Wishes for Joy and Good Cheer, this Xmas and in the New Year

As Christmas cheer fills the air and 2017 waits round the corner, I wish you joy, good cheer, and peace in this festive season and in the new year. As I sifted through numerous photos from our travels, hoping to find some inspiration for a blog post today, I was transported to Berlin, Paris, and even Rome. Here’s my Xmas and New Year gift to you: a selection of pictures to brighten your day, week, and year ahead.

Coming Home to Pune

Pune. A city I called home for over 20 years. From tiny steps at a preschool to the adventures in high school. From feeling completely lost on the first day of junior college to graduating with confidence from an engineering college. From weekly family outings to the Peshwe Udyan Zoo to weekend trips with friends to Esselworld. From riding a tricycle on the terrace to zooming on a Bajaj scooter in the streets.

A Gift for Christmas

Our after-school routine has stayed pretty much the same for about a year now. I pick up my 4-year old son from school, we take the metro and get off at one of the major train stations of Milan. After a session of reading maps, watching trains, listening to announcements and discussing the information on the displays, we head homeward. An enjoyable stroll. We peer into shop windows, read restaurant menus, grab a coffee and juice sometimes, greet friendly folks with a ‘Ciao’.

Postcards and Stories from Milan

I’ve always loved walking around a city or town to explore it. Sometimes with a destination in mind, sometimes without. Sometimes in a happy mood, sometimes in a sad one. Sometimes brimming with energy, sometimes a bit tired. Sometimes in sunny weather, sometimes in the rain. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for hours. And every little journey brings with it a little souvenir – of people, of places, of conversations, of discovery.

Trains, trains, and trains

My son loves trains. No, he is passionate about trains. Well, he eats, breathes, and sleeps TRAINS. That last sentence sums it up well, I think :). The clothes clips are not on the clothesline. They form a long regional Trenitalia/Trenord train on the floor of the playroom. The milk and juice cartons are not on the designated shelves. They constitute the coaches of a high-speed Italo train on the dining table.

The Blue Balloon

A weekend afternoon. It was “Lunch at McDonald’s” day. Our little preschooler loves this once-in-a-couple-of-months destination particularly for 1. Ronald McDonald 2. The balloon. Thus, Junior became the proud owner of a big blue balloon. He held on tight to the prized possession all afternoon. And then, it was time to head home… by the metro train. As we entered the station, my eyes spotted a sign: Balloons and firecrackers not allowed.

Flashback: Yeh Hai Mumbai (Bombay :)) Meri Jaan

A sudden and unexpected short trip to Mumbai (Bombay) was the perfect stimulus for another vacation. As we hurriedly planned our travel, I traveled back in time… Bombay, Mumbai, Bambai – brings back a host of memories. For my family, long-time residents of the “slow-paced” Pune, life in Mumbai always seemed to have a “very fast pace”. However, the lively spirit and energy of the financial and entertainment capital of India ensured that we visited Mumbai several times.