The Logical Heart

I can’t sleep at night. What’s wrong with me? I feel restless , anxious, breathless… I can’t sleep

Read a book and count backwards from 100… No its not working…I can’t sleep

Ahhh there is too much light i think… let me shut the blinds and try to sleep… Blind shut now… I can’t sleep

Could it be the heat…Let me switch on the fan … Fan switched on …I can’t sleep

Ahhh the fans making too much noise…let me correct its position.. job done…I can’t sleep

ohhhh itsss tooo chilly… damm the weather is confusing me… Switch off the stupid fan… I can’t sleep

Then I think hold on a minute.. Could it be Love?

My Heart wakes up with a jolt…replies… ” Noooo dummy…You slept in the whole afternoon…Don’t act that you are in love all the time”

—Courtesy a funny post on Facebook!

P.S – ITS FREE!!!!!

Smile!

Its a feature thats free… can you believe it? In this world where everything has a price tag, Smile is for free!!! A feature that helps in building friendships, relationships, dissipating tensions, giving strength, showing support, looking beautiful , finding Love.. and all that for free!!

Then why is it that its the hardest thing to use and share?

We are so untrusting towards people in general, if we see someone using this feature the first thing that comes to mind ” what price am I expected to pay? Some Money, some favor? what!!!” If we are honest to ourselves we all think in a similar fashion from time to time.

Its been bugging me for a while… mainly so when in the train…I observe people, and it almost feels like they are even scared to look at one another! People are too busy just playing with their phones (random games or just staring at it is better that looking around) or closing their eyes or just about anything to avoid eye contact. And if there is eye contact.. the the fear of taking the first step to use the free feature..THE GREATEST QUESTION OF ALL… Should I go first… Y should I go first?…What if the person I am using the feature on thinks I am an alien!!! Well and then we lose that ten seconds we have to make a connection.. Its not that the person smiling at you is trying to be your Facebook fiend or stalk you to kingdom come!!

Its amazing how we have forgotten the simplest thing in life… Sharing a smile…So friends will you join me in my journey?..Its simple but beautiful…Just Smile at someone, smile at a stranger..a simple smile…look up… observe and smile…I cant promise you will get one back.. but maybe it will pay itself forward… Maybe…one day people will become more tollerant to smiles, maybe you will even get one or two yourself!!! Till that day people might think you are creepy, crazy… mad… So What?.. Do you frankly care!!!! You dont care about showing off a tattoo do you… then why worry about showing off your lovely smile?

P.S: Its FREE!

Fabulously Out of Ordinary..

April.. Do you know what happened in April years ago.. Abhi the great was born.. So according to norm we get to celebrate his Birthday Month mid March to Mid April. Every year be it anniversary or valentines or his birthday my gifts arrive at least 3-6 months after the event. This year I thought.. Let me do something in advance instead. Now came the biggest challenge.. What could I get him.. What can you get a Man who never needs anything.. I thought and I thought..then almost by accident I came across

Canopyandstars

This is a mind blowing website if you are in search for doing something different, going somewhere unusual… Then it struck me; why not give him a no stress couple of days.. Thats something now a days is hard to come by and can be a great gift as well. There I came across a shepherds hut at Argoed Barns.

Argoed  Barns is in the middle of nowhere and is the most beautiful place you can be. Situated at such an elevation that you have uninterrupted views of the Beacons at one side and the Black Mountains on the other. I think this is also an appropriate time to talk about the owners Amanda and Barney. They just made the stay even more beautiful. Without Amanda there is no way I could have pulled off the surprise. She made recommendations every step of the way and helped arrange everything..  From Taxi to cake to wine to dinner recommendations. She made us feel right at home from the moment we booked our stay. The first evening that we were there Amanda and Barney took us to the village pub. We had a drink and wanted to hike our way back and guess what.. Got lost completely..Barney came all the way back for us and picked us up..:-).. Its the little things and thoughts that changes an experience to a fabulously memorable one..:-) We also found an amazing playmate.. Loki the springer spaniel.. Playful and adorable.. Made our stay extra special.. Out hut was so cozy I cannot express in words. The wood burning fireplace and dim lights  make it even more special and romantic. No internet connection and weak cell towers coupled with no street lights make the hut The place to be.. 🙂

The nearest station is Abersgavenny. And if you need a cab call Carol. She is the most wonderful lady and made our journey to the barns exciting. She pointed out places of interest along the way. She will be able to point out places that must be visited as well. We chatted all the way to the barns and enjoyed a lot

Numbers:
Mobile: 07779 723667
07969 620770

If you like walking.. You can walk miles at a stretch. We walked to Brecon.. Roads are narrow and flanked with stretches of farm lands. .. Lots of sheep, horses a cows to accompany you..

