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Showing posts from 2020

Book Review: Anxious People - Fredrik Backman

Title: Anxious People Author: Fredrik Backman Publisher: Michael Joseph (3 September 2020) Genre: Humor/Contemporary Fiction Price: Rs. 489 on Amazon Pages: 352 Some books, you don't want them to end. This is one of them. It has been a while since I wrote a book review here and I couldn't think of a better book to come back with. I usually mention my verdict in the end, but I'll be brave enough to say it right now. This book is a must read for everyone. I usually don't judge people based on the books they like or don't like, but if someone says that they did not like this one, they'll not be making it to my good books for sure. 

Action Replay + Gratitude List: September & October 2020

Image Source I didn't write a single post in October, so you can imagine how busy I have been. Also, didn't August, September and October just swoosh by? I mean March alone felt like 3 whole months, so when months just pass by so quickly it does take some getting used to. September and October was dominated by office work and everything else had to take a step-back. I was working on something that I had never worked on before, in fact no one on my team had worked on it before. It was all about trial and error, days of going through documents, reaching out to people who might have an idea about it and trying not to lose your self-confidence in the process. That's the thing about a new piece of work, right? It is never easy but it is always worth the effort. I'm done with it now and I'm pretty happy with the way it has shaped up. Never giving up and asking for help instead of struggling for days was the key. As Dumbledore says, "Help will always be given to those

Shedding Light On Entitlement

Image Source Over the past few weeks, with innumerable scandals coming to light, social media is filled with statements from every celebrity, every media house and people whom you have never heard of before. Every statement ends with a line that says, 'This is my final comment on the matter, please do not reach out to me for more statements'. The daily Quora notifications that I receive are only revolved around these scandals with common people like you and me wanting to know intricate details about the how and why of what happened. Why do people feel entitled to know everything about a celeb? I know they chose to live their life in the eyes of the public, but even they are entitled to a sense of privacy. How hard is it for people to understand that? This hit a new low with the passing of Sushant Singh Rajput. Some actresses were bullied and trolled because they did not share their grief on social media. A tragedy is usually personal and everyone deals with it their own way. Th

Witch Hunt

Image Source It is not a new concept Blaming the woman for everything The queen is the scapegoat For protecting the king Dear woman, please don't worry You are magic, you know it Don't listen to the voices Coming out of that patriarchal pit

Simpler Times - I

This was the scene I woke up to this morning. As I made my cup of black coffee and walked to the coffee table with the newspapers in my hand, this is what I saw. For a minute I froze thinking about how everything is about technology these days. We have a thousand books at home and yet the Kindle is always in use. There are only two people at home and yet we have four laptops and innumerable earphones and headsets. The iPad is only used in my Bookstagram photography and the iPod is unused because I've left its charger at my work desk back in office. Funnily enough, none of these things make us happy. The only thing natural in the above picture, along with the freshly brewed coffee is the baby money plant and yellow Gerbera that bloomed in my balcony garden. These are the only things that make me genuinely happy. While the husband and I have never enjoyed materialistic things, we have ended up buying things out of necessity, and some of them were won as part of various writing contes

How To Identify & Extinguish Gaslighting

Image Source Have you heard of the term called gaslighting? Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or a group of people come together, and make you question your own reality. It’s the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity. It is the worst form of emotional abuse ever! While political figures, cult leaders and influential people use it the most, it is more common than you think.  Gaslighters are usually people who have a thirst for control and power and don't think twice before manipulating people for their own satisfaction. They’re self-absorbed and don’t have time or interest in others unless it serves a purpose for them. They aren’t empathetic and don’t have the ability, or the interest, to understand what another person is feeling or experiencing. While all gaslighters are narcissists, not all narcissists are gasli

Action Replay + Gratitude List: August 2020

Image Source And the birthday month comes to an end! August moved comparatively slower than other months and it was good because it gave me a chance to slow down as well. The last few months were about rushing with the times, but August helped me calm down and relax a bit. Yes, I'm someone who constantly likes to be busy, but I found my calm in my own way. Since I had a work release in August, most of the month kept me busy with work and I'm not complaining at all. My time management skills have improved and I have found my own rhythm in my way of things. I was able to balance my work, household chores, reading, writing, working out and other small things pretty well. August has been a very content month in terms of getting things done.

