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Hey guys 🙂 Hope you are doing great!

Today I have something special to share with you all…special because it’s something about me 😉 Ok, so for those who are new here, let me tell you that I had written an interesting post about me last year too. Here’s the link: My 100th Post:  Know Me Better

I have come across many “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” on the internet. So I thought let’s make it “11 Things You Didn’t Know About Me”. This way you get to read one point extra about me 😉 Happy Reading!

Let me start with this childhood photo of mine with my three siblings…

Baby Swarupa with siblings

See the hot babe? That’s me, the youngest in my family 🙂

1. I’m the shortest in my family at 5.5” (without heels) but for a small package I pack in quite a punch. Both my parents are tall. My dad is 5.11” and my mother 5.6”.

The following photo was taken last year on May 3 on the occasion of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary…

Swarupa's family

2. I have plenty of hobbies and I like developing new ones because I get bored doing the same thing. Among my oldest hobbies is, you won’t believe it …knitting! I was about ten when I learnt knitting at school.  By the time I was thirteen, I had knitted a muffler, baby socks and pullover and crocheted a purse while at school and after that… over four dozen dolls’ dresses!

Take a look at this photo…

Swarupa's knitwear

3. At eleven, I was a voracious reader of books on war and war heroes.  The Second World War German Army Commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was and still is one of my favourite heroes. Take a look at this video: Field Marshal Rommel 

I must have read more than hundred Second World War comic books covering the Army, Navy and Air Force. Although Army was and still is my favourite defence force, I liked Air Force too. When I was fifteen, I built my first plane of balsa wood – a free-flight hand-launched glider. It was my first attempt at aeromodelling. Satisfied with the result, I built a vintage full-sized aircraft and painted it beautifully in military camouflage colours. The third and the last one was an internal combustion powered aircraft. It was a smashing beauty painted in bright red! Looking back, I wish I would have taken photos of my beautiful toys. They are no longer with me but I can never forget the third one. It was ooh lah lah… an incredibly awesome vision in red!

Talking about the Army, I will always cherish my travels with the Indian Army in Ladakh, Siachen and the North-East Indian states in 2010. I spent more than three weeks with them! To read more about this, click on these links:

Discovering My Strengths In Siachen And Ladakh

Travelling Through The North-East Of India – Manipur

Here’s a video of my first attempt at shooting at the Army Firing Range: 

My first experience with an armed weapon!

4. The first time I coloured my hair was in 1997. I went for an auburn-haired look. When my dad saw my hair he said it was a result of my excessive watching of Cartoon Network channel 🙂 Most of the shows had female cartoons sporting bold and bright hair colours, mostly reds. Check out my look…

Swarupa's auburn-haired look in 1997

5. The first time I visited the Taj Mahal in Agra was in 2002. I was travelling alone. A few tourists jokingly told me to visit the place next time with a sweetheart. Well, the next time never happened…

Swarupa at Taj Mahal

6. The first foreign country that I visited was Singapore. It was in 2002 and I was accompanied by my eldest sister. A lovely country!

Swarupa in Singapore

The manager of a gemstone shop that we visited requested us to pose at this place and we happily complied…

Swarupa with sister in Singapore

7. The first time I skied was in 2004 at Solang in the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, a beautiful alpine state with many scenic and breathtakingly beautiful places. And, one of my favourite Indian states…it was here that I saw snow for the first time…

Swarupa at Solang

8. A warm favourite is the beautiful northernmost Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. The first time I visited the beautiful Kashmir valley was in 2005. I was accompanied by my elder sister. Here’s a photo of yours truly in the traditional dress of a Kashmiri woman, paddling a shikara…