If you are not driving to Argoed, be sure to pack food.. Hot yummy Breakfast is served by Amanda.. But trust me you would not want to walk back and forth to eat. So pack enough. Make sure to book the The Felin Fach Griffin. Amanda will be able to help.. The food tastes devine there and you need to book well in advance. We went there for dinner and had Artichoke felite, Salmon fishcake , Dressed crab with coconut , lime and coriander dressing. Welsh rump medium rare and Halibut with cauliflower, potatoes, morel and sea spinach. It was a food lovers dream..:-)

All in all we did have a couple of wonderful and stress free days. We will be looking to book the Tipi next time if we are in the area. Its called SerenTIPIdy and looks glorious and oh so intimate..:-). I travel quite often and am very fussy about where I stay. The shepherd’s hut was more than what I had expected. The pictures in the website does not do enough justice to the actual experience. I would say.. Go there and see and feel for yourself. An experience which is fabulously out of ordinary..:-)

In Love Actually!!!

1 year is a long time to be able to write one post… Shame on me, but I had to write this anyways….  My Turkey Diaries 2013!

Feb 2013 – Last years Birthday…(Happy Birthday To Me Belated and its almost time for the next!!!) So Abhi decided we needed that one to be grand ( we have  a couple of my birthday’s apart) .. So off we went to Istanbul…one place Indians living in UK or USA do not need a separate visa :-)… Visa on entry is permitted.. There is provision for getting a digital visa online which saves a lot of time and is adequate for some airlines who do not get the concept of ‘Visa on ARRIVAL’

I was really excited.. My traveler heart always wanted to go to Turkey… So we booked our travel without further ado. We were to spend 3.5 days there. To be honest I was skeptical as well.. One of my friends did not have a great experience in Morocco…so that niggled me somewhat.. However we were ready for this adventure.. Packed Gublu off to his kennel, and went to work and there after directly went to the airport….our journey began..:-)

We reached Istanbul at about 4 am on 28th.. I slept through the journey. so much that Abhi could not even wish me.. New place.. Unknown language.. We walked around for a bit and took a taxi to our hotel.. Our Hotel was in Sirkeci (cer-k-ji).. Taxi fare should not be more than 50 Turkish Lira to go to that area.. Now you must be wondering why am I quoting prices here… Although I want to share my lovely experience , I wanted to brain dump as well so that people aspiring to go to Istanbul can benefit from my experience..

So the hotel we booked is called Lavni Hotel and Spa.. And probably one the best hotels I have been to. Very friendly, comfortable and posh. Although check in time was 2pm, they got our room ready in half an hour..and upgraded it as well. They even have a client experience executive. Use of hamam is free there and the breakfast is to die for. The hotel was in such a location that everything is at a walking distance. And if you do not want to walk.. tram lines are extremely convenient as well and priced at 3 Lira from one place to the other.  So off we went exploring and visited Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Gulhane Gardens, Topkapi palace, Grand Bazar, Spice Bazar(Egyptian Bazar) , Arista Bazar. The Bosphorous cruise is lovely however make sure not to pay more than 10 Euro per person. We took a half a day tour to Pierre de Lottie. Paid 35 euro per person. Works out much cheaper than the full day tour, elements of which can be done separately and a tour guide is not needed for those parts.

Turkey is a place where you can hone your negotiation skills…its just the way things are.. Its like a game..Remember to haggle.. Every where you go.. Remember that the prices will be ten times more that the right value..

Food.. Ahhh it was one of the delightful experiences… Starting from cheese to bread(simit) to meat.. One tip.. Search for a place which is full of locals. Be sure to see what you are eating and confirm the price before ordering. The transactions are made in Lira..a few places I liked: from Hagia Sophia of you walk to Topkapi palace there you can see a few shops lined in your left hand side. The last shop is a food joint. They make and sell some kind of pan cake outside their shop. Its a small shop and has a smaller menu.. But man.. The food is good..:-) The other place I remember is a sea food place under Galata Bridge.. There are  hundreds of places and people standing outside to actually coerce you in.. Physically and emotionally… Steer clear if you can.. And go to Neptune Balik.. Very good food and the only owner who told us upfront that they charge prawns by pieces and not by portions. The best kabob joint we found was in Sirkeci and is called Sehzade Erzurum Cag Kebabi.. We found this by chance in a small back alley..4-5 items in the menu..the servers speak very little English but the menu has pictures..the meat is roasted horizontally and trust me.. Its simple and tasty.. Don’t miss this place if possible.. We were so delighted that we had the wrap for lunch and dinner and our hearts still wanted more. The rice puddings are just devine..:-)

We bought some spices and saffron from the Egyptian Bajar. Turkish Saffron is cheap and is like 10 lira or less for 100 gm. Bought a lot and have tried too.. No flavor but imparts a nice yellow color. The more expensive version is the Iranian saffron.. Not sure if we paid a lot or not but is approx 20 lira for 1 gm. I personally did not like the tea aroma in Spice Bajar. However bought my Turkish delights and tea’s from the ‘Home Made Cafe’ (Its the name of the place) at Gulhane.. It was a little more expensive but worth it.

