Take it easy

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Dear Life,

From whatever I’ve known and experienced so far, I’ve been fortunate to have a happy and positive Life with very little to complain about. You have shown me some extra ordinary times, and then you’ve made sure I see them terrible ones too. You’ve made me realize the importance of simple and predominant things like family, education and spirituality; yet your teachings have also carefully taught me how loved ones, text books and faith can fail me. Through personal experiences, you’ve made me cognizant of how powerful the mind and the heart is, but through others you’ve even shown me how sharp and equally powerful the tongue or even a pen can be.

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Like many people, in my case too I’ve often complained how the grass has been greener on the other side. Looks, talent, study ranks, income etc, constant comparison with others did bring me down. But with time I’ve accepted that the grass is green where it is watered. Today I feel much more at ease with exactly those same points I cribbed about. Today I know that more than these or the “oh-so-tempting- materialistic things” , it’s virtues like patience, calmness, integrity, and overall humanity that will make me a better person.

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I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to some wonderful people along the path, people that live by example, people whom I look up to, people whom I can relate to. On the other hand , you’ve also taken away some of my very own , people who meant the world to me, people whom I called good friends, people who I connected with, thereby making me cherish the people I’m left with even more. You’ve made me believe in the Universe, and believe that whoever is meant to be in my life, will be in it anyway.

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Thank you for teaching me in your own unique ways to not be dependent on anyone or anything. For teaching me that life in fact does go on, even after I lose my most precious people/ things. I’m proud of how easily I’ve given up habits I never thought I would. It showed me that with the right amount of determination, I could have strong will power.
I’m so grateful that you’ve made me a person with an extremely high level of tolerance, sometimes it amazes me to think of how composed I was in the most stressful situations. While I’m at it, I need to Thank you for making me passionate about Music, Travel and of course Blogging. They all have this magical calming effect on me. They help divert my mind and give me some amount of strength.

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I truly hope as we continue our journey ahead, you continue to be kind to me. Phases get difficult and stressful at times, and there are those days when I feel like nothing good is happening. Take me through it successfully without letting me give up or break down. Lets be as relaxed as possible , and focus on taking it easy.

Yours truly,
Franchua D’Souza

I believe I can fly

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At some point or the other we’ve all wanted to know what it would be like to have wings and defy gravity. Of course the most common/ boring way I’d think of is to take a flight to some place. No matter what you choose from , whether sitting on a ferris wheel, sitting in a plane, bungee jumping , sky diving, parasailing etc, they all make us have butterflies in the stomach. Recently on my Thailand trip I attempted one such adventure and it was one hell of a thrilling experience. If you did get a chance to read my previous post, you’d know I’m talking about none other than Zip-lining!

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img_20161231_132824If you’re visiting Thailand in the near or far future, you definitely need to have this experience in your to- do list. Tree top Asia played host to my friend and I and we absolutely loved the whole #FlightoftheGibbon zip- lining experience. Everything was perfect about the experience- right from the bus pick up from our hotel to the drop back. The guides and other staff members are super fun to hang about with – literally. They make sure they’ll do everything to make you bounce like a monkey while you’re at it and yet you know you can trust them with your life. The 2 guides that left an impression on us were Jacile and Taxi (cute name, right?).

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There were 24 zip-lining stations , starting with the simple and short ones to the the last one of 300 meters. The view from the tree stations is amazzzzzing! You’re literally amidst tree tops. By the time you’re at the last tree station you’re fear has gone and you’re an expert at this. I loved the fact that the guides gave us the confidence to let ourselves loose and go all out taking selfies/ videos etc. They made sure to put safety first and just be super entertaining. As though  zip- lining wasn’t fun enough, we were offered a traditional Thai meal to complete the experience (which by the way was awesome). We even got a chance to visit the zoo..

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We were lucky to be around this group of 10 super enthu people from China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand etc, with the youngest member as old as 5 years! An absolute thrill it was. Zip-lining with Tree Top Asia has certainly been a highlight of my Thai trip and it’s going to be etched in my memory for a long long time.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post, as much as I enjoyed re-living the thrill of zip-lining.