Menstrual Health During Covid

Image Source The past few months have not been easy for all of us. Social life came to a standstill for most of us and we were forced to stay rooted yet safe at home. Routines turned topsy-turvy, habits were out of sync, sleep cycles were all over the place and what not. Personally, I am a creature of routine and this sudden change in lifestyle did not go down way too well on me. Initially, I suffered from crazy bouts of anxiety coupled with paranoia. My stress levels were at its peak and everything I did or wanted to do did not make any sense. It took me a couple of months to cope with this sudden change. It wasn't easy and this was a personal battle so I had to figure it out myself. With time, I did and I have made peace with the situation now. While Covid threw all our travel plans out of the window, reduced our social life to zero, suppressed the food explorers in us, took our mental health for a toss; an area that I did not expect it to impact was my menstrual health. I was so

Home | WordlessWednsday - 24

Home, Bangalore - 2020 Home isn't a place, it is a feeling. ~ Cecelia Ahern

Mismatched Pieces

Image Source We all are a little broken That does not make us weak When we put back ourselves differently Then we are truly unique It is fine if there is a crack That's how the light gets in Acceptance is the first step Healing begins from within

Vanya | #ThursdayTreeLove - 21

Makalidurga, June 2020 In June, we stepped out of home for the first time after staying in for three whole months. We went out for a long drive to this place called Makalidurga, which is around 60kms away from the city. The drive was peaceful and when we reached there, there was no one at all! We stepped out the car, spent some time admiring the view and left after a while. After months of being of being at home, this felt like such a refreshing break.

34 On 34

I stopped doing birthday posts a few years ago, although I don't recall why. Sub-consciously I had stopped writing life-updates or other personal stuff on the blog. It was mainly because people became too nosy and felt that they had a say in everything I do. It was also because my blog-posts were becoming coffee table conversations and were being discussed on whatsapp groups which I'm not a part of but got all the updates to (involuntarily, obviously!). Personally, I'm someone who hates gossip, let alone be the topic! With time, I realized that people will talk no matter what. Over the past few months, the blog has been becoming more about blog-hops and book reviews and was losing its personal touch. It all changes now.

Action Replay + Gratitude List: July 2020

Image Source Back in March, when this whole self-isolation charade started, I never thought we'd still be here in August. It was pretty obvious, but the mind refused to believe. August is my birthday month and it is usually a month that keeps me happy and exuberant. July has been comforting too and it helped me strike a balance between the old and the new normal. July has been a highly productive month and it kept me busy, just the way I like it. I have crazy deadlines at work and it kept me busy for most of the day. Thanks to a planned routine I was able to manage my time quite effectively and this helped me have a clear and calm mind.

Book Review: The Far Field - Madhuri Vijay

Title: The Far Field Author: Madhuri Vijay Publisher: Fourth Estate India (12 July 2019) Genre: Contemporary Fiction Price: Rs. 472 on Amazon Pages: 440 Award winning books are a tricky read, you either love them or hate them. After abandoning 'The White Tiger' and 'The God of Small Things' after a chapter or two, I never thought I'll go back to reading award winning books. This year, since I wanted to read diverse books, I've been open to reading them. The Booker Prize winning 'Girl, Woman, Other' was a splendid read and it gave me the boost to go ahead and read more of them. This book won the JCB Award in 2019 and I had bought the book back in November, but never got to reading it. Although, the reason I bought the book was its gorgeous cover! The reviews I read of this was mixed and hence this book remained on my shelf for a while. This month, I picked it up with zero expectations.

Umrao | #ThursdayTreeLove - 20

Big Banyan Tree, Bangalore - July 2020 Last weekend, we decided to take a break from monotony and went out for a long drive. We enjoy such drives now as this is the closest it comes to traveling during these times. We usually drive up to some place in the outskirts of the city, get out of the car only when there are no or very few people around and get some takeaway pizza or cheesecake on our way back. Tiny moments of bliss, I tell you.

