Liebster Award Nomination!

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re summer’s going well. 

I was nominated by Annie for the Liebster Award! This award was on my bucket list and I’m extremely happy that I got nominated for it. Go check out Annie’s blog. She’s doing an amazing job!

Here are the rules

1. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator has asked you 

2. Nominate 11 other bloggers (with under 200 followers) 

3. Ask your nominees 11 questions. 

4. Let them know you nominated them!

Here are Annie’s questions for me. Thank you so much, Annie. Loved your questions. 
1. Who is your favourite fictional character?

2. Are you a night owl or an early bird?



3. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?



4. What’s your favourite holiday (Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, etc…)?

5. Do you know any languages/ what languages do you wish you could speak?

6. What’s your favourite part about blogging?

7. What dessert could you eat for the rest of your life? 

8. Who is someone you look up to?

9. What’s one thing on your bucket list?

10. What’s an achievement you’re really proud of?

11. If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

My answers– 

A1. My favorite fictional character would have to be Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother. I resonate with his personality and relate to most of his antics. He’s also one of the major reasons why I love How I Met Your Mother!
A2. Early bird. I can however, stay up until late or pull an all-nighter smoothly during exams depending on the stress levels. 
A3. I’d say the headphones my younger brother got me with his own cash. It’s a prized possession of mine.
A4. My favorite holiday has to be Winter Break, which is Christmas and New Years. 

My brother, dad, grandmother and I are all December babies, so we have a lot to look forward to during the winter break.
A5. I speak English, Kannada, Tulu, Hindi to a certain extent. 

I wish I was fluent in Arabic. It’s a beautiful language and is very special to me since I grew up in Saudi Arabia.
A6. My favorite part would be the amazing responses and support you get post the post. (haha)

A7. Anything chocolate! I’ve found new love in Red Velvet too.
A8. My parents. So many invaluable lessons from them.
A9. Parasailing!
A10. The fact that I started a blog. I’m really proud and happy I went ahead with it. 
A11. I would probably go back to the times of independence. It’s just such a momentous decade and I would have loved to be a part of it. 
And those are my answers to Annie’s questions. 

Here are my questions-
1. What is your pet’s name and what is the story behind it?

2. What’s your comfort food?

3. What’s your dream destination for a holiday?

4. What’s your current favorite book/TV Series?

5. Who is your role model?

6. What is the one thing you love about your home town?

7. What is your latest addiction?

8. Coffee/Tea?

9. What got you into blogging?

10. What’s your favorite quote?

11. Books/Movies
My nominees are-
1.BlogMyLife

2. Wingedeyegirl

3. Justrerehere

4. Rebeka Bergin

5. Makeitup_x

6. EverythingEm_x

7. Thoughtsfromjas

8. Iweekmary

9. CarlieDanillie

10. TopicalBlogger

11. Heylelsunter
I would love to read your answers! 

Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda 

Blogger Collab! – Going Solo 

Hey Guys! Hope you’re having a lovely week! ✨

For this post, I’ve collaborated  with a lovely blogger, Ashanti, whose blog is all about Self love and positivity! She’s doing an amazing job! Go show her some love!

We decided to club our passions together and decided to do a travel themed post. Here’s mine, you can find hers on her blog. She’s written about the benefits of traveling solo.

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Pick an auto driver who’s old and not evil looking. These were my thoughts as I stepped out my door, rechecking my phone battery, which was at 78%. I had dressed ‘appropriately’ for my first solo travel, had my bottle of water and the directions to my destination, which was a bookstore named Blossoms.( Let me know if you’ve been here!)

The stop was almost a 90 minute drive, from my location. I hopped onto an auto that met my requirements and proceeded towards the bus stop. Google maps isn’t as accurate as it seems. Apparently google gave me an incorrect bus number. But as I enquired around to confirm, i learned the lady in the green sari was right. Google was wrong. Not everyone’s evil, I told myself.