Lots of Love,
The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

The tide is high

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Recently while baby sitting my 7 year old neighbor , I found a smart way of keeping her occupied by giving her the #Colgatemagicalstories exercise and I was blown away by her imagination.

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After helping her cut out the pictures from the Colgate pack, I asked her to weave a story around the cut outs for me. And she did, beautifully.

Here goes her story :

Many many years ago merchants used to travel from one place to another by ship. As their journey used to last for days, they would keep all their treasures in an allotted place and would only unload it on reaching their destination. During the day they enjoyed watching the blue waters and the beautiful sea creatures. Some loved watching the Dolphins while some were excited seeing the gold fish and the breathtaking sun sets.

One night when everyone was asleep, as a Dolphin was taking its routine jumps, it bumped into Little Gold and they got talking.

Little Gold : Ow! That hurt Dolph! Why do you keep jumping around? Aren’t you sleepy?
Dolph: Hey Little Gold, I’m sorry about that. And no I’m not sleepy, I enjoy my night jumps. Watching the stars makes me happy.
Little Gold : (looks up towards the sky) Yes, the night sky looks gorgeous.

While they were talking they heard a strange sound from somewhere nearby. 

Little Gold : What was that sound Dolph?
Dolph : I don’t know Little Gold. Let me take another jump out of the water and look around. (Dolph took a jump and looked all around)
Dolph : There’s a ship approaching in this direction, but I don’t know anything about that sound we heard.

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While they were talking, Mr Star came rushing towards them.

Little Gold : Oh hello Mr Star. How are you?
Mr Star : Hello Little Gold. I’m a little worried. As I was resting close to the ship, I heard a thud from the ship and woke up.

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Dolph : Oh you heard it too? We were just discussing it. Did you see anything?
Mr Star : (sounding a little worried) Yes, I saw a man dressed weirdly try to get onto the ship. I don’t know why he was awake this late and why he was dressed like that. He looked dangerous.
Dolph : Oh no! That doesn’t sound like good news.
Little Gold : Why do you say that Dolph?
Dolph : Have you heard of Pirates? They’re robbers. They capture everything they can, threaten the people, take all the treasure and escape. I hope this is not a pirate we’re dealing with.
Little Gold : Oh no.. I’m scared now.
Dolph : Hey little gold, don’t be afraid. Maybe we’re wrong. Let’s head towards the ship and see for ourselves. All of us need to stick together, okay.
Mr Star : Dolph is right. We’ll stick together.
Little Gold : Okay.

By the time they headed towards the ship, Dolph took another jump to see if he could spot anything.

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Dolph : Oh my! We were right. The man is a pirate. He’s packing away all the treasure from the ship. Those poor merchants will lose everything they have. We need to do something. Mr Star : Just what I feared.
Little Gold: What do we do now?
Mr Star : I have a plan. You two stay together. I will go find my friend who might be able to help. Don’t do anything until I’m back.

Mr Star left them and went to his sleepy friend Octopus.

Mr Star : Hey Octopus, wake up, wake up! We need your help.
Octopus : Wake up for what? The whole world is sleeping, let me sleep some more.
Mr Star : Oh no, you cannot sleep some more right now. We need your help. Otherwise those poor people will be looted by that Pirate.
Octopus : (Opens eyes wide) Pirate? Where? What are you saying?
Mr. Star : Come with me, I’ll explain everything on the way.

As Mr Star and Octopus were heading towards Dolph and Little Gold, Mr Star explained the whole story to him.

Octopus : We won’t let him get away. This is our environment and we won’t let crimes like this happen until we’re around.
Mr Star: Yes, we can’t let these incidents happen. We need to save those people’s treasures.
Dolph : But what are we going to do? He’s packed almost everything there.

