Friday, December 18, 2015

Up scaled bookmarks!

Many of us love reading books. I am one of them. Keeping a track of the pages which have been read, always becomes a challenge for me.  Seems that I cannot trust my memory… That is when, bookmarks come to my rescue.

Every time I see some stiff packaging materials, which I have to discard after taking its contents, I feel bad about it's wastage. Some examples are cereal carton boxes, boxes in which we receive gifts.  
And I invariably end up saving these cardboards to make bookmarks.  I have made bookmarks from airline tags too, these come in very handy as they already have the elastic tage attached to it.

Recently one of my dear friends, from Israel, Liraz, gifted my daughter a cosmetic set, which came in a beautiful box, which I have reused to make these bookmarks.

Here is a glimpse of some of the bookmarks I made for this festive season, to be shared with loved ones! I am glad that I could upscale the beautifully designed cardboard instead of throwing it out.

I encourage all my blog readers to reduce, recycle and reuse items in the best way they can!  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas facts!

Did you know # 11

The Christmas season has set in and we look forward towards celebrating this festival of joy and celebration on December 25.

Here are some enlightening facts related to Christmas:

1)     Thomas Nast was the cartoonist who created the traditional image of Santa Claus.

2)     There are nine reindeer's in the sleigh of Santa Claus.

3)     Santa Claus is associated with Saint Nicholas of Myra. The birthplace of this saint is Demra in Lycia, a part of modern Turkey.

4)     There is a placed called ‘Christmas’ in Orange county in USA.

5)     There is an island in the Indian Ocean, called Christmas Island.

6)     The poinsettia is a traditional Christmas flower. In Mexico (its original birthplace) it is known as the ‘Flower of the Holy Night’
The 'traditional' Christmas flowers

7)     In France, Christmas is called ‘Noel’

8)     The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531

9)     In 1937, the first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria

10)Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the company was founded.

11)The popular Christmas song ‘Jingle Bells’ was composed in 1857 by James Pierpoint and was originally called ‘One-Horse Open Sleigh.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The “Golden Fibre”

Visiting handicraft stores and admiring the craft of the talented artisans is one of my favorite hobbies. Last month, I happened to stop by a handicraft store at the Mumbai International airport. And could not resist buying a cute jute lunch bag. I was very impressed with the way it was designed – as if it was made from a newspaper!

And the good part was, it listed the advantages about of jute and its related news…
Jute is Cute!
Jute News
Here are some of the facts about Jute:

1) Jute industry engages 4 million farmers and 2, 30,000 workers.

2) When jute sacks are disposed, they are re-processed into yarn or      felt, used as compost and landfill. Thus it is very ecofriendly.

3)  Jute contributes towards USD $180 million towards our foreign      exchange earnings.

4)  Our food grains and sugar need 6, 21,000 metric tons of jute to        keep them safe.

5)  Jute grows well in lowland. It requires plenty of rainfall. It              grows mainly in India and Bangladesh.

6)  Jute is also used in making paper.

7)  India is the largest producer and consumer of jute in the world!

8)  Bangladesh is the largest exporter of jute fiber in the world!

These jute bags and other jute products are sold by Jute Cottage whose promotional phrase is : Jute is Cute.

For more information, please visit their website:

My love for ecofriendly bags continues….

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Full forms of words in a mat!

A couple of months back, I happened to stay at Hotel Suba International, located close to the International airport in Mumbai. Whilst having breakfast at this hotel, I happened to notice the paper tablemat, which seemed to be very informative. I took a picture of it, so that I can share it with all of my blog readers. It was interesting, as this mat seemed to demystify the meanings behind some of the commonly used words in our everyday life and provide the full forms for these words.

I am not certain whether these words were derived based on these interpretations. But certainly, the full forms of these words seem logical! Food for thought, for sure….

Here are some of the examples:
Words in a mat

CHESS: Chariot, Horse, Elephant, Soldiers

NEWSPAPER: North East West South Past and Present Events Report

EAT: Energy and Taste

COLD: Chronic obstructive lung disease

AIM: Ambition in mind

JOKE: Joy of Kids entertainment

DATE: Day and time evolution

PEN: Power enriched in nib

SMILE: Sweet memories in lip expression

TEA: Taste and energy admitted

BYE: Be with you everytime

Friday, November 13, 2015

Gobelin bags!

Yet another post about bags!

Many years back, when I visited the early morning farmer’s market in Ulm, I came across a beautiful cloth bag, with the image of cute dogs on it. Since then I have been earnestly waiting to buy some more. Finally, I learnt these are called Gobelin bags. 

