My Subcontinental Adventures

Welcome to मेरे उपमहाद्वीप साहसिक, or "My Subcontinental Adventures"!


Welcome to my blog, मेरे उपमहाद्वीप साहसिक, or as some Americans would say, "My Subcontinental Adventures."

It's that time again; time for an adventure that is! Even when I try to stay in one place, it never really lasts for too long. If you are not aware of my travel plans, I will be leaving for Hyderabad, India March 7th and living there for 3 months while working on my client project and training in SAP. After I am finished with my assignment on the subcontinent, I will head up to Nepal to trek to the Mt. Everest Base Camp! I am thrilled to be embarking upon this once in a lifetime experience and am excited to share it all with you in this blog!

Many of you are familiar with my blog from my European travels and this blog will follow a similar style with me posting on a weekly or as-needed basis. Be aware though that I will be approximately 12 hours ahead of you (depending where on the globe you currently reside) so posts may pop up at odd hours. You could also follow my blog and be notified of posts, just sayin'....

I anticipate sending many postcards again as I did while travelling in Europe so please send me your mailing address. I can promise you that I will send you at least one postcard. I think I will be able to send some from the Everest Base Camp, wouldn't it be cool to receive one from there? It would be, so send me your address! Please send your addresses to my gmail account at

That is all for now, so excited to share this experience with you all!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Week 10 in the Backwaters of India

Week 10 in the Backwaters of India
  1. Humidity; this is good for my skin right?
  2. If we play ten fingers when I get home, I will no longer be able to say, "Never have I ever ridden on a motorcycle."
  3. Everest Basecamp adventure begins in 2 weeks, yikes!
The view from our houseboat and an
example of what one looks like!
This past weekend we went on our last Indian excursion to Kerala. You could tell we were all worn out from travelling by just observing us on the houseboat Saturday day. We spent most of our time simply lazying around, reading our Kindles, or taking naps. But hey, India has really tired us out!

Kerala was a fantastic way to wind down from our Indian adventure and begin the process of ending our time in India.

Although the humidity of Kerala wrapped around us like a wet towel when we walked out of the plane in Kochi, I have a feeling that all of that humidity and sweating must have been somehow good for our skin, at least that is what I like to believe. The coconuts were aplenty in Alleppey as well as the palm trees they dropped from. A popular honeymoon spot, the backwaters of Kerala were like a mini foray into paradise, albeit a hot and sticky one. 


On Sunday we explored parts of Kochi Fort where the Portuguese had colonized Kerala in the 17th century.  There we watched the locals use Chinese fishing nets in the river and visited St. Francis Church, where Vasco de Gama had originally been laid to rest. He now rests peacefully in Portugal. 

It was wonderful to once again to see how many people live in India and steal a quick peek of a cricket game. 

And although my adventure here in Asia is not nearly over, and really is just about to begin, many of my colleagues will be leaving in a week to go home to the States. I think I have passed the point of being homesick and now have just gotten used to being away for so long. While I cannot wait to get back to my family and friends, I am in a rhythm of exploring, conversing in broken Hindi, getting teased about my 'Western-ness,' and eating thali for dinner every night. 

My trek to the Mt. Everest Basecamp is in approximately two weeks and as it draws nearer, I cannot help but feel more and more nervous and more and more excited.  What new people and facets of the world will I discover and more importantly, what will I learn and uncover about myself?  Throughout all of my travels, and believe you me, there have been a lot, (I recently calculated that out of the last 12 months, 6 were spent abroad) I have learned that travelling and exploring is just as much about exploring and discovering the places you are in as it is exploring and discovering yourself.

Because to me, to travel is....

To Explore. To Experience. To Discover. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Week 8 - It's an Indian Summer Here

Week 8 Thoughts:
  1. Californians (or maybe just Americans for that matter) are the best people in the world. (So said our waiter at Mahesh Lunch Home in Pune.)
  2. The US has nothing on the traffic in Delhi.
  3. I want to have an Indian wedding.
  4. I've seen the Taj Mahal?!
View from Charminar, Hyderabad
With one month left in India, things are really starting to speed up.  Last weekend we visited Delhi and Agra and this weekend I am currently at an Indian wedding for my friend Ashish in Pune. First things first though, let's talk about Delhi and Agra.

