Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mc Dreamy take a hike !

Honey, I am reaching home tomorrow morning cooed my hubby ~

I trilled and twittered and we spent a good few minutes behaving like a pair of teenagers planning their first date. Did I tell you that we are married for 10 long years but till date the excitement and romance is akin to a couple of college kids planning their secret rendezvous !!

Amongst  other things the day was to include a romantic lunch and loads of catching up (ahem!). Before putting the phone down I heard him mumble, hope the kids have a full school day ?

I blushed and preened despite a good 10,000 Kms separating us. The morning dawned prettily and the kids were sent packing to school. My hearth buzzed with all the dishes he liked. In swooped my man looking dapper super hot and he sported a 5'o clock shadow. I was surprised as well as delighted. Smitten by his efforts to woo me aka Mc Dreamy , I prided on the handsome man my hubby is. It is no secret that I harbour a huge crush on the neuro surgeon acting Dempsey. His stubbly looks and rugged charm have me waxing eloquent before my hubby. Hubby had taken this sportingly and donned a stubble to please me. How cool is that ?

After a few minutes, I realised that he had come to love this new avatar and he grinned and gloated about the female attention he received during his 5 hour plane travel.  Don't I look dishy he croaked ?.  All was well till he gave me a peck on the cheek. It was as if I had a mini porcupine nuzzling me. Oblivious to my discomfort he pecked me once more. The cheek felt like being grazed by an electric mower. Putting a good distance between us I groaned --
"Duh, you look as if a mini jungle has encroached your handsome face" 

He looked confused and hissed , just now you were complimenting my handsome looks ! Besides, weren't you hankering for this dishy look in your Dr. Grey show ? AAh there I saw his anger (read:jealousy) laden eyes. You have got to stop watching Grey’s Anatomy he seethed.

I retorted :
You look nice but my smooth skin is groaning from the touch of the grizzly bear your face is !

"What women want "? he mused with a perplexed face.  Well, for starters you can go shave I persisted.

Do you know during an average lifetime, a man will spend 3350 hours removing 8.4m of stubble ? all those hours and so little productivity he joked. 

OK, I tried another tactic ; Will you like if I sported face, arms & legs straight from the evergreen forest ? He chuckled clearly envisioning me as a jungle queen. I snapped him from his reverie and stated that it was about time he indulged in Manscaping . With a swagger he said are you sure ??
You have got to shave else crave, I persisted

We looked at each other a whole 30 seconds before he bit the bullet. And while he was busy shaving with his Gillette Mac 3 Turbo, I huskily murmured in to his ears :
Mc Dreamy can take a hike; he stands no chance before my Mc Hottie :)

This post is part of Shave or Crave movement in association with Blogadda

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A refreshing stay @ Soma Kerala Palace, Kerala

God's Own Country- Kerala is truly all that and much more. The month of October saw us  taking a small vacation to this serenic place and staying at Soma Kerala Palace. The aim of the trip was to relax and chill. And that meant no packed itineraries spilled with visits to hither & thither. It just meant letting the hair down at this exotic yet quintessentially Kerala resort. Every inch of the place was magic and mysticism. Nestled in the backwaters of  Vembanadu, the resort is truly a getaway of sorts from the hectic, frenetic and nomadic life that we humans have gotten in to....

The resort is at a distance of 56 kms from the Cochin International Airport and about 150 kms away from the Trivandrum International Airport.

The fun starts as soon as we step in to their parking space. Soma Palace is set on an island in the Vembanadu lake  and a festive looking dandy boat is waiting to whisk us to the resort. Transporting visitors from the mainland to the resort is one magical albeit a short trip of 10 -12 minutes.

Samyuktha is a picture of poise and happiness :)

A lone crow eyed our boat with boredom 

Spotting the resort from a distance, we get all perked up; angling the cameras in all directions possible I took frenzied snaps

After being treated to  some stunning welcome drinks,  we stepped inside the resort only to be bowled over by the ethereal beauty all around.  The place was delightfully built and the greenery everywhere was a pleasing fixation.

An eye for all things artistic the resort was a photographer's delight

A snazzy bullock cart adorned their premises with a good explanation for those uninitiated

The architecture of the buildings housing the rooms were praiseworthy and had  a royal aura around it. These buildings are structures from different eras and the various parts from different sites were carefully disbanded to be recreated/restructured thus forming a part of Soma Palace. 

