Monday, September 30, 2013

Homemade cupcakes, handmade gifts and a flash party

There is something unique and special about receiving an hand crafted gift how much ever small or simple it may be.  To know that, it is created specially for you  with lot of care and thoughtfulness  makes you feel special and loved.  

My daughter who is very creative makes such gifts for her friends on their birthdays. They get together to make homemade cakes , simple montages, collages , scrap book etc.,

Only this time it was her turn and what a surprise it was!

  This would be her last year at school and so we asked her many times if she wanted to throw a  party for her friends on her birthday. She was clear that she did not want  a party but wanted to donate money to an oldage home run by Ramana Maharishi trust which she visited last year @ Hosur.  So, we decided to have a quiet family celebration. 

 Her bro  who woke her up at the stroke of 12  was the first to wish her. I and her dad woke her up early in the morning at 6 to the aroma of homemade chocolate cup cakes.It did not match her Melanie's aunty's Chocolate haven cakes which have fondants and are very expensive but the cup cakes were edible and were gone in a trice and yes she loved it.  Wishes and blessings  from her grand parents, grand aunts, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends etc followed...... all called  her over phone  except her close friend of 12 years who studied with her from Grade 1.


                                     Home baked eggless whole wheat cup cakes


As is tradition,  we decided to have a temple visit and a family outing and dinner.  We started the day with a visit to the temple.  At the temple, we paid for the 'annadanam' for oct 2nd  and drove back home.  The outing was planned for evening  since she had weekend coaching classes to attend in the noon. She also had loads to study for her term exams and her coaching homework to do. That is how our weekends have been this year, very inactive socially, thanks to her board exam preparations.  we have no weekend outings or travel schedules planned as her study plans are hectic and the school works even during vacations. 

 We returned home to get into our  weekend routine when I got a call from her best friend V, enquiring if we were at home.  The phone call alerted me and I  immediately started my party work thinking that i will have 2 of her friends for lunch.

30 minutes from then, not 2 but  12 of her friends surprised  us with their presence.  The party began with  birthday wishes, birthday bump, a beautifully made biscuit cake  by her friend V and a handmade timeline book  with colored handmade sheets, lgifts and lot of gupshup.
                 
It was a  surprise for her because it not only included her school mates but also two of her close apartment friends. The two girls had co-ordinated with her school friends to give her a birthday surprise.

The whole house turned into a flash party zone with 12 teens.  All these while, my husband and I were thinking how to entertain the children, i was prepared to handle 6 but suddenly preparing for 12 would need some planning and to boot it was almost lunch time.  Soon after, two more of her school mates who stayed close by came in.

We now had to take the call. 14 teens cannot be entertained suddenly for a  party at home  and so we told my daughter to host the party at a nearby Chinese restaurant and forego her coaching class.

What was  supposed to be a quiet family celebration turned out to be huge party for my dot who turned 17 yesterday, an unplanned party at that.   A day for her to remember and for us too. 

Anything  I write about this 17 year old whom i have known for extra 9 months, and you will be reading  a proud mama's thoughts, I will spare you that and rest my post here:)




 My dot( in pink and white)  and  her best friend of 12 years V( in blue)  on their school sports day Dec 2004 . Chief guest Sania Mirza soon after  her Wimbledon junior win.


The scrap book which has her time line from the year of her birth till date.  There are lovely quotes about her , and describes her values  along with printouts of her photos taken from her birth. totalling 12 pages. 

                   

BTW, in my previous post, my hit stats should read 1,30,000+, By mistake i added an extra zero( i have edited it now) . Hope you guys overlooked that.

(will ETA cake photos)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Celebrating .................:)


 YOU ….........yes…. You, my blog readers on my blogoversary.

Somewhere in 2007 when I signed into blogger.com, I was a total novice. I simply signed in and started fidgeting around. I have already written about it in my blog history in my 100th post. It was around Sept 2009 that i took to active blogging,  What started off  playfully  into something which I was clueless about  has reached 4 years.

