4 things you immediately notice about Berlin!

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I have been meaning to make this Friday’s list since the longest time because, you know, its supposed to be about things you ‘immediately’ notice if you move to Berlin. 😀 Not quite immediate, still this post is very close to my heart. That is because these are all the reasons why I love Berlin. It is not a tourist-y kind of city, and that is why people who come here as tourists don’t find it that exciting. Berlin had a tragic history which meant most of it was destroyed by air raids etc. So, Berlin hasn’t medieval architecture or cobbled streets or vintage charm to lure you, but here are 4 reasons why you will easily fall in love with Berlin:

  1. Young Culture of its Own: Its bad that I cannot exactly explain it. Anyway, I am going to try. Berlin has a very unique culture that is specific to itself. All over Berlin, you can feel a young vibe like the place is thriving with young energy. You know like a life is just beginning to blossom! No, its not like a city of students or something, I have been to cities like that, in fact, I am currently living in one. Berlin, however, is a city of adults, teenagers, old people just like any other place but the place has a young energy of its own, brimming with new ideas. That’s why its called city of artists, designers & illustrators. The young culture also makes it look like a hipster city many times, and I understand that it can be a botheration to some!IMG_2127_FotorIMG_20160619_175217_FotorIMG_2063_Fotor

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    I lived here 🙂

  2. Cosmopolitan: I have read so many expats say that Berlin is one of the best cities in the world for expats and it is totally true! Berlin is seriously so cosmo, its not even funny! Berlin accepts everyone and everything with open hands and makes them its own! Everywhere you turn, there are cultural events happening from a different culture. No matter which part of the city you live in, there would be one Indian restaurant, one Thai restaurant, one Korean restaurant, one Vietnamese Kitchen  and, of course, one Doner outlet somewhere near you. Berlin’s super inspiring startup culture also adds to the cosmopolitan nature of this city!IMG_2357_FotorIMG_2103IMG_2099_Fotor
  3. Food: Following from point 2, Berlin really has a loooooooot of variety from so many countries and none of the European cities or countries I have been to matches up! The best part, though, is that vegetarian options are just as much!! No kidding. In this city, you will be spoilt for choice for vegetarian food, and, wait for it, even vegan food!!IMG_2054_FotorIMG_2146
  4. Different area are actually different: You will probably think that this is true for any city, but really, if you lived in Berlin, you will absolutely agree because I have heard so many Europeans say this too. 🙂 There is the sophisticated Charlottenburg, the quintessentially hipster Warschauer Strasse, the tourist-y & modern Mitte & so on. While writing this line, I seriously do miss Berlin! ❤IMG_1505_FotorIMG_1453IMG_1458IMG_1479_FotorIMG_2096IMG_2102IMG_2091

That is all I wanted to share, you guys.

I would love to know what went through your mind when you read this post. Anything about Berlin? Anything about a city you fell in love with?  Tell me in the comments! 🙂

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This grey city which gets colorful every once in a while! 🙂

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Mauerpark Flohmarkt (Flea Market), Berlin

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Germany is known for its flea markets & Berlin more so. This Mauerpark one, I guess, is the most popular one in Berlin and the best thing about this one is that it combines the best of two worlds – German flea markets & Berlin’s eclectic culture.

No, truly, this is not something just for the sake of saying it. Berlin’s Mauerpark flea market offers tidbits, unique things & useful things to some people just like any German or other flea market. At the same time, it represents Berlin’s eclectic & diverse culture as closely as possible. Berlin stands for being the land for artists, illustrators, designers and entrepreneurs – a place where they can be themselves & do what they want with full acceptance, because Berlin accepts everyone & everything.

This is something that Mauerpark flea market also represents in one way. Unlike regular flea markets, it doesn’t only have vintage stuff, there are artists selling their latest creations & many people selling their handmade stuff. To add to this, the part of the Berlin wall here is also getting constantly painted & repainted by people/artists. On the sides, there’s a huge crowd sitting atop a hill & cheering Karaoke participants. If you enter the food area, you’ll see that you can literally expect anything in the stalls, Vietnamese, food from Uruguay, Mexican, Bao Buns – you name it. Yes! this is what Berlin is – everything & anything at one single point only.

