Monday, March 20, 2017

March 8, International women's day

March 8th. is celebrated every year is International Women day. I remember, one year, my dad gifted all of us women in the house with Handkerchiefs! I loved it so much, saved it for years. 
Every year, it is publicized, written about, and we all make it a point to wish each other. With social media, it has become much easier to forward the many photos and posts. 

For me, it is a day to celebrate how far we have come, from the caveman days, and to remind each other how far to go yet.    
Since purple is the colour for women's day, badges were made for all.
Some of us ladies at our complex have decided to hold party on our terrace, just a couple of days prior to 8th.. It was amazing how easily and seamlessly the whole event was planned. Trust women to organise and carry off with zero defect! Certain conditions were set down. The party was for women only. for one evening between 7 and 9, no entertaining children, husbands, relatives! Women wanted time for themselves, just to meet others in the complex, talk, eat, dance and have fun. Fair enough! Next came the eats. The 'volunteers' offered suggestions and offered to place orders and pick them up. We decided against formal dinner and go with snacks and small eats. Then came the venue and arrangements. It was decided the terrace would be an ideal location overlooking the sea, with a lovely march breeze blowing. A couple of ladies took the responsibility for arrangements.
Balloons were blown and strung up, lights put up, chairs arranged, and food reached the venue on time. All the ladies came shimmering in their best clothes and shoes. Oh, I forgot the games. Some silly and fun games were played.
Group photos
Towards the end, there were requests for fast nos, bollywood songs etc. We all shook a leg and everyone had a good time. 
The downside of it all was some women couldnot make it due to not having support at home; no one to baby sit for a couple of hours in the evening on a working day. What a shame! Because of which they had to miss out on fun and games in their own building complex. It may not be a great loss not to attend a party. On the other hand, it points out the vulnerabilty of women with small children, how completely tied up their lives are. 
I am making a limited point here. is not it a responsibility of the husbands to mind their kids some of the time? Should not they give wives a break from the parental responsibilities once in a while? Atleast on the international women's day? I believe one such husband goes to the extent of saying 'Is your party more important than my job?' For a couple of hours between 7 and 9 in the evening, Is it too much to expect? 
Ladies, buck up, get organised, stop depending on others to take care. It is a day to remind us of women's empowerment. What does it mean? To me it means:
  • To have options - what, when and how to do with one's time, money ...
  • To be able to make choices - not be forced into situations by others ....
  • To not live in fear constantly - afraid of consequences all the time, real or imagined ....
  • To have one's own money - have the freedom to buy, spend, or save .....
  • To acquire skills and education - be better informed and skilled, for self respect and to make a living ....
  • To live a life of conviction and belonging - think for yourself, decide for your self,by taking inputs from others where necessary ....

Till next March 8th. have an empowering year!!!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trek to Vagheri, South Goa

Vagheri, the abode of tigers, as they say, is the third highest peak in Goa. 
Situated at an altitude of 726 m., it is covered in Bio- diverse forest cover. The trek was planned for the 5th. of Feb 2017, by Eco treks, the non-profit group that we go on treks with. It was day long tour, including travel to the base, breakfast, trek up to the peak, trek back to the base, lunch, and journey back home.
We took 2 hrs. for climbing and 1.5 hrs. for climbing down. Ofcourse we love to take pictures, and keep stopping wherever we find interesting sights and scenes, to look, gaze upon and photograph, or simply stay put and take in the sights and smells. The young / able bodied / impatient, took 15 min. less.

In preparation for the trek, following are the instructions given to us by Eco treks:

1)  Special Buses will leave from Panjim (  from Heera Petrol pump Plz. Note )  sharp by 7.30 a.m. , from Mapusa Gandhi Circle ) sharp by 7.50 am. , from Bicholim 8.15 a.m. & from Sanquelim sharp by 8.30 am. . 
2) Since the walking distance is comparatively long and hard, with no water sources on the way,  we request  all the participants  to carry  extra  drinking water and cap/Hat to protect you from sun.   Shoes are  must for this Trek.
3) Fee charged is Rs.500/- per head, which includes to & fro travel, Morning Breakfast &  Lunch .
4)  Special note  …. Although we would be providing Breakfast to you, participants are advised to have a small bite at home before starting their journey. This special request comes from us as our breakfast will be delayed to 9.30 am. or even later and that too  will be served  at the beginning of the Trek. Even our lunch will be delayed ( expected time 2.00 pm. or beyond )  as we have to collect all the participants from finishing point and transport  all to the nearby village Keri for Lunch.  Hope you will understand and bear our difficulties.
5)  For the  breakfast, please carry you own re-usable plate  ( No throw away plastic or paper plates please). Also carry  extra water to wash your own plate.