For somebody whose enthusiasm or passion for anything in life  is only for a short term of 6 months or may be an year,  4 years  is too long a time. 
I am surprised, i have  sustained a hobby or interest for so long:)

This has been possible all thanks to you people  who are veteran bloggers who have  made interesting and more posts with many blogoversaries behind you. Without your  Motivation, inspiration and support  this  might not have been possible. So, last September 25th  with 243 posts( excluding my cookery posts and my children’s creative photo posts) , I clock 4 years of active blogging.  

This blog, like I have mentioned before in my 100th post,  is my cocoon of warmth and so you will never find any negative posts or rants( may be 1 like the recent chennai express post). This was written initially for my children, which later drifted into other areas.  It is more of a happy space which I hope my children will  read 15 or 20 years from now and I hope the blog will serve as a  mulligatawny soup for their souls in their later years.   That  was the purpose. ( No chicken soup for we are veg :))

There have been days when words and thoughts have flowed easily, sometimes it has been hard to put a thought into words, some thoughts  are still languishing as drafts,  sometimes there would be zero motivation but somehow I have managed to push through and  post atleast 5 posts in a month on an average( except during vacations).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has encouraged with motivating words and  propagated positive vibes through your  intelligent comments. It means me a lot to me  that you take time out of your busy schedules, visit my space and leave interesting and insightful comments. I have already mentioned my lovely blog friends here in this post. Many of them have quit blogging  or have paused  for a while or are irregular. Meanwhile I would like to mention again a few of them  from that list and add a few names to the list whom I have known through blogposts.

Sowmya: Soulspace her blog, is a warm place I love going to. Her forte is storytelling and so one will find more of stories here in this  space along with some heartwarming posts. She is my first follower and so very special. Thank you, Sowmya.

Rama of (Time, time...I have all the time):Apart from armchair traveling through her posts, I love the  positive and uplifting posts she writes.  The stories she shares have depth and  are realistic.   Thank you, Rama.

Swapna Raghu Sanand: When I read her posts, I find her to be a mirror image of me -  a combo of traditional values  and modern values. A mom who records memories for her son through her lovely blog "petals" amongst many other labels like movie, book reviews and all that happens or affects her. Thank you, Swapna.

 Ramesh( Business musings): is a scholar blogger who writes business news much before popular media reports. The business  related posts he makes are interesting and beautifully articulated. His opinions on business issues are what I would like to call “ Business with human face”. Thank you Ramesh.

Shilpa Garg of( Rose is a rose is a rose): For me, she is Blogsville’s Wordsmith.  The ease with she writes short stories in Drabble 100, fiction 55er  or spine poetry at shortnotice speaks about her creativity and word flair.  She is another blog mommy who writes heartwarming posts, which  I am sure , her son will love reading them when he grows up. Her committment and dedication to challenges amaze me. Thank you, shilpa.

SG of shoot the breeze: is a blogger again who writes posts  that are news to me, most of them from the other side of the globe.  His posts will make you introspect and reflect on simple issues which you might not even consider worth giving a thought. His blog thoughts are worth pondering about. Thank you, SG.

And  also a huge thank you to Shachi, Renu, Anu  and all those who have found my blog worthy of blogrolling. Thank you for your support. Hope to interact more regularly with you all.

Thanks are due to indiblogger and Blogadda too. The prompts  that you throw up often helps me to dislodge all those sweet memories which are hidden in the crevices of my heart, Lest they be forgotten.  And many of your contests also help me to  introspect and some  help me to think creatively. 

Last but not the least my passive readers without whose support, the hit statistics of my blog would not have reached 1,30,000+    

It also feels nice to see my thoughts and views are picked up by search engines and linked to their sites. My post on Tranquebar was linked in  the Neemrana hotel site and they had the courtesy to inform me.  My previous post on  Ganesh utsav celebrations was picked up by a local ezine. One of my photos( narthelai) was used  in a leading tamil fortnightly. ‘Mangayar  malar’   in  their recent issue of 2013( 1-15). They must have found it on google images. 

