Author Archives: Simi K. Rao

Time Just Moves

Arches National Park- photo by Simi K.Rao

I feel most at peace when I am among the trees and shrubs or even the desert, and rocks. Sometimes, vastness is overwhelming but I don’t feel judged. I can just be me. I don’t have to pretend or feel stressed. I can relax. I don’t sense the passage of time, be it minutes or hours. Time just moves.

Destination Moab: Canyonlands National Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Getting There

We chose to take a guided tour to Canyonlands National Park- a sunset tour, promising the best views. Let me state at the offset that even though most places can be seen on your own, I personally prefer guided tours because I feel you can get the most in the least amount of time plus you are saved all the legwork. 

We had to drive to the pick up point at the junction of HWY 128 and US 191 about 14 miles from the lodge. The scenic route is through a canyon along the Colorado and well worth the extra drive. 

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Destination Moab: A Travel Diary #1: Getting There

Where to: Moab, Utah- Gateway to Arches and Canyonlands National Park

Travelling from: Denver, Colorado.

Tip: Avoid summer months.

It is a long road trip, one of the longest I have taken- over 6 hours, more with stops. It is the only way given the lack of accessible airports. Fortunately, the drive promised to be worthwhile and scenic- through various landscapes, initially through the Rockies then desert . It started to rain when we started in the morning. The forecast promised it’d be light followed by clear skies later in the day. Rain turned to sleet as we wound through the mountains on 1 70. It was nerve wracking and fun at the same time as the drivers wouldn’t slow down hitting 80 mph, and higher on the steep grades and sharp bends surrounded by snow capped peaks passing through the Eisenhower tunnel- the longest at 1.7m and highest point in the interstate system.

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Delhi Diaries: Qutub Minar Night Tourism

Bringing to you another gem of Delhi— Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar is a UNESCO world heritage site which holds the title of being the tallest brick minaret in the world standing tall at 72.5 meters. It is known for its history, glory, architecture, verses from the holy Quran inscribed on the walls. But what is little known about it, is it’s splendour at night. I have been wanting to visit this iconic monument ever since the Archaeological Survey of India decided to promote night tourism here.  It was for the love of this travel series, that I and my friend Madhu Lilothia decided to visit Qutub Minar on a full moon night to capture its beauty (in our camera) for our readers.
A visit to this iconic monument on a moonlit night will leave you spellbound. 
I suggest you reach the Qutub before sundown since a few areas are  restricted during the night tourism. And once the sun sets and the monument is illuminated, soak yourself in the romance that will fill the entire place.  The lights will lend a romantic vibe to the opulence of this architectural heritage . It is a photographer’s delight. Just walk around and drown yourself in the magnificence of this place.

How to reach: Qutub Minar is part of the Mehrauli Architectural Park in South Delhi. It is on the yellow line of the Delhi metro from where you can take an auto. Uber and Ola cabs will drop you directly at the monument. There is ample parking if you decide to go by your own vehicle.

Ticket: Rs 40 for Indians and Rs 600 for foreign nationals. It is open on all days from 7 am till 10 pm.

Deepika Pawar is a native of New Delhi, India. She is a Counsellor and Family Therapist in private practice. She is ‘a gypsy at heart’, a wanderer and travel enthusiast, who loves to explore new places.

Delhi Diaries: Sundar Nursery

Sundar (Beautiful) Nursery is the finest heritage park of Delhi which has been listed among 100 Great Places in the World by the Time Magazine. It has 15 monuments out of which 6 are UNESCO Heritage monuments. Spread over 90 acres, it has sprawling lawns, fountains, lake and Fabcafe which is by the lake. The park is adorned with pavilions, tombs which have inscriptions from the Quran, Victorian benches.  Other attractions include 300 types of trees,  a variety of birds, butterflies, a lotus pond, a rose garden and a Farmer’s Market every weekend where you can buy organic products.
It is an ideal place for picnic and is pet friendly. There is an entry fees of Rs 40 for adults and Rs 20 for children. It is open everyday.

How to get there: Sundar Nursery is in South Delhi adjacent to the world famous Humayun’s Tomb. It can be reached by metro, cab or Auto. The nearest metro station is Jangpura or Nizamuddin.

Deepika Pawar is a native of New Delhi, India. She is a Counsellor and Family Therapist in private practice. She is ‘a gypsy at heart’, a wanderer and travel enthusiast, who loves to explore new places.

Point of View (P.O.V) #shortstory

I couldn’t believe it, I was living a nightmare. 

Was it fair? All this talk about mental health but what about us? Our mental health? We, who are constantly surrounded by sickness and death, who work our asses off trying to save others, who don’t have a life. 

“Then why do you do it?” pops the inevitable rejoinder. 

“Why did I do it?” I’ve actually asked myself this question several times. And each time the answer is the same. Because I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.  Sounds cheesy but it is true. 

I cried when I saw that miserable creature. It is not easy for me to break down because of the wall I’d built around myself but I couldn’t help it that night. Her body was tattooed with horrendous scars. She was a heroin addict who had been in recovery but the pandemic had made her relapse. She had lost her job and her house. She flinched at the slightest touch. Her body was dotted with pockets of pus where she had injected herself. She asked me not to judge her. I didn’t. I wept instead before steeling myself and moving on to my next patient. 

Work, work, work. No chance to get a snack, even to pee. Phone going off constantly. What I wouldn’t have given for a five minute break. But no. Keep going, I told myself. Just keep a couple more hours then I can have a break- a break of three whole days. 

