Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fall in love with Melbourne - The most liveable city!

G'day mate!

This blog is a part of Indiblogger's contest in association with Tourism Victoria.

When we think Melbourne, we think cricket, right? But there is soo much more this beautiful city has to offer. Tanmay & Rohan's escapades to Melbourne helped me find out how!

I love to travel, and though I am not that well traveled yet (travel is expensive after all), I like to have knowledge about all the places, adding to my bucket list,

I loved going through Tanmay & Rohan's Melbourne videos, funny that they are, they seemed to have a blast out there!

Few of my fav videos and places from their travel tales-

1. Loch Ard Gorge

This place is nature's treasure indeed, so scenic so beautiful! I wouldn't mind staring at it for hours to go! Take a look at Rohan & Tanmay's video.

Just one glance at this scene reminds me of bollywood movies romantic songs! Would love to go take a selfie out there!

2. Great Ocean Road

Whether driving through this helluva scenery, or walking down the beach. Being a driving enthusiast,  I would love to try that! Take a look at Rohan & Tanmay's experience here.

3. Melbourne Cricket Ground

If you happen to visit Melbourne, and happen to be an Indian and happen to be a cricket fanatic, YOU MUST NOT MISS THIS!

There just my top three reasons. Apart from this there is so much more this beautiful city has to offer. Fine dining, Shopping, Partying, Sport Events, Architecture and historic tours, nature trails and what not.

Take a complete look at what you can do in and around Melbourn here. And all the videos from Tanmay & Rohan's Melbourne Escapades here. I wish I get to OZ soon!  

Readers, you stand a chance to win a shopping voucher worth INR 500 too. Simply comment why you love Melbourne and win! (Last date to enter 4th January 2015).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kitna chain hota hai na sachchai mein!

This post is a part of Indiblogger's campaign for Kinley - Boondh boondh mein sachai.

Before reading ahead, do take a look at this short and simple video, an instance most of us have been through in our youth:

Indiblogger asked to tell them about a time in your life where telling the truth was the right thing to do. Though there must be many instances, there is this one particular instance that I remember clearly till date.

This was when I was in the 10th standard, the last year of school, the year when we all students become rebels, because there is not much the teachers can do right! :P

I have always been a good student, class monitor, completing homework, being the teacher's favorite and the sort. But in the last year of school, I also got a little slacked. I also wanted to enjoy like my classmates and friends from other schools.

I had these 3 friends, one from my school and 2 boys from another school who used to bunk school very often and roam about. They would go for morning movie shows, go to marine drive or juhu beach or worli sea-face. Basically enjoy, and then tell me the stories and make me super-jealous. I simply did not have the guts to bunk. What if I got caught?

But one day, the three of them encouraged and motivated me and I agreed to bunk. Left from home in my school uniform, carrying casual clothes in bag. We went for a movie and then did time-pass in the mall till it was time to go back. Changed back into uniform and went home , all smiles , thinking that this was totally awesome! My friend tagged along with me, just to make sure I didn't goof up.

On reaching home, my mom had this deadly expression on her face. She asked me, where was I. I quickly hid my fright and made a surprised expression. "Where was I? I was at school mom! Where else would I be!" I said.

She asked me the same question again. Now me and my friend both knew we were in trouble. My friend backed me up and said that we were both at school. My mom lost it and said that she got a call from my teacher saying that I had not come to school. Now I knew she was lying, because why would my teacher call to say that, I was a loyal student after all. Lie after lie, confidently I told my mom that I know my teacher did not call and I was very much at school.

My mom was terribly upset now, in shock at the number of lies I came up with. She finally told me the truth that a classmate of mine called on the land-line to speak to me regarding some homework doubt he had. When my mom told him that Avantika is not yet back from school, he said, "But aunty, Avantika did not come to school!".

I did not give up yet. I made another string of lies stating that this classmate who called had gone for some basketball match and did not know that I was at school. He must have not seen me at school. My friend again, added her own 'masala' to this lie. My mom lost her cool, yelled at my friend to go to her home and gave me one slap.

I had to finally confess that I bunked school. I told her where we went. She asked me why did I not tell her? She told me it is okay if I do not feel like going to school but I should not lie to her. How would she trust me all her life?

Believe it or not, I still bunked school after that. But always told my mom about it. No more changing uniforms or being scared. I enjoyed chilling even more (of-course I did my studies too). Telling the truth is really a big relief. And when you lie, you need to have such a sharp memory to remember all the lies!

Thank you ma for understanding me, and thank you Kinley & Indiblogger, for making me recall this episode of my life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas & New Year's Giveaway #SpreadCheer

Ola Amigos!

Tis the season to make merry! There is joy and happiness in the air and everyone is spending time shopping, partying, taking vacations!

I am a avid contest player, and certainly know the joy of winning!

So, inspired by a fellow blogger friend, I thought, why not I #SpreadCheer this festive season and giveaway something cool too!

All you need to do is enter this easy-peasy giveaway and wait for 1st January i.e. New Year's Day to know if you won!

The prize is a damn cool 'Lisolette Watkins' limited edition bag by oriflame, and that's not it, it will be filled with goodies that I won't mention as I want it to be an surprise element!

Take a look at the swanky handbag:

Girls, play to win it! Guys, play to win it for the special lady in your life!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 22, 2014

Noble Faith Green Maxi Dress Review

So one of my favorite online shopping portals Myntra.com recently launched a new brand, Dolly Sidhwani's Noble Faith. They have a nice collection of casual and party wear outfits for both men and women.

