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 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!

A thousand miles

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Hi all,

I’m so glad you’re back to know more about my Singapore Ventures!

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Starting from where I left off..
Singapore’s Changi airport is really big, bright and beautiful. It’s so big that when we made stops around to check for free WiFi, and at some duty free shops, we lost track of where we needed to collect our luggage from. While asking authorities around along the way, we still stopped here and there to take a few selfies.. ( err.. Why not? Who goes to Changi airport everyday right ?). After getting our deserted luggage from the luggage claim area, we were on our way to exploring this beautiful Country.

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The MRT! Our first and most widely used local transport for our Singapore trip. This is where that International feeling started creeping in; seeing the locals, and the tall city buildings everywhere. The one thing that immediately caught my attention was the locals’ Fashion sense. Singaporean women love dressing up, filling-in their eye brows and even wearing fake eye lashes.. Even their daily casuals are just so chic and comfy, I actually complimented a lady on the Mrt metro about the cute top she was wearing.

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Not wanting to waste any of our International time, we started exploring the place the very first evening itself. For the days we were there, we visited almost all tourist attractions, something I’m so proud of. We used to start our day at 7:30am and call it a night only after 2am! Night safari, River safari, Singapore zoo, the famous Universal Studios, the sea aquarium, Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands – the light & water show and the observatory deck, Gardens by the Bay and Altitude 1. We certainly made the most of our time and didn’t want our stay to come to an end.

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The Silent Hummer observations :
Singapore is a clean place. It’s maintained very well by the people. No question of pollution or litter.
Singaporeans love dressing up, and they do a good job. Women’s staple clothes are shorts and tees/tops.
They’ve got some amazing modern world architecture which makes for a fantastic evening skyline.
To relish the local food one will have to acquire it’s taste (something I didn’t quite adjust to).
The transport system is excellently connected. You’re literally shopping in a mall, the next thing you know you’re walking on the MRT Platform. It’s a safe country. As a woman you can walk alone on the street in the city at 1am and no one will bother you.
Most of the places – whether restaurants / parks / hotels / Gardens / airport etc have free WiFi.
Traffic rules are followed strictly. People wait for their turn to cross the road. Also no one eats / drinks / smokes in the MRT or at the stations.
Surprisingly, the locals aren’t really sure of directions or how to get to places. We depended on Google maps because people working in stores couldn’t even guide us to the famous Gardens by the Bay.
For souvenir shopping, China Town is excellent. Things are affordable and they’ve got great deals on. It just looks like a tourist place.
Don’t fall into the trap of those sweet old trishaw riders, just take a taxi. They’re cheaper and faster.

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Hope you enjoyed reading this post. As and when I compile more Singapore posts, they’ll definitely be shared here.

In the meanwhile, I’ve become super active on Instagram and Twitter. Follow me there and you will get to see all that is happening in my life.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza.

All my bags are packed

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It had been a new year resolution for many a years now. I had thought I’d start with baby steps and gradually move towards the big one. Indeed the past couple of years, baby steps it was, starting with domestic trips to Udipi and Mangalore, and then last year a trip to Ahmedabad. Of course these aren’t at the top of “travel lists” but for someone who has only traveled to Goa annually, it was quite a big deal. And they were definitely lovely places, there’s no denying it. However the passport made last year still remained un-stamped.

This June what started off as a general discussion with a friend about travel, suddenly turned into full-on planning within days! Well they say unplanned trips are the best , and that’s how we wanted it. After some hasty ticket bookings, and getting our visa just a day before the travel date (scary as hell), and last minute forex woes, we were on our way to Singapore!

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With no much time for excitement plus the fear of our own excitement jinxing it, we tried our best to keep calm. Having travelled via Terminal 2 (T2) a couple of times for domestic travel, this time it was a whole novel experience travelling internationally with immigration formalities and duty-free etc. However it had still not sunk in, that I was actually going Abroad for the very first time. Not even when I was seated in the flight with the International cabin crew around me. Considering it was a 2am flight, as soon as the flight took off, my droopy eyes took over me and I was asleep..

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Somewhere in the morning my eyes opened to this view. 

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I’m leaving this post at that.. hoping you come back to read my Singapore Ventures and all the feelings attached to it. Until then..

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza

Karma Chameleon

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It’s summer here in India and it gets crazy hot during the day. I remember how last year it was impossible to shoot this post without perspiring which was a total put-off .

Summer or not, during the week I prefer wearing tops and dresses with sleeves to work, sometimes saving the sleeveless formal tops for Fridays. While at home, you will find me chilling in the shortest pair of cotton shorts and a tee or a super comfy loose shirt that lets me breathe. I happily borrow clothes from my mom’s closet sometimes just because they’re lose and comfy! She doesn’t mind.

Over the weekend while stepping out to visit a friend, I decided to go the simple yet chic way of wearing a tank top and jeans. Something I could lounge in for hours on end. What was meant to be just a visit to a friend’s place ended up being a photo shoot for this post. I loved the fact that the green tank top matched the environment around me, maybe even camouflaging with the grass and trees in some pics (Hence the post title).