Delhi is probably my second favorite city in India.  It was sprawling and cosmopolitan and had a wealth of culture and shopping.  The most memorable moments had to be the traffic, which was absolutely horrendous, and the weather which was incredibly hot (think 'crack an egg on the pavement and watch it cook').  In Delhi we visited the Red Fort and Qutub Minar as well as the India Gate, not to be confused with the Gateway of India in Mumbai of course.  One of the definite highlights though would have to be the shopping.  In the government sponsored shopping areas, you could get handicrafts from all over India in one place.  It was very efficient and I do love efficiency! 

We started our day in Delhi with a visit to Qutub Minar which is the tallest minaret in India.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to climb up as it is not allowed anymore, but the view from below Qutub Minar was astounding.  You might have to turn your head sideways to view it here. :)


After we stopped for lunch and shopping, as well as visiting the Red Fort, we went to Humayan's Tomb. The Taj Mahal is modeled after its Mughal architectural style. The detail with which the mausoleum was created was stunning. Here are a few photos inside and outside of the tomb.

The next day we drove to Agra from Delhi and what a ride it was.  It took us about 5 hours and there were at least four overturned trucks along the way.  Seeing the Indian countryside was a treat though. When we got to Agra, we wasted no time in exploring the sites. We first started with Fatehpur Sikri which was a lovely palace with Muslim, Hindu, and Christian influences as the Mughal emperor had three wives, one Muslim, one Christian, and one Hindu. 

One of the many street views in Agra.

After a long day of travelling, we went to the Oberoi for dinner which was a palatial hotel where each room boasts a view of the Taj Mahal, just across the river.  Below is the view of the pool from the reception balcony. 

The next morning we got to the main event; the Taj Mahal! The Taj, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was magnificent. Made entirely out of white marble, the mausoleum sits on the bank of a river and has thousands of precious stones inlaid in the marble.  Shah Jahan erected this mausoleum, which took 22 years to build, in honor of his favorite wife.  On her death bed, she asked him to create a building so beautiful, the world would not forget their love and her request has been fulfilled. We went to view the Taj at six in the morning and it was a smart idea as it was not yet hot and there were few people there. 

I was pretty excited to see the Taj Mahal to see the least!

This weekend I had the honor of attending Ashish's wedding.  We attended what would  have to be similar to a rehearsal dinner last night, complete with dancing and Indian festivities.  I am told that the dancing and other rituals are carried out as a blessing for the couple and to wish them well in their married life.  Everyone was so full of life and it makes me want to have an Indian wedding. 

One of the most memorable moments of the night was when Ashish asked Neha to marry him as their marriage was arranged and technically speaking, Ashish had not asked Neha to marry him yet.  I was so honored to be apart of the moment and it made me even more excited for the ceremony the next day. I do not have photos from the actual ceremony yet, but I will tell you that it was beautiful. The food was plentiful, the people so kind and the dancing very merry.  I am about to head out to the reception so I must leave you to get ready.

I hope you are well and have had some merriment of your own this past week!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Week 6 - I am really living internationally

Week 6 Thoughts:
  1. It's official, I am abroad. I know this because I got food poisoning and an ear infection, I always seem to get something when I travel internationally. 
  2. Travelling like Indiana Jones is fun.
  3. Realizing I have exactly 2 more months. Bittersweet.

This past week was a ton of fun and came with a lot of realizations (and not a few stomach aches). It has officially been 6 weeks since I first arrived in India and it is exactly 2 months, to the day, until I arrive State-side. This is dangerous in two aspects. After going to Goa, I was very much reminded of SoCal and how much I love Cali and summers in Huntington Beach which are characterized by sunburns, barbecues and salty / sandy hair and skin. The second aspect goes back to the realization that this experience is halfway over and I hate it when adventures end, not to mention how much I will miss the friends I have made here and the food I have grown to love. I know that I will have to come back to India again. 

We went to Goa last weekend, and it was so beautiful and the Arabian Sea was so warm. We took an overnight sleeper bus to Goa and it was quite an adventure and I felt like Indiana Jones; weaving in and out of the jungle roads while sitting in a small bed with no safety belt of any kind.

