5 Things to know before you go to Horsley Hills

The story behind the name

Horsley Hills is a weird name for any hill station I thought. Then I found out that the that the local name of the hill was Yenugu Mallama Konda after a legend of a saintly old woman named Mallamma who lived atop the hill and was fed by elephants (yenugulu). Later on, W.D. Horsley, a British collector, built his home around 1870 after whom it is named.

Google Maps fail situation

The drive was perfect until we hit Chittoor, which was an offroading zone, referring to the roads being dug up extensively for either a bridge or so. Bad roads, dug up roads and the dust with a numerous number of detour signs one had to take, google maps too fell flat with us having to stop frequently to ask for the route towards the hills.

Which was then followed by the climb, which included downing of car windows to welcome cold breeze and a view filled with greenery, sharp road bends and the numerous monkeys one can count.


The Horsley Hills is run by the state tourism board so from your lodging to the food is all by the government stay( There is no private stay, no private resorts, no hotels, restaurants). My family had checked into the Harita Resorts, run by the tourism board. I was under the assumption that the rooms would look shoddy, but I was taken by surprise as we were given a pleasant stay which consisted of an entire unit to ourselves with a separate balcony, living room, spic and span rooms, perfect for a family get-together with space that could house more than 4 people. Also, this stay had features like room service, a swimming pool too also clean rooms and bathrooms.

The chilly connection with food

There is no doubt that Andhraites love their chilly in every dish. Take the buffet served in the state tourism run board which had lip-smacking spicy sambar to go with the rice. Apart from that, they had prominent variety rice like Tamarind rice, Pudhina rice and more with different kinds or poriyal in the buffet along with chips and the Payasam on the side.

Breakfast is mostly down to idly’s, deep fried vadas and a dollop of Pongal on the plate with either filter coffee or tea. (If you’re someone that admires spicy stuff lookout for their chutneys apart from the usual one)

The dinner, however, is a different ordeal as you can order whatever you want also everything you order is good, including the non-vegetarian menu.

But wait…. if you’re not looking at eating in a buffet or settling down for idly’s in the morning there is a beeline of stalls providing food.

Want a crispy dosa or want to take in the cold weather with a bowl of steaming hot Maggie? They have it at! These stalls come as a respite for those who want to try different things throughout the day. A few of the stalls open at 6 am in the morning so you can either have your breakfast early or a late brunch of non-veg food. Want the Molaga Bajji (Chilly fritters) they have that too with an array of options to choose from. One can get their breakfast, lunch, and dinner at these shops that have chairs and tables right outside their shops.

Sightseeing in 2kms

The idyllic scenery, the cold breeze hitting your face, the blooming flowers and long pine trees. A quiet place that shuts by 7pm and is up early in the morning with birds chirping and stalls doling out hot dosas for their customers. Horseley Hills can be covered in a day with sightseeing points that don’t offer much. The tourism board has tried it’s best to make a separate pamphlet for adventure seekers with activities like rappelling, trekking, archery and more. If you’re someone that wants to try the Ayurvedic massage, that’s there too or you could just click photos and go with the flow a no activity schedule.



Horsley Hills Zoo/ Van Vihar park

A hill station that actually has a Zoo inside a Van Vihar park, that was a first off for someone like me. Even though it passes off as a park, this zoo has a 150-year-old Eucalyptus tree till date and is home to birds and animals like deer, rabbits, ostriches, lovebirds, and too many monkeys, there is also a crocodile park and the crocs fraternity is always having a slumber party under the sun.


Gali Banda (the windy rocks)

Next up is towards the slope rocks which is called the Gali banda (windy rocks) a scenic place where one can while away their time, this place does do justice to the whiskey on rocks bit, but since I don’t drink, I’m going to call it Maggie on the rocks. You can take a book and spends hours either early morning or late evening.


Whistling woods

The other landmark called the whistling woods which is behind the governers bungalow is a scenic spot, it’s called the highest summit where one can look at the flora and fauna even though you’ll have to take the winding staircase that will make you huff while you reach the spot.

The only spot we missed out was a Gangotri lake that collects rainwater during the rainy season.


Early mornings are cold and misty, the weather is quite pleasant in the afternoon; it’s the only late evening that as the temperature drops night becomes cold.

So if you’re someone that’s looking for a retreat setting, this hill is the perfect place to be with the weather acting like that of Ooty and places that you can cover by a walk or so.

Those looking for an adventure can cover this place in a day and head outwards or opt for the activities provided by the state tourism board.



The last of 2018

If you’re in a good mood, please do yourself a favor and do not read this long rant. A few years from now, none of this will matter, neither will I. Do not read this for your own sanctity, trust me you don’t want to feel this way on a New Years Eve.

Homes are decked up, the string lights are hung and people are feeling luminous amongst it all. You can do all you want to put a face powder over another, it will still not hide the demons eating you within.