Coping With Change

Image Source Sorted. That is a word people often use to describe me. I'm someone who is very planned, has a set routine and like to have things under my control. This is how it works the best for me and keeps my life going smooth. This helps me have a good work-life balance and gives me time to pursue my interests and passions. When COVID happened, life turned upside down for all of us. The situation forced us to change in our own way. But, how easy is it to change? More often than not when people realize that something is wrong with them or something is wrong with their life, only then they analyze the situation and decide to make a change. It comes from within and it is considerably easy to make that change. When unforeseen circumstances tend to bring a change to our daily life, it is not easy to be okay with it. It wasn't easy for me either.

Light & Love | #WordlessWednesday - 23

Burger Factory, Anjuna - Goa 2019 Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

Title: All The Light We Cannot See Author: Anthony Doerr Publisher: Fourth Estate (10 December 2015) Genre: Historical Fiction Price: Rs. 467 on Amazon Pages: 544 This book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2015. I bought the book almost immediately, but only got to reading it last month. I only started reading historical fiction a few years ago and today it is one of my most favorite genres. I have read so many books on WWII and it definitely is a period that has some heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories. All The Light We Cannot See is no less.

Action Replay + Gratitude List: June 2020

Image Source So, we're officially in the second half of the year? At this point, I just want 2020 to run with the speed of Usain Bolt and hopefully 2021 will be kinder to us. June has been a month of lows and highs. The first few days of the month was disastrous, but it seemed to pick itself up after a few days. The situation outside is not looking any better, but I guess we have no choice but to stay safe, sit back and watch. I do have my bouts of paranoia and anxiety but they are a lot within check. See, it is hard to not let yourself be affected by what is happening outside. The uncertainty and the prolonged duration of the mess only makes it worse. I just hope that things get better soon for all of us.

Tahira | #ThursdayTreeLove - 19

Somewhere between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka - August 2019 While on a disastrous road-trip last year with the worst ever crowd, my husband and I were agitated and irritated. On our way back home, we stopped to take a break and we walked around this marsh land. Just the both of us. For a while, we forgot the group waiting in the car for us, the annoyance in the air and everything else. It was just us, hand in hand, comforting each other amidst nature. There was something so pure about this moment. I randomly captured this scene as a memory and it still invokes a smile in me today.

Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Daisy Jones & The Six Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid Publisher:  Cornerstone Digital; 01 edition (5 March 2019) Genre: Historical Fiction Price: Rs. 268 for the Kindle Edition Pages: 335 This book created quite a stir last year and when Naba included it in her 15 best reads of 2019 , I knew I had to read it too. I picked it up sometime back then but only got to reading it this month. This book was showcased on every social media platform for months and everything about this book felt so good. Sex, drugs, rock n roll! What can go wrong, right?

Three Down... More To Go

Image Source It has been a little over three months since we've been in a lock down. On March 16th 2020, the day we were supposed to take off on our anniversary vacation to Spain and Portugal, we started the self-isolation process and have stayed put at home since then. We have been working from home and step out occasionally only to buy some vitals or meet our parents. It took us a while to get used to this "new normal". My husband and I are both people who hate staying at home or working from home. We like to be around people, have conversations, laugh and have a good time even at work. Even with both our companies allowing work from home since forever, we never liked doing it unless it was absolutely necessary. Since now it is the need of the hour, it took us a while to get used to it and we are okay with it now. But yeah, we cannot wait to get back to office.

Sayesha | #ThursdayTreeLove - 18

Bangalore - January 2020 My husband and I are foodies and we don't mind going the extra mile for it. There is a breakfast place in South Bangalore that we visit often. We stay in the East so it is quite a drive, but we thoroughly enjoy it. Thanks to the lockdown restrictions, it has been a while since we visited this place. This tree is a sweet memory that reminds us of easier times. We park our car on this street and this tree provides ample shade in the blazing heat.

