Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Golden House - By Salman Rushdie - Book Review

So used to reading casually written novels by upcoming Indian authors in the recent past, that The Golden House was a much needed break from those. The Golden House was definitely not a quick read you can just skim through. There are so many details on each page, to be absorbed. And I am no language expert, so quite a few new words too!

I always love novels which include real life incidents, like this book does - Like the terror attacks in Mumbai for instance or election of a new president of America. It makes you relate to the plot more somehow. The story of Nero Golden is one of a kind, all the past history and his and his sons' life is gripping and has such a movie feel to it!

I love the first person narrative of the neighbour René as he calls himself, and I think you need to grab a copy and read the book for yourself to know what it all really is about. The rave reviews for this novel is enough to compel anyone to read it.

I was one of the lucky ones to receive a copy before the official release of the book, and kudos to Salman Rushdie for this epic saga!


About The Golden House
A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture—a hurtling, page-turning mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities

On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons: agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya, a brilliant recluse with a tortured mind; Apu, the flamboyant artist, sexually and spiritually omnivorous, famous on twenty blocks; and D, at twenty-two the baby of the family, harboring an explosive secret even from himself. There is no mother, no wife; at least not until Vasilisa, a sleek Russian expat, snags the septuagenarian Nero, becoming the queen to his king—a queen in want of an heir.

Our guide to the Goldens’ world is their neighbor René, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household. Seduced by their mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, their infidelities, and, indeed, their crimes. Meanwhile, like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down.

Set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House
also marks Salman Rushdie’s triumphant and exciting return to realism. The result is a modern epic of love and terrorism, loss and reinvention—a powerful, timely story told with the daring and panache that make Salman Rushdie a force of light in our dark new age.


Friday, September 1, 2017

What Kitty Did by Trisha Bora - Book Review


What Kitty DidWhat Kitty Did by Trisha Bora

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Ketaki aka Kitty roy's life is chaotic, confusing, one that gives missed signals - just like any of us millennials'. What Kitty did is a fun, light read and you understand or empathise with the characters, situations or lingo used because it's what you have done or seen or the way you talk. I found the book to be disconnected in a few plot jumps or page flips, but the overall humour, emotions and story made up for it. A nice chic-flick for a weekend in, as Pooja Dhingra suggests. Thank you Trisha for the great read! :)

View all my reviews

About the book -

Kitty Roy has more troubles than she can count on her fingers. Her love life is wonky, her paycheck is shit. She has badly behaved hair and struggles with a sugar addiction. To top it off, her pushy mother has set her up with a gorgeous but stuck-up guy who is sending her mixed signals.

When a diplomat's celebrity wife, Roxy Merchant, falls dead during dinner at their posh central Delhi bungalow, Kitty's boss gives her a chance to write a profile piece and the hint of a promotion. As she works on her article, Kitty realizes there's more to Roxy Merchant's death. She's on to something big, and it can, perhaps, change her current life forever. But Kitty also has a knack for bungling things up majorly.

Set in the winter of her discontent, What Kitty Did is an irresistible caper zipping through the streets of Delhi.


The book is Amazon India's BEST OF THE MONTH, so you definitely have to read it!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kolkata Street Art Festival - An Initiative By Berger Paints India

Kolkata - The city of joy, is also at times referred to as the 'dirtiest city'. I have done a proper Kolkata tour only years ago when I was a child, but I remember everything quite clearly. Work got me to Kolkata and I was glad to witness the beautification of the city with Berger Paint India's initiative - Kolkata Street Art Festival.

All set to leave for the 'site'-seeing! A pic with Mr.Barun Saha - the lead artist and the foundation painting at Berger House
The day started with a quick briefing at the Berger House where Mr.Chandranath Banerjee told us that as a paints brand, Berger wanted to do something from their end for the city, home to the Berger HQ. The agenda is not only to clean dirty walls and paint them, but also once painted with beautiful artwork, people are less likely to make it dirty again by spitting or throwing garbage.

India at Sports themed paintings by the students - at Eden Park near Gate No.10
The trend of street art and graffiti is on a rise, seen in other cities of India as well as Internationally, but KSAF is an organised street art festival, in association with the KMC, Radio Mirchi and Straightline India. Chandranath went on to say that we need to think about beautifying living spaces, not only our houses but our cities in which we very much live in as well. If they get a good response and are able to seek permissions in other cities, KSAF will extend to other cities as well in the future.


