Under The Stars: Drive-In Theatre

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Every time I hear “Under the Stars”, it gives a calming feeling. It reminds me of the summers from my childhood, sleeping on the terrace, right under the beautiful star-laden sky were the best times.

The phrase also reminds me of the open cinema or drive-in theatre. A drive-in theatre is a form of open cinema theatre which has a large outdoor movie screen, a projection booth, and a parking area for automobiles right in front of the screen. Within this enclosed area, people can view films from the privacy and comfort of their cars. Each car has an individual speaker stand near it for better hearing purposes.

I spent most of my childhood and teen years in Ahmedabad. I remember watching almost every movie at the Sunset Drive-In Cinema, Ahmedabad in the earlier years. It used to be a mini picnic for our family. Mom would cook a special dinner which we would have around the movie interval, and dad would pack floor mats and chairs in case we wanted to sit outside the car. No fans were needed as a cool breeze in the city areas during the summers wasn’t a myth back then.

Whenever we had guests over, a visit to the Drive-In was a must along with other tourist places, and everyone would simply fall in love with the experience. Also, the ticket prices to date are as cheap as INR 60 per person!

However, with the advent of air-conditioned theatres and the modern culture, a gem like this is getting ignored these days. Given a chance, I would still watch every movie at the open theatre and continue to fill my treasure of memories from there.

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Train Journeys from the Past

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As a child, I always looked forward to train journeys. I would be more excited about the journey than the destination! So, I decided to pen down a few things I miss from my childhood rail travels.

The Thrill of Boarding the Train

I always felt an adrenaline rush while boarding the train because I didn’t want to miss it. Even if it was going to halt for an ample amount of time, I would hurry in as if it would leave right away. Reaching our seats with every family member and the entire luggage felt like a victory back then!

The Monkey Act on the Seats

If you haven’t done this as a child, you’ve not really enjoyed your train journeys! Climbing from one birth to another was an unexplainable kind of joy!

Also, the middle birth that miraculously appeared at night was an unresolved mystery for me for long!

The Running Trees

Back then, when we traveled in sleeper coaches, the windows didn’t have glasses or grills. Staring out the window and being awed by the trees running in the opposite direction was a favorite pass time. Also, spotting a few deer and peacock wasn’t less than an achievement!

The Food Bag for Train

I used to start preparing a bag of goodies a day or two ahead of the journey. These could only be eaten inside the train and included packets of chips, biscuits, cold drinks, and chocolates! The moment the train started, the treasure of snacks had to come open without any further delay. (PS: I still continue to carry my bag of goodies)

Also, the delicious homemade aloo ki sabzi, pacchkuta, and pudi with some bhujia were religiously looked forward to during the train journeys.

The Train Vendors and Station Food

No matter how many packets of chips or biscuits I carried, I still made a puppy face to convince my parents when the bhel wala, or the samosa wala came shouting in their melodious voices! I particularly remember every time we traveled from Ahmedabad to our home town Jodhpur, the train used to halt at a station named Abu Road somewhere around midnight, and my dad used to get down to get Rabdi(an Indian dessert) for us! Each bite was cherished back then, and those memories are a treasure now.

Playing Cards and Reading Comic Books

Another thing we did religiously was play cards at least once during each journey and we still do! Reading comic books like Champak, Pinki, Lotpot, Diamond Comics and many more was one of the best parts. Today’s kids with tabs and mobile phones will never understand the restlessness before buying a new comic book and finishing it within hours!

Reaching the destination within two hours by flight isn’t as much fun as enjoying and spending time with family during an eight-hour journey by rail. I still prefer traveling by train, especially when I’m not traveling alone.

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Subconscious Mind and It’s Power

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What is the Subconscious Mind?

The part of our mind that notices and stores information when we are not actively trying to do so; and influences our behavior based on that information without us even realizing is the subconscious mind. For example, memories, beliefs, fears, etc. are a part of our subconscious. Whether we try to remember them or not, this part of our mind stores it forever.

How is it different from the Conscious Mind?

The conscious mind is the awareness of our thoughts, surroundings, feelings, and sensations. Like if we are feeling thirsty, or feeling cold, it is all in our conscious mind. However, our subconscious mind will many a times pick up the bottle of water kept in front of us when we are thirsty, although we are on an important call and didn’t really consciously think of picking up the bottle; because over the years, our conscious mind has taught the subconscious mind to drink water when we feel thirsty.

That is why new born babies don’t pick up bottles to drink water when they are thirsty. Instead, they cry because their conscious mind has taught their subconscious that crying would draw attention towards them and their thirst would be taken care of.

How intelligent is the Subconscious Mind?

Our subconscious mind has a stronger sense of awareness than our conscious mind (some even call it the sixth sense). However, it actually simply obeys orders from the conscious mind. Whatever comes into our conscious mind, will be considered true by our subconscious. Therefore, if you have a negative thought process, your subconscious will always give you negativity such as anger, fear, anxiety, etc.