 Apart from being therapeutic,  Blogging for me  has been a huge learning curve not just with writing but also technically. I can diversify  and make more improvements but I fear it will lose its warmth.    

 Thanks for the support People. I am honored to have you all here and hope to continue the journey with you all. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ganesh utsav - memories and celebrations

One of the most vibrant socio-religious- cultural festival of our country is Ganesh chaturthi. Although this festival is celebrated at the individual family level, it turns into a public (sarvajanik) festival when it is celebrated with the involvement of the locality we live in.

Nostalgia swells everytime i see the  festive Ganesh pandal and the memories come flooding. In Bangalore, where I grew up the festival was celebrated in public parks, on roads, in colonies etc.  During my initial childhood years, I have witnessed one of the oldest utsav’s at Basavangudi National college grounds which is now its 51st year of celebrations. I have blogged about it here. At home, we immersed the  Lord in Lalbagh lake which was a km away from home. My friend used to carry the lord in a open basket while i rang the bell(ghanti) till the lake. 

 Later during my teenage years, when I shifted to Vijayanagar, the 9th main Hosahalli park was the venue. The cross road from the first main leading to the 9th main would be valenced with serial lights, the trees along the avenue along with shops and houses would be decorated with lights  cloaking the atmosphere with festive warmth and glow.   Most residents of our layout would assemble at this park in the evening to witness the cultural programmes. Both the above utsav’s had cultural programmes rendered by famous people.  Politicians, dignitaries and filmstars like kannada actor Dr. Rajkumar, vishnuvardhan, great singers  would grace the occasion. 

Similarly here in Hyderabad, for the past 7 years, I am a resident of a high rise and live in a condominium. We celebrated it in a similar fashion like  the last few years. So popular is the event now that residents who have shifted to various parts of the world write “Miss the event :(” in social sites and on our society forum.

The Ganesh utsav celebrated at our society is marked by a feeling  so intense that it almost resembles a huge joint family. It has the involvement of all families cutting across religion, age and gender. Like every year, this year too the celebration, the camaraderie, the unity, the delegation of work, the participation and help offered to one another made us feel like members of a single family. The whole utsav is a great team work bringing all residents together. This festival is not just about the reverence to the god but it also abounds with community spirit.

                                            
Like last  year, this year too we had cultural evenings starting Monday and it ended on Friday. Lots of practice , time and hardwork went into the utsav. Money came in the form of sponsors and donations. The children were helped by their elders in the culturals not necessarily their parents but by their uncles and aunts in the complex. Apart from the various dances, vocal, instrumental recitals, skits etc., The highlight of course was the dance-drama 'Ramayan' consisting of 40 children, it was choreographed by one of our residents. I wish i could post the photos of Ramayan but i would be intruding into the privacy of my fellow residents. Another highlight on a different evening was when my friend painted a Ganesha in flat 4 minutes while her husband played Shankar Mahadevan's ' Ganeshaya Dheemahi' parallely on keyboard. ( i will try to post the Ganesha painting)  There were no celebrity shows. All the shows were put up by our own resident children and their talent was no less than a celebrity's talent. 

The ‘Conundrum ‘quiz  was  another highlight of the edutaining evening. This time it was won by my daughter and her team of 2 friends. Unlike in 2011, when my son won, this year the contest was open not just to teens but to all generations. So, there were 15 teams with ages ranging from 8 to 80. We moms too partipated and  won the second spot. It was a special and emotional moment to see my daughter overtake me in front of a huge crowd. I was reminded of the Bournvita ad’ Taiyyari jeet ki”. Where the son overtakes the mom in a race and the mom prides in losing to her own son and says “the day he(son) defeats me I will win". This is exactly how i have felt often in recent times.  Our children whom we guide, tutor and mentor when young overtake us with their intelligence, strength and even become our teacher in many instances as they grow. There are many little instances where they overtake me and  I take pride of this fact. Only  this time, they overtook us(moms) in front of a huge gathering and I was happy to lose:)

 On the final day, when the ladoo was auctioned like last year( i blogged here) and the Lord was taken for immersion,  emotions ran high. Children  tearfully bid adieu to the scribe of Mahabharat. Unlike last year, children were also taken for the immersion to Hussain sagar. My son who accompanied the elders felt it was like a picnic in the night, they returned early morning at one.  The involvement, the boisterous fun, the community spirit, the love, the camaraderie all made us feel like members of a huge joint family.

