Familiar yet unfamiliar- Deja vu! #MyFriendAlexa

As a kid, I had lived in this city years ago with my family. I used to play in these streets & go to the school located at the corner of street. My best friend lived next door & we used to walk to the school together. We shared same interests & followed each other whole day. Neighbours called us the mischeif-duo. We had explored this area together. Were lost so many times and yet found new roads.

I remember her voice clearly as if it was yesterday when I had last talked to her. Her habit of making faces at people is still fresh in my mind. And, I laugh every time I recall stories of her silly fights with her elder brother. He was so notorious or rather a hooligan as our teachers used to say.

As fate would have it, I am revisiting this city after 20 years for my cousin’s marriage. On reaching the venue, I recognize the similar shops in the side lanes. I plan to visit my childhood home located not too far from here. I am excited at the prospect of meeting my childhood friend & visiting my school.

To my amazement nothing has changed & I can spot my friend just outside her home. I shout her name and then she looks back. I wave and move towards her. But, there is no sign of recognition on her face!

Suddenly, I hear a familiar voice calling out my name. It’s my elder sister who has followed me till here from venue. She catches her breath & with a confused look asks, “Where exactly are you going? And, why did you leave the venue alone in this new city?”

I respond with amused looks,”Don’t you remember our home? We have lived here for five long years.”

Nothing could have prepared me for the reply that my sister gave, “But,we have never lived in this city and are visiting it for first time.”

I was surprised & confirmed it with my other family members. Only after assurance from my father I realized that I have never lived in this city as a child. The memories itched in my mind are figment of my childhood imagination. The familiar sights & sounds are actually unfamiliar to me.

How is it possible? How could I feel so connected to this place and what about the girl I saw? Is it my past life or a parallel universe? Or is it deja vu – familiar yet unfamiliar?

Image source: Buzzfeed.com

If you liked this post then do comment, like & share. Have you ever experienced sense of deja vu? Do share your thoughts with us. 🙂

(I have written this post as a part of Indispire topic hosted at Indiblogger. I am taking my alexa rank to next level with #MyFriendAlexa & BlogChatter.)

A day in Mussoorie! #MyFriendAlexa

I had visited Dehradun & Mussoorie over a long weekend. We had travelled from Delhi via road in our own vehicle. You can read my earlier post about Dehradun trip here. I only had few hours to spend in Mussoorie before starting my return journey to Delhi the same day.

Places to visit in Mussoorie

Camel’s Back Road – It is a naturally formed stretch in shape of camel hump. Good for trekking or horse-ride in early morning or late evenings.

Mall Road – It is centrally located marketplace. You can indulge in shopping & food. Almost all hill stations that I have visited have a similar named road. 😀
Shop at Mall Road
Lal Tibba –  This point is located on the highest peak in Mussoorie. You can view snow-clad Himalayan range from a telescope established here.But too much rain may act as a spoiler!
Kempty falls – These falls are located approx 13 km away from Mussoorie. You can reach here by hiring a cab. The falls are easily accessible and you can enjoy the water. Unfortunately, due to time constraint I was unable to visit the falls.
Cloud’s end – It is a colonial bungalow converted into heritage hotel. The surrounding area has dense forest covers which offers tranquility.
Cambridge Book Depot – If you are a bibliophile then this place is a must visit for you. Author Ruskin Bond visits the bookshop on Saturday to meet & greet people. 🙂
Mussoorie – the Queen of hills has lots to offer to its visitor. My personal experience was not so enchanting due to excess crowd over long weekend. Over commercialization & influx of vehicles lead to hours of jam on narrow hilly roads. Maybe, I will visit again on a quieter day & enjoy the beauty.
Have you visited Mussoorie? Do share your experience of the place. If you like the post, shower us some love by liking, commenting & sharing the post.
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Places to visit in Dehradun! – #MyFriendAlexa


I had visited Dehradun in monsoon over a long weekend. We drove for Delhi on our own & spent first day exploring Dehradun market. You can read my previous post here.

Day 2

After having breakfast at McDonald’s, I had plans to visit the touristy places in Dehradun.

Forest Research Institute
The building is built-in Victorian architecture style & is a National Heritage Site. You might recognize the building from various movies shot here. It boosts of museum open to public. If you are interested in flora & fauna, then you should add this place to must visit list.
Source- wikipedia
Unfortunately, I did not spend much time here and don’t have any clear pictures.
Robber’s Cave – Guchhu Paani
This is a popular picnic spot in Dehradun located around 10 km outside the city. It is a naturally formed cave through which water flows. You can walk inside the cave by passing through the cold water. At places, small waterfalls are also visible. For me it was romantic experience, entering the cave by walking through the knee-deep water. 🙂
It is advisable to wear water-resistant clothing & shoes for wading through the water. Slippers are easily available on rent. Also, there are food stalls present at the entrance serving Maggi & Momos.
There is a story that robbers used to hide in this cave, hence it was named as Robber’s Cave by Britishers. Funny how some places get names!
Mindrolling Monastery
The monastery is located in Clement Town Area, Dehradun. The tranquil atmosphere around the monastery & the beautifully carved stupas capture your eyes at the first sight. It is also surrounded with lush green gardens. The place also serves as learning center for monks. I had spent few hours sitting here & did not even realize it.
It was almost evening by the time we had visited all the places & time to head back to the city in search for food. For the last day we went to Mussoorie, I will continue with my travel adventure in the next post.
What place did you like the most in Dehradun? Do share your thoughts. If you like the post, shower us some love by liking, commenting & sharing the post.

