Monday, January 27, 2014

Long hiatus no more...

Prompted by my husband, I happened to visit my blog after a gap of 2 years only to realize that a  million small thoughts have escaped mention on my blog dedicated to random stuff! Instead of mulling over it I plan to write again... so watch this space for more...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Odd but true!

In my recent visit to our neighbouring country of Nepal, I came across an odd looking flower which rather struck me as a sponge more than a flower. I also did come across what is commonly known as Davis Water falls, which is shaped as though it was intentionally cut out in such a manner so as to give it an artsy feel! Another thing that transported me back to my childhood when I truly believed that clouds looked fluffy and was as cold as ice cream were the clouds over Kathmandu. Check these oddities for your self!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sasuji's treat!

My job has brought me to Ahmedabad this week. It is from here that I write this post about a restaurant called “Sasuji” which serves up authentic Gujarati thali. Since we had heard decent reviews of this place, we decided to try the place even though we had to work post lunch which was a daunting task in itself. This place is perennially packed with hungry folks who will lap up the local cuisine with all gusto. With a simple d├ęcor the restaurant serves the thali containing the regular spread of unlimited gheewala rotis and puris, dal, kadhi, dhokla, chilla, 4 types of sabjis, chutney, salad and papad along with buttermilk and sweets. All of this at a reasonable price of Rs.150/ -.
What makes this place unique is that in all the customer traffic the floor in charge and the servers barely talk to each other and communicate through sign language only. If any table was in need of refills, these servers would signal each other and your plate would be refilled instantly! Each item was assigned a different hand gesture and number. For instance, the chutneys came in a serving vessel containing 2 bowls; hence the number two was assigned for chutney. Similarly the vegetables came in a container of 4 bowls and therefore the number four was assigned for vegetables. The waiters would snap their fingers for refills and most often when you hear the sound of snapping, rest assured, someone was getting served to their heart's content!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chronicles of Bahrain

As I made way through the immigration counters at the Mumbai International Airport I could hear instrumentals of popular hymns being played softly. People eagerly made their way to the security check and once that was done, we entered what I call the "shopaholics paradise". Yup you guessed it-Duty Free! Let the word "free" not fool you as everything in those shops were high end and therefore not even remotely inexpensive. But it was a view that put a tiny smile to my face and a twinkle in my eye. After entering my comfort zone, I began my favorite pastime-observing people in their funniest best. We Indians love to dress up grandly with all our finest of ornaments and silks when going on international flights. It makes them feel super fine & important. Then there are those "home alone" families who spend all their time in between crying babies, feeding babies and counting the number of kids still present at the end of it all. My flight to Bahrain of course had passengers of all kinds- those who complained of the seat, those who kept poking the television screens to annoy the passenger in front of them and finally those all important super VIPs passengers who just could not tolerate the thought of being cut off from the world and hence refused to switch off their cell phones! So much for the onward travel!!

My two-week stay in Bahrain had its share of idiosyncrasies and memorable anecdotes. Some that come to my mind include:
(1) When my colleague and I were dodging the rain while entering our hotel, we noticed a Caucasian male (trying to be politically correct!). He seemed to have been holed up in his hotel room and decided to get out for a bit, only to find that it was still raining! He blurted out “Is it still raining? WHY!! Is this Bahrain or Mumbai”. As soon as he noticed us (very much Indian looking folks) he realized his faux-pas and said “By the way good game of cricket there” referring to India’s good performance at the ongoing series against South Africa and gave us the thumbs up.
(2) Unlike its neighbors’, Bahrain is a very progressive little nation. This can be evidenced from local newspapers which talk of the young royals who take active interest in women affairs and image building exercise for the country. Its constant endeavor to ape the west and become a popular destination can be seen its people and lifestyle. Men and women parade in outfits that look like they have come straight out of a Milan fashion event with high heel boots, denims, jell hair and accessories like bags and latest cell phones to match them all! All very interesting!
(3) The country is the sin city of the Middle East in all ways possible and sees a major inflow of people from the neighboring GCC countries like KSA, Kuwait & Qatar over the weekend. This is the time when Bahrain comes alive with its malls, roads and restaurants crowded with the young and old. People start streaming in on Wednesdays and by Friday evening the country wears a deserted look leaving behind the locals. Trivia- The country population is 1 million of which 400k are expatriates!
(4) Since it’s a small nation with not much history to boast of, it has but a handful of places to see like the Tree of Life (look it up on Google if you please), the tall high rises, the causeway, the local museums which gives a brief on the nation, the royal palaces and Bab-al-Bahrain which was the erstwhile official gate of Bahrain. There are a few quaint shopping zones and the country is famous for high quality pearls.
(5) People are in general friendly and cab drivers strike up conversations at will and ask about various things like the best medical facilities in India, visa and immigration policy, weather of Bahrain etc.
(6) Now, we decided to visit the local Indian restaurant called ‘Moti Mahal’ on Food Street in the suburb of Juffair at the insistence of one of our colleagues. What makes this place unique? The waiter- comes the resounding answer! Don’t quite remember his name, but he was the whole package deal. Not only did he take our orders but he also sang film songs & he did a fantastic impersonation of Shahrukh Khan. In fact he was so obsessed with the actor that he stopped serving us when his idol was on screen and started giving us trivia about him and the awards show that was being shown on the telly. At one point when an actress joked/insulted our waiter’s idol, he was so enraged that he began hurling abuses at her! We then realized that this guy had seen this recorded show many times over and could narrate it backwards! At the end of the dinner I was left thinking what brought this budding actor to Bahrain and that too in this role!