Kolkata Street Art Festival is mentored by the eminent painter Jogen Chowdhury and his key artist Mr. Barun Saha was present that day with us. They told us that the major challenges faced were in scaffolding the walls, painting high walls and painting in very hot/rainy climate. Paints used are naturally Berger Weathercoat All Guard or Anti Dustt, with a few touches given using other canvas paints as required by the artists.

Side-walk walls painted by the students in various themes.
Berger Paints has taken this as an initiative so that there is a start in the city, and the aim is to encourage others to take forward the beautifying of the city they call their home. We embarked on a quick tour of a few places where the painting has been done - Eden Garden Gate No.10, Exide Site, Ballygunge Tram Depot Site, Topsia Site and crossed the Park Circus site while in the car back to Berger House - since we couldn't stop there.

Glad to receive Barun Saha's book called Barun 60 - featuring all his paintings.


I think it's a great initiative by Berger Paints and hopefully soon many more walls and famous spots would be seen covered with a splash of colours and art! Believe me, I could see the different right there between bare walls on which countless posters have been stuck and removed versus these freshly painted walls against which you'd feel like taking pictures! Speaking of which, special mention to Nivedith aka Macro Traveller for clicking this one -

If you would like to know more about this initiative, don't forget to follow Berger Paints on their social media handles and stay updated -
Facebook - www.facebook.com/bergerpaintsindia
Twitter - @BergerPaintsInd
Instagram - @BergerPaintsIndia

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Enjoying the rainy season with kids!

Monsoons are my favourite season. The downpour, amazing climate, lush greenery and overall atmosphere never fails to make me happy on the inside, not to forget it's my birthday month! My li’l one seems to love water as much as me – be it the pool, bath time or playing with water half-way drinking it. He is absolutely thrilled when it rains, and believe it or not – thunder does not scare him, he laughs!

There are a few things every parent should keep in mind so that both they and the kids can enjoy this season:


1. Vaccinations

Doctors advise to get flu shots just before the onset of monsoons, as this is the time when the virus is most widespread. And these days even H1N1 is there everywhere, and being contagious, you want to be extra careful. Talk to the pediatrician for advise on vaccinations. Once that is out of your mind, you will be more carefree. My kiddo had the flu last monsoon, and it was a week I won’t forget. After that, I make sure he’s given the influenza shots and other vaccines as recommended by the pediatrician.

2. Rainy-wear

If your kid goes to school, you’ll have got them rainy-shows or crocs/boots and raincoats. Make sure the footwear is comfortable and has a good grip, because it is slippery everywhere and kids just won’t stop running and playing, why should they. Don’t go for raincoats just for their print or colour, look at the plastic quality and go for a good brand. My toddler has a raincoat but absolutely hates wearing it. I manage with a big umbrella that accommodates both of us. I’d love to know what do you do if your kiddo refuses to wear a raincoat?



3. Keep ‘em safe from insects and mosquitoes

Monsoon or no monsoon, there are mosquitoes everywhere thanks to various reasons. And if during the rainy season, it stops raining for a couple of days, mosquitoes quickly multiply, thanks to all the stagnant water, and the most frightening part of mosquitoes is diseases like dengue, chikungunya & malaria.
Whenever the weather permits I make my toddler wear full pants while going out, but one thing I regularly follow is applying a mosquito repellent every time we go out. I have recently started using Good knight Fabric Roll-On  mosquito repellent. And I absolutely love it as it is 100% natural & so convenient to apply! All that has to be done is applying 4 dots on your clothes. 

4. Where to play?

We parents are very cautious and scared of letting kids play outside during rains due to various reasons. But at least when it’s not raining, we must make the most of it and take them outdoors. If the anxiety of mosquito bites and illness is what’s stopping us, there are various mosquito repellents to guard our li’l ones! Monsoons are also great for picnics or visiting scenic places like Lonavala, Matheran, Khandala and Good knight Patches are good to go all day and is easiest in terms of applications – so it’s perfect for travels. Parents can alternate and invite all the kids home to play and have a good time! Fun way to mingle and keep boredom away. Plus when your kid is away at other’s play dates, you have some me-time too! ;)