The room we stayed in was part of Nalekkat Building

Did I say the resort houses an Ayurveda & Yoga Centre ? The face and body message/therapy sessions is a must for invigorating your mind, heart and soul. A must indulge to get yourself rejuvenated and refreshed. I befriended quite a few foreigners who had come for various treatments as part of a complete healing package. They were gushing about the total well being the treatments yielded !

The staff of the resort were the most courteous and an instant sense of ease and belonging envelopes.Besides, the swimming pool, the hammocks for those leisurely naps and the restaurant dishing out some choicest array of meals are cherry on the icecream.

Aah, ok you are the sort that still needs to be clued in to the happenings of the worlds, have an urge to check mails and can't control the itch to update status and stuff - No worries, the resort has Internet Café,  besides the telephone & Fax as well as mail & message handling,

Something for everyone ! Did I say magical already ???

It was with a heavy heart that we bid adieu to this place. Do you hear me cooing out to my hubby for another holiday already ? Yup ! The million dollar question is  - Is he listening ???

Monday, December 3, 2012

Modern Ethnic- My Style, My Way

'Fashion can be bought, but style one must possess' -  Edna Woolman Chase

I am not a fashionista; I don't keep myself abreast of the current in's & out's as far as the flavours of the season goes. But I am very much aware of my sense of styling and it is casual, true to my skin and spells comfort yet chic. Blending in with the crowd yet standing apart is ME. Not for me the loud colors or over the top cuts and hues just because it is following a trend. I believe in looking elegant and at the same time scream gorgeous :)

My wardrobe is a heady mix of casual and cool, smart and formal, bindaas and pretty.  And like everyone, there are those days when nothing in my wardrobe brings cheer to me. In-fact setting out for a dinner with friends or for an event or a party brings panic attacks hours before. This is the conversation that goes on in my head where it is a battle between the twins (the good & the evil of course).

Go for the blue one
                   naah- this makes you look hideously fat !
What about the yellow kurta ?
                   are you kidding- your belly gets a king size attention there
Then it is settled- we go for the green top
                     Is there a competition for rags to riches?

I bet you get the drift---

After waging all the mini wars, finally what wins the night is the one that my instincts say 'COOL' & A.L.I.V.E
Like I already said elegance is the key, which is why when I put together an ensemble for a festive season it has a saree in it. And why not?

The 6 yard wonder makes a woman feel like a lady. Glamorous yet dignified, subtle yet sexy. While browsing through Shoppers Stop online my eyes fell on this exquisite looking saree. Classy & ethereal it looks. Spells all the festive cheer too.It is an Ashika Georgette Jacquard Embroidered Saree . The shimmering material of the cloth and the embroidered work along with the pleasing colour adds to the oomph.

Once the saree is draped, the accessories to go with gets styled. Of course the mood and the theme is cool, chic and stylish. The Carbon Diamond Set  with earrings and pendant fused in gold and diamonds symbolizes the very me -  ethnic and uber trendy.

I love complementing my outfits with smart time pieces. And the collections from Titan -Raga are breathtakingly sophisticated. Ain't this watch from their collection a heady mix of poise and sensuality. 

Now we come to my very favourite accessory- handbags/clutches/wallets. The above saree  can be teamed with this French Connection- Kimberly Sparkle Box Clutch. Perfect for the essentials but not overtly heavy or flashy.

I am sure you would all agree when I say that the accessory that actually ups the ante is the footwear !

Shoes are a big part of your look. I think that if your outfit isn't really something special, then fun footwear is a great way to jazz it up and make your ensemble more interesting. - Christian Siriano

Which is where Haute Curry's Ladies casual Flat Sandals fits the bill. Ain't that a dainty piece ?

Smelling divine- this is one thing I am totally finicky about. Nothing over-the top yet alluring & riveting. Estee Lauder's Youth Dew Edp Sp is all that and more. It is not for nothing that it has been voted as the sexiest fragrances ever created !

When you team all of them for a festive occassion, I am sure you would be the cynosure of all eyes. Don't forget the most important posession of them all ; a curve that will sizzle & sparkle - S.M.I.L.E of course !

