Take a sad song and make it better

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This line from the famous song “Hey Jude” strikes a chord with me. Love how it inspires to improve whatever it is that’s not good.

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2017 so far has been an eventful year for me personally. It started with bringing in the new year in beautiful #Thailand. In case you have missed out on that post, you can check it here. I’ve even completed my swimming classes, have learnt enough to enjoy picnics at water parks and resorts. There’s still room for improvement though. Then, I’ve moved into a new challenging role on the work front. It’s something that keeps me occupied 12 hours on weekdays (which is why my blogging has taken a back seat, sorry).

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Call it growing up, getting mature, caring a damn or anything you’d like.. But I’ve even become calmer in my ways of dealing with life and it’s pressures. There used to be a time when I’d get hyper at the drop of a hat, but now I’ve learnt the art of letting go or simply ignoring all unwanted mess. ‘Keep calm’ is my new mantra.
In fact I’ve even reduced my social media usage altogether.

The travel bug has definitely bitten me and in fact I’m even open to exploring places as a solo traveller. Can’t wait for my next trip whenever and wherever that is.

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Of course l enjoy writing and that’s why this blog came into existence in the first place, but lately I tried my hand at getting poetic too. Here’s something I had recently put up on my Instagram account. In case you aren’t already following me on Instagram, follow @franchuadsouza now!
The intention is to get better at whatever I do and improve the overall quality of my life.

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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead. Stay happy always.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer,
Franchua D’Souza.

Take me home, to the place I belong

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Hellooo everyone!

I may be a little late, but wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! Let’s make the most of 2017!

Firstly I’m super excited writing this post as I have recently returned from my Thai holiday. I’ve had the opportunity to see some wonderful places there, and I’ve soaked in everything I could. Can’t wait to share all the details about my trip.

In Thailand I covered Rayong , Pattaya and Bangkok. Each of them were visibly different from each other and most of the time I had some lovely experiences. Two things that I can happily cross off my bucket list now are Zip lining and sea walking. Both completely differ from each other, One had this whole adrenaline rush taking over while I was zipping through and the other that needed me to be calm under sea  while I walked in it and fed fishes. In  Bangkok, I felt all those happening city vibes and it reminded me of things back home (minus the pat- pong shows). Something I’ve gone a step further in, is eating Thai food. I did not experiment too much with street food but managed to try and enjoy the food at a few restaurants here and there (unlike Singa..).

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Of course I enjoyed my holiday and everything but the one thing I missed besides my loved ones was the food! The first evening after arriving in Bangkok, while walking down the Phloen Chit road, I decided to stop for dinner at this Indian restaurant Bawarchi Indian that served authentic North Indian food. Located at the Intercontinental , I knew there were fewer chances of disappointment. Plus, I really craved Indian food by then.

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It’s funny how when I introduced myself to the VP Mr. Vinay Chawla , he mistook me for an Indian girl who was to come in for an interview that evening. It did seem a bit off with the kind interview questions he put forward, until he realized his boo-boo. 🙂
*good luck to all those that interview here- I hope Mr Chawla doesn’t intimidate you*
Trust me, he was way too kind after that.

Now talking about the restaurant.

Firstly I felt at home, looking at the Indian staff around to greet us and offer the best service they could. The walls, painting, decor, ceiling, the swing, the music set up, the instrumental hindi music that played – everything made me forget that I was actually in Bangkok!  The staff (mostly Indian too) were quick on their feet right from our cocktails to dessert.

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The papadum cones itself along with their dips already set the quotient high. For starters, out of the Tandoor Jhinga (tandoor prawns), Stuffed wild mushrooms, Ajwani mahi tikka (red snapper- again the tandoor way), and murgh tikka (chicken tikka), my favorite was the huge Tandoor Prawn and the mushroom. The spices they used for the tandoor were mouth watering. Loved how it was very Indian, yet had an interesting twist.

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As a mushroom fan, I went on to try the Cream of Mushroom soup. As rightly described in the menu ,it is pretty much a classic creamy soup tampered with some Indian flavour. Don’t be surprised when you find some tadka to your soup.