Later I discovered these bags in a small quaint shop in Ulm (each bag cost: 10 Euros), in Salzburg (where I got these bags for a very good bargain: 5 Euros each) and later in Brugges at a quaint and beautifully stocked shop called Serena (for a much lower price of 4.90 Euros per bag)! 


These bags and purses come in a variety of natural prints with eye catchy images of flowers, animals and natural beauty. The texture of these fabrics is beautiful and each of these bags are different. I can never have enough of these bags.

*Its history dates back to the 15th century, when a Gobelin family dyers, established themselves in the Faubourg Saint Marcel in Paris on the banks of River Bievre.

The first head of the firm, Jehan, discovered a peculiar kind of scarlet dyestuff, and named it gobelin.  And started making tapestries. This factory was purchased by Jean-Baptiste Colbert on behalf of Louis XIV and was named Goelins Manufactory. This royal factrory started supplying tapestries and related items to the court of Lous XIV and the later monarch. Now it is run by the French Ministry of Culture . Guided tours in the afternoons are offered by appointment, except on Mondays and some specific holidays.
A coin purse

*Source: Wikepedia

Jute is Cute!

Bag review # 1

As my love for bags grows day by day, so does my love for lunch bags as I prefer to carry homemade lunch to work every day (isn’t it a healthy choice too?)

Two weeks back on my way to Warsaw for a business meeting, I happened to stop by a beautiful handicraft store at the Mumbai international airport. I could not stop myself from picking up a wonderful ‘newspaper themed’ jute bag – Jute News. And was pleased with the quality of the bag and to read its contents, which I have reproduced below for your perusal.

A wonderful array of tag lines adorn this bag like:
Use Jute.
Connect with Nature.
Global Eco News.
Bring home a bit of Nature from Jute Cottage.
Jute is Environment friendly and 100 % biodegradable.
Keep nature intact. Use Jute.
Use Jute, save our Planet.
Jute ‘the Golden Fibre’

Here are some of the facts about Jute, listed on the bag:
- Jute Industry engages 4 million Farmers and 2,30,000 Workers.
- When jute sacks are disposed they are re-processed into yarn or felt, used as compost and landfill.
- Jute contributes US $180 million towards our foreign exchange earnings.
- Our food grains and sugar need 6,21,000 metric tons of jute to keep them safe.
- Jute grows well in low land. It requires plenty of rainfall. Jute grows most in India and Bangladesh.

These jute bags are marketed by Jute Cottage (which has a corporate office at Bangalore) whose punchline is: Jute is Cute! JUTE COTTAGE Bags are strong, functional, trendy, fashionable, re-usable and of course - CUTE.

It has launched its exclusive range of environment friendly Jute handbags, slippers, jewelry, table mats, wallets, purses, wall hangings, durries, corporate files and folders, stationary and table top accessories.

They also execute bulk made to order bags with customized company name and logo printing. For further details visit their website:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Topiary - a form of art

Did you know # 10?

Topiary is the art of clipping hedges and bushes into ornamental shapes. Thickly leaved evergreen shrubs are used in topiary. It is said to have been invented by a friend of the ancient Roman emperor Augustus. It is known to have been practised in the first century AD.

Reference: Wisdom magazine
Cool elephants

Amazing art

The first railway!

Did you know # 9?

The first passenger carrying railway in the world was the ‘Oystermouth Railway’ running to and from Oystermouth and Swansea in South Wales. Started in 1806, its carriages were pulled by horses.

World’s Oldest book

Did you know # 8?

The Codex Vaticanus Bible written in Greek around 350 AD is the world’s oldest book! It is preserved in the Vatican museum, in Rome.

Only one book has been distributed more than the Bible, it is the IKEA catalogue!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pandal hopping during Ganesh Chaturthi!

The festival season has set in!

Last week, on September 17, we celebrated the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in honor of Lord Ganesh, the dispeller of all obstacles. This famous festival is celebrated with great fervor, especially in the states of Goa and Maharashtra.
Lord Ganesha's puja at my place

At many places, ‘Sarvajanik Ganesh murtis (idols) are placed, which are beautifully decorated by highly artistic and creative enthusiasts!
Every year during this festival I love to visit these places, ‘pandal’ hopping. Pandal is the place where the Sarvajanik Ganesh idol is placed and the premises (sometimes temple premises) are decorated beautifully too. 
Ganesh puja at my parents place

Lord Ganesha is worshipped in many households and pandals, either for 1.5 days or 3 days or 5 days or 21 days. During this festival season, it inevitably rains in Goa. Once the Lord is immersed in the waters (Visarjan) it marks the end of the rainy season in Goa.

