All there is to see in a city: London

London.

Its the the city you cannot describe in one word, I guess you need a whole dictionary. Yes, everyone has different experiences in London, everyone sees things differently in London, but what is common is, everyone loves the city London!

The culture of London is basically more or less like Mumbai but cleaner. You will find people from everywhere in London, that’s what makes it unique and super interesting. Apart from roaming in this most interesting city and taking in the basic culture, there is a lot to see as well. So here in this blog I have compiled for you the places to definitely see, how to go around, where to shop and what to eat!

PLACES TO SEE IN LONDON:

  1. Buckingham Palace:    This may sound a bit cheesy that the first place on my list is the obvious, but its because you have to visit this place no matter what! On my first day in London, I spent a good 2 hours going around the palace. If you are lucky you can attend the guard change ceremony as well, its unique and something to see once in a lifetime.DSCN5436.JPG
  2. City Tour, Hop on Hop Off Bus:   Basically when you take this tour it takes you around all the major attractions in London. You are given a written guide and also for your convenience there are audio tapes which you can listen to when the bus goes around the city, stating all the major attractions and their history.  Why is it convenient? You get to see all the major attractions, like literally all in half a day, you can get off at any stop, you don’t have to worry even if your bus leaves you know there is a bus coming every ten minutes, lastly their last stop need not be you last stop, get off at any place and you can continue your tour on foot.DSCN5458.JPG
  3. London’s Tower Bridge:    It is the most iconic bridge and everybody knows about it. You can walk on the bridge, under it whatever pleases you. We got off from the bus tour at the Tower Bridge at around Lunch time. Under the bridge on the sidewalks of River Thames was a food flee market which is only mostly on the weekends with amazing and the most reasonable food.DSCN5507.JPG
  4. River Thames Cruise:     This a boat ride on the River Thames, a beautiful ride with some water splashing on your face if you are sitting in the front row.
  5. London Eye:   A mighty giant wheel beyond the reach of your eyes! This ride is a must if you want a birds-eye view of the the ravishing London! The ride is thrilling but the lines are more thrilling….. a tip coming your way.. make sure you pre-book the tickets to your ride of London Eye because when you reach there you really don’t want to get stuck in the long queues. Also make sure your tickets are fast-track they are much easy to get and there is no hassle. Don’t look down though if you have height issues, just enjoy the ride!DSCN5517.JPGDSCN5554
  6.  Westminster Abbey:   Where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton) got married. The Church is exceptional and it should definitely be on your list if you are visiting London. Also I would advise to attend the service. Trust me it is worth it!dscn5534.jpg
  7.  Harrods: Its a huge mall, its very beautiful! You can definitely go to visit, but DO NOT SHOP. Its crazy expensive! You can buy if you can afford it!DSCN5560.JPG
  8. National Art Gallery:   Yes, also a must visit destination. The entry is free and you can go around the Gallery admiring the works of some great artists, including Van Gogh’s Sunflower painting, 2 of Michelangelo’s unfinished work, though no one knows why they are not completed and many more such great artists. Buy a map of around 2 pounds, and you will know where to go because it can get a little confusing, if the map is not clear as well ask around, the people working there are very helpful.DSCN5727.JPG
  9. Trafalghar Square:   If you are visiting the National Art Gallery you automatically are on the Trafalghar Square. It is one the most iconic places in London, and you just can not miss it. Trafalghar Square is a must see place and you can easily spend your evening there because its entertaining as well. You can just sit and observe the London culture and look at people go by. Its lovely to sit and contemplate.dscn5711.jpg
  10. Piccadilly Circus- Oxford Circus- Covent Garden-China Town:  If you really want to see the weekend culture pay a visit to these 3 streets. They are very close to each other. You can just literally walk from one street to another and you won’t even need a guide. Piccadilly Street and Oxford Street are one of a kind you can see people dancing on the streets, shows happening on the streets, people singing, playing different instruments and much more. Its the typical city culture on the streets. When you visit the Covent Garden, its not actually a garden its a street, go to Somerset Palace. Unfortunately I couldn’t go there, but apparently it has water fountains coming out of the ground so.. you should pay a visit.DSC03046
  11. Broadway Show:   For art and music lovers, its a once in a lifetime experience. Actually my message to everybody, you should attend a Broadway show, if you are in London or New York! Its absolutely amazing. We visited Mamma Mia musical show and it was a scene I can never forget!DSC03237

