First time -19 °C Experience in Östersund.


If you are living in and around Scandinavia, Russia, Nordic Islands, or Alaska, this may be very common to you. But think about the people living in the tropical or sub-tropical regions where the Summer starts a bit early in March or before March. For me, it was a surprise, I found snow covered the entire Östersund city in the month of April.

It was a special visit to my brother in law living in the city of Östersund for work. I traveled all way down from Bangalore toÖstersund. It was night 4:30 am I had my departure flight in Emirates Airlines. I had a nice vegan breakfast in the morning. I reached Dubai around 7:15 am in local time. Changed my flight to Stockholm. During the lunch, I faced a problem in the Emirates. If you are vegetarian, then, please do not forget to select your food preference during flight booking. In lunch, I got a slice of bread, butter, salad and mango mousse and a 350ml bottle of white wine. Seeing the situation and my conversation with the air hostess, the beautiful white girl sitting next to me became sympathetic and she had offered her part of those items to me. Though I refused to had more but I felt she was kind.  

When I reached Arlanda Airport it was 11:15 am in local time. It was very confusing like the Snakes and Ladders happened between the local times. Indian Standard Time is 3 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Sweden.

 

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My brother in law and me standing on snow.

 

I had another flight to catch from Arlanda for the final destination to Östersund. Till Arlanda, I found no major climatic difference. There was cold, but outside there was not much snow. At least at Arlanda Airport, it was not visible. When I board on Scandinavian Airlines it was evening 5:55 pm. outside I felt it was getting colder. I reached around 7:00 pm. in Arlanda. My brother in law was waiting for me at the airport.

Here to my utter surprise, I was literally freezing. Everywhere it was covered up with snow. I was shaking in the cold. While I left Bangalore, it was 18 °C at night and here it was just opposite -19 °C. I got into the car quickly to get rescue myself.

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How to get a Tavel Visa? Here is my experince after Travelling back from Europe!


Life comes up with many opportunities, I just grabbed mine. I am an ordinary man with some ordinary dreams and very simple lifestyle. I had dreams to see Europe, crossing the boundary of my homeland. I was knowing, it will be costly and the way the world has been changed, a lot of Visa documentation process I have to crack. Before I start my story. I want to tell you, this blog is not about my travel experience. It’s a walk through the process you can go for a leisure trip expending your hard earned money, anywhere around the world. And by yourself, avoiding all highly expensive travel agents and package tours.

How? 

Let’s start with how easily you can get your travel Visa done within a week?

I found the easiest way to get a travel Visa through VFS Global. They have many centres in all major Indian cities. Also, you can apply for the Visa directly from online using VFS website: http://www.vfsglobal.com

Once you have filled up your requirements, they will ask you a List of Documents (LOD) to make ready before the appointment in their office. The payment for a Visa varies country to country. Also, you can pay that amount at VFS centre on the same day of your appointment after documents get verified. Once you are done with the documents part, they will ask for your biometrics and photo and they will keep your Passport. You don’t have to go to the embassy for this. Here you will save your time and a lot of money. Expect you will get back your Passport stamped with the Visa of the country/countries you had applied within next 15 days. You can collect the same from VFS Global centre, that you had visited during the appointment or you pay them a nominal amount to get it delivered to your doorstep via courier service. I opt the courier service by paying VFS Centre some $3 only. This charge may vary time to time.

Air Ticket Booking:

This is the trickiest part. You cannot buy any of the Air Tickets to reach or return to your destinations. Sometimes you need additional Transit visas to change your connecting flights. In Europe, I had the plan to go to the Scandinavian territory, Stockholm via Heathrow, London. Here for the transit through the British Airlines, I took an additional Transit Visa to change my connecting flight. Otherwise, British customs do not allow passengers to step into their airports.

 

 

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Aayushi in London Heathrow Airport 

 

 

Always, read the instructions before booking your flights from any website or ask your travel agents regarding Transit Visa. Or else you may lose a lot of money,  rescheduling your travel itinerary.

All the best! Happy Journey.

Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review


Marvel Cinematic Universe is pampering us to engulf funny movies. Last Friday “THOR Ragnarok” released in India; I and my friends went to Cinépolis Royal Meenakshi Mall Bengaluru to find it out.

