Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Istanbul - Things to do

Here are the list of things that you should try out when you are in Istanbul;

1. Check out Basilica Cistern

2. Go to the asian side of turkey as most tourist places are in the european side. It is also called as anatolian side. Take a ferry or a bus over the bosphorus.

3. Go to the princes' islands, no cars are allowed on these islands and they offer great cafes and shopping destinations. Take the ferry to there and keep the bosphorus optional. Rent a bicycle when you are there to discover the area or a horse carriage whatever works.

4. Eat an iskander kebab. 

6. Visit grand bazar, hagia sophia musuem, suleymaniye mosque, blue mosque, Give one day to sultan ahmet area but do not spend all the days over there.  

Topkapi Palace — closed on Tuesday
St. Sophia — closed on Monday
Dolmabahce Palace — closed on Monday & Thursday
Grand Bazaar — closed on Sunday
The Spice Market — closed on Sunday

7. Walk in the old city.

8.Eat at Sultanahmet Köfteçisi - 90 year old local place for great koftas.
9. Spend time around galata bridge
10. Start early
11. Instead of Topkapi palace check out the Dolambahce palace. The topkapi isn't all that great you can find similar buildings around unless you are into history, which we are not.
12. Avoid taxis and fix the price before getting in.
13. Have sweets at the Mado cafe
14. Go to Istikal Cadessi
15. Suggested Restaurants by turksih locals
  • Lades Menemen (Taksim): Menemen
  • Gaziantep Döner Lahmacun (Göztepe): Döner and Lahmacun
  • Otantik (Kadıköy & Taksim): Manti
  • Express İnegöl Köfte (Kadıköy): İnegöl Köfte
  • Adapazarı Islama Köfte (Kadıköy): Islama Köfte
  • Ciya (Kadıköy): Mumbar, çiğ köfte
  • Dicle Balık (Kadıköy): Whiting Fish and Calamary
  • Nizam Pide (Taksim): Pide
  • Manda Batmaz (Taksim): Turkish coffee
  • Çikolata Dükkanı (Kadıköy/Moda): Chocolate
  • Köyüm Pide (Kadıköy/Moda): Pide
  • Ali Usta Dondurma (Kadıköy/Moda): Ice cream
  • Num Num (Kanyon Shopping Mall): Schnitzel
  • Tatlıses Lahmacun (Cevahir Shopping Mall & Kağıthane): Lahmacun and çiğköfte
  • Ufuklar Dürümcübey (Sahrayıcedid): Dürüm
  • VİP İşkembe (Bahçelievler): Soup
  • Hacıbozanoğulları (Bahçelievler): Kebab with Pistachio and Perde Pilav
  • Bursa Çiçek Köfte (Beşiktaş): Köfte
  • Manolya Pastanesi (Gayrettepe & Göztepe & Sahrayıcedid): Profiterol
  • Pelit Pastanesi (Sahrayıcedid): Cakes
  • Emiroğlu Baklava (Sahrayıcedid): Baklava and Börek
  • Yeniköy Balık Ekmek (Yeniköy): Fish and Bread
  • Eylül Pastanesi (Sahrayıcedid): Brownie
  • Marmaris Büfe (Sahrayıcedid): Kazandibi

16.Enjoy the view from Galata Tower, Camlica Hill 
17. Visit archaeological musuems - Cinili Kosk
18. Visit the Chora church (kariye muzesi) known for its amazing byzanite mosaics.
19. Walk across the galati brige and the new metro bridge which has an amazing view of the suleymaniye mosque.
20. Visit balat; beautiful colorful apartments, synagogues, churches known for its jewish and christian minorities.
21. Take photos and lean in.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It started from here and so it shall continue

When I started to blog it was from here and then for the lack of control I moved away from blogspot to wordpress, there I got plenty of readers but not for the right reasons. I don't care if anyone ever sees this post because I would not be linking it up on any of my social media platforms, This could just be for me as is my diary but my handwriting and the ability to access it all the time are stopping me so I will write here for me, and anyone else who happens to pass by this page by accident can also check it out.

I need change, don't we all? So the bits and pieces of advice that I will write here from now on will only be for me and not for anyone else.