I really liked the green maxi dress (ID 540825) they have, and being the festive Christmas season, the colors red, green and white make me happy! Everyone usually goes for red for Christmas, but I thought green would be a nice change!

Product details - Green knitted maxi dress, has round neck, long sleeves, layered panel on the front with gathers and a knot detail, a slit on both the sides that extend from knees to the hem.

I am not a fashion blogger, in fact I am a new mom, so please spare if I do not know how to take nice images. :P In-fact this dress totally works for me because the material is so soft being 100% viscose, that my baby would not get irritated. :D

For an elegant Christmas-Eve dinner, you can pair the dress with white accessories ! I went for a pearl necklace and ring, along with a white watch.

For a casual look you could even pair it with black accessories! It's all up to you!

I love how this maxi is full sleeved so no need to pair it with a jacket for the winters. It is priced at Rs. 1799 and is available at a whooping 40% discount on Myntra! Woot woot!

Decided to keep make-up totally minimal as I did not want to take the attention off the bright green colour. So kohl decked eyes, and a bright red lipstick and voila!

And, of-course a selfie is must!

All set to rock this Christmas, only with Myntra & Noble Faith!

Do check out their other maxis and jumpsuits, crop tops too!

Outfit: Noble Faith Necklace & Ring : Zaveri Pearls Watch : Casio Sheen
Makeup: LO'real Magique Kohl and Colorbar Matte Lipstick

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teddy Travelogues #TravelWithKids

This blog is a part of Indiblogger's #TravelWithKids activity by Club Mahindra.

I love to travel, visit new places (and revisit places I loved). I am excited right from planning the trip, packing the bag to the actual travel to the destination. Till previously, I used to travel carefree and Goa used to be visited at-least once a year. Goa means parties, chilling, beaches, water sports.

Now I have a 2 month old infant, and all my travel plans next year (and the years to come ahead) will revolve around his needs and comfort.

Kids see the world differently. A kid won't relax on a hammock or enjoy sunbathing, kids want to run and create havoc! I remember trips as a kid, some that bored me and some that I was thrilled about. I remember my parents taking me to Tirupati and I being like "what am I doing here?". I also remember going to Bangalore without my parents with a friend and her family when I was just 5-6 years old and having the time of my life!

When going for a vacation with kids, we need to first check the travel duration and climate at the destination. I can't think of visiting USA or Canada till my child is at-least 4-5 years old because long flights and long hauls are sure to make him cranky! It is best to start with weekend getaways at nearby places and then see how it goes along. Make sure the climate is suitable. Extreme cold or heat might make children ill, and that is the last thing you want when you are on a vacation.

Choose resorts / hotels that are kid friendly. Hygienic and clean, giving you options for kid's meals, having a play area, kid's swimming pool, activity for kids, indoor games etc are some of the things I would look at when booking the place.

I would make sure I have packed all the things required by my child, weather suitable clothing, footwear, medicines etc. Would take along toys like frisbee, inflatable pool ball, sand and beach toys (if visiting a beach), even a couple of indoor games (in case it rains and we have to stay indoors) so that my child does not get bored and makes the most of the vacation!

Once your child is big enough, do make it a point to visit Universal Studios (Singapore or USA your pick) at-least once. I visited as an adult and was thrilled, a child will definitely go mad with excitement.

If you're going on a road trip, make sure to take many stops as kids might not be able to sit in one place as we adults can.

Another cool thing to do would be study and research about the place you're visiting in advance, check all the cool facts that you can share with your kid (he/she will be so proud of you!). Also check in advance for all the kid-friendly sight seeing you can do. After all we're always short on time and want to make the most of it.

Being a member of Club Mahindra would surely take care of safety and kid-friendliness, plus would ensure you take a vacation at-least once every year and spend quality time with your family!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

First 24 hours with the OnePlus One 64 GB Sandstone Black Smartphone

I received an invite for purchasing the OnePlus One 64 GB Sandstone Black smartphone, just launched in India on Amazon.in.

I initially was not too sure if I want to purchase a phone by a new company (after bring an Iphone user followed by a Nexus user).

But then I saw the configuration and pricing. 64 GB space, 3 GB Ram, Snapdragon 801, 13 mp camera, 4G, all this for Rs.22,000/- Looked too good to miss. I also sent out a tweet asking for opinions, and everyone was positive that I should go for it (and if not, share the invite with them, lol).

My one hesitation was it not being pure vanilla android. Customized ROM means late updates, unstable apps and the sort. But this was a risk I was willing to take.

The invite is valid only for 48 hours, which creates the urgency to quickly use it. I gave in to my impulse and bought it, using the credit card EMI facility that too. Since I did not want to wait too long I chose the one day delivery option at an additional Rs. 99/- (Gadget lovers will understand and empathize with my excitement).

Next day i.e. 5th December 2014 afternoon, the package was in my hands.

The packing is really different and fancy, with the beautiful combo of red and white. Along with the phone comes a charger separately, and a USB cable, sim pin and sim tray (and manual). Wish they included earphones too, but that simply is not a trend with phones these days. 

There is a small sticker on the temporary scratch guard, which I had to remove to see the keys to type. And since that left the surface sticky, I had to remove the entire guard itself (which I usually don't do till I have purchased a scratch guard and case). Wish the sticker was not there.

Anyway, setting up the phone was pretty standard. Only difference, along with a google account it asks you to create or log into your Cyanogen account. 

Please keep in mind this is a review on using the phone for just 24 hours and not a week in which I could check all the features. This review should simply help you figure if the phone is for you or not.


1. The config, as mentioned before. I was tired of the battery issues and 16 GB (That went down to 12 GB after 2 years of use) on my Nexus 4. Hence a powerful battery and a horse-load of space was something I was quite thrilled about.

2. I do not have much knowledge about custom ROM and rooting, but am sure it means endless tweaking possibilities which I will look into soon.

3. The camera looks decent, check out this quick image I took to check the quality: I am pretty happy with the colours, details and textures.

4. It claims that the battery lasts through the day, it has been 24 hours and my battery is now on 26% with fair usage on wifi (mails, social media, chatting, clicking pictures, playing candy crush). But am not too sure if the battery will last all day on 3G.


1. The size. Now this is my mistake. I thought the phone would be slightly bigger than my nexus 4, as I do not like phones the size of phablets that you cannot operate with one hand. This unfortunately is long, and you can use it with one hand only if you have a big hand. :P It also does not fit into my pocket, which is usually a requirement for me.

2. The back panel has a sandstone rough texture, which I personally did not like. Maybe it gives a better grip, but every time I touch it it feels rather weird. (Maybe I got too used to the smooth back glass on my Nexus 4?)

3. The phone heated up when I played candy crush for 15-20 minutes. I wonder what will happen if I play a heavy duty game like Asphalt?


For the price, the phone is definitely a nice buy. I guess guys would like it more than girls. But I am not 100% satisfied, the amount of excitement the invite only purchase mode creates, the product itself disappointed me a little. (Will give it to my brother mostly!)

Airbnb Wishlist Contest by Indiblogger

So Airbnb is a new website to list or book accommodations all over the globe. Signing in was pretty easy, as it lets you log in via facebook or G+.

I love the homepage and how it says WELCOME HOME- Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries.

You can click on 'How it works' and check out the easy steps-

I got so excited, and have 2-3 travel plans coming up next year, so thought I should totally check out the listings!

This is pretty close to the entire 'foreign exchange' program since you can stay as a house guest too!

My first search was for Goa, thought I should check Indian listings before anything else.

You can apply filters like whether you want the entire place or just a room (or even if you are a hosteler and ready to share the room). Put in your dates, budget, etc and choose the area from the map. Such a wide variety of homes and pretty places for rent, why would you want to check-in to a typical hotel?

My next visit was Jaipur, where I plan to go next year too. So amazed to see vacation homes for rent in a small city like Jaipur too! P.S. Do take a look at my wishlist!

Next I checked listings in London, Maldives and Dubai, three places soo on my wishlist to travel sometime soon. The low pricing has really encouraged me to even consider and give it a serious thought. All the travel agencies always show hefty pricings for vacations at exotic places like Maldives, so I was thrilled to see such reasonable options!

So my top 5 fav listings are Goa, Jaipur, London, Maldives & Dubai. Why, because these are all beautiful travel-worthy places! I love to travel and am sure my wishlist is only to grow. I hope to travel to all the places in 2015!

Every listing has a complete detail along with original images, space, accommodation, amenities, house rules, pricing and availability. What more can you ask for?

My only concern probably would be safety when you travel alone and stay at someone's place. But then to answer that, most of the listings have user reviews, which you can take into consideration before planning the trip!

You can also contact the host, and who knows, be great buddies once you meet 'em!

And before I forget, if you have multiple properties, or a huge place with rooms to sublet, you can totally list your property and start earning!

Also, do register on Airbnb using my referral link to get a flat credit of Rs. 1545/-! That means you could actually have a 1 night stay complimentary! Could it get any better?

Monday, December 1, 2014

#BlogToFeedAChild and eliminate classroom hunger!

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda. So should you!

Honestly, when I heard the term "Classroom Hunger" I was clueless what it means. Being blessed with a decent upbringing in comfort and availability of all facilities, I thought, does it refer to how we used to get hungry before recess and try to sneak in a bite during class?

But no, after taking a look at the video I understood that there are children in our country who cannot go to school and get a proper education because they have to work to feed themselves. They do more labor than we must have ever done in our entire life for one decent meal per day. Why is that? What can we do to get rid of this issue?

Today when we go out to a nice restaurant to eat, the bill is never below 2-3 thousand rupees between 2-4 people. What if one day we decided to skip going out and eat at home, and instead donate that amount to Akshaya Patra and feed 3 CHILDREN FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR! Yes, no kidding, they are feeding 3 kids for an entire year for just Rs. 2250/-. You can also avail tax benefits on that.

Apart from that I feel that food we order at office or home, sometimes there is spare left, and the sort. We should never throw it out (unless it has gone bad of-course.) Instead give it to your maid, she could feed herself and her kids? Or if there are beggars in your locality you could give it to them? At my home we always give leftovers to our maid. It feels good to know that someone will not sleep hungry that day.

Every child in this country has the right to education till 10th standard. But still there are so many who are either unaware of this or are forced by their parents to work and earn their own meal. Such parents need to be educated too, that if their child studies, one day he can earn a decent salary and provide for the entire family. Also, the people who hire children to work i.e. practice child labor should be stopped from doing so. Punished even, if needed. If children won't be hired from errands and jobs, their parents will automatically be left with no option.

Hope this change comes soon. Readers, do contribute. Let's eradicate classroom hunger and make our country's future brighter! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My #ShopQuikr Experience

This blog is a part of the #ShopQuikr activity by Quikr.com and Blogadda.com.

Blogadda & Quikr came up with an awesome Diwali Bonanza for all us shortlisted bloggers. We got to shop anything on Quikr.com worth Rs.5000 and get the amount reimbursed! Whoot whoot!

I have never used Quikr for making a purchase before this, but who is not aware of the famous tagline - Photo khech, Quikr pe bech. And the double role advertisements too. We usually use other online shopping portals to buy new products, infact till now I did not know so many new products are available for sale on Quikr, I always had in my mind it is for purchase/sale of old products only.

My mind started racing for what to buy. Because on Quikr you can get absolutely anything. You name it, and it's there! I had just given birth to a baby on Dhanteras so thought maybe I should buy a cradle or cot. But I was not too sure about the hygiene of used ones, and then relatives said they would be gifting me a new one soon, so I chucked that option. And thought I should buy an electronic item, one can hardly go wrong with that. Bhai Dooj was also there, and I remember my brother saying he was not happy with his phone and wanted a windows 8 smart-phone since he has a windows 8 pc also.

So I logged in to quikr (actually went to register myself but found out that I was already a registered member, must have registered ages ago for some reason I cannot recollect.) That made the process faster for me. But even otherwise it is a simple quick process that takes only a few clicks!

What I liked the most is the number of filters you can apply to search for the exact product you are looking for. Click here for the category link. You can filter the area, new or used, individual or dealer, specifications, etc etc. That makes your shortlisting a lot easier. Otherwise you need to go through such a long list, it is a big headache. Filtering area wise is a big boon, you can select a place close to your vicinity, after all Mumbai is huge and travelling to buy something would be a pain.

I personally have had bad experience buying or selling personally, so was glad to find the dealer option on Quikr, something I could trust more. Because personal sellers will keep calling you, ask you to meet here and there. Since I was just out of the hospital and recovering, I wanted to avoid any of that.

 Here is the link to my final shortlist - http://mumbai.quikr.com/Nokia/Dealer/Lumia-520/Windows/0-5347/Mobile-Phones/Masjid-Bunder_Mulund-West/w1043?l=Brand_name-You_are-Model-Operating_system-Price

I chose to not share my cell number and communicate via email as I preferred not to be disturbed at any time of the day (another bad experience on another portal). There, my interest was submitted!
I got a reply from the dealer within half an hour telling that the product can be seen during business hours. Apparently sellers get an instant alert on via sms and email, so that they can promptly reply to potential buyers. Same goes for buyers, the products that they show interest in, if similar listings come up for sale, they can opt to get alerts and notifications for the same. Must say, the dealer was not pushy, and everything was very efficient and hassle free.

I myself  am on bed rest so I asked my husband, who has his business in the same locality i.e. Masjid Bunder to check the phone and finish the purchase. What attracted me towards this particular one is the headphone they were giving along, Nokia original coloud boom headphone and they're really good, worth 2-3K by itself. Also the fact that it was a yellow colour Lumia, my favorite colour among the range.

He went the very next day and called me to tell that the phone had a minor dent on the side (which was already mentioned in the listing), but otherwise phone and headphone both were in perfect working condition. I said, go ahead with it, as we did not really have the time or energy to visit different dealers or sellers. We did not try to negotiate since we would be reimbursed for it.

I gifted the phone and headphone to my brother and he was in for such a surprise! I also promised to buy him a new phone on his 18th birthday, but till then he would have to learn to make do with this one (Don't want to spoil him you see).

Here is a pic of the purchase (and happy receiver):


I am sure next time I want to buy something, I am going to first check Quikr and then other portals, because when individuals and dealers want to sell something at a cheap reasonable rate, Quikr is the place to go!

I loved how the entire process got done in a day. In-fact once I have some free time I have lots of products I would love to sell myself! They even have a mobile app, which I have already downloaded, available for android HERE.

It's been a really happy Diwali indeed!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A healthy child makes a happy home. #ImmuneIndia

This post is a part of Indiblogger & Dabur Chyyawanprash's activity #ImmuneIndia

We all know the quote 'Stay Healthy, Stay Happy'. One cannot be happy if not healthy and vice-versa. And when kids in the house fall ill, everyone right from parents to grandparents tend to the sick child, because no one can be happy when a child falls ill.

Though I am not a mother (yet), I am definitely 39 weeks pregnant and the due date is almost here. My child is not even here and I have already been taking extra care of myself just so that no harm comes to my yet-to-be-born child. I do not even want to imagine a day when my kid would be unwell and me not being able to do anything.

When I remember my childhood days, and my brother's; who is 8 years younger to me...I still remember the painful look my parents would have, the nights they stayed awake whenever we would have high fever or something. 

I am not just saying this because the blog is for Dabur, but our family always has herbs like Tulsi and consumes Dabur Chyawanprash. My grandfather has it daily at night, followed by milk; and though we kids would skip the milk part we would always look forward to having a spoonful of Chyawanprash because I at-least found it very tasty! Thanks to that, and other hygiene precautions taken by our family, I don't remember falling severely ill or having to be admitted to the hospital ever *touches wood*. But common cold is really common, haha.

When I ask my parents, they tell me that they remember how as an infant I used to always have diarrhea and would be weak. I was born underweight and my parents would be really worried about me being so weak and fragile. They have stayed up all night, never complaining about the lack of sleep or my constant cries. As I grew up, I remember how my mother would press my hands or legs when they ached a lot. How they would take me to a doctor or get tests done without ever complaining that they had to go to work or had other chores. I remember the time when I had chicken-pox and how my parents tended to my needs by bringing whatever I wanted, comics etc so that I did not get bored. 

When I would see my younger brother cry because of fever or cold and cough it would really bother me too, as if I am sick myself. I remember this one recent time when he had a prolonged case of dry cough that did not go for months; I felt so bad that there was not much I could do.

I totally believe in 'Prevention is better than cure' and will pass on whatever I have learnt from my parents and grandparents to my own kids. Like, whenever there would be the symptoms of a cold/fever approaching, mom would start telling us to have lukewarm water, gargle and avoid cold liquids. Tulsi, clove etc would be added to tea to make it healthier. And of course, having Chyawanprash daily, which helps your body stay immune. And these days it is even available in different flavors, also sugar-free if I'm not wrong.

Be healthy, be happy!

Diwali - a time for family! #GharWaliDiwali by Avantika

This post is a part of Indiblogger & Pepsi India's #GharWaliDiwali activity, watch the official video here

Diwali, the festival of lights. India's answer to Christmas. When I think of childhood memories of this festival, a lot of happy moments flash through my mind. 

Every Diwali new sets of outfits would be purchased for each member of the family, and me being born and brought up in a joint family of 9 members meant tons of shopping happening! We kids of the house would give a list of our requirements to our grandfather, which would also include a list of the firecrackers, dry-fruits and sweets we want! I so remember slyly eating cashews, pistachio and aam papad that used to be kept for guests who came to visit on Diwali (and getting scolded later, but it was totally worth it!). Today, we're shopping around the year (thanks to non-stop sales online and offline). Have stopped bursting crackers because the world is already way too polluted. And with everyone conscious about their weight, consumption of sweets has decreased too.

A really wide variety of sweets and savories are prepared every year- Mathri, Petha (Shakarpara), Namakpara, Gulab Jamun, Dahi Vada, Kanji Vada are the first few that come to my mind. I come from a Marwari family, if you do too, you might be able to relate to most of these. And I haven't even mentioned the grand Diwali dinner feast! It will make you forget Thanksgiving and their Turkey & Pumpkin pie for sure! For dinner on Diwali night there is a fixed menu every year - Puris, Alu ki Sabzi, Turai ki Sabzi, Raita, Papad, Moong-dal halwa, Dahi Vada,Rice, Pakodas, Chutney, Kairi ka meetha aachaar. Yes, I guess I hopefully have covered 'em all.

You know Diwali is around the corner when the tedious task of cleaning the house starts. Years ago the entire family would be a part of it, chores being divided among all (children and grandparents too) equally and work getting done in a jiffy. I really used to look forward to the day the kitchen would be cleaned, because that day lunch and dinner would be ordered from a restaurant (which those days was a big thing and not a everyday thing like today). Now, with everyone busy in their jobs, this task is mostly outsourced and men come  home, clean, take money and go.

Diwali celebrations start from Dhanteras, when our grandparents go early morning and purchase gold or silver, it is supposed to be auspicious to purchase something valuable on this day. The diyas, lanterns and led lights get lit starting this day till Bhai dooj. Next comes the Rangoli and decorations. The home's entrance is decorated with a bandarwaal, shubh laabh and Goddess Laxmi's feet stickers, along with rangoli and diyas. As per traditional marwari rituals, Rangoli is made using Red and White paint, yes only those 2 colors. But now we even make the rangoli using powder colors and decorate with fresh flowers.

Since we have a family business, Laxmi Pooja is done at office too. 2-3 members of the family go and do the same in the day time on Diwali. And at home, Laxmi Pooja is done in the evening, everyone wearing fancy traditional clothes and all decked up. It is even believed that all lights should be switched on and all cupboards & lockers should be left open during the Pooja so that Laxmi can enter and give prosperity! :D

After the Laxmi Pooja is done by all the members of the family, diyas are placed in each room of the house, youngsters take the blessings of elders, and then everyone sits for a wholesome family meal! After all, Diwali is family time. 

And then a day after is Bhai Dooj when the sister cooks a fancy meal for the brother/s and does teeka and gets cash/gifts in return! I always ask my brothers what they prefer to eat, and prepare something accordingly. Not to forget, there are guests coming home throughout these 4-5 days and we go to the close one's place too! Trust me, there comes a point of time when you simply cannot have another cashew or kaju katli.

I got married 2 years ago and hence spent my 1st Diwali at my new home, totally missing the celebrations and festivities that take place at mom's place! But this year, I am celebrating Diwali at mom's place again, since am here for my delivery (yes baby's on its way and the due date is around Diwali only!). Now only time will tell whether I spend Diwali at home or in the hospital, but whatever the case may be, it sure will be an unforgettable one!

*Images are from google.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

#MoreIndianThanYouThink by @stunningmoon

India has seen a lot of influence from other countries, take "Americanization" for instance. We are adapting a lot from foreign cultures - Valentine's Day, Halloween or even EDM gigs like Sunburn! Have you ever wondered though, if other countries are adapting stuff from India too???

Not that I am well traveled (unfortunately), but I have seen a couple of places and it is my dream to travel all over the world! And hence like to have knowledge about different places and their culture. Have a few cousins located all over the world, and we share what's "happening" and in fashion at each place. And movies tell a lot about various places too!

 Here's how I think the world is going more Indian than you think:


Not only do 'firangs' flock to India in large numbers for yoga & meditation vacations, they practice yoga everywhere! And swear by it too! While we here are adapting Zumba, Pilates and all that jazz.


Most of us have seen Katherine Heigl in 27 dresses & The Ugly Truth, enjoying Indian weddings. Truly, people love sarees all over the world. And saree along with singlets is quite a fad all over, I know that from trusted sources. :P


Whenever we have met people come to India on foreign exchange trips, we say hello and they reply saying "Namaste!" Reminding us of our roots. I once helped out an American with directions in Goa, and he replied saying "Shukriya" (in the cool accent they use while speaking Hindi) and I was mind blown, I don't remember when was the last time I said Shukriya and not Thank you!


The world loves Indian food. Yes it's spicy, but it's awesome! Remember that guy from the movie "Queen" going gaga over the Pani Puri stall? One Indian dish that is thoroughly loved everywhere is curry, believe me or not! 


Oh yeah, everyone loves Bollywood! You'd be surprised by the sheer number of SRK & Sr. Bachchan fans all over the globe! And Bollywood songs drive people crazy everywhere!


When I visited Singapore and saw this area called 'Little India', I was like wow! I was even more proud when I saw the Indian flag being hoisted in Canada and street signs put up in Punjabi! GO INDIA GO!


You will not believe it, but this Swami Narayana Mandir is situated in Atlanta! It's well known that ISKON has it's presence all over the globe. Devotees of Indian deities are spread all over! Even China & Japan have Indian deity sculptures and temples! Lord Shiva, his trance (and weed) are famous among the devotees spread over the global, I need not say more about the destroyer of evil.


Take a look at how Holi, the festival of colours is celebrated in USA. You will be disappointed because they don't celebrate it so awesomely here in India!

I am sure there are many other things that they adapt from India, for instance Indian weddings! But these were the ones that came to my mind! Thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk about this. I love India and our culture!

This blog is a part of Indiblogger's 'More Indian than you think' contest - http://bit.ly/MITYTIndiblogger . Take a look at Lufthansa's TVC here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers - Part 21

Read the first part of the story here.
Read the previous part of the story here.

Shekhar opened his eyes. Aryan's gun shot a bullet that hit Shekhar on his chest making him unstable for a few seconds, but Shekhar had come prepare wearing a bullet-proof vest inside. Simultaneously someone from Shekhar's team had also tried to shoot Aryan, but missed him though the bullet managed to aim the gun and drop it a few steps away. 

Aryan did not hesitate for another second and quickly removed a knife from his pocket and threatened to kill Cyrus.

"Shekhar, I will not hesitate to kill this guy this very moment, you have to let me go" said Aryan. "This is not a bollywood movie Aryan, go ahead and kill him, it will simply add one more to the list but catching you will stop more deaths" said Shekhar with a tone that did not betray the emotion that he really meant it. 

Cyrus, by this time had already peed his pants, counting the seconds and praying to God and remembering his parents and all that. He dared not mention that his cellphone contained the videos he had recorded and uploaded, or else his throat would be slit that very instant. He was shocked at Shekhar's reaction and thought that if he had to live, he would only have to do something.

"You're lying Shekhar, you cannot let a citizen die like that in front of you, you would never be able to live with it. I have seen you play with Roohi, you're a kind-hearted man, wonder why you thought of joining the...whaatttt the" before Aryan could complete his statement Cyrus had taken this opportunity to snatch the knife out of Aryan's hand and pointed it at Aryan.

Cyrus, neither trained nor quick enough was no match for Aryan. Aryan quickly ran, did a somersault and jumped out of the window. Shekhar ran behind him, yelling into his walky-talky and alerting the team outside. 

"Hey you!" shouted Shekhar to Cyrus before he left. "I'm going to need my team to nab the terrorists. I know you're the same fellow who uploaded the videos online, you seem to be brave enough. I need you to gather the hostages and take them to the entrance of the hotel. My men will take it from there. See you around" and he was off.

Cyrus was startled for a moment wondering how did Shekhar guess it was him, but it was not that difficult also, after all only his face was not seen in any of the videos. Cyrus, who always thought that his life did not have any aim or purpose, suddenly felt important and on a mission. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” 

He quickly gathered everyone and escorted the nervous bunch downstairs. For the very first time, he considered joining the police force.


Meanwhile, Tara and rest of the media captured live the entire escape scene of the terrorist. The entire nation was following live updates of this hell of a day. Jeniffer, who was still surfing the internet on the phone, saw this live news clip and was in shock. Though she had decided to leave, now that Aryan had escaped and would soon join the rest, she was scared that they would finally complete the mission that they were set on. She had to stop them, but for that she would have to join them.

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in 
Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Review : GOD IS A GAMER by Ravi Subramaniam

I finished reading this 300 page novel in a week, and that along with work and blogging and what not. I usually do not have great expectations from Indian authors, and a very few surprise me with the quality of their work. I have not had the chance to read other books by Ravi Subramaniam; and the whole banking theme made me feel the book would probably be boring and would drag. But no, it's gripping till the very end!

Cover: Of-course, we don't judge a book by it's cover, but I really like the gold finish and the bitcoin symbol used. And whenever a book comes in specially signed by the author, I feel really special, adds such a value to the book!

What I liked: The book is very much a present entity. With things like social media, virtual currency, e-commerce and so forth, the young generation can totally "get" the book and enjoy it thoroughly! I really loved how real incidents, facts etc have been incorporated into a piece of fiction. Take the Goan riots that took place, or the fact that there really is something called Bitcoins founded by the same guy as mentioned, or the games like Townsville.

Also, there are so many characters and locations that I was sure that I would soon be confused regarding what's going on. But that never happened, the author has very nicely and seamlessly incorporated all the characters and locations, keeping the chapters very small but not letting one loose track of the story.

I'm not sure if I have a favourite character, but if there has to be one then it would be Adrian!

The end really makes you ask yourself, if revenge is a crime?

What could be better: I think the ending was a little too hasty. I would have liked the revealing of the culprit and the real culprit (or hero in this matter) to be a little more detailed. Everything is rushed up in the end, maybe it could be a little more lengthy.

Verdict: It definitely is a must read! The book was captivating right from the start to the end. And all the knowledge it gave too, I did not know about quite a few things and was more than happy to Google search terms and know more about them. Will definitely get my hands on other reads by Ravi Subramaniam too. It's a 8.5/10 for me.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers - Part 18

The vlog uploaded by Cyrus had left Jennifer aka Ahana dumbfounded. Kareem and rest of the team were now exposed in front of the entire world and it would be next to impossible to escape now. Not that any of them had been trained to be scared of death, salvation was their final destination after all; but with the doubts and second thoughts coming in her mind ever since Abdullah was captured and there was noone to motivate her and justify all this, Jennifer decided she must switch teams.

In the fast paced occurrence of the recent events, Shekhar had not really got time to see what the media is broadcasting or the internet is showing to the world. It was not his priority right now, he had only one thing on his mind - saving the hostages captured in Hotel Continental and figuring out the final agenda of the jihadis. Jennifer had taken enough time making her mind up, Shekhar hoped she was not upto something nasty.

"You should take a look at this, hope it helps you plan your actions. Just don't tell anyone that I showed it to you. And be aware of Kareem, he is the most brutal one and will not compromise under any circumstance" Jennifer handed her cellphone to Shekhar with the Vlog still playing the video and walked away. Shekhar's team was on alert, waiting for orders from him as Jennifer started moving away from him. Shekhar knew she had helped him, he now knew the number of hostages and terrorists, their location, what kind of arms & ammunition they carried etc. This much was more than enough for him to execute a rescue mission. He did not stop Jennifer, he let her go and signaled his team to not take any action.

He played the videos once again to form a concrete plan and this second time his eye caught someone familiar amongst the hostages. "Aryan? What on Earth is HE doing here?!" thought Shekhar. Aryan Ahuja was Shekhar & Tara's next door neighbour, a shy but polite guy who did not interact much apart from Hi's and Good day's. But this was way too much of a coincidence, to find his neighbour as a hostage in an attack in another city. Though it was possible, Shekhar's instinct was telling him that something is wrong, very wrong here. He got his team to scrutinize the video frame by frame, zooming every inch, amplifying every word or sound to decipher more. On the big screen, though just for a second, Shekhar was sure he saw Aryan actually give a wry smile, a very wicked twisted one. Only a mentally unstable guy would smile in a situation where the grim reaper could be out seeking him any moment, and he replaced his expression so quickly too!

Shekhar had no more time to waste, he barked orders in his walky-talky and got going.


Inside the hotel, the terrorists were getting agitated and were itching to knock off a couple of hostages. How can the government take 'em so easily. Kareem wanted to call Jennifer and get an update on what was happening outside, but he thought it was best for her to call him once she had some news; also he knew if he called she might ask about Aryan again, and he did not want to lie to her but he was not ready to tell anything yet.

Cyrus' smartphone's battery was getting low, with all the power consumed by recording videos and using 3G to upload them on his blog. He wanted his final log to be the grandest of all, and he wished that his battery would not die on him till then. Something told him that that moment was not too far.

Shekhar figured that if he wanted to both rescue the hostages and capture the terrorists, his entrance and attack would have to be unexpected and with a boom. Giving his team enough time to capture all the terrorists, as of now the video showed 4 in the room, and there could be around as many in the lobbies etc, one could not say.

"Roohi darling, pray for your papa. Pray that he nabs each and every of those Ba****ds today" thought Shekhar and set out to do the needful.

Read the next part of this round here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

From playing contests to hosting 'em!

I have always loved entering contests and competitions, right from childhood that too. I remember those Cartoon Network & Nickelodeon contests where you needed to answer questions or send in drawings via post and later emails to win goodies like stationery, books and the sort. That used to drive me crazy with the adrenaline rush! Had also won big (well then big) things like a crate of soft drinks, a trip to Vaishnodevi and the sort.

I have been a twitter user since 2010, but I did not discover the mysterious world of contests till April 2013 (Which is also when I changed my twitter setting protect my tweets to open, like seriously, if you want to protect your tweets why tweet in the first place?). I remember I had a 100 odd followers back then (Which I was rather proud of too!) I started following people who entered contests & giveaways, and started entering 'em myself! Soon I was winning all sorts of prizes ranging from cosmetics to shopping & meal vouchers and soon enough even cellphones, tablets and the sort! Over time I started considering myself a pro, people started considering me as one too (Guessing by the spikes in number of followers.)