5. Let them be!

We, as parents today are very scared, anxious, extra careful and why not – things are not as safe as they once were. We stop the kids from getting drenched, or jumping in muddy puddles and so on. But I really feel we should let them be. What’s childhood without some fun? A few extra dirty clothes to be washed is totally worth all the priceless childhood memories created. In fact, I’d go one step further and jump into a puddle along with him and relive my childhood days!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

5 BEST FEATURES OF THE GAANA APP

When you think of Gaana App you automatically start singing - Bas Bajna Chahiye Gaana! It's India's favourite music streaming app for sure, did you know there are some cool new features too? Here are the ones I love -

1. LYRICS!!

Need not say anymore, the word is self-explanatory. But I love to sing along and unleash the bathroom singer inside me, but I don’t always know the lyrics, specially for English songs and other languages. Despacito being one of my current favourites, is a difficult song when it comes to singing it.

All you need to do is select the song and click on the lyrics icon – and the lyrics will pop up for you to sing along! If it even detected which word is being sung, we would have our own karaoke too. :P

2. MUSIC VIDEOS

I usually know all the new and trending songs thanks to my Zumba class and friends at work and husband, but when I see the music video later on TV – I am like hey! I know that song, and had absolutely no idea who’s starring in the video!

My toddler loves music and dancing – and he takes my phone to listen to music and see the steps! Because YouTube is banned for him (thanks to tons of inappropriate content), he sees the songs right here on the Gaana App.

Similar to the lyrics option, you have to click on the PLAY VIDEO text to play the video for the song you’ve chosen.



3. USE THE APP IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

Access to songs in different languages is different, everyone does that. But being able to use the app interface in 9 Indian languages i.e. Hindi,
English, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Kannada, Malayalam is so cool! India being rich and diverse, there is so much of great music everywhere, and I am sure people like my mom, mother-in-law, grandmother etc would be delighted to know they can use the app in Hindi and search for their favourite songs faster. Go tell your peeps today!

4. INTUITIVE – UNDERSTANDS ME!

The Gaana App understands your choices and preferences, taste in music by your recent searches and songs that you’ve played and accordingly suggests more songs, albums and playlists! I wish my husband understood me that well, hahahaha. Jokes apart, the app is easy to use and navigate – and the UI is quite friendly.


5. KNOW WHAT FRIENDS ARE LISTENING TO!

If you opt to, your friends can see what you’re listening to and you can see what your friends are listening to! It’s a cool way to know your friends’ choice and maybe you can surprise someone special by playing their favourite songs on a long drive!
I confess, the free version has quite a few ads, but if you’re loving the Gaana App experience, it’s a great idea to upgrade to Gaana + for a ad-free experience. What are you still waiting for? Download Gaana App now!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

10 Takeaways from the Hiranandani Communities Channel-Partner Meet


I spent a recent Saturday amidst lush green mountains and some 'SMART ' professionals at a site tour organised  by Hiranandani Communities.

Hiranandani Communities, in a one-of-its-kind event, invited SMART (South Mumbai Association of Realtors) to  experience the green grandeur of its projects - at  Hiranandani Fortune City - Panvel and their upcoming Khandala project, Mount Alterra.

Hiranandani Communities firmly believes that Happiness lies when business and pleasure roll into one.

Here are my 10 takeaways from the event:

#HForHospitality
The channel partners were welcomed warmly at the Panvel – Fortune City property.  the transport was only the most comfortable – Mercedes Benz buses, really awesome food throughout the day starting from the boxes from Meluha – The Fern, to the buffet at Panvel,   a flash mob that took all our guests by surprise, to the baked vada pav and chai at Khandala, garam garam buttas fresh off the coals, and ending with fantastic lunch and laughter! They even gave native plants as souvenirs to everyone. The Hiranandani team was most hospitable, they even had an ambulance tagging along everywhere just in case. I was totally impressed with the management.


#HForHumble
It was a great opportunity for me to talk to and listen to Mr.Niranjan Hiranandani. His enigmatic persona took over the place and he was soon talking about his passion for building communities. He told us that this year has seen 3 Tsunamis - That of Demonitization, RERA (Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority) and finally GST. But like always, we have embraced the challenges and always overcome them, and just as people might see the location as a challenge today, their minds will change just like it did for Powai & Thane. He went on to say that he loves challenges - there is no fun without them. And to the channel partners he said that life is a rollercoaster where there are ups and downs - but it's the lows that make the ups even more cherished. He spent a good ten minutes speaking to me and I thought he was the most humble person I had met in a really long time.


