Doing that thing you do

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Hi all,

Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Christmas season. The year has almost wrapped up & honestly I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I think I’m otherwise a kind person, so when I say 2018 has beaten the shit out of me, you should believe.

Anyway now that I’m glad it’s coming to an end, to keep some distracting thoughts away I started thinking about plans for the coming year. Not resolutions per se, but more like a bucket list. In the past I’ve attempted making a list of things I’d like to accomplish but I’ve somehow put it away after drafting 2-3 points. Maybe I should’ve tried after chugging some chilled beer, well it’s never too late!

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Bucket list for 2019:

– Visit Pondicherry in South India. I’m keen on exploring those French colonies on bicycles and seeing the beautiful Auroville ashram. I will be picky about whom I go with here because honestly I wanted to do a solo trip.

– Take up a new class. There are a couple of things that seem interesting but I need to figure how feasible it really is with my work timings. I’m thinking of contemporary dance, learning a musical instrument, or even attending a bar tending workshop.

– 2018 has damaged my hair (and me) and by the looks of it, it’s beyond repair. I’m thinking maybe Hair spa? Need to do a little research on how this works.

– Here’s a fact that I often use to get away from the marriage topic. I cannot cook. And that’s 100% true, I don’t know how to prepare a single dish from scratch, let alone an entire meal.  No plans of marriage for me, but it certainly wouldn’t harm to learn some easy to cook recipes.

– Commit to a charitable cause. It’s been on my mind for sometime now. I want to spend my time with the old & the lonely, with under privileged kids, with cancer patients. And I do not want it to be a Birthday or a Lenten or a Christmas deed. I want to definitely commit to this. If possible, I request you to add this to your bucket list too.

– A tattoo. For close to 2 years, I’ve pushed the thought away. But maybe the tattoo was destined to happen in 2019. Hint : It will have a musical sign for sure.

– Take mom on a holiday, whether domestic or International doesn’t matter, but a nice pampered vacay is what we need. Look at us from the recent Goa trip!

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– Post a lot more here on the blog

– Maybe get a life!

I’ve tried to keep my bucket list as basic and achievable as possible.  I really don’t care about things like Bungee jumping off a cliff or sky diving or scuba diving or seeing the Eiffel Tower. Maybe at some point I did, but with time these things have changed.

Let me know what do you look forward to in 2019.

Anyway wishing you all a fantastic end to 2018. Be happy, be safe. Travel a lot, read and blog a lot more!

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer

Franchua D’Souza

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Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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Hello all,

This is not really a blog post, but just a quick way of reaching out to everyone possible and wishing you and your loved ones – Merry Christmas!

Christmas is so much more meaningful when you are with near & dear ones, when you spend it with people who are a huge part of your life. My personal request to all of you would be that this Christmas, pick up the phone and speak to that one person who at some point in your life meant a lot to you but for whatever reason (or simply with time ) you both have lost touch. Even if one person is reminded / inspired by this post, and is able to restore a relationship, I’d be delighted!

We live in a tough world any which way, let’s add some Christmas cheer to it! The world really needs it.

Stay happy everyone.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer,

Franchua D’Souza

 

Seasons in the Sun

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When we look at social media today, everything is about the happy and perfect life, isn’t it? About Holidays, weddings and babies. We aren’t used to people actually displaying their real life, their real struggles. Today I’ve decided to share some real thoughts about my own life. #NotAshamed

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Have you ever felt like you don’t belong to your generation? Like you take things very seriously as compared to others? Like everything around you is moving at lightning speed? Like The music we have today is rubbish? Like Relationships & equations today are really a joke? I always felt I was a little too mature amongst my peers. I don’t have a dramatic story and it has got nothing to do with a rough and difficult childhood, or some traumatic event I went through or anything like that. That’s just the way I’ve been. As a child I didn’t enjoy watching cartoons, I still don’t know anything else besides the names of Tom and Jerry, Scooby doo, Aladdin, Jasmine, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Don’t even get me started on Harry Potter/ Twilight or the recent Game of Thrones. I never gave into or for that matter even found double meaning jokes funny where people around me laughed their butts off. I always calculated my thoughts, always kept my head on my shoulders and thought I had everything planned out for myself. In fact I even planned at what age I would let myself actually consider a relationship. I had decided that at the age of 28 I’d settle down. I didn’t enjoy the clubbing scene as much as people my age did, honestly I still don’t. I enjoyed English classic music thanks to my parents who introduced me to that genre of music since I was a kid, I enjoyed going to dances where people waltzed and jived the evening away. When it came to romance, I actually enjoyed the attention while being wooed, while being flirted with, rather than putting myself out there directly. Not that I expect it, but even today I find chivalry very impressive.

I wonder if there are people out there who feel the same way. I may have joked about it many a times about how I actually belong to the generation before mine, but I honestly feel like that. I don’t give into latest trends easily whether it was the blackberry phase or now the Iphone phase, Hotstar or Netflix. I know as I’m writing this that I may be judged and will probably be considered the mood dampener among the young and lively ones. Boring too maybe. Not that it makes a difference anyway.

The reason I’m putting this down is not because I want to show or prove something. Not like these are my life’s success theories that have made life special. Today I’m a 28 year old woman, who’s life is far from sorted. Even far from married. Thanks to the personality I have, I struggle a lot more with this fast paced world. Words affect me. Things that people say casually, get imprinted on my mind & memory for the longest time. I easily believe when someone looks me in the eye and says something. I do go on face value. I do not go about befriending every second person for any benefit, but once I do have a connection or a bond with a person, I value it for life! This brings me to discussing things I absolutely fail to understand, like “How do people suddenly cut off from those that mattered to them all along?” , “How do people let go off all the good times, memories, all the love and friendship they shared, and actually treat the other as though dead or as a stranger in life?”, Even lyrics like “Now you’re just somebody that I used to know” astounds me! I can’t seem to fathom how it’s done like a breeze for some.

This week 2-3 people at work pointed out to me that I always have a smile each time they see me, like everything is great. It’s ironic actually as this week has been one of my worst weeks in the recent past. Overall the last one year has been the most exhausting year for me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It’s taught me a lot about myself, about how stubborn I am, how stupid I am, about my strengths & weaknesses, about how much I can and will do for my people if I put my heart to it etc. I know one should never say never but I’ve have actually sworn against a number of things for my own good too, even if that rips my heart apart.

This particular post as well as some of my recent insta posts may appear as though I’m depressed. I’m unsure about “depressed” but it’s true that I’ve been in a very pensive mood for the longest time I’ve known. I’ll try to come up with more vibrant and happy posts next, I assure you. Be patient. If you’re still reading this, I really wish you well. Life is no cake walk I know, I’m certain you have own challenges too, I just hope you choose your battles well and fight them even better.

Until next time,

Yours truly,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

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