The first month of the year is over already. I know its not the best use of the blog space that wordpress has so generously provided to me and countless others like me to share a part of ourselves with the world, but, I am still going to use some bandwidth to write about the progress on my goals for the year that I very ambitiously put up on my blog. This is to hold myself accountable in the public domain, and believe it or not, its not easy. So, go easy on me for now, people 🙂
Read more books – I did manage to read four books as desired and am on my fifth, but frankly, I am a little disappointed with myself on this front. Here is a glimpse of my reading list –
Daughter of Destiny
Chronicles of a death foretold
Many Lives Many Masters
Crime and Punishment (Currently reading)
Watch more movies – I watched some good movies over this month. These were –
Wings of Desire
The usual Suspects
The American Beauty
Blog more often – This is my fourth post of the month! (Hurray for somehow managing to write these) But again, there is so much I want to write on. The initial wait and procrastination of switching on the laptop and starting to put your thoughts across is the major put off for me here. Any suggestions on how to drive yourself to put in words what you know and want to be known, are heartily welcome!
Travel more – January passed with me being in Delhi (home sweet home), Mumbai (the naval dockyard and Colaba stay), Dehradun (Wildlife Institute of India), Jim Corbett National Park (Field visit) and I am writing this from Gwalior. So, I guess, these count!?
Getting fit – I ran a grand total of three kilometres in the entire month. #EpicFail. I guess this is something that I am doing really bad at!
All in all, the books, movies and travel are giving me more than enough material to blog on and getting fit would just have to be more prioritised.
That’s all for now! Back to the year, marching ahead to a brand new month!
After having been lazy for so long, I finally decided to put the virtual pen on paper. This list should have come out a month ago. However, better late than never. So, here are a few things I want to do this year –
Read more books – A tangible goal is to read one every two weeks. At the least. And to track my progress, I have joined the HT Brunch Book Challenge. Armed with a new kindle and the rekindled love with words, I hope to be able to do justice to this goal.
Watch more movies – My husband is a complete movie buff. Every time he talks about movies, he gets all animated and excited. And all the movies that I have watched on his recommendation have been really good watch. So this year, I have decided to watch some movies so as to be able to share his enthusiasm. (I know, lucky him 🙂 ) My goal, the same as the books, one evey two weeks at the least.
Blog more often – While my first year in blogging was fairly good, in the second one I became lethargic. This year, I plan to write more often and share my thoughts and views online. I have a long list of draft posts which I plan to write and publish with a humble goal of one every two weeks.
Travel more – Thanks to my job, this goal would be more easily achievable than the others. With the travel for the first four months of the year already planned and booked, the real goal would be to travel with an open mind and learn something from each one of my outings. Looking forward to this!
Getting fit – Though the kilograms and inches may not be declining, I definitely feel fitter this year as compared to the last, with decent outdoor time. I plan to continue the same this year, a little more regularly. Running shoes on!
This post is long overdue and I know there are no excuses for procrastination except the good old – ‘I have been busy’. But better late than never. And thus, here I am, writing about a totally unexpected and wonderful trip to the land of thunder dragon – The royal kingdom of Bhutan.
I had planned a trip to the “Sunderbans” in February end when my hubby’s MBA was getting over. The plan was to have a quick two day vacation in the land of the ‘Royal Bengal Tiger’ and then head back home. I reached Kolkata all excited about the trip when my husband let it pass that all his friends were going for a trip to Bhutan and he was not, because we had made our plans for Sunderbans. Those were (hopefully) the last days of his college life and he hadn’t been on a trip with his friends. I asked him to go but he was unwilling to leave me there all by myself. And thus we reached a solution – planning to go to Bhutan, a different country altogether, instead of Sunderbans; a mere eights hours before we were to board the train.
The journey started with nine of us in the train compartment adjusting seats so that we could all play ‘Mafia’ on the way. We reached New Jalpaiguri (NJP) the next morning at about 10 AM, had our breakfast and then booked a tour to Bhutan through the travel agents there. A five hour journey took us from NJP to Jaigaon, the border town with Phuentsholing on the other side. The road trip was wonderful thanks to the amazing roads leading to a smooth drive, beautiful Teesta river flowing alongside and tea gardens on either sides. The company of friends, drinks, music and snacks made it even better 🙂
We stayed the night at Jaigaon and arranged our papers for obtaining a permit to visit Bhutan the next morning. we were required to have a Govt. provided ID proof (Passport/ Voter ID Card/ Aadhaar Card) and photographs to apply for the permit. Apparently the Driving License could be used as well but the Indian Embassy was off on Saturday (the day we were to get out permits). We walked over to Bhutan to get our permits at about 11 AM and then started our trip to Paro, the place we had decided to visit in Bhutan. It was to be a six hour drive. We stopped on the way for food. Two of the company enjoyed Pork and Chicken and God knows what else, while the rest of us gorged on cup noodles, chips, cold drinks and the like 🙂
The scenery was beautiful with lovely hills and mountains on either sides. There were frequent stops on the way to throw up (:D) thanks to the winding roads but it gave us opportunity to click photographs. We stopped at a small restaurant for tea/ coffee and admired the beautiful countryside.