The 5 days of festivity made me think joint families are not passe but redefined as today's gated communities and multistoreyed housing societies albeit only during festive days, else who has the time to stand and stare. 

Check out some photos:


                                            


A glimpse of the conundrum quiz : ( photo courtesy: a co-resident)

                                  Our ganesha getting immersed by a crane in hussain sagar(tank bund side). The chain of lights you see in the background is the 'necklace road' on the other side of the lake. ( photo clicked by my son from his mobile) 
 That's one of the biggest Ganesha of India the 58 feet Ganesha @ Khairatabad. The laddu he holds in his hand is 4000kg and will be auctioned two days from now( photo courtesy: my son) 

Friday, September 13, 2013

From a provision store to smart shopping

From shopping for our basic needs, shopping for ocassions  to shopping as a therapy, we have come a long way in  shopping.
  From my own experiences, I can observe the changes and relate how  shopping has evolved in the last few decades. I can also imagine how far our style of shopping will reach in 2030.   
There was a time when we shopped only for our basic necessities. For grocery we had the nearby “Shetty angadi”  or kirana store(provision store), we would buy the veggies in the nearby open air market called Gandhi Bazaar or Malleswaram market,  for dresses we had the garment store and emporias in majestic, commercial street or one of those bylanes of commercial street, For shoes we had the bata/ CSC /carona,  furnitures  were from the local carpenters, while electrical appliances came  from  shops like "White house" all mostly centred in the central business district called MG Road. This was the scenario till the 80's.
By 90's many departmental stores and supermarkets arrived on the scene and many shops opened up in our own area. Though MK Ahmed the famous supermarket chain store was right above my lane in Vijayanagar, we avoided going there since the goods were expensive. Many went to this shop only for gift articles or fancy utilities  especially the imported ones since the shop owner shipped it from Gulf countries. Though i must mention here, we used to visit the Nilgiris supermarket, the first supermarket chain in India which opened at Brigade road whenever we travelled towards the cantonment side for their diary products, fresh veggies , lovely cakes and bakery products.
By 2k, Came the one stop shopping store called malls which encashed  the booming economy of the IT and MNC class. Many vintage buildings were razed to make way for these malls by business houses. The MNC class with fatpay cheques made exclusive use of this shopping malls to shop, eat and celebrate. This became the new hangout for the general public. From buying for ocassions, people started buying/celebrating whenever there was clearance sales or discount sales. Shopping became a form of therapy to uplift the spirits of people during this decade in what came to be termed as ‘Retail therapy’.
Around 2010, came a new style of shopping, e-shopping where one can sit from the comforts of their bedroom or drawing room and by the click of a button buy a dress, grocery, shoe, jewelery or any such needs. We have various sites like ebay, Amazon, flipkart, farmtofridge, farmfresh which caters to needs of the customers. And with each festival or any ocassion, there are various discounts. I too have subscribed to this form of shopping in the past few months.Another advantage about such shopping sites is that you can buy global products manufactured in any part of the world to the native sweet of your home town just by click of a button from their respective sites.
Though as a customer, i feel satisfied only when i touch and feel the product. I have made this choice of shopping keeping in mind the amount of time i spend in the bumper to bumper traffic. Sometimes, when i go alone for shopping, i spend a considerable amount on commuting,  So keeping in mind the overheads like commuting charges, time and traffic, i prefer shopping on these online sites, where i can choose from the varied products on display. Also, the seasonal discounts are an added attraction.
So with each decade i see a difference in the style of our shopping.