You’ll smile wide, even laugh at their witty jokes, feeling terribly empty within. You’ll laugh at people who come to have expectations with you, that you have never even had from yourself.

You’ll feel worthless, the ideas will surround, putting an ultimate miss-match, whatever you buy, whatever you do, will never end making you feel great, ending all of it in a null and void zone.

The characters will change, the voices will grow louder. The darkness will encompass, the journey is yours to take, but everyone’s making it in life, except you. You miss out on having the fun before you know it the year is dusted and done with.

Reflecting on things that have no reflection, making sense of things where there was no sense to be made. Chaos, Confusion comes like visitors, leaving things tornado-stricken. The glass has shattered, the labels come flying all over piercing the skin, clogging the mind until the hollow self remains.

P.S  It took me a while to publish this. For now here is to all the expectations I had from me *Mic Drops*






What no one tells you about Depression

“Shut off the damn tv, the voices make me stressed”

Alright said, Anya,

“I feel like you, my own family, is playing trickery against me”

Maa, Why would I, I’m your daughter

“You are just like the others, you only want bad things for me”

Apparently, October has a National mental health awareness day! It went almost unnoticed so I thought why not put out some experiences, that makes it okay to talk about it, even though it’s a month late.

The society still has a stigma, they make a big deal out of everything. You name the disorder, the blame and shame will come too.

Telly has raised considerable awareness about Depression and about reaching out to your loved ones and friends. But then how does anyone reach out when the person on the other end does not get anything about the illness.

It’s like having a fever when you’re running a temperature only you know what you feel, you feel cold, you are tired and need rest while the others can only sympathize with you for not keeping well because they’ve had the case of fever at some point in their life.

Apply the same case in depression, the symptoms may be felt and passed off like a regular ‘sleep over it and the next day you’ll feel good’ incident. Even the person here cannot detect it unless it’s very severe. So then do we really, actually know ourselves? And in severe cases, even though people know, they’d only support you by cheering you up with “many others have it worse than you” (because they clearly haven’t gone through a similar stage, they can’t sympathize) Leaving the person going through this all alone.

So I scanned the web and found an incredible article from The Guardian that takes into account what a severely depressed person feels like.

The article in The Guardian states

So how is this misleadingly named curse different from recognizable grief?

For a start, it can produce symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s – forgetfulness, confusion, and disorientation. Making even the smallest decisions can be agonizing. It can affect not just the mind but also the body –  You cannot conjure your actual personality, which you can remember only vaguely, in a theoretical sense. You live in, or close to, a state of perpetual fear, although you are not sure what it is you are afraid of. The writer William Styron called it a “brainstorm”, which is much more accurate than “unhappiness”.

Thus your personality – the normal, accustomed “you” – has changed. But crucially, although near-apocalyptic from the inside, this transformation is barely perceptible to the observer – except for, perhaps, a certain withdrawnness, or increased anger and irritability. Viewed from the outside – the wall of skin and the windows of eyes – everything remains familiar. Inside, there is a dark storm. 

Other negative emotions – self-pity, guilt, apathy, pessimism, narcissism – make it a deeply unattractive illness to be around, one that requires unusual levels of understanding and tolerance from family and friends. For all its horrors, it is not naturally evocative of sympathy. Apart from being mistaken for someone who might be a miserable, loveless killjoy, one also has to face the fact that one might be a bit, well, crazy – one of the people who can’t be trusted to be reliable parents, partners, or even employees. So to the list of predictable torments, shame can be added.”

Seeking therapy becomes difficult and getting back to normal life seems like a distinct dream. You can recover, of course, that’s what they tell you but this recovery is dependent on the individuals progress that they make each and every day. Some take months and some years with the treatment to get back to who they were before the illness got to them.

Please leave a comment below if you’d like to share your opinion!












The last Band Standing

I oddly remember coming back from school and grabbing my plate to watch a series of Nickelodeon shows. Inbetween these shows they telecasted songs mostly between ad breaks. On another note, MTV wasn’t that commercialized and they aired bands and music all over the world.

The era went from BSB to Westlife to Daniel Bedingfield to so many others that when I type I really wonder what happened to these bands and to the legacy of music. Perhaps I’m the only one that feels that lyrics and music numbers had much more to offer back then.  ‘Where is the love’ single by Black Eyed Peas had hit the charts and was grabbing the run times on TV screens to make a revolution, before it all fizzed into being a just another band with commercial numbers on its album.

‘Have a nice day’ by Bon Jovi was also trending with its case of rebellion hitting chart numbers and years later after a search later critics were calling out the band for experimenting with their new album.

