Sep 14, 2017

Booking flight know hows and Travelling tips

Booking tickets......whoever said that was easy. Especially if you are looking for the best and cheapest prices online. Its nothing short of a nightmare....If you haven't done it before.

I realized finding the best price meant going through 6 to 7 sites twice a day and rechecking it every now and then, especially when you have to discuss the details between a bunch of fellow travelers. Its like you are repeating the same thing twice or thrice.My husband tends to have amnesia whenever Iam speaking. Its like the man wasn't listening at all. I might be talking for an hour and he wont remember anything I said. I think in the perpetual habit of zoning out when your wife talks....he zones out the minute he sees my face I guess. Because Im repeating the very same thing a hundred different times. Yes...that is married life.

So where were we ! some tips when booking tickets for that amazing holiday .

1. YouTube ki Jai ho ! Always check out your holiday spot on YouTube. Everyone is putting everything on YouTube nowadays. From drunken endeavors to flashing themselves to sick stuff to joyous things. Everything is there on YouTube. So take the time to research for your dream destination and watch all videos concerning it. Like the scams to look out for...the stuff you need to pack...the essentials pertaining to that destination which is a must, the things you just dont need to or shouldn't pack, even whats there to see out there...the packages , the tours, the prices....etc etc. I have found out about places by mistake and planned my holiday around it.

2. When searching for cheap flights, go to various flight aggregators.
Farecompare, Flybooking, Kayak, Expedia, Momondo, Wego. These are to name a few but these are legit sites. I came across very cheap pop corn price tickets of an exotic location only to find out that it was a scam site. So please do your research. You can type in the site name and check out customer reviews online and know how legit or good they truly are. Also remember, some sites, they give you the base fare price and the luggage prices and small stuff like that are not included. Thats when you ruin your holiday at the airport, when you are told you have to pay an additional cost for this and that. So check if the ticket includes all taxes and fees and baggage details.

3. Fares arent the same everyday. I have seen fares change in a single day. Some say the best time to book is 6 weeks before travel and In my case, I found out 3 weeks before travel was a good time too. I guess it also depends on the destination and the high and low season of that place. So you are basically stuck checking fares everyday, the whole day at times especially if its a group involved.

4. Also, the tickets and hotels and tours are differently priced during the high and low season. You want to check what exactly the low and high season of the place's. Sometimes its just hot throughout the year in a place and high season would just mean , you and your kids are free during Christmas and thats when you will be paying thrice the price because you visited it on a world holiday. 

What else? 

5. There is something called the red eye flight. These flights are during that time of the night or early morning, when you rather sleep in bed with your butt in the air. These red eye flights are usually cheap as people , the ones with family, wouldnt want to drag their kids at odd times in the night to travel.

6. Always check for package deals as well online. Its better to know that if there is a service that is ready to do all the legwork and give you a all things and tours included trimmed package which includes airport transfers and shuttles and pick ups from your hotel . Some people hate the fact they have to run around during their holidays searching for deals on things abroad and rather pay a small ( No, it isnt small definitely) extra fee to have it done. So check those deals as well. If you like that,opt for it. If tailor made holidays isnt your thing, then prepare to be excited and disappointed and have fun planning every small detail of your trip.

7. Learn the local lingo or language of the place you are travelling to. At least learn basic stuff like greetings, Phrases concerning basic information you would need to travel in a taxi or boat or train or tuk tuk or bus or hotel or shopping. It never hurts to learn the customs and traditions expected of a foreigner. Politeness goes a long way and I for one enjoy learning new stuff and talk in new languages even though people would make fun of me. Doesnt matter, I like trying. I remember when I travelled home, I walked into this shop. I dont know the local language that well but decided to give it a shot. I spoke for a minute or two in broken kannada, explaining I wanted to see earrings which hung like this and pointing out at which they laughed at me and said, Madamji, Aap hindi me bole. (Mam, you can speak in hindi|). I was so relieved and we had a good but expensive time buying stuff. Not knowing the local lingo meant, Im not from around there and the prices will not be cheap. Can you believe it, they were rajasthani boys who spoke fluent kannada and tulu. Absolutely mind blown. 
So knowing the local phrases will just mean you are honoring them by trying to be polite and loving their country.

