. Located in the region of Frauenfeld (in the canton Thurgau), Allmend is a Natural Habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Hedges interlink different habitats like dry meadows and forests while the river Thur (which gives the name to the Canton, Thurgau) cuts through the landscape.

Different species of birds, amphibians and reptiles make this region their home. Apparently this area is full of Beavers. Though we couldn’t spot any, their presence was evident in many trees, which were gnawed upon so much that they were ready to come crashing down!  Some of them already had fallen, creating dams.

20170212_134150-120170212_133149-1

According to some reports on the Allmend, between 1999 and 2005, more than 800 arenas (the size of 15 football fields) were restored. Some of the barren meadows were sown with native flowering plants, and the rest were planted with different species. However, sadly, due to the recent climatic changes, there has been a strong decline in the flora and fauna. But the Canton is doing its best to protect them.

20170212_141127-1

We walked around for an hour or so. There weren’t many visitors that day. I wonder whether they allow folks to have picnics or barbecues in the premises. It was very surprising to see the area so clean and well-maintained, even though there were no supervisors around.

Allmend is a fun spot where the whole family can have a great time walking, playing and exploring, while kids can learn a lot about nature. I highly recommend going there to enjoy and appreciate the tranquility and to soak up the beauty around….

Love,

Madhurya