adventures in india (part one)

so i finally finished my first semester of college on the 20th of december (phew) and got to fly back home to wisconsin on the 22nd for the first time since august (but only for a day) and then my dad, sister, and i flew all the way out to india on christmas eve! christmas day was spent in the heathrow airport, sleeping in plastic chairs and drinking festive starbucks drinks, praying for a christmas miracle in the form of harry styles...but alas. it was a 30+ hour trip and i felt absolutely exhausted once we landed but since it was in the morning, we were forced to stay awake the entire day......which was actually the purest form of torture i have ever experienced.......but once you get past that initial bout of jetlag, india is kind of the greatest. we've been staying with my dad's side of the family in hyderabad for the past three days and been having the most perfect kind of weather (considering how hot india can get) so i'm really not looking forward to chennai (where my mom's family lives) because you will actually melt if you step outside, it's the worst :-( i've (slightly) missed my family while i was away at boston so it's been really nice spending time with them and catching up...i guess

but anyway, i really do love visiting india, and i try to make the most of the few short weeks we do come every 2 to 3 years. every time we're here, we try and see different things, so it's not always the same "visiting relatives and shopping for clothes we'll never wear" kind of deal. although we do plenty of that anyway.......but yeah, i'd have to say that my favorite trip to india was when we went to delhi and visited the taj mahal. definitely worth it. this time, we're going to rajasthan and kerala, both of which are supposed to be super pretty so i'm excited! so far, we haven't done much sight-seeing, just visiting relative and eating tons of delicious food. i've been trying lots of new fruits that i never thought i'd like before (pomegranates, custard apples, guavas) and they're all so fresh in india because most of them are grown here. and they're so easy to come by too! i wake up every morning to the sound of merchants rolling their fruit carts down the street and yelling in hindi, kind of similar to ice cream trucks in america, but better. while there are some really great upsides to india, there are also some downsides which you kind of get used to after awhile. like how there aren't any showers here. we have to heat the water up in a bucket and then carry them to our bathrooms and then scoop the water with smaller buckets onto ourselves. it does get easier after awhile, but it is a change nonetheless. there's also the constant staring and the pungent smell of garbage and the sweltering, often time unbearable, heat...

but the number one thing you've really got to be prepared for in india is all the crazy driving. there's a complete disregard for road rules and two-way lanes and traffic lights and there aren't even speed limits, i don't think??? so it's just driving however you want until you reach your destination (the ends justify the means and all that) but once you get used to it, driving around actually gets kind of exciting! dodging all the cows and people walking and cars coming at you full speed...it's swell...but in spite of all these things, india remains one of my favorite places in the world. there's something really wonderful about traveling to different states and hearing a multitude of beautiful languages, on overnight trains and 12-seater buses. about swerving through traffic and seeing the faces of happy children, dropping change into the hands of those who are asking, just feeling comfortable living in that moment. it's nice picking flowers and putting them into our braids, sharing huge meals with family, and sipping on cold sodas while shopping for traditional clothes and jewelry. and i like falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of cars honking, people shouting, and water splashing in the kitchens, the smells of jasmine and mango swirling around you from a childhood memory. so yes, i am looking forward to these next 17 days and i hope you continue reading as i continue updating! it's very difficult to find wi-fi in india but whenever i get the chance, i'll be sure to find time for a post. we're off to rajasthan in the morning, so definitely more later!

happy holidays! 
♥ pratibha


life lately

so my life has been pretty fantastic lately. i have an amazing boyfriend, an amazing family, and amazing friends. i've been spending lots of time with all of them and i couldn't be any happier. also, i got tickets to the one direction concert for christmas so that's pretty awesome too (;

i hope you all had amazing christmases and are enjoying your time off with family and friends!

♥ alex


happy music for finals.

  • three little birds - bob marley
  • lover - devendra banhart
  • you make my dreams - hall & oates
  • happy days are here again/get happy - glee cast
  • wavin' flag (cover) - eric ayotte
  • hakuna matata - the lion king
  • here comes the sun - the beatles
  • blue skies - noah and the whale
  • all is love - karen o and the kids
  • over the rainbow/what a wonderful world (cover) - israel kamakawiwo'ole
  • one love/people get ready - bob marley
  • make light - passion pit
  • all you need is love - the beatles
  • roll with the changes - reo speedwagon
  • superwoman - alicia keys
  • we are golden - mika
  • shake it out (acoustic) - florence + the machine
  • you can fly! you can fly! you can fly! - peter pan

