Scholastic India

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Archive for the month “June, 2011”

Saying Goodbye to India!

It just dawned on me that this is my last entry about my tour of India. The journey has been magnificent. I have seen so many beautiful cities and learnt so much about Indian cultures and cuisines. Though tired and frazzled by the time I reached the last whisker of my journey, being in Mumbai was a wonderful experience too.

My Scholratstic friends had arranged for me to meet my fans at Crossword Bookstore. For someone who loves to read, Crossword is an absolute haven. My whiskers quivered with excitement at seeing so many books in one place, and had I been left to my own devices, I would have spent hours browsing through books. But, the alternative was just as pleasant. I got to meet all my Mumbai fans! There were so many of them and all wanted autographs. My paw was aching by the time I was done with all of them. They even convinced me to read out one of my books. Not used to being the center of attention, I was apprehensive at first, but once I got into the act, I began to enjoy it and managed to squeak through. I even got enough pictures to complete my album of my India tour. The evening came to an end with my Scholratstic friends thanking me for coming to India and telling me how much they would miss me. I have to admit, I was quite teary-eyed by the end of it all.

So folks, this is it. Here ends my fantabumouse holiday. The trip would not have been such a success had it not been for your enthusiasm and love. Of course, the friends I made–Birju Lambepoochwallah, Idurchondro Lejgotano, Raju Arorat, and last but not least the charming Elieka contributed greatly to all the fun I had. I may be going back to New Mouse City, but I’m carrying wonderful memories filled with paneer pakoras, the hot but friendly sun, and lots of fantastic sightseeing. Just because I’ll soon be in another continent does not mean we cannot keep in touch. Do keep writing to me, and if anyone’s ever visiting Mouse Island, don’t forget to carry a large block of paneer for me!

So here’s wishing you all a very cheesy goodbye. Keep your fur shining and your snout buried in awesome books!

Life’s good in Goa, but a mouse must move on…

I woke up today feeling completely refreshed. This is exactly my kind of holiday; to find a quiet cozy place where I can read, relax, and enjoy the surroundings. But, after a whole day of doing just that, I’m getting a bit restless and want to make good use of my time here in  Goa. So, after a good breakfast of cheese sandwiches, I set off.

According to my trusty travel guide book, the best way to get around Goa and get a real feel of the city was to do it on a motorcycle. I was a little apprehensive about this, since I’m not one a very adventurous mouse and find these two wheelers a little scary. But, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and rent one out. The owner reminded me to keep my tail tucked-in firmly at all times. With this in mind, I started out. It took me a while to get used to the vehicle, but once I did, it was amazing to feel my fur blowing in the wind!

I made my way over to the famouse Bom Jesus Basilica. I was awe-struck by the enormouse ceiling and stunning interiors. I spent the rest of the afternoon cruising around the city, taking in the beautiful churches, palm trees and the lovely beaches. Looking for something to take back home, I found a shop selling cheese-coated cashews. Thea, Trap and Benjamin will love them.

I got back to the hotel and made my way to the beach. I noticed a lot of people indulging in water sports and was momentarily tempted to try paragliding but told myself I had been adventurous enough with the bike today. Instead, I just relaxed on a beach chair.

In the evening I could hear strains of the music of Backstreet Mice in my room and ventured down to explore the source of the sound. There was a party going on! I looked around at everyone having fun and decided to hang around for a while. After a couple of glasses of cheese mocktails, I headed back to my room and packed for my trip to Mumbai, the last leg of my long journey.

Hope to see you all there!

Living up Life in Goa

Hola fans! I’m in Goa, the land of the sun, sand and the sea. With all the sightseeing I’ve been doing, my paws were getting quite sore and my fur was beginning to lose its shine. But, as soon as I sniffed the wonderful salty sea air, I knew it was the perfect setting to just sit back, relax and rejuvenate.

My Scholratstic friends were there to pick me up when I arrived. The warm welcome they gave me made me realize how close we had gotten and just how much I was going to miss them when I went back.

Once I got settled into my room at the hotel, I quickly changed into my beach gear, grabbed my sunglasses and headed off to the beach. It looked absolutely magnificent! The water was a lovely, shimmering blue and mice were scattered all over, taking a dip in the water, playing games, or just soaking up the sun. I grabbed myself a beach chair, set down all my stuff and scampered off to the water. Not wanting to get too wet, I waded in only till the water was halfway up my paws. The water was deliciously cool and I could already feel myself relax. I began to walk along the length of the beach, just enjoying the view. I even gathered some beautiful shells to take back home. When I was tired, I got back to my beach chair, and ordered a drink from the nearby shack. Oh, what ecstasy to just lie there and sunbathe while lazily sipping cheese ciders!