I looked past the window, at the school buses whizzing past. It was 4pm. the passengers along with me were all submerged in their thoughts or enjoying their music or both. Until this moment, I never really understood how it was to be left alone with your thoughts.

And to have your day in your control. I could have changed my destination and decide to have dinner too! I could’ve gone shopping. It felt great, this rush of independence. I decided to tone my excitement and over-ambitiousness down and head to the book store I had planned to visit.

I’d already learned so much about my city! I figured a better and a shorter route to the store, I realized how essential it is to have exact amount of cash on you for your bus travel, and I cannot stress enough on how essential your phone battery and water is. My dad always paid for me, when we traveled, I just tagged along paying no attention to absolutely anything. I couldn’t afford to, right now. I had to pay close attention to when my stop would arrive.

I reached my destination.

My adventure had come to an end. But I still had to reach home. I smiled in anticipation.
Do let me know of your solo travelogues!
Lots and lots of love,

themysticalpanda

Book Review: “Colorful Notions”, Mohit Goyal

Currently basking in my laziness on my bed. It’s 11.43 am. Don’t get me wrong, I am a morning person. I wake up at 6 am everyday, weekends included. But this is what happens when everyone’s gone back home for Holi and you decide to stay back and are now bored out of your mind. Having completed my morning checklist, and in a desperate attempt to do something productive, I realized how I’ve slacked here. So, here I am with a book review! 

Colorful Notions by Mohit Goyal. Three Youngsters on a mission to cover the territory of India by road. And quite obviously things weren’t hunky-dory during the trip, or the book wouldn’t have been half as good. 

The characters have distinct personalities, each with a charm of their  own. Their choice of destinations provides them with an experience like no other. From being fear-stricken before tigers in Jim Corbett and haunted forts to attending rave parties in Goa and being robbed of all valuables including their ride home , they’ve done it all! A particular favorite of mine was the Biriyani Challenge in Hyderabad, since I could totally see myself doing it. It naturally got me feeling hungry and decided my lunch for today. Hopefully, the Biriyani from Moti Mahal satiates my hunger.

As the journey goes, we see relationships put to test. There are plots wherein life’s guilty pleasures take over rational minds to destroy the purest of relationships. How it’s important to understand that no one has it all. Their meeting with Dalai Lama’s pupils teaches us how gratitude and fresh perspective towards life makes battling issues so much simpler. 

The story ends on a beautiful note, with the characters attaining contentment, relationships being renewed  and embarking on yet another beautiful adventure of life. This time with clear purposes and a de-cluttered soul. 

A great read. 

Rating- 3

A very happy Holi to all! 

Lots and lots of love,

themysticalpanda 

Review: The Hudson Cafe

Currently on my cozy bed, engulfed under the comforter. Update on the Sonepat weather: It’s complicated. The weekend’s here! A couple of us decided to wander the streets of Delhi yesterday. It was beautiful, really. The colour of different styles of jewelry and export rejects had people swarming in on this Saturday morning.

The central idea of our plan, however was to have lunch at The Hudson Cafe, at GTB Nagar, Delhi. We could barely move at the end of lunch.
To start off, the ambience was great! The music, the decor, the furnitures, complementing each other.

The service wasn’t bad too. Although, I believed it could be faster.

College students like ourselves can’t exactly resort to fine dining. We need affordable and delicious food. Ah! The struggle. But The Hudson Cafe, specializes in just that.

Let’s cut to the chase now. 

The dishes were amazing!

1. Leo Pizza

Crunchy, Cheesy. It’s not always I come across the right amounts of the two. But these guys nailed it.



2. Buffalo wings

It wasn’t disappointing. But wasn’t all that flavorful either. But look how beautiful it is! 


3. Red Velvet Cheesecake

It was delicious! Could’ve been better though. It wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be.


4. Baked Mac and Cheese (Chicken)

The best I’ve ever had.