We reached Paro at about 7 PM. The resort booked for us was beautiful. The rooms were compact, colorful and creatively done. The floors were wooden and the ceilings low. We were famished when we reached. A nice lady came to our room to ask for our dinner plan and take order for the same. Why she took the order so soon became apparent to us when we went to eat. They took their own sweet time to prepare the food. The same people were the cook, attendant and at the reception. But the wait was worth it as we had some good snacks and coffee to keep us warm and nice. The food was deliciously homely and wholesome. We talked to the guy at the bar and discovered that he had lived in India (Bangalore) for a while. He spoke decent Hindi as well. Tired of all the travel we went to sleep in the lovely rooms made comforting by the room heaters.
The next morning was beautiful. I could see snow clad peaks from the window of my room. Refreshed after a bath, I went to the restaurant for breakfast.
We asked for the breakfast to be served outside with the sun shining bright and a chill still in the air. Hot parathas, omelette, coffee and butter toast were a delight to be had then.
The sightseeing began with the Paro airport viewpoint. Imagine a nice clean runaway. Now imagine high peaks on one side of it. Then stretch your eyes to the other side of the runway where a river runs clean and bright. And there you have the Paro airport view. It was magnificent. We waited to capture a take off in our cameras.
Happy with the start of the day, we moved to our next stop, Rinpung Dzong, a large Drukpa Kagyu Buddhist monastery and fortress. It was huge and pristine. There were so many rooms, such a big hall and a grand doorway.
On the door I was told to stay back though. Apparently one cannot enter the monastery wearing capris/ shorts. I requested the guard to let me in but to no avail. All my friends had gone in by then and I was being jealous when it occurred to me that I could buy/ borrow clothes. I pestered the guard some more and seeing my determination he smiled and told me to check if I could find something in the canteen nearby. The Bhutanese people turned out to be very helpful. I borrowed a pair of trousers and went in. The inside of the place was even more majestic. We clicked countless pictures, climbed at the top of the structure through scary, steep staircase, looked around and posed with monks and stepped in the worship place. It was a beautiful and calming place which offered a meditating atmosphere to a jumping jack like me, even if for a few minutes.
We then went to see the oldest monastery, Kyichu Lhakhang, I believe. And we were shown another beautiful monastery from a distance, Taktshang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest), to reach where we would have had to trek for 3.5-4 hours.
Pressed for time, we let it go. Then we followed the lovely river (I can’t believe I didn’t ask anyone what it was called!). There were archers on the banks at some places and beautiful scenery all around. I could just sit there looking at the water, mountains and the sky forever.
Later we went to the market for lunch and just look around. This was the part of trip that enchanted me the most (and no, it wasn’t because I was in the market to shop 😛 ) There were hardly any people around. And for a citizen of the second most populated country in the world, it is a unique sight. I mean, I haven’t seen such tranquil market anywhere, even in the leanest populated parts of the country. There was a calmness and serenity associated with that experience. Adding to the effect was the fact that Bhutan is a ‘smoke less’ country. Smoking is banned and there is hardly any pollution. It was evident from the night skies full of bright stars that I hardly get to gaze at elsewhere, the pristine ‘sky’ blue color of the sky, the crystal clear lakes/ rivers, clean roads and most of all the, the absence of noise. I loved the place.
After lunch we headed back to our resort, enjoyed and geared ourselves for the return journey down the winding roads of the ‘The land of the thunder dragon’.
P.S. The trip helped me cross one of my bucket list items, yay!
All those who haven’t seen “The Bucket List” yet , watch it NOW. It is a brilliant movie that makes you want to live! And then you might want to check out this blog – “Bucket List Publications” These are a few lovely reminders that life isn’t just about breathing, eating, sleeping and so on. It’s all about living. Not just when you realize that you have too little time to live but when you are hale and hearty, capable of living your own way.
I have long since wanted to make a bucket list, but it just never happened. Until NOW. So, today, I take the courage to put some of my relatively attainable goals out in the public domain, making myself accountable to myself. Here I go, hoping to cross off each of these in this year.