Looking back at July and August 2015 || Despite the Rains

Rain is a strange beast. It holds you back and still sets you free. Roads get waterlogged, there are traffic jams everywhere, and people basically go crazy. Nature too plays its part. Rocks cascade down from the mountains and there are landslides. Remote places become even more difficult to access and in the cities, getting from one place to the other (even if it is just a few kilometers away) is a nightmare. But at the same time, skies open up. Poetry, buried under the summer heat, blooms and trees and shrubs become stark green. Somewhere, something is set free. Monsoons, therefore, are a season of contradictions and depth, of venturing inwards, searching your soul. Monsoons are a season of incomparable beauty, as you will see in our monsoon post below:

Monsoon is also a season to look back, to revisit some of your favorite destinations, even if only through memories. Monsoon, for those who are brave enough to venture out, are also the season to experience new places in their startling rain-washed beauty. Some of the following posts are fresh explorations, while others are reminiscences. We hope you will enjoy both.

Himalayan Trails
If you haven't seen the Himalayas during monsoons, you should definitely do so. While the hills are beautiful all year round, monsoons are when they appear young, vital, and fertile. There is no sight as soothing as a lush green valley where the only discontinuity in the green carpet is because of the waterfalls that emerge out of nowhere. So here are the stories of the three northern Himalayan states - Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand.

Himachal Pradesh

Chandigarh Exploration
After coming down from the hills, it was rather pleasant to visit the various gardens of Chandigarh, and most of them on foot. Walking in the sticky heat of monsoon was a challenge, but the sight of these well-maintained tree-filled gardens was always a stress buster.  

California Diaries
We continued our explorations of California. This US state has such variety of terrains and people that one can never really tire of revisiting it.

Hotel Review
We have had exceptional luck when it comes to hotels. Most of the properties we have stayed in are neat and tidy properties, managed by very warm and helpful staff. The kind of hotel you are staying in often makes such a huge difference to your stay that it can lift your experience or completely ruin it. Therefore, we can never be thankful enough for this. 

Restaurant Review
At times, when you are starving some restaurants materialize as if out of nowhere to save your soul. Aanch was one of them. So here is its review, and also of The House of Gobind in Mohali, where we had the largest vegetarian thali possible.  

Food Experiences
And then come our food experiences. Some simply out of this world, others pleasant enough, and yet others that we would rather forget. :). But one thing is common to them all - a lot of learning and fun. Oh and yes memories. 

Celebrating Special Days
In a year there are some days, and then there are some special days. None can be as special as India's Independence Day. And others are special in their own "special" way. After all, how can you not celebrate a day that pays homage to the king of our jungles - the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Every now and then we run into people who appear as ordinary as the rest of us, except for that one special spark that sets them apart, making them rise a head above the general populace. Mostly it is because of their personalities, or the risks they chose to take, or simply their talent that they honed and honed with sheer hardwork. Here is our salute to some of these stars:

Meet the Street
And after a long time we are back with our Meet the Street series. This time it is about a tea vendor who doesn't waste a minute of his life. In fact he is so productive, that he has already authored 24 books. Click the link below to read more about this dynamic personality.

Some plays entertain, others make a strong statement. Hingbabi Mami, directed by Sajida, made one such statement, and made it with panache. Click the link below to find out more.

Photography and Post-Processing
And over the past couple of months, we have published several photography and editing tips and tricks for you to try. Do let us know whether you found them helpful.

This was a gist of our activities over the past couple of months. If you would like us to cover some specific topic or provide any tips in particular, please feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise as well, we would love to hear from you. See you all again, soon.

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