What else? 

8. Take into consideration the flight times and transit hours and the stays in the various airports. When you are in your 20s, staying awake for 2 days doesnt interfere with your body or life. But when you are older, have kids and are travelling, not getting the proper sleep can have a major impact. I could stay awake for 48 hours up to the age of 27 or 34.....but then it was like a landslide of life. If I dont get enough sleep now..besides falling asleep wherever I sit with my damn mouth wide open and drool seeping out , like a toddler I guess, my eyelids swell up,,I get nasty cranky...I get these murderous instincts....You dont need to play night crawler...I become one. And without my caffeine shots in the name of strong black tea...Im unmanageable. You dont want to land at your destination and spend a solid whole day sleeping in , trying to fight off the side effects of age and ruin an entire day. So make sure you sleep wherever you can. Like in Dubai, you have these wonderful chairs where you can sleep in. Use it...dont be ashamed... Make yourself comfortable and sleep when you can if time allows. I never sleep in a plane unless my mind yanks my brain socket out and I just go unconscious. Im distracted by movies and series. Listen to easy music and just sleep. 


9. Carry your medications for the duration of your trip. Dont miscalculate the number of tablets. I have too many, so this step is for those few. I would suggest carrying a tummy upset medication as well and panadols handy. What if you ate something in your flight and it went downhill after that. If you have dry eyes , carry eye drops and eye packs. Dont know what exactly they are called...the cooling pads ,travel friendly ones that you just pull over your eyes.I have had dry eyes issues and tummy upset issues and this nasty man who coughed and spewed his germs on the both of us. We literally were severely sick from a never ending cold for 2 weeks. God knows what that man bought in his nostrils from Europe but it was nasty. I had the worst vacation ever. 

10. Dont wear makeup and lens while travelling unless its just half an hour to one hour flight. I have seen women decked up from head to toe in a 5 hour long flight. They are massaging their feet coz their heels are killing them....their face looks all caked up....Its hilarious actually. I have seen women pull out their makeup bag just before landing and apply full on makeup over their old makeup....combing their hair to perfection..putting on nail polish and jewelry at the last moment. WTF ! Unless you were meeting your better half or lustful half after a long hiatus at the airport....

11. Converting currency. Check that exchange rate as to where it would be cheaper and better to convert your money into foreign goodness. In some places, they take local currency at the airport. I starved once in Mumbai because I had dinars and they didnt want to accept it. Nightmare during red eye flights.But this was ages and eons ago. But its true....some places they accept most currencies...some places they just dont.

12. Using toilets when you can. Of course in long flights, its unavoidable. But during short journeys, use the good old airport toilets when you can. The toilets on the plane... lets just take a second and not more than that to talk about those. Maybe its the bane of travelling economy many people just dont know how to use a toilet. How can water be sprayed all over? Why cant you dispose off your pads and tissues properly into the bins? Whats stopping you from pushing your hand a bit further into the bin, than eyeballing it from a distance and hoping it will pop in. What is wrong with you? Why cant you wipe the place dry after you finish? Do you have to act like a neanderthal , as if you dont know how to wash yourself after you do your deeds? Idiots and there is no shortage of them. Its because of nincompoops like them, I literally avoid flight loos and control my soul and pee till I land. Its because of you, I curse the human who went before me...coz Now Im standing there, wiping the place dry, so that I can use it without fearing death from some flesh eating bacteria. Ughhh the memories....

13. If you know the food served on flight wont be good as some economy flights are, eat before you leave home. I dont want to sit in a plane dying of hunger coz they served crap or they served way too little. Eat a light meal or large meal, whatever your body needs before you travel. If you are travelling first class or business...these info is not for you.

So Thats what I can remember right now...I just about covered the main points . If I think of anymore...I will add it here. If you have anything important you think needs mentioning...comment and I will add it. 