3 days was not enough for exploring Istanbul. Did not even have the chance to go to Taxim area, Princess islands or got a chance to do the Edirne trip. Next time i want to go there for a much longer time.. Do the  hot air ballooning and so many other exciting things.. People are lovely and helpful. End of February I thought was a good time to go.. Good weather and less tourists.

I shall go back there again.. Very soon.. As I am in love with Istanbul.. In Love Actually!!!!

Something Fishy

‘You can take a Bong out of Bengal but you cannot take Bengal out of a Bong’

I am a Bong..:-) and like almost all Bongs for me fish is vegetarian…:-). I say almost as I have many Bong friends who wouldn’t even look at a fish forget eating it; except maybe those lil ones in an aquarium
When Bongs say fish we mean fresh water fish like Rohu, Katla, Hilsha, Pabda etc. Having said that I can and like to eat fish in any size, shape or form -cooked or raw..even shellfish of any kind are welcome to my tummy.
But fresh water fish is another deal altogether. I live in West London and the only place I go to to buy my fave fish is far East.. There is this one shop that is yet to fail me.. Mas Bazar in Shadwell.. My fellow fish eaters, if you are in ‘Fishy’ mood.. that shop is ‘The place’ to go.. its even open till 7 pm on Sundays. And we all know (I hope most atleast know) weekend tube travel in London is not delightful. Any Saturday/Sunday you plan to go somewhere, the tube line to the destination will be ‘Suspended’ for sure..So the bong in me travelled for 2 hours each way to get hold of my Fish..:-)

So Sunday dinner was ‘Patla Macher Jhol’ ( watery fish curry) with steamed rice. This dish does not have any spice other than turmeric and salt, some green chillies and some kala jeera (black cumin/nigella seeds). This is healthy as it contains lots of veggies like tomato, aubergine, green papaya, parwal ( not grown outside india so not sure of its english name)etc.. Its refreshing for a hot summer lunch or dinner time.. Freshness comes with garnishing with coriander and aromatic lime. And boy was it tasty!!!

So guess its safe to say.. I will go to any length for a Fish.. And no matter how tiresome the whole experience is, I promise its well worth it..:-)

Hello World

Its been a couple of years that I am thinking of getting back to writing.. But frankly.. Who has the time I thought. With only 24 hours a day (which I sometimes wish was 48 hours = 1 day) and only two hands (would have liked 4-6) I thought ‘where do I have time’ . Really!! That’s the lamest excuse I could come up with. Then I thought why not write when I am travelling to work.. Its a boring 1 hour ride each way anyways.. But when will I read then? Gosh this is harder than I thought! I haven’t even started thinking of the more complicated stuff yet.. Like name of my blog.. What to write..how frequently or not frequently should I write so as I don’t come across as raving mad.. Well so much to think and so little time.. So no blog I thought.. Now after almost a few of years of thinking and more thinking ‘ should I’ ‘should I not’ here I am writing a few lines..that too in a crowded train.. where you can do two things and two things only… pray you can use two legs to stand on and pray you have some air to breathe a bit..:-) but well ,when those two are not an option everyday, look how dedicated I am.. Standing on one leg and almost choking I have finally started my blog.

Now I guess that warrants some introduction.. My name is Priyanka, born in Kolkata India , grew up in Bangalore India (from when I was 18).. Moved to USA and now finally staying put in London. I am an avid reader, passionate foodie, love to cook, bake when I am stressed , loveeeee to travel and want to travel around the world, love Cinema, love the snow love the sun. I am easily bored and more easily distracted, love my friends (believe in the friends forever concept), inspired by my mom. I have two children:- my hubby ( also my biggest critic and my biggest supporter ) and my doggie (cutest of all).:-) ; Life is too short and this is the only chance I have to live and enjoy it (not a believer in rebirth). And that’s how I thought of my blog name: ‘DhaaniLonka’. DhaaniLonka is dried red chilli. It gives color to your food and spices it up. With so much to share, from food to travel to cinema to books I sincerely hope to spice up your life too a little bit..

Welcome to my World..:-)