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‘Mauer’ is German for wall, so I believe this park is called Mauerpark because it is around a section of the Berlin wall. I went here for the second time this past Sunday & thought I’ll do a photo tour. Thing is I didn’t click as many (or should I say as varied) as I wanted, but still here’s what I have. 🙂

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The main entrance

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Right adjacent to where all the flea market action happens, is an open ground where people come over for picnics, although its not a well-maintained or even a clean park.

The park is also lined by a hill sort of surface, as in part of it is high up and that high up surface has Berlin wall bordering it. Have a look!

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That graffiti laced wall that you see is the Berlin wall and, as you can see, its on a height.

On the top, you see the spirit of Berlin, people showing their artistic sense on the Berlin wall, people chilling on swings or just sun bathing!

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Picnic people, as seen from the top

Mauerpark is also famous for one more thing, something that quite exemplifies the young & hipster spirit of Berlin. A Karaoke that happens in the ‘bear pit’. A small area of the Mauerpark flea market is called bear pit & summers usually see Karaoke happening there. The happiness & energy of people there is purely infectious! The way crowds cheer for whoever is performing leaves you with a very positive feeling.

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I am standing here & clicking!

I totally feel that Mauerpark flea market & Karaoke is definitely an experience worth having while you are in Berlin. It happens on every Sunday & you can totally keep some time for it. If nothing else, you will love it for the food variety, for sure.

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You can literally find someone with a robot they made themselves!

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If you have been here or plan to head over, I would love to know your thoughts in the comments! 🙂

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and that is just Germany gearing up for the Euro Cup! 🙂

Sights & Sounds of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi

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I convinced my classmates to make a morning trip to Chandni Chowk for a food walk of sorts.

Now, who wakes up in hostels at 8 in the morning on a weekend? So, the trip obviously got delayed and we were rushing through things because everyone had other commitments too.

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Yes, that’s an excuse why I couldn’t click enough but a valid one at that. Here’s whatever I could manage.

Can I please begin by saying that I lovvvvvvvvvveeee (yes, I had to write it like this) Chandni Chowk for the old world charm that it exudes?

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The famous Chaat shop ‘Natraj’

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Parathas getting made. This is a phone photo.

I am totally in awe of the tiny old style shops where the owner (or manager) still sits on a gaddi (cushioned seater) and the shops are stocked with all sorts of bling, as this market is known for wedding-related things.

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The beautiful doors

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The area I visited for the famous parathas (Indian flat bread, Google for details :)) is famously known as Kinari Bazaar or the market of borders. Borders, the bling-y, glitter-y and all other kinds that women buy to design their clothes and put these across their saris, dupattas, suits and so on. This market is thronged by women from all across Delhi (and beyond) going crazy for the beautiful, beautiful borders. How I wish I could click some of them! Also the even more beautiful shops they were housed in! Apart from the reason mentioned in the post’s beginning, I could also not click because shopkeepers at such rugged places generally get offended when you click. However, I am definitely going to take chances next time.

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A stroll through Delhi

Hello there! 🙂

Long time, no see. Well, yes, I do take the responsibility of not being around but I would rather make good use of whatever time I got here today. 🙂 Before I begin, I just wanted to say that I have made some really good bonds over the internet through this blog and I never ever expected that! Now this has become something I look forward to as part of writing here. So, if you missed reading the posts or just wish to say hi or anything else really, please do drop a comment. It will certainly make my day!

About this post, I know a few readers here who love my Delhi posts more than anything else. Probably, they turn out the best too because I love them a lot myself. As some of you have heard a million times already, I LOVE exploring places and cultures and, of course, writing about them and shooting them.

This reminds me that I finally got a DSLR. 😀 I know many people here were tired of hearing me crib about not having one. Let’s see how that goes. I really had no time to learn its workings so far and I think it has already been 2 months!

Cutting the blabber right here, this is what I did on a warm autumn afternoon in Delhi when I had to meet a very good friend of mine.

I think you will like this little photo walk. (Yes, the pictures are taken with the new camera).

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We first went to the Shri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. For those of you who don’t know, Gurudwaras are praying shrines for primarily the Sikh community. But some of us who have been brought up in a Punjabi culture do visit them too.

As far as Delhi is concerned, it is so cosmopolitan that you will see people of all sorts visiting all sorts of shrines, irrespective of their faith (or lack thereof).IMG_0302

Look at the beautiful lake inside the Gurudwara.