Stay Stylish Always !
I had utmost fun putting together this ensemble for Indiblogger's Shopper's Stop Perfect Look

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thrills and Chills @ THE BANKSTER - A Book Review

I saw an online trailer of 'THE BANKSTER' sometime back and was instantly hooked. The short video promised a lot of high flying action across a global platform in the background of a banking arena. What more to woo a thriller junkie like me? A few searches in the net about the author and I very much looked forward to grab a copy of his writings. When Blogadda Team contacted me for the review, I was elated. You can judge how excited I was about this book by knowing that I finished reading the book within a day and this while juggling 2 hyper kids. 

The first thing that got my attention was the gun toting, briefcase holding and shades sporting rogue looking guy on the cover. The slick cover design of the book thus hinted at the mysteries to unfold. The story begins with a covert exchange operation in Angola. Weapons for Blood Diamonds by a CIA agent Joseph Braganza. Do I have your attention now? It switches effortlessly to happenings in Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) in Mumbai. A global conspiracy theory is at the helm with this bank as a backdrop for all the nefarious activities and corporate connivance. Money laundering, scams and cover-up is expertly delved into and the best part is that it is simplified for the readers to understand. A key character is Vikram Behl who heads the retail banking exploiting the resources at his disposal to the core. Various characters like Tanuja, Zinaida and Nikhil are shown as pawns in his game of chess. The murder of a few bank employees ignites the doubt of some wrong doing and in jumps the protagonist Karan Panjabi. This flamboyant press reporter who had earlier worked with GB2, does his bit of stylish sleuthing to bring the perpetrators to justice is winsome.   

In the meanwhile a third story of a common man fighting for a just cause is juxtaposed to the Angola & Mumbai plots. The Keralite is on a mission to stop the government from commissioning a nuclear plant in Trikakulam,Kerala. Does it ring a bell? Yup, the connection to kudankulam project cannot be missed. This man, Menon, befriends Jayakumar and kindles a fiery friendship that results in them uniting to bring his cause to a justifiable end. How he is "used", in the broader scope of things and how he comes out of the mess was heart tugging.

How these stories connect with each other in the end makes it for a thrilling finish. It was nail biting to read who is behind the entire conspiracy. 

Verdict (Yays & Nays):-

Yay to
  • This book is a fine read because Ravi a banker himself has taken utmost care to simplify all the banking mumbo jumbo for the  layman reader. He has deftly explored  the nuances of banking politics as well as the behind the scene drama. The language is simple and the narration is lucid. The various characters are well etched and explores in depth their behaviour.
  • A very unusual aspect of the plot was Cafe Coffee Day. A lot can happen over coffee and the motto of this joint is aptly used in the story. And yes, this Bengaluru based cafe has an outlet in Vienna.
  • A very nice closing given in the end with most loose knots tied up.

Nay to
  • How often does it happen that a media investigative reporter is called in to connect the dots. It was amusing that the Head of the Bank, Indrani reposes complete faith in Karan to unravel the mystery. And the reporter does that within 48 hours by sitting in the board room of the bank is another amusing fact. Beats Sherlock Holmes. Also his entry is quite later in the story. If I can use a filmi word to describe it, the hero glides in after the intermission when the story is almost 50 % done. 
  • There is a liberal use of hinglish words that would connect well with the Indian readers.  These words in the interaction between the characters must however be a dampener to the global audience. 
  • Nothing is mentioned about Joseph Braganza who is one of the key characters of the plot.
  • It sounds abrupt as to why the Vienna Police decide to take action by themselves instead of involving Interpol or the Israeli Security establishment.
Final Word :-

A gripping financial thriller with an intriguing plot and well timed thrills. Still some way to go before Ravi truly becomes "The John Grisham of Banking'

Author    :   Ravi Subramanian
ISBN      :  9788129120489
Price       :  INR 250/-
Publisher :  Rupa Publications
Category  : Fiction 
Recommendation : Thumbs Up !

Thankyou Blogadda for the autographed book. Also Check Ravi's presence at Facebook Twitter and his website too !
This review is a part of the Book Review by Bloggers at Blogadda. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Building Airport Model - Not a child's play!