Swarupa in Srinagar

In those days, terrorist attacks were common as the Pakistan sponsored terrorist groups didn’t want tourists visiting the Valley. But things have changed a lot since then and now the region attracts plenty of visitors with terrorism falling steadily. I’m sharing one interesting incident that happened in Srinagar. We were climbing up the road to the very ancient and highly revered Shankaracharya Temple located atop a famous hill overlooking the city. There were Army guys posted at each turn. One of them gave us directions to a short cut to the top. Unfortunately we took a wrong path and ended up in the jungle. Walking on and on, we reached the top and became the centre of attraction of everybody around. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel guarding the place ordered us to freeze. They shouted out a couple of questions. Seeing that we weren’t terrorists, just tourists who had lost their way, they let us climb up under their watchful eyes. They told us that if it had been dark they would have shot us assuming that we were terrorists due to rampant terrorist attacks in the vicinity. (That was true!).They had shoot-at-sight orders and a few days earlier they had shot down two terrorists. And they had sighted a couple of bears in the jungle too! Maybe it was true or maybe they had wanted to scare us. Whatever, I found the entire episode quite fun… my sister didn’t!

Here’s a photo of both of us somewhere ahead of Pahalgam…

Swarupa with sister in Kashmir

I visited the Valley again in 2007 with both my sisters. This photo was taken in the popular skiing destination of Gulmarg…

Swarupa with sisters in Gulmarg

Besides other wonderful places, the state of J&K also has the most amazing tourist destination in the country, the beautiful high altitude region of Ladakh. Heaven on Earth! I visited this incredibly beautiful region in 2010. Check out my posts and lovely photographs in the four-part series “Heaven on Earth: Ladakh”. Here’s the link to the first part: Heaven on Earth: Ladakh (Part I – Pangong Tso)

And here is yours truly against the backdrop of the beautiful Pangong Lake…

Swarupa's journey to Pangong Tso, Ladakh 22

9. One of my most memorable trips was a month long tour across the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 2006. It was a very rich and entertaining experience! I fell in love with the beautiful old temples of the culturally rich state of Tamil Nadu… in Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Thanjavur, Madurai, Pillaiyarpatti, Karaikudi, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari… And its beautiful hill stations – Kodaikanal and Ooty. It hadn’t been my first time in Chennai, my second favourite Indian city after Mumbai, my home city. I had been there before in 2003 on a week-long trip covering the famous Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh, the temple town of Kancheepuram, and the scenic destinations of Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. On both trips, I had neither carried my camera nor my cell phone. It was mere coincidence that I had started my trip in Nov 2006 at the same time when the famous Ayappa pilgrimage from Tirupati to Sabarimala in Kerala had started. So wherever I went covering the temple towns in Tamil Nadu I crossed paths with the black lungi-clad male pilgrims. From Tamil Nadu I had travelled through Kerala covering the famous temple cities of Trivandrum and Thrissur and the lovely tourist destinations of Cochin, Alappuzha, Kumarakom, Thekkady and Munnar. In Tamil Nadu people are up very early in the morning. I still remember relishing a hot breakfast of idli-vada and dosa at 5:00 am in a lovely hotel room in Trichy which cost me as little as 350 rupees a night including breakfast! That was in 2006. I would highly recommend a visit to the magnificent temples of Tamil Nadu!

