Hiking…Our new found hobby (and in the process trying to burn some calories)

Ever since i moved to US from India and ever since i quit my job to be with my better half, life has being good and very LAZZYYYY. Yes the laziness in me kicks in every now and then. Unfortunately this laziness has resulted in too much of weight gain (every women’s nightmare these days) since last year. I was never a workout freak nor was i totally unhealthy or overweight during my college or work days. But post marriage i have been struggling to maintain a healthy weight range. Being a foodie, me and hubby always love to try new cuisines, experiment different types of recipes at home and grab every opportunity to eat yummy food during our little travel adventures. All this has led to a chubby me.

And so since the past few weeks i have been planning and scheduling a new routine for myself. Maybe i will discuss more about my new routine in another post. Soooo.. coming to the actual topic of the post, HIKING. Yes lately hiking is the one thing that we are enjoying a lot during weekends. Hiking not only provides you with a great workout but it also lets you enjoy nature like never before. I love being surrounded by green lush trees at any given time of the day and same is the case with my husband. It is welcome change from the typical or sometimes boring routine of going to the gym and working out. So far i have managed to loose few pounds but i have still a long way to go. Better late than never, right???

If you are a nature lover, then go grab your hiking shoes and head out.

Here are some of the pics from our recent hiking trips. All pictures are owned by me and clicked from my LG G3 phone.

Mt. Tammany Delaware Water Gap (New Jersey)

Beautiful stream on our way back 
Made it to the top…yeyyyeee 😀
Bear Mountain State Park (New York)
Spotted this cute fellow hanging out 😀
If you are looking for some really good long hiking trials across the USA, I would highly recommend checking out the link below by Boot Bomb. They have listed the top 50 hiking trails across the USA in great detail. 
I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below. 

Why I was missing in action (again)? :P

I am at it again….argghhhh…..was MIA (missing in action) for a really long time….Sighhhh….. My last post was Appam and Stew (Traditional Keralite breakfast recipe) posted almost a month back. Well its definitely not like the last time (when i was being lazy :P), i have a very good reason for not being around. Past few weeks was super adventurous. Me and hubby were busy planning our next big vacation and hiking on weekends when free. 

Yes we are back from our very first international vacation to Peru (South America). I am so looking forward to share all the photos, experiences, peruvian food and everything that the beautiful country of Peru has to offer. The trip was a super success and i am still reeling over the fact that i got to see one of the most breathtaking wonder of the world “Machu Picchu”. 
Stay tuned for an overdose of Macchu Picchu pics and my travel stories about Peru. 
Signing off and promising myself to blog more :D. Do checkout my Instagram account as well where i have been uploading pics from my recent trip.

Things to do in Austin – Part 2

Flyboard with Aquafly at Lake Travis

Ok….this is by far the most awesome, amazing and fantabulous water sports i have ever come across. We regularly check groupon and are always for a lookout for good deals. That is when hubby stumbled upon this one of a kind water sports. The moment he saw the pictures he knew he had to do it. Thats how we discovered this super cool water sport in the heart of Austin, Texas. 
A little something about flyboarding.
This sport was invented by a french person named Franky Zapata in the year 2011 and was introduced in US only in 2012. A flyboard is a device that looks like a pair of huge boots. It is basically attached to a water scooter which provides the propulsion to the flyboard to rise above the water and fly. The board has a water hose which is attached  to the water scooter. The water is basically forced under pressure through the hose to the boots which allows the rider to soar high (as high as 15 ft) above the water. 
Although a fairly new sport, flyboarding is slowly becoming one of the most sought-out and coolest water sports in the world. 


It looks quite easy but it is definitely not. Its all about balancing and keeping your legs straight as if you are standing. I am no expert but that is what i learnt after hearing their instructions and watching the sport in action (Yea i only watched…..might try it myself next time). Hubby just couldn’t get out of the water for the first 15mins (you can see him in action in the video below, video shot by me and edited by hubby). And then in the second round he got the hang of it and managed to fly….it wasn’t very high…..but whatever he could manage, it was pure fun for him. We would be definitely going here again. 

The folks at aquafly were super friendly, gave us all the instructions and also made us watch a video of flyboarding before the actual action. Instructors were also very good, giving repeated instructions whenever necessary and encouraging all the time. We opted for a photo package and were quite happy with the photos that we received by the end of the day. Sharing with you some of the snaps clicked by them.
Hubby in action 🙂

So what are you waiting for????….If you are in Austin, then this is definitely an awesome adventurous water sport which is a must try especially during summers. 

Confessions of a dusky…. or should I say a dark girl??

