Exploring the world through blind dates over the years #SayYesToTheWorld #TheBlindList


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I grew up as a single child in a small town in Bengal called Berhampore. Every year my Professor father ensured that we had two vacations. The first one was always planned and it took us to Kolkata, then Calcutta. My mother had her parents staying in that city and I was amazed how different a metro city was from my town. But what I would look forward to was the unplanned vacation to a new destination during summer holidays. My parents would keep me guessing until we reached the spot. As I grew up, I would try to open the bags to see if winter clothes were packed because that would mean a vacation in the hills. Every year that I went back home, I took back fond memories of places I have visited and left a part of me in those places.

Victoria Memorial Kolkata
Victoria Memorial Kolkata

Much later, when I asked them about this game of suspense, my Dad had disclosed that he wanted me to feel the thrill of exploring the world without any preset ideas. He believed in striking a balance between bucket list, which helped tick off items after fulfilling of wishes and #TheBlindList which taught me to keep my heart and mind open to experiencing new things. This is how began my journey of travel to explore new destinations. Darjeeling, which was one of the first ever vacation spot for me is a personal favorite even today.

Chennai
Marina Beach – Chennai

As I grew up, I moved to Kolkata for higher studies. This was my first date with the world. An eighteen-year-old was trusted by her parents and Permitted to stay on her own so that she could pursue her dreams. There were deterrents in the form of discriminatory behavior in college, heart breaks in the form of relationships gone wrong, harassment by random men that led to cringeworthy moments but I didn’t let the negativity ruin my journey.

Varkala
Varkala

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Resort review – Vivanta by Taj, Fort Aguda, Goa

Last September, we planned a trip to Goa with our eleven month old son. This was going to be our first holiday together and thus I was equally excited and anxious. While browsing through the various options for an accommodation, we decided to settle for a resort that could customize our requirements related to the infant and his baby food.  A quiet beach like Sinquerim was an additional advantage. That is how we started considering Vivanta by Taj, Fort Aguda (also known as Taj Fort Aguda resort and spa) as a viable option.

Reservation

My husband had called the central reservation number of Taj group to initiate the process. For confirmation, we had to send a mail detailing out the number of families and total members( we were two families each comprising of a couple and infant) along with our credit card details. They sent us the confirmation mail the very next day. Just the day before we were scheduled to leave, we received a call from the resort re-confirming our booking and arrangement for a pick up from Dabolim Airport.

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Sinquerim Beach

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The beauty called Varkala(Kerala) through my lens

Until two years back, my husband and I were obsessive wanderers. My posting in a leading private sector bank and my husbands’ medical specialization course landed us both in Mysore. While the city is beautiful and someday I intend to write about our experiences there,weekends left us high and dry. Since both of us had working Saturdays, any extended weekend would see us planning a short trip to the beautiful places in Tamil Nadu,Karnataka, A.P. or our favorite state Kerala.

During an extended Christmas and new year holiday, I happened to take a mini break before switching jobs.That was when we planned for Varkala which was a unknown name to us,until then. But with a little help from friends, a lot of suggestions from Trip Advsior and unmatched enthusiasm from my husband got us visiting Varkala in the winters of that year. After hunting down for options, we decided to stay at Hill View Beach Resort since it assured us of a magnificent view of the sea through its website and reviews. We drove down to Bangalore from Mysore in 4 hours.At Yeshwantpur station, we took Trivandrum Express.The idea was to get down at Trivandrum and take a cab from there to Varkala. But a helpful co-passenger guided us to get down at Kollam and it took us less than an hour to reach Varkala. the resorts are situated on the cliff the it is one long stretch that can’t be missed.
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Resort review – Aqua Marina Drive Inn, Mandarmoni, West Bengal 

In the last few years, Mandarmoni has turned out to be one of the most favorite destination in Bengal. The distance between Kolkata and Mandarmoni can be covered in 3.5 to 4hours by car. Roads are in good condition. Train options are available till Contai/Ramnagar/Digha and the resort can arrange for a pick up from there.

Trying to avoid the much crowded Digha, people have started moving to the more tranquil and serene Mandarmoni. While the town has ample options for stay and most of them are on or near the beach, Aqua Marina Drive Inn takes the cake away for being not only right on the beach but having rooms that let one view the sea from both the room and balcony.DSC00409
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Resort review – Ri Kynjai, Shillong /Umiam, 

My husband and I, along with our 2 year old son visited Meghalaya from 12th to 15th October 2017. After weighing in on the options available in Shillong for stay, we decided to give Ri Kynjai a shot. The reservation process was smooth through frequent mail exchange between the reservation manager Ms. Dariti and me. The three room options available are forest view rooms, lake view rooms and cottages. While cottages are supremely luxurious spacious and beautiful, the view is same as that of lake view rooms. Unless one decides to spend considerable time inside the rooms, considering the pricing and almost similar facilities, it is advisable to book lake view rooms.
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