Live & Let Live | #WordlessWednesday - 22

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka - March 2016 If Animals Spoke, Humanity would Cry. ~ Manuj Rajput

Book Review: Normal People - Sally Rooney

Title: Normal People Author: Sally Rooney Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks Genre: Contemporary Fiction Price: Rs. 451.50 on Audible Listening Length: 7 hours and 36 minutes Narrator: Aoife McMahon This year I've read different genres of books and books that I would normally not pick up. It was about widening my horizons with respect to reading and once I tried out books by different authors, I knew I had made the right choice. Normal People by Sally Rooney was one of the books on the list of Barack Obama's best books for 2019. I have read 'Girl, Woman, Other' which was also on the list and loved it. What intrigued me the most about this one was the title. I read about the book and the story seemed very YA like and I wasn't too keen.

Action Replay + Gratitude List: May 2020

Image Source Another month ends and the situation doesn't seem to be in any control. Waking up to alarming numbers day after day is becoming the norm and all one can do is hope that the next day would be better. I never thought that our generation would have to see a pandemic like this. New found respect for people who have survived pandemics and epidemics earlier. I guess every bad situation does come with its share of lessons in one way or another. Apart from the virus updates, the news coming in from other countries or even within our own country isn't great. Racism, animals being mercilessly killed, the callous attitude of political leaders, cyclones and what not. Was all this always around and 2020 is bringing it to the foreground? One can never say. All we can do now is hope that the situation gets better and we find the strength in us to survive and come out of all this as slightly better people. May was a dull month. Looks like the monsoons have hit Bangalore ea

Rhea | #ThursdayTreeLove - 17

Bangalore - September 2019 Remember those days when we could just plan something random and step out to do it? I took this picture when I went to attend a bread baking class with a friend. It was an impromptu decision and one of the best ones we've made as we learnt the art of baking bread with ease. We waited outside the venue for a while as we reached early. I spotted this tree then and snapped it. There is nothing special about this tree. It just comes with a happy memory and reminds me of the simpler times.

Window | #WordlessWednesday - 21

Pondicherry - August 2019 When one door closes, another window opens. ~ Julie Andrews

Humor | #WordlessWednesday - 20

Mario Miranda Gallery, Goa - October 2019 Humor can make a serious difference. In the workplace, at home, in all areas of life - looking for a reason to laugh is necessary. A sense of humor helps us to get through the dull times, cope with the difficult times, enjoy the good times and manage the scary times. ~ Steve Goodier

Action Replay + Gratitude List: April 2020

Image Source Are we all used to the new normal yet? I'm slowly getting there and have made my peace with it now. There are some things that you cannot control in life. You just need to let it take its course and pass. Sub-consciously we carry a mask everywhere we go now. We sanitize frequently when we're out of home and wash up thoroughly when we get back. We hardly go out though. We only leave the house to buy essentials and meet my in-laws who live close by. Apart from that, we stay put. Both of us are now used to being at home while we were never homebodies earlier. But, it is important to understand the situation, accept it and adhere to it. Even after being together for close to a decade now, we have a lot to talk! These conversations keep us going, lock down or not.

Optimism | #WordlessWednesday - 19

My Work Place, Sometime in 2019 Seeing the mud around a lotus is pessimism, seeing a lotus in the mud is optimism. ~ Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

Queenie | #ThursdayTreeLove - 16

Outskirts of Bangalore, October 2019 Last year, while on a road-trip with my husband, we stopped by a place for breakfast. As we parked the car and walked out, I spotted this tree. I has just started being a part of #ThursdayTreeLove back then and was fascinated when I found this one. I also took a lot of pictures of trees throughout the journey. Unfortunately I had to change my phone once I came back and the pictures were left in the old phone. I recently shifted back to the old phone and found these pictures. I have quite some material now! The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this tree was a diamond, since its top is shaped like one. So I decided to call her the queen of diamonds. **Queenie: Queen

My Experience With Audible

Image Source Being an avid reader since childhood, I have always been in the company of books. A large part of the successful woman that I am today is because of my habit of reading. Reading has always been an integral part of my life and that would never change. However, the way that I read has gone through a few changes over the years. From buying books off the street with the limited money given to me to walking out of bookstores with books worth thousands, I sure have come a long way. I don't buy pirated books anymore. My bookshelf was overflowing with books and I did not mind it a least bit. When Amazon's Kindle made an appearance, I dismissed it immediately. As someone who finds it really difficult to read stories in the PDF format and on a screen, I thought Kindle would give me the same feel. Plus, what was reading without the smell of the pages, the feel of turning a page or finding a bookmark to use. I did not want to give up on either of it and I was pretty sure