When my stomach began to squeak with hunger, I got back to the hotel. Lunch was first-rate. They had a variety of cheese and in every possible form, ranging from melted to cubes, along with coconuts and cashews that Goa is famous for. These people sure know how to pamper a mouse!

I spent the evening with a map and my copy of the Not-So-Holed-Up-Mouse planning
out something more exciting.

I’ll get back to you folks tomorrow, telling you all about my second day inGoa.

Magnificent Adventures in Aurangabad!

I got a letter from Benjamin today asking me where I was and whether I was enjoying myself. Overjoyed at receiving word from home, I promptly sat down to pen down my reply. I informed him that I had arrived at Aurangabad, and that everything was simply fantabumouse.

I told Benjamin about my new friend, Raju Arorat. We met in the lobby of my hotel when I was checking in. He happened to be reading one of my books, and when he saw me came over to introduce himself. As we got to squeaking, I found out that he was a tourist himself. So, we decided to go sightseeing together.

I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I thought I saw the Taj Mahal as we made our first stop. Chuckling at my flabbergasted face, Raju Arorat told me not to get my whiskers in a twist since we had reached Bibi Ka Maqbara, a look-alike of the Taj Mahal.

As we got closer, I realized that it was similar but had a distinct sense of beauty. Our next stop was the Shahganj Masjid where I fell in love with the beautiful architecture.  We then made our way to the famouse ElloraCaves. I was enraptured by the living proofs of history present in these humungmouse caves. On the way back, we crossed many arch-like structures which acted as gates to the city in the olden times. Raju Arorat told me that it was because of these edifices that Aurangabad had been nicknamed ‘City of Gates’.

My new friend had an excellent nose for cheese and picked out a wonderful place for lunch. I got to know that he actually owned a Paneer factory! Due to the wonder and interest I expressed, he let me in on some of his carefully guarded trade secrets. It got me thinking and I contemplated the idea of opening up a factory of my own with Trap when I get back. Maybe when I’m not busy with The Rodent’s Gazette?

It was evening by the time we called it a day. I thanked Raju for a wonderful time and promised to keep in touch. After I got back to my room and posted the letter to Benjamin, I kicked back my paws and enjoyed the view from the hotel. Just as I had washed my whiskers and donned my nightclothes to retire to bed, I got a call from my Scholratstic friends telling me that they were looking forward to seeing me in Goa the following morning. After a short conversation, I got under the covers and fell into a deep sleep filled with cheesy dreams.

Beautiful Bhopal!

 

I have done a fair deal of scampering and scurrying in the last three weeks, and every time I leave a city, I think I’ve seen it all. But all I have to do is arrive in the next city to be proved wrong.

I reached Bhopal today and was instantly micemerized by its beautiful gardens and enormouse lakes. After a quick ratnap and a nibble of cheese at the hotel, I set out to explore this wonderful city. My first stop was the Taj-ul-Masjid which was simply amazing with its huge dome and towering arches. The guide squeaked at great length about all the rulers it had seen. After the valuable architecture and history lesson, I cooled off my paws in the great Upper Lake.

I then made my way to the Van Vihar National Park where I saw a lion, a tiger and a panther sunbathing leisurely. On the way back, I decided to make a stop at a bookstore. I had only been browsing for a few minutes when the manager let out a squeal of recognition. He excitedly shook my paw and proudly showed me the aisle where my books were stacked. He told me that they were always in demand. I was delighted by this news. I noticed a group of young rats keenly observing all this. When they saw me looking at them, they shyly walked up and asked for autographs. Looking at them, I was reminded of my favorite nephew, Benjamin.

After my eventful day, I was feeling quite exhausted and made my way back to the hotel. At the front desk I enquired where I could grab a bite. The concierge guided me to an excellent cheestaurant and also advised that a view of Bhopal in the evening from one of the surrounding hills was something I should not miss. That sounds like a perfect way to spend a relaxed evening before heading off to Aurangabad.

White City Adventure

 

Udaipur is living up to its title of the white city by burning with a white-hot glow. It feels like I’m simmering in a pot of melted cheese, though just like touring the city, it’s quite a pleasant prospect.

I set out to explore the city and could not help but squeak with wonder at the lovely structures of the marble palaces which lend the city its name. The most impressive of these was the Lake Palace. Being situated in the middle of the Lake Pichola, I crossed over on a boat. The vast expanse of water looked quite inviting, but as you know, I’m a bit of a ‘fraidy mouse and didn’t much fancy getting my fur wet. The palace was huge on the inside and my whiskers quivered with excitement at the thought of living in such a beautiful place. The emperats must have had such amazing lives back then!

I roamed around the rest of the city, admiring the life-size statues of famouse warriors, the Nehru Gardens and the Doodh Talai. My stomach started rumbling around lunchtime, and I was wondering where to find a morsel to nibble on when I spotted a stall selling—you guessed it—paneer! I scampered over and ordered a plate of paneer pakoras, lovely, hot, and melt-in-the-mouth fritters with a filling of Indian cheese.