I hope it was helpful.

Apr 20, 2017


SUNSCREEN.....No I'm not going into the explanations or the the differences as there are so many and I mean a ton of explanations on these things out there. I will just point a few things that one needs to keep in mind at the thought of sunscreen. 

I never wore sunscreen and had bad skin throughout my life as there were too many responsibilities to shoulder and no one to explain such details frankly. FRankly, it was only after I got married, I took care of myself and was able to reverse most damage. Of course, hormonal issues and health issues can affect our body but such things might help us age gracefully, if that makes any sense.But in this day and age of the internet...its a blessing we can gather so much info and arm ourselves with basic knowledge and know what to choose...on what basis to choose and how to defend our skin and everything else under the beautiful sun.

  1. SPF 30 is okay for normal days but if you plan to be by the beach...its better to opt for SPF 50.
  2. Sunscreen needs to be applied every 4 hours . IF you wash up and reapply on a fresh face better.
  3. French and Japanese and Korean brands are considered the best and are expensive as well. 
  4. Natural sunscreens or there is an issue between the 2 but some sites say that natural don't always work the best.
  5. SPF up to 55 is just as good. There is no actual need to go beyond this SPF as it doesn't make a difference.
  6. Products that contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide are good and they cause a white cast on the face like you will notice on the cricket players.
  7. Based on consumer reports , La Roche Posay SPF 60 milk fluid one is the best and is on the pricey list. But there are other brands that are good too.
  8. Other than looking for SPF on the bottle... one should also note the PA +s. I think there are up to 5 pluses. The more the plus..the most effective they are in protecting your face from UV A and UV B both.
  9. You can apply Makeup over your sunscreen and adding the SPF of sunscreen and makeup is wrong. Your sunscreen should have the proper SPF and additional SPF on makeup is not to be added as the protection barrier.
  10. The amount of sunscreen is a good teaspoonful of it on your face every 3 to 4 hours. as sunscreen wears off with time. 
  11. Apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before leaving home. Allow the product to sink into your skin, be absorbed properly to protect you.
  12. The  purpose of sunscreen is to protect your skin from being damaged and against skin cancer. The lighter the skin, the more prone it is to cancer and damage. That's why we brown girls are blessed that way as our body produces more melanin to protect us.

What else did I learn.... I hope I ain't forgetting any good points I learnt. I have just got L'Oreal Paris UV Perfect Aqua Essence Advanced watery gel sunscreen, which has  SPF 50+ and PA ++++.
Image result for l'oreal paris watery gel sunscreen

Note :
PA ranking refers to the amount of protection the sunscreen offers from the UVA rays, since SPF just ranks protection from UVB rays.PA rankings are listed as PA+, PA++ or PA+++ with the more plus symbols the more protection from UVA rays, the rays that may cause long term skin damage and therefore age the skin.
SPF measures sunscreen protection from UVB rays, the kind that cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer. SPF does not measure how well a sunscreenwill protect from UVA rays, which are also damaging and dangerous.
 An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. "After that, it just gets silly," he says. Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but none offers 100% protection.

This is the information I gathered from the internet and its to provide basic info in simple layman terms. I nearly went crazy trying to find a good sunscreen. The thing is as one ages, we need to care for our skin other than all the other responsibilities we handle everyday. A little care goes a long way. I will not suggest a list of good and bad sunscreens here. Its a personal choice as what one should actually look for has been mentioned here. 

Apr 10, 2017

Erratic Soul

Today I was told something very disturbing. I will not divulge into details as I'm not ready yet and I feel writing it here...would be posting in Anger. But I want to write down as to how it has made me feel.

The deepest hurt in life is given by those who you love and I have been playing ping pong with this shuttle for decades.I thought a few years ago, a heartfelt honest act of begging for forgiveness , might have put an end to it.And what I learn in the middle of a conversation. That it had never been truly accepted. Neither my apology nor me. And all was just a pretense. Now that its here...lets just get through it.

If there was no redemption in all this... if no forgiveness was too be given...Why.... Why even pretend to sort things out and show love. Fake love.

