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Delhi-Perth return for only US$250 (Rs.16,856). No Kidding!

Delhi-Perth return for only US$250 (Rs.16,856). No Kidding!

delhi-perth-return-for-only-250-dollars-no-kidding

In case you haven’t booked your year-end travel yet, read on and save!

Delhi-Perth return for only US$250 (Rs.16,856). No Kidding!

Lately I have been flying around a lot. Now, how much is ‘a lot’? Well, this year, I have done a little over 85,000 kilometers till now and the year is not over yet!

Earlier, like you, I used to pay what any of us would be paying for a normal air ticket. But it is not so any more.

And what’s my secret? It is…

Well, not so fast! We’ll come to it soon enough!

My Normal Cheap Air Fare Search Methodology

I would decide on a destination. I would decide on dates. I would decide on the acceptable basket of airlines. And hit Google Search. Google Search would throw up fares on those dates and would point me to the sources. I would head out to those sites, make some fine-tuning and book!

Sure, I was getting relatively cheaper airfares. But nothing came close to what I have started getting now.

My New Cheap Air Fare Search Methodology

A Caveat: Be Flexible. You can book and then apply for leave 🙂

So, what’s that secret source of savings? Well, I just discovered a magic bullet called ‘Everywhere Search’ on the Skyscanner App.

Download the app by clicking on the links below (While you could download this app from anywhere, please do so from here; it may win me a free ticket. Thanks for your help!):

iOS

Android

How Does ‘Everywhere Search’ work?

Briefly, in just a few clicks. See below the step-by-step guide to using it and making those elusive destinations come closer to you.

Step 1: Fill in your airport of origin (in the example below, mine’s New Delhi)

Step 2: Fill ‘Everywhere’ in the destination field

delhi-perth-return-for-only-250-dollars-no-kidding

 

Step 3: Click on the calendar to fill in the dates of travel. It gives you two options – ‘Specific Date’ and ‘Whole Month’. Click on ‘Whole Month’ option.

Step 4: A drop down menu open underneath ‘Whole Month’. In the options offered, click on the option that says ‘Cheapest Month’.

delhi-perth-return-for-only-250-dollars-no-kidding

Step 5: A long list of countries with the fares in ascending order opens out. Select the destination that you like (of course from amongst the top few cheapest destinations).

delhi-perth-return-for-only-250-dollars-no-kidding

Step 6: A drop down list opens under the destination country that further gives you the destination cities in that country and the respective fares to that city. Click on the one you like and airline options open up.

delhi-perth-return-for-only-250-dollars-no-kidding

Step 7: Select the journey start date with the cheapest airfare (it would be shown in green) and then proceed to select the return date (again choose the fare shown in green). The total will appear on the bottom grey panel. This total may vary a little from the lowest shown in the previous screen – depending on the selected journey dates (the lowest will actually total up to what was shown in the previous screen).

delhi-perth-return-for-only-250-dollars-no-kidding

Step 8: Click ‘Show Flights’ and you’ll see your cheapest option on top. Click on ‘Select’ to book.

Want to try it before downloading the app? CLICK HERE TO TRY!

Don’t wait for any more steps now. Go book!

By the way, Australia is trending as a destination of choice amongst Indians for 2017. To see the other treding destinations, CLICK HERE.

Bonus Step: Chances are that many times, for destinations around Asia, the cheapest airfare may be offered by Air Asia (like the Delhi-Perth fare I talked about). Click here to know about how to beat their notorious EXTRA charges.

Booking now?

In the eventuality you get your cheapest fare for a flight leaving tomorrow, click here for a ready-reckoner of destinations that will gladly provide you a ‘Visa on Arrival’ (for Indian Nationals only).

In case you need any more details about ‘Everywhere Search’ feature, please CLICK HERE.

Download the app by clicking on the links below (While you could download this app from anywhere, please do so from here; it may win me a free ticket. Thanks for your help!):

iOS

Android

Happy Travelling!

