Tag Archives: Art

Exploring Old Dubai – Bur Dubai and Diera

21 Apr

Contrary to a lot of misconceptions, Dubai is just not all about new construction, high-rise buildings and high-end malls. There is another part to this city which lends it a different character and according to Lonely Planet is the heart and soul of Dubai, well I am speaking about Old Dubai. Now Old Dubai mainly comprises of 2 parts, Deira and Bur Dubai which are separated by the old and historically important Dubai creek. Per my recommendation, whenever you are in Dubai, a visit to both these places is a must.

Bur Dubai

Bur Dubai

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Stree Shakti (Women Power) in Purkal

7 Apr

“There are some people you meet who inspire you to do something meaningful in your lives; and then there are some people you meet who just inspire you to make your life more meaningful”.

On a recent trip to Dehra Doon I happened to meet someone who inspires you to make your life more meaningful and I just had to write about her and Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti. I happened to discover this place through my friend Archana’s blog – Talking Qalam ‘s blog post One Thing Leads to Another. This got me interested in this place and as I was planning to be in Dehra Doon for a work related trip, I added this to my visit list.

Nestled amongst beautiful hills, Stree Shakti is a women empowerment scheme based in a small village called Purkal near Dehra Doon where they teach local village women the skill sets to create hand-made quilts and patch work handicrafts. They have an entire complex in Purkal where they have a learning and production centre for women, a small display centre that retails their creations and an early childhood development centre for their kids.

The display centre, Shtree Shakti, Purkal

The display centre, Shtree Shakti, Purkal

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Entrepreneurship in the Air

18 Jan

Something seems to be in the air these days as everyone around me seems to be getting bit by either the career break bug or the entrepreneurship bug. Till a couple of years back, these words seemed to be associated with people who either had a good financial backing or women quitting for family reasons or with people with no jobs. But more recently things seem to be changing. I am coming across a lot of friends, acquaintances, fellow bloggers who have left good careers / jobs to follow their hearts and actually make the effort to start something from scratch and build it up to a profitable enterprise. Now, this is definitely not easy as you are leaving a well settled, secure and a cushy job to voluntarily take up the risk of failures, cash flow issues, insecurities at times, etc etc. But on the other side – you are doing something that you like and building something that is yours. And the high of it, is just something unimaginable.

While I also get into these phases at times, I haven’t had the courage yet or been ready to take a hit on my material comforts. But two of my very good friends have been bit by the entrepreneurial bug and have set up very successful enterprises of their own. So this post is to introduce them and their successful enterprise

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Points to keep in mind before purchasing a Digital Camera

9 Dec

An important aspect of any successful travel blogger is the art of capturing and posting beautiful photographs. As all well written posts need actual photographs to enable the readers to relate to the post. So I decided to invest in a good quality digital camera and searched for options online –

Just a quick initial search threw up more than 2000 options and the sheer variety and number of options available were mind-boggling. Reading up more on this topic confused me further and a chat with a couple of camera enthusiasts just killed the purchase process as all the individual views, physics and mechanics of camera parts threw me into further indecision. And the more I researched the more the word “digital camera” became a monster from my school physics classes that I never got the hang of. Things reached such an epic proportion that I decided to give up this entire process and continue photographing with my iPhone camera.

However before I gave up the search, I decided to speak with a friend who is self-trained in photography and is pursuing a career in this space. A chat with him really helped me clarify this whole process so much so that I was finally able to purchase my own fabulous digital camera and also create a kind of questionnaire that has been helpful in simplifying this process for a lot of other people I know. While I am no authority on this subject, I felt that there are a lot of practical aspects (apart from the actual camera features) that one should consider before investing in a camera. Hence I decided to write this post and share the same with you today in case you are in the same boat that I was in then.

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Things to Do in Cambodia (apart from the temples)

2 Dec

Whenever you talk to people about visiting Cambodia, the first thing they say is – “visit the Angkor Wat Temples” and if some people know a bit more than they talk about visiting the Khmer Rouge rule and the killing fields etc in Phnom Penh. But after my trip to Cambodia, I discovered that this country has so much more to offer (apart from the normal touristy stuff mentioned in various websites and guidebooks) that one should definitely incorporate in their travel itineraries. So I have decided to list down a few things that I feel you should definitely keep time for whenever you decide to visit this beautiful country.

  • Interact with local people – This is one of my most recommended things to do here. The local population here is very poor (yes I felt that even after coming from India) and have suffered immensely under the Khmer Rouge rule (every person you meet here has lost numerous family members to this tragedy). Still they are open to talk about the history, about what happened, how they lost their family, the politics, how they survived against all odds, etc etc. And the best part is that during this entire conversation, they talk about moving forward and their future plans for their kids. So much so that you really feel like lauding them for their courage, hard work and positivity. This encounter also helped me thank god once again for what I have and am in life. Also, if you are into portrait photography, then you will find very interesting models in people and kids around here.
Monks at the temples of Siem Reap

Monks at the temples of Siem Reap

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Living many lives in Melbourne

13 Sep

Ever since I have been bitten by the travel bug, Australia has been amongst the top 3 travel destinations in my bucket list. And this love has only grown after religiously watching Masterchef Australia (every season) and the latest “visit Australia” ads. But since I am a budget traveler stuck in debt, this visit had to be put on a back burner till I had my finances sorted. Hence imagine my happiness when I saw that Indiblogger (www.indiblogger.in) and Tourism Victoria have come up with the ‘…it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!’ contest. I have been on cloud 9 ever since trying to short list on what are the exact experiences that I want to bring back from a visit to this city that has something for everyone.

Melbourne is a city that I think can be best described as young, vibrant, chic and sophisticated with a few hidden aces up its sleeves. It is a city that has something for everyone – families, solo travelers (even women), couples, friends, etc with a chance to live all kinds of lives – you could be a foodie, a cultural enthusiast, an ardent sports fan, a nature lover, a shopper etc etc. No matter what you want to be, this city gives you an ample opportunity and company to be just that…

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Top 5 must visit shopping places in Phnom Penh

11 Aug

Shopping in Phnom Penh is a must indulge in activity as you get to interact with loads of locals (despite not being able to communicate with many of them it’s still fun to interact with them), shop for some innovative local stuff and get to experience another aspect of this gorgeous and vibrant city. Though there are no malls here, there are still loads of small stores, chic boutiques and in some instances loads of shops aggregated in a building. However there are some ground rules to be followed here, else you will be in danger of loosing an arm and a leg (in terms of price paid for the stuff bought) –

  1. First, never believe the first price quoted by the shop keeper. It will always be an inflated price.
  2. Second, never buy jewelry or any jewels from here (unless you recognize originals from fake) no matter how big a steal it seems. 99 out of 100 times you will be fleeced.
  3. And most importantly, Bargaining is a must (it happens even in supermarkets and shops). Practice bargaining before you set foot into these shops as at times the prices are inflated as much as double the original price.

We spent a good half a day shopping and learning more in this city. The top 5 places that are worth a visit here are –

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