The Sky is Sardinian




“Hey, how are you? What’s happening?” came the reply on the other end of the line.

“Good, great, Are you on your terrace?”

“Yes, I am… I know it looks like the exact same colour, doesn’t it?” asked my best friend.

“It’s scary we remembered the same evening today… just saying,” I smiled into the phone

“That evening… how can we ever forget?”

“I’ve never seen those colors, coral and magenta…” I reminisced.

“How could we forget? You almost fell from our tender (a smaller boat used for ferrying to and from the yacht to the shore) ride into ‘Cala di Volpe’ getting the perfect shot.” teased my friend.

“What are you complaining about? You still have that picture on your bedside table.”

Oh, what a day that was, what a trip actually! We’d been on a super yacht all around the Italian Riviera for a week by then. Our perfect gang of twelve. We’d danced and partied in Capri, enjoyed the sunset from hotel ‘Caesar Augustus’, dined at the lemony ‘Paulinho’. We had enjoyed local gelato and pizza in Amalfi. Clicked a thousand pictures, jet skied and sea-bobbed in the gorgeous waters off Positano… and wait…we also slid down the massive slide attached for us from the third floor of our yacht into the turquoise blue water of the Tyrrhenian sea. Post which we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at ‘Il San Peitro di Positano’ where we couldn’t choose whether we wanted to gorge on the scrumptious meal or on the view of the emerald expanse below us.

We spent lazy mornings at breakfast fit for kings, talking our hearts out on board and then eating our hearts out on the streets of Ponza (a tiny island vacationed on by Beyoncé and Jay Z and Rihanna to name a few) where we ate the best brick oven pizza ever. We enjoyed laid back boat rides over almost crystalline still waters into post card Italian towns. We strolled through Portofino and ate short pasta in Santa Margarita. One afternoon our captain arranged for us to swim below an arch jutting off the rugged Italian shore. This was an unreal experience. Music blaring from our smaller boats, we just jumped off them into the greenest blue water which was as clear as the Kohinoor. We could actually see the sea-bed below our dancing feet with the sunlight piercing the ocean. We were in our own slice of heaven!

However the highlight of our trip was Puerto Cuervo in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia. It was the last destination we anchored in. We had a royal picnic on the fine sand beaches and dipped into the crisp blue water. We jumped from our deck into the ocean. We dined at ‘Cipriani’, danced at the ‘Billionare’ club, shopped at the boutiques.

The best however was saved for the last evening. As we stepped out onto the deck, dressed to the T for an enjoyable evening on land, we were awestruck by the view we beheld. We sat mesmerized on our tender rides into ‘Cala di Volpe’. I swear the sky was the same color as the watermelons we had devoured just hours ago. It was a palette of colors so vibrant that they seemed to be stroked by the brush of an artist. An artist who favoured rose-madder and mauve and lilac and coral, an artist who loved these happy colours, an artist who presented this beautiful display to us as a farewell gift. And we couldn’t get enough of it. We just wanted to etch this beautiful evening into our memories forever.

“The picture on my bed side is my favorite moment captured from that trip,” she confided.

“Also on top of my list was the ‘guard of honouresque’ welcome that the crew gave us in Naples.”

“I would very much like to forget that particular morning though, our last one there.”

“Come on let’s not go there,” I begged.

“It was so reckless of you!”

“I know, I know and I’m sorry even now.”

“I was watching you from the upper deck, repeatedly shouting and zooming passed us on your jet ski,” she chided.

“It was so much fun, speeding there almost felt meditative…until we hit the huge swell- ”

“Mom! you fell in the middle of the ocean speeding?” my youngest surprised (sneaking up on) me from the couch behind.

“You failed to mention that on your return,” added my older one.

“Was Dad the one you took down with you?!!” chimed in my middle one, not one to shirk from policing me.

“Oops! Busted! I’ll call you tomorrow.”




SPLASH! Into the refreshing, cleaner than expected, cool water of the Ganges on the banks of Bithoor, Kanpur.

“Here we come!”

“Slow down, the last steps are slimy.”

“Careful kids!”


It is said that a dip in this holy river rids one of their sins.  I’m sure that dips and salutations offered by the whole family (all 3 of the generations) together must definitely count for bonus points up there!