Pin it!

delhi-perth-return-for-only-250-dollars-no-kidding

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Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad

Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad

 

 

Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad

I use technology despite being from the times when analogue was the only watch and film was the only camera. I am sure there are many of us around who do that. Perhaps how I am different (or so I believe) is that I do so as if it is a second nature. I say that because I have never consciously given it enough thought to ever write about it.

In today’s smartphone era, my iPhone 6 has 101 apps – most seldom used by me (This is not a random number, but an exact count). Some of these mostly-forgotten apps make a prominent appearance during my travels. Today, I’ll talk about 3 such apps!

That is why I call these Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad!

  1. Translate Voice: I was dreading my Moscow visit for a variety of reasons – 1. Most places here have complex, almost unpronounceable names 2. They also have different Russian and English names 3. Most signboards are in Russian 4. Very few Russians know enough English to be able to converse and 5. Even fewer Russians are able to read English. Enter ‘Translate Voice‘, a free app that allowed me to speak in English and translated my speech in Russian and played back to my cab driver, allowed him to respond in Russian, translated his speech to English and played it back to me. All it needed was Wi-Fi (available even in cabs in most developed countries). Use it, talk to anyone in any language and become a truly global citizen!

    Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad
    See the ‘Speaker’ icon (4th from left) in the icons strip? That Activates the speech. To record in English, click the UK flag icon and speak!
  2. Viber: With ‘Location Services’ on, the image I click through Viber (a free app) gives me perfect coordinates of the photographed place and places it on a map. These coordinates are handy when I need to locate the spot and write about it! Besides, Viber also allowed me to talk free through Wi-Fi with people abroad. Do try this doubly useful app!

    Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad
    See the little green circle on the bottom right of the image on the left? That’s the ‘location services on’ icon!
  3. GPSMyCity.Com Maps: These nominally-priced (~$5 per city) walking maps do not need any Wi-Fi connectivity and work on GPS. So, if you have a smartphone with GPSMyCity (click this link for complete list of available maps) map on it, you can explore the city you are visiting without the help of a guide. Not only does it provide you with a description of the landmark, but also provide you with audio directions in the language of your choice. Use these maps to not miss out on any city attraction in future!

    Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad
    You can even create your own ‘Custom Walk’ in these maps!

I am sure you’ll also start referring to these as Indispensable Travel Apps for Travelling Abroad! Please note that the links provided are for iPhone App Store though these apps are also available for Android!

If you also use some interesting apps that may be useful for a frequent traveller like me, please leave a link in the comments section and I’ll consider adding those to this post with a credit to you! 

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Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor at Fitbit’s India Launch

I am not getting any younger and am travelling a lot. Lately, my travel has been a dilemma for me. While I enjoy it more than ever, I worry about food and exercise – or health in general – during my trips. Furthermore, an average bloke like me has limited, if any, understanding of complexities of calorie intake or outgo, heart rate, adequate rest, etc. More than anything, this lack of understanding always, I repeat, always leaves you worried about your general well-being; even more so, during your travels.

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
One of the India Health Monitor slides at the launch

It was in this backdrop that my wife handed me over a Fitbit Surge (She works with Fitbit). I looked at the box and asked her incredulously – “Why are you giving me a watch? I haven’t worn one in last 8 years or so.” She smiled and said nothing.

I decided to do some reading up and realised it was incidental that it had a watch. So, comparing it to an Apple Watch won’t be right since that’s more of a communication device while this actually is a health tracker. I immediately started wearing it and decided to log in my food with integrity.

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
Fitbit Dashboard

When not travelling, my lifestyle is sedentary if I were to exaggerate (it actually is more like a couch-potato’s). So, the first pleasant surprise this little genie gave me was even when I am not running or walking, I am burning calories. If ever there was a ‘love at first-sight-with-a-dashboard’, it was then!

