2015 was amongst the best Travel years of my life (2009 still remains the best one with 14 bike rides & 2 trips). And 2015 was special for many other reasons too; for watching a whole lot of movies & TV shows, for reading some real classy books, for finishing my long-pending dream Rajasthan Bike Ride with my best buddy George, for spending time with my family back in India and for watching Abhay grow and monkeying around!
We travelled to India, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece and Turkey together and had a fabulous time in each of these countries. We also did a brief tour of Amsterdam and I also managed an official day trip to Bahrain adding another country to my list!
I watched 182 movies, 28 TV Series & read 12 books (fell woefully short of my target of 30 though!), made a lot of new & lip-smacking recipes, got 17,000+ hits to my blog and had my first travelogue printed in the print media!
I couldn’t have asked for more from God!
Lots and lots of planning went behind the scenes in ensuring we had a fabulous and trouble-free travel year. The first trip of the year to India in February which lasted a month! We reached on 14-February and celebrated Abhay’s birthday with kids from ADAA the next day, I was so happy to meet Mr. Navin Gulia in person after being in touch with him for so long. We also went to Varanasi for a family trip; this was a dream trip for my mother & wife and I was happy to have made it possible for them. It is a fabulous city with so much life & exuberance coupled with delicious food. Hope to visit that city again very soon.
We got back to Kuwait in March and then the wait & final planning began for our upcoming Europe trips for the rest of 2015! I had already booked the flights & hotels plus finalized the itineraries for our upcoming trips to Poland & Czech Republic (July), Greece (September) and Turkey (November). I had spent a lot of time online reading blogs and browsing through tonnes of reviews on TripAdvisor before embarking on these trips. I also booked a number of restaurants across multiple cuisines to fully enjoy the cities we visited through the food they offered.
Thanks to God, all the 3 trips went as per our plans and without any mishaps. We visited some really majestic, gorgeous and historic locations across these 4 countries. We explored various cuisines as well – Polish, Czech, Italian, French, Slovenian, Greek and Turkish. We visited Prague and Istanbul – 2 cities often considered the best in the world. We were also lucky to visit some of the hidden gems through these countries like Zab in Poland, Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic, Ios Island in Greece and Pamukkale in Greece.
I went for my long-awaited & pending bike ride to Rajasthan with George Varghese (Paaaaaaaaaaai) visiting Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer! We had a fabulous time traversing the fabulous roads, exploring a lot of history and sampling delicious food throughout the 7 days of our bike ride across 2200-odd kilometres! It was the perfect ride with lots of riding and exploration going hand in hand. We also enjoyed watching the Ind-SA Cricket WC match at a roadside tea stall in Udaipur and what an experience it was! I finally managed to visit the holy and revered site of “Bullet Baba” at Pali near Jodhpur; it was one of those spots I wanted to visit since I started Motorcycling way back in 2008!
More details here: The Rambunctious Rajasthan Ride
Once again it was an amazing year full of movies spread across genres, languages and countries. I watched a total of 182 movies: 182 out of which 36 were Indian, 146 Non-Indian Movies and 17 on the big screen. I wrote multiple blogs about my favourite movies in December which outlined the fabulous experience I had throughout 2015.
My Top Movie Blogs of 2016…
This was a complete new zone for me! I started this tryst in 2014 when I watched True Detective which was the first TV series I watched in the recent times. I followed that up by completing 28 TV series in 2015! Some of them were simply fabulous and I am completely hooked to this concept now. I am following some 7 TV series these days and hope to finish 2016 with another big number!
This was the only area where I failed! I had taken up a target to read 30 books but ended up with a miserable number of just 12! But I have all my travel to blame for this lapse as I just could not get enough time to achieve this target. This year I have taken up a much smaller target of 12 books to read and I am already on track having read 5 books!
It was definitely one of the happiest moments of 2015 for me. I was so happy that a travelogue I wrote got published in the Print Media for the first time! It was for Vistara Airlines‘ In-Flight Magazine, big thanks to my GIM friend Simran Oberoi for providing the lead, her sister Guneet Oberoi who works at the MaXposure Media Group for editing & publishing it plus Bandita for providing the inputs! Hope to get more such opportunities in the future.
I honed my cooking skills further in 2015 by trying many new recipes. Big credit goes to Bandita as she helps me a lot in the kitchen plus always gives me honest & constructive feedback. The best part was that I tried many international recipes this year apart from all the fabulous Indian ones. Our travel also made my cooking interesting as we picked up many new varieties of spices & food items from Prague and Istanbul and most importantly, used them in my recipes!
Recruitment to Generalist HR
I started my career in April 2003 in Mumbai and have been a specialist recruiter since then. But it changed in March 2015 when I took up a new challenge and was assigned the role of a HR Business Partner / HR Generalist profile. It has been a fun journey since then and I have enjoyed the new challenges & responsibilities. As I have always done I find fun elements in whatever I do and this has been instrumental in me learning the tricks of this new trade!
He was once again the star of our lives in 2015 and made sure that each one of the 365 days had lots of added smiles and happiness. He was a perfect travel partner too; never throwing any tantrums during our flights, treks or road trips. We trekked 22 kms in a single day in Czech Republic and he wasn’t fussy or cranky for a single minute! He also enjoyed his overnight train journey experiences in Poland! We are so thankful to God for gifting us with a kid who enjoys travelling and being outdoors the same way we do!
We had wonderful fun with our family in Gurgaon & Jaipur during our India trip; it was the first time I had the opportunity to play with all the 3 kids of our family – Nandini, Samyukta and Abhay! We also had Abhay’s Mundan Ceremony in Jaipur on 1st March which was quite a memorable affair.
I also attended Bandita’s brother Yatindra’s wedding with Alka in December which gave me another opportunity to visit India and enjoy the marriage festivities. I also found time to meet my old friends in Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Plus had lots of fun with Madhumita and Ajeya who had come from Australia.
Bandita was as always the perfect partner-in-rhyme and was always ready for anything I wanted her to be a part of. Be it the tough treks, crazy travelling schedules or my constant demands for help in the kitchen; she was always ready for the Abhay challenge and never losing her poise or energy while doing any of these things! Thanks to God for gracing me with such an amazing life partner.
As you can see, 2015 was one of those perfect years where everything went as we had planned and even beyond our expectations. God was very kind on us and I hope 2016 is even better! It has started on a superb note; I have already been to India for a short 4-days trip and had a fabulous time. Our first travel trip of 2016 begins on 1-April; we would be in Egypt for a week enjoying a Nile Cruise and the majestic Pyramids.
Thanks to all my friends and everybody in my family for being part of the fabulous 2015 (both On the Road and off it) and I am sure all of you would be very much an integral part of 2016 as well. Big Thanks to Kuwait and my organization here for treating me so well and ensuring that all my plans & dreams came true. None of this could have been possible without that!
So till the time we meet again…
Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…