“Girls, the gated stairwell is ready for you to change,” hollered my brother.

“Round up girls, let’s go in, in twos.”

“Mom!!! these stairs lead up to an open-air courtyard!!” squealed my daughter.

Well, that was that.  On the rugged ghats of Bithoor, also the home of Lord Brahma’s (the creator of the world) temple, on a balmy April day we offered prayers to mother Ganga and enjoyed the cool dip. It was a very serene setting this, the banks had a very rustic charm.  Although the hullabaloo of people was there, it wasn’t as crowded or noisy as the usual Indian religious cities. The river was set off with lush trees on both sides, colorful homes with heavy wooden doors and thick brass links, and of course the huge steps on the banks which lead into the river. It felt more like a picnic than a pilgrimage. And to top it all off, the one announcement that all of us had been waiting for all morning . . . “The Papdi with aloo saag and hot jalebis with dahi are here!”




“Slow down, don’t fall!”

“Watch out for the rocks and pebbles beneath.”

Those warnings were a blur, as the brilliant blue-green water sparkling almost to gem-stone perfection beckoned me. SPLASH!

Well, the star cast for this adventure was the same as it had been two summers ago in Bithoor.  The location however was a world apart.  What?. . . it really was.

Did you think that this lot of 15 went only on pilgrimages?  This trip was anything but.  However, ensconced in all directions by the eye-catching beauty of Mykonos Island, I did say a quick thank you looking up at the powder blue and candy fluff sky.  The beach club at Super Paradise seemed straight out of a travel show.  The weather was just perfect for a fun day at the beach. The music was amping up with every song, the crowd had a very chilled out and groovy vibe.  People were enjoying everything, from swimming to dancing to napping away any thought, that might intrude on this splendid setting.

“Where’s Mom, she’ll love this water!” I shouted in the direction of my sister.

“Still recovering somewhere from the car ride here, either that or the party and the lightly clad revellers are too hot for her, ” she laughed, winking at me, while building a not so perfect sand castle with our nephew.

“We have the 3 best drivers money can’t buy, what’s to worry?”

“I think that it was the steep incline.”

“I think that our beloved chauffeurs actually saved the day.”

“Did some one just call me a chauffeur?” asked my brother feigning hurt.

Mykonos is a gorgeous Greek Island surrounded by the Aegean blue of the Aegean Sea.  The snow-white buildings adorned with sprinkles of magenta bougainvillea and colorful shutters line the meandering streets. Most of the pretty town looks fake, almost like a movie set, but then the fresh aromas wafting from a local bakery or a peep from a grandma, drying her clothes on a brightly colored balcony reminds one that these strawberries and cream huddles are very much real.  The cobbled streets of old town and the colorful shops and cafes of Matoyianni Street are fun to explore.  The famed white Mykonos Windmills, which are perched on a rocky landscape are every bit as picture-worthy as they are known to be.

Most of the roads however are steep slopes, many seemingly with almost 60-degree inclines. That’s where our tiny zip cars (3 of them as we were 15 of us) needed a lot of tenacity and skill from our drivers, our doting men of the family.

“We should probably start packing up.”

“Maa, the party is just starting!” I pointed out.

“Exactly! The kids are here too and it’s a very colorful beach!”

This ignited peels of laughter from all of us, Dad in particular, “If they can chill in the Ganges with me, they can and will enjoy in Mykonos with me.”

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pictures courtesy;,,

“…And The Party Begins in Mumbai!”

“We’re so late!”

“No, we are not.”

“I warned you about the traffic.”

“We’ll be fine, relax.”

“I told you we should’ve left earlier!”

“You’re just nervous, we’ll be in the box before the toss, promise.”

Thus continued my rant(of which I am not particularly proud, to say the least) all the way to the Wankhede Stadium. You see, on April 2nd, 2011 all roads led to one place, and place only……to the venue of the ICC Cricket World Cup Final in Mumbai. Millions of eager fans world-over were ready to watch this ultimate game on screen, at home, in bars, outside store windows, anywhere that they could catch a glimpse of this match.

Since we’re in the warm up to the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019, I had to reminisce about my trip to the hottest and most coveted seat of that glorious day in 2011.