Book Review: Pride, Prejudice, And Other Flavors - Sonali Dev

Image Source Title: Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors Author: Sonali Dev Publisher: HarperCollins (31 May 2019) Genre: Contemporary Fiction Price: Rs. 499 on Amazon Pages: 496 A year ago I saw this book doing the rounds on social media and while I normally do not pick up books by Indian authors just based on recommendation, I decided to give this a try as I planned on reading more Indian authors in 2020. This book has a bright, vibrant cover and the story kind of intrigued me. I'll tell you why. It claimed to be a gender swapped, modern day retelling of the classic, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. This put me in a tight spot because of a catch. Two actually. One, I hate retelling of stories. They take away the essence of the original and leave behind a lukewarm diluted tale. Second, I hate Jane Austen stories. I've read almost all her books with the hope of liking at least one. The closest I've come to liking one was 'Sense And Sensibility'.

Man Vs Nature | #WordlessWednesday - 18

Bangalore - February 2020 Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding. ~ Jacob Bronowski

Book Review: The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

Image Source Title: The Great Alone Author : Kristin Hannah Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio Genre: Historical Fiction Price: Rs. 227 on Audible Listening Length : 15 hours and 2 minutes. Narrator: Julia Whelan Kristin Hannah is an author whose work I would trust blindly. She has written about some of the most strongest female protagonists and her stories tend to touch the heart and soul. Her stories have a human connect like no other. They celebrate the human spirit and talk about the depth of the human emotions, with all its faults and foibles. When I read ' Where The Crawdads Sing ' and loved it, most of its reviews said that for those who loved 'The Great Alone', this book is a must read. I had put it on my TBR back then and I picked it up on Audible this month. I must say that I am loving the Audible experience and it has definitely improved my concentration and focus. I'll write a detailed post about my Audible experience soon.

Phoebe | #ThursdayTreeLove - 15

Home, Bangalore - April 2020 This is my daily view as I work from home. As I type this, I see this tree to my left, from my 4th floor window. We never know how long we would be locked up at home, but the fact that this tree is blooming with its lush green by being rooted at a spot for years shows that we can too. Maybe this is the slow down that we all needed. Maybe this is the reboot we all needed. Maybe this would show us the true meaning of life.

Mental Health Matters | #WordlessWednesday - 17

Kashi Cafe, Kochi - December 2018 Mental health and mental balance is critical to leading a healthy life. ~ Mariel Hemingway

Action Replay + Gratitude List: March 2020

Image Source For the past two months I've been talking about time passing by really quickly and I now apologize for that. March hit me like a solid slap and it felt longer than three years. The current situation in the world is scary and the worst thing about it is the uncertainty. As someone who lives a planned, systematic life, this troubles me to no end. At times, I just want it to end. Be it in a good way or a bad way. But end, it must. My anxiety has been at its peak as you can deduce from my words I'm sure. I've been working from home from 13th March and by now I have somehow made my peace with it. The eight hours that I focus on office work keeps me sane and sorted. The rest of the day however goes in a blur. I've been maintaining a home without a maid for years now with help from my partner. It is not new to me.

Book Review: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World - Elif Shafak

Image Source Title: 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds In This Strange World Author: Elif Shafak Publisher: Penguin UK (10 July 2019) Genre: Contemporary Fiction Price: Rs. 699 on Amazon Pages: 320 There are some authors you can trust blindly. More than their stories, you like them for the way they write. For the way it touches your soul. For the poetic beauty it possesses. For the picture it paints in your mind. For the spark it leaves behind. For the relatability. For the much needed human touch. Elif Shafak is one such writer. After ' The Forty Rules Of Love ', this is her second book that I read. I still have to catch up on all her other books and I soon will.