Making an airport model was the holiday project my 3.8 year old son got during the recent puja break. While he just about mouths aeloplyne, I was wondering what he will learn from this session of building. Apparently there are quite a few lessons I learnt -
  •  Don't keep the tubes of paint open and drift off elsewhere.The kid's got a      fertile imagination and an open arena to sprout his artistic tendancies
  •  Don't take your eyes off the fevicol tube, else you know who is busy squeezing it away !
  •  The colour papers if left on their own will be torn to smithereens and played with gay abandon---
  •  Scissors and sticking tapes go hand-in-hand and the kid loved sticking the blades of the scissors with the tape.
  •  The kid knows we are a picture of seriousness and concentration. And that's the time to climb & perch on us ! 
You get the drift right? so after what seemed an eternity in making him just watch and not do anything, myself and hubby kicked off the airport model

We shopped for
  • Thin Cardboard
  • Black Chart Paper
  • A thick cardboard  (used the inverter outer packing cover)
  • Scissors
  • Fevicol/Glue
  • Colour Papers (Green, Yellow, Brown)
  • Acryllic Colours
  • Sticking Tape/Cello Tape
  • Pins
And most importantly
  • Toy Aeroplane Set - complete with model planes,pilots,air hostess,portable staircases,aero bridges---)
(Yeah the set cost a good INR 400/- but so worth it)

Ascertain the size of the model you want to make and cut the thin carboard in to the size. To make it more sturdier cut a similar size off the thick cardboard (in this case the inverter outer packing) and stick the thin cardboard on top of it. Cut thin strips of green paper for the grass and stick all around as shown.

Cut a  rectangular strip of black chart paper for the runway (the length almost 80% of the model length) and stick it in one side of the model

Colour it to represent a proper runway with arrows representing takeoff,blinkers et al.

Some more detailing

I used a cardboard stationary box to mould the ATC.

For the cylinderical part of the ATC, the rectangular box was used by sticking a colour paper around it. For the round structure on top of it , I cut a piece of thick cardboard and shaped it with cello tape. The round part was further prepped up with a colour paper and stuck on to the cylinderical part. Finally stick the tower on the corner of the model. Paint square windows around the tower.

Glue colur papers on some rectangular cardboard boxes and stick it on the model to represent buildings such as waiting area. 

Finally place/glue/stick the toy planes, aero bridges, the pilots strategically all over

The only put-off was I purchased oil colours instead of the acryllic colours, as a result of which a few window painting spread and gave a smudged halo effect. All -in-all a pat on the back to me and hubby. I have never made an airport model or for that matter of fact any model (park/post office and the ilk); so the 4 hour long marathon crafting session was euphoric. Did my son learn anything at all ? Not sure but he had loads of fun !

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Love,Peace & Happiness - A Book Review

I was pleasantly surprised when the author Rituraj Verma contacted me by commenting on my book review of The Immortals of Meluha . His book 'Love,Peace & Happiness' very soon reached me for a review. I loved the cover design of the book. Appealing ain't it ? The tagline of the book 'What more can you want' signifies the 3 things we constantly strive for !

There are books that I finish in one sitting or at the most finish in 1-2 days and there are books that like take an eternity to finish. There is nothing wrong about taking time to read the book if that means contemplating over the characters and delving deeper in to the rationale behind a particular character's personality. Love, Peace & Happiness took me more time than usual to finish. 

This book is a compilation of 9 short stories by Rituraj Verma and is high on myriad emotions of people all around us and promises of situations that may or may not be in their control.  The author has penned  these stories based on what could happen in day-to-day life and the confict of the mind in some of these characters is well etched. None of the stories were gripping enougth to stay in the mind and force an instant recall! Further, he has tried to bring in a sexual appeal in most of the stories which appear very forced and artificial.

However, a very novel thing I found about the book was the URL's at the end of every story with an alternate ending, posted in the author's website.The author also invites any other end that the reader can think of and I found this concept to be interesting.

The stories and the end to every plot is different  and at times edgy. The language is simple in general though the situations in some of the stories seemed contrived. Some of the characters make an appearance in a few stories and blend seamlessly to the thick of things. The foreword by his wife sets the tone of the book and I especially liked 2 stories. - The practioner of austerity and The victim of many loves.

Having put in my 2 cents of the way I perceived this book my husband also an avid reader finds the book more interesting as he is able to relate to the stories and finds them more down to earth and something that could happen to you & me !


All in all a nice effort by the author !

