Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Kayaking through London Canals with Secret Fitness

It's a Friday evening. I'm wading through the rush hour and rushing to catch the tube to Central London to meet up with few folks from the Love Pop Up Community. There is a secret man who'll be there we are told; it's all very hush hush!

I reach just in time and there outside the Angel station standing in the middle of eager adventurers is Chris from Secret Fitness.

Founded by Chris Saw, Secret Fitness presents unique sporting & fitness experiences set in secret locations throughout London to encourage people to break away from the ordinary, find a life outside of London’s gyms, offices, and discover exciting new and unusual activities that will build both confidence and fitness.

Knowing that it is a secret fitness event, I'm a bit anxious. But Chris gives all of us a warm welcome, puts us at ease and then leads us into the unknown. We walk past buildings, cars and people. I am trying to look for hints, what could our fitness activity really be? And ten minutes of curious walking later, I see the lovely Regent's Canal.

I guess boating and as we walk closer I see life jackets. So, is that it?

I don't know yet. We get on a motor boat... Ooo...I smell adventure!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Art & Food: Spanish Master of Light, Sorolla at The National Gallery

One of my favourite places in the city is the unmissable Trafalgar Square, full of heart and history. When I had first come to London, I would spend hours sitting at the edge of the fountain, people watching, listening to the street performers, reading a book; the stunning National Gallery adorning the skyline behind.

The National Gallery is home to world-class paintings, sculpture, and other fine art, as well as rotating exhibitions throughout the year. Currently, artist ‘Sorolla: Master of Light’ is being exhibited at the art gallery. Though Sorolla was very famous in his native country, and a hero in Valencia, this is the first UK exhibition of the Spanish impressionist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida's (1863–1923) in over a century! In 1908, the Grafton Gallery London had hosted “the World’s Greatest Living Painter” and this year a new generation will get to see the cerebrated artist's work.

The artist was dubbed the Master of Light by contemporaries for the way he captured the fleeting effects of light. And as French critic Henri Rochefort acknowledged: 'I do not know any brush that contains as much sun.' That's how bright and lovely his work was. You can see all of it at the exhibition, at the Sainsbury Wing, ending on 7th July 2019.

From the vivid seascapes, garden views, and bather scenes for which he is most renowned, to portraits, landscapes and genre scenes of Spanish life, the exhibition features more than 60 works spanning Sorolla's career – many of which are travelling from private collections and from afar.

Image: Joaquín Sorolla, 'Reflections in a Fountain', 1908 © Fundacion Museo Sorolla, Madrid

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Cruising the Canals with GoBoat London | Aditi's Pen

The longer I live in London, the more off beat and fun experiences I find to explore this vibrant city. The city and its sights change with its changing seasons. So come summer, you'll see Londoners sprawling in the green parks, soaking in the sun, a packed picnic of prosecco and treats in hand.

But this summer, it won't just be the parks that'll see picnickers. It will also be the lovely canals of London. Picture this: cruising through the peaceful blue green waters on a lovely boat, wildlife spotting, people watching, and all the while laughing and merry-making under the summer sky, a drink in hand. Oh! And you are your own captain too!

GoBoat London, the only self-driven, powered boating experience in central London, makes this dreamy picture come alive!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Open House London | The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Building

For one weekend every year, the Open House London celebrates the city, its great architecture, the histories of old buildings and the virtues of new ones. Last September was my first visit to the Open House and I was lucky enough to explore few buildings over the weekend, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Building on Whitehall being one of them.

Although the Foreign Office dates back to 1782 when the first Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Charles James Fox was appointed; the glorious building which we see today houses The Foreign and India Office quarters which were started in 1861 and took 7 years to complete, opening in 1868. And The Colonial and Home Office sections were then started and completed in 1875. 

The architectural style of this building revels in the juxtaposition of the work of  two great architects - George Gilbert Scott, a leading architect of the Gothic Revival style whose famous works include The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel and The Albert Memorial, and Matthew Digby Wyatt who was the Surveyor of the East India Company in 1855 and subsequently became Architect to the Council of India.

We first enter into the richly decorated Durbar Court. 'Durbar' was the term used in Mughal India where Indian Kings and other rulers had their formal and informal meetings and was adopted by the British to refer to a ceremonial gathering to demonstrate loyalty to the crown. Wyatt sure did bring the grandiose to this courtyard - it was the old India office from where the subcontinent was governed for almost a century. Around the three floored Durbar court are statues of men from British India. A reminder of our histories, both different narratives, right? I was not very comfortable seeing the imperial rulers on a pedestal, but there they were - Robert Clive, Commander-in-Chief of British India, infamous for the Battle of Plassey, for his atrocities committed on Indian peasants, high taxes and for facing trial in England because of the enormous personal fortune he earned in India; Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor-General of India from 1773 to 1785; and Minto (Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound) of the Minto-Morley Reforms.

