Tag Archives: book lover

Ten things I learned in New York

17 Jun

I love love love New York. 

Honestly speaking I am absolutely addicted to the city. The pace, the energy, the constant inspiration from every direction that can at times push your mind into overdrive, but usually keeps making you do your best-it is honestly a city where you feel like no dream of yours is out of your reach.

However, more than that, the city is always going to have a special place in my heart for it saw me stumble through a long month as I made my way around it on my own- adventuring, learning, falling and picking myself back up. At the end of that month though I felt like I could relate with Alicia when she crooned the iconic lyrics. The streets did “make me feel brand new” in a way that I can’t explain, and I felt more inspired there than I had ever before.

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Today I am going to share with you some of the lessons that I learned during that month, hoping that some of you will be able to make good use of all that I stumbled upon during my (mis)adventures in New York!

  1. Don’t shy away from asking for help. A smile and a kind “hello” opened up so  many wonderful conversations for me and is one of the main reasons I was able to see a side of NY I had never been able to when I visited it for those four/five days, going to only the mainstream ‘touristy’ spots. A quick question for some advice led me to see/eat at/experience the spots the New York-ers preferred (the ones that weren’t madly crowded by tourists) and I love NY all the more because of those experiences!

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    The (at times creepy) subway

  2. The Subway wasn’t difficult to figure out. At all. It took me a day to get the correct feel of it, and a week to learn the names of all the pertinent stops and even to learn the difference between SoHo, NoLIta etc. Besides, google maps was honestly a life saver for me when all else failed. BUT. Don’t rely on those around you in the subways to guide you correctly. I realized within a couple of days that most of them were either new to the city or tourists and more often than not gave me incorrect advice.
  3. Some of the best places to eat at are in Brooklyn. The place is full of hidden gems including some of the best bakeries (with some of the best bagels) ever! (More on that in an upcoming post.)
  4. Do not leave your house without your ID. Honestly, never ever take the risk!

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    SoHo

  5. The best place to shop in New York is SoHo. Some of the best bakeries and cutest/most hip cafes are in NoLIta and SoHo. Also, you can find some of the best photo-ops in SoHo! My advice, in short, is that even if you are there for only a couple of days, have one meal in SoHo at least. (I will be covering the best spots for that in an upcoming post!)
  6. West Village has the most laid back vibes and is infinitely chic at the same time with some of the cutest bookstores and shopsAlso, because the architecture here is beyond amazing and the tourist flow little, it is an ideal place to get your pictures taken (without getting in the way of others or vice versa)! However, somehow I found the people here most reluctant in making eye contact or being up for a quick chat-or was that just me?
  7. Broadway bites (Greeley Square – Broadway, between 32nd and 33rd Street) might not be a year round thing but if you are there in June/July or in fall, they are a must go! The stalls there offer everything and anything from the funkiest of ice-creams to pasta to the most delicious baked goodies. (Do not go there without cash though!)

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    Le Biblioquet, Upper East Side

  8. If you want to feel glamorous, eat out at a restaurant in Upper East side or shop their. Both experiences for me have been unforgettable.

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    Times Square

  9. Although Times Square is definitely overrated, (I mean the amount of people there give anxiety to my claustrophobia prone self), if you can, stay there late into the night, for a better, more memorable experience. The crowd thins out closer to midnight and the place is far less noisy and much more fun!

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    Central Park

  10. Put aside at least a day for Central Park. It is not a place to stop at between your morning coffee and lunch-if you want to find out why so many people fall in love with it you have to experience it-on foot, preferably. Start at one end, or even midway if you feel like you have little time and do try to cover as much area as you can (going up or down). So many people and websites will point you to the ‘tourist favored’ spots, but honestly every few steps you will come across a view to make you stop and stare-and that is what makes you fall in love with it.

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    Central Park

Bonus tip-try to rent a boat on the Lake in Central park and row your way around it. You will get to see the famous NY skyline from a completely different (and infinitely gorgeous) perspective!

Xo,
Gull 

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Why I gave up coffee.

20 Apr

  

I have gone seven days without coffee. And I couldn’t be more proud.

A week doesn’t sound much to you, right?

Well, figure into that this; I don’t remember any time in the past three years where I went even a day without a cup of it.

In fact. Twice a day had become my minimum in the past two years.

So seven days without it? Something that once seemed impossible to me? I’ve done it. And I feel better than I would have expected mysef to feel. I wouldn’t put “energized” and “more productive” yet on the list, for to be honest the fourth day of the experiment, all my insomnia disappeared and I slept. For six hours straight. With only a tiny break. (Huge for me.) But. There have been so many other pros, that for the next fourteen days at least, I’m willing to overlook this con.

But why, after three years, the sudden change? And why the hope that I might be able to extend this 2-week challenge into something more long term?

Although my mother would like to believe it was her continuous pushing that got me off of it, that’s not the answer. It was the late in coming , and yet the all too sudden, realization that this much amount of caffeine was doing me more harm than good. What harm? Nothing too big, and yet too much. But to keep it concise,  here are the five main reasons why I ended up taking a little time off from my elixir. Five reasons which might inspire you to cut a little back on your coffee too.

1. I had become too jittery. Not just the “I can’t sleep” or ” I can’t stop moving kind” but my attention span had grown shorter and shorter. So much so, that I couldn’t even keep my mind focused on a conversation at hand. Or in the here and now. My anxiety levels were shooting up, which was probably the worst of all my problems. I could see this leading to a nervous breakdown-if not in a year then in three, and when a family doctor advised that this all could be sprouting from my caffeine, I finally decided to take his advice and cut back on it. Has it helped? The insomnia, a little. The jitteriness, again slightly. The rest? Let’s see.