Back in July 2017, it was “Spiderman: Home Coming” released and I was surprised to see Spiderman was totally ignored in that movie. They made him stupid and hilarious character throughout the movie. At the last scene, the amateur teenage Spiderman lost the opportunity to become a permanent member of the Avenger, it was senseless. He could have used his superior spider sense and judge Tony Stark, whether Tony’s offer was real or fake. But he didn’t, instead of he had missed it all.

Coming back to the THOR RAGNAROK, one of the most waiting films in 2017. Especially, Marvel movie fans like me were waiting for the grand opportunity to watch the movie in the theatre. The movie was entertaining and at the end, it was quite serious. Even the people of Asgard paid a huge loss. Gods remain helpless and the Goddess of Death, Hela embarrass the situation to finally awake the torment of the monster Ragnarok, who destroyed their city.

Gods forced down to the earth to rebuilt Asgard. Thor lost one of his eyes in the battle. The film started quite unfortunate, Thor was getting into trouble after trouble. Where Hulk was breathing oxygen without oxygen mask outside earth in the Grandmaster’s alien planet.

The movie left few questions unanswered. But it was quite an obvious to keep them open.

I found the below song in youtube, where the story has been briefly explined. I will suggest everyone to go and watch THOR RAGNAROK.

Recipe – How to make?Adhirasam-Diwali Sweet by Dinakaran.


Adhirasam/Ariselu is a Traditional South Indian sweet prepared on Diwali. It is prepared using  rice flour and jaggery. This sweet can be prepared with sugar also, but since I avoid using sugar as much as possible in my recipes, I have used jaggery. Many find it intimidating to prepare this sweet but actually this is very easy to prepare, if you follow the tips and steps given properly. I am going to make it very easier for you all with my step wise pictures.

 

How to make Adhirsam?
Yields – 28-30

Ingredients needed

Raw Rice – 1 kg (pacharisi)
Jaggery – 3/4 kg
Cardamom -6 (remove the pods)
Oil for deep frying

Preparation

First we will see how to prepare rice flour for athirasam. (I make it very clear that you cannot use ordinary store bought rice flour to prepare this)

Wash and soak raw rice for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, drain the water completely and spread it on a cloth or paper, so that it will absorb the excess water.

After 10 minutes, dry grind the rice nicely (not too fine and not too coarse-in between both) along with cardamom.(Alternatively you can add cardamom powder to the jaggery syrup also) Sieve it and keep it in a broad vessel. You cannot store this rice flour but have to use it immediately for making athirasams.

If you have a flour mill near your place, you can get it ground there for adhirasam, which is much easier.I got it ground in the flour mill.

Grate jaggery, add just enough water to soak the jaggery. Bring it to boil, switch off. Once the jaggery dissolves, filter it to remove any impurities.
Method

Boil the jaggery water until you get a soft ball consistency also known as uruttu padham in tamil. Take a small cup of water, pour a tsp of jaggery syrup into it, if you are able to collect it and make a soft ball out of it, then it is the right consistency. Switch off the flame.This is the most important step in making adhirasams.

Immediately add needed hot jaggery syrup (little by little) to the rice flour and mix it well with a ladle as you see in picture below. Cover it with a lid and let it rest. After 4-5 hours, take it out and knead it well with your hands and keep it covered with a tight lid again. Let is rest for 1-2 days. (This dough can be kept for 2 days at room temperature.You do not have to refrigerate the dough).

I left it only for 1 day.


After 1 day

Take the dough out and knead again. Divide equally and make balls.
Meantime heat oil in a kadai, once the oil is heated, reduce the flame to medium.
Grease a banana leaf or a plastic cover with ghee and flatten the ball with your hands.You can grease your hands as well to make it easier.

Take the flattened dough in your hands from the leaf and gently slip it into the oil. Fry both sides till it turns nice brown color.(Keep the heat in medium as if the heat is high, it will turn brown immediately but will remain uncooked inside)

Remove from oil. Adhirsam has the tendency to absorb lot of oil. Press the adhirsam between two slotted ladles to remove excess oil. Then put it in a colander or on a paper towel to drain remaining excess oil.

Repeat the process for the rest of the dough. Hope I have made everything clear and easy for you.
Tips to repair if you go wrong

If the dough is very sticky or too loose and you are unable to make balls, then add a little wheat flour to it to get the right consistency.

If the dough is too tight, then add little more jaggery syrup or little milk to it.

Prepare or fry athirasam 1 or 2 days after preparing the athirasam dough for best results.

Another important point is you should not add rice flour to the jaggery syrup and mix but you should add jaggery syrup to the rice flour little at a time and mix well with a ladle.