10. I have never been able to understand dogs. I like them if they are well-trained to obey orders and keep their tongue in their mouth instead of licking and sniffing around in excitement. Lord knows where their nose might have been before sniffing me or how many germs their slimy tongues carried. Nothing angers me more than to find them sniffing my butt. It makes me doubt their eyesight! About 10 years ago, I was visiting a friend’s place. He had a father-son pair of pure bred Labradors with honey-coloured eyes and smooth and glossy golden coat! They were chained to a post because I don’t like dogs wandering about when I’m around… they start sniffing and licking me, ugh! I was in the living room watching TV with my friend’s dad while he was in his room when the older dog started humping his son…right there in front of us! It thoroughly embarrassed my friend’s dad! I told him the dog obviously was in need of a mate and repeated the same to my friend later. The guy brushed aside the advice and said the dog had never acted like that before. He laid the blame squarely on me with a “You made the dog horny”. Ugh! If the male species are weird, the females aren’t far behind. I discovered this about 18 years ago when I was visiting my cousin’s place. She had a cute white Pomeranian. One day in the middle of the night, I suddenly woke up at the touch of a warm and soft fur ball. I had a shock when I saw the dog peacefully snuggled up against my leg… in my bed! I didn’t want to touch her or kick her away so I changed my sleeping direction. A few minutes later, I felt her warm body close to my leg again. It made me angry. I returned to my original sleeping direction. It didn’t help because a few minutes later I again felt the warm body sticking to my leg. I gave up! If the silly bitch were to get hurt while I was sleeping, she was entirely to blame for it. Then, about seven years ago in Mexico, the house where I was living as a paying guest had a Old English sheepdog. She used to smell awful like she hadn’t had a bath for months! Well, she obviously hadn’t…poor thing, it wasn’t her fault! There were about five or six rooms in the house and she even had her own place to sit… but no, she would insist on resting right outside my door! I always had to check to see that the door was closed else she would walk right into my room. When I was around the family would try to keep her away from me. I was glad when a month later I got another house which didn’t have a dog. But the landlady’s son had a golden Pomeranian. He would leave her with his mother whenever he was travelling which happened often. I liked the dog. She was cute…with no licking or sniffing! See how royal she looks in my arms…

Swarupa in Mexico

She used to smell great thanks to her loving mistress who regularly shampooed and combed her lovely soft coat. My only problem with her was that she would often stay outside my room door. If I were to leave the door open, she would walk straight inside and make herself comfortable in my bed. I wasn’t going to let that happen no matter how clean and sweet smelling she was and thankfully, it never did happen!

11. I take very good care of all my things. No wonder they don’t age, lasting long past their expected expiry date much to everyone’s surprise. Forget things, I have three cute dolls and you won’t believe it when I tell you for how many years they have been with me 😉 Check out their photo…

Swarupa's Dolls

My dad brought Cindy (dressed in white) from Italy (Milan, to be precise)…about 35 years ago! My eldest sister brought Goldie (in pink) from the neighbouring city of Pune… about 30 years ago! The two have travelled across Europe (long before I did!) and the US in more than five years’ time…with my dad! See, I used to carefully place them in his bag so that they could be with him in faraway lands. In those days security check either didn’t exist or wasn’t at all strict and bags never went missing. They would charm all those who got to see them but their trips with my dad came to an end when I realized that somebody could kidnap them from the hotel room in my dad’s absence. And Dolly? Well she came to me a bit late, in 2002. My elder sister had kept a doll at her workplace. Her boss had done spring cleaning at her home and given her the American doll which had belonged to her daughter. I was excited and wanted to see her so I told my sister to get her home. But when I saw her, I was horrified…she looked like “Chucky” doll! I told my sister to take her away the very next day after a bath. We gave her a gentle scrubbing and shampooed her auburn hair. I dressed her in one of Cindy’s dresses and … voilà! She looked so angelic and so absolutely cute, her lovely blue eyes pleading “Don’t send me away, please!” We just couldn’t take our eyes off her! When I took her to my workplace one day, she not only charmed all the women out there but also the men. One female colleague even knitted a lovely dress for her in a shade that matched her shoes. When I showed the “new” Dolly to my sister’s boss, she wasn’t able to recognize her! She complimented me with a “You’ll make a very good mother”. So Dolly has been with me for nearly 12 years but I guess she must have spent a long time as an orphan, almost 30 years, considering the age of my sister’s boss’s daughter. So I guess she must be more than 40 years old!

That’s it, guys 😉 Hope you enjoyed reading the little bit about me. There’s still more to me than I can say but I’ll leave that for later. So do keep visiting for more!

Oh, by the way, in case you’re interested in reading about my adventures across Mexico and all about Mexico, do check my three e-books which are available for sale on this blog:

Discovering Mexico

Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World

A Guide To Mexican Cuisine

If you’re a fan of Mills & Boon novels or love reading romance novels, here’s one for you available for sale on this blog:

The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife

Thank you very much for visiting my blog! Take care and see you soon 🙂