My bottom bunk in the sleeper bus

The view from the bus on the way to Goa!

Just getting used to the bus :)

We arrived in Goa early Saturday morning and immediately set out for Anjuna Beach and it was paradise - a hot paradise. The water was so nice and the waves were 'rolly polly' waves, as my aunt and I affectionately label waves that 'roll' over you and gently pull you around.  

Goa was not as built up as I thought it would be, but this really only adds to the experience and adventure I think. The way to the beach was a beaten path and the jungle seemed to enclose us everywhere. Above is the view from our hotel balcony. 

Saturday night we headed to the Saturday Night Bazaar which was a lot of fun and absolutely humongous! Much bargaining was to be had.  I was also surprised to find a lot of fellow Westerners, mostly of the hippy variety. Many stalls were operated by them. 

We ended the night by sipping some drinks on the beach with the Arabian Sea stretched out in front of us and the beach shacks behind us.  Although it was not peak season, there were still so many people milling about and watching the Chennai vs Mumbai cricket match. It was fun seeing the locals' reaction to the game. 

And although Goa was so much fun, it did leave a few of us with an unexpected gift: food poisoning. But, it was all apart of the experience and really, it was bound to happen one way or another.

What I really loved about Goa though, was that it seemed to have escaped becoming an overly touristy place. It still felt 'undiscovered.'  I haven't truly experienced this feeling before, and it is undeniably something I am not soon to forget. 

This weekend we are going to Charminar and will explore more of Hyderabad, but I will wait to write about that next Thursday.  Hope you all are enjoying whichever adventure you are currently navigating. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cooking Adventures - Week 4 and 5

Week 4 and 5 Thoughts:
  1. I need to go get a boat load of Indian spices to cook food with for when I get home!
  2. Eating with your hands is a talent and skill that I do not possess but am working on.
  3. It is getting progressively hotter.
  4. We go to Goa this weekend! 
Last weekend we went to Falaknuma Palace and it was so beautiful. It was so much fun getting dressed up and fancy for a fancy dinner that had a sorbet in between courses as a palate cleanser! (You fancy huh?) The grounds were so beautiful and the peacocks that sounded like cats were pretty cool as well. But, I think my favorite part was being in the library.  It was so beautiful and I couldn't help but store the memory away for later use when I have my own library. 

The palace also had a dining room that accommodated over 100 people. It was immense and I looked around for Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast but sadly they were nowhere to be found!

The sunset was absolutely breath taking, a night well spent.
Last week passed pretty uneventfully, but it was this weekend where the real fun happened.  Not only did I laze around the pool at the hotel, but I also tried out some new Indian restaurants, got some mosquito bites, and more importantly, I learned to cook some Indian food and tea! It was quite an exciting moment. 

I took note of all the spices I would need to buy to prepare all of this at home and am very excited to cook for you when I get back! One thing that I did find interesting, and that all of my Indian friends rightly guessed I would mention in this blog, was that I was completely flabbergasted to find that Indian kitchens do not come with ovens! And this coming from a girl that dreams of having two ovens in her house one day. (To cook the turkey and the pies at the same time of course!) 

But as I realized, an oven is not really needed for Indian cooking; we cooked the chicken and spices for the rice over the stove and the rice in a rice cooker. But, if my mango cheesecake is to be made during mango season, I will need the use of an oven. That was meant for all of you in India who are reading this!

I was so excited to eat the food that we made; it was so good!

I even tried to eat 'Indian style' with my hands, and let me tell you, it was hard!! There is definitely a certain technique that you need to use to not have rice falling all over you, which I semi-mastered by the end of the meal. Many times throughout the meal I was asked if I wanted to switch to using a spoon and fork, but I persevered and am now an amateur at it, so I am told. I was very proud of myself. 

This coming weekend we are going to Goa and I cannot wait to share my experience of that with you all.  Have a great week and until next Thursday, the 18th!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Week 3 - Brilliant Idiosyncrasies

Thoughts from this week:
Celebrating Holi with ALL the colors!
  1. Different does not mean better, it means different. It means unique, interesting and utterly awesome.
  2. I need to go back to Mumbai.
  3. I love Indian food.