Did you realize the changes that are happening after you started trying to pray on time and even Fajr? Do you see how positive energy just flows through you when you read quran after fajr? You cannot let it go if anything you need to learn to grow, this is just the beginning. You have to change, you need to, aren't you tired of procrastinating the inevitable? Look, I know it would be difficult but we need to try, I am not asking you to revolve your life around religion we all knows thats not possible but what I need you to understand and to implement in your life is the constant state of god consciousness. You have complained a lot, to yourself, to people, to God, at times, but you've got so much going on with you and while you choose to focus on all the wrong things in your life you are missing out on all the right things that are there.

Be Grateful, it is not hard, just one heartfelt prostration each day acknowledging the existence of all the blessings, the ones that you realize of and the ones that you do not, take a deep breath and take it all in, did you really deserve it? no, right? but here you are just given things without ever asking, Thank God. Take out time to be grateful because life is now, now is the perfect time to be thankful, now is the perfect time to be humble, now is the perfect time to stop assuming bad things about people. Now, is the time to forgive and let go, even if you cannot forgive then at least just let it go. It is not worth it, it is draining you out, you bore the burden of it for far too long, this is your time. Be selfish and love yourself by giving yourself a life which is of excellent quality even if that means getting some sort of discipline in your life, even if that means swallowing your ego from time to time. You owe it to yourself.

I know, you hurt from time to time, I understand because I am you but this constant lingering thoughts on the negative aspects of life have just simply GOT to stop. Life isn't perfect and I think you have established that fact a long time ago so lets just get used to it.

There is always a next thing to move on to, it is not the end until it is your end. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Omar Bin Khattab Mosque - Dubai

I remember going to this mosque last ramadan, just couple of days after it's opening. It was in news because after Grand Jumeirah mosque this is the only mosque in Dubai that allows access to the non-muslims too. It was also in news because apparently about 80 million dirhams have been spent on this mosque. I was amazed the first time I visited this mosque for taraweeh, oh the Imam! They had gotten Abu Bakr Ash Shatri for the taraweeh and his voice is blessed, mashallah! I miss Ramadan now! Anyway, so I made a vow to come again to this mosque and when the opportunity presented itself I couldn't decline. I was extremely tired that day after work so the photos aren't extremely amazing but they do give you an idea about the mosque. For a better view, click on the pictures.
The outside view

Minarets perching in the sky

Some of the lovely decor!

I love this place so much

The decor inside - yes, it gets better!

Writing on the wall

The ceiling for ladies section

This is near the musalla in gents section

Amazing, isn't it?

But mosques are not just for decoration. They are a  place where you worship and find guidance.

Quran - 1 divine book with all answers.

Then you do some dhikr

The gents section. 

Details and details everywhere

Where the Imam stands

Then you make some dua asking Allah to make you visit Ka'aba

BW love

Then you leave
All photos are mine, If you'd like to take any, you can ask for it on the comment box :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We Were Not Meant to be Together

When I saw you for the first time at the metro station during a rush hour, I was skeptical to approach to you, yet I couldn't stop myself, your looks had me melted, soon I got to know you better. I looked forward to every morning because I knew I'd get to see you. The past 6 months have been truly amazing, from the day that I first met you..

Our love began to bloom much sooner than what I had expected and it was just a matter of time before you and I were inseparable. I did not want to think about the day that I would have to leave you, although I was aware that it was inevitable.. I kept convincing my heart that we had some more time. It wasn't just about ''what would people say'' anymore, they would talk anyway, considering that I am an Indian and you an American .. It was about the way you had grown on me, the way you had affected me.

All my attempts to go away from you failed and I always found myself coming back to you. Despite our short breakups I would always cave in and come back to you, I then realized that I was addicted. My family and friends started talking about my addiction for you, how it affected my existence. I know, we have had our good times, you cheered me up when I was down, even on a busy day just having you with me would make me happy, on the metro station it was your company that made the wait for the train worthwhile. Oh, how I love you.. How I adore you.. yet with a heavy heart, I have to say this...I've gotto stop seeing you, we both know it's time to say a final goodbye. Maybe we'll run into each other from time to time, it's bound to happen.. but I want to be strong and move on. Just know, that no matter what happens you have and will always have a special place in my life.

