Daunt Bookstore- A magical experience

I love reading and I love spending time in bookstores curled up in a comfy chair ,with the smell of new books all round and slipping away in my mind on crazy adventures to far away places or chasing killers through the pages of a racy thriller.Whatever your genre’ of books , a visit to the historic Daunt Bookstore in London at Marylebone is a MUST!

Why ?

Well ,for one ,it’s inside an old Victorian building and though set now amidst a lot of modern shops around in the heart of Central London , one step inside and you are instantly inside a different world.

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When you walk into the main area inside also where one can see a glass stained window and the steps leading to the basement and to the mezzanine sort of area and if you don’t fall in love with this book store then you are probably not one of the crazy book lovers that exist !

The beautiful eco friendly jute carry bag that one can buy from bookstore also has a stencilled image of this very view ,so readers feats your eyes on the image below and I hope it makes u sigh , I  did , rather audibly so …

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It’s old world charm coupled with the fact that they do have  rather large and well researched collection of books is any book lovers dream come true.

My very pregnant pal K and me spent hours browsing ,reading -of course after settling ourselves near this massive stain glassed area on two cane chairs, but hey the basement is cosier , quieter and a proper ”loose yourself in the moment” type of setting .

I did find it annoying though that some people who came in , didn’t bother to speak in hushed tones or put their cellphones on silent mode ,grrrr , I dislike such bad habits ..note: making angry bird faces 🙂

I must also add that it was very nice indeed that one of the staff members allowed me to click these images inside with the promise that it wouldn’t disturb anyone.

Of course it would be massive injustice to us and the bookstore to walk out empty handed so K purchased a book on parenting and I decided to go for a classic : Three Men in a boat by Jerome K Jerome .

I did have an small debate whether I should allow myself to splash out on other books or beautiful post cards with vintage prints but on my shoe string budget and part time employment income it just didn’t seem right , oh well , in hope of happier days 🙂

After such a beautiful experience it was necessary to end the day perfectly so after a brief de-tour to a rather interesting shop selling fresh sea food,we landed at Patisserie Valerie ( the foodie in me just ended up walking into the sea food store ,chatting up with the friendly fella there and chomping on a green green sea weed which looks like thin tiny sticks with joints evenly spaced, it is naturally salty in taste and one can eat it after lightly stir frying in a generous blob of butter just as you would relish say, fresh asparagus !I unfortunately can’t recollect the name of the weed or of the store , oh well ! ) I am ever so grateful to the shop owner who was kind enough to let me click these images !

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Well, after these visual delights , we allowed our senses to be bombarded with the amazing display of a maddening variety of cakes,pastries,pies and chocolates on display at the Patisserie Valerie. After settling onto a table I decided to gorge on tart .Unfortunately , I was so besotted with the place and later lost in the experience that I didn’t take any pictures inside this wonder full cafe. Established in 1926 all their 50 cafes spread across England have an undeniable charm ,one must visit to know. Of course now they are high tech too with a website and social media presence, their website link is given below :

http://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk/default.aspx

It certainly was one magical Wednesday but we had to part and get back from Victorian Times to attend the mundane tasks of our daily existence , ever so reluctantly we did ….

 

 

 

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Expensive Newsprint in the western World

Ever since I set foot in London a year and few months  ago, I have moaned and moaned about expensive newspapers are . I was addicted to reading quite a few as my mother in law who was started her career as a Journalist with the a leading newspaper, gets like at least 4 newspapers everyday delivered at home sigh… what luxury !

Considering that I have been out of work as in a full-time job has eluded me , I do feel that grabbing the free newspapers available twice a day at bigger rail and tube stations is a way I can get my hand son newsprint for free and have the pleasure of sitting on an easy chair in th evening ,with a cup of hot Indian Ginger tea in one hand and a crisp newspaper in the other ,FREE newspaper albeit and pretend to be 60 and discuss the day’s news with my imaginary set of 4  foggies while we sit on a very green lawn ,again imaginary and puff (again imaginary) on expensive cigars . Ahh the good old days when this could actually be made into a reality !