For some reason, it seems that 'different' conotates negative feelings.  

I have something to say, I like differences. 

I like idiosyncrasies (in fact I really like that word) because they mean different views of the world and interesting people, places and things.  As I have said multiple times to anyone and everyone that visits my apartment, I challenge you  to find something in there that I cannot tell you a story about. First of all, this is impossible because I will simply make up a story / tell you my thoughts on said object. Second of all, I love collecting different and unique things because they represent a different way to experience the world other than my own, thus I will have a story to tell you about anything in my apartment. This week I experienced many 'differences' and could not help but be amazed and thrilled to experience a different culture other than my own. 

This weekend we went to Mumbai and I cannot tell you how much I loved it. I loved all the crowds. I loved all the people. And yes, I even loved all of the sounds, smells, and the sticky weather,which actually was not that bad at all! It was actually quite nice!

We started our journey through Mumbai bright and early at the airport and then proceeded to make our way to the Gateway of India, which I was really excited to see since, as many of you know, imperialism, and how it still affects us all, fascinates me. 

The Gateway of India was built when Mumbai was still Bombay and it overlooks the Arabian Sea, and was built to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary when they visited in 1911. This point served to allow entry and access to India.


While at the Gateway, I got my wish. My wish that is to get a bracelet in India! There were several priests walking around that would tie the bracelet around your wrist and put a dot of color on your forehead. To the best of my knowledge this means good luck and blessings of some sort.

We spent the rest of our day bouncing around the city and also visited the Taj Mahal Hotel which reminded me of Cesar's Palace in Vegas as it had many high-end shops inside.  I could not help but be amazed by the grandeur of the building and subsequently, the architecture in Mumbai as a whole.

A staircase inside the Taj Mahal Hotel

Some more beautiful architecture in Mumbai.  The University of Mumbai and the High Court looked like Hogwarts!

The next day we took a ferry to Elephanta Island where there were ancient caves that took over a thousand years to build!  Many of the stone structures reminded me of the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland.  It was a nice respite to be able to go into the caves as it was very hot outside!

Walking through Elephanta Island, our tour guide walked us through one of the villages on the island and I was reminded of Mykonos, where the buildings are built so close together and with so many colors. 

(This photo is not the best example of this...)

Oh yes, I almost forgot, there were so many monkeys on the island, but they were not the friendly monkeys you see in the movies.  These monkeys growled and you were a very stupid person indeed if you carried food out in the open. 

No trip to India would be complete without a stop at a bazaar and a spice stand. I did not want my trip to India to be incomplete, so I smelled many spices and settled with buying some Darjeeling tea as well as Indian chai and masala. I know, I know, I am a tea freak... Also, Dad, you would be very proud of me, I haggled down the price of the teas from 1700 to 1000 rupees. Yes, that might have been too much, but I was happy to pay a little extra for Indian tea. :) I will be sure to get some more spices before I go.

Leaving Mumbai was very bittersweet as I missed Hyderabad and the Lemon Tree Hotel, but I would miss Mumbai and its certain 'je ne sais quoi' as well.
 This week we celebrated Holi in the office and I got to wear my saree that I purchased for the Indian wedding I will be going to in May. And let me tell you, it takes practice to wear a saree without tripping over it or letting it fall loose. It is basically a long length of fabric and it took two people to help me put it on in 20 minutes, but it was well worth it. 
On the actual day of Holi I took a short break from work to join in the festivities and throw colors at the hotel staff and my fellow analysts.  We had a ton of fun getting colors smeared into our hair and clothes. I think this is a holiday that I should bring back to the States with me and celebrate next year :)

Also, I think that this needs to be noted. I had THE BEST crab ever in Mumbai. I was searching all around me to see if there were any little bits of crab meat left over. I can assure you that there were none. They were smothered in this delicious buttery garlic yumminess and I think they deserve a shout out.  hank you Mahesh Lunch House for the best crab in the entire world!

Thank you for reading my blog this week.  I challenge you to find the awesomeness in idiosyncrasies before I write again next Thursday!