2. My skin had gone to the dogs. Literally. Pimples-a new one every day. Dull skin. And I don’t know what not. And although my mother always told me it was because of my coffee it’s only now that I realise the truth in her words. Sounds insane? It isn’t. In seven days my skin looks better than it has in ever. And for just that I am willing to stick to this cleanse for longer than 14 days.

3. It actually does dry you up, even the parts you don’t want to. I first came across a readearch my friend forwarded to me. It said how it can shrink up parts of you, dries them up, parts you wouldn’t want that dried up. And then a friend of my mother, a doctor, told me the same. They might be wrong, but for the sake of it, I want to see if a decrease in my caffeine will go to prove them right or not. 

4. It causes tachycardia. Yes. It fastens up your heart rate. Not just right after the strong (fourth) cup of your joe when you feel your heart will beat right up and out of your mouth. But it alters your normal rythm. I came across this fact in a physiology practical in my university. We had to take the pulse of each other and when my friend took mine she was astonished by how irregular mine was. It would go on from a normal rythm to a faster one to an extremely slow one, in the space of a minute. But that was three years back. It has worsened now. All coffee drinkers have it, but the more you drink it, the worse it gets-till the point where it can morph into ventricular tachycardia. Which can, yes, lead to death. It didn’t scare me till a couple of weeks back, when I was lying in my bed and the (4) coffees I had had decided to let my heart know about their presence. The way it’s rate went wild, I think part of me promised myself right then that I would never like to be back at that point again. Has my pulse rythm improved? Not much. But I’m willing to be patient about the results in this area.

5. It had become a source of too many fats for me.  You can’t always have it black, and all the lattes and ‘ccinos and frappes that I was picking up at my favorite cafes were definitely adding to my weight. It’s not a sudden thing, it builds up on you slowly, without you realizing it. Till one day you realize that though you have been cutting on all other sources of fat, you have still put on weight. (Damn you coffee, I trusted you.)

Maybe these reasons won’t be enough to keep me off coffee forever. Maybe, next week I’ll be back to two cups a day. But I’m trying. And till now-succeeding. And till I can be sure I am back in the safe zone with this little addiction? I’m going to take it a day at a time.

Let’s see how it goes though.

Love,

Gull.

The Giver.

17 Apr

The first time I read the Godfather, I loved it.

The idea of a whole underground mafia running through the loopholes of the most stringent law forces, was amazing. And the way Mario Puzo presents the criminal families to you, the power, the understated fame, the fear. It all leaves you…star struck. 

And then their is the Don himself.

He, his three sons. I could probably right essays on them. Full of both their praise and criticism.

But even more, they inspired an awe in me. An urge to know more about them, an understanding that the wish was as childish as wishing for Hogwarts to be real (meh, we have all wanted that now).

However, it’s when I was reading the book the second time around that I came across the most important message in the book. The secret to Don’s success. Something the glam of it all let me miss the first time around.

And his secret weopan was just one attribute that he was intelligent enough to take it up very early in his life.

He was a giver.

Theory says, that in this world there are three kinds of people. The matchers, the takers and the givers.

The matchers probably live the hardest of the lives, because they spend their’s keeping a tab on who owes what to whom and by how much. Who never forget a favor they did for someone and keep waiting for them to respond with one of their own. For a chance to take it back. It’s not just disgusting. It’s a life time handicap, for in the struggle to keep the score equal, they fail to actually live, to keep up with those around them. They exist. Their only worry being the score board, never even playing the game to its full.

The takers seem to have the best of it, for they are getting what they want, how they want-no matter their means to get it. They don’t mind what they owe to whom, but soon the people around them do begin to mind how much they have been “taking”. And inevitable as their reluctance is, so is the fall of these takers from their faux greatness. For it came from a web of deceit and wishes, not hardwork. These are those who forgot to wander in the right direction, and now they are lost.

And then there are those whom people would like to believe are stupid. Whom some would like to con, but only true genius would see their worth. They are the Dons. They are the givers. They are ready to bestow any favor on you as they strive on their own path to success, hoping for nothing in return, but a friendship which with such kindness would be inevitable. The Don’s price for the hardest of favors was the promise of a friendship, and isn’t it how it practically is, but without the question of it? You do a man a kindness, how then would he not love knowing you when you ask for no tat to this tit? Why wouldn’t ten men come to your help when you helped thirty in their need. Maybe the scoreboards would never be equal, but it’s more than about just that.

It’s about getting something money can’t buy you. 

The joy of putting a smile on someone’s face, the warmth of someone’s hearty hug, a simple thank you note, that silent acknowledgment of your support. Sometimes the biggest gifts lie in the tiniest of gestures. Hence, unseeingly, and then more apparently too, the givers begin to leave all the others behind on the scoreboard. And as they continue to rush towards a victory, they never lose their chance at living. 

In short, the Godfather has taught me, just as life has too, that the best amongst us aren’t the ones keeping score nor the ones leaning around in the background, rather it’s the ones on the battlefield, who can spar without regret, without worry and without getting lost as they wander.

So take a step forward, and be gentle. Give without wanting. Take only when you can’t avoid it, but never keep score. Help, smile, do, share. Be everyone’s support, solution, hero. Hope. And let no one be let down by you. 

Then watch how speedy your own victory is. 

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