Good friends are like snowflakes, all different and all beautiful.
From the time we Indians are born, we are always taught the tenet of “Unity in Diversity“. This is based on the fact that though we have a number of different religions, regions, castes, languages, food items and more in the country, we still live in a united India. Yes, everything is not as perfect as it was intended with discrimination at various levels but then we still celebrate each others festivals, have different types of food and even speak more than one language.
Growing up in an environment like this has always taught me to appreciate diversity in every form. Having traveled to more than 25 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa, I have met people from across the board. It has given me interesting perspectives of their culture, their thoughts and even their beliefs. Eg: Saving and investing a certain amount of money is not just an Indian or specifically an Asian thing.
Meeting people who are different than we are also plays a strong role in helping remove stereotypes and myths created over many years. Eg: Not everyone from Africa deals in drugs and human trafficking.
It’s general human tendency to get attracted to anything which is free. When I was looking up for Moscow tours, I randomly happened to come across the Moscow Free tour website.
At first, I wondered as to why would someone offer a free tour. It didn’t make any sense from a monetary aspect. But then, I realized that these guys have been consistently certified by various tourists on TripAdvisor and offer a number of other tours as well. I really liked them so much so that I had also taken the Moscow Metro tour through them.
The tour starts at the Slavyanskaya Square opposite to which is the Church of All Saints. One of it’s standout features is the Leaning bell-tower.
The Moscow Free Tour covers areas in and around the Red Square and starts off with the Kremlin which is the official residence of the President of Russia. The Lenin’s Mausoleum, the resting place of the revolutionary Vladmir Lenin is located right outside the Kremlin Complex.
We all have many life events which we remember for a long time be it birthdays, anniversaries, the day we marry, the day we fall in love for the first time, the day we have our first breakup, the day we come first in class, the day we make new friends, the day our parents gift us a new laptop or phone and many more. These are the days when we thank God for keeping us happy and contented. But as is human nature, we also remember the bad times for a variety of reasons as well.
For me, one of the key life events which I have been thankful for is the fact that I got a chance to go out of my comfort zone to complete my graduation and post – graduation in India. I had always lived a sheltered and well protected life while growing up in the Sultanate of Oman. There was almost never a time when I didn’t have AC be it at home, school, malls or in cars. There was almost never a time when my parents weren’t around for their support in anything and everything I wanted. Most importantly, there was no pollution – water, air, noise whatsoever.
Are you wondering what’s special in a grocery store that am writing a blog post about it? Eliseevsky store at 14, Tverskaya Street in Moscow is one of the oldest stores in the city. It was built as part of a historical building and opened to the public in 1901. It’s actually named “Gastronomia Eliseevsky“.
Christmas in Russia and about 15 other countries is celebrated every year on January 7th rather than December 25th. The Russians start their year with around 10 vacation days which begin with the New Year celebrations and culminate in the Christmas festivities.
The primary reason for this is the fact that the Russian orthodox church follows the Julian calendar which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar.
Red Square is considered as one of the most important landmarks in Moscow as it includes a varied set of monuments including Kremlin (the official residence of the Russian president), St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Kazan Cathedral, Gum Store and the State Historical Museum among others.
It is said that Putin generally works in Kremlin but stays on the outskirts of Moscow. Legend has it that Lenin’s body is still embalmed and kept at the mausoleum. Whether tourists or even Russians believe this or not is another matter altogether.
One evening, when a few of my office colleagues asked me if I am interested to make a visit to the square, I was quite excited at the opportunity. Little did I know that it would be about -15 degrees that night. It was so cold that I was starting to feel my hands getting frost bitten. The Starbucks coffee I was holding became cold in no time ;). Nonetheless, the experience was fantastic.
And another year has gone past us. This was the year when I moved back to the Gulf again. I say again since more than half my life has been spent in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. The last 365 days have been quite interesting meeting people from various countries and learning about various cultures.
From a blogging perspective, I continued taking part in various short fiction prompts and challenges like 5 sentence fiction, 100 word fiction, 42 word fiction, 6 word fiction and so on and so forth. These challenges have always been helpful in keeping the creative juices flowing.
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