When you’re in a restaurant that tells you straight that they’re full-on into North Indian kind of food, you must try the Biryani. Exactly the next dish I’m discussing.

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Served in cute little kadais, the portion is just right for 2.  The aroma itself screamed yum! The long grains, the fried onions, the spices in the biryani masala, the earthiness from that chicken in there were bang on! I’m glad this wasn’t a fusion kind of dish.
There cannot be a bigger compliment to a restaurant than for a person who is on holiday, staying at a hotel , is ready to take the food home and eat it the next day for lunch/ dinner, cold if need be, but will have it anyhow. Yes, I took the parcel, err 2 of them- chicken and the Lamb biryani (they get the lamb especially from Mongolia I understand). Did I say it’s yum??

It’s strange and funny how even though I claim I’m stuffed after eating a-lottt of food, I have plenty of space for dessert. It’s like I have a separate compartment within my tummy for it. Indian sweets are mostly extremely high on sugar and rasmalai is no less.But who’s complaining? I had it all. 😀 nuff said.

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I dined here on a Monday evening, the only day there’s no live Indian music. I strongly suggest if you plan on visiting this place, make sure you get to listen to some Indian music too.

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Hope you enjoyed reading my take on #bawarchiindian
If any of you have visited or plan on visiting this restaurant or any place in Thailand, give me a shout in the comments below! I love reading what you’ve to say.

Until my next post..

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

Heal the world, make it a better place

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In August this year, I had the opportunity to visit Ahmedabad. It was such a marvellous experience, I had mentioned quite a lot about it in my previous post. Here I’d like to share my experience in relation to India celebrating Gandhi Jayanti today.

Gandhi's house

At Gandhiji’s home

Sabarmati Ashram and Gandhiji's home

Sabarmati Ashram and Gandhiji’s home

Even before reaching Ahmedabad, I had made a “To go to” list, on which the Sabarmati/ Gandhi ashram was at the top. Although the temperatures soared then, we made it to this ashram. Visiting this place is an experience by itself. As soon as you enter the ashram, you instantly get this calming, soothing like feeling. Everything is so quiet and peaceful, even though there are ample visitors present. It’s like entering a church or any holy place for that matter. People automatically know this is a place of respect, not a picnic spot.

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Collages at the ashram

Gandhi wants his house this way

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Gandhiji’s Charkha

Beautiful work

Demonstration of the Dandi March

Close up of the Dandi march

Close up of the Dandi march

Such simple thoughts

Such simple thoughts

The ashram was full of collages, frames of Gandhi’s quotes, frames of his letters and signatures, there were black and white pictures of Indira Gandhi as a child with him, of Gandhi with children. There was plenty information about his and his family’s lives, the principles he believed in, about peace and simple living. I remember reading on one of those frames, Gandhi said there’s nothing about this life that the world doesn’t know.

At Gandhiji's home

At Gandhiji’s home

Gandhiji's room

Gandhiji’s room

Mahatma Gandhi lived here

Mahatma Gandhi lived here

I’m glad the authorities have maintained the place as it was. Gandhiji’s house is simple, not cluttered at all. It shows, that besides a man of principles, he was a man who lived a very basic life. Just the thought of me standing in the place where he decided and planned the well known Dandi march to revolt against the salt tax gave me goosebumps and all those History chapters came back to mind.

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The Charkha I bought

The Sabarmati Ashram even has a bookshop that sells books and momentos. As soon as I spotted the mini charkha (which isn’t really mini ) I knew it would make a great momento and I had to buy it. While choosing a right momento, it had to be between this, a monkey or salt. And the charkha it was. 🙂
What’s awesome is that it actually works and spins cotton into thread. I was excited as a child on seeing how it worked.

Of course there had to be Gandhiji’s 3 monkeys 🙂

Gandhiji's 3 monkeys

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I’m not sure if wishing everyone a Happy Gandhi Jayanti is a thing, but here’s hoping we inculcate some of those tough values in our day-to-day lives, especially in these days of war and violence. If nothing else, wishing everyone Peace.
Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza