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.)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Benefits of using a PC at home for learning #DellAarambh

A PC is a door to a whole new world for a curious kid. Learning today is a complete departure from the way it used to be and, as a parent, I’m very pleased by that change. My li’l toddler loves to explore nursery rhymes and educational videos and has learnt colours and numbers just because of them. He also loves playing instruments virtually, and there are so many cooler things out there!

Kids nowadays learn really fast. They have sharper minds, they pick up things quicker and have access to quick-access knowledge banks via technology in like smartphones, tablets and PC’s. Though it is definitely important to monitor and control their screen time, it is also essential we realize that giving kids access to technology is inevitable.

I remember as a kid and college student, the PC could offer only so much. I mostly used the PC for my college projects, skimming through the most common encyclopaedia software – Britannica, to searching for images. Today, there is so much a PC has to offer to a child and expand their overall learning scope. 

Information for any age group and any subject is easily available online. Though some of it may come at a cost, a lot of the study material comes for free. Everyone has broadband connections at home, which means fast internet and the option to easily download study material or stream videos seamlessly.

If there is a subject you do not understand, there are so many visual aids – 2D and 3D animations, experts/teachers explaining via a video, study guides etc. available online. I really wish we had such things back in the day, I was really bad at Physics, Chemistry & Geometry – just couldn’t understand equations and theorems. Today there are such interesting ways of studying and understanding how things work, it’s incredible.

For a student appearing in their board exams, access to practice papers and previous years’ question papers is must. I remember in my time, we had to request seniors to share question papers or check with the library if they had a copy and if they did, get it photocopied and return. Today, the kids can simply search for it online, download and read.

They can also see tutorials to learn a new language, build their own robot and even learn how to play a new instrument. It doesn’t stop there. Augmented reality apps where you can watch the solar system orbit, for instance, or the VR glasses through which you can feel like you’re really in a different place have transformed the learning experience entirely.

Of course, equal importance needs to be given to actual books, writing and old-school methods too, too much of anything, after all, is never good. But PC’s have definitely changed education, learning and knowledge gathering significantly.

The best part of the PC is that it also allows me to spend time with my lil one and get more involved with his learning process. Interactive learning really is better and has opened up a new dimension to learning. I actually believe that it will have a direct impact on my child’s imagination and, being a creative myself, that’s exciting. This really is the reason I’ve signed up to support the #DellAarambh campaign. Check it out today at