But let's get back to the stunning architecture. Here are some pictures I took that day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Creating Balance & Embracing Your Multipotentialite Personality

“Balance is not something you find,
It’s something you create.”

Scanner, Renaissance person, Multipotentialite...ever heard of these terms?

Of course, you must know the more common saying, ‘Jack of all trades’?

‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ said the world, But you know what they left out?

‘Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one

The world had us believe that being well-versed in multiple disciplines was a limitation or an affliction that one had to
overcome. And so, many like me, who dabbled in multiple passions as a kid, was forced to choose one path as an
adult, find their one true calling or choose a one dimensional career.

It took me years to unlearn what the world had fed me, and finally appreciate and embrace my ‘multipotentialite’
personality. A big big shout out to Emilie Wapnick, who coined this term and whose TED talk had me furiously nodding
all along.

In my transition from a 9-5 banking professional to an entrepreneur, I have had to push past many fears. A major
struggle, one that often still overwhelms me, are balancing my multiple passions. I am a freelance writer
and photographer, and building a dance start up from ground zero. Also a dancer, a blogger, by default a project
manager, and an aspiring ‘best selling author’.

Expanding. Exploring. Learning. Growing.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Flash Fiction: Telling a Story In a Few Words

A few years ago, I published my first Ebook of flash fiction on Amazon Kindle called 26. These are twenty six stories,
each written in just one day as part of a blogging challenge. And since then, I’ve fallen in love with this form of writing.
But let me admit, I didn’t know of the term ‘flash fiction’ until just a few months before I started writing them.

So, let's start with the basic question.

What is flash fiction?

The exact definition may vary, but it is the modern term used for short stories, usually under 500 words in length.
The key is, they still need to be complete stories in themselves, whatever the agreed word limit, be it 1500 or
300 words.

There are many writers who play with this theme of writing short stories; we’ve heard terms such as short-short stories,
immediate fiction, sudden fiction, microfiction, the 100-word pieces, the 55-ers and the terribly tiny tales. These all
come under the umbrella of flash fiction. But the best example of flash fiction, which uses the skill of brevity to a T is,
Ernest Hemingway who gave us the six word story:

For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn
These short, swiftly written, and transient narratives can be as powerful as the complexly constructed lines of
drawn-out prose.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

February And Traces Of You | Thought Catalog

My words can now be found on Thought Catalog! Here's a snippet from my poem 'February and Traces of You'

A pot of black coffee getting cold 
Scattered letters with missing feelings and some words. 
Ink stains on my hands and burn stains in my heart, 
I try and piece my broken heart together. 
I lost love and friendship, all at once, when you walked out; 
I’m not sure how to go on without you now, 
you were the one who was supposed to stay… 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

How to Explore the Best of Chinatown London in a Day

London's Chinatown is always bursting with energy. It is a riot of flavours, smells, textures and colours waiting to be explored. And with the start of the Year of the Pig (5th February) Londoners and tourists alike are heading to the city's Oriental wonderland, eating and drinking their way through dumplings, pig-shaped macarons and everything in between.

I spent last Saturday evening wandering through its many streets, and here's my list of the best of Chinatown London.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

10 Free (Budget) Things to Do in London: January & February 2019

I entered 2019 with no word of the year. No intentions.

This might have been an attempt to try and not hold on too tight, to keep the pressures of life at bay. But mostly, it was a reminder to trust yourself, trust the process and be fluid. To find your inner light, be your best self and let each day flow from one to the next. 
I am surprised how magnetically things are taking shape and how in control I am, by not holding on too tight, and keeping things fluid. With plenty of room for the unexpected and serendipity, so far this month I have taken a short weekend trip to Aberdeen, submitted an article to a magazine I've been wanting to write for since a long time, attended a wonderful evening of cocktails and canapés at the media launch of the dazzling new Soho Residence, started planning for my next two dance movement workshops, and drafted a short story for a creative writing competition.

Being fluid has also helped me to do more, see more, and be more. Here's a list of 10 free or budget friendly things to do in London that are in my diary.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Twinkle in the Sky - Christmas in London

All you need to do these days, to rise above from the grey, gloomy weather, is to look up and see the twinkle in the sky! Have you had the chance to see the Christmas lights in the city?

Last year, I was lucky enough to be in Seven Dials at the live switch-on moment and what a special experience it was. There was a mega choir that made everyone on the streets sing along to Christmas tunes, free wreath making, mulled wine and hot chocolate, pop up shops and blitz and joy at every corner.

This year, though I missed out on making it to any lights switch on events, I made my way to some popular spots to ring in the festivities! If you are in London this time of the year, here's my mini-guide to see the best of Christmas lights in the city.

Christmas is Calling Sign at Oxford Street

This sets the tone! Christmas is Calling, at London!