I am not much of a writer, a poet or a philosopher. Today I am just going to confess/share or should I say “rant” about certain things that I have locked up in my heart since a very long time.
So where should I start??? Hmmm….Well you should get a hint from the title of
my post.
For all those who are unfamiliar with the term “dusky” it means someone who is not very fair in color neither too dark. No I did not label myself rather I was labeled by others as dark or dusky.
I am a proud South Indian who was born and brought up in the metropolitan city of Mumbai, where you will find people from all parts of India belonging to all kinds of ethnicity. But that doesn’t make Mumbai and its people an exception when it comes to differentiating/labeling people based on their skin color.  My skin color is somewhere between wheatish to dark. So have you started judging me already? Why and how does that matter? Does my skin color make me less of a person?
Till date I am unable to understand Indian people’s obsession with being fair skinned. I still remember very vividly all the absurd TV commercials on fairness creams of all kinds. Even movie stars like Priyanka Chopra who no doubt is a beautiful lady but also has a beautiful dark skin, has endorsed fairness products. Today’s youth look up to the movie stars as their idols. What message are we passing on to the next generation? That you are loser if you are not fair? Oh and how can I forget, as per the super racist ads girl uses fairness cream gets the job, girl uses fairness cream gets the boy, girl uses fairness cream she becomes a model, so on and so forth. So basically the media is giving out a message that only fair skinned people are successful in life.

Seriously???? Is this the message you want to convey to the youth and the children? These stupid fairness creams commercials should be banned and movie stars should refuse to endorse such products. I mean c’mon people, be realistic, if you are wheatish, dusky or dark its in your genes. Nothing is going to change that. You are beautiful just the way are. Why don’t you instead invest your precious time and energy on being a better person instead and spreading out a positive message to the world?

We all make a big deal when an Indian is confronted with some racist remark in a foreign land. We tweet, we share it on facebook and make a hullabaloo on all possible social networks. But have you ever given a thought to the fact that when we distinguish our own people based on color we are being racist ourselves? Think about it.
So you must be wondering why do I have this sudden urge to rant on this topic? Now that I have started blogging, I feel that I have a platform where I can openly share my feelings, my experience and I am sure there must be a lot of people who might relate to what I have gone through as a teenager. Hence this post.
We all cherish our memories of childhood and school life. School life is always considered as the most memorable phase of our lives. It was memorable for me as well in some ways. But not entirely. I was bullied a lot in school for being fat and dark skinned. There were times when I just wanted to stay home curled under my blanket and avoid going to school altogether. My school was just a stone throw away from our home. I still remember those days when I simply wanted the school to get over, run home, close the bedroom door and cry my heart out.

School was done eventually (but the scars remained) and then started the exciting journey of junior college. But the drama of my life was not over yet. I got admitted to a college which predominantly had Maharashtrian students (I am not saying that all Maharashtrians are bad people and I don’t have anything against them. As of today all of my besties are Maharashtrians). Being an only South Indian amongst them, I was royally ignored by almost everyone. There were 3-4 good females with whom I made friends and used to hang out regularly. But thats it. The rest of the snobby bunch of students used to call me names which as always I chose to ignore.

The junior college days were ok no fun at all but instead my coaching class was a place where I enjoyed the most.

Then came a day which I never thought would be etched in my memory forever. It was (if I remember correctly) traditional day in our college. All the girls were supposed to wear sari and boys in formal attire with tie or kurta/pyjama. We had few fun activities one of which was fish pond. Back in those days the game fish pond was quite popular. In this particular game every student gets to write something funny (like a poem or some phrase) about other students on a piece of paper but by being anonymous. No names to be mentioned except the name of the person for whom the message was written. Then all the folded papers were collected and put in a bowl. A girl volunteered to read out all of them.

Some of them were funny, some were ok. Then came my turn, so there I was eager to hear what was written for me. It was in Marathi which went something like this “savtahla samjhte beauty queen, savtahla samjhte beauty queen, pan ahe tu faqt stove chi kaali pin”….I will translate that for you…it goes like this “she considers herself a beauty queen, she considers herself a beauty queen, but she is just a dirty black pin of a stove” (the kerosene stove which people use in India). I know…doesn’t rhyme in English but it does in Marathi…..Anyhow does this sound funny by any means? I know it was a stupid silly game where everyone was supposed to have fun and laugh about it later. But seriously, was this funny? No. How can I even laugh about it?  I choked when I heard the girl read it out loud in front of the entire class. But no I did not cry. I could have confronted and addressed all the students but I chose not to. May be I was scared, I felt so humiliated that I just didn’t want to see anybody’s face. Or maybe I should have done something about it. Because I still hold grudge for the person who wrote it. Maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter about it even today because I still wonder what could have made someone write such a thing. Nobody spoke to me. I never said anything bad about anyone, never called names and never bullied anyone. I just went to college everyday and minding my own business. I had no other option. But in-spite of being practically invisible this happened.

My message to whoever wrote the so called funny fish pond, if you are somewhere out there reading this please understand that commenting and making fun of someone’s color, body or size is not funny. You didn’t even take the initiative to know me or understand me, so you have no right to judge me. Just because your skin color is white doesn’t make you a better person. You should feel ashamed and sorry for it.