After this, we moved towards one of my favorite places in Delhi. Guess, guess. I can’t wait anyway. The Oxford Bookstore or ‘Cha Bar’, the very famous bookstore cum cafe famous for the n types of teas or ‘chai’ it stocks up on.

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This blue part of the bookstore is super enticing. Look at how beautiful and colorful it is with all the kids’ books. *Sigh*

What is only barely visible in the picture is that baby blue colored pool-like sitting arrangement. It’s one of the coolest ways to sit around in a bookstore (but I am not too sure if people sit inside that cavity as I never saw anyone doing that).

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The lighting arrangement at the cafe was on point, what with the Diwali theme going on. That girl with a cap is one of the servers.

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That’s just me trying different lighting.

I am sorry for not having any food photos. We were too hungry to click when the food came in.

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Oh, by the way, this piece of art right at the entrance was a little scary. Does she not look like a real human being? Oh, well.

That’s pretty much it. I hope you enjoyed this, really. 🙂

A visit to Daryaganj Sunday Book Market | Street Diaries

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Before we start, I have to say something. I am so disappointed with myself regarding the pictures of this post. I could have done so much better what with the Old Delhi backdrop, huge, HUGE piles of books all around. Believe me when I say this, this market is huge as hell!

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Yes, that’s what the first thing that hits you when you reach here. Let’s not count the obvious culture shift that you feel from the rest of Delhi.

I know it sounds annoying to hear it repeatedly, but trust me, it is just not possible to explain in words how big this market is!

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My friend and I got down at the ‘New Delhi Railway station’ metro station and took an auto for the market. We told the auto guy a point to drop us off, but the humongous piles of books began much before that point. We were like, should we get down mid-way or the best is yet to come?

As far as I am concerned, the entire market is the bomb. I am not aware of any best stalls or corners as such. You will find treasures and prices that might make you gasp. I got a lovely kids’ hard bound book for like 40 INR!! That’s less than a dollar!

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There is this one big stationery shop that has all sorts of cool notebooks for really cheap prices. Most of the things here are sold by weight. You should definitely go to this shop for notebooks and some other knick-knacks. If you only want to visit this shop and not the entire market, ask anyone about it once you reach the main lane of Daryaganj book market.

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If you have heard about Delhi’s street shopping for clothes all your life, this market is that same thing but for books.

Bargain shamelessly.

Don’t show that you were dying to own a copy of that book you chanced upon.

Don’t show that you were dying to own the edition that you chanced upon.

The more you walk, the more your hunger to walk further will increase. Dress comfortably for that. Carry water.

That's my haul!

That’s my haul!

I see no reason why you shouldn’t head here the coming weekend.

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Look at that Mughal-art inspired book, this book was like a magnet.

[Plus, one of my favorite Instagram-ers, India Pictures, is having an Instagram meet in Old Delhi on the 19th of April. It starts at 6 am though 😛 ].

Sagan ke lifafe (envelopes), anyone?

Sagan ke lifafe (envelopes), anyone?

A happy new Year!

A very happy new Year to all of us 🙂 I hope the year 2015 brings lots of happiness for all of us. Here’s to bigger dreams, stronger will powers, happier times and living life to the fullest no matter what the challenge is. 🙂

My Facebook status currently reads ‘Ringing in the new year with a humble visit to Shahjahan’s Delhi when the world parties it all out in Lutyens’ Delhi (in the end, we did visit Shri Bangla Sahib in Lutyens’)’. For those who have no idea about what I am saying, basically I and my brother visited the Sam’s Cafe in Paharganj today evening which is in Old Delhi. Old Delhi was built during the Mughal era, so that’s why Shahjahan’s Delhi. Quite a choice for visiting on New Year but, oh well. Then we also visited Shri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in Connaught Place. CP was designed by British architect Edwin Lutyens’ (just Google-d the full name) during the British rule, so areas designed by him are popularly known as Lutyens’ Delhi. The idea of this post came through a comment by Tatsat where he asked to talk about things we did on New Year. It’s good that he expected that I’ll be doing something happening. 😛

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Sam’s Cafe, Paharganj

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Shri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, Connaught Place. So beautiful, I know!

PS: I just checked my annual report card at WordPress and it is a really, really fun thing to do. Check mine here and definitely check your too, you must have got an email notification about the same on your registered email by WordPress.

Have a very happy new Year everyone! 🙂