Author    :  Rituraj Verma
ISBN      :  978-93-81836-34-7
Price       :  INR 145/-
Publisher :  Leadstart Corp
Category  :  Fiction
Recommendation : Read to while away a bored afternoon !

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Krishna Key - A Book Review

The other day I was reading an interview of the author Ashwin Sanghi. His passion and sincerity shone through the chat and that in essence can be said about his writing too. The constant comparison to Dan Brown must be amusing to him and not entirely unjustified as he explores the exciting mix of historical,religious,theological and mythological issues.The Krishna Key his latest release is a thrilling read till the very end and promises a delightful as well as suprising turn of events. The book a heady cocktail of interesting and original story-line and an imaginative and thought provoking plot manages to keep us riveted. The narrative is slick and fast paced and what captures your attention is the effortless blending of mythology and fantasty along with a scientific explanation.

The story begins begins with a renowned linguist and symbolist Dr.Anil Varshney murdered in a brutal manner. The killing is carried by a  religious psychopath who believes himself to be the 10th incarnation of Vishnu -Kalki Avtar. The killer also snatches an ancient seal from the murder scene which is one of the 4 seals that is believed to unlock the secret behind the Krishna Key. When there is a murder, there is a suspect and this is where we have the protagonist Ravi Mohan Saini. Saini, a historian races against time not only to vindicate himself but also find out the answers to the mystery behind the Krishna Key. Thus begins his arduous trail and the various challenges thrown before him are efficiently faced with logical reasoning and knowledgeable correlation of facts.

One can never ignore the uncanny similarities with the Da Vinci Code - the setting behind the murder with religious overtones,the framing of the protagonist, escaping the clutches of law along with a female accomplice have an eerie similarity with Dan Brown's writing, however it should in no way rob the credit from the author's originality. The book is a treat to the mind and soul and is a heart felt account of looking at the ancient with a fresh perspective. It forces us to think and possibly accept that our civilization may have been very advanced in the past and the current progress can improve many a leaps and bounds by learning from the past.

The book throws some interesting theories like how the lost city of Atlantis is indeed Dwarka or that the war of Mahabharata used Nuclear Weapons. Besides, the Big Bang Theory gets a spiritual twist too.
The internet is full of how Taj Mahal was infact a Shiva temple, and this story delves in to it further and manages to keep us sufficiently enthralled. 
In-fact the 464 pages is dotted with such provoking ideas and is a treasure house of exciting tidbits.  The story does an informative travel around Rajasthan (Kalibangan/Jaipur), Gujarat (Somnath/Dwarka) and UP (Agra/Vrindavan) . The author has done extensive research and due credit is given to the source of the information.So what is The Krishna Key ? -  Grab the book and get lost in the enchanted world of history and fiction ! 

The central character of the book, Lord Krishna around whom the plot is woven adopts the role of story teller from the past. So every chapter begins with  a crisp rendering of his lifetime  in small nuggets from birth till he breathes his last. The book has 108 (of course !) chapters and breezes through 464 pages. What I absolutely loved about the book was the diagrams that give a lucid understanding of the narrative.

Ashwin Sanghi is a businessman who claims to be a reluctant writer. This is his 3rd book, the first two being The Rozabal Line and the Chankya Chant. He has done an amazing job with the book and I am looking forward to reading his other 2 books.

The book is not without flaws. The proof reading of the book has not been spot on. For instance the name of the characters has been mixed up in more than one instance (ex: page 301), and there is also a spelling mistake (Page 95). Besides there were a few half-baked explanations and the end was not totally spectacular compared to the meteoric rise of the adrenalin throughout the book. However, it stimulates and incites us to connect with our spiritual and philosophical self rather than looking at the materialistic end of things. 

Final Word :-

The author has made the genre of historical thrillers a mighty force to reckon with.  
Despite the end being a little spirit-buster, the book is a high flying octane thriller. 
The author connects with the reader through a lucid narrative and exhibits a nice command of the language.The passion behind the work is palpable and the characters are well etched and gives a multi dimensional touch. The ginormous amount of information Vis-a-vis the Vedic ages and the Mahabharata is something I will treasure for a long time to come.

Author    :  Ashwin Sanghi
ISBN        :  978-93-81626-68-9
Price       :  INR 250/-
Publisher :  Westland
Category  : Thriller
Recommendation : Thumbs Up !