6) For booking & paying, please contact, Panjim , Rajesh,9833155713,  Aarti  9822522119, Mapusa, Durgadas Parab 9422445444,  or pay directly in the Bank Account no. in the name of Eco Treks, Account No 130 301 100 212 86,MICR Code 403 028 006,  IFSC      UCBA0001303,UCO Bank, Mapusa, Goa  & inform me immediately by S.M.S only .
7) Please note that unless we  receive payment , we will not confirm your seat.
8)  We assure refund of the paid fee in full, if we receive request of cancellation up to 48 hours from the starting of the trek. ( for this trek it is latest  by 7.30 am on  3rd   February 2017.)
9)  The number of participants for this trek is restricted to 75 only and out of those 19 are  already booked as per our new system of wish list. (Wish Lists for future Treks is given below ) 
10) Of Importance…… No early Bird Concessions for this trek.
 10) We totally oppose and do not allow any kind of littering or any other activity that can harm the environment. Also the consumption of alcohol,drugs, smoking or chewing Tobacco in any form  is not allowed.

There were altogether fifty of us in this trek. 
We stopped at the Forest department of Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary check post. There was an entry fee which Eco Treks took care of. There was a stop over for the vehicles and that is where we had our breakfast. Under the trees, a tasty vegetarian fare and tea made us ready for the climb. By now some of you readers must be familiar with the program, introductions had to be performed. All the new comers were cheered on.
Initially it was tight group. Soon it spread out; everyone was allowed to follow at his own pace. One could see cashew cultivation, and the trees were in bloom, the hillside filled with the sweet fragrance of cashew flowers.
The route we took from Panjim was to go via Porvorim, Mapusa, Tivim, Bicholim, Sankhali, and then Keri, past Anjunem Dam. Vagheri is in Chorla ghats. The whole route is picturesque, and I am usually glued to the window. 
The colours and foliage change with the seasons. Nature at its best!


At places the trail was narrow, at places wide, mostly tree covered. The morning sun playing hide and seek through the dense foliage overhead. The play of light and shadow was to be relished.
At a point in the trek, there were three paths ahead. Remembered Robert Frost's poem, 'Road not taken,...
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'
I felt, in a forest, one would better be sure which path to take...
Finally we reached the top of the 3rd. highest peak in Goa. It was shocking to see all the grass burnt and black ash everywhere; Only trees survived the fire. Our guess was some miscreants tried to cook or start a fire for some purpose or threw a lit match stick. Since all the grass was dry, caught the fire and spread fast. 
Let me mention here that Western Ghats are known for Bio-diversity; which means, there are plant and insect species which are only here and nowhere else. Imagine with a fire on the hill top, how many living organisms perished. What if some of them were endangered species. When people go to ecologically sensitive areas, they should be more careful!
There were just a couple of shade giving trees. After an arduous climb, we were glad to park our base for a twenty minutes; followed by a group photo (a rarity). We started the climb down.
 There was 360 degree view of the mountains all round.
At the base, we got into the bus and headed to Keri village, where a delicious vegetarian, traditional Goan lunch awaited us. Did we do justice to the food? You bet, we did. I bought a raw jack fruit from them too.
As usual antakshari was played by the exuberant few. On this trek there was decent sized contingent of Germans, so they sang some German songs. 
We had been on this trek three years back, wanted to again for the climb and the scenery.
Every one had fun on this trek.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stand for Necklaces and Bracelets

If you are like me, then you understand the dilemma I had been having for some time...
I have a fair (subject to interpretation!) amount of costume jewellery, and lack of adequate space to store them. I don't know how you all manage to keep them safe, secure and handy. For me, out of sight is out of mind. Will wear what is in front of me / visible. I tried keeping them in boxes, in the desk drawers, cupboards, almirah, leaving them on the dressing table, etc. None satisfactory. Lately I collected a few more necklaces, and I want to wear them too. So, it is imperative they are easily accessible (and not inside a box, inside a drawer etc.) and kept separately. I had been thinking about it...
Voila! The idea struck ...
In my recent post, I had put up the blog on Stand for bags which Jo had made for me as a New Year's gift. Because the wooden post was too long, he cut off the top portion of it. 
I fished it out, and gave it a wood polish (this too left over from the stand). If you notice closely, one After a few days of drying in the sun, took it to the hardware store and started looking for accessories to convert a piece of wood into a stand on which I can hang my Jewellery.
Found L angles for the base, and two varies of steel hooks. The hooks were available in several sizes. I chose the ones suitable for my purpose and keeping aesthetics in mind. The shop keeper was kind enough to throw in some screws to match the L angles. Armed with these, I set about making my stand. 
First and foremost, I marked the position of all the hooks with a black sketch pen. I wanted round hooks on the top, to hang finger rings etc. L shaped hooks went round in a spiral, so that the necklaces all won't be from the same height. The wood is teak, and has natural grain and small holes. I just let them be. At one end, there is a joint in the wood. I kept this at the base, and staggered the L angles on either side, so that, the screws do not split the post through the joint. It worked.
The trickiest part is to drill holes. I had to rope in Jo for the drilling job; which meant I had to wait until he was free and in the mood for the job. He is a wiz at drilling stuff, with the power drill machine. On the following Sunday, after a reminder or two, the holes were there, and he very obligingly fixed the hooks too. Huh! my jewellery stand is ready.
All I had to do after that was to hang up my necklaces etc.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stand for hand bags - organiser