Well, those were my take aways from the Land of Pearls!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trip down the Nehru residence

My job takes me to places in India that I would normally never think of visiting. One such place was Allahabad, a relatively small town in Uttar Pradesh and it was an eye-opener. During my stay there I had the opportunity to visit "Anand Bhavan". As I approached the huge bugalow which once housed the members of the Nehru family, I was told that I could not take photos inside.As I entered the place, which is now an attraction for people from world over, I could not contain my excitement and felt like a kid in a candy store.I moved from one room to another seeing the grand style in which the Nehru family lived. But the whole experience left me with the feeling that our country could have been a great nation if its leaders worked towards the prosperity of its people.For instance the memorabilia at the Anand Bhavan included Nehru's leather long coat worn by him overseas, his London issued passport, silver cutlery, travel iron (small sized), different designed leather wallets with his name engraved on it, porcelain leg warming equipment, letters written by him to Indira, Bapu's letter to Indira.Why in those days Nehru also had an electric shaver (which was popularized much later)!!!.All the rooms had a high quality and beautifully crafted furniture and loads of books (the size of a library).It was truly like going back in time.The bungalow also had rooms kept for Mahatma Gandhi, study rooms for the Nehrus, Indira's rooms, Congress Committee meeting room.The huge property had a sprawling garden, planetarium and now what is converted into a book store. Seeing all of that made me wonder if the common man in those days had even one of these mentioned items that the Nehrus' possessed.

All in all, it was a thought provoking trip. I would recommend a visit to anyone who comes to Allahabad.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Freebees Ahoy!

8th March is celebrated as Women’s Day worldwide and India is no exception. However, this year, apart from the usual discounts and special offers by companies selling all kinds of goods and services (read-beauty products and designer clothes) there were some offers that came with absolutely no strings attached. And that is too irresistible even for someone like me since advertisements have never enticed me.

One such offer was that by Big Cinemas who gave every woman in this country, an open invitation to walk into any Big Cinema theatre and watch any movie free of charge and that too all day long! What can I say-too irresistible isn’t it? I felt it was my duty to oblige since I got handed a pamphlet informing me the same when I visited there the last time! So, come 8th March I called in my friend and told her that we have to grab this offer with both hands and both legs if needed, and she obliged of course. Now mind you, we have never done such a thing before, never even tried the free make up session at the Shoppers Stop outlets. So we braved the Mumbai traffic and landed at R City Mall in Ghatkopar well within time. Took the elevator to the 3rd floor with much anticipation knowing that all the women with us had also come to celebrate women’s day and were headed in the same direction. Finally on arrival we found a huge serpentine line, which was being manned by staffers handing out forms (yeah-forms asking for details of which movie we wanted to watch!). We could not believe the turnout and kept cracking up seeing the addition to this queue. All women kept chattering among themselves deciding which movie was worth the free ticket and if they would in fact get the ticket at all. There were college groups, kitty party groups, families where women came along with their men folk who of course were paying for their tickets as was the case with yours truly. The whole scene was fascinating as it was funny. Once we came close to the ticket counter the decision on which movie to watch took paramount importance. Women were calculating with increased fervour the odds of getting the tickets before them being sold out. As for us we knew all the way that we would be watching the Road Movie since we had planned for it a few days back. Good for us that nobody wanted to watch this hatke movie, so we sailed through with getting our tickets on time.

We wanted to remember this day where we actually watched a movie for free and hence captured it on our camera feeling and looking every bit jubilant.

I realized that people actually love being a freebee even if that meant standing for hours to get what is being doled out free of charge. The growing consumerism is what theatre owners are capitalizing upon, with such offers. On any other day, I am sure the footfalls in the food stalls and other stores would not have been this high.

All in all it was one fun day, which left me feeling that people do take time out from their busy schedules to enjoy such bounties. Currently I am checking if there are any more such days which will be celebrated with all earnestness!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mile My Lip synching Sur ....

Was looking forward to the much publicised 2010 version of the evergreen Mile Sur Mera Tumhara which captivated the hearts and minds of million Indians right through the 80s and 90s. Read that many-read current- celebrities had been roped in to be a part of this venture which was touted to recreate the same magic of yester years. However, the product of all the efforts, was a pale and uninspiring version of the original, which left me tortured to say the least!
Firstly the original actually had renowned and established people from the field of music, movies,defence and sports.These were achievers in their own right. The musicians actually sang the parts that featured them! The sportsmen and women were truly inspiring. The original even showed the average Indian man and woman doing routine activities which all of us connected with and felt a sense of being represented. The men and women from the armed forced were equally given airtime making us realize how important their jobs are. The movie stars, well, I don't have much of an opinion of them, but they did add to the glitz of the entire song making it larger than life itself.I am sure every Indian felt the pride-I did.
The latest version was nothing but a bunch of popular actors lip syncing the song with hardly any patriotism in their emotions! There were a handful of the original talents who were the only saving grace. I barely recognized any of the so-called superstars from the south. How on earth did the organizers put people who are barely known in a song like this which was to air on national television as a symbol of national unity?
In all-a complete let down and a sham-that's what it was....