Have a look at the exciting online trailer of the book 

This review is part of the Book Review Program of the  blogadda . Participate for free books.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Life, Spice and all things Nice @ Just Married ,Please Excuse - A Book Review

I was thrilled to get an autographed book from the author Yashodhara Lal or Y as she is fondly called for winning the contest on the hilarity of situation(s) in married life and had to agree with hubby when he commented "something good out of the lil mayhem ".   The fun part was hubby eyed the book as soon as it came home and we took turns in reading it. The moment I would put it down he picked it up and vice versa. We both finished reading the book roughly around the same time and agreed it was a pleasant read.

She is an IIM-B educated girl working in a MNC and He is a laid back dude working in the same company. That he is a couple of years elder to her does not deter the sparks that was bound to fly. Y's effervescent charm coupled with a quick tempered nature crosses path with the practical and witty side of V and after some quirky and interesting routine of wooing and dating, marriage is on the cards.

Did I tell you that they belong to very different backgrounds ? V is from a conservative Brahmin family in Jaipur while Y is from a Rajput clan and they set about winning their would be families. The meeting as narrated by Y is amusing and all is set for the D-Day.  What follows is how they evolve post marriage for life is seldom all fun. It is in fact a roller-coaster ride and the book showcases how the relationship matures with turn of events. Both the characters have to get used to each other’s quirks and mannerisms while living under the same roof. Then comes along a baby and their lives becomes topsy-turvy with myriad emotions ruling roost. The baby whom they uniquely nickname peanut brings in a whiff of sunshine and also brings along many revelations including their undying love for each other.

In essence, the book is all about how an young urban couple from different backgrounds meet, fall in love, get hitched, face whiffs of troubles and live life. It is an honest and straight from the heart account of Y and her life. The book is laced with subtle humor  as well as in your face guffaws. I laughed out loud at the non existent drumming skills bragged by V in his effort to woo Y, as well as the mediocre scissor wielding skills of Y executed on V. 

What impressed me about the book was the lucid language and the conversational flow of the narrative. It is also interspersed with  Hindi phrases that brings a certain personal touch.Besides the protagonists, various other characters are immensely likeable like the doting Kajal & zareena, the spunky vivi and the immediate family.

I could relate to the emotions of the book at various points. The pangs of a first time mother is sensitively etched and so is the trauma of moving out of the city to a newer pasture. I appreciated the couple going for the marriage counselling as it highlights their efforts in making the relationship work.However,the tsunameee/earthquake incident at the fag end of the book sounded a bit dramatic and was not that amusing, though the event was instrumental in drawing the couple closer.

How can I not say anything about the lovable Y & V. They are modern and sensitive couple with a fun albeit a different take on life and priorities. Y is an independent woman and is a vibrant personality. She is fun loving though at times she comes across as slightly spoilt too.  However, her efforts in facing troubles is praise-worthy as is her yearning to be recognized for her true self. 

V is this sensitive and caring dude who often lands himself in trouble for think- after-you-speak attitude. He is a loving hubby and a doting father. I loved the way he relentlessly made sure that Y overcomes her fear of driving. However, what surprised me was that a person with such a fun personality had to harbour negative feelings about the SMS from GARY. He could have simply asked Y as to who Gary was instead of sulking and becoming cold and passive. Nevertheless, V is fun !

Final Word :-

The book from the debutante author never falters and manages to keep your attention till the end.You can relate to the couple and celebrate life with all its accompanying baggage. It ends on a positive note and that brings cheer.

What stayed with me was a profound observation by V’s mother on trials & tribulations of marriages ---
"Ladne ki kya baat hain ? kabhi main maan jaati hoon, toh kabhi woh"
(What is there to fight ? Sometimes, I agree with what he's saying and sometimes he agrees with what I'm saying !)

Author    :  Yashodhara Lal
ISBN        :  9789350292273
Price       :  INR 199/-
Publisher :  Harper Collins
Category  : Fiction
Recommendation : Thumbs Up !

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The many joys of e-shopping

Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping. ~ Bo Derek

Who doesn't like shopping, the sheer adrenaline rush of looking at the goodies, lingering at the varieties and finally making a choice gives a rush that is very satisfying.  It is another matter that when the credit card bill comes home, the heart beats a different story :D

And when the shopping is virtual, the thrill is a different high. 
I still remember the first time I shopped online a few years back. I was a mix of nervous anticipation and apprehension. The item in question was a personalized CD featuring a mix of all time romantic songs for hubby. Gotta say, the gift came on time and was  thoroughly enjoyed.