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five

It has been over a month since I am wearing it now. In this entire duration, I had to charge it about 4-5 times for an hour or so. To be honest, I haven’t yet used its GPS function – yes, it has that too – and that may be a battery hog! What that delivers is the zig-zag map of the jog or walk you undertake in your enthusiasm. For me as a traveller, it also delivers a near-perfect understanding of places I visit (so I have read!). So, when I get around to using it, that is likely to help me not lose track of some of the lesser known spots; and aid in a subsequent hunt for them since it seamlessly syncs with Google Maps. As a travel photographer and a travel writer, that’s important for me.

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
For the ‘Analytical’ YOU!
Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
A medium Pizza – 1500+ calories and ~70 grams of fat (not to mention 3577mg of Sodium – I am guessing this high number can’t surely be good!)

Ok. Let’s move to some of the serious stuff! As I mentioned earlier, I faithfully started logging in my food on the dashboard. Voila, I suddenly discover my favourite food – pizza – is a massive calorie bomb! I must admit it has discouraged me to gorge on it as often as I used to, earlier. Sigh, someone rightly said – “Ignorance is bliss!” In those blissful days, a pizza and a diet coke used to be a balanced diet!

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
This ‘Fried Karela’ was added by me!

While logging in food, I realised there are major gaps vis-a-vis Indian foods in the available menu logs. Our staple includes shallow-fried Arbi (Taro), cooked French beans and potatoes, fried Karela (Bitter Gourd), variety of Raitas, etc. These were missing. Upon looking around, I found ‘add new item’ underneath the log. Suddenly, with the help of Google Uncle, I could add all such foods that were missing there.

Fitbit Surge also tracks steps taken and floors climbed (pretty much like all their other models). Some sensors like altimeters, gyroscopes, etc. help this device track this stuff. Even if you do not go for a walk or a jog, you realise you have walked an average of a mile a day in your house! You get additional peace of mind from the knowledge that it helped burn calories! It also has a habit of giving you medals for your achievements (!).

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five

A few gentle swipes on its touchscreen inform me of my heartbeats per minute, miles walked, calories burnt, besides the floors climbed and step taken. I am not a doctor, but I did study some thumb rules of resting heart rates and anaerobic/aerobic heart rates after getting this device. General calm now prevails in the knowledge that all is well! Touchwood!

Another interesting thing – I now know how long I slept for, how many times I got disturbed during the night & woke up and what my resting heart rate was. This is generally the stuff that most of us are clueless about unless we are in the habit of strapping a heart rate monitor around our body every night. Again, that niggle at the back of mind on how I am doing on these important health parameters is now a thing of past. This, I would say, is a typical case of ‘being at peace as you now KNOW’!

Travel Fitness At Fifty-FiveI travelled for about 10 days during this one month of wearing Fitbit Surge. The food I consumed was different from what I normally have. But, the calorie count has conscientiously been calculated and shared by my tracker.

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
Sad stats, but stats alright!

Let me admit, I am not looking to build a six-pack at my age (I am no Shahrukh, you know!). At the same time, I am surely looking for what Fitbit terms as Everyday Fitness (as against Active and Performance Fitness). This device has surely helped me get a handle on that.

Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five
My Indian mind at peace!

If I were to sum up my experience with Fitbit Surge, it would be this: From the mental state of ‘concern’ of not knowing how I am doing on important health parameters, to getting a dashboard of near-perfect data of those metrics, the journey is that of PEACE. It has also consciously made me consume high-protein stuff when I realised my food did not have enough of it. The medals it gave me also made me smile – that’s an extra smile, you know! All the same, it has done precious little in dissuading me to consume alcohol – a high-calorie, zero protein diet! So, my recommendation would be – “Go for it, for peace and knowledge!”

It sure is my mantra for Travel Fitness At Fifty-Five!

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Travails of Solo Male Travellers

Travails of Solo Male Travellers

Travails of solo male travellers

 

This piece have been carried by ‘The Coffeelicious’ – a publication at Medium.Com

Close on the heels of International Women’s Day, something strictly for folks with a keen sense of humour!