  • ♥ maria
  • strangers like me - tarzan
  • west coast - coconut records
  • when they fight, they fight - generationals
  • change of seasons - sweet thing
  • maps - yeah yeah yeahs
  • blackbird - the beatles
  • lessons learned - matt & kim
  • finally begin - cold war kids
  • lights out, words gone - bombay bicycle club
  • strings - young the giant
  • itchin' on a photograph - grouplove
  • small bird - ed sheeran
  • part of your world - jodi benson

  • ♥ pratibha

    • sunlight - bag raiders
    • DVNO (radio edit) - justice
    • money - the drums
    • helena beat - foster the people
    • shuffle - bombay bicycle club
    • something good can work (the twelves remix) - two door cinema club
    • love of an orchestra - noah & the whale
    • you need me, i don’t need you - ed sheeran
    • pumpkin soup - kate nash
    • she's not afraid - one direction
    • i'll be alright - passion pit
    • dancing with the dj - the knocks
    • young blood - the naked and famous
    • kites - geographer 
    • tug of war - carly rae jepsen 
    • everybody, come outside! - pomegranates 
    • can't buy me love - the beatles
    • when will my life begin? - mandy moore 
    • childish - damien rice


    thankful for nyc

    i want to start this post off by saying i hope you all had really lovely thanksgiving breaks and were able to eat the most delicious foods, spend time with your family and friends, and just relax (because now it's time for finals and major studying and things are not so relaxing anymore wah) 
    but anyway

    i didn't get to go home this past thanksgiving, but i did get the opportunity to visit new york city for the first time ever! and it was wonderful. i don't know how to explain this simply, but cities have always felt like home to me naturally...no matter where they are. i'm pretty sure even if i traveled to foreign countries, i would feel the same way in their cities as well. because there's this similar feeling you experience when you're in a bustling place full of beautiful lights and great music, that's just buzzing with wonderful people and familiar sounds, and it's like home to me. while i was in nyc, i got to visit central park and walk around times square (do some shopping!), as well as go to the top of the rock and see the manhattan skyline from brooklyn heights! so it was a worthwhile trip, i'd say. plus i got some really nice pictures from my time there as well...

    apparently food trucks are really big around nyc?? which is strange for me, because street food is always something to stay away from (typical indian parents) but i get it because it's not always the cleanest thing in india, but in america, i guess everything is actually super sanitary! i didn't get to try anything from a food truck during this past trip, but i'm hoping to during my next visit

    dat chrysler building

     ok um central park was so beautiful??? my all-time favorite thing about this season is the changing color of the leaves and central park was definitely one of the best places to visit to see tons of scarlet and amber treetops. plus, they were blowing up the macy's thanksgiving day parade balloons on west side, so we got to get a little glimpse of that as well!

    some of you may or may not know this about me, but i'm currently studying to become a math major (yay fun!!! but really) so my cousin took me to her office at bloomberg towers just to see one of the many job opportunities i could have as a statistician...and wow. it was just so amazing because it's exactly the kind of atmosphere i've always pictured myself working in. very modern, yet casual, and right in the middle of the city...just a couple streets away from times square!

    we also decided to go to brooklyn heights and see the manhattan skyline from there because you can never get enough of that stunning nyc skyline :-) and then we also decided to get really delicious falafels and have 5 meals in 1 day because food is number one reason for life (it was thanksgiving ok!!) we didn't have a traditional thanksgiving dinner because it was just the two of us and we don't really celebrate thanksgiving anyway, so it was still nice!

    of course, we did a little shopping...

    and we also wandered through bryant park for awhile...it was really nice this time of year because there was ice skating and all these cute little shops (got a little christmas gift shopping out of the way!) and it's just a really quaint place to gather with friends/family and have a place to talk or play table tennis or share a doughnut, y'know, just get away from the sometimes crazy madness of new york city

    and these last two pictures were the highlights of my trip okay

    but yeah, my first time in nyc was GREAT! and i cannot wait to go back sometime soon to do the list of one million things i didn't get a chance to do the first time around. like go to a taping of the jimmy fallon show...or a taping of snl...or go to the nbc experience store and buy myself a f.r.i.e.n.d.s. mug...it's not sad if those are the only things i actually care about is it
    hm well i hope you enjoyed these pictures :-)
    and good luck if you have any upcoming exams! be sure to stay focused for these last couple of weeks, winter break is just around the corner...you can do it.
    ♥ pratibha


    how to eat in college.

    if you suffered not only from food babies but from food quintuplets this weekend, this is the post for you :)

    these are some things i've learned about proper eating (especially in college) that i thought i’d share:

    ·      listen to your body. if i have a major craving for a burger and fries, i’ll eat a burger and fries. but more and more i find myself a little grossed out by greasy junk foods. it’s important to pay attention to what your body wants, and you’ll be surprised at how often you crave healthy foods! i’ve come across some stuff online about “intuitive eating,” and i think it is awesome. don’t eat if you’re mega-stuffed. eat what you want. respect your health. be in tune with your body’s needs.