I’m done finally. I get to go home and then the fatigue hits. Music helps. I drive on autopilot, the route is imprinted in my subconsciousness and the sun is directly in my eyes. I feel discombobulated. I turn up the volume. Oh no, I drove through a red light. The streets are empty though, it is the weekend and everyone is sleeping in, while I… 

I hear that voice, that magical voice. His voice. My serotonin. What keeps me going. I’m okay, I tell myself.

I make it in one piece. Three dizzy flights of stairs then I stumble into my apartment.  I’m greeted by the drooping fronds of my fern, my faithful companion of five years, ever since I’d moved in. I dump a whole jug of water in it. No way was I going to let anyone die on my shift, human or plant. 

I open the refrigerator. Nothing looked remotely appealing, anyhow I didn’t have the energy to heat anything up. I just needed sleep. Just a few hours then I’d be fine. I took a shower (it’s a must, I could skip food but not a shower) then passed out on the cold bed. 

I was choking, fighting for air, struggling against this heavy weight pressing on my chest. Help!!

I sit up with a start. 

“You okay? You were screaming,” mutters a low husky and very familiar voice. 

“Whaaa ..” my chest was pounding. No.. no it wasn’t.. isn’t.  I blinked and kept blinking. He laughed– his trademark soft rumble that made me love him so much more. 

It’s him. The man in my dreams. I raise a trembling hand to his beautiful face. I can feel his skin. It is soft, silky; his honey eyes droopy with sleep and he is smiling. 

“I.. are you… ?” 

“Yes, I am,” he nods. “Remember we met at that party last week? The one that you hadn’t planned to go to but your friend forced you to come along? I need to thank her, I haven’t done that yet.”

I still didn’t believe it. “Pinch me,” I said.

“Enough, now just Stfu!” Then he pulled me down and kissed me.

Delhi Diaries: Waste to Wonder

If you live in India and have a desire to visit all the seven “Wonders of the World” and are finding it difficult to travel across the globe then Delhi is the place where your desire will be fulfilled. Waste to Wonder Park in Delhi  is a theme park which is the first of its kind in the entire world to have replicas of all the wonders of the world. These are made from 150 tonnes of industrial waste, automobile waste and other scrap materials.The park has replicas of Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal, Colosseum, Pyramid of Giza and Christ the redeemer. Scrap metal pipes, car wheels, cycle chains, bike chains, disposed off park benches have been creatively used by designers to create these artistic monuments. These beautiful architectural monuments will mesmerise you especially during evenings when they are lit up. The park uses solar and wind energy for all its electricity needs.

There is an entry ticket of Rs 25 for children and Rs 50 for adults during weekdays and Rs 100 on Sundays.

How to reach: Waste to Wonder Park is in Sarai Kale Khan which is in South East Delhi. The nearest metro station is Nizamuddin from where it is a 10 minute walk. Auto rickshaws, Ola and Uber cabs can directly drop you at the theme park.

Deepika Pawar is a native of New Delhi, India. She is a Counsellor and Family Therapist in private practice. She is ‘a gypsy at heart’, a wanderer and travel enthusiast, who loves to explore new places.

Delhi Diaries- Garden of Five Senses

Delhi has a beautiful or rather a colourful charm when flowers are in full bloom. It is an ideal time to visit some gardens around this time.

Garden of Fives Senses is a beautiful garden spread over 20 acres in Saket, Delhi. There are theme areas like Khaas Bagh on the lines of the Mughal Gardens, herbal garden, pool of water lilies. The other highlights include sandstone elephants, sun clock, stone crafted students reading their books, amphitheater and the replica of the Mexican Mayan Labna Arc. I suggest that the best time to visit this place is during the Annual Garden Tourism Festival.

Once you have seen the garden and taken selfies with the sun kissed flowers, head straight to “Champa Gali” which is just 850 mts away (5 mins drive) for a scrumptious meal, refreshing coffee. Champa gali has its own charm with numerous Cafetarias with different themes welcoming you.

How to reach: Garden of Fives Senses is in south Delhi and the nearest metro station is Saket from where you can take an auto rickshaw. Else Ola and Uber cabs can drop you directly till the garden.

Deepika Pawar is a native of New Delhi, India. She is a Counsellor and Family Therapist in private practice. She is ‘a gypsy at heart’, a wanderer and travel enthusiast, who loves to explore new places.

Delhi Diaries: Lodhi Art District

Travel series by Deepika Pawar

Delhi Diaries

Delhi, the capital of India is fondly called Dilli dilawalon ki, meaning an abode of large hearted people. Growing up in Delhi I have been visiting places of tourist interest since childhood. But now I travel in Delhi as a traveler, exploring and admiring  the places and sharing my experiences. Delhi has a lot to offer from the Mughal era buildings to Colonial architecture to the modern day attractions for the travelers.

I thought that my travel blog series should begin from Delhi, the place where I live and where my heart ❤️ belongs.

Lodhi Art District is India’s First Open Air Art District where 20+ artists from India and overseas have transformed this public space into a beautiful canvas. If you are in Delhi, take a stroll on the streets of Lodhi Colony and get mesmerised by the Art Work. This place reminded me of the East Side Gallery Berlin Wall graffiti in Germany. Wear comfortable footwear since you will walk a lot and don’t forget a water bottle.

How to get there: Lodhi Colony is in South Delhi and is on the metro train route. You can take a private cab or an autorickshaw to reach the place.

Deepika Pawar is a native of New Delhi, India. She is a Counsellor and Family Therapist in private practice. She is ‘a gypsy at heart’, a wanderer and travel enthusiast, who loves to explore new places.