Often depicted as cowardly villains and skulking scavengers, the truth is that the Spotted Hyena is a very efficient predator that mostly catches its own prey and dominates all other African predators with the exception of lions. Standing up to 90cm high and weighing up to 85kg, the females are considerably stronger built than the males and have very male-like genitalia, leading to a common misconception that spotted hyenas are hermaphrodites.
Spotted Hyenas have adapted to every habitat on the African continent except the tropical forests, though they prefer savannas, grasslands, woodlands and semi-deserts. They’re not dependant on drinking water but will drink when it is available and love cooling off in natural pools on hot days. Spotted Hyenas easily prey on anything from insects to giraffes and buffaloes, their diet normally reflecting which animals are most common in their area, but will also opportunistically scavenge from the kills of…
I’m sitting in my parents’ balcony in Pune, India, on a quiet morning. Well, this being a bustling Indian city of six million, it can’t really be quiet. As I sit with cup of tea in hand, I try and meditate – I’ve been practicing mindful meditation of late, and so, rather than block out the noises, I embrace the various sounds that make up this Monday morning.
I count the variety – sparrows gently chirping away while a noisy crow tries to outdo them in a contest he easily wins, a street hawker starting his day (and ours) on a rather cacophonous note, the sweeper from the neighbouring complex pouring his heart and soul into cleaning the grounds that will need re-sweeping in an hour or two, the put-putting rickshaw carrying squawking kids to the school down the alley, chirping chipmonks that temporarily develop wings as they fly from…
I was standing under the light of a thousand stars. At a far distance, I could see the burning flames of bonfire.The laughter of a group of fellow trekkers and the soft murmuring of river Supin was all I could hear. It was the night of the first snowfall in Har Ki Dun. Wild freezing winds wrapped us all in the arms of nature.
When suddenly, a kitchen helper (bhula, a native word for younger brother) came out of the kitchen tent right next to me. He discovered that the frosty water in the bucket, used to wash utensils, had developed an initial layer of ice. He plunged an ice axe in the bucket to break the thin ice.
And casually started washing utensils with the freezing water.
If you ask me, what I felt in Har Ki Dun, in complete honestly, I’ll tell you that I felt small. Small under the luminous light of a thousand stars, as if the universe up above is vast and unknown. It is full of uncountable stars and you are just another short story in the universe. I felt small under the wild force of powerful winds, small under the courage of the casual act of how someone was so comfortable with washing utensils with freezing water.
My personal universe started to look small, under the panorama of hopefully twinkling stars. In that moment, all our urban worries of this modern world, the hustle bustle of meeting deadlines, completing targets, attaching self importance to everything and hyping our own existence- all start to fade away!
No wonder, the mighty mountains resonate humility.
No wonder that Himalayan people are so humble.
Therefore, I urge you to travel. Travel to explore the different shades of life and the Himalayas. And trust me, each trek teaches us something. You will never be the same person, as you were when you started the trek!
If you author a fashion and beauty only blog, then the chances are, I don’t read it. This is no reflection on the quality of the blogs in question nor on the size; in fact, many of us are well aware of the fashion bloggers who have gone on to amass millions in revenue from successful blog and social media channels, far more than I will ever earn in my day job but ultimately, we read what interests us and for me, that is very rarely fashion and beauty. After all, this is the girl who had her first ever professional manicure the week of her wedding!!
Maybe, all I really needed was the right person to show me a side of the fashion and beauty world that I would enjoy and to unleash the girly girl within me. (Though if you read my Hello Kitty Cafe post, surely you would agree…
Amer Fort or Amber Fort is an iconic tourist attraction in Jaipur. It is reminiscent of the grandeur of a bygone era.
Tourists entering the palace section in Amber Fort, Jaipur
The charm of the Amer fort starts to build up once you drive past the Jal Mahal or Water Palace. The road winds through the beautiful valley of the Kanak Ghati leading to the Ghati gate. (Ghati in Hindi means Valley)
Ghati Gate demarcates the Kanak Ghati & Amer Ghati. Once you pass through Ghati Gate, Amer Fort is another 4 minutes drive.
Once you cross the Ghati gate you enter the narrow Amer valley with hills on either side.
The narrow road of Amer Ghatiwhich leads to the Amber Fort
The road meanders through with the gentle turns until you reach the Maota lake. It is here that you…