Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quarter life nearing and so is something else!

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community 
I always thought it is cool to be a 25-year old. And now that it is coming closer, I think I am feeling it more. It's not a feeling to stay away from, let alone frightening, but it feels different. Mature? Responsible?Independent?
Self sufficient?Liberated? I do not know.
I have made a resolution to follow something from my 25th Birthday. May be writing, photo posting, working out, painting or sculpting.could be anything as random. But I intend to post it here on my blog, and want to make it a habit.
Wish me luck for that,and wish me lot of creativity to be able to do that! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

More the sun,merrier!

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community 
 Let us face it. India is a HOT country. recently, I have started seeing many other sub shades of that term, as I have traveled a lot in last 5 years within the country, though here my usage of term hot is directly co related with the sun. The heat, the rising temperatures, the flaming sun.
So what do you do when you face terrible heat around? Some would buy air conditioners, many would resort to traditional anti-summer treatments and some would fly to destinations, to escape the great heat. This summer, I did the same. I flew to a place, where the sun was all shining, with moderate temperatures. Where we could for once, enjoy the  April sunt, enjoyed basking in that light. AND it was not a beach.
Turkey is one place, which I commend one should visit in the scorching hot month of April. I would not talk about destinations in southern hemisphere and how to enjoy that, as it is not a summer time for Aussies and kiwis. It is summer in turkey, and a one that you can enjoy thoroughly as a tourist.

To begin with, the place called Cappadocia, in Turkey  has great landscape. You probably will find no match for the kind of lunar feel it gives. It feels exactly as if you are on the moon. And you will be awestruck by looking at just how many shades can brown give you. The sun is usually up in the sky, for a long time, almost till 8 pm, and it is a boon. Sunlight gives it a kind of lively feel, which would have been a morbid place otherwise.

Going ahead, I would say this is actually a place one can enjoy thoroughly only in summer, as winter would put a snow blanket on it, and would bring it to a very silent and lifeless place, as you can imagine from the photos. The clear skies, with a bright and smiling sun in it put me in the happy mood. And this place kept on showing me unreal locations. Absolute unreal.

Of course, we need not be sad, as Cappadocia offers all what any fun loving tourist would ask for. You would not miss out on anything that you get at other tourist hot spots. There is a wide variety of wines, in fact Cappadocia is known for offering some of the finest wines. There are beers, which include Raki- the local one that you have to taste. There is apple tea for teetotalers and there is this undoubtedly yummy Mediterranean cuisine to look forward too. There are belly dances to be experienced, which originate from this region, and folk music to be heard. To top it all, there is Turkish hospitality, good looking people around, (!)and  a very pleasant weather in spite of all the sun.
And most importantly, it is a young place. the landscapes may be thousands of years old, but the vibe is young. You experience something totally different that you can not at your own place.You get refreshed,recharged. With right precautions like help of sun experts there are no worries about getting tanned in these treeless surroundings either.That's what our trips are for!
So having a couple of days off and enjoying at this location with Elena does sound like a good job to do. Boy, there is a world to see in summer besides beaches. It is high time you realize it. Elena will this summer, and probably when she is back next year, you might want to tag along!
p.s. If Elena is a photography buff like me, Sun is probably the best thing that can happen to her. See the photo above! :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

अतिथी देवो भव-commercial edition

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community 

The idea of going to Turkey struck many people in more than one ways. They said it was out of the box, hippie and cool. The actual trip to Turkey struck me in more than one ways as well. There are just many things to write about, which I hope to formulate and write in coming pages, though this one was one of the most striking ones. 

You find Turkish people to be extremely hospitable. At least, those who are in business of hospitality. We just met Turks who were hotel managers,waiters,guides,shopkeepers,street vendors, immigration officers and so on. I do not know about normal Turks,who are not in the business of travel and tourism, but I will give them benefit of doubt and not talk about them. But you simple can not look over the fact that all the hospitality professionals are living by the name of that sector. And they are doing this in their own unique way. 
Nilay,My tour guide at cappadocia, was one wonderful person. About same as my age, stout, with a striking mixture of asian and europian features, spoke English in her funny accent. We just instantly clicked. She gave us information as it was expected. But she did not stop at that. she initiated discussions within the passengers, spoke personally with me for a long time, we chatted about religion,national spirit,staying away from your parents,university education and what not. She has done her graduation in tour guiding, which I found to be cool. 
Raedire, the cute receptionist at the Gamirasu cave hotel,cappadocia was so hospitable that we almost felt obliged. She would personally come to every table when we had dinner, ask us how our day was, Every time we came back from sightseeing, she would chat with us for 5 minutes. The hotel manager would say Namaste, and also knew the word 'chalo'! Everywhere we went, Apple teas was given to us for free- that's a welcome drink. And apple teas could well be replaced by wine,or Raki- the local beer! 

to top the list, the immigration officer at Istanbul airport saw my passport and asked me if I can speak Hindu!(meant Hindi).The knack to make people felt included, to make them feel comfortable was seen in all these cases, and that definitely means a lot.

The point is that you realize after a while that it is all a part of professionalism. They are being hospitable as a part of profession, as a service that you paid for.  But not once did we feel that this is a paid hospitality. We kept on believing that this behavior is real, genuine and to an extent of it being special favor to us. Of course we knew that  all tourists will be greeted with same hospitality and would encounter same experiences, still the feeling stayed. And after a while that feeling started causing pain to me, made me feel hurt, to realize that this is all paid service, and might be-might not be real, and its definitely non-exclusive. It is a weird feeling where you really appreciate something nice, and realize that you can not get too attached to it!
I really felt that our countrymen who scream ATITHI DEVO BHAV at every occasion, (and still need Amir khan to advertise against troubling the tourists) could take some inspiration. we can not be the professional hospitable gang the next day. But hospitable enough to serve what people paid for. With these thoughts I landed in Mumbai only to be greeted by a half-asleep losy faced woman at immigration counter, who did not bother to check our immigration forms and was pretty foul mouthed with a firang behind me. 
Atithi devo bhav- the invisible edition.