Coldplay for an instance had so much to offer back then with their songs and lyrics and now many critics online say that the band is sticking to it’s ‘comfort zone’ with repeatedly same tunes to appease it’s already huge fan base which I partly agree especially with their new album ‘A head full of dreams’

Now I’m not here with a vengeance against any music number or bands but as I was searching for a specific song I hopped on to some other song that my brother and I would bet that the new song has a more or less same BGM of an old song. When I was first exposed to the song, I fell in love with the tune and the feel, it was distinct and offered a lyrical message too. Hearing this so many memories came flooding by.

It was a chart number song called Juice Wrld – ‘Lucid Dreams’, which has a similar background tune with ‘Walou’ by Outlandish. As soon as I heard this I wanted to figure whatever happened to the bands that offered promising music. Either they disintegrated and went their own way or stopped producing entirely.

Are bands afraid of experimenting, or are they playing with safe lines of yesteryear’s to become a true sellout.? it’s a story only time will tell.






More than a Haiku for thyself


We walk along, me and my conversations

Hop into the resplendent narrow lane

Full of frills and curtains we see

And as we arrive, oh what we see

A long-standing mirror reflecting me

Why’d the mirror be put in an awkward place, we think

Until it slowly dons on us

Meet your friend in disguise!



Top 5 North Indian restaurants you need to try in Chennai


I can completely relate when it’s all about trying out new places to satiate your hunger and finding the food a complete letdown and not worth the buck. I’ve had my share of rubbery panner and butter naan’s that reminded me of elastic chewy feeling in the mouth. But this post isn’t about that it’s about finding the best lip-smacking north Indian food in Chennai.

Want to have the subliminal feeling of a food coma or death by stuffed Paneer tikka or an Aalu Kulcha topped with a dollop of butter or wanted cheese mar ke Pav Bhaji?  Here are my top picks on finding the best north Indian cuisine in Chennai.

Also, all these are Tried and Tested

  1. Shyams Bombay Halwa house

Now, this is not any other Bombay halwa house restaurant in the city, even though you’ll come across at least a few by the Bombay Halwa house name don’t go by that. This specific restaurant is in T.nagar with all the other eatery’s. It’s in a quiet lane, so it’s hard to notice and fully packed most weekends but the waiting time is worth it. Go there for the melt in the mouth soft paneer, their butter rotis and experiment with their starters and curries menu.

What to order: Paneer Cigars, Stuffed paneer tikka, Fried masala khichiya. Paneer labadar, Dal makhni, Dal fry from the curries section they have an in-house Punjabi paneer the spicier version for those who’d like to take the heat up a notch.

Afternoon thalis:  if you’re around Tnagar, make sure you reach early as it gets really packed in the noons too since the restaurant is a pure veg they also cater to Jain food specifics.

Address: No. 6, Govindhu Street, T Nagar, Behind Panagal Park, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600017

 2. Novelty Food House

If you’re sincerely craving food slapped with a dollop of butter then this is the place for you. Famous for it’s Pav Bhajis which can give you a heart stroke this place is well known for its chats. You can blindly order anything out of it’s extended curry section and it will not let you down. A dollop of butter may cost you a little higher but the food is truly worth the try.

What to order: Cheese/ Spl Pav bhaji, Tawa pulav, Mint dosa, Paneer tikka masala with butter roti. Try the falooda as well

Address: Old No.175, New No.355, Mint Street, Park Town, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600003

3.  Hatke Swad

If you’re typically from Delhi and are missing the food from the parathe waali galli or generally missing the food from the North of the Vindhiyas? Go to Hatke Swaad which is right opposite to Ethiraj College. The place is known for its tasty chats and you will truly devour some khulchas in proper Punjabi style. They also have Paratha meals which are truly filling under 200 rupees, that quite a steal for all the gluttony. The chats are amazing with the right moderation of chutneys and will definitely want you asking for more.

What to order: Delhi ki Aalu Tikki, Sev puri, Aalu Khulcha, Paneer Khulcha, Pani puri, Rajma chawal, moong dal halwa

Thali: There are many thalis to opt from but apart from that you could also ask for the thali which is inclusive of Paneer butter masala with a different gravy, rice and naan. They also have proper rice and dish combo like Rajma chawal, Kadhi chawal that you can opt for.

Address: 25, Ethiraj Salai, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600008

4. Ravi Mehra’s Delhi Hotel

In the busy lanes of Waltax road where parcels are regularly packed and shipped, there are lines of small joints that give you a quick filling of your dosa or typically spicy Andhra meals but walk further away and you’ll find the best for your buck at the Delhi hotel. It’s a popular hotel which is on the main road and cant go amiss their menu is extensive and the food is total yum.

What to order: Paneer Tikka, Spring rolls, Corn cheese balls, Dragon Paneer, Schezwan noodles, Paneer butter masala gravy with butter roti. Their afternoon thalis are known for their special crowd.