    ·      snack on fruits and veggies. i know how easy it is to just sit at your desk and absent-mindedly eat an entire box of pizza while writing a paper. but if you replace unhealthy snacks with healthy ones you will be way better off, and the substitution is really simple! some of my favorite things to much on:
    o   GRAPES. oh my god i love grapes so much. the green ones. my mom tells me that one day i’m going to turn into a grape and i wouldn’t really be surprised.
    o   bananas (with peanut butter if you wish. so so so yummy. and bananas are super cheap!)
    o   apples with cheese
    o   red peppers with hummus (or carrots, or anything with hummus honestly. hummus is awesome. if you can make it from scratch that’s always the best!)
    o   celery with peanut butter
    o   avocado (a little pricey but SO good. sprinkle on some salt and olive oil and you can literally just eat it with a spoon.)
    o   carrots
    o   cucumbers

    ·      don’t buy food that you know you shouldn’t eat. in college, you probably have a lot more flexibility with your groceries than you did before – i have a brother who loves oreos and a dad who loves doritos, so i could always count on those things being in the pantry at home. but at school, i’m able to make decisions for myself based on what i want to (and should) eat. my biggest weakness in terms of junk food is cheez-its. it is no problem at all for me to eat an entire box of cheez-its in a day, which is super gross, so i try to just not buy them. it’s that simple – if there are no cheez-its (or cookies, or fries) for me to eat, i won’t eat them.

    ·      be careful with drinks. my dining hall (and most dining halls, i think) has one of those fountain drink dispenser things with coke and pink lemonade and all that sugary stuff. don’t do it! fountain drinks have SO MUCH SUGAR it is nasty, and tons of empty calories that you don’t really think about since it takes like no effort to consume them. when in doubt, go with water. your body loves water. if you find the flavorlessness boring, there are lots of drink mixes you can add without having the same crazy sugar content as normal drinks, or you can have some unsweeted iced tea.

    ·      dessert every day = probably not a good idea. again, with the temptations of the dining hall. mine has this oreo cake that is literally heaven on earth. last week they had oreo cake every single night. did i want to eat it every night? of course. but i did not! for me, the best tactic is to decide whether i want to have dessert or not before i even get to dinner. and i make myself stick to this decision. (unless there is coffee ice cream. nothing can keep me away from a scoop of coffee ice cream. sorry not sorry?)

    ·      make as much food yourself as possible. i know this varies a ton by school and dorm, but luckily i have a full kitchen at my disposal where i can cook whatever i want. my dining plan includes 12 breakfasts/dinners a week, which means i’m still responsible for obtaining some meals on my own. while it’s really easy to rush to class and grab a thing of sushi or pretzels with hummus during my lunch break from the cafĂ© at school, this gets really expensive. taking the extra 2 minutes in the morning to pack a lunch can save me a ton of money and it usually tastes better too! which brings me to my next point…

    ·      bulk cooking & leftovers are your best friends. my favorite way to do lunches is to prepare a ton of some sort of salad on sunday, put it all in little tupperware containers, and then i have lunch for a week. if i get bored of the same thing every day i can always freeze it, but honestly i’ve never had to do this because i’ve been really lucky with the recipes i’ve tried and they’ve all been so delicious i could eat them forever :) preparing a lot of food usually takes up a pretty decent chunk of time on my sunday nights but it is definitely worth it to have a homemade lunch i can grab in two seconds in the morning. also, when you go out to eat, don’t stuff yourself, and you’ll find that most restaurant portions are so huge that the leftovers will feed you for like three more meals!

    ·      eat a lot of small meals throughout the day. this is something i learned in a nutrition class at ballet camp a few years ago, and i really like it as opposed to 3 big meals. i get full really easily, so i spread out my eating throughout the day. (i did this in high school too, actually – i’d bring my breakfast on the bus and pack my lunch so i’d eat all day – mini bagel on the bus, coffee in band, an apple in government, chocolate milk in calculus, grapes in lit, a sandwich during actual lunchtime, goldfish in physics…good thing i had super chill teachers.) now, a typical day of eating for me goes like this:
    o   my favorite dining hall breakfast: whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana slices, at around 10am
    o   salad around 1 from my handy dandy tupperware container
    o   some sort of snack at like 4 – maybe yogurt or oatmeal or some soup. whatever i’m in the mood for after a long day of rough classes -_-
    o   dinner at 7, just whatever they’re serving in the dining hall. despite the sugary drinks and desserts, the actual food in my dining hall is generally really healthy and they have the most AMAZING butternut squash. (is it weird that i am writing this on the plane to thanksgiving break which will undoubtedly have ridiculously delicious food and i am craving my dining hall’s butternut squash? probs.)
    o   late-night snack so i don’t die while studying. grilled cheese is my fave because i mean it’s GRILLED CHEESE (and i throw random stuff in there too…eggs, basil, like five different types of cheeses…it’s all good) but the aforementioned fruit/veggie/peanut butter/hummus combos are all fair game too.
    o   tea before i fall asleep. sleepytime normally pretty much knocks me out so i guess it does its job pretty well.

    these are some things i've made for lunches so far and loved.