Perhaps it is in vogue to talk about solo women travellers (SWTs). Perhaps they do face their fair share of issues during their travels. Or perhaps, the women’s lib movement has something to do with it.

Lately, the blogosphere has been echoing with the humdrum cacophony of Solo Women Travellers and their brave (!) exploits.

Since I am not insulated from this ever-building crescendo, I have been sitting in a figurative corner and sulking — feeling ignored, misunderstood and disillusioned — occasionally shaking my head during reveries of my travails and sinking deeper into the quagmire of depressive ponderings.

They say everyone is born equal. I believe in this profundity. But the world around me has left no stone unturned to prove otherwise. It has repeatedly thrown up evidence that some are born more equal than the others! And here, I am pointing to solo women travellers!

Today, I muster courage and embark on an erratic and staccato drumming on my computer keyboard to lay bare the woes of a solo male traveller (SMT).

I am quite clear I’ll certainly not be showered with bouquets, but I do hope to make a convincing enough case — just so I give brickbats a miss!

Let’s take a look at a few scenarios —

Scenario #1

As a solo male traveller, I have never been offered a ride. In any country. While solo women travellers have been offered that often enough — right under my nose! Maybe it is just a function of a higher number of male drivers?

Scenario #2

Have you ever been to a bar alone? If you are a male, you are normally given a thorough once-over to ascertain if you are a likely troublemaker. When you attempt to occupy a table, you are gently but firmly requested to occupy a barstool. Let me assure you, under such a circumstance, arguing would often prove futile.

Travails of Solo Male Travellers
Solo Women Travellers seldom are solo!

So you occupy a barstool that gives you a vantage vis-a-vis ordering a drink. And suddenly, you discover the bartender develops a blind spot for your exact coordinates.

While you are silently lamenting this, you find a solo female stepping in and sitting on the same table that you had attempted to occupy!

Scenario #3

Though I normally prefer being behind the camera, once in a while it doesn’t hurt to get yourself clicked at a hackneyed touristy spot, just for the heck of it (and of course, for your Facebook page). As a solo male traveller, it has been difficult for me to get such photographs clicked. As a rule, I would find zero volunteers. Upon mustering courage and approaching people around, I would normally face reluctance and not so normally, even hostility.

Travails of Solo Male Travellers
One of the few pictures I managed to get clicked during my solo travels!

Scenario #4

While women have been offered help despite language barriers, no such luck for solo male travellers.

Nada, Niet, Nee, Jo, La, Voch, Ez, Nien — these would be the more common monosyllabic responses you would face as a solo male traveller.

And as you watch in disappointment, the same set of strangers will pull out their iPhones or Androids to translate and understand the issue being faced by the solo woman traveller. The same app would be further put to good use to help the SWT.

And the issue just might be that the guy has bad breath!

Scenario #5

Let’s now discuss the attire. While some establishments will not allow men (solo or otherwise) to enter unless they don ‘smart casuals’ — typically trousers, shirt and casual or formal shoes (NOT sports shoes), women get away with just about anything, or even close-to-nothing!

Scenario #6

Now, let’s come to the point I am really sore about. I had to miss out on enough desirable clubs/nightclubs as the entry was reserved only for ‘couples’. But, solo women travellers were welcome there, literally with open arms!

Under such partial circumstances, it is irksome to find the bravery medals getting pinned on the feminine bosoms, when a casual glance at the statistics show more solo male travellers getting mugged, both below and above the tropics than solo women travellers!

Time has come for the solo male travellers to wake up to this reality and demand their due. Treat this little missive as a clarion call, SMTs, or get left behind forever in the cyberspace, just as you got left behind in the real world!

It will be nice if you leave a comment about your take on this issue. Thanks!

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Adrenaline Junkies – Time to update your bucket list

Adrenaline Junkies – Time to update your bucket list

 

Adrenaline Junkies - Time to update your bucket list

Attention Adrenaline Junkies! Be it the Skywalk in China or Edge walk in Canada, a stratosphere sky jump or storm chasing in the US of A – you may have been there and done that. I know you are driven by the fear factor associated with such activities. But the time has come for you to update your bucket list.