Address: 111, Wall Tax Rd, Badri Garden, Park Town, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600003

5. Babal da Punjabi Dhabha on P.H road

The only non-veg restaurant standing on this list is the Punjabi Dhabha, get transported into the retro era with old songs. The place looks small but there is delicious lip-smacking cuisine to taste.

What to order: Paneer Tikka, Gobi Manchurian, Dal fry, Aalu paratha, gobi paratha, Paneer/vegetable jalfrezi.

Non-Veg order: Tandoori Chicken, Rehmi kabab, Malai Kabab, Cheese Reshmi Kabab, Haryali kabab, Chicken tikka, Wheat kulcha. Order the schezwan rice or noodles, you won’t be disappointed.

Definitely try the lassi or the Rabdi with the Kulfi or the moong dal halwa.

Address: 114/9, Poonamallee High Road, Opp. Abu Portico, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600184










In the By-lanes of Nizamuddin

“The Tughluks have gone; Tughlukabad is a ruin; only Nizamuddin remains.”
― William DalrympleCity of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

William Dalrymple in his book The City of Djinns rightly said that Delhi has been build upon layers and layers with the iconic buildings of the past still standing in ruins and co-existing with the new. The past, perhaps a reminder of the battles, opulent architecture and a city which was always wanting to be conquered but couldn’t be.

As you walk by, the streets you may just walk into a lane filled with the history of the bygone era and if you’re lucky you may hear a few stories. Alas! that’s what happens to monuments in ruin, they merely become stories, in the end, but not the iconic building, still standing the test of time near Nizammudin Basti.

People come thronging to the Nizammudin Basti to offer prayers to the shrine of Sufi Saint  Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and closer to the relic you will also find the tomb of the great poet Amir Khusrau. Legend has it that Khusrau, the disciple wanted to be buried next to his beloved master. Worshipers make their offering and prayers first at the tomb of the poet and then at the shrine of the Sufi saint. On Friday evenings one can truly witness the mysticism in the air from the storytellers themselves, talking about brotherhood, love and true worship in the form of qawwalis.

An article by the Citizen. in quoted 

“It is said that Hazrat Nizamuddin abhorred any association with the rulers. As the story goes, Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was constructing his capital of Tughlaqabad, at the same time when a baoli (step well) was being constructed at the Nizamuddin Basti. The workers of Tughlaqabad used to work at the Baoli during night hours. Miffed at having to share labourers with the Baoli construction, the Sultan ordered to stop the supply of oil to the Basti, which was needed to light lamps to do night time construction work. Nizamuddin Auliya then made the lamps burn using water. And the work on the Baoli went on uninterrupted. Following this episode Nizamuddin Auliya also became popular by the name Chiragh-e-Dilli.”

The basti is a charm on its own with shops selling flavors of the local cuisine, attar, perfumes, embroidery and much much,  but if you walk further away you will witness history in its true form, an archaeology site declared as a heritage monument by UNESCO, yes, we’re talking about the marvelous Humayun tomb.

Humayun’s Tomb was built in the 1560’s, with the patronage of Humayun’s son, the great Emperor Akbar. Persian and Indian craftsmen worked together to build the garden-tomb, far grander than any tomb built before in the Islamic world. Humayun’s garden-tomb is an example of the charbagh (a four quadrant garden with the four rivers of Quranic paradise represented), with pools joined by channels. The garden is entered from lofty gateways on the south and from the west with pavilions located in the center of the eastern and northern walls.

The tour of the Humayun’s tomb and the garden is breathtaking with acres of green open space, a plenty fountains and the spectacular designs which truly pave way for the artisans of that period and a score of artisans who’ve made it what it is today. A true play with a fusion of designs and the architecture of that era.

In a city which has been in the news for it’s worse air-breathing quality hardly qualifies for a green space in the city. Adjacent to the Humayun’s tomb, you will find Sunder Nursery, a sprawling 90-acre park dotted with historical monuments, 280 tree species, 36 butterfly species, two amphitheaters, a bonsai enclosure, a peafowl zone and plenty more. Literally, a fresh burst of air in the most polluted city which was made possible by the Public-private partnership with the help of the government and Aga Khan Development Network.

The Humayun tomb, the Sunder Nursery and the Nizamuddin Basti  have only recently been restored by the public-private partnership of the govt of India with the Aga Khan Development Network and with the initiative under care for culture by which, not only has the glory reclaimed to this monument but the people who live in the basti, their lives have changed too.

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure,” said Rumi.  The monument that was once a ruin is now a space that beckons stories of hope, pride, and empowerment for the people that build not just the monument the basti in itself.

Under the Basti Urban Renewal Initiative initiated by AKTC as part of the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme whose main ideology is to revitalize urban heritage centers across the world in ways to not only protect the sites and monuments but to also spur social, economic and cultural development.