Check-in to Tranquility

As a kid, I am sure we all loved the rains. Especially when our school declared a ‘rainy day’ holiday out of the blue that allowed us to stay home, viewwatch the rains and float paper boats in the puddles. Now all that seems more like a luxury, as we only get to watch the showers from the glass windows of our offices and day-dream…hotel

No wonder the same monsoon has become a chore and make the world look dull for most of us. The only things to look forward to this season are – the endless traffic, muddy pot-holes and endless woes. If anything can change this gloomy picture, it has got to be a quick getaway from the bustling city-life into a tranquil space.

Though I have visited Pune earlier, the desire to explore an urban resort like Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan seemed alluring. It was worth room viewthe trip as this quick weekend escape got me back happier.

The so called ‘fast life’ can leave us breathless literally, being at this property gave me the feel of a relaxed country side. I enjoyed the sound of silence as I sat near the glass pane overlooking an amazing landscape.bed




The drizzle outside added to the poetic beauty of the picturesque view and I recalled W. H Davis’ ironic poem Leisure –

“What is this Life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare…”

It was almost unbelievable to have a day without the ‘set’ agenda or running to keep pace with time! After a lazy morning and a sumptuous breakfast at the Momo Café, I decided to take a dip in the turquoise pool. The water did feel a bit cold initially but the ambiance was quite inviting. I was having fun all by myself and I guess we all need such ‘me times’ to just disconnect with the world around and be our self. It was a sort of vipassana camp for me that I have heard of but what felt best is the fact that I was doing it all in my style!

Next, I was looking forward to the afternoon siesta on the cozy deluxe bed but the lunch was not worth missing, so I landed back at the 24/7 dinning Momo Café to binge on the yummy treats. swimThere was a theme to this concept restaurant that is frequented by the expats. So it was Street Food Festival from Mohammad Ali Road for that weekend.

Did that seem exciting for me? Well, the irony of my ‘busy life’ got even better since I had never got a chance to visit this popular street food arcade in spite of staying in Mumbai for a couple of years now!

Well, Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan felt like a home away from home for me and this was a ‘no routine’ routine that I would love to follow everyday. At least, I did manage to do so for the two days of my dream weekend trip that made me feel rejuvenated this monsoon!

-Sayanti Banerjee

My French connection

Is learning a new language fun? Well, actually it is a mixed bag of experience and I enjoyed every bit of it en francais!
Giving up on weekend’s extended hours of sleep was my concern before I even enrolled for the afternoon classes on Saturday and Sundays. But the strong desire to speak in French, read and write a bit too, prevailed and I signed up in January for A Level part 1 at Alliance Française that completed successfully only yesterday.
I still remember Day One in class when I felt like a kindergarten kid not knowing how to answer basic questions such as –What’s your name-

Tu t’ appelle comment?

But it was not a moment of embarrassment, rather I found it cute to repeat after my professor- Je m’appelle Sayanti.

That’s the speed at which the class started phrases, leading to sentences and then writing them down in paragraphs.
There were times when I felt totally blank, specially when the génies etudiants of my class seemed to know it all! I wondered how, till I learnt that they had a brush with French already in school. So I felt confident again that I was new to this language and need to give myself time in order to pick it up. The ‘back-to-school’ syndrome can have its pros and cons too.

While I made new friends and shared lunch boxes, there was home-work or  ‘devoirs’ to be submitted too. Initially I made the best of my laziness dreaming up excuses to complete such tasks but the day I started taking them seriously, I felt the difference!
There was an overdose of French in class with strictly no English or other language translations being encouraged. But it became more effective with a group being formed on watsapp and texting in this foreign language. It was fun as people referred to every possible dictionary and translator to make sense of the conversation.

Since our young professor was added on the list as well, she actively corrected the errors. That was some learning for sure as the visual memory of the words got captured instantly.gr2
Learning French was not all study and no fun. There were loads of party people who planned beaucoup de partis to keep me entertained. Whether it was chilling over coffee at Barista or Starbucks after class or all of us meeting up at any of the student’s house for food, drinks and dance, we had the ball of a time!
So for all those who are still planning to do something new, might consider learning a language to begin with. More than the certificate, trust me it feels ‘wow’ to say- Je peux parle, lis et ecris en francais!

-Sayanti Banerjee