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After packing everything, the pirate decided to first jump into the water and then put the loot  the with the net he put everything in. As soon as he jumped and was about to pull the net down, Octopus immediately used one of his tentacles to grab the pirate, the other to snatch the treasure from him, and the remaining tentacles to hi-five Mr Star, Dolph and Little Gold. The 4 of them threw the Pirate into the deep waters and he knew he had no way back. Octopus even made sure to keep the loot safely back in its place.

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Mr Star, Dolph, Little Gold and Octopus together saved the night for all those on the ship without them even knowing anything.

And after that adventurous swim, they called it a night and fell asleep.

If you’re as amazed with this story as I was, let me know. It brings back fond childhood memories.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer

Franchua D’Souza

I have a dream

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A dream to travel. Travel to countless places, both big and small. In order to start making that dream come true, I started off with my recent trip to Singapore. You must read the gist of it here. In today’s post I’m sharing my trip in detail.

For starters, as much as Singapore seems like a small country, it is not! Even if you argue that it is, it’s definitely not one of those Asian countries that can be covered on a 5 day trip. There’s loads to do and many tourist attractions. I tried covering most of those places on my trip, yet there were a few I missed out on. It was like a fight against time.

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Tid bits about tourist attractions visited:

Night safari: If this is your safari debut, it will amaze you. Sitting in that beautiful animal printed tram, you get to look around at the animals that are just a few metres away. For you to understand more about the animal you’re looking at, there is a pre-recorded audio set in the tram to give you an idea and some interesting bits.
Like, did you know Snakes aren’t really sticky and wet? They just appear glossy but are completely dry.

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The Night safari is all about the experience. If you’re looking to bring back photos to show your dear ones back home, probably this isn’t meant for you. Flash Photography is strictly prohibited as it scares/annoys the animals. You don’t want to take a chance with them now, do you?

Universal Studios: Having heard quite a bit about the movie based rides here, it was obligatory to visit the USS.
On entering USS, you are transported to another world altogether. It’s difficult not to stop and take pictures as you walk through to the actual rides. Interesting looking little buildings, Workshops, candy stalls, meet and greets with movie characters, street dances, restaurants, chocolates and souvenir shops etc will catch your attention.

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You need an entire day to explore the USS. The movie based rides are the highlights. Also while you’re at it, might as well visit the Sea Aquarium which is just across the USS.

Sea Aquarium: It’s crazy not to get impressed looking at more than 100,000 underwater animals from 800 species, swimming in 45 million liters of water. Fish lovers, you will want to live here.

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If you’re lucky you will get to see the Octopus go through a whole maze. It’s outstanding!

River safari, Singapore zoo: Though they are 2 different attractions, they can be done one after the other.
The Indian Gharial is worth all the attention it gets.
The river safari depends on your luck as sitting on a river cruise you can’t do much but just hope the animals/ birds appear into sight. The amazon quest ride passes through some interesting species that are just at an arm’s distance away.

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Singapore zoo is a huge spread. There’s a lot of walking to be done, so it’s best to wear sneakers/ walking shoes. It’s easy to lose your way here and hence remember to carry a map of the zoo.

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Do not leave the zoo until you spot the Panda (there are 2 of them – Jia Jia & Kai Kai), the Polar bear and the white tiger.

Merlion Park: This isn’t really a park. Coming to Singapore and not seeing and posing with this fish-lion statue is like having an unaccomplished trip. You can spot the mighty Marina Bay sands Hotel, The domes of Gardens by the bay and even the Singapore Flyer from here. All these places look marvelous at nights, they’re well lit up and stand out.

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China town: In Singapore this is the street you need to visit for souvenirs. The cute buildings, the bright colors everywhere makes this market attractive enough for you to spend some time here. Shopping is an advantage.

Marina Bay Sands: Even if you want, you can’t miss it. This building stands 57 floors tall and it’s infinity pool is a dream! As if the view from the top isn’t enough, imagine swimming like you’re at the edge. It’s quite a high.. pun intended.

The hotel puts up a brilliant light and water show in the evening. It’s approximately a 11 minute show that will have your attention at the water.