Inside the stadium which was filled to its capacity with 42,000 pumped-up spectators, I couldn’t hear a thing, and apparently neither could the match referee. He made MS Dhoni (our legendary Indian Captain) toss the coin twice, which led to a lot of confusion.

“Is he serious?”

“Dhoni said he wanted to bat first, and then he makes him toss again?”

“This can’t be a good omen!”

The Sri Lankan captain eventually won the toss on the second attempt and decided to bat first. They scored a decent 274.

“You wanna grab a bite? The spread looks amazing,” offered my husband in the innings break.

“I couldn’t get a morsel in, even if I wanted to.”

“If the first wicket holds for 15 overs, we win!” predicted a cousin.

“They need to get a blazing start, then build it from there,” countered my other cousin.

Live commentary and fervent discussions were on amongst all our family who were watching this spectacle together there.

When our first wicket fell, I swear you could hear even a pin drop. And I immediately fled from the box (which now, felt like a box of nervousness) and paced the empty hallways outside, chanting. My heart summersaulted with every reaction from the crowd.

I can’t believe I missed going to the temple today. Today of all days. Wait. Am I speaking to myself? BREATHE….in….out…in….out

Oooooooh….followed by a long silence!

This can’t be good!

NOOOO, another wicket!


I should return home….

Wait, the tickets were too hard to get, no way, I’m not going anywhere.

More pacing. More praying.

“Hey come on in. It’ll be okay, we still have a few players left.”

“No no I can’t watch it, Let me be, please,” I urged

And so continued the game inside and me pacing, playing guessing games, trying to gauge the crowd’s reaction while praying. After some time and the fall of yet another wicket, I heard the one name that had me halting mid step. I rushed in, not wanting to miss a single glimpse of my favourite sportsman in the whole world, MS Dhoni.

“He promoted himself up the order?!”

“Looks like it.”

We couldn’t hear a word over the cheering crowd. “DHONI! DHONI! DHONI!” continued the chanting. If I thought I was the only Dhoni fanatic, I was so wrong. Yet, the obvious edginess was palpable all over the stadium. Cricket is a team sport where every player has a role to play, but for me in this mayhem (or on any other day actually) MS Dhoni was the man. His calm and collected composure was good enough to soothe my fraying nerves. Today it was temporary though, as the game of cricket isn’t over till it’s over, and Sri Lanka had a strong bowling attack, so this match could go either way.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Win! Win! Win!

God answered my prayers in the form of MS Dhoni. Who can forget the SIX that he smashed, which won us the match and the world cup. Dhoni salute! Team India Salute! And then the celebrations started. Emotional, crazy, loud, beautiful, glorious celebrations.

“I knew Dhoni would win it for us. DHONI! DHONI! DHONI!”

“We probably won because of all your praying and patrolling the hallways.” teased my husband, wiping my wet cheeks.

“You never know.” I gloated.

“You should’ve just paced in the temple you missed going to today. You made me work so hard for these impossible to get tickets and barely even watched the game.”

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (L)

picture credits: Getty images and zimbio

Welcome to St. Tropez



I think it’s time for some glamour, some flair, something out of a movie fantasy. What do you say?

Let’s kick off with St. Tropez! Does it fit the bill?

Our group of five couples landed in Nice on a beautiful summer morning. We had been told to pack for a week, to bring with us resort-wear and party-wear, heels, flip-flops and loafers, hats and sunglasses, play lists and fun stories.  The rest was a surprise for us.

“Where do you think we’re off to?” a near shriek from my excited friend, as we rolled out from the airport in over-sized luxury vans.

“I’m guessing the French Riviera.”

“Monaco!” gushed my other friend.

All this while our darling host sat smiling across from us. Rather quickly, our cars entered a small compound and halted in front of two gleaming choppers. Our doors slid open and a host with dark Ray-Bans greeted and ushured us onto the waiting choppers.

The combined energy of our excitement was probably enough to propel the helicopters as we took off and our Captain explained to us the scenic route that we would take to reach our destination -‘St. Tropez’. And so we started our magical trip in true 007 style. We flew over the gorgeous coast-line oohing and aahing en-route St. Tropez.