5. Brownies and Cookies Shake

Couldn’t get enough of it. It was great! We tried the Chocolate and peanut butter shake and the Chocolate Malt milkshake as well. All three were loved.

I would definitely recommend the Cafe to you, if you’re new to Delhi. If you aren’t, you should be well aware of this delicious corner. If you aren’t, under what exactly are you living?
Lots and lots of love,

themysticalpanda

Stop,Rewind.

 

Currently behind my desk, in my fuzzy purple socks. The weather has gone up a notch, thus allowing me to prance around in my shorts and a tank top. I thought I liked winters.

I study in a residential university, and kids below 17 are a rare sight here. They come along to drop their elder siblings off to college sometimes.
I was having breakfast the other day in the mess, when a young boy of about 2.5,was running around in the dining hall. He was wearing a dungaree and those tiny shoes that light up when you take steps. Some of the students rushed to play and pick the little boy up. He seemed to be unfettered by the attention he was receiving. I learned that his father worked on campus. A professor,perhaps. His father helped himself and his elder son to some cereal, looking on to the small crowd that had formed around his boy.
I’m not a fan of children. But this one had my complete attention. Maybe it’s been too long that I was with one. Maybe.
It’s also been very long that I’ve been away from innocence and serendipity.
The little boy ran up to his dad. His father had little pieces of bread broken,for him to eat. I suddenly missed my parents.
I shifted my gaze and came back to the view of young adults. Naturally, my gaze shifted back to the boy. He had lost interest in the bread and was staring up at one of the students. He started playing with her and clutching onto her key-chain, her hair. And then lost interest in her too. I chuckled.
Quite obviously at this point, I reflected on my childhood. I’m 19 and two months old today. So, I didn’t have to look very deep for those beautiful memories. Also because, they were on my laptop.

Images of me and my fractured arm, were the first to pop in. The injury allowed me to always be in my Dad’s arms. Other images of me surrounded by my stuffed animals came up. Almost all of them were either bigger, or my size. And no, it wasn’t to make up for any loneliness. I was very popular in kindergarten. My numbers were always in sequence. Images of my birthday celebrations. Pictures of me and my younger brother with our separate cakes. I love chocolate and he isn’t a fan of it. Yes,we share birthdays,too. Sigh.

These memories gave me a rush. A high. My cheeks began hurting. I realized I’ve been smiling for too long.
~themysticalpanda 

 

Book Review- Sudha Murty’s, “Wise and Otherwise”

Currently in my dorm room, all cozy under my blanket and my pair of socks with the hot dogs on them. I can’t wait for summers, the Sonepat winters are getting to me.

I’ve always wanted to read a book by Sudha Murty. We had one of her stories as an academic reading back in 10th grade, and I remember it being one of my favorites.

Sudha Murty’s ‘Wise and Otherwise’ is a collection of short stories, depicting instances from her life that left behind a message. A message so strong, she believed it was worth recollecting and penning it down. And it truly was.

Each story teaches you a lesson, lays down the bitter truth of life, and leaves you at a loss for words. There are stories that have touched my heart and others that angered me. I was saddened that I couldn’t brush some of it off as fictitious.

The world isn’t in the textbooks. You can only learn by experiences. And then can you be wise. Then can you tackle the unpleasantness. Then can you live.The book doesn’t provide anything new or eye-opening. We can all relate to the instances and are well aware of the negativity people have developed. But we’ve accepted it to be a phase and have chosen to flow with it. And that’s where the issue lies. We cannot be passive for long. It’s imperative that we take steps, small it may be, but towards positivity and happiness for all. And that’s exactly what the book screams.

 

 

Lots and lots of love,

themysticalpanda

Goa, ’17

Currently in my dorm room. On my bed, covered with pink sheets with flowers on them. Just watched Dil Chahta Hain, a classic Bollywood movie.

I too,was in Goa with my friends only a month ago. We made memories that I would take to the grave. It was beautiful.