Relaxing

There really were a lot of pictures, but I’ll share just these for now. I’m sure the rest will see the light of day on the blog soon too.

Lost in thought

Pushing boundaries

Carefree

Wind in my hair

Goofy

Happy

One thing I’ve come to realize about shooting pictures for my blog is, it’s very important to share a great rapport with your photographer as it let’s you just be yourself, totally natural and candid. There are some blogs I’ve seen online, where it’s easy to tell that the model/ blogger is not at ease as yet with the photographer. You don’t want your blog/ pictures to come across like that. It’s best you find someone you can be comfortable with and then go clickity-click!

OOTD Details:

Green Tank top: Mom’s closet (I said she doesn’t mind)
Denims: Tokyo Talkies
Orange Ballerinas: Zovi
Watch: Gift
Hairband: Hill Road, Bandra

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How are you coping up with the weather out there? What is your go-to for summer? Any blogger/ photography tips?
Let me know in the comments below and follow the blog to stay updated on my musings.

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

Photography: Nolasco Alphonso


Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza

She’s been living in her white bread world

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I am used to eating a lot of bread whether it’s in the form of sandwiches, bread with chicken gravy at home, pav bhaji, vada pav, hot dog rolls, or garlic bread. I’m not the health conscious type so I don’t really know benefits/dangers of that much bread. As long as the bread accompaniment is good, I’m a happy person.

Recently on Groupon India, there was a deal for Pizza Express at Andheri which my friends and I tried. We love deals, we love discounts and we’re not ashamed of it.

Pizza Express We knew what to expect as there was a special groupon menu available and the deal wasn’t bad at all for the cost. To make it a fun trip to Pizza express we even used the famous Mumbai Metro, which worked out like a perfect plan considering the outlet we went to was just below the metro station.

Having been to the Colaba outlet before with college friends, I loved the ambience and the vibes there, especially the open kitchen. When we had visited then, we even had to wait for 20 mins. Keeping that in mind, this time we made a reservation which really wasn’t needed. This particualr outlet is quite spacious, with a lot of tables. Also, just one of tables was occupied when we reached. So we had the liberty to decide which table we wanted and were ready to get some good service considering there weren’t too many diners.

The 4 of us went with Peach iced tea (was very watery due to tooooo much ice) for beverages, chose Garlic bread with Mozarella cheese (I did say I eat a lot of bread, didn’t I?) and Bruschetta Originale (err.. bread again! Also, it wasn’t that great a starter) for starters. Since we weren’t too excited with the Classic pizza options, we decided to pay extra and upgraded to Apollo and the Giardiniera thin crust pizzas that weren’t part of the Groupon Menu. For desserts, considering there was just gelato flavours of lemon, vanilla and chocolate to choose from, chocolate seemed like the best.

Since pictures are a very important feature of my posts, here are some pics. Enjoy.

Garlic bread with mozarella cheese Bruschetta At Pizza Express Apollo pizza Giardiniera pizza Chocolate Gelato Open kitchen

My overall rating:

Ambience: ***
Food: ***
Service: ****
Groupon deal: ***

Note: This is not a sponsored post.
P.S: I’m still awaiting an invitation from sponsors, haha 🙂

Lots of love,

Thesilenthummer
Franchua D’Souza

You know I like my Chicken Fried

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On Friday, my friends and me met up for early dinner. We chose Busago- the BKC outlet (in Mumbai) since we’d get to have some Burmese food for a change.

Outside Busago

Busago is well known for their Kaukswe. I had never been to any of their outlets before, but I knew what the food’s like, as people often call for it at work and I’ve tasted it a couple of times. Since it’s located just opposite Sofitel, behind the popular Starbucks and just beside Masala Library I expected Busago to be a big place with wide spacing between tables and all. But really it’s like a little.. I mean little cafe.Momos

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Chocolate mousse

Foodwise, I relished their Tibetan chicken momos with their red original chibs sauce. However we had to wait for over 20 mins for them to arrive. Realising service could take time we immediately called for our main course which consisted of 2 Chicken Kaukswes, Cambodian Curry Chicken and Chicken in Basil. Peach iced tea is what we all went for from the beverages section. Since I am not a food expert and the fact that the food certainly cannot be compared to the chinese (Indian chinese)/ mughlai food we are used to eating, I may not be able to judge how good the food was. All I can say is I don’t have much to complain about which is a good enough thing.
My favorite part of any meal has be dessert. We had ordered chocolate mousse and it was just about alright. Let’s say I’ve had beter chocolate mousse in the past.
According to me Busago is decent enough for a first time visit or just to try Burmese food out. You won’t be disappointed with the food, but I’m not sure about how soon you will want to go there the next time.

Happy after food

Posing

As I usually do for all my posts, I did manage to get a few pics clicked. Hope you liked them.

Lots of Love,

Thesilenthummer
Franchua D’Souza