Sighhhh ….I can’t wait to turn into an old fossil , retire, crib about pensions, play with my grandchildren , walk around with a mop of grey silver shiny hair on my head and greet all and sundry with a nod and get fussed over (hopefully) by a son or a daughter or if I am lucky both …

humm coming back to my topic of discussion , the sky rocketing rates of newsprint . A friend of mine who is a sensible bloke like , except that he is geek 😉 asked me to enjoy the modern day pleasures of reading online news , yes I am a FAN ,absolute fan of news blogs , free ones of course – agin the key word being FREE! , I read many of which The Huffington Post is very close to my heart , makes me think of a stout teapot on a bright sunny afternoon and me again on my imaginary lawn puffing a cigar and sipping unlimited cups of tea of course all this while READING a newspaper on an i-pad 🙂

But at 650£ pounds for a 64GB and a bit more extra for a white one at that , I am sick of BLACK for now ,I cannot afford one , by the time I will be able to afford one I guess version 10 maybe available ….such is my confidence right now of landing a decent paying full-time job in these recessionary times. And people ask me why I have turned into a serious ,thinking creature and lost all my youth ,vitality and cheerful candour ! It is the recession to blame of course !

Anyway, I have a life to attend to now and hence must stop rambling and get back to hunting for a job so that some day I can actually have a house with a lawn , be able to afford not just a newspaper (!) and a 64GB Apple i-pad as well .

Amen !

Being a Workaholic… is it really worth it …???

I am a workaholic , my father is one too , he is in his seventies and still quiet adamantly goes to work almost every single day of the week . My sister is one too , so I can safely say it’s all genetic 😉 Better can proudly saying that my alcoholism is genetic …err I am obviously kidding here .

But seriously , this blog post sort of started walking into my head when I saw the so-called Last episode of Law and Order Criminal Intent ,where Vincent D’Onofrio is meeting with his shrink (Typical ) and decides that he can step aside from his massive king sized hero or at least the one he portrays for his character (let’s be fair , he is pretty convincing in his portrayal of an intelligent copper all dedicated to busting criminals and doing it with Elan’) and continue his session with her and address and admit to himself that work has taken over his mind to the point that he cannot see beyond it .I did feel a pang of sympathy for his character then , but couldn’t help battle conflicting thoughts within my mind of how work is after all that integral part of us that gives us a sense of individuality , it is necessary and mandatory.Yet the ever elusive work – life balance is difficult if not impossible to achieve.

This Workaholism – It is quite a crippling affliction I must admit , I have been there and suffered that so to speak . Spent the ”golden years” of my early life slaving late into perfectly lovely evenings in India’s most happening city ,Bombay , chasing some mad goals.

It’s only when I was forced to take a sabbatical that I was forced to see the other side of life. My choice of a career and industry meant my better half and me had different days of the week off and that meant even lesser time together than was possible otherwise. At first it didn’t matter but when I wasn’t working crazy hours and actually spent time at home , it set me thinking , was it all really worth it ?

I mean yes there is a period in life when we have to work hard, make some money so that we can have a fairly decent last few days post retirement and all that . But somewhere in this mad rat race of early morning and lat evenings we completely miss out on the larger picture . I am not entirely certain whether I can list what make sup this larger picture just that it’s made up of a zillion tiny moments of togetherness ,love , picnics , family time , catching up with pals or simply taking a break from it all .

If you go on for years without doing so , there will come a day when you look back and try desperately to find out how was it and when was it exactly that life passed you by it will just leave a rather bitter aftertaste and a massive feeling of emptiness.

I do know that in a recessionary world where jobs are difficult to come by and most people are hanging onto what they have for dear life ,to ensure that they can continue to put food on the table if nothing else .

But it is very important to count your blessing and invest good time in the people who matter the most , for who knows ,when one day ,it might just be too late to regret.

I cannot say whether I will not ever slip back into the same mode but every opportunity to do so tempts me a lot , but I am firm about a decision that has come about with a lot of introspection , I do still want to chase a DREAM, I want to have a baby some day , I do want to be there for that baby for all its important life events right from its first step to the time he or she decides to fly the nest. It’s a tall order, I know but then that’s what makes life what it is . I also want to sit back and think when I am getting old and foggy and hopefully have a grandchild or two to spoil , that I tried and maybe failed at achieving a mad dream rather than not having tried at all !