Thought I should put it into writing.

December, the 13th; 6.03 pm. Should we do Goa?.
December, the 13th, 10:28 pm. Amidst chaos and the excitement of planning a trip out of town, my friend books the wrong ticket. Her guilt almost made her back out. Almost. Our plan almost got cancelled. Almost.
But one of us had already booked, we had no option to back out now. Luckily!

This wasn’t all. We still had accommodation in Goa to screw up.
There was this online booking platform. The place looked decent enough for the price we were willing to pay. We checked a couple of reviews and decided to go for it.
Turns out the place wasn’t decent. It looked far from habitable. And we were outside the apartment at around 7in the evening, when this realization hits.

This is where the saviors of our trip come into picture. The friend who messed up her booking, had a good friend of hers in Goa. They rescued us from the havoc that we created with our naive attitude. Yes, we were naive. One of us wanted to see the sunrise in Goa. We’re naive.

Goa is beautiful and so are the people, who I’ve learned are not ,as stereotyped, party animals. We managed to visit quite a lot of places in this rather short trip.

Now, after almost a month of a new Goa themed Facebook Profile, the feeling of nostalgia has set in. But at the end of it all, we enjoyed to the fullest. I cant think of a better set of people that I would have wanted to share these tragic and beautiful moments with.

Take care and always double check your booking details before hitting Confirm.
Salam.

Lots of love,
themysticalpanda

Growing up in Saudi Arabia

Currently in my bedroom, all decked up in my purple jacket and my ugly crew socks as I write this piece. It is 17 degrees outside. Not all that extreme..yet. I’ve been witness to sand storms, hails, snow and an event where chunks of ice dropped from above, and the occasional rainfalls, in the 18 years I’ve spent here. No, I don’t speak or understand Arabic.Yes, it’s a shame. But I’ve survived, and still am.

I shifted to India for my graduation, a year back and have been met with a number of queries regarding my stay( read:survival) here. So, here’s a lemonade out of the lemons shot at me. That was not a great comparison.

I have lived in Riyadh since I was three months old. I’ve grown up learning the importance of drinking water and moisturizing your skin in the extreme climates here.  The discipline with respect to the traffic rules and the lanes, have paralyzed me to the extent that I am terrified of crossing the streets in India, and quite often hold my friend’s hand when I attempt to.

Arabs love their cars, making the streets seem fancy and you, poor. And that’s another aspect I’m accustomed to. Most Arabs are gifted with impeccable  facial features or impeccable make-up skills, the niqabs showing more and less at the same time. Most, are beautiful on the inside as well, and that is what matters the most. I was saddened by the skewed understanding my friends had of my Habibis( Arabic for dear ones) here. Although discrimination and hatred towards Non-muslims are not an unheard event, there are other instances disproving this generalization. Don’t get me started on the delicious Arab cuisine. Dinner’s two hours later, and I get cranky when hungry. So, no discussion on the food, except that it’s amazing.

I understand that there have been violations of Human Rights with respect to the female gender, and being a woman, I certainly am wary of these.  However, being unaware of the verities of these religious obligations, I would not be speaking on them. There have been improvements in the past few years, with the voting rights and the considerations  on allowing women to drive.

We do miss out on a number of  opportunities, cinemas, clubs and the like. Also, the need for a male to accompany you in your trips to the mall or elsewhere,  leads to a very sheltered lifestyle. This most definitely, has resulted in some of us shying away. With the schools here being all-girls or all- boys, I personally found myself  weirdly uncomfortable in the sudden presence of boys in class. I remember replying with  a ‘Thank you’ to a ‘Nice to meet you’ by a male classmate. Took me a month, I’ve grown out of it all now, thankfully.

Also, it is quite a betrayal if you do not return with Chocolates, Smartphones, Blankets to your cousins. But mine love me anyway, or so, I’d like to believe.

Salam.

Love and hugs,

themysticalpanda