PLACES TO SHOP IN, WHEN IN LONDON:

If your not earning in pounds, its quite expensive to shop in London.

But if you really want to shop for some good products shop at airports.. hahaha..

So, there are 4 shopping streets which you have to visit is you are a shopaholic.

Oxford Circus and Piccadilly are on of the most expensive street but to visit them once does one no harm. Camden street on the other hand is reasonable and you get good stuff there. And last but the not the least Covent Garden, good stuff some ate expensive, some are reasonable.

I am no shopper so this is the best advice I could give you. (sorry)

HOW TO GET AROUND ON LONDON:

Trains are hands down the best way to get around London. The train connects you to most of the place, if not exact then to a walk able distance. There is not much hassle in the trains, the only confusion thing is the usage of oyster cards and which line to take. The trains lines are denoted by colours. You will find a map on the station, pick-up the map and you are good to go, else the people in London are quite helpful, ask anybody and they will point you in the right direction.

Disclaimer: this is my preference, you may find other transport easy as well

Buses are also quite simple once you get to know the system. I personally found the bus system very complicated, yes there are direct buses form point A to point B but that depends on what bus stop you are on etc etc.. frankly I never warned up to the system of the buses so I did not even understand how to exactly make use of them.

Taxi and walking are another 2 options. Walking is great to explore if the places you want to go to are close by.

WHAT TO EAT:

So now this is very important. If you are in a group, don’t order one dish per person, its a waste if money and waste of your appetite. The food is great every where. Whatever you order you will enjoy it, but don’t order too much because each portion is quite huge and expensive as well.


 

All the above pictures are taken by me or the people who were with me. There is no copy-right or piracy here. I am honest.

All what is written is in my opinion, and i have experienced and seen everything firsthand. Trust me, I wouldn’t lie.

Thank you for giving your time to read it, I really hope you enjoyed it, if you did please leave a comment on what you liked, if you did not enjoy it please leave a comment.

Thank you once again.

Have a great day ahead and keep reading! 🙂

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Lost Hopes

Background:

There is no background as such, it was just a thought process.

Hope you enjoy it


Lost Hopes

I lie like the dead sea, still, lifeless.

The night sky, full of stars, full of hope.

Lingers above me.

But I lie still, just like, the dead sea.

The sun rises, it shines,

Here comes tomorrow,

Here comes endless new possibilities

Here comes the summer

But I lie still, still, just like yesterday.

I sit at the window

Looking at the seasons pass,

The rains, washing away the dust,

The autumn stripping the trees naked

The spring, blooming the flowers

But I lie still, just like the trunk, watching the days go by.

Is there no hope?

No hope for a better tomorrow?

Because,

Hope for me,

Is like the rain in a drought

Like a silver lining on the darkest cloud.

Like a light at the end of tunnel

Hope is what I need, it’s the sun that I need.

My faith in good is lost

My faith in a better tomorrow is lost

There is no strength

To carry on, to see thing through to go on.

How to rise above this?

How to go on without faith?

How to go on without hope?

Because I still lie like the dead sea, lifeless, don’t know how to go on…..

– Shaheen.


Kaas Pathar — The Valley of Flowers

20 people, one bus, at 6:30 am we were on our way to Kaas Pathar — the Valley of Flowers.