I have never admired opaque personalities.....I love being transparent. If I'm can see it..If I'm sad you can see it. If I'm can feel and even rejoice in it. But this type of hurt is a totally different level of throwing a person under a truck.

I'm very angry....very very angry and upset.

I tried to make up and bring my share of happiness to the table. If someone threw it outside coz they mistook it for a rotten fruits...then there is nothing you can do to kill this toxicity.

Maybe it was fate to die this slowly in my heart. I must say its my fault....I was happy in my solitary castle , away from the enemies and their snares. Alas ! I got struck.

Thank you never cease to amaze me. And Raise my blood pressure and break my grief sodden heart. Thanks a lot, damn you.

Mar 12, 2017

Still Living with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis)

I have had rheumatoid arthritis for almost 6 years now. And though it started as rough, disheartening and a horrible challenge to live with day in and out....I have finally come to terms with the disease and learnt to accept my fate and rather survive around it. Its year 3 now...the ride has become less rough and less traumatic.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across this American woman (SARAH ..At carrefour cafe...I love you) At a cafe. We chatted about ourselves and then she encouraged me to write about it. I don't like to write so as it brings up horrid memories, which mostly brings me to tears and leave me sad and ask the inevitable question...Why Me? Why Now?

Who do I ask this parents... where can I throw the blame...Anyways...lets not make it a sob story.

I was lost for a few years initially because I didn't know anyone who could relate to this. People would often think I'm making excuses and being lazy. Its just a year or two ago that you can see how the disease has ravaged my hands and a few joints. They aren't that bad yet...but not very pretty either.

Oh Im missing the point again. Pardon my.....some guy is hammering a nail into the wall in the adjoining flat....and Its like hes banging on my head...Ugh !

So where was I? Yeah... I found comfort in 2 of these face book pages. Will leave the link here. Ever since I started reading up on their thoughts and people adding to it in their comments...I found this peace. I now know there are quite a lot of people mostly women stricken by this painful invisible illness and their daily struggle with it by adding some humor in their lives and action...helps them survive through it.
She is hilarious and brings me such comfort I tell you. I can relate to so many of her funny posts. God bless her for being so candid and showing me we can laugh at ourselves. Its not the end of the world. She is adorable and cheerful.
He is Inspiring. He has had a rough journey and is candid about his pain and things he does. He faces a whole lot of criticism but I like him as he is a strong man...mentally and physically and inspires everyone to not live in the pain but try to see good things it brings out in you.

I have taken all the medications except one for rheumatoid arthritis...From plaquenil to methotrexate and arava and combinations and steroids and limitless painkillers and  what not. I was left with almost 120 kg weight gain...just 20% movement.....swollen everywhere...couldn't walk...couldn't  hold a spoon or brush...couldn't open my mouth wide because my jaw was frozen add to it I was diabetic and hypertensive...losing hair...losing blood to menstruation 20 days a was all bad....then came a day when I asked my husband to get me some poison. I wanted to kill myself. I told him I would leave a letter saying I did it all by myself...

What was my husband's reaction? He sat by my bedside while I cried non stop....and stared at the walls and look at me such fierce angry tear filled eyes....He was like..tell me...tell me what can I do....What was I suppose to tell him? I couldn't say anything..I couldn't think straight through any of this...I just wanted it to end. SO he got me 2 sleeping pills that night from a friend and asked me to take one and go to sleep. I don't know how many hours I slept but after so many months...I slept through all those aches and pains for a straight 8 hours or more. I felt so felt really good to feel nothing but sleep.

A few more months passed by and my rheumatologist told me that none of the medications were working and my disease was still very active and showing no signs of slowing down.

Let me tell you this...there is no permanent cure for this. All these medications ...besides ravaging through your youth like a crazy hungry cannibal.....they only slow the disease down. Doesn't eradicate it. He said I could try Humira,,,which was very expensive and not available for non Kuwaitis. I must commend that our government is so generous and makes this medications available to those with health insurance. God bless them for that .

