Do the N’s in NaNoWriMo stand for Nightmare?

I have no idea what I'm doing

I had my first sleepless night about NaNoWriMo. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years and something I keep ducking out of for legitimate excuses, but excuses nonetheless. This time I thought I’d give the ‘don’t think too much’ thing a try and signed up for it. I have wanted to write a book for so long that I am worried that I will discover along the way that I’m not really cut out for it. That would break my heart. I do not doubt my ability with writing. What I do doubt is whether I have a story to tell or not.

And so it is I find myself signed up for a very ambitious (according to me) goal and I’ve even managed to design a header. All well and good, but I don’t have a story to tell. I am hoping that inspiration will hit me when I stare at the blank screen.

Wish me luck!

I am a Social Butterfly

Never thought I would say that, ever. I am quite the hermit and quite content to be so. In fact, The Oatmeal drew a comic about me (allow me this dream!)

My colleague dragged me to a Girl Gone International event. She is social in a way I will never be but I felt obliged to give her company. I am not one of those women who bitch about how hanging out or working with a group of women is a nightmare. Quite the contrary, I had worked with a bunch of women in my previous office and I grew to love every one of them. So while I wasn’t afraid of making friends the way she was, I was a bit apprehensive about putting myself out there. The night went well enough. I clicked with two other ladies (an Australian and an American) and since they were both married, gave me a chance to see them again via the age old ‘triple date’ phenomenon. We met them a few times for dinner and it wasn’t the nightmare that I thought it would be.

Cut to a few months, I volunteered to go to another meetup. This time there was free alcohol and my brother’s girlfriend was visiting. You see how this works?

Lesson 1: I need multiple compelling reasons to actually go out somewhere social. I don’t mean travel, I love travelling. I mean the act of actually making an effort and talking. I am very good at it. But it tires me out like no physical activity can.

The night was a success on her part – she made ‘connections’. It was a success on my part because I didn’t spend a dime (when you suddenly find yourself supporting 3 people on one income, you find yourself feeling more stingy than you actually are). There’s even photo evidence that I hung out with a big group of brave and interesting women of all age groups from all over the world and had fun.

Bangkok Girl Gone International

Spot me!

Lesson 2: It doesn’t literally kill me to be social but I am yet to find a compelling reason to push myself to it. I’m not the kind to want empathy or the kind to share deep secrets. I do talk to a select few people who’ve caught my interest and whom I think would help me see a different perspective on life. I am sometimes have blinders on so I like having people around who are polar opposites to me in many ways and in many ways the same and yet with a different set of priorities.

Lesson 3: I am more convinced than ever that I am an introvert. Not to be mistaken by its identical twin, shyness. I am not shy, I just find I expend a lot of energy when it comes to talking to people and hanging out with them. I often find I need a couple of weeks to recover.

The Hive, Bangkok

Beautiful meetup locations

Lesson 4: I actually enjoyed the idea of Meetups. Apparently they exist all over the world and they help you participate in interesting activities in a group and there is absolutely no pressure to meet up again. While I am not a big fan of ‘girl only’ or ‘boys only’ meetups, I do love the other activities that come up. You can go volunteer for the weekend, you can participate in workshops, you can play tarot as cards and not the future prediction thing. In fact, the boy and I went to a brilliant Open Air Cinema and watched the Rocky Horror Show! It was amazing.

Open Air Cinema Bangkok

Lesson 5: I am still learning about myself but there is something about being abroad that accelerates the rate of learning.

I am curious to hear your thoughts about going out and meeting other people. Is it something you like to do? If you are self-sufficient, do you even bother? Leave a comment!

Ko Samet, Rayong

We had our first visitor this month, my broseph’s girlfriend. It gave me a chance to be my obsessive-compulsive self about hosting. I’ve also always loved showing people around – watching their awestruck faces. There aren’t enough words to describe just how much I love it. My ideal job would be to own a bed and breakfast, a cafe with a library and a tour company that will prepare your itinerary for you and then show you around all the good sights. While I’m waiting for that dream to become a reality, I had the chance to visit my first island in Thailand.


Okay, Okay. I’ll stop.

The island we visited is called Koh Samed. There is surprisingly little information about how easy it is to get there. So I decided to note these things down on the off chance that it will help someone. First thing to do is go to BTS Ekkamai and the Easter Bus Terminal which is 2 minutes away from the station. Then take your pick of the myriad of bus options available. We picked the 293baht return journey. What you get is a 2 way open ticket that’s valid for a year. A YEAR!

Anyway, they tell you which stand to go to. The bus leaves exactly on time and since there are seat numbers allotted, you don’t need to fight over the good seats. This, you have to understand, is new to an Indian person such as myself. We will push people down if we have to – anything for a good seat. The bus ticket wins you a free bottle of water (YAY!) but it is a 4 hour drive to the pier so bring plenty of snacks.

Once you are at the pier, you will need to buy a ferry ticket to Ko Samet. If you have a work permit, you pay the Thai price for the tickets (50 Baht). If not, you pay the farang price (100 Baht) which is all normal (we have this sort of disproportionate costs in India as well). 40 minutes later, you are on the island. You could also opt for the speed boat option (200 Baht) but you are there in 10 minutes. Personally, I prefer taking the ferry. I enjoy being out at sea. I enjoy the sight of the beaches coming closer and closer. There’s something so thrilling about it.