I love you, My Beloved Choco Frosted donut from Dunkin Donuts. Nobody will ever love you the way I did :(

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I went to a BAR

Cupcake from CAKE BAR

I love Red, Enough said

Road Side Cafes, Blessing much?

Self Shot

I love Black & White Images 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Live to Eat

My love for food is probably the strongest when it comes to loving non-living things. So it comes as no surprise if I have about a million stories to share with you guys about my love affair with food. I honestly would like to try all different kinds of cuisines, but my problem is that I am the kind of person who is not a fan of change and who loves things just the way they are for ages to come, it does not bother me if I have the same thing everyday as long as it is tasty according to me. Perhaps after few years, I'd be bored but nothing before that.

When I had passed my grade 10 exams I had received this ENORMOUS box of chocolates that my uncle had gifted me. They were just so MANY! and I took it on myself to finish the box as quickly as I can but I even wanted to cherish them, so I questioned myself to ask what did I love just as much as I loved food? It was sleep! So I combined my chocolates along with my bed time, I just had to ensure that my father had no idea about this or else he would have made me brush my teeth 50 times for even thinking such a thing. The best part about that summer was my new night suits that had two massive pockets on them, so I would go to the fridge at the night, take the chocolates and fill my pockets with them, go to the bed with my favorite ducky sheet, and fall asleep while eating chocolates... ah best feeling ever, i tell you!

Looking at how the happiness and sadness in my life revolved around food my mother looked at me one day sighing and said ''People eat to live, but you, you LIVE to EAT'' to which I had replied ''Of course ma, have you seen there are just SO many yumm food out there, it would be sheer in justice if they are not taken care of!'' to which she nodded her head walking away :P

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Oil Wars

When I was young I had witnessed a lot of Oil Wars and just so that you don't get me wrong I am not talking about the actual middle eastern wars.

I thought about those wars as I was combing my hair today, and man did they get nasty over the years! Desi people share a very special connection with Oil so it comes as a no surprise that for my mother it was a serious crime if I didn't let her apply oil on my hair. She would keep saying how my hair were getting thinner because I am not applying oil on them and really they were not. Back in the day I'd just have a couple of hair strings broken after I'd comb unlike now where there are millions of them

When I was a teenager (wow that really seems like ages ago!) I use to cry, I mean real tears when my mom would apply oil on my hair. Prior to me surrendering to her, our home would be like a place of war with me storming off from one room to another, me running for my life, me screaming how I'd never let her oil my hair. I'd usually try to avoid it, make excuses and try to find my way out of it. But my sweet mother, god bless her soul, when she sets a goal then it doesn't remain unfulfilled. So just like that, she'd be behind me until my hair were properly soaked in Oil.

Despite the fact that I don't live with her anymore, every time I visit my home in India she makes sure to apply oil on my hair once a week and although I hate oil, being away from her has made me realize how I miss this very nagging and head massage while I am away. Nobody would care about it, not even me but this is the kind of thing that makes it to the 'TOP 10 PRIORITIES LIST' of desi mothers.

Since we desis have such a deep connection with Hair Oil it should come as no surprise that we have a humongous variety in it.

To show you a few, I'll start with my personal favorite 
Parachute Hair Oil
Before the other brands bombarded the market, parachute was the choice of Indian Hair so in a way it's a legend on its own. Then started the phase of Vatika 
Nobody would have cared about this product due to its weird smell, color and unlike parachute which only concentrated on coconut oil, this product went an extra mile with amla and nimbu aka lemons but the marketing team did a splendid job and soon the classical Parachute Era was replaced by the Vatika revolution (at least in my home). This was followed by the 300% more hair growth claimant Dabur Almond Oil and for a nation that admires long hair who wouldn't want this product!
Now with 25% Extra!
This product was introduced in my family for a short while and then a new contender was introduced by my brother. It has the weirdest smell and color ever but apparently it is very soothing on the scalp, I love my hair but just not enough to experiment so drastically with it.
So despite all the oiling that has taken place on my hair growing up, what's the state of my hair today?
I am sorry I can't answer that question it's a ''Don't Ask Don't Tell'' policy :P