‘Reading List’ Update

Couple of days back, I started creating a ‘reading list’ for myself. Now reading list can literally mean anything for anyone, but I’ll just explain what I mean here, in this context. I have a very short attention span these days when it comes to work and, honestly, I know I am not putting in enough effort to concentrate harder. I also know how we get lured into obsessively check our phones by the algorithms, but I can try harder to not do that for sure. For example, I can easily leave my phone in the other room so that I don’t open Instagram for the next couple of hours, right? Anyway, so I come across a lot of notifications during the day & there are very tempting articles (?) that I feel like going through in entirety. What I am trying to do when this happens – just make a note of the said article which I’ll go back to in my ‘free time’. So, this is sort of a daily reading list.

I am loving making this daily reading list to the core & there are more than one reasons for that –

  • I love making lists on notebooks but don’t get enough chances to that, as I prefer having my work related to-do on my laptop only. This is giving me a great opportunity to write down something that’s important to me daily.
  • I hate the fact that I don’t consume any news actively or any of the adult stuff, you know. This activity is prompting me to read more so-called informative stuff as well. Since I am not reading stuff on a whim now, I end up incorporating more informative reads because then I don’t feel pressured to immediately consume that info.
  • Its a mindful activity – something that slows me down on an otherwise busy day. I come across something I want to savor, and note it down to be savored in a few hours. This 2-minute thing is a joy!

What I am not liking is that I almost never end up completing my daily reading list, but I am sure that you would have guessed already. 😀

This also reminds me how much I love reading posts with back links to other blogs, where people are suggesting what they loved reading on other blogs. I need to do one of those, for random articles as well as my own old blog posts.

Would you like to share anything that I can include in my reading list for today? 😀 Do leave them in the comments!

My Favorite Recipe from the internet | Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

Why I decided to write this post – we come across many recipes on the internet everyday and that too from so many different sources that I am sure all of us have bookmarked and saved recipes across portals. But this one stands out so much for me in many ways – One, it turned […]

My Favorite Recipe from the internet | Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

My Favorite Recipe from the internet | Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

Why I decided to write this post – we come across many recipes on the internet everyday and that too from so many different sources that I am sure all of us have bookmarked and saved recipes across portals. But this one stands out so much for me in many ways –

  • One, it turned out really amazing! It initiated me into not being scared of baking, because if your first recipe is so good, what can you not do? 😀
  • I found it online really long ago on a blog (details below). This was at a time when Instagram probably didn’t exist and I used to read many random blogs regularly. 😀
  • I made this recipe with multiple variations (one suggested by my brother which he also ended up loving the most) many times, but once I decided to make it after a long hiatus and I couldn’t find it again online. In baking, as many of you would know, knowing the right ratios & measurements is very important unless you are a seasoned baker, so I was really heart broken to not find it!
  • Ever since then, I have searched for this lady’s blog online and the recipe many times. I clearly remembered her blog name and her name also, this recipe meant that much to me. 🙂 I also saw multiple other recipes of the same dish but I wasn’t happy with their descriptions. It was totally a “she’s not Rachel” thing. 😀 And, then, one day I finally saw her old blog popu in some pinterest post on one of my Google searches for the recipe. It’s still not clickable but I took frantic screenshots & I am sharing them below.

On a separate note, I think the same person now blogs here – http://cakencurry.com/. Again, found out because of trying random searches of her name, user name and what not! 🙂

Here’s the recipe for you. Garlic, cheese & bread – what’s not to love?

Small Joys

There’s a juice shop right below my parents condominium. In winters, we often go there in afternoons to get a glass of carrot juice each. Now this incident happened really long ago, I mean so long ago that I am sure it was pre-covid. I remember thinking at that time that this needs to go on the blog today itself. And here I am, posting about it today. 😀

When I went to the juice shop with my mom, two tiny kids who were rag picking were just passing by. I asked them to come over and have the juice. I can’t tell you the look of happiness I saw on their faces. I had tears in my eyes. I just somehow controlled myself so that it doesn’t get awkward. Their happiness was the sort of unadulterated one that makes it contagious honestly! And then, something even better happened, when I was paying the juice shop person, he didn’t charge me in full for their juices and actually gave the two kids a little extra than the standard glass. It’s like you did a tiny thing and the world joined you in making it ten thousand times better.

Living in India, you become so used to coming across the income disparity instances so often, well, ‘used to’ is not the right word because every instance in daily life makes you feel uncomfortable but more often than not, you just move on with your life. These tiny pockets maybe rare but it definitely made my day a whole lot brighter. Like I mentioned, this incident was definitely pre-covid and I still remember it so vividly because of the joy it brought!

Getting the 1st Covid vaccine dose

I went for my first dose today. In India, to accept that you will have a slight struggle for operational tasks like this will take you a long way because then you are prepared to not be mad about waiting etc. I am not going to mention the obvious that we are so fortunate to be getting it. It’s a breakthrough truly, creation and availability both. I have to say though – things were extremely well managed, quick and efficient. I got it in a private hospital, but I have heard good experiences from everyone who got it done elsewhere, govt hospitals, community camps etc.

It definitely is a win in history that we as a race are getting vaccinated but, for me, it was a personal victory too. I didn’t cry even once at the sight of the needle (well, I didn’t really see it and avoided seeing it at every chance 😀), I only screamed slightly when the jab was going in but I think it’s still a big upgrade for me. Sure I may have scandalized a few around me with the scream, but still a big, big progress for an almost 30 year old who made the Covid blood test guy super uncomfortable.

I don’t feel any of the post vaccination symptoms yet, like not even mild sore. I hope everyone gets vaccinated soon, even though it seems like a difficult feat to achieve.