    • orzo salad. my mom made this for about 1023987 potluck events this past summer and i basically became addicted to it. it is delicious and i feel like it tastes even better after it’s been in the fridge for a couple of days. maybe so all the flavors can come together more? i don’t know, but this stuff is PERFECT.
    • asian salad. another salad that tastes even better after a couple days. i took a freshman seminar last year called “write your own cookbook” and this was one of the recipes we tried out, and it was such a hit. there are a lot of ingredients but you pretty much just throw them all together so it’s pretty simple to prepare. you could probably put some grilled chicken in it too and it would be really yummy.
    • wild rice salad. so this one took a long time to make because wild rice takes a million years to cook, buuuut it was really delicious and i ate it for lunch for like two weeks. the flavor combination of dried cranberries and green onions was SO good. and the ingredients were really convenient – i used the leftover nuts and dried cranberries to make trail mix afterwards (with granola and cheerios and chocolate chips), green onions for scallion pancakes, and celery for snacks with peanut butter. yay for killing like 5 birds with one stone!
    • cucumber slices + grape tomatoes + feta cheese + chickpeas + olive oil. that’s it. that’s the recipe. this takes about 0.02 seconds to make and it is so so so so delicious.

    i have a bunch of recipes on my pinterest but i’m always looking for more, so leave a comment if you have any suggestions! :)

    sorry this was crazy long but i hope you guys found it helpful! and as always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns or anything at all~

    and of course, happy belated turkey day! (i hope you ate lots of turkey! it has tryptophan which is a precursor for serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that makes you HAPPY! (which is also a precursor for melatonin which makes you sleepy. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.) but you also need carbohydrates to block the other not-so-happy amino acids and actually get that tryptophan into your brain sooo it’s good if you had some rolls and stuffing too :) hehe ok </neuroscience rambling> be thankful for friends and family and sleep and delicious noms.)

    <3 maria



    • my parents
    • my brothers
    • pumpkin spice lattes
    • boston
    • late-night baking
    • earmuffs
    • my school
    • disney pandora
    • 24-hour grocery stores
    • opportunities to travel
    • one direction
    • fleece pajamas
    • dancing
    • passionate people
    • sweet potato fries
    • happy babies
    • kind strangers
    • the nutcracker
    • fuzzy socks
    • reading for pleasure
    • friends who make me laugh
    • early morning sunshine
    • dunkin donuts iced coffee
    • circle scarves
    • college football
    • fall colors
    • holidays that bring people together.

    • ♥ maria
    • bustling cities
    • my family
    • boston university
    • scarves
    • a little princess
    • caramel macchiatos
    • freshly-shaved legs
    • long car/airplane rides
    • harry styles
    • 90s music
    • boston creme donuts
    • fancy restaurants
    • bollywood dance
    • flash mob videos
    • chocolate milkshakes
    • outgoing individuals
    • golden hour
    • 12:30 classes
    • bloggers
    • getting henna on my hands
    • traveling to new places
    • everything disney
    • equal opportunities 
    • unread books
    • my best friends
    • beautiful foods
    • looking forward to something

    • ♥ pratibha
    • life
    • my parents
    • my sister
    • maria & prat
    • good television
    • happy music
    • passionate people
    • books that make you cry
    • makeup
    • sweatpants
    • cute boys
    • laughter
    • my school
    • good conversations
    • vacations with my family
    • board games
    • donuts
    • pink lemonade
    • people who listen & care
    • sundays
    • my home
    • my teachers
    • hugs
    • harry styles
    • funny pictures
    • beautiful poems
    • the love i receive from so many

    • ♥ alex


    a weekend getaway

    this past veteran's day weekend, i took a trip with my school up to beautiful st. augustine. it was an amazing experience and i'm so glad i chose to go. i made new friends and became closer friends with people i have known for years. it was also interesting to learn about my state's history and about the people who first arrived here. overall it was a really great trip and a great way for me to forget about things that have been stressing me out and just relax. i often forget that i deserve a break sometimes, and this trip was a perfect one.
                                                                                                                           ♥ alex 
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