Olga | ThursdayTreeLove - 14

Home, Bangalore - March 2020 Times aren't good now, but you know what, this too shall pass. Stay safe, stay in, stay positive. This is a tree I used to see everyday. She stands tall at the entrance of my apartment complex. I hadn't seen her in many many days thanks to working from home and not stepping out. Yesterday, when we went out for a walk (within the apartment walkway), I saw her again. She looked hale and healthy, reaching for the sky, and that made me smile. We'll all survive this together, won't we? Hard times may have held you down, but they will not last forever. When all is said and done, you will be increased.      ~ Joel Osteen

Good Vibes Only | #WordlessWednesday - 16

Madurai, Tamil Nadu - November 2019 I say looking on the bright side of life never killed anybody. ~ Jenny Han, To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Life In The Time Of Corona

Image Source Had there been nothing called the Corona Virus or the COVID-19, my husband and I would be in Barcelona today. We would be hiking up Mount Tibidabo, enjoying the beauty of Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia. Then we would be enjoying the views of Costa Brava and basking in the spookiness of the Gothic Quarter. Next we would head to Seville for a couple of days, and then to Madrid for the anniversary. We would watch a flamenco show, eat some delicious food, try the local beer and have endless conversations to mark seven years of being married! Then we'd head to Porto for an entire day of wine tasting and a vineyard tour followed by a few days of sightseeing in gorgeous Lisbon. We would spend two glorious weeks touring Spain and Portugal. We had meticulously researched, planned and set everything ready for our holiday. Then, life happened.

Noor | #ThursdayTreeLove - 13

Bangalore - February 2020 Thanks to this blog-hop, I look out for trees everywhere. This must be the most gorgeous, most mighty tree I have seen in a while. Nestled among high-rise buildings, she spread out her wings to let the light seep through her. 

Blur | #WordlessWednesday - 15

Murphy's, Bangalore - November 2019 When life gets blurry, adjust your focus. ~ Unknown

Action Replay + Gratitude List: February 2020

Image Source The shortest month did live up to its name, in-spite of it being a leap year. Seriously, how fast is time going? February was a pretty relaxed month and it was uneventful for me. Things just went on as usual. Work was lean and it game me quite some time for myself. Also, I'm not someone who does not like to be busy. Not having much to do at the workplace added to my lethargy and it was not going down well on me. I have really good friends at the workplace and they keep me going, but not being that productive takes a toll on me. I've come to realize that it is a double edged sword for me. To keep myself engaged at the workplace, I decided to give Audible a shot. It worked like a charm. I was never the one who would go for an audio book. It took me quite some time to get used to a Kindle in the first place, so audio books were too far-fetched. But when I gave it a shot, I was hooked.

Laila & Manju #ThursdayTreeLove - 12

Home, Bangalore - February 2020 This is not a single tree. If you look closely you will see two bamboo stumps and their branches leaning forward to embrace each other. The first thing I saw here was love. Since I name my trees after women, I did not want to change it this time too. Love is love, after all.

Book Review: Tin Man - Sarah Winman

Title: Tin Man Author: Sarah Winman Publisher: Tinder Press (9 August 2017) Genre: Classic Fiction Price: Rs. 267 on Amazon Pages: 208 You know those books that you solely buy for their covers, well, this was one of them. The book had a gorgeous yellow cover and came highly recommended from my friends. I sat down to read it one fine day and finished it in a couple of sessions.

How To Recognize & Deal With Toxic People

Image Source Over the years, I have constantly worked on being a calmer and better person by improving my mental state of mind. One of the first things that I had to do in order to achieve this was to take a closer look at the people I surround myself with. As someone who immensely believes in the vibes that people give out, this was more than necessary. We might not realize this often, but the kind of people we become is usually influenced by the people around us. Habits, frame of mind, reactions and thoughts usually get rubbed off people. This is a dangerous predicament, but not something that one can't handle. Once you put yourself first, you will start seeing the true colors of people and my oh my, what a color palette that is! I'm no expert on the human mind or even people for that matter, but, with time I have come to recognize the ones who are good for me and the ones who are toxic and need to be cut off at the earliest.

Music | #WordlessWednesday - 14

Rajan's Cafe, Bangalore - January 2020 Where words leave off, music begins. ~ Heinrich Heine