Gardens by the bay: Walking into the flower dome, you will be greeted by a thousand plus different flower speicies from all over the world. Nature lovers will want to make this their home.
Besides the Flower dome, the Cloud dome is a surreal experience.

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The best time to go to these as well as walk the OCBC skywalk is during the light and sound show in the evenings. Standing amidst the supertrees is unexplained.

Alive Museum: Situated at the Suntec city mall, this museum will bring out the child in you. It’s 3D art is not just to be admired but makes you one with the paintings. It’s meant for people of all ages.

Hoping this list has given you a gist about the places you should visit while at Singapore.

Food in Singapore:

While I loved my fancy meals at The Black Swan, Loof, Me@OUE, Ce La Vie and KPO cafe, for the times I was out and about exploring, I preferred sticking to Mc Donalds/ KFC/ Burger King etc. The local Singaporean food seemed too strong for my taste buds. Although I went with an open mind to try out local delicacies, the use of fish oil in everything changed my mind. 7/11 was like home when there weren’t any of the above fast food joints available.

 

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Everything mentioned is from my personal experience and I encourage you to have your own. Do share them with me. Reading anything about Singapore makes me happy and brings back good memories.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer,
Franchua D’Souza

 

 

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra#DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

Sweet sweet smile everyday

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I’m not in favor of technology booming at this rapid pace, it’s scary to me. However the woman in me completely loves how online shopping has progressed over time, which has saved me loads of time, effort and money. I truly do not even remember the last time I went out shopping for myself.

Online shopping is super convenient now a days, provided you shop from a trusted site. To me one such trusted site is Jabong. I’ve had wonderful experiences with my shopping from Jabong so far, you may even read about it here.

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If you follow my blog or even my Instagram account you will realize my current favorite color is Royal blue. The color looks gorgeous whether you’re out with friends, or for a date night, a business meet or even a pool party! I think I’d totally rock a royal blue swimsuit too, if only my tummy would comply. Sigh!

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When I ordered this blue La Zoire number from Jabong, I didn’t have a doubt about the quality of the product. I even planned how I would accessorize it just looking at the image online. I was that confident.

 

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For someone like me, who loves dancing, it doesn’t take too long to twirl around, as the subtle flare of the dress just makes me want to do exactly that.

I’m totally party ready after adding a touch of bling with those silver shoes, clutch and bracelet. What I’d love now is for someone to just ask me to join them while “Sweet sweet smile everyday” plays in the background.

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As uploading too many pictures to this post would make it heavy, I suggest you should follow me on Instagram and Twitter to get a glimpse of all those lovely pictures Nolasco clicked of me.

*This post is in collaboration with Jabong, but the review is completely honest*
For any collaborations, you may contact me at thesilenthummer@gmail.com

Lots Of Love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

Summer of 69

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Actually, Summer of 2016.

What is your ideal summer style? Ideally I would have loved to sport crop tops and hot shorts with my hair tied up in a bun/ high ponytail (nothing screams summer louder than that, right) , but my not-so-toned body won’t let me.

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That doesn’t deter me from going the Tank top way though. Tank tops are awesome. They’re casual, sporty, smart,and  can be dressed up or down accordingly. They even come in a wide variety of shades and prints. While stepping out to chill with friends/ going for a movie, or just an evening walk I prefer pairing them with jeans. However I make sure, the jeans are not low waist (I hate low waist pants).

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A great method to style a tank top so that you don’t look like you’ve not just stepped out of the gym is to accessorize it with beads or other forms of fashion jewelry. With the black tank top here, I’ve used my mom’s century old necklace, love that wooden looking chip there on the pendant. And on the green tank top, I’ve used mom’s.. err.. the whole green top is hers actually. She was quite thin and hep back in the day! 🙂

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For outings or social gatherings, since I do not consider tank tops wearable then, I prefer dressing in using all those lovely floral print dresses / skirts , and bring out all those bright hues that are in my cupboard. We’ll talk about that another day. Let’s just say my cupboard is a beautiful mess 🙂

What are your summer basics? And how do you style it. Let me know, maybe  I’d experiment over the weekend.