I do know this that if a few years ag, I worried that my grave stone epitaph would have the words ” Here lies an over obsessed Workaholic, resting at last” , I shall probably have more pleasant words like …” I chased my dreams and now I lie in eternal sleep , smiling down on all that love me , happy knowing that… I DID IT MY WAY ”

Portobello Market

A bazaar or a street market , now coming from India the mention of the word market or bazaar brings to mind vibrant colours, streets buzzing with activity , bustling with stalls selling everything from old forgotten door handles to tasty street food , well my First visit to Portobello market was all of this and more . It starts of as a tiny lane snuggled between urban landscape and then as you start to walk along the street there is an explosion of colour , vibrancy and goods for as far as the eye can see !

I started my journey by clicking a few pictures with some rather naughty catch phrases printed on rusting old metal signage boards , silently guffawing I choose one mentally as my profile picture for Facebook – such is the dominant position that FB occupies in my mind , it always seems to crop up into my thoughts at all possible opportunities 😉

In the picture above I wonder how the 2012 Olympics could be already a rusty “OLD”piece ?!humm;)

Then there is the Official Street sign proclaiming that Portobello Road officically begins somewhere close to the signboard shop.

I particularly liked the many shops that packed choc-a-bloc with such pretty jewellery right from exotic earrings to the most wonderfully colorfull bead necklaces that every possible visual stimuli that can awaken my brain was at work , there is just so much to amass that it left me bedazzled !

What one expect is to find some really good deals on “Vintage” products like really pretty tea cups or cake stands, door knobs, furniture even .

This one particular shop was rather interesting !

Turns out its not just the shops that were colourfull really !

I was most delighted to these a shop selling the most quaint little miniatures of a cake shop complete with all sort of yummy looking pastries not bigger than a tiny petal if kept on your finger tip! There were also intricate miniatures of violins in cases and a zillion other things.

It also has a rather massive All Saints store with their trademark window display of all singer sewing machines and what an apt fit for Portobello Market I’d say, a Vintage window display concept for a market selling all these delightful Vintage nick knacks!

I wonder who conceptualised this display; they sure did manage to procure all possible old singer sewing machines out there didn’t they?!

There’s literally HUNDREDS of the machines lining every inch of their window space in every STORE and I believe now all across the Globe in most of their outlets , now THAT really is something!

A few steps of walking ahead and there was this brilliant balcony full of the most brilliant potted plants, someone certainly does have a green thumb I’d say , what a pretty sight to see so very SPRING like .

Now as one moves past the shops selling handbags, clothing, old furniture, tea sets ,door handles ,footwear , photo frames etc etc etc there is a new set of shops that takes over with fresh fruits and vegetables being sold on street stalls , fresh flowers, mobile food vans selling everything from wraps and burgers to salads and desserts .

There are a few street vendors selling some funky fashion jewellery as well.

There’s a section of the street market that was kind of empty and not as full with street stalls as expected, there’s probably some days in the week when the market is not fully operational. But there is a massive mall with many shops inside, but my rumbling tummy didn’t permit me to enter so I just took some shots of these huge arches outside.

It’s then that I saw this board and promised to return when the Farmers Market was open, sadly haven’t yet gotten around to doing that really.

As the Poster says am sure a market so vibrant does really have a SPACE for everyone !

The last few shops and a spattering of colourfull cafes and an ATM outside a party shop caught my eye.

Then I finally gave in to my tummy’s request and tucked into some yummy pub food and washed it down with a chilled beer.

What a beautiful day Indeed!

A few handy tips if you do plan a visit to Portobello Market :

  • If your going on a Thursday,it  is not a good choice as the market shuts down shortly after noon and not all the street shops are up anyway.
  • Carry a bottle of water it’s a thirsty walk especially in the summer.
  • It’s a short walk when one exits from the Notting Hill Gate Tube station.
  • Make a mental note of the loos that are around by reading the info in the link below ,it’s important !

There is a website offering a wealth of info about the Market on http://www.portobellomarket.org/. I especially liked the detailed way in which they have listed places to run if your bladder is about to burst , mine was and I almost died when the public self cleaning toilet door swung open as it was in a disastrous condition sadly !So one of the pubs it was then , what a relief !

P.S: All Images used in this article are clicked by me so if you do resuse them kindly give me due credit !