And ever since, I have been hooked to the online shopping bug. Be it 
 cards, books,dresses, handicrafts , practically anything and everything. There has seldom been any hassle with regard the purchase. Any any glitch that made its presence felt was sorted out comfortably. So I am an e-shopping aficionado and why not ?  Sitting in the cool confines of home and flexing a few muscles brings products at the door step. NO traffic rush, no haggling with the auto wallah and definitely no hyper kids to run behind while struggling with trying out clothes in the trial room ! What a bliss !  And with a lot of options and the innumerable portals around, the online shopping experience is only getting better. 

Mostly the products I e-shop are only for personal use.Recently I made 2 separate purchases on & for clothes to be directly shipped as gifts to my dear ones. That I was fraught with nervous anticipation is saying the least. Gifting clothes without seeing them face-to-face is not something that I was comfortable with but the end result was spectacular.

For my mom’s 60th birthday I wanted to gift her a lovely elegant saree. Typing sarees in google search landed me in was blown by the number of varieties of sarees in the portal. A whopping 1969 vied for my attention. Not only are they segregated with respect to colour but also with regards to under the same price tag, and also by brand names. Besides they are also grouped by means of party wear, ethnic wear, and the material used. After a few shortlisting, I eyed the one that caught my eye and knew instinctively that it would appeal to my mom. I added it to the shopping cart and made a virtual check out paying it with a credit card. Immediately, the details of the purchase with order number, product id and delivery time flashed on my mobile and the email alerted me of the confirmation from the Jabong team. While the delivery said 2-5 days, what surprised me was, the saree reached my mom the same evening. I was surprised to get an elated call from my mom telling me that she simply swooned over  the saree and also marveled at the leap in technology. She was never a huge fan of e-shopping, but gotta say, she became a convert !

Recently, I wanted to send something to my sister-in-law for Rakhi. I was thoroughly apprehensive as it was the first time  I was online shopping for something to be sent abroad. A few searches on the google landed me to the site of The portal powered by the Times of India group was a pleasure for virtual shopping as the portal is dedicated to online shopping from India for Sarees, Lehengas, Handbags, Footwear, Jewelry, Religious items, paintings and many more for any postal address in the world. I loved the shots of the images that gave a clear idea of the product in question and the order was placed without a hitch. Besides, the immediate email with the purchase details assured me of the product reaching the recipent within a week. Also, I could track the status of my order through the DHL express with the order number given. And the designer salwar kameez reached before time. A very happy call from my SIL is something I will treasure forever.

Shopping virtually is fun and no sweat. Be it shoes, dress, books or any handicraft item,  the great deals, exquisite varieties, cutting edge technology, sensitive customer care , at the door step delivery and superior buying experience gets my thumbs up. 

With more personal physical experience of virtual shopping , the trend of anytime e-splurging is here to stay.

This post is part of the blogadda in association with

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Myriad Melbourne

I often day dream and conjure up adventures like Alice in Wonderland. Many a times my fantasying lands me in exotic places. The other day after watching a rerun of Masterchef Australia, I fell into one of my reveries. I dreamt of getting selected by the people of Masterchef for a sneak peek behind the filming of Season 5. I accepted and was flown to Melbourne with kids and hubby in tow. I  was surprised and asked the production team "Why Melbourne?" and to my delight I learnt that the show has moved its production from Sydney to Melbourne.

On reaching the lively city, we were greeted by the team of Masterchef Australia. This highly popular cookery show has a huge fan in me. The contest showcases the culinary skills of amateur chefs across Australia and is a right mix of  action & drama. Laced with humor, warmth and camaraderie, the show tugs the heart. The team of Gary, George and Matt *2  are a riot. My daughter was delighted to meet them and was busy collecting autographs and posing for pictures. Looking at the larger than life Masterchef Kitchen as well as the pantry to die for, the adrenaline buzz in me was mighty high. I itched for whipping out something for the crew and dished out yummy Mysore Pak. The judges and the crew enjoyed the dish so much and we chatted & pottered around for some time and bid an emotional goodbye. 