Our first stop was the magnificent view and refreshments at ‘Hotel Villa Belle Rose’ which is set atop a hill that overlooks all of St.Tropez. We then strolled around the port enjoying gelatos from the world-renowned ‘Barbarac’, clicking pictures of the luxury yachts that bobbed up and down putting up a spectacular show for us.

One moment we were debating on whose gelato flavor was the best and the next moment we were being whisked onto small speed-boats (called tender rides) as we glided into the turquoise waters.

My love for travel is familiar to you all by now, and I’m always awestruck by the beauty, the diversity, and the energy that the world has to offer. But believe me when I say this, that a collective jaw-drop would have made for a fine picture as we reached our ‘surprise’. I was and still am a little tongue-tied about it. We were welcomed like royalty by a staff of around twenty, queued up to greet us aboard ‘Numptia’, a luxury super yacht (70 meters and 5 floors). This was way bigger and shinier than any that we had clicked pictures with, just a few moments ago.

That feeling of WOW will never leave me. Standing aboard this disarming beauty with the cool sea-breeze in my hair, the bluest water all around, the picturesque port of St. Tropez on one side and a cloudless horizon on the other, I was astounded. It was a magic so pure that even a gifted writer couldn’t have imagined it. The spark of joy that conjured up within me was simply blissful.

“Let me give you a trip around your home for the coming week,” announced our Captain with obvious pride in his voice.

The spangly ‘Numptia’ consisted of the main deck, the sun-deck, a formal living area, an informal indoor sitting area with karaoke, games and more. A formal dining room, an outdoor dining area, many lounge seatings around the decks, a pool and jacuzzi on the top floor, a gym, a steam room, a beauty salon,  endless water-sports equipment (or ‘toys’ as our Captain liked to call them) like jet skies, banana boats and sea-bobs, and our beautifully decorated bedrooms of course. All of this, just for the 10 of us to enjoy.

“Did you see the control room or cockpit?” asked one of the guys.

“The controls and displays look super sophisticated and high-tech, just like a sci-fi movie.”

“Hey guys, look ahead… the ‘Titanic’ pose is underway.”

All eyes turned towards the front followed by peals of laughter, but I know it couldn’t be helped. This was all too stunning, just like a movie, except that it was for real, and we were living it. To our delight, our luggage was unpacked for us by the extremely caring and meticulous staff.  Our clothes were ironed and hung, our shoes and bags assembled, even before we finished our tour of the boat and reached our rooms. This was some serious pampering.

That day we had lunch at the world famous ‘Club 55’. The beach, music and crowd there were amazing. Dancing and merry conversations were the order of the day.

“Are these real vegetables?” Inquired my darling husband, looking at the assortment of baby vegetables served before us.

“The display does kind of trick you, but here…. you can eat these.” Offered one of our friends as she nibbled on a baby fennel leaf.

To this day my husband recounts the names of the baby veggies that he had tried there for the first time.

We then moved onto the swanky, chilled out ‘Nikki Beach’.  Dinner that night was at ‘Villa Romania’. Just as the name suggests this place had the aura of  a roman villa, replete with marble sculptures, green vines, lush floral displays and a fun vibe. The music here was sublime. Desserts were devoured with some dancing at ‘Babylon’ and then to top it all off was perhaps one of the best party scenes in St. Tropez at ‘Spoon’.  As luck would have it, Europe’s top DJ was in the house that night and he truly ‘welcomed us to St. Tropez’ at this wild party.

Hours later, “Should we head home?”

“Aren’t you ladies tired?”

“We should definitely get back on board. But fatigue has nothing to do with it.”

“Is everything okay?”  All eyes were on me now.

“Yes, Yes, all good. It’s just that the stars are expecting us. I hear they too have put up a great show for us. And the viewing tonight as we lift anchor is from the top deck.”

picture credit; self

A Melodious Night In Maui

What’s the most fun you’ve had with your friends? The story that pops right out at me is of a night, spent nearly ten years ago, on the pristine beaches of Maui – singing.

Yes, you read that right. The memory of singing the whole night with friends under a beautiful full moon is etched in my mind forever. Continue reading “A Melodious Night In Maui”