5 things to remember when planning a workcation in Himachal

We recently went on a 15 day workcation to Manali and Kasol and I just have one thing to say – I am so regretful of coming back in 15 days. I miss the crisp air, the deodars, the beautiful green views, the snow clad peaks and the pristine rivers all around. It was just wonderful. Too difficult to put in words. Living in a cottage in the middle of hills is a dream come true for me. I could also mention that I woke up early to enjoy the beyond ethereal mornings but I continue being the same shit who wakes up late even there.

We were for a week in Kasol and another week in Manali, and its just nothing but a fortunate coincidence that both the stays turned out amazing in their own ways. I am going to mention a bit about them before I begin with the points to remember for a Himachal workcation. Especially because both the stays were nothing like anything I have stayed at before. 🙂

Kasol: We stayed at a place called Kasol Heights. It’s difficult to categorise it as a resort or campsite. Well, it’s not luxurious like a resort but it’s like this – multiple camp style rooms spread over a valley, with a pond, river, waterfall and, of course, man made activities (indoor games, pool etc) all within the campsite area. It’s amazing to get up and step out of your room to have a river flowing right outside the room. We had to cross a tiny bridge to go to the dining area. 🙂 Below is a picture of the bridge and the pond. It’s a very offbeat experience. Few downsides to the place – located on the outskirts of Kasol and it’s a downhill trek from the main road so every time you have to go to the Kasol city, you have to do this. Secondly, it’s not a luxurious place if that’s what you are looking for. Thirdly, the in-house meals are very home style, in case you are expecting anything else.

Manali: it’s an interesting story how we booked this property. So, we had no plans of going to Manali and the initial plan was of 2 weeks in Kasol itself. We had not booked any stay until we left for Manali. Now there’s a portal for finding workcation friendly stays called, well, Workcation, but they don’t give you the location until you have booked. We had shortlisted a few properties from their portal on our way and we were trying to locate them on Google Maps after entering Manali. On our way to do that, we came across Himachal Tourism’s ‘Log Huts’. It was my suggestion to check out this property, reason being I hold Himachal tourism to very high standards due to a dinner I had been to in Shimla as a kid. 🙂 The guy on the reception was more than excited to show us the stay. Log Huts offers cottages complete with bedrooms, dining, kitchen & living room and they have such an old world charm to it. Every cottage has their own garden area where we used to play cricket. I should also mention that the location of this property, popularly known as Log Huts area, is one of the best in Manali. Manali is basically divided into 3 main areas – New Manali (has mall road and full of tourists), Old Manali (more hipster vibe and cafes but cramped), Log Huts area (my favorite as this has a very old world and clean vibe, right out of Ruskin Bond books). If I had to nit-pick a con of this place, then it can be you getting bored of restaurant food for a long duration stay (not a con for me though).

Now coming to the 5 things you should remember when planning a workcation to Himachal:

1. WiFi: A lot needs to be addressed here. First of all, many properties mention that they have WiFi but they may mean a dongle. A dongle is less likely to work smoothly as compared to a well functioning WiFi. Having Wifi may also mean it’s patchy. I observed this myself in some hotels. Point being, if you are planning a workcation in Himalayas, be fully assured of the WiFi situation at your stay. Best bet is testimonials from someone known, but I would consider proper discussion with the property contact bare minimum. Same is applicable for power cuts.

2. Where to go? This is a tricky one. When we went to Manali, it was not brimming with travellers. Currently Manali is literally flooding with vacationers. It’s neither safe given the Covid situation, nor it would be fun. Now let’s talk about the more offbeat Himachal options like Jibhi, Shoja, Chitkul etc. I have not been there but I would imagine that the wifi situation would be poorer as they are more remote. I would still consider them a good option if you can be sure of network and that the number of people visiting that place is not too many. I would apply this same rule to places in Uttarakhand. My suggestion, though, would be to give serious consideration to some offbeat homestays which have properly worked on making themselves workcation friendly as they will have better amenities for a comfortable working environment and not a lot of people. Not to mention differentiated experience. Linking one such here I saw on instagram – Mokshamcampsite

3. How to go? We did a road trip and if you are planning to go to a place in Himachal or Uttarakhand from Delhi or around, this is a pretty plausible option. (Provided you are comfortable with driving and not a newbie). Otherwise, I would consider taxi as an option, I would personally avoid flights or trains as much as I can. I have taken multiple flights during the pandemic as my parents and parent-in-laws are in different parts of India, but that is sort of unavoidable. A trip on the other hand is.

4. How to pack? This depends on what you are expecting out of your day. If you are mostly working through the day, you can pack your lounge wear, basically what you wear at home but with at least one warm jacket and socks thrown in for the night. If you are planning long treks, please do a proper Google search on what to pack for a trek. I have never been on a long trek (I really want to but I am also scared due to my vertigo and fear of height issue). In general, I am a pretty light packer. I usually like to find substitutes from local markets of what I could have brought, which could also ultimately become a souvenir. Obviously, I only mean this for things which are not adding to my carbon footprint. On this trip, I did end up carrying my electric kettle for a change. 🙂 this is something unlikely for me being a light packer!

5. Being in line with the situation: if you are traveling in a limited capacity vehicle, going to be in a secluded place, avoid the crowds , you are essentially doing the same things you would do at home, so I would request you to be mindful of the ongoing situation. All the precautions that you take while stepping out for groceries need to be taken here. Even more so, since there will be many clusters with a lot of people. Apart from that, you Want to be mindful of dealing with the property staff, for your as well as their safety. If you are mindful, you may end up benefiting the tourism industry in these trying times, and if not mindful, then it could actually get worse for them.

So these are the stories I wanted to share of my travel and I am so happy that I managed a detailed post after a long time. Especially glad for having done this on a weekday, which is why I am not proof reading it. 🙂 I am waiting for your comments and feel free email me for any other questions as well!