(Pic Courtesy: Masterchef

Before leaving, we got an insiders view of the city and proceeded to enjoy the city thoroughly.

(Pic credit: Wiki)

Before going any further, the foodie in me was compelled to look at the food and wine scene of Melbourne . And why not? Melbourne is the home of the Australian food culture.  With an eclectic choice of fine dining options, the city is a potpourri of global cuisine. Dotted with restaurants, bistros, bars and cafes, the food and wine teases the palate like nothing else. What is it you crave for - Thai or Mexican? How about Indian or do you yearn for some middle eastern magic? This city is just the right place to indulge in your food fantasies. What I also loved is the mobile food van culture that treats you to the most dizzying varieties of street food. Having pigged out heartily, we tapped into the Melbourne Café culture. The city is indeed the coffee capital of Australia and is strewn with cafes from which emanates aromas divine. Sipping an espresso, I let out a hearty and happy sigh of contentment.

With the rumbling tummy satiated it was time to explore the vibrant city. This bustling metropolis, the second most populated city, is the capital of the state of Victoria. Brimming with energy the city oozes a sophisticated lifestyle and an exciting blend of modern as well as ancient heritage. There is no doubt that the city is a melting pot of cultures. Boutiques, galleries and spacious parks give the city the stylish edge.

The kids hankered for visiting the koalas and so we landed up in Heallesville Sanctuary. Watching the wildlife in their natural habitat was a different high and we had an up & close view of the enchanting wildlife including wombats, koalas, dingoes and various exotic varieties of birds. Also on our agenda was the Melbourne Aquarium housing giant sharks and stingrays. It was so much fun and what is not to be missed is the live feeding presentation that is held twice a day.

We took a break for the day and ended up in a hotel rejuvenating ourselves for the next day. And the second day was action packed with a whole lot of sight seeing. We began with the Melbourne Museum, this is a must visit for experiencing Melbourne's rich history. The museum showcases the indigenous culture, art and architecture and was a visual treat. The children has great fun in the children's gallery while hubby and me had a refreshing walk in the forest gallery.

Next on the agenda was the Melbourne Cricket GroundHubby dearest was looking forward to standing on the mecca of cricket. MCG as it is popularly called was a fun trip. Taking a tour of the sacred ground we relived the great sporting memories associated with the grounds and savoured all the memories for reliving later.

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
(Pic Courtesy:Visit

We also packed in the Melbourne Planetarium and finished the day with a flourish by  enjoying the Docklands.

The third day was equally frenetic. Visiting a place without shopping- you got to be kidding right? We were headed to Melbourne's shopping mecca - Queen Victoria Market. Enamored by the various market precincts we shopped till we dropped. Souvenirs, clothing and toys made our wallets lighter whilst we ogled at all the fresh local produce. 

Visiting 12 Apostles was our next agenda . Driving  along the Great Ocean Road we looked forward to watching the  magnificent rock stacks that rise up from the Ocean. And we were thrilled. It was a sight to behold. A very cherished visit.

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
 (Pic courtesy : Visit

The last day we explored the Yarra Valley Wine region Melbourne. As we sipped and sniffed wines we learnt a thing or two about wine making. We also made the best use  of the city being cycle friendly and savoured the thrill of losing ourselves in the cobbled laneways and marveled at the infrastructure. I have also to tell you about the rather temperamental weather. All the four seasons at varying times of the year shapes the city to a traveler's delight. We so did not want the moment to go away and savoured every moment of it, promising ourselves to come back to the place again. 

And while reliving our experience back in the hotel we ruminated as to why the city is so happening? It has to be attributed to the diverse yet harmonious communities living in it.  The people of the city are very warm, welcoming and very generous too. Their lively spirits rubs on you and the city almost becomes a home away from home. With so much happening it is no doubt that Melbourne has been ranked as the world’s most livable city for the 2nd year in row.

As I was lost in my dreamy holidays, I was snapped back from my reverie by my hubby who had come for lunch. Lunch was the last thing on my mind as I was abuzz with the Melbourne magic.I narrated my dream as vividly as possible and he remarked that it's your time to visit Melbourne NOW!

Just then my daughter pitched an innocent yet poignant question - Mom, 'What if you don't win'?

Hubby reassured her with "We are Melbourne bound anyways sweety !"

This post is for Indiblogger - Visit Melbourne contest