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Things to do in Dehradun! #MyFriendAlexa

The most awaited time for a working professional is a long weekend holiday. No need to apply leaves & get minimum three days off. It was on one such long weekend in monsoon that I had planned to visit Dehradun by driving down from Delhi. Dehradun is approximately 250 km. from Delhi via Saharanpur & takes six hours.

We had started our journey early morning relying on the google maps for directions. We were so naive! The network connections remain dicey and we were lost numerous times. Thanks to the locals who were kind enough to guide us to the correct route! As it was raining, the visibility on roads was low & then at entry into Dehradun we were stuck in an hour-long traffic jam at hills due to maintenance activity.


After the day long tiring journey & some rest, we head out to explore Dehradun in the evening.


Paltan Baazaar


It is located at the center of the city and is a street shopping market. Things ranging from jewellery, clothes, toys, household items – you can find it all here. It was buzzing with activity in the evening. And there is only one rule applicable – ‘One who bargains is the king.’ You can easily spend hours here lost in the maze of shops.


Clock Tower


It is located near the Paltan Bazaar & has names of freedom fighters engraved on it. The clocks were not working when I had visited. But, it does remind us of the foregone era when the sound of clock bells would fill the surrounding area. Sounds very British-like to me at least!



All this exploring had left us hungry & we went to Rajpur Road in search of restaurants.

Restaurant – Kalsang’s friend corner


My friend had suggested me to try out this restaurant and I was not disappointed. I liked the ambience and food. It has Tibetan & Chinese variety to offer. There is corner where different tourists have pinned currencies of their countries & left wonderful notes. For me personally, this was the highlight of the place.


On the first day we could only visit so few places in Dehradun & had planned to spend next day in local sightseeing.

Have you visited Dehradun? What was the highlight of your trip? Do share your trip memories with us. If you liked reading this post, shower us some love by sharing, commenting & revisiting the blog for more updates!

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A rainy evening with Patra(Alu Vadi) #MyFriendAlexa

After a long wait, earth was blessed with heavenly showers. Sitting in the balcony, watching the rain falling on ground is a wonderful sight. And, this experience is enhanced by having a cup of tea and yummy snacks!

Having lived in Mumbai for few years, I enjoyed eating Patra(Alu Vadi) a lot. And, I had been craving for it since long time. With no one ready to serve it, I took it upon myself to make yummy Patra and relish it.

Patra or Alu vadi is made from colocasia leaves. Alu in Hindi means potato but in Marathi Alu means colocasia, hence it is named so. First step in making it was calling up my friend in Mumbai to ask for her mother’s authentic recipe. 😀

Ingredients:
  • Colocasia leaves – 8 or 10
  • Gram flour(Besan) – 2 cups
  • Ginger crushed
  • Green chilies crushed – 2 to 3
  • Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Tamarind paste/ Dry Mango powder(Aamchoor) – 2 tablespoon
  • Jaggery paste – ½  small cup
  • Sesame seeds – for frying
  • Mustard seeds – for frying
  • Coriander leaves – for garnishing
Preparation steps – 
  1. Wash the leaves by rinsing them thoroughly & drying them with a cloth.
  2. After drying leaves, cut out the extra stem & thicker veins of the leaves to smoothen them.
  3. Next step is to prepare a thick paste by mixing all ingredients in a bowl including –
  • Besan
  • Crushed ginger & green chili
  • Garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, salt,turmeric
  • Tamarind & jaggery paste

    Ingredients for paste
    Ingredients for paste
  1. Start applying the paste on leaves with the front of leaf facing upwards.
  2. Continue adding leaves to the bundle with tips of alternate leaves opposite to each other.
  3. Roll the stack of leaves firmly and continue adding paste to the roll with each turn.
  4. Tie thread to the roll to keep it in place. Steam this roll in a pressure cooker/closed pan for 15 minutes. Remember to remove the whistle from cooker.
  5. After 15 minutes of steaming, let the roll cool down for few minutes. This will help in hardening of the steamed leaves & paste.
  6. Cut smaller slices of this bundle for shallow frying or deep frying. Some people might also like the steamed version of Patra.
  7. For frying, heat some oil in pan; add sesame seeds & mustard seeds. Add the cut slices into the pan & fry till it turns golden brown.
  8. Garnish it with fresh cut coriander leaves.
  9. Patra is ready to be served. Relish the sweet-tangy crunchy Patra with chili sauce or tea.

    Alu Vadi/Patra
    Alu Vadi/Patra
My workarounds in the recipe-
  1. I did not have tamarind at home, so used Mango powder (aamchoor) as a replacement.
  2. For jaggery paste I had boiled jaggery pieces in hot water for 5 minutes.
  3. I had used a rolling pin to smoothen out thicker veins of the leaves & few leaves were broken in the process. Need more practice for this!
  4. If you do not like the sesame seeds, then they can be avoided while frying.

As I was preparing it for the first time, I took more than the estimated time of 30 minutes. Hope you like the recipe as much as I liked preparing & eating it.

Do share your thoughts about it – have you ever eaten it before or like it? Have I missed any steps in the preparation? What other evening snacks are your favorites? Looking forward to your response! If you liked this post, do shower us some love by commenting, liking & sharing the post.

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