By 2030, I foresee a massive change in our shopping style. Though the technology progress has been slow in 80, 90,s the technology progress in the millennium is accelerating  1000 times greater than the last decade(2k). I am using the  technological revisions of the new gadgets that are updated regularly as a reference. Machines might even surpass the human brain power and emotional intelligence and they might become successors to the human race just like Rajnikant’s  'Chitti' from the movie Robot. 

Based on the above references, i can predict the technological advancements will be at a rapid rate in future and by 2030 we could perhaps have applications of  many futuristic technology like nano technology, Artificial intelligence etc.Communication in technology and entertainment will be multisensory and telepathic. Humans will also have the ability to interface at a neural level with machines.Like some smart homes which has automatic sensors to switch off and on lights depending on the presence of humans. Shopping too will be in the same mode to an extent. Most utilities or every day needs will be automatically replenished as our smart home environment senses the needs.WE might buy food capsules which keep humans satiated, energised and help in growth. 
Machines and humans may be connected by multi sensory bio-digital interface using nano technology, where humans will have neural connections between our senses and the the global networks. This way shops will be designed to sense our needs and replenish our utilities use telekinetics and telepathy. We might be mostly doing our utility shopping by neural  networks. 
Still for some traditionalists like me who want to touch and see the product before they buy, i hope in 2030,there will be a a few farms, factory outlets and exhibitions where consumers can buy products directly from the manufacturer to the consumer and like all things that come back in a cycle, i wish and hope by 2030 we revert to our style of shopping like that of the 80’s.


 This post is exclusively written for Indiblogger and ebay.in's "The future of shopping!" 





Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A contest, a royal invite, prizes and a few happy moments:)

 After a long time, I won a contest.  Remember, i had written about Madras day and the celebrations around it.  The madras day team had organized various interactive events to mark the celebrations of Madras day around the week.  Just curious to read the various anecdotes and experiences of Vintage Chennai aka Madras, I liked  "Madras day"  page on Facebook.

There was an announcement on the page about the contests from British Council India which were tempting but I was too late to   participate   since i missed their deadlines . I still had time to participate in their last contest and so signed in for "Name the iconic place of madras and write about it in 50 words".

I participated on all the 3 days and was declared the winner on their page for the above event. It was some thrill for me to see myname on their page. And the winners were invited as special invitees by the Prince of Arcot and The council at the Royal palace for an event "Madras memories"  organized by the British council on Aug 22


                                                         The invitation


                                            snap shot of the winners list on their site

The contest featured photos  of vintage chennai from "Vintagevignettes". (Since it is copyrighted I am not sharing)
But I will share with you my joy that i received by courier....

"A madras miscellany-  a decade of  people, places and potpourri" by S. Muthiah and a Sony 4GB memory stick.




For somebody who loves reading about history, people their experiences and anecdotes, this 1200 page  book is going to keep me occupied for the next few days with over a  thousand articles related to the city, its people and other miscellany  that appeared in The metroplus edition of national daily  "The Hindu." for a decade.
I have already completed 150 pages today and was surprised to read so many famous Indians had their base in this city like Lakshmi sehgal, Mrinalini Sarabhai and i am still discovering many beautiful things about this city.

But the highlight was when my children were overjoyed to see the prizes their mom had won and when my son remarked "Mom, i am sure you would have won the tab in the blog contest, had you participated". My daughter retorted" Oh, just wait, this is the beginning for mom".

Aah....people, if the display of my name and the prize was some thrill.....then these compliments from my children are my Booker, Oscar,Nobel, Grammy or whatever.......:) It was a visual delight to see the gleam in their eyes and I had to record both the joy and visual delight in words.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Exploring Europe by Eurail - My dream trip

If  I were to take my family or friends to any place on the planet, it would be to Europe on a Eurail tour.  For me, Europe is the place for vacation especially if you are looking for history, romance, adventure , food, culture or a relaxtion holiday. I would make it the happiest trip ever by not just visiting the hotspots but also  soak in my experience with slow travel.  Slow travel does not necessarily mean traveling slowly, but experiencing travel in a slow mode without hurrying.
                                          Eurail destination landing