The good thing is the better phase of my life started for me post my junior college. I was in a 2 different colleges, made awesome friends (which also includes my hubs) and even more awesome memories. Post graduation was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met some amazing friends who love me for who I am and whom I know I can trust with my life. I am an ambivert, don’t make friends very easily, so people start judging me as being rude and full of myself. But I have changed, learned and changed for good. Not only friends, but my family were always by my side. I think i am a better person now. The scars have healed.

If you are someone who has gone through the same ordeal, don’t fall down, rise up , stand up for yourself and don’t let yourself be bullied. Never underestimate yourself and be proud about who you are no matter what color, shape or size.

Oh yes… how can I forget one small incident that happened to me here in US. This was when me and hubs were in New Jersey. One evening we went to the nearby gym to enroll ourselves, while the girl was explaining about the facilities, classes and stuff, I politely interrupted and inquired whether they offer any massage services (I saw a room that looked like a massage room). To which she said they still haven’t started but they do offer tanning services. Then she looked at me and said “ohh you dont need one, you already have a beautiful color”. How ironic huh? The people here want brown/dark skin like us and we Indians want fair porcelain skin like them. Although I am well aware that this issue is not only in India but in US as well as other countries.

All I want to convey is, we should not be judging someone solely based on their appearance. Being good- looking and fair skinned doesn’t make someone a good person. What ultimately counts is how much of a human you are with human like emotions of love, empathy and compassion.

Appearances can be deceiving but the true beauty only reflects in one’s soul.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Saumya.

Things to do in Austin – Part 1

I am really excited to start with this new section on the blog on “Things to do in Austin”(Texas). If you are someone who recently moved to Austin (like us) or a person who is already here and looking for fun and adventurous stuff to do, this post (and many more to come) might be of some help to you. 
Trust me on this…..your weekends will never be boring if you are in Austin. There is so much to do, so much to see and so much to eat 🙂 …… We (me and hubby) never had so much fun when we were in New Jersey. Well i am not sure whether it was because of hubby’s busy schedule or because we were just plain lazy to get out and explore. But things have definitely changed a lot (for good) after moving to Austin. 
Life here is easy, laid back and relaxed. People are super friendly, warm and outdoorsy. We are definitely enjoying our lives here to the fullest….knock on wood!!!!
Ahhhhh….there are soooo many things to do. One of them is water biking. Sounds interesting, right? It is indeed a lot of fun. 
Water bikes are nothing but a hybrid form of bicycle kayaks, which is absolutely safe and fun for all.  If you want to enjoy the evening watching the sunset against the backdrop of the beautiful lady bird lake and the austin skyline just hop onto one of the water bikes and enjoy. Did i mention this is also a really fun form of exercise? 😛

We opted for a bat tour (which apparently is a popular tourist attraction) to watch thousands and millions of little mexican free tailed bats take flight after sunset from the congress avenue bridge in search of food. Once you are under the bridge, you will also hear the squeaking noise of the bats hiding under the crevices of the bridge. It was some experience to see these tiny creatures fill up the sky.

Special mention to our tour guide, sorry i forgot his name…… he was a really nice guy, gave us a lot of info about austin, the downtown and about the bats of course.

Sharing the pics (clicked from hubby’s HTC One) from our fun filled evening. There were few snaps of the bats flying but i am unable to find them… 🙁

Austin Downtown Backdrop 

All set to go 

Off i go…..Yeeyyyy

So have you booked for one already? 😛 …All you have to do is check on the website austinwaterbikes.com for the services and make a call. There are many options like day time tour, sunset tour, family tour, bat tour etc. The pricing and all the details are given on the website.  You can also check if there are any deals available on groupons like we did. If you have a groupon all you have to do is buy the groupon, show up at the given address(with the groupon), sign a waiver and you are all set.
Enjoy. 

Disclaimer: This blogpost is purely my idea to share our fun experiences in Austin with everyone. I was not paid for writing this post nor was i requested by anyone for advertising. 

The Skies of Austin never seizes to amaze me

There is nothing as beautiful as nature and our mother earth.
I am sooooo thankful to technology (i bet all of you are), else all the beauty that we encounter in our day to day lives will only be captured in our memories. Untouched and unshared. That would have been really sad.

So i thought why not share the beauty of Austin through my eyes. 
In this post i will be sharing the beauty of the sky in Austin, Texas clicked from my Samsung Galaxy S3 (some of them were edited on instagram). 
Hope You enjoy.

Amazing sky during sunset…….clicked from the parking area of the gym

Double Rainbow…….i just left what i was eating and ran outside to click this
This beautiful sunset was clicked….(if i am not mistaken) from the parking area of Walmart

My Favorite……this was clicked from our balcony…..