For example, if you once consciously got angry on someone who didn’t follow your orders, your subconscious mind will record this and the next time the same situation comes up, your emotions of anger will be triggered automatically, without a second thought. But instead, if you acted with patience the first time someone didn’t listen to you, your subconscious mind will nurture the patience it learned from your conscious mind. This is the reason some of us are called as patient beings while some are known to be angry all the time.

Does Subconscious Mind define who I am?

Definitely! You are exactly what your subconscious mind is. If your subconscious has positive thoughts, you’ll be positive all the time, if it has thoughts of jealousy, you’ll always feel jealous, if it has feelings of competing, you’ll feel the need to compete every time. Hence, our subconscious mind defines us who we are. You can even achieve the impossible if you simply make it believe in something. You just have to make your subconscious mind believe, and consider the deed done!

The Power of the Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy gives real life examples of how your subconscious can control and improve the quality of your life. It states how you can get that promotion you deserve, overcome phobias and bad habits, strengthen interpersonal relationships and increase your wealth. This book has changed my thought process and there’s always something new to learn every time I re-read it.

Can I change my Subconscious Mind?

Absolutely! As you saw subconscious simply learns from the conscious mind. So whatever you consciously teach, subconscious learns and gives it back to you.

For example, you are a person who stays angry all the time and even the slightest of mistake can cause you to burst out into flames. But if you decide to change this behavior of yours and become a patient person, then you most definitely can. However, it’s not going to be very easy. You have to start imagining yourself as a calmer person. Imagine yourself in a situation which would usually get you all worked up, and then imagine yourself accepting the situation and handling it with grace. You literally need to imagine every thought you would want to have in that situation and the exact conversation you would want to have with the opposite person.

When the next time, you are in a situation like that stop and consciously decide how you would want to react. When you repeat this action a few times, the subconscious will overwrite your anger emotions with that of patience. Now it will only give you feelings of being patient and calm even when the world is turning upside down.

This is the power of the subconscious mind and if worked upon carefully can work wonders.

Romantic Ideas to Impress Your Bae

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If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, things can sometimes get monotonous. Here are a few simple ideas to break the routine and revive the romance.

Candles and Flowers

Candles and flowers can never go wrong! Set up a romantic scene at home using flowers, special lighting, scented candles, and music. You may write small messages for him/her using flower petals or just scatter them on the floor, it will work either way.

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Random Candle Light Dinner

Surprise them with a candlelit dinner in the middle of a stressful week. Dinner dates on birthdays, anniversary or valentine’s are too mainstream. Cook their favorite food and play some soothing music. A romantic date at home after a long day at work will melt away their stress.

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Leave Small Notes

Write small notes and drop them at places they would definitely look. Like a sticky note on the mirror or on their laptop, a note attached to their toothbrush or inside their lunch bag, etc. You may write romantic notes to express your love or encouraging notes if they are going through a hard time.

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Do a Class Together

Pick an activity you both would like to do together. For example say a cooking workshop, painting class, pottery, etc. In today’s busy life we often forget to do things together. Taking up these workshops will help you spend time together and know each other better.

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Relive Your First Date

Reliving old moments always brings joy and what better romantic idea than reliving your first date. You can wear what you wore on your first date or maybe something similar; order the same food from your first date if it was at a restaurant. It will make you both reminisce how you started and realize how far you’ve come together.

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Quick Summer Solutions for Skin

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Summers are here and so is dull and irritable skin! To feel fresh and allow your skin to breathe, here are a few age-old skin remedies which take no time to prepare.

Refreshing Mint and Turmeric face pack

Grind a handful of mint leaves, add a pinch of turmeric powder and a few drops of lukewarm or cold water. Apply the paste to your skin. Leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm or cold water.

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Soothing Cucumber and Sugar face pack

Mash 3-4 cucumber slices and add a pinch of sugar to it. Refrigerate the mixture for some time. Once it has cooled, apply the paste on your face. You may leave it for 10 – 15 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm or cold water.

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Curd and Gram Flour de- tan face pack

Rejuvenate your sun damaged skin with this de-tan curd and gram flour pack. Mix them in equal parts and apply to your face or any tanned area. Once the pack has dried, rinse with lukewarm water.

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Tomato pulp face pack for oily and tanned skin
Extract tomato pulp from one tomato and add in it a drop of honey. Apply the paste on areas where you want to de-tan and leave for about 15 minutes. Wash it with cold water.

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Aloe Vera  and Rose Water face mist

Good face mists are usually pricy and during summers you wish like spraying it all over every 10 minutes! So, here’s a face mist that would suit all skin types and pockets. Mix one part aloe vera gel and three parts rose water in a spray bottle and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Shake well and you have a perfect face mist! You may either take fresh aloe vera extract for this or use the aloe vera gel available in the market. Make small batches as it lasts for 7-8 days when kept refrigerated.

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Phuket – Eat. Shop. Beach. Repeat.

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Our trips are usually hectic as we try to see and experience everything the place has to offer and end up returning exhausted from the holidays! However, we planned to take it easy on our five day trip to Phuket and indeed returned back rejuvenated. My husband and I were accompanied by my sister – in – law, her husband and their adorable twin daughters.