New Year's gift from Jo
Our apartment is spacious and ideally located. One drawback it has, according to me is that there are no built-in cupboards / cabinets or wardrobes. That greatly puts pressure on the limited loose storage furniture that we have. Both Jo and I have hobbies and stuff related to them. My hand bags were using up a lot of space, and the way I was keeping them in the suitcases and bags, I could not retrieve them in time when I needed them. They were collecting fungus and smell, thus kept. 
Once I showed Jo the kind of stand I need for to hang the bags at a fair. I had forgotten all about it.
There was this stand lying around in the balcony, for years. Jo had got it made in very good quality teak wood for mosquito net. Somehow the carpenter did not understand the requirement, and made a vertical pole on a stand of cross members.
He bought the small wheels and steel hooks. We had wood polish at home. On a Sunday preceding the new year, he sand papered the stand, polished the wood, and cut off the top end by approxi. 15". Then he fixed the wheels to the base of the stand; then marked the position for the hooks, drilled holes into the vertical member, and fixed the steel hooks. Over all there are 6 hooks, at 8" intervals, in a clock wise fashion. The hook is 6" long and 1 " high. I can hang 3 to 4 bags on each hook. Finally, icing on the cake, ie. on top of the vertical member, he put a small doll made of cloth, bought from Handicrafts fair. 
Atlast I have a place for my bags and I can get to them easily, I can move the stand anywhere I want, thus the problem of smell and fungus will be greatly reduced; and I am very happy with it. 
Thanks Jo for not only fulfilling a requirement but also using the materials at home and recycling what is not used.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Veeniola - A holiday Home away from Home, Cavelossim, Goa

We wanted a holiday; and where else but to South Goa, we headed. J had been there once before and he promised me that I will like it. I packed for 4 days, thinking, if I like it, I will stay, if not, get back in 2days.
The drive to Cavelossim through the village roads is beautiful! the charming traditional old Goan houses, the creeks, the hills and the occasional glimpses of the sea. It is a paradise. I have not tired of the journey till now. 
After about an hour we reached the quaint neighbourhood of Cavelossim, and a few scattered buildings among the fields, and here stands the Holiday Home 'Veeniola'. A charming two storey guest house in blue and white. There is parking for a few cars and two wheelers inside the property. There is plenty of space for parking outside.
The first question any guest would ask is, "How far is the beach?". Well, it is half a km. as the crow flies, but 3 kms. by road. That is because there is a long strip of land belonging to Indian Navy between Veeniola and the beach. One literally goes round it. The upside is that, you may spot Peacocks (we did see two of them), porcupines, foxes, reptiles and various other wildlife in the surrounding areas, depending on the time of the day.
As you enter there is registration counter and then a spacious and comfortable lounge. Stairs leading to the first floor where maximum no. of guest rooms are located.

You will find Mr. Charles Miranda, the proprietor behind the counter most of the time, when he is not busy seeing to the running of the place and making the guest feel comfortable. He is fondly called Charlie by everyone and is a very pleasant and friendly young man. If you are interested, he had an interesting account how he happened to take care of Veeniola. While he was still in college studying Hotel management, his mother started the construction of Veeniola, as she needed to do something post retirement. Though initially started out as a 3 apartments, slowly became a guest house. Charlie says, in the beginning it was tough going; that was pre-internet days. The neighbouring resort would send their excess guests to Veeniola. Slowly word spread that it is a comfortable place and guest are looked after well, that the guests starting arriving directly. Since the explosion of internet, since the last 4 years, and having their own website, it is doing well. 
A well maintained kitchen and dining area are on the ground floor. One can chose either the semi covered seating in the verandah or under the coconut trees. Choice of alcoholic beverages is also available for those who want, in the bar. 
Though they prefer Credit or Debit cards and Indian currency (if it is cash), Veeniola accepts any other foreign currency too.
In the Lounge there is Comfortable seating with a television, magazines, newspapers and a book shelve. the first thing I did on entering is to head towards the book shelf, and select a couple of books for my self. My target was to finish them by the end of my stay. this is on top the book I took with me. Very ambitious of me, I must say!

The guest rooms are roomy ans spacious. Well ventilated. Large window and doyble doors to the balcony covered by lovely white lace curtains. The sheets and towels are all white. There was a medium sized refrigerator, a television, and a couple of plastic chairs for the balcony.
The bathroom is large and clean. There was continuous running hot water.
You can see the coconut palms from the room and in the night, one can hear the roar of the waves. Chirping of birds is a constant background music.
On the walls, you will see prints of old Goa, giving an air of quiet homely feeling.
During the monsoons, Veeniola is closed for 4 months, and that is when Charlie does his traveling. He says that Veeniola is a holiday home, and mostly long term guests stay here, those who avoid the long winters. His future plans include starting a resort in South Goa. 
We had a good time at Veeniola and the staff were courteous and helpful.
All the best to Charlie for his future plans!
If you wan to check it out, the address is:, Tamborim, Cavelossim, Salcete, Goa
Tel: 0832-2744790, 91-9011062244/9822685858