#HForHome
Hiranandani Fortune City would make a perfect home! Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani envisions a merger of Pune and Mumbai about 10-15 years down the line, and then Panvel will become the central hub! And his vision to transform locations in the past have always been bang on.  Fortune City will be second to none, quoted Mr. Hiranandani - with the Panvel airport coming, a railway station sanctioned opposite the location and nearby hospital, school etc - it's only going to be a Powai+ of sorts. You can read more about the project on Hiranandani Communities’ website.

Mrs. Sneha Pathak - President of SMART was elated by the welcome and when I asked her if she would suggest customers to buy property here she said ofcourse, why not - there certainly are aspirational values. Rather live in a massive palace like home here than in a bathroom sized apartment in SOBO.

#HForHumongous
We took a look around and the show villa was simply wow. It had a bathroom and wardrobe bigger than the rooms we have and I got a quick feel of how it feels like to live like the kings - I would love that for myself! Apartments to fit everyone's needs and requirements, plots of land in Khandala to build and live in the hills, with a a 9-hole family golf course a walk away.

#HForHonest
I love how Mr.Prakash Shah  from the Hiranandani Team gave everyone all the facts right then and there. The Khandala property will live in the lush greenery and peace. He also out front mentioned all the permissions that have been sanctioned and that are pending – told us how he was the first person to purchase a plot here. The team was more than happy to answer any questions asked by the SMARTians.



#HForHills
I was in love with the pure air and lush greenery wherever you see at Hiranandani’s Khandala site – the mountain is called Mount Altera. Who wouldn’t love to have a holiday home in the hills, and at such close proximity to Mumbai, we were there at the property within 40 minutes from Panvel. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the natural beauty!

#HForHeritage
HIranandani Communities since the last couple of decades and more has a heritage – a reputation of changing lives. They create townships that have everything right there – homes, markets, schools, workplaces, hospitals etc. Hiranandani Powai was recognized as the most beautiful township in India and quite a few movies were shot there too. And soon Hiranandani Meadows and Estate followed league and now, one can only wait for Hiranandani Fortune City Panvel to show the same magic that comes with the heritage of Hiranandani.


#HForHeart
It all boils down to what your heart says and wants. Today my heart tells me that I want a comfortable home with gardens and amenities that my kiddo would enjoy. A school just nearby and everything else at a stone’s throw. When someone puts their heart and soul into something – something amazing comes out. I could see it in Mr.Niranjan Hiranandani’s eyes that he puts his heart into every thing he takes up.

#HForHiranandani
Anyone from the Hiranandani team you spoke to, just had their chest swollen in pride when speaking of the projects. People have been working here since 30 years and there are others who would love to be here for the next 30. Such was the loyalty seen and it was one of a kind. Hats of to the entire Hiranandani Communities team for putting together such a great show!



#HForHappiness
The final outcome anyone and everyone wants is Happiness. Whether you achieve it after a good picnic, without any cellphone reception meaning a phone-free relaxed day, or whether it is the happiness you get from having good food or talking to amazing people. I love how Hiranandani Communities is all about Happiness, they find happiness in developing projects that will make thousands happy. When I asked Mr. Niranjan what is that one thing that makes him happy, he said – “I find happiness in every moment. Right now I am talking with you, that makes me happy! I visited one of my schools yesterday and spoke to the kids there, it made me happy. If we cherish every moment every thing we do, there is happiness everywhere.”

Even the SMARTians were very happy at the end of the day. Mrs. Sneha Pathak quoted that this was the “best off-site ever, anyone who didn’t attend missed something out of the world.”. Mr. Mehul Ved, one of the members went on to say that “both these projects are both class apart, totally international standards but with an Indian heart.”


About SMART: SMART members are specialist real estate practitioners focusing exclusively on the island city of Mumbai. Be it residential, commercial, retail, land or redevelopment, there is a SMART member to satisfy a requirement. You may like to buy, sell, lease or transfer tenancy or structure a deal in any exotic manner possible, a SMART member is there to assist. The unique features of this site provide you an ideal solution in your quest for the right real estate advisor for any type of property or transaction at South Mumbai.

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