Aso, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Photography: Nolasco Alphonso

Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer,
Franchua D’Souza

Dont worry be Happy

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Either I’m getting old, or life’s stress is catching up with me. For all you know it might just be the heat. Remember how I told you about the heat here in Mumbai in my previous post?

Anyway, since a couple of days my body’s been signaling to me that I need to slow down a little, maybe take a weekend trip or just simply relax and pamper myself. Keeping work in mind, telling my manager I need to slow down would not be a feasible option, and I’ve planned my next trip in June already. The other alternative left? Relax, and pamper myself. Sure, why not!

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Ideally I would have loved to get me some pampering done over the weekend, but the procrastinator that I am, I knew there were high chances that I’d just sleep and stupor, cancelling all appointments. Instead of letting that happen to myself, I decided to fix an appointment on a weekday itself after work at the Four Fountains De- stress Spa, Bandra. Why the Four Fountains De-stress Spa? Well, I’d been there previously (at the Pali Naka branch) and it was a lovely experience. Also, since I was heading there after work, it seemed close by and convenient.

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About the Four Fountains De-stress Spa:
They are India’s largest chain of affordable day spas with over 20 spas and 300 employees. Their mission is to create stress-free and healthy India. They’re operational in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Pune.

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Branch:
Bandra, Mumbai. (Note the nearest Station is Khar, not Bandra)

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Summer Splash:
This is the season’s refreshing massage with Lime extracts in Aloe-Mint gel. As the heat is getting to me, this particular type of Swedish massage seemed like what my body exactly needed. It’s a 60min massage that does not just help the body cool down, but also helps in replenishing lost moisture and leaves the skin supple.

Price of the Summer Splash massage:
INR 2,699/-

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My review of the overall experience:
My appointment was scheduled for 7pm on a weekday. About 45 mins prior to the scheduled time, I received a call from the spa to confirm my appointment. Knowing some last minute work had come up, I did inform them I’ll be about 10 mins late. As soon as I was on my way, I tried calling them to get directions but hung up due to the long hold time.
The spa looked alright. The man at the reception was courteous. Within 5 minutes of reaching, I was introduced to Urvashi, my masseur of the evening. Urvashi was sweet and polite while interacting with me. She was presentable in her uniform and during the massage I observed the well painted ox blood shade on her toes. Although I read about
the Summer splash massage, I asked her which oils were used, to which she explained these weren’t oils but extracts of lime, mint and aloe. Knowing mint’s cooling effect, she asked me to let her know when I’m feeling cold so that she could switch off the AC. Right enough 15mins later, I asked her to switch it off.
The instrumental music and the Summer Splash massage definitely kept me relaxed. I’m glad that the spa scored well on the hygiene factor as the room I was in as well as the attached Bathroom (although tiny) were in perfect condition. Brownie points for Urvashi as she got me a hair band and tied my tresses in a bun and later a shower cap as I didn’t want to wet it.

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A picture with Urvashi, after she was done with her shift

Negatives:
The common washroom at the spa could be better maintained. Also, I don’t like the idea of sitting on a pot and seeing a urinal less than 1 foot away from me.
A lesson I learnt was, if anytime during the massage you feel that the pressure of the masseur’s fingers is too strong for you or you’re not enjoying the cracking of your bones, you should speak up. Other wise, like me, you will end up with an ache that wasn’t even there before. Here’s hoping that my shoulders stop aching soon. Thankfully I’ve got the weekend to rest.

The Silent Hummer’s overall rating: ★★★☆☆

And now this is why I didn’t want to wet my hair. Just the previous day I had a haircut and my hair was falling so well, I didn’t want to touch it!
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Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Let me know how do you de-stress yourself? Is spa your ideal way too? Also, how do you like my haircut? Waiting to hear from you guys!

Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

Note: This post is in association with Four Fountains De-stress Spa. However, the review is given in complete honesty. If you too would like me to review your product/ service on the blog, you may contact me thesilenthummer@gmail.com