Then there was the despair of losing contests to competitors, staying up all night sending in entries (so that they wouldn't be copied by others who would be asleep then), arguing and bitching when someone I thought didn't deserve to win won, accusing brands of being partial (Didn't quite know about the whole contacts, influencers and stuff then, did I!), constant follow-up on status of prizes, etc. Made a few friends on the way (and enemies too) but was overall quite happy and thrilled with my achievements (A marwaari loves free ka maal)! So were my folks, whom I would gift things I won (well most of it.)

I soon crossed the slabs of 1k and soon 2k followers. Which is when I was introduced to this elite group of 'The Influencers'. People who got paid to tweet! That was like a WOAH moment for me! And soon I was piling up on FK Vouchers (P.S. Flipkart), feeling like achieving a totally new height! But being a influencer also meant winning fewer contests, they were not gonna make you win when you are a insider! (Though I still wonder why?)

And soon, around February 2014, by the time I thought I knew social media fairly well enough. I wondered, why not make it my profession! EUREKA! At that time I was assisting my dad with our family business (which also explains how I got to tweet all day) so was pretty open to a new vocation. Applied at a couple of agencies, saw a few online tutorials on Facebook scheduling, advertising and the other basics and carried my confident self ahead! Soon, I was working at Colorcraft Studio, as a social media manager.

Followers on twitter reached 3K now, but with the 4 hour a day travel and 10 to 6 job, I had absolutely no time to relax, forget entering any more contests. But I thought I'd won my fair share of prizes, let others also get a chance. Plus, I now got to work on strategies and host contests for clients!

And there I was, on the other side of the mirror. Watching people enter contests, spam, flatter etc for our clients. People accusing me (Read: Client handle) of being unfair, winners constantly asking on status of gratification and the sort. And I would be like, take it easy guys, like we brands don't have any other work to do. *Big Pause* Now did I understand how much of planning, communication and effort is put into every campaign. How difficult it is to constantly come up with new ideas, keep user engagement rising always.

If asked, what is more exciting and enjoyable - playing contests or hosting one? Well of-course the thrill in being announced as a winner cannot be competed with. But having a steady job (with a steady salary and incentives), learning something new every day, meeting new clients (and going for recces) has its own perks! If asked, what is more difficult - winning a contest or announcing a winner, well they're both really difficult! Specially with the huge no. of twitter uses as of today, it just keeps getting difficult day by day!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers (Part 2 of the story)

Continuation of the story, you can read the first part here.

The journey till the airport though not a very long one, felt like ages to Shekhar. The live updates on FM channels talking about how chaos had spread and phone networks jammed was definitely not helping him. In-fact he was quite amazed how his wife could keep calm, she was the mother who gave birth to their child Roohi after all!

"Tara, what if something happens to Roohi? I will never be able to forgive myself" said Shekhar. "Shekhar, be positive for heaven's sake! Delhi is a big city, there are lakhs of people. And I am sure the safety of children is the top-most priority for the police too, I'm sure Roohi will be fine. And anyways we're about to reach the airport, we'll be there in a matter of hours" replied a confident Tara.

Tara had already tried to book flight tickets online for Shekhar on their way to the airport, but there weren't any available at such a last minute notice. Her office had booked a ticket for her already, and they did not have the authority to book one more. At the ticket counter - "Please zara try karo, its very important I be there on the next flight to Delhi" said Shekhar. "We're really sorry sir, but looking at the situation in Delhi we're already overbooked and it is difficult to do anything right now. We could a late night or early morning flight at the most" replied the staff member at the airport.

"Shekhar, I'm anyways going to be covering the attack and will have access to any information I can get. I'll get someone to check on Roohi's departure the first thing when I get there. Meanwhile, you should go home, I'm sure our parents will be worried and will be calling" suggested Tara. "I guess there is no other option, please call me as soon as you get there, have a safe flight dear" said Shekhar and gave Tara a quick hug and left.

Shekhar thanked God for tickets not being available. He would be in quite a soup otherwise. After all, his job requires him to be totally discreet about everything. "It is tough to hide things from family, specially when your own wife is a journalist! But there is no way they can ever know I am a undercover agent for the Anti-Terrorist Squad" thought Shekhar. It worked wonders for him that everyone believed he was a stay-at-home father and freelance writer.

Once out of the airport, he quickly made a couple of calls and headed towards the chopper waiting for him. He was on a mission, a mission to rescue the children taken as hostage on that train. And he was in a mood to kill today, after all, it had just got personal.

In the meanwhile, Tara has reached Delhi. She quickly heads over to the studio where she gets another bad news. The photographer who was to cover the attack along with Tara was MIA. His phone was not reachable and there was no way to contact him. There was no time to think, she quickly recalled all her friends from college who studied journalism along with her. "Of-course! Jennifer! I know she stays in Kochi, but I am pretty sure I saw a Facebook check-in of hers at Agra, a trip she is taking with her fiancé" thinks Tara.

Jennifer Joseph, the not-so-girly girl from college was always adventurous, in fact she had met her fiancé on one of her trips too. The best thing about her, thought Tara, is that she always carried a camera and knew when to click the damned button. Tara quickly called Jennifer and explained the situation. "Agra is 2 hours away, she will be here soon, till then I should start making other arrangements" said Tara to herself.

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”