While in Samed, you can get an AC Dorm for about 250 baht. There are also fancy sea side beaches for a more romantic/private setting. And now, to let the photos do the talking for me – :D

Ban Phe Pier

Ban Phe Pier

Nan Dan Pier, Ko Samet

Nan Dan Pier, Ko Samet


Views from the Samet Pier


Beach Side Dining at Sai Kaew Beach, Ko Samet


Secluded Beach at Ko Samet National Park


Another view of the secret National Park Beach


Panorama shot from abandoned national park pier


Sai Kaew Beach, Ko Samet


Ko Samet National Park Beach


Sai Kaew Beach, Ko Samet


The Mermaid of Ko Samet. Beats the scary one that greeted us at the pier!


A reflection of me just chilling out on the beach! Check out my ‘on point’ eyebrows!

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I still can’t get over the fact that what most people consider a honeymoon destination is just a weekend’s trip for me. Gotta love life!

Books on Trains – The Bangkok BTS!

I have been used to spending a minimum of 3 hours on the road from my university days. And this is not in the good ‘stare out in a melancholic stupor while the rain makes pretty patterns on the window’ sort of commute. It was hell on the road, breathing in carbon fumes,cigarette smoke and the stench of sewage mixed with sweat and breathing out the most innovative curse words known to man. Riding the scooter is not as fun as the Italian movies make it out to be.


Damn you Vespas!

Sometimes the nightmare scenes would have music playing through earphones. This was cut short because of how unpredictable traffic was in Bangalore and how quickly people move from the right of the “lane” on to the footpaths. That’s not to say that all of my life’s commuting was nightmarish. There have been moments of great enlightenment. Still, you can imagine that traffic in Bangalore is the 7th level of hell! It really is!

Traffic on the BTS

The only kind of traffic I have to deal with in Bangkok

Since moving to Bangkok though, I’ve rediscovered a love of letting someone else do the driving. They have an elaborate Sky Train and Metro service that connects you to almost all of Bangkok. The BTS is the skytrain system and the MRT is the underground metro system and they teach you a thing of two about life. Having travelled extensively on the London Underground, I find the Bangkok Mass Transit system to be more … laid back.

BTS ChidLom

With views like this, who can resist!

You don’t have men in suits cursing at you if you accidentally stood on the left instead of the right (OH MY GOD IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD) and everyone seems to walk at their own pace so that the heat doesn’t smudge their makeup. I’m all for leisurely strolling and zen like stances so this is a big plus in my book (except when you’re in a rush and are likely to knock down 25 petite women on your way). And while you get crushed in due to the morning rush, you are taller than most people and so can read your book at leisure.


Doing the dance non-stop!

Doing the dance non-stop!

I cannot understate how amazing it is to be able to carry a book into an air-conditioned carriage and zone out for 20 minutes while you get pulled in to a spectacular story. In London, sight seeing (aka subtly watching Hot Dudes Reading on Trains) was my pastime. Here, the sights are so few (if you count out all the sexy legs strutting around) that you can actually get into reading. I have read more books in the two months I’ve been here than I have in the months coming up to my move!

The Inheritors, William Golding

Current BTS read

I am winning at life!

Okay, enough showing off. What have you been reading lately?

Also, if you have time, check out The Girl Who Wasn’t There and Other Poems on Amazon and give a shout out to my friend Kevin Morris from New Author Online.

Budget Travel – Parks

I went from travelling to England at Rs. 80 to a Pound in 2013 and Rs. 105 to a pound in 2015 so you can imagine just how quickly my savings wiped out and just why currency rates are so important to me. I am not high maintenance and I went to Tanzania with $1000 and made it work for a year (I didn’t earn a single buck when I was there). Luckily for me, I earn quite the good wage now so I’m no longer worried about the Rupee vs the World. However, till the boy gets his first pay-check, we’re living off 1 wage and this causes similar budget constraints that feel way too familiar for me.

Instead of letting that ruin our weekend fun, I remembered a trick I picked up while in the land they call Great. The sheer delight of lying in parks and doing nothing, it’s under-rated. I never realised the value of parks, having so few of them in Bangalore within easy reach. It took me the shock of seeing  shirtless old men (they come out in hoardes when the sun is out) to realise the joy of having grass under your feet. The only difference between them and me, apart from the obvious reasons, was that I enjoyed sitting under the shade of the tree while they basked proudly under the sun.

Here, everyone was in the shade so I didn’t feel like a total weirdo. A couple of cold drinks and we were set for a nice, relaxing evening in the park. And rather than wax on about how peaceful it was and how the breeze just blew the right away, I will let these photos do the talking. After the park, we went to the water garden at Em Quartier (the poshest mall in the world!). We had spectacular views of the Bangkok Skyline as well. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Benchasiri Park of Bangkok (Directions: Get off at the Phrom Phong BTS station et voila!) and The Water Garden at Em Quartier (Directions: Right opposite the park) Budget – 35 Baht for two drinks.

P.S. There are turtles and moustachioed fish in the murky water. They, apparently, like bread and corn puffs.

Turtles in Benchasiri Park, Bangkok

See? Turtles

Benchasiri Park Bangkok

The aforementioned park

Em Quartier

A giant dog terrorizing puny humans! (Art Installation at Em Quartier)

Em Quartier Bangkok

Sheep Seats (Art Installation at Em Quartier)

Em Quartier Bangkok

Side profile of Giant Dog :)

Em Quartier Bangkol

Inside the World’s Poshest Mall, Em Quartier!

Benchasiri Park, Bangkok

Benchasiri Park and the view of Em Quartier from the park!

Water Garden, Em Quartier

View of the Park from Em Quartier

Bangkok BTS

Bangkok Skyline and BTS

Em Quartier

The Water Garden


Bangkok Skyline

Em Quartier

Art Installation at Em Quartier

Benchasiri Park

Selfie Time!

We spent the rest of the evening in the pool – which, if you’re renting a condo in Bangkok is part of the deal = FREE! YAY! Hope you’ve had a great weekend as well!