Oh India I miss your COLOURS SIGHTS SOUNDS and smells ..well almost all of them;)

One of the things I miss most about my life in India is the COLOUR, the colours of daily clothing for example worn by women even in the most modern of cities as it collides with the Sauvé greys and blacks of the suits that walk around. I sorely miss wearing Indian clothes and my favourite glass bangles. Moreover the whole thing where we have colour as part of our home decor is also something I really miss. I have taken a vow that each time I visit India next I shall surely buy some key pieces for placing in my flat to give it a distinctive Indian flavour, the more vibrant colourful and hard to get the object the higher will be its place of importance in my heart and home .

There are these times I miss all that I did like the zillion times I would walk into FAB INDIA with A OR P or just saunter in by myself and ogle at the lovely fabrics and the salivate over the chunky jewellery I especially love their short kurtis (tunics) and silver earrings . I love FAB INDIA clothes and mix matching them with different pieces to wear.

Long back this close pal of mine, S, told me about this blog called Rang Decor , it’s a splash of very beautiful photographs of extremely well done up homes and also awesome places , the most recent post about Kutch and how art is literally everywhere sitting silently amongst very obvious harsh weather and stark poverty is quite a lovely post to SEE , read ,feel and think !

http://rangdecor.blogspot.com/

Such are the ways I amuse myself when I feel the “I miss INDIA” Nostalgia pangs coming along .This is followed by a session of listening to old Bollywood songs on you tube , browsing through photographs of close family and friends for the millionth time and then looking outside to see an almost empty street save for the occasional bus that zips past and some cars . How I miss the sights and sounds of Bombay and Pune. I progress to making a cup of hot tea for myself and start listening to some golden oldies from the Kishore Kumar era ! Sighhh Lifeee …..

Of movies and GREAT MOVIES

Some movies have such an impact that they make you smile somewhere deep inside , they give us hope , that kind of hope that can stir up a twinkle in the eye of even the most deprived of souls …The Shawshank Redemption is one such movie.

I cannot fathom why I haven’t seen it for all these years …

It’s the kind of movie I would see with my Father , he loves watching war movies ,old westerns and the like .When he and my mother came to visit us last year we had a lovely few weeks together. He made a list of his all time favourite films all old English awesome one really …I would love to share that list will try and find the paper where he wrote it …

We would have an early dinner and then I would download the movie on my laptop using utorrent and my parents and me would crowd around my laptop and watch it only stop if I wanted a break in between I always do, movies make me hungry errr hungrier to be honest …am always hungry 😉 My mum doses off after the first 15 minutes and wakes up after a few more and asks why so and so did this and what is happening and then dose off blissfully again , though she’s one determined person I tell you , she wouldn’t quit halfway would sit through to the end with me and daddy.

Anyway, this ritual went on for about 15 days after which my Laptop crashed due to some bug and when it was done up again it was time for them to go , the weather had changed ,it was much colder than their old bones could handle so they would turn in earlier and stay home most day.

I do miss them, but I miss my dad the most when I see such movies. I almost imagined I was curled up next to him as I was seeing this movie. Will call him tomorrow and tell him about it, of course am sure he has seen it and will have some interesting movie facts to tell me, he always does.

The following lines are ingrained in my mind forever and ever – “Hope is a Good Thing,Maybe the BEST thing and Good Things NEVER Die” – Andy from The Shawshank Redemption.

It’s a movie that will stay with me for a long long time to come ,maybe some day I too shall sit down with my kids and share such moments ….hopefully 🙂

P.S: Baba’s List of Must watch movies , family favourites at ours and anytime watchs for a LIFETIME…

*Where Eagles Dare

*North By North West

*The Bridge on the River Kwai

*The Eagle has Landed

*The man who knew too much – who can forget Doris Day singing Que Sera, Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

*Dial M for Murder

*Psycho

* Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid

*Mackenna’s Gold

*It Happened One Night

*The 39 Steps

* Godfather 1 &2 …. Oh Marlon Brando what he did no one ever has and no one ever can these movies and books are EPIC !

* The Day of the Jackal

*Casablanca

*Rear Window…Irony was I saw this when I was in bed nursing a broken leg 😉

*Frenzy

* One Flew over the cuckoo’s nest