Travelogue- Ooty, India 

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re all having a great Sunday! I just got back from Ooty last night. It was a wonderful trip! The weather was absolutely lovely, with temperatures ranging from 13-16 degrees. Although it was difficult to get away from under the comforts of the covers, we managed to explore the queen of hill stations. Here’s a travelogue from my trip!
Although I was beyond excited for our trip to Ooty, the travel to our destination was a major concern for me. I have travel sickness, and our 5 hour car journey included 3 hours of twisted roads. I was dreading and mentally preparing myself for all the dizziness and puking. My Aunt got me some lemons, that I was to bite and suck at whenever I felt giddy. We made sure we collected all our belongings and I took one last trip to the bathroom, fully aware that clean public washrooms were a rarity. After a round of kisses and hugs we were off. 
Our travel was not as tiring as I expected it to be. We came across some beautiful views, including multiple sunflower fields that looked straight out of a Windows wallpaper. We stopped by at a Dosa Camp, and had one of the best Dosas, I also picked up a Lime drink as a precaution to the 2 hours of travel remaining. 

The last 2 hours were breathtaking to say the least. We had to cross animal reserves in the process, and saw deers, monkeys and horses on our way. It was beautiful. 
We reached Ooty at around 2.30, after passing 36 Hair pin curves. We stayed at the Derby Green Mahindra Resorts. Our stay was comfortable and refreshing and the resort was great, with the staff hospitable. We decided to take the day off and spent time at the Games Area of the resort. After losing terribly at chess to my Dad and playing a nostalgic family game of Snakes and Ladders we headed for a big dinner. 

The next day was very eventful. We visited the Chocolate Museum and bought back some great handmade butterscotch chocolates. The Botanical Garden was a beautiful sight. We went boating in Pykara and that was probably the highlight of my trip. The view was surreal, and so calming. I’ve attached pictures below.

We also went for a brief trek up to Lamb’s rock, and the realization of how unfit I’ve gotten sunk in.

We left on our 5th day there, and embarked on another 8 hour journey to Bangalore. (Didn’t puke, but the trip wasn’t half that enjoyable)

We had amazing food all the while and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Ooty was breathtaking. 


Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

The Mystery Blogger Tag!

Hey everyone! Happy Father’s Day to all the father figures out there!

I was nominated by Jenny for the Mystery Blogger Award. Thank you so much for the nomination. It was really sweet of her to provide this opportunity for all the small bloggers to come forward. The Mystery Blogger Award is a tag created by Okoto Enigma.



The rules are as follows-
1. Put the award logo/image in your post.

2. List all the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog.

4. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

5. Nominate 10-20 people and notify them.

6. Link back to the creator of the award.

7. Ask nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with a weird or funny question.

8. Share the link to your best/favourite post of yours. 

Here are 3 random things about myself –

  1. I dislike Skinny Jeans. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and I would have loved to be able to like them. It’s just how it feels against the skin. I don’t like fabrics that are too tight on my legs, and skinny jeans are just that.
  2. I’ve always wanted to be a Pilot and still do. I fangirl over any pilot that walks by. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned and here I am in law school.
  3. I am a hard-core non-vegetarian, so it was initially difficult for me to adjust with the vegetarian food on campus. I lost 6 kilos in my first semester!

Onto Jenny’s questions now

Q1. If you could make a live action re-make of your favorite Disney Film, who would be your dream cast?

A1. My favorite Disney movie would be Alice in Wonderland. I’d probably have Anne Hathway play Alice, Benedict Cumberbatch play The Mad Hatter, Morena Baccarin play the Red Queen and Nina Dobrev play the White Queen.

Q2. If you wrote a book, which genre would you choose and why?

A2. I would mostly go with Fantasy, simply because there’d be no restrictions to my imagination. Although this would make things difficult and simple at the same time, it would be a very  interesting experience.

Q3. Which Disney Character would you want to be best friends with?

A3. I’d say Mowgli, for his fun-spirited and pure soul.

Q4. Someone gives you €5, 000, you’re not allowed to save it, what would you spend it on?

A4. I’d probably spend every bit on travelling with my family.

Q5. If you could create a selection of products, what type of products would they be and what would you call them?

A5. Stationery, maybe. I can’t think of anything cute right now, but maybe RiKo.

That is all for Jenny’s Questions. Thank you so much for these fun questions. I had a great time answering them! Here are my questions-

Q1. Amongst the Disney Characters, who would you say is your spirit animal and why?

Q2. What are your pet peeves?

Q3.  What does your ideal Sunday look like?

Q4. Who is your favorite superhero and why?

Q5. What would your favorite childhood memory be?

And my nominees are

  1. StyledbyMcKenz
  2. Jessica Riga
  3. Ella May Garrett
  4. Miss Foodiefiesta
  5. Everything EmmZeeBee
  6. The confused Individual Blog
  7. A small wardrobe
  8. Sophie In Wonderland
  9. Natalie Vinh
  10. Yazad Writes

Thank you so much for the support and love! 
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Weekend Shenanigans

 And so, we had a weekend to ourselves. We weren’t completely free off uni load, but the submissions were comfortably far away. I decided to ring a good friend of mine of about 8 years now. Luckily, she stays only 30 minutes away from where my University is located. I can’t describe how excited I was. I was almost counting down the days left to meet her, at the same time consciously pressing down the excitement levels. I had this eerie feeling that she would bail out. 

Fortunately, nothing of that sort happened. Unfortunately and Fortunately, two girls skipping off to Delhi sounded like a risky business to my mom in Saudi Arabia. She had recently heard of a kidnapping, and other related crimes were not unheard in Delhi. I frowned on hearing her words. I had no argument in place. I finally spoke to her about getting my guy friend along. She agreed.

I realized then that I’m never completely and appropriately dressed without a guy by my side. No matter how much skin I’m showing, no matter what moves I’ve kept at the back of my head to fight back, no matter how prepared I am. 

 I brushed my mind off the disturbing thought and fueled my excitement by looking through eateries my roommate had suggested. 

The Saturday had arrived! I already had an outfit in mind. I paired a printed tee tucked underneath my boyfriend jeans. I added a black belt and sneakers, straightened my hair and we were off! 

We had the most amazing time. If you’re from Delhi, or are planning a trip to Delhi, Gulati Restaurant at Pandara Road is a must-try. As I had read on their wall of fame, “It’s a sin to come to Gulati and not have their world-famous Butter Chicken”. I had eaten way beyond my capacity, thanks to my friend who set up a food challenge. I lost miserably. I should have worn something loose. Something without a belt, perhaps. 

But being the foodie that I am, we went off for some ice-creams to Giani’s. I had a mango flavored ice cream with chocolate sauce and some nuts to top. We clicked a couple of pictures and boomerangs, and were off. Check out my Instagram for updates! *yay for self advertising* It’s under the username damysticalpanda btw. 
We had over an hour to kill, and so we decided to walk around Khan Market. But because of my about-to-tear tummy, I found it difficult to walk around. We decided to head back to campus and cancelled the Khan Market plan. 
I had crashed the moment I reached my room. I remember my room being an absolute mess, when I left. But I let the borderline clean-freak self let loose and drift off to sleep. It had been one hell of a day. 
Thank you so much for 500 views. It truly means a lot to me. See you all next Friday! 
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

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

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