Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thank You

Among my near and dear ones I am known to be a worry wart who is always over thinking stuff and going on about what might happen. (Obviously, I think they exaggerate). But it's true that I am always thinking, so much so that it almost drives me nuts. Thinking of things to do, things that should have been done, places I want to travel to, things I would like to buy, books I am yet to read, friends I want to catch up with, friends I haven't heard from... it's an endless list.

Of late though, I have come to realise that while I have ten million things running around in my head, I haven't been spending too much time thinking of all the things that I am truly thankful for in my life. The more I think (of course) about it, the more I believe that spending a few minutes being grateful for all the good things in my life has made me more grounded and more positive. I am not sure if I worry less but I certainly see myself less hassled, angry and unhappy when things go wrong. 

Here are a few thoughts I am leaving you with:
(courtesy: Pinterest & Google Search)

You could probably be excused if it's a Monday morning and you've to head to work especially in foul weather. ;)

Note to myself:

Last, but not the least, thank you, dear reader, for dropping by to read my ramblings. 
May the force be with you! 


Friday, August 22, 2014

Razhu Pru - cosy & comfortable

On my trip to Kohima, I stayed at Razhu Pru, a quaint, colonial villa turned into a boutique hotel. Razhu Phru is situated in Kohima village, which is incidentally the oldest and largest of the areas that make up the city. Razhu (name of the owner) and Pru (shelter) is how the name is described in the hotel's brochure. 

Note: the photos were all shot at dusk, please view it from that perspective :)

Wood is the predominant element in the interiors and the structure of the building, similar to most houses built in hill stations in the colonial era. Wooden beams, ceiling, floors, columns can be seen all over the place.

The common area, what might have been the erstwhile drawing room, is charmingly decorated with furniture and artefacts from traditional Naga culture. It's a room where I spent a pleasant half hour just browsing through the art on the walls and admiring the furniture. The only drawback to this room is that it has no windows, therefore the only natural light is from the entrance doors. 

A view of the garden from the verandah

The rooms are all well-furnished and bright with an understated elegance. I was told the pretty fabrics come from the factories owned by the proprietors themselves. My room was charming, faced the front of the house with windows overlooking the garden. It was brightly lit and gave off a comfy, cosy vibe. Some of the other rooms on the opposite side of the property, I believe, have clear views of the hillside. 

The food they offer is both traditional Naga cuisine as well as some of the popular Indian and Western dishes. Breakfast is simple and limited. But for lunch and dinner, you can place your order from their vast menu. I was all for the local cuisine, I could not seem to get enough of the bamboo shoot with meat preparations in Nagaland. A word of caution though, bamboo shoot tastes nothing like regular vegetables or greens. It's definitely an acquired taste. 

Razhu Pru has schools in the vicinity and you can see and hear students clearly in the mornings and evenings when they are on their way to or out of school. It was a tad bit noisy but definitely not a deal breaker (at least for me) though I spent two days there which included a very vocal basket ball match in the school opposite. 

I was there in October, so the weather was just turning chilly. The days were fine with the sun warm enough not to warrant any warm clothes but the evenings and early mornings were cold. The area around the hotel, while quite urbanised has some small (hillside) lanes which I walked, exploring the neighbourhood. There were pretty houses, friendly people and some fabulous views. 

View of Kohima town & the surrounding hills
with their cloud covered peaks

The staff at Razhu Pru are friendly and helpful and ready with helpful suggestions on things to see and do in the neighbourhood. 

All across the North East, the places I stayed in were clean and comfortable even if they were basic. Razhu Phru was the same but more luxurious. After two weeks on the road, ending the trip here was probably the best decision I made. It felt so good!

For more information, photos or to contact the hotel directly, you can visit their facebook page -

Other posts on the North East in this blog:

Peace & Eternal Rest (Nagaland) 

Country Roads (Arunachal Pradesh)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bangkok - to see & to taste

I didn't get to see as much of Bangkok as I would have liked or even the rest of Thailand, but there were some interesting sights that made this trip worthwhile. Here are some of the highlights from my trip. 