 

The drive was for about 4-5 hours. From the eldest generation in Pune to the youngest generation we were all in one bus, playing, talking and listening to music. After driving for about 2 hours on an empty stomach it was bound that all of us started feeling hungry. To feed our hunger stricken taste buds we stopped at a small dhabba. There we had home cooked kheema freshly made by Nargis Bhen, with rotis and some superb chai.

Drive from there was quite soothing. Mostly people slept, but some of us were entertaining ourselves. After hitting the ghats, even if I wanted to I couldn’t get myself to close my eyes. I switched my seat to that of a window one with Saqib, because I did not want a perfectly amazing view passing us by.

Every turn of the ghat made us shout out in awe (literally). Lush green mountains on one side and Kaas lake parallel to us on the other. The road could not have been better than this. I was excited, if the approach road was this amazing, where would my jaw be when we reach the destination!

After we reached the destination, because it was a little bit of a walk to the main plateau, I had to wait in the traveler because of my recent operation.  Hahaha.. kidding you think I of all people would let my health affect the serenity my eyes were about to witness, never in 7 hells!! So to say my jaw was nowhere to be found because it was dropped dead at the scenes my eyes beheld. Wonderful lush green plateau on both sides what it lacked where flowers, I mean there were flowers but we were early in the blooming season to visit the plateau so there were not as many.

Tip: 1. If you have decided early in the year to go to Satara, make sure your trip is well planned and that your visit is not to late or early in the season.

2. Pre-book the tickets and parking spots through the internet so that there, you are not face to face with to too many problems.

3. If you are going all the way to Satara make sure it’s a 2-3 day trip because first of all there is a lot to see in Satara than just Kaas, and second of all, it is too long a drive from any major city so might as well stay there for a while.

We walked for quite sometime, and in the end found a nice place to sit and start our photo shoot. 2 of us carried DSLR camera and I carried my possession, the Nikon digital camera (the photos on this page are from the same). After about an hour or so, hanging out in the lush green serene plateau, with the sun shining bright just above our heads, we decided to head out to the Kaas lake, where we had our delicious lunch. We had a very late lunch at about 4 o’clock or something. With our stomach full with multiple delicious dishes, for a little bit of relaxation we headed to the Kaas lake, which was walking distance from our lunch place. There were a lot of people inside the water so we decided against getting wet and for sleeping outside on the heated rocks for sometime.

There for sometime, with Tazeen’s bag underneath my head, my legs stretched out and my complete body at rest, I closed my eyes and tried, amongst all those noises to make this journey a journey within.

As once a far off dervish called SHAMS OF TABRIZ said: ” East, west, south or north makes a little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you will travel the whole wide world and beyond.

And alas it did turn out to be a journey within, in a small way, but it did.

After the raindrops started to fall on our heads, we took that as an indication to head out and hit the road, and go back to Pune. The rains in the end made a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Dear World: An Open Letter.

Body shaming is not appropriate. Period. 

There is no explanation is to why you should or can body shame anyone in this world. I mean anybody be it someone close to you or someone you just saw on the street walking or eating in a restaurant.

Some people give you an explanation that we are doing it out of love or it is just for fun. NO! Body shaming is body shaming be it out of love or just for fun. It needs to stop. Period. 

As children growing up, we have a social pressure to look and to behave in a certain way. Why? Why is it that, if we look or behave or dress in certain way then and only then we will be accepted by the world and the society that we live in. Nobody looks at you for the work that you are doing, the society will judge you by the way you look. Nobody and by this I mean nobody teaches you to be you. To be yourself and not worry about the way you look or the way you dress but to improve on your talents and be known for that. And not be pointed out everyday for being too fat or too skinny or ugly. Nobody has the nerve to accept an imperfect person for the way they are. Accept yourself! Don’t let people bother you.

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As a personal victim of body shaming I feel like a balloon full of emotions ready to burst out into tears the next time someone body shames me. But I hold back, I fight everyday against the body shamers. When you are body shamed on DAILY BASIS you just feel not good enough. You feel useless and start doubting yourself and your capabilities. The people who body shame other people don’t know how demotivating it is for that person and how damaging it is to their confidence. 

