New Beginnings

After years contemplating, procastinating and nervousness, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision and brought him home…late night, when first day of the festival had drawn to a close. Thanks to a dear one for the precious words of wisdom that helped me cross this endless bridge. “Doesn’t matter how the world celebrates. It’s YOUR belief that counts. God’s happy even with a flower”, were the precise words.

It was as if these were the words I’d been waiting to hear so long to propel me forward.
How enriching it is to be on the other side of fear and how liberating it is to toss away the irrelevant mental baggage we carry on our heads most of our life.

Growing up, I’ve been a part of great many Ganpati celebrations, all so pompous, replete with elaborate decorations, drum beats and continuous influx of guests. Ganesh festival is supposed to be extravagant after all.
It’s noteworthy how we invariably comply to the societal norms or unseen pressure without actually asking ourselves or the society a simple question, “Why? Why does it have to be a certain way?”
God has never set norms on celebrations, nor does he differentiate between the class of an individual or his colour and then decide on the quantity of blessings to give. I sadly remember the moment when a temple priest had chastised me over wearing a frock, in front of a huge crowd of devotees. Noticeably, the same man, unabashedly gave prasad – single piece to da poor and whole box to the well-dressed he must have taken to be rich. This brazen favoritism by a god-man?
Would god reprimand me over my dresscode or him over his hypocrisy? Answer is, Neither.
God is energy. This immensely positive energy that resides within n around us. He’s in our thoughts, our words, our actions. He’s in the way we treat his other creations. He doesn’t forgive nor punish. He’s just there, present.

My Ganu surely is happy being alone with me. No expensive decorations, no guests. Just him and me and couple of diyas, room smelling of incense, handful of fruits, homemade sweet and the music of rainfall.
My way of celebrating My Ganpati!


bitesandplaces View All →

Warm welcome to BitesandPlaces!
My humble little blog has its own story to tell… my story… I’m gregarious being, vagabond at heart and have a monstrous appetite for food. I used to be a Human Resource professional until few years ago. To be among, with and for people was the reason I’d chosen this field.
Being in HR, I could only accomplish the ‘people’ part. I still yearned to be in those places I saw on TV and travel magazines and craved to eat all kinds of food that lulls you into coma. I didn’t want to be just a spectator anymore. I wanted to be in those pictures.
Luck smiled at me and I fell sick with an awful heart, lungs and liver disorder. Family said stay home. Rest.
Rest? Were they crazy? I grabbed this opportunity and quit my job; to pursue my passion – people, places and food.

Being on my own gave me lot of spare time for all the three.
I’m not a professional cook, but I’m mighty passionate about cooking. Although Indian, BitesandPlaces does not restrict itself to just the dishes of my country, which are toothsome beyond doubt. I’ve also tried to put together a bunch of mouth-watering and eye-pleasing recipes scattered from all parts the world. A lot of them are a tribute to my mum’s kitchen, the ones I grew up with. Few of them are a result of my experimentation and few others, borrowed from my generous friends 🙂

I religiously follow Andrew Zimmern’s favorite quote – what looks good to your eyes, EAT IT!! After all food is something that follows no boundaries, isn’t it.

Travel, I believe, is about exploring new places, meeting new people, building new relations, soaking in their culture, gorging on their cuisines, discovering their stories and of course, capturing all of these in my teeny-tiny camera.

After having been there and done that, I was inspired to share my travelogues with you, encourage you to travel and in some way find a bit of your happiness through me.
Thus BitesandPlaces was born!

Life’s a journey and people, places and food are all a part of it. So, come along with me and eat your way through this journey called Life…

I like staying connected. And it’ll be a frosting on my cake if you drop a line or two at

Celebrate Life!!!
Natasha Gracious

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