Best time to Visit

Summers in Phuket (Thailand) are unbearable due to the scorching hot temperatures and high humidity.  The best time to visit the place is between November and February. Although we visited Phuket in late November, the heat was torrid!

Currency & Visa

Baht (THB) is the currency of Thailand. It is equivalent to 2.18 INR and 0.031 USD.

Indian passport holders visiting Thailand can avail Visa on Arrival. The Visa on Arrival fee for Indians is around 2000 baht. However, around the time when we visited Thailand, the visa fee was exempted for Indians (the fee exemption for Indians has been extended until April 2019).

Our Accommodation

We stayed at the Novotel Phuket Resort which was a 10 – minute walk from the Patong Beach. Overlooking the Andaman Sea, it had the best view in Phuket. It’s interior and the 3 – tier pool was mesmerizing! One of the best parts was their lip-smacking food spread.

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Day One

Our first day was all about relaxing in the hotel pool accompanied by a few drinks and trying Thai cuisine.

If you wish to explore Thai cuisine, you must try Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup), Som Tum (spicy green papaya salad), Pad Thai (Thai style fried noodles) and Pad Krapow (Fried basil and pork served with steamed rice).

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Almost at around 10:00 PM, we got to know about the Full Moon Party which is held on every Full Moon night on the Paradise Beach and we had to experience it! It was a crazy gathering under the glowing Moon with music playing and everyone dancing around! There were a variety of fire acts too. It was a thrilling experience.

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Day Two

To enjoy the city views and travel privately, one can easily rent scooters in Phuket at 150 Baht per day. We rented two scooters and headed towards the Big Buddha statue atop Nakkerd Hill. The Buddha statue depicts Gautama in a sitting position and is 45 metres (148 feet) tall and 25.45 metres (83.5 feet) wide. It is made of concrete and covered with Burmese white marble.

Since the statue is located at the top of a hill, the upward inclination was a little risky to cover on the scooters (some people do reach atop on scooters). So, we decided to stop mid-way and hire a small truck which would take us to our destination. They are easily available for tourists in case you wish to rent one.

The Great Buddha of Phuket is a sacred place; hence visitors are expected to wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees. The view from atop is breathtaking. The trees here are covered with bells, each with a wish written on them. It is believed that the blowing winds would ring the bell and make the wishes come true.

We ended our day with a walk on the Patong beach after having dinner at a nearby restaurant.

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Day Three

If you are traveling to Phuket, do cover Phi Phi Island which is a two-hour ride by ferry. The ferries are equipped with food and drinks. You may also take speed boats which take an hour lesser to reach the islands.

Once we reached Phi Phi, we were taken to the Monkey Beach for snorkeling. Yes, the Monkey Beach is named so because of the many monkeys that live there (don’t worry they won’t trouble you until you don’t trouble them). You can snorkel in the ocean water for as long as an hour. We then headed towards the city area for our lunch and spent some time in the beach area.

As the day was a little tiring, once we reached our hotel back in Phuket, we ordered room service and called it a day.

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Day Four

Beach holidays can sometimes get tiring due to all the time you spend in the waters. So, day four had to be about Thai spa! We shopped in the local markets along the Patong beach first and then headed towards Let’s Relax Spa, the best massage and spa chain in Thailand. The two-hour massage was the ultimate relaxant. I strongly recommend the two-hour Thai massage at Let’s Relax Spa. Don’t worry about the price, each penny will be worth when you walk out.

We then enjoyed the calming sunset on the Patong Beach and made sand castles!

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Day Five

As this was the last day in Phuket, we relaxed in the pool attached to our room (we literally stayed in the pool for four hours straight).

In the evening, we attended the very famous cabaret show at the Simon Cabaret Show. The one-hour long act was simply mesmerizing! We were awestruck by the sets, costumes, and performances. The performers swayed on songs from various countries in the world, including a Bollywood number “Dilli Wali Girlfriend”. After the show, the performers stand in a queue outside the auditorium and one can click pictures with their favorite character(s). They charge 100 baht per performer, per photo.

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As the next day we had an early flight to catch, we concluded the day with dinner at the hotel restaurant. If I could, I would bring the Thai cuisine and the Thai spa along!

 

Only if it was Forever…

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A garden had started to be laid

Its growth was going to be delayed

They didn’t know a love affair had started

Between the land and the grasses

 

She was gleaming to bear the first green growth

But had to just keep it under their nose

For they wanted the cemented riches

Not just any green pitches

 

Someone had started to breathe again,

And now crawled out of the scared den

Who frightened by the mosses

Didn’t want to face any more losses

 

But alas! Not long did it take

For them to walk all over the green cake

The grasses were uprooted brutally

Now nothing would remain as beautifully

 

Tall shiny constructions were erected

The land had no choice but lay there dejected

Wondering what sort of flowers would have grown

Only if they had known

 

Only if they had once a lover…

Only if it was forever…