While you may have tandem stuff happening in the other adventures, or knowledgeable guides helping you prepare for what to expect, there is very little to prepare you for the activity I am going to talk about. In fact, I’ll attempt to provide that oh-so-necessary preparation needed for such an adventure.

Adrenaline Junkies - Time to update your bucket list

For a true thrill-a-minute experience, nothing comes anywhere close to the experience of a self-drive in India. Believe it or not, short of facing a grizzly or a bullet, it can be scarier than anything you may have ever experienced! And, it is independent of whether you are driving in a city or on a highway!

Since very little literature is available to prepare people for this extreme sport, in 15 short tips I hope to arm you with enough understanding of the unforeseen that may prove vital when you embark on this adventure in reality.

Adrenaline Junkies - Time to update your bucket list

6 nuggets for Highway Driving – each worth its weight in gold

  1. When you drive on the highway in India, what does the blinking indicator of the truck/bus ahead of you mean? It could mean one of the 2 things – the vehicle is turning, or you could overtake from that side (chances of the latter case being higher). In such a situation, you are advised to exercise due caution, take a calculated risk and overtake.
  2. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction on your side of the road? The exits are not conveniently enough placed for them. Just watch out for them!
  3. Though termed ‘Highway’, you’ll find all sorts of vehicles on these roads – right from bicycles to bullock carts to trucks with multiple axles. Yeah, that’s the truth in India. You may attribute it to strain on infrastructure and just take care to not bump into any of these.
  4. If you sense that a Dhaba (roadside eatery) is a short distance away, beware! Drivers in front may suddenly decide to stop for a quick ‘chai’ (Tea) or a snack. Similarly, vehicles may materialise out of nowhere as their drivers decide to swing back on to the highway just after their ‘chai’. Exercise due caution, therefore.
  5. If you don’t honk, the vehicle you are overtaking may never know of your presence and may decide to change the lane at a last-minute whim. So, no matter how much you hate the idea, do honk, even if ever-so-lightly!
  6. Be totally prepared for unscientifically made speed breakers, even on a highway. These are fully geared to shatter the axle of the vehicle or to launch it into stratosphere.

Adrenaline Junkies - Time to update your bucket list

9 mantras for City Driving – each may potentially save a life – yours!

  1. You see some moving vehicles with their hazard light on? It may be foggy (or raining) and the driver believes it helps his vehicle to get noticed, and hence may help avoid accidents.
  2. Fast lane is the slowest and the slow lane is the fastest. While that may be your observation and it might be largely true, remember Mr Murphy’s famous law of driving? The lane you are in is the slowest. Those who drive in India believe in this law. No wonder, they change lanes when they feel like, with little regard to traffic behind them. And, this casual lane changing is normally done without putting on the indicator!
  3. Pedestrians are on the road as there is no pavement/pavement has been encroached by hawkers/shopkeepers/residents. Don’t blame them, as they also have to walk. Just be a little tolerant of them.
  4. The right of way is with the vehicle whose nose is ahead of yours. Be prepared for it to swing in front of your vehicle, and like the earlier cited instance, without any indication.
  5. At the roundabout, the right of way is with the vehicle that daringly lunges forth. Though we drive on the left of the road, and technically, the right of way is with the vehicle coming from the right, but what I have stated is the reality. Use your sixth sense often. Nay, always!
  6. At traffic light, when green light turns to yellow is the time to see land speed records being broken on Indian city roads. Statistics have it that this is the point where maximum accidents happen in India. Hence, even if the light has turned green for you, inch ahead gingerly.
  7. Even heavy vehicle drivers (city buses?!) fancy themselves as bike riders, and accordingly weave in and out of traffic with little or no regard to the size of their vehicle and the inconvenience they may be causing to others on the roads. Give them a wide berth.
  8. Most driver have an uncanny knack of being in the wrong lane – the vehicle on the extreme left lane would suddenly remember he has to turn right, and vice versa. Watch out!
  9. Another common occurrence – drunk drivers and those talking on mobile phones while driving will not remember to check if your vehicle is next to theirs and may swerve into you if that’s the only way their vehicle can inch ahead. Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing!