In public places and huge malls that Bangkok is famous for, there were larger than life art installations which were eye-catching and beautiful in a very serene and peaceful way. Or maybe I was just influenced by the Thai way of life - ever pleasant and smiling :)

Inside a mall

In the open, on a street corner


The city had some beautiful flowers, especially orchids, on display and for sale. 

Orchids (left) & other bright blooms at a flowers/plants market.

The heart of a cabbage(?) is the centre of 
attraction in this pretty floral arrangement.


At the outset, I must declare I am not a foodie and I am not great at cooking, infact I am not even interested in it. But I do love to try different cuisines especially if I am travelling. I do make it a point, as far as possible, to try the local dishes wherever I go. I probably won't be able to tell you what went into a particular dish but I can certainly tell you how good or bad it tasted. Important, no? ;)

Most of these images must be familiar to you from various corners of South East Asia, but I felt that any post on Bangkok would be incomplete without its street food. Here are some photographs from China Town and from the ubiquitous food carts on the streets.

Raw oysters, China Town - my first time & it was good.
But, definitely an acquired taste.

An assortment of dishes at China Town.
Not an area for the squeamish. :)

A typical street cart setting up for business.

Octopus/ Squid variety - A closer look at the food cart

Mushrooms wrapped in bacon - my absolute favourite.
I just couldn't get enough of these.

The local brand of beer

China Town is an amazing food area. At night, the normal looking streets turn into one huge open air food court. Traffic is restricted on this particular street during the nights. But, proceed with caution as you will see many things that aren't very appealing and as I said before, not for the squeamish.

I leave you with a photo of a money tree, borrowed from Feng Shui (I think) that I saw at a 7-11 store in Bangkok. A city with an interesting mix of faiths and superstitions. :)

For wealth & prosperity, I assumed.

If you would like to read more about Bangkok: In previous posts, I had described my fascination with spirit houses, briefly touched upon my visit to the Grand Palace, an awe inspiring complex in every which way (and my not-so-happy experience among my fellow countrymen in the city).

Friday, August 1, 2014

Peace & Eternal Rest

The World War II cemetery in Kohima, Nagaland is probably the most well-known tourist spot in the city. It lies on the top of Garrision Hill in a picturesque and peaceful setting. 

The gravestones are neatly laid out in terraces along the gentle slopes of the hill. It's beautifully maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is one of many such memorials in India. 

The cemetery is dedicated to the soldiers, both British and from pre-independence India, who fought on the side of the British against the Japanese advance in the North East. There are 1420 graves here. 

At one end of the cemetery is a memorial to 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who were cremated (according to their respective faiths). 

The top of the hill offers beautiful views of Kohima city all around.

An interesting trivia, I learnt later, is that the memorial is located on the site of the bungalow of the then Deputy Commissioner. The battle was at its worst here. No traces remain of the bungalow or anything else, except the tennis court. The outlines of the court were made a permanent part of the memorial by cementing it. You will be able to see it if you look closely at the base of the large cross in the photo (the first one in this post, right at the top).

In 1944, India narrowly missed becoming 'geographically' embroiled in the Second World War. While many Indians were part of the British Indian Army and fought the two world wars on foreign shores (on behalf of the Imperial British), the country itself had not been attacked during the war until the battle in the North East. 

The Japanese had managed to reach the outskirts of Imphal (Manipur) and Kohima (Nagaland) where they were finally defeated by the British army in the Battle of Kohima

The large number of gravestones and names on the memorial are a poignant reminder of the waste of lives that war brings about. But it seems like history only repeats itself and across the world we humans go to war again and again be it for power, supremacy, riches or natural resources as the case might be.  

As I left the cemetery with mixed feelings, I also felt glad that all these soldiers who laid down their lives so far from home had a fitting memorial to commemorate their bravery.