Even though winter holidays are left far behind us but it is always right to turn around and bring back the memories.
After all the wonderful time we had at Ghaziabad including visit to a nursery, World book fair and to a local ceramic shop we returned home happy and content – ready to revert back to an old schedule: Virat back to school and me to home tasks. But for Inder it was busy …so nearly by the end of the holidays a short plan to Siliserh, Alwar had been planned with Bakshi family.
It’s always a pleasure going with this family. Last time when we have had a mini vacation together, Mrs. Bakshi was pregnant with her second child. Now, Hansvi, the girl with the prettiest eyes is two and a half years old. It’s fun when you have a small child on a trip.
The morning, we started was cold and windy so packing ourselves in our cars – window closed, heater on, music on – we followed Mr. Bakshi’s car closely. After driving slow in the gentle fog for about an hour, good things began to appear: fog lifted, green pastures started to show. After Bhiwadi, we exited entirely into a different world.
Closed cluster of houses were replaced with open and vast mustard fields; more colors were added; foul smell too has changed; our fellow travelers became sheep, cattle and tractors. It felt so good to be in that magical place. . After we reached Alwar, it was decided to take this journey forward…to Sariska. Virat who has never been on a Safari before, was happy and excited. But when we booked a cantor, an open jeep to explore the jungle he got scared ( for obvious reasons). But tried to hide his fear by showing concern for my camera. And so, it’s being put down under his seat and I made him comfortable by holding him tightly. He started enjoying eventually and even plucked ashwagandha flowers for me from the moving cantor, in the process, he got many scratches all over his hands.After that, we rode to a lake where we saw many swans. The sight was breathtaking. I am sure everyone wanted to get closer to those swans but we were barred. Further on our route we spotted many new birds; and animals like four horned antelopes, deer, and crocodile.
We were then taken into a dense jungle where we were sure to get a glimpse of the tiger, but no, what we saw were just the few footprints. After a while we all got tired but we being dragged further onto the same tigerless, bumpy and dusty road as there were more families on the board who were still enjoying the sights. As soon as the sun started to set the driver drove us back to our cars. From there, a monkey snatched that much earned packet from my hands. Virat was so angry because I couldn’t take proper care of the treasure he got for me.
And as our one day ended another began. The drive to Siliserh has the most beautiful landscapes, We stopped many times on the way to take snapshots. And, what we saw next was even more beautiful. Sitting prettily in the lap of Aravalli, this lake came as a surprise. Staring at this lake I was wondering how come this lake has never been considered in anybody’s plans. Probably just like us, they too were ignorant and need friends like Mr. Bakshi who can introduce them such remote places. I made a mental note to tell all my readers about this lake. Virat somehow sensed my plans and wanted me to guard this secret. I told him that tourism helps the locals and most importantly good things need to be shared. I
Though it was not a place to just touch upon and leave so soon but we all have commitments to fulfill and most importantly, next day was their exam so we returned back to our cars. But before I get anywhere my eyes fell upon another lake (in the picture above). It was unanimously decided that we will stay there for some more time. Everybody (excluding me, as I had a fast that day) made themselves comfortable in the company of hot tea and paranthas, whereas, I took my comforting charm (I mean to say my camera) with me to click cute little Hansvi who was busy playing with the pebbles… surprisingly throughout our journey that was her favorite toy to play with; the gorgeous lake with ducks; and the MANY birds that was circling over. It was a paradise. We were told by the locals that during February this pretty lake get all covered with lotuses. I can imagine how beautiful it will look then. Hoping to revisit that place sometime soon, we took a few packets of chips and juices with us and left for Delhi.
On the way back home, we visited a famous Jain’s temple. I must say it was an enriching experience to know and learn about a different culture. From the market outside we bought a few spices.
Now when Valentine day is just round the corner it feels right to make something that represents love.
RED VELVET BROWNIE
Recipe adapted from Just a taste
- Butter – 120 gms
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – ¼ cup
- Brown sugar – 1 cup
- Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
- Edible red gel color – 1 tbsp
- Vinegar – ½ tsp
- Eggs – 2
- Whole wheat flour – ¾ cup
- Salt – ¼ tsp (omit, if using salted butter)
Preheat the oven at 180 degree C. In a pan, melt butter with sugar, cocoa powder, food color, vanilla and salt. Then stir in the vinegar. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Once pale in color add the brownie batter. Fold in the flour. Pour the batter into the lined 8 inches tin. Bake for 25 or 30 minutes or until done. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before lifting the baking paper out of the pan. Slice and serve