Here is a glimpse of the famous Ganesh pandals in Margao, in the state of Goa.
The majestic Lord Ganesh at Pipalkatta temple, Margao
Lord Vinayaka being worshipped at the Municipal Garden, Margoa
Bhagwan Vakratunda's abode at Police station premises in Margao
Aarti for the Lord, at Vidyanagar

I especially love visiting the pandal at Aquem, as they always have a theme based animated display of a legendary story. This time they have depicted Sant Gorakumbhar, a potter by trade who was a devotee of  Lord Vithal. As per the legend whilst, Sant Gorakumbhar was making clay pots, Lord Vithoba appeared before him and helped him by making many clay pots. In this setting, upon dropping a coin in the box, the door to the temple of Lord Vithal opens and the many clay pots surface up….
The radiant 'Lord Vakratund' at Aquem
Sant Gorakumbhar making clay pots

The doors of the temple open...
The 'Lord Vithal' appears before the devotee...
May the Lord Ganesha shower his blessings on all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Charming Bruges!

Part 1
As soon as I entered the peaceful city of Bruges, I felt, I was transported into a medieval era with old world charm!

Yes, indeed, Bruges is one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval cities in Europe.  No wonder this city has been listed as a World UNESCO Heritage site. And the criteria has been: interchange of values, significance in human history, heritage associated with events of universal significance.
Picture perfect scenery!

Beautiful houses.

Houses along the canal

I happened to visit Amsterdam in June, this year. From there I took a tour via Lindbergh Excursions. The tour duration was 11 hours (it started at 9.30 am in the morning) and though the price was a bit steep (80 Euros/person) it was worthy to visit this heritage city. Most of the tour group members comprised of couple and families. I was was the only person travelling solo.. Well, it is good sometimes to be on your own. However, it is always better to have company...
Many 'cool' cafes dot the surroundings.

The serene canals

Perched along the canals are beautiful abodes

Fairytale settings...

We travelled in a comfortable coach, which took us to Bruges, and parked us at a place called Minne Water (the parking space for most of the tourist buses) From the guide took us around and showed us the main parts of this charming town. Later, we had around 3 hours to explore the beautiful locales. There were many tourist around as the weather was perfect, sunny and around 25 degrees centigrade.  

The city of Bruges continues to retain it medieval look with flowing canals, edged with pretty gabled houses and cobbled streets! The town seems to be very quiet with very few cars around. Most of the locals including the tourists walk around. As the town can be easily navigated on foot and one can best admire its beauty by walking around. An occasional charming horse driven carriage passes by which takes  the tourists around the major sightseeing places around the town.
A place of beauty
The name 'Bruges' is pronounced as 'Brucchhe'.
Walking past beautiful flowers

The old time charm of a horse drawn carriage

Bicycles are in vogue, and so are horse carriages for a quick tour around the town.

For the young lady!

Cycle friendly!

Gables houses..

It is indeed a splendid town, with ancient architecture. It is also an unparalleled artistic centre where lacemaking flourished in the olden days. This medieval town has retained its historic fabric, evolving over the centuries! There are many original medieval Gothic structures around this town.
The houses where the bells chime....

Parked myself!

The clock tower and the belfry.

Charming locales...

Peaceful lanes

Serene and charming alleys...

Here are 10 quick facts about the charming city of Brugges:

1)    Bruges is the capital city of West Flanders area of the Flemish speaking Belgium.

2)    The first inhabitants who settled on the shores of the Zwin, between the 7th and the 9th century, called it Bruggia.

3)    The town developed around the fortress called Burg (Borough)

4)    It was built by the Counts of Flanders and became a world port in the 13th century.

5)    The Belfry was built around 1240, and houses a municipal Carillon comprising of 47 bells.

6)    From 1815 to 1830, Bruges was part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Since 1830, it has been a part of Belgium.

7)    In the 13th century, it was the main link of the Mediterranean trade.

8)    The church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk) has the highest brick tower in Europe.

9)    Moules frites (dish of mussels and fries) and chocolate are Belgian specialties.

10) The population of this charming town is around 117000.

Wheels on the go..

Some from our tour group...

Pristine gothic buildings....

The market square!

Summer is fun!
Note: This is first post about my travels around the world (other than India), watch out for many more to come…