Adrenaline Junkies - Time to update your bucket list

While the above tips are likely to prepare you somewhat for a self-drive in India, do remember to factor in the unstated and the unseen – like a cow walking into your path or a bull stubbornly holding his ground in the middle of the road – and carefully drive on. After all, approx. 142 million vehicles (registered as on Dec 2011 – click here to see details) do the same here!

PS: In case anything has escaped my notice, but is materially important for other readers, kindly leave a note in the comments section and I’ll incorporate it giving due credit. Thanks!

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God’s Own Square Mile!

God’s Own Square Mile!

A one square mile area in a city blessed with a river and an ocean is the most drool-generating square mile for seafood lovers that I have ever visited. No, it isn’t in South-East Asia!

Scrumptious Seafood Platter at Live Bait, The Docklands, Melbourne
Scrumptious Seafood Platter at Live Bait, The Docklands, Melbourne

The Docklands, Melbourne. A hub of Michelin-starred celebrity chefs often seen on Masterchef Australia. Foodies, give it a miss to regret forever!

Aesthetic installations at The Docklands, Melbourne
Aesthetic installations at The Docklands, Melbourne

An added attraction – the place is teeming with picture-perfect photo-op locales. And, even God adds his creative touches often! Photographers, you’ll love it here!

Travel Photography rules!

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Tambourine Tales

Tambourine Tales

Tambourine Tales
Dhaba (Roadside Eatery) or an Advertisement for a Punjabi Folk Singer?

Tambourine Tales

My travels are my way of continuing my education. While returning from Chail, near Chandigarh, we came across an interesting ‘dhaba’ (a roadside eatery). The owner, Mr. Sethi, is apparently a Punjabi Folk Singer. He had literally turned this ‘dhaba’ into a larger than life advertisement for his ‘folk singer’ brand!

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Travelove Series 8 – Smokeless Upgrade

Travelove Series 8 – Smokeless Upgrade

Travelove Series is about the smiles I have gathered during my travels. I consciously look for Travelove during my travels.

Travelove Series 8 – Smokeless Upgrade

I was heading out to Sydney. It was my first visit to Australia. As a travel photographer, I wanted to stay in a hotel that provided me vantage for shooting the Harbour Bridge and Opera House together.

My research threw up Shangri La as a perfect vantage. While booking my room, I made a specific request for a ‘Smoking’ room with a view, mentioning it was important for me, as I am a photographer. I received the booking voucher but it was silent on my request. I followed it up with another mail, repeating my request. Still, I received no response.

Soon, it was time to travel. Upon arrival there, I repeated my request at the check-in counter, only to be told that throughout Australia, the hotels do not allow smoking in the rooms. Apparently, it was because of the government regulation.

While I understood the law of the land, what I protested about was their complete lack of response to my request. The check-in lady went through my booking and earlier requests. She realised that the hotel had not responded. 

To make up for this lapse, I was upgraded to one of their higher floors. I did not get a ‘Smoking’ room. But, she gave me a room on 33rd floor that offered the best view of the two landmarks. It accorded me the opportunity to photograph these iconic structures any time during the day and night. And made my 3-day stay there really worthwhile.

Travelove Series 8
Sydney Harbour Bridge

Every time I see any of my Sydney images, I end up blessing that considerate front office girl at Shangri La.

Do you look for Travelove when you travel?

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Travelove Series 7 – Spray Stockings

Travelove Series 7 – Spray Stockings

Travelove Series is about the smiles I have gathered during my travels. I consciously look for Travelove during my travels.

Travelove Series 7 – Spray Stockings

During my Beijing trip, I visited Temple of Heaven just around sunrise. I roamed around the sprawling Complex for the next few hours.

