Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Indian Thank You Think

When you think of anything Indian – the first few things that come to the mind is the culture, values, traditions, festivals, weddings, cricket and of-course the food! We’re definitely very proud of our culture even if we are following a lot of western trends, the comfort lies in our roots.

If I have to share how being an ‘Indian’ helped me win in situations, I have some fun anecdotes to share with you.

I was once invited for a destination big fat Indian wedding at Goa and that meant buying outfits. I was really anxious as everyone would surely have designer-wear from the top designers. I decided to stick to the traditional outfits – a lehenga for the sangeet, a saree for the reception and a bandhani saree for the maayra (something we have in Rajasthanis). To my delight, most of the other people of my age wore the modern fusion versions like palazzos, pants, kurtis, capes and the sort and I got tons of compliments for my outfits. Infact there were a few foreigners as we call them, invited for the wedding and they wanted to click pictures with me to capture the traditional outfits! (Avantika 1 – Others 0)

Okay this other one is quite funny (and a little grotesque too). For office, we had a firang guest coming down from one of our USA branches, and rumour had it that he did not wash his hands after visiting the loo (this was the grotesque part). Since he was coming down to our office, everyone was just talking about this to entertain themselves, and whenever he shook hands with others as a greeting, those people were laughed at too. When my turn came, I was nervous for a second because I definitely did not want to be mocked at, so when he came to greet me, I prompty smiled and did a Indian ‘Namaste’ to welcome him to our country in our way. Not only it saved me from the mockery, the fellow was quite delighted and did a Namaste back to me. (Now that’s a win-win situation!)

We visited Singapore & Malaysia for our honeymoon, and I was definitely a very enthu-bride totally flaunting the newly-married proofs like mehndi, bangles (Chooda as they’re called), toe-ring, sindoor, mangalsutra etc. Now this makes you look like a obvious new-ly married couple, and that got us a lot of perks wherever we went! Free room upgrades in the hotels, special service or free drinks/desserts sent to our table, complimentary tokens at the casino and what not! I was so delighted and thrilled, with everyone congratulating us and all (It reminded me of the FRIENDS episode when Monica doesn’t get the free business class upgrade and then tries her best to look like a new bride..haha).

Absolutely love the Lufthansa TVC for 'More Indian Than You Think':

Friday, March 31, 2017

Best hotels near CSIA airport

If you happen to travel to Mumbai for work or leisure, you have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to hotels. From the famous Taj hotel to a lot of new ones. But if you need a property near the airport incase you had a connecting flight later, or happen to have work in the western suburbs itself then there are a few hotels absolutely recommended for various reasons.

ITC has two hotels in Mumbai – ITC Maratha and ITC Grand Central. The former is situated at the Sahar elevated road, which is basically touching the CSIA Mumbai International airport. ITC hotels are very famous for their hospitality and welcoming environment. The staff is courteous, service amazing and food is quite famous too. It houses some famous restaurants like Peshawari and Dum Phukt as well as Dakshin Coastal. I personally happen to visit the other hotel they own, more due to it’s location. One cool fact about ITC hotels is that they have this feature called Twitter Concierge – you can request for services at the hotel via a tweet!

Another hotel close to the airport and very popular for events, conventions and meets is Grand Hyatt. This one is not as near as ITC Maratha, it is located at BKC which is very convenient for travel too and closer to the domestic airport. Celini – their Italian restaurant is quite popular as well as the Chinese cuisine in-house restaurant called China House.

These are both excellent options to host weddings too, especially if you have a lot of guests coming from outside the city, keeping in mind proximity to the airport. There are a few more recommended hotels near the airport – JW Marriot for instance is amazingly beautiful too.

In-fact a good and popular concept these days is ‘staycations’ with hotels having weekend stay plans for you to rejuvenate, chill and relax without having to travel to another city. So if you’re from Mumbai itself but need a break from the mundane routine and work, then check yourself in and indulge in some spa-time and gastronomical experiences!

So if you’ve been to any of these properties, do share your experience via comments! And if you are looking at a staycation, start planning one now…sometimes, the best vacation is a staycation.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Make this Holi Safe for your little ones!

Holi, the festival of colour, is just around the corner. From dousing friends with coloured water, smearing gulal on their cheeks and lobbing water balloons at the unsuspecting to exchanging gifts and listening to evergreen Holi music, it is a day packed with revelry.

But amidst all the fun, it’s equally important to remember to stay safe. Various studies over the years have found safety issues with all three forms in which the Holi colors are produced: pastes, dry colours and water colours.

The various ingredients found in synthetic colours like lead oxide (black), mercury sulphide (red), aluminium bromide (silver), copper sulphate (green), and Prussian blue (Blue) have been known to cause various health problems from dermatitis (skin becoming red and blotchy) and other skin ailments to eye allergies and – in some cases -- even temporary blindness.

To avoid such hazards and keeping off from skin troubles, this time, GO ECO-FRIENDLY and replace the regular chemical colours with non toxic ones. Not only do they keep the environment clean but also come sans the harmful effect and are skin friendly, too. These colors are easy to wash off and are not harmful if applied on skin without oiling and have delicate fragrance. 

Here we bring you a few tips, to ensure you can have an apprehension-free – and most importantly a safe -- Holi filled with lots of color-smearing, rain dancing, pichkari spraying and fun. 

Precautionary steps for a safe and colourful Holi:

  • ·             Celebrate Holi without- damaging the environment, burn scrap instead of wood
  • ·             Oil your skin and hair well before you start playing. Apply lots of coconut oil or olive oil to protect your hair from harsh color
  • ·             Alternatively, there are branded colors available in the market that are non toxic colors and conform to European standards. These does not require oiling and are easily washable
  • ·             Apply some oil behind your ears, ear lobes and nails. You can further protect your nails by covering them with nail polish of any dark color
  • ·             Put lip balm or lipstick on your lips to protect those as well
  • ·             Use a toner to close the pores on your face before you head out. This way, you reduce the chances of color going in too deep
  • ·             Don’t forget to wear waterproof sunscreen 30 minutes prior to playing followed by a moisturizer before you step out for a day in the sun!
  • ·             Wear clothes that cover most of your body. These clothes should be made of a lightweight, easy-to-dry material. Avoid heavy fabrics like denim that don’t dry easily.
  • ·             It’s a good idea to wear a thick scarf or bandana to cover your hair
  • ·             Don’t wear lenses when you go out to play!
  • ·             Dust off the dry color before you hit the shower
  • ·             Clean your face using cotton dabbed in moisturizing cream or oil/milk followed by a cleanser or scrub. Avoid excessive scrubbing or rubbing as they damage your skin and cause irritation
  • ·             Wash your hair using a mild shampoo, but don’t overuse the shampoo. If the color doesn’t come off your scalp in one try, just let it stay on and shampoo again in a day or two. Non-toxic colours such as Rangeela does not harm the hair in any way
  • ·             All that color and shampoo will tend to dry out your scalp. Definitely use a conditioner after shampooing

So, here’s wishing you all a happy and safe holi.

(Inputs by Rangeela Holi Ke Rang, Pidilite Industries.)