Imagine living for a week in Finland. I would best explore this country by foot ,walking past the neo classical architecture on cobbled roads. Would interact with the local population and quietly take a trip to the nearby country side and awe at the wooden houses and landscapes.  I will breathe in the aroma of countryside air where nature is clean and green. Will avail the facilities at the Finnish lakes and go angling, fishing, cycling and speed boating.
What is Finland trip  without Sauna bath? So, will experience the Finnish lifestyle in one of the two million saunas of the country where I hear  even business meetings take place in Finland. I will walk around the little shops selling home made chocolates and try the local vegetarian flavors and cuisines. And will not miss the unique northern lights.
                                            Northern lights (aurora borealis) Finland

In France, apart from the punchlist of tourist attractions,i will go on discover walks. i will also make trips to nearby Versailles, Normandy, Marne-la-vallee and  other little places at slow pace.
For me travel and local food go together. I will make sure i wander the Paris  grand boulevards and eat in as many cafes and bistros as possible trying the local flavors. Will visit Toulouse to see the aeronautical building facility and will not forget to be a part of the local festivals and fairs.
France ....and can shopping be left  behind ?

Oh yeah, will  go window shopping to see the expensive Louis vuitton  and other branded products while I do real shopping at the local flea markets.

                                                       A  view of paris
In Switzerland, Will travel through Bernina express one of the trains which travels through the world's picturesque places, viaducts, beautiful mountains, valleys etc.,  Apart from the landmark places and aweing at the snowcapped Alps. Will walk through all those fairytale places that i have seen in movies.  Switzerland is definitely for me a fairytale book come alive, so i will become an explorer, a cinderella, a queen or an imp reliving all my childhood fantasies in this beautiful land.. I understand that the Alps is also home to cheesemakers who produce cheese through a thousand year old technique, preserving ancient traditions.This cheese making technique is supposed to be a heritage for the whole continent. Will visit one of the cheese making facility where the cheesemakers climb up to the mountain pastures, milk their animals the first time, make cheese without artificial starter culture, salt them and set on wooden boards to age. And what is a swiss trip without a tour to one of  the famous designer watch company, cake art and chocolate company. So will religiously tour them too and watch their work.
                                           Swiss Countryside

In Italy, Apart from visiting cities like Rome, Turin, Milan, Florence, Tuscany, Capri, Cinque terre, venice etc. I would love to stay on sundrenched farms of San Marzano or in Campania which is known for Pizza napoletana and learn the real art of Pizza making. Will visit one of the luxury car making facility, the glass blowing factory at Murano, the wood craft stores of Florence etc., . At Murano, will visit the world renowned blown glass creations and see the making of the jewelry, tableware and sculptures, At Burano, will see the ancient art of lace making which is still kept alive, while walking past the pastel colored houses and buildings. In venice apart from enjoying the spectacles from a gondola or Vaporetti. I  will discover the history, traditions of the beautiful city in the unique and entertaining show Venezia. Will buy a few carnival masks as souvenoir and if possible will take an appointment for a mask making class.At Milan, will visit the Gelaterie Odeaon and taste the unique flavors of ice cream. Not just that, will taste authentic Italian foods like Pizza, Spaghetti, gelato, tiramisu etc.,
 And What’s not to love about this country? Their zest for life shows in masterpieces of art, fashion, cuisine, luxury car making  and celebratory life. Just watching them sitting on one of the side walk benches and observing them would be a learning for me.
Italian tiramisu ( meaning pick me up)
                                                    
Belgium- the place where beauty meets creativity. This place could be of special interest to fashion designers ( I have a budding designer in the family) since this is the home of fashion designers like the world famous Antwerp six.  Besides there is lot of cultural and recreational activities. Much like Antwerp diamonds, will see the other sparkles of Belgium while walking on the little cobbled streets. I will indulge in the belgian chocolates, pralines, melt in the mouth Ganache, will try to shop in those lace shops which are tucked in the nooks and corners where some of the world's best exquisite laces are hand made.