As I was relishing my meal, some bystanders squealed “Geronimo Stilton” and excitedly requested autographs. I was slightly embarrassed but pleasantly surprised.

I sauntered back to my hotel at leisure, taking in the beautiful city and wondering what Madhya Pradesh would be like. I’m off to Bhopal tomorrow; so until then, cheesy good wishes to y’all!

Jodhpur—Bluer than Bleu Cheese!

I was slightly unsure about going to Rajasthan in the summer. A desert is no friend to a traveling mouse in the dry and torrid season.

But I was wrong! Jodhpur is fascinating, and the colors there would even rival those in Dilli Haat! And the architecture is indeed breathtaking. A tour guide showed me all around the beautiful and spellbinding Mehrangarh Fort. From the top of the fort I got a panoramic view of the blue city of Jodhpur.

My fur was drenched in sweat yet again because of all the sightseeing I did, but I found a lassi stall nearby. Oh how sweet and satisfying this fabumouse drink was!

I am back in my hotel room, and wondering if hit-and-scurry holidays are a wise idea after all. I would have loved to spend at least a week in each of the places I have seen so far. Maybe after I retire from The Rodent’s Gazette? But for now, I’ll be off to my next destination, the white city!

Enriched at Dilli Haat!

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Dilli Haat is the most colourful place I’ve seen in the subcontinent so far. Food stalls and craft stalls from every corner of India, and my lovely mouse fans to enjoy it all with. When it started to rain while I was still reading out of The Karate Mouse, I was afraid the event was going to turn into a complete washout. I cut the long story short when my fur got drenched in the rainwater, and we took shelter under some clay huts that filled my snout with the smell of rain, so comforting to a mouse who has been traveling for days on end under the hot Indian summer sun.

While we waited for the rain to stop, my fans clicked photos with me, and I signed copies of my books. I was deeply touched to see so many fans scampering around for just one chance to squeak with me. The glee on Rehan Kumaramouse’s face when I shook paws with him was especially touching.

Afterwards, when my fur had dried, I soaked my stomach with fruit beer, and gorged on cheese-filled momos! I was delighted to learn that my Scholratstic friends have very healthy appetites when it comes to cheese, much like mine. We had a joyous time talking about my fantabumouse adventure inIndiaso far, after which they dropped me off at the airport so that I could catch my flight to my next destination, the blue city of Rajasthan. Hint, hint!

From New Mouse City to Old Delhi, I’ve Come a Long Way!

The oldest city of the world is where I’m at right now, and the things it has to offer are far too many for just two days. I have jumped onto several HoHo buses and taken a tour of the most fantastic places in town—Red Fort, Jama Masjid and the towering Qutub Minar.

The sun was hot on my fur, so after a couple of hours of sightseeing, I decided to take an auto and head for Landmark, the bookstore where I was scheduled to do my next reading. I haggled with several auto driverats to no avail, and was advised by a friendly Delhi mouse to take the Metro instead. It was a smooth ride indeed. In less than 30 minutes I was at my destination, cooling down inside an air-conditioned mall.

The book-reading event was fantabumouse! Once again I was surprised to see stacks of my books on the shelves. Many mice readers were buying these by the dozen! I signed numerous copies once again, and came back to my hotel room with a head full of happy memories.

I’m meeting my fans again at Dilli Haat tomorrow. The wonderful people of Scholratstic have invited me to join them for dinner and fruit beer at the Haat after my last Delhi event. I wish I wasn’t scurrying against time, but I must hit the road since I’m on travel mode.

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Wah Taj!

When it comes to architecture, nothing compares to the Taj Mahal! That’s right, I have arrived at my next destination, and am overwhelmed like never before by the architectural grandeur of the city of Agra!

I have spent the entire day marveling at the perfect geometry of all the structures and the beautiful designs. The mice of centuries ago were so remarkably talented. This thought struck me when I saw numerous tourists outside the Taj taking photographs in funny positions with their hands in the air shaped like a lotus bud. When I asked one of the photographers to explain this amusing phenomenon, he almost coerced me into following suit. My fur turned red when I noticed people watching me strike a pose. Some even recognized me and started squeaking, “Geronimo! Geronimo Stilton!” Soon I was taking photographs with my Agra fans and striking all kinds of poses in front of the magnificent structure; I even jumped up in the air a few times. When the photographs were printed, I was surprised to see that my fans and I were all touching the tip of the Taj Mahal! What a neat trick!

I am scheduled to visit the Agra Fort today evening. I hear it is as interesting as the Taj, in terms of architecture as well as history. And the views of the Taj from the Fort are supposed to be outstanding.

This adventure keeps getting better and better. I wonder what awaits me in the capital!

See you in Delhi tomorrow, mouse fans!

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