I marvelled at its magnificent architecture. I admired the well-manicured gardens. I took in the fascinating sight of groups of Tai-chi practitioners engaged in morning workouts.

Just before exiting the East Gate of this massive complex, I realised the ankle I had twisted earlier was acting up again. The pain was almost unbearable.

Near the exit, I came across a mixed group learning traditional Chinese fan dance. I went up to them to ask if there was a pharmacy nearby.

Travelove Series 7
Teaching Fan Dance

Our mutual ignorance of each other’s language made me resort to sign language. I gestured by rubbing my hands up and down my calf that I was in pain. For further clarity, I made groaning sounds. With my hand, I made a spraying gesture.

Like all good Chinese folk, few of them smiled, nodded and made understanding noises. One of them took great pains to give me directions through his hand gestures. After repeating the directions and getting a nod from him, I hobbled away in the direction indicated.

I walked out of the Complex, walked a couple of blocks, turned left, and came to a building that looked like a shabby mall. I made my way up to the 4th floor (there was no lift in the building) and found myself in the lingerie section.

Staring me in the face were some sheer stockings. And that’s when it dawned upon me that my sign language communicated ‘Stockings’ and not ‘Pain Relieving Spray’ to the kind man. Despite my pain I couldn’t help broadly smiling to myself!

Do you look for Travelove in your travels? To read more of my Travelove Series, click here.

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Travelove Series 6 – He wins. I smile.

Travelove Series 6 – He wins. I smile.

Travelove Series 6
He wins!

Travelove Series is about the smiles I have gathered during my travels every time I am out for Travel Photography. I consciously look for Travelove during my travels.

Travelove Series 6 – He wins. I smile.

It was just past sunrise. The water in the river Ganges was shimmering like a sequined stole in bright morning sunlight. The horizon was dotted with silhouettes on one side, and striking, bright colours on the other.

Our boat was gently being guided through seemingly placid waters of Ganges. Seeing my camera gear, our boatman, a confident young man who had grown up on the ghats of Varanasi, became curious about my profession.

I mentioned that I shoot and write about cities to turn them into desirable destinations. I also explained that this meant that I must know a lot about the cities I write about (Ha!).

A mischievous smile suddenly danced on his face and he mockingly asked if I knew how Varanasi got its name. Seeing that I was foxed, he went on to explain that Varanasi was named after two of its 80 ghats. The first in the sequence is Varun Ghat, and the last is Assi (80) Ghat; Varun and Assi together led to the name, Varanasi.

After illuminating me about this little nugget, he burst into a victorious smile. I figured his day was made. I smiled along admiringly. And I remember the instance to this day!

Do you look for Travelove during your travels? To read more of my Travelove series, click here.

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Travelove Series 5 – She Obliged!

Travelove Series 5 – She Obliged!

Travelove Series 5.
Collecting wood for next winters in spring season.

Travelove Series is about the smiles I have gathered during my travels. I consciously look for Travelove during my travels.

Travelove Series 5 – She Obliged!

I was trekking back from the seldom-visited Satbaran cave in Kalaroos, Lolab Valley (Kashmir). This 7-doored cave leading to Russia was used by ancient Silk-routers during winters when the Valley was knee-deep or more in snow and is around 10kms from LOC.

The trek back was treacherous with narrow pathway carved along the edge of cliff – one little missed step could plunge you down a few hundred feet. The tops of typically 40-50 metres tall deodar trees growing on the slopes below were almost at my eye level.

A rustling sound and an unusual movement close to the top of one deodar caught my attention. I realised a young woman in her early twenties had climbed all the way up there. My guide mentioned she was collecting wood for next winters. It surprised me since the spring had barely started.

I knew that people around these areas were skeptical of strangers for religious reasons and the not-so-distant past of terrorism and disturbances. All the same, the sight was so rare that I requested her to pose for my camera. To my delight, she smilingly obliged. And the moment became a cherished memory for me!

Do you look for Travelove during your travels? To read more of my Travelove series, click here.

Share and make it sizzle!
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