I stopped the steroids on my own..tapering them for over a year coz I found out from some test...that my heart was getting weak.I cannot remember the names of the various blood tests right now....

4 years ago....I decided to give ayurvedic treatment a try. I thought I have exhausted every other medications and lost my sight by -2...had become very fat and gotten 3 chins and my tummy was going southwards...why not just give it too a try. AT least then I could say... yes I tried everything....It didnt work and now I will just wait for a decent death in peace., hopefully not with my underwear down, fallen on the toilet floor.

So I went back to India ...found an ayurvedic doctor and she set out a few dietary plans for me and some  medications. All the while she explained it clearly that these would slow it down and provide some much needed relief but again depends from person to person. It doesnt work on some while some show surprising good changes. I was already like a blind man at the edge of the wall of the well...I didnt even need a push...I would just jump...If someone told me that there is this poison that could cure your RA...but your life would be cut short by 10 me I would gulp it down without thinking twice. Yes... the pain is very someone pulling your joints in the opposite direction.

The diet chicken..very little gassy vegetables like potatoes...a few addition to being diabetic and meant a whole lot more things cut from my diet. I could eat 5 veggies only.Hihihihihiih......That means I would sit and salivate at a table my mom decorated with her all delicious food and all I could eat weree 5 veggies.Didnt matter...I tried the diet though I do follow it a bit loosely now...She recommended ayurvedic doctor...gentle massage.

Anyone with this disease know that massage is a big no no for us.sitting too long is a non no..standing too long is a no no...walking too long is a no no..holding anything for more than 10 mins is a non... rubbing your back a no no...wearing any heels is a no no...zipping your dress is a no no...wearing a bra is a no no...( Well...I learnt a few tricks along the way...we cannot just let things hang now)...we learn to use both brush and eat... we learn to use arms and what not to hold onto things....

I lose my way too easily....look at me..

Then she recommended some ayurvedcic medications like RHUKOT.....Ashwagandha many Kashayams...I will put a picture of the medications....later on...All these they help your body detox....

NOW for the good part. A year into these medications...I started walking joints though swollen every now and then... were at least operational. The best part is I could walk...I want dependent on my husband to go to the loo..I could walk for half and hour....Now its an hour to 3 hours. God has been great. My faith though a bit shaken initially has been restored back. THe ability to up and about...Im thankful for that. Nothing else matters.

How do I balance it all ??????

Well...I try...I stick to eating mutton or beef once a week. I eat chicken twice or once a week...I avoid and have stopped all canned food years ago. OF course very rarely I will indulge in a sandwich with spam or ham or sausage in it .But I dont keep that stuff in m fridge. I eat fish every once in 2 weeks...Sometimes some brand of chicken or eggs will cause intense swelling and pain abut then I opt for the 2 vegetables that I like the most and help me get that stuff out of my system , Namely, courgettes and carrots and peas.

Lately drinking any coffee causes I quit that too...not quit..I have a small cup of cardamon coffee at times.I need to take vitamins and calcium as I dont drink milk That much. Its like I will try something and see how I feel the next day. If my hands swell up..I wont eat that again.

Of course...changing seasons and humidity can worsen the pain. I dont take painkillers unless I know I cant take it anymore. My pain threshold is very high Thank God for that...I keep myself warm at all times as I aint very young anymore and I rather be careful than go crazy from some sprain. I wear sports shoes and heels at all.I dont push myself to do anything physically. I have learnt to listen to certain cues my body gives me. I need my rest as RA makes you tired. You hardly wake up rest is vital. When body says..thou shall sleep even if you havent raised your finger...Thou will sleep.

SO thats my story so far.Its been a tough ride but Im glad  that I came out a strong woman....SO dont be disheartened my darlings if you have any sickness. There are of course far more worse things out there...but I have been stricken with this particular one and its my struggle. I can only share my thoughts and feelings and treatments and story and maybe enlighten one mind person who is fighting and sad and hurt from living with the illness. I know I would have loved some encouragement 6 years ago when I thought I was falling into an abyss.