People who are body shamed fight, they fight everyday to even put a foot out of their home. They fight a battle inside that nobody knows of. They fight to be the person the society wants them to be. They strive endlessly to be beautiful looking person, which I think they already are. Look beyond their looks, have a peak inside their heart you won’t find anyone nicer than them. 

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When people laugh, make jokes on you everyday, tease you for the way you look everyday countlessly you just don’t feel good enough. The wish to exist just disappears. (By this I mean not to die, but just failing to exist, meaning to not go in front of anybody because you know they will body shame you.) The people who do it don’t know what all the other person has to face they laugh on you and move on. Easy. But what about the person who has been body shamed, what about their tears, their struggle? Think. Have Empathy. Feel their emotion. Recognize and Realize their tears. Don’t sympathies or feel sorry for them, because they don’t need it, they are much stronger than you think.

Do you all know that story, where in an island somewhere in the world people don’t cut the trees, they go to the tree everyday and curse them and one day that tree automatically falls down. That’s what all the body shamers are doing. If you are telling a person close to you everyday that they don’t fit the criteria of a perfect looking person set by the people of the society, that person will one day go. Not necessarily die but leave, just go away from your life. And when they are gone what will you miss their body, their not so perfect body or their heart, mind and soul? 

So instead of wasting your time in telling them how to fit the criteria of a perfect person, or body shaming them every step of the way, tell them you love them, tell them how much they mean to you, let them know that you accept them as they are because if they are gone they will never come back. And you will know who’s fault will that be. 

Stop Body Shaming! Be a good person! Don’t put anybody down, instead help them rise and strive to the best that they can. Stop Bullying! Stop Body Shaming! Find Beauty in Imperfection! Because it exists, it sure exists and it is the most beautiful thing one can know and see.

 

Darkness: The Divine Path

Light and dark, a simple concept of good and evil, happiness and sadness, knowledge and ignorance and so on. It is human nature that we always associate light with the good and darkness with the evil. We always use the statement “Let there be light.” Have you ever wondered why?

“Let there be Light” was the first statement in the Bible. In fact Mesopotamian population believed in the concept, that the world was created because of the victory of God over the forces of chaos and darkness. We always associate God with the forces of light. So when we say that the world was created because of the victory of God over chaos we indirectly say that the world emerged because of victory of light over darkness. This is a very orthodox belief. We all quite well understand it.

In this write up I would like to bring out the unknown fact about the concept of light and darkness. 

Egyptians believed that the world emerged out of darkness and swirling chaos. They also believed that darkness had a form and a purpose for existing.

You must be thinking what could be the form and purpose of darkness?

In Egyptian Mythology we have a God named KeK and Goddess named Kauket,  which literally translates as darkness. These two were husband and wife and controlled or more so ruled over the night or darkness. This is the form of darkness. 

Now about the purpose of darkness.

You will not find it anywhere on the internet if you search in mythologies. (Trust me I have tried) The purpose of darkness is very spiritually related. We know that darkness is inevitable, when there is light there is darkness. That is, when there is good there is evil. Where there is god there are demons. What darkness really tells us is that darkness comes from absence of love. It is a constant reminder to us that we are not in alignment with our true nature.

When the sun sets, we feel the light is gone. But this is the most important time. Take darkness as divine path towards Light or happiness or Love. If the sun won’t set we will never experience the joy of a sunrise. If we wont face the darkness or sadness, we will never experience the joy of a sunrise or happiness or a new day, a new opportunity, a new possibility.

Darkness gives us the time to heal, to rejuvenate and get ready for a new day. This is the time when we really find our true selves. It becomes the Ultimate path to Divine Light. Embrace it, love it, make it your part, endure it and you will never feel blue again.

I have started loving sunsets, have you?