Netherlands – I will write less about the clich├ęd aspects of Amsterdam, Volendam, matrodam  etc.,  but will definitely experience the charming cities.  Anne Frank house will bring the pages of our childhood  heroine’s book  The diary of Anne Frank alive.  My nasal senses will definitely lead me to the world’s only floating flower market Albert Cuyp market . It will be a visual treat to see this place and of course will not miss Zaanse Schans – the working village which is  beautifully  preserved with traditional architecture, windmills etc, will sit on one of the wooden benches and admire what’s before me and take in a few moments o f peace . The scenic canals, little cottages, quaint little footbridges, the unique working windmills, lot of domesticated sheep roaming freely  on the meadows would be a sensory feast.  I will not forget to wave hands at all those   Dutch people who pass past me in their bicycles with a relaxed feel in their pace.  Now who would’nt  find such places relaxing to live.  The very thoughts  of visualizing such a place gives me a meditative effect.  Oh, will definitely buy a windmill as a souvenoir which my husband missed buying last time.
                                                                        Amsterdam 


                                                      Giethorn, Netherlands where there are no roads

Greece: Greece is a true paradise for tourists. One can explore history, culture, sports, food and leisure here.I will journey into some of their historical monuments, museums and other highlights of Greece like Parthenon. Will visit some of the beautiful islands. , walk around the sea and indulge in a few water sports and be a spectatator to few. I will discover opportunity to visit traditional market areas, cultural and art events. Greece is also the birthplace of the olympic games, it would be a real treat to visit the various international stadia and experience a few games for my family members are sports buffs. I will try authentic  mediterranean cuisine and eat Vegetarian Greek salads and dishes.  I will try to learn the usage of the 4 basic ingredients which is the secret of Greek cuisine - good quality fresh vegetables and fruits, correct use herbs and spices( flavourings) and the famous greek olive oil.  Will experience agrotourism in Greece, since Greece cultivates vegetables only in natural ways, hence they maintain aroma and flavour. Will walk into one of the olive orchards and  go to one of the local home to  watch a demo of how Olive oil is pressed in most homes.


Will do the same with all those European places which Eurail connects to make some happy moments and captures  like these

                                       Home to black forest gateau and cuckoo clocks - Black forest Germany
Train under Mussenden temple, Ireland

                                    Road on Atlantic ocean Norway
                                                          Gosau village Austria

                                                       Toledo Spain

 I would like to slow travel experiencing agritourism, food tourism, culture tourism seeing new places, exploring new cultures in a less stressful way. I would love to interact with the local population, live in homesteads, visit fruit orchards,visit cottage industries,  vegetable patches, local crafts and arts, culture fest  and  experience the locals way of life. Ofcourse, i would be forced to be a spectator at a few adventure sport events. Other than mountain trekking, yachting or maybe  skiing  ( my definition of adventure sports) I will not participate in adventurous activities and sports like snorkelling, sea diving, bungee jumping, rafting, para sailing, water sports  etc.,.  But i will be forced to  spend time watching my family doing all those adventures since they are adrenaline junkies.


                                      oktoberfest, a fest in Germany 


                                                Agrotourism in Croatia
Many a times, we go on a vacation and come back more exhausted than we left. That is because we hop on from place to place and cover many sightseeing places in a short span of time. we get up early hop on to a sight seeing bus and rush from one tourist attraction to the other. The vacation becomes more hectic and stressful than our regular routine life. So, slow travel will make the trip memorable and fill with lot of happy moments. Whenever an opportunity arises will try to take leisurely tours to neighbouring villages and chateaus and enjoy the countryside and their life by connecting with the local communities which will introduce me to  the local food and culture.


Of course, there is so much the Eurail connecting countries  offers to see and do  that it would take an entire lifetime to explore it all, but the above are a few must do experiences  that I would like to have in my bucket list apart from exploring my own homeland  India. 

This post exclusively written for Indibloggers "creating happy travellers" contest in association with Yatra.com

Image courtesy: Google and places to see before i die
information courtesy: first hand account from people who have visited and travel journals.