Have you eaten Mandi and more cousins of Biryani?

Biryani and its cousins, Mandi, Shawaya Rice
Mandi is a famous Yemeni cousin of Biryani

Having lived in Lucknow for the first fifteen years of my life, none can take away my special fondness for Lucknawi Biryani. Well, I really don’t remember how old I was when my taste buds surrendered in love to the spices and flavors of Chicken or Lamb meat cooked in the rice but the affair has been going strong and steady. My fondness has been such that I distinctly remember asking Mum that why did she make two dishes, a chicken curry and rice separately when she could do away with just one dish – Biryani, dats it!   ( I love chicken meat more than lamb)

Shake me in my sleep and ask me my favorite meal, I bet I would utter anything else other than chicken cooked in rice. Earlier I would have spelled Biryani right away but now  I know its cousins which are cooked in unique spices and are equally tempting. I am bad with cooking but yes traveling has put me across different types of Biryani and my taste buds have relished them distinctly.

Continue reading Have you eaten Mandi and more cousins of Biryani?

Air Asia: I had a pleasant experience on the Goan route

Flying in the air was always a much-sought after dream for mankind. Thank God, we conquered it soon!

Those who travel regularly hardly realize that its still a luxury affair.  The first take-off always feels very-very special. I underwent this realization when I recently met an elderly woman aged around 45 who was flying for the first time. I could easily read the anxiousness and the happiness on her face. She almost behaved like a curious kid who kept stooping to my side to see the land, sea, clouds from the heights. I helped her with the seat-belt and offered my window seat on her request. No doubt I love them too but I felt so happy to see her ecstatic at the sight of cottony spread in the sky.

From the skies!, Air Asia, Cheap Flights, Air Asia India’s New Delhi flights to Bangalore, Goa and Guwahati
The cottony world fascinates the child in me!

While my consultant husband travels a lot in and out and enthusiastically collects air-miles,  I never miss a chance to try and educate myself around different flight services to match up to him. Here is a new experience. I recently got a chance to fly Air Asia from New Delhi to Goa and back.

Continue reading Air Asia: I had a pleasant experience on the Goan route

Vaango Time : Mini Dosas, Vada Pav and Tropical Tamarindo

If the mention of tangy Tamarind drink, filter coffee,  Idli Chaat, lip smacking Mini Dosa Rolls and hot-chilly Vada Pav secretes juices and makes you hungry, do read below to virtually feast yourself on an array of South Indian dishes.

I am a rice loving person and thus always in look out for for South Indian restaurants if on a vegetarian treat. What makes them my favorite is they feel light on the stomach and are low on calorie. They are equally rich on variety and have many ingredients to play with the flavors. Rice, coconut, urad dal,  peanuts, gun powder, chilies, tamarind, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, etc together make South Indian dishes very attractive for me. More than the sambhar, I am fond of rasam and the chilli Buttermilk with the tadka is my all time favorite.

Continue reading Vaango Time : Mini Dosas, Vada Pav and Tropical Tamarindo

Lets do a Scrapbook on Happy Life!

I am used to getting lovely books delivered to my house almost very week (book-lover is me) and as I unpack the courier packets my heart never misses to do a happy dance. Since childhood the sight of new books always filled me with joy and happiness. My Mum tells me that I wouldn’t eat until I had turned all the pages of my new books. I am reminded of it all because when the ‘My Long and Happy Life Scrapbook’ and the ‘Money Book’ from Exide Insurance arrived yesterday, I just couldn’t control the child in me. Almost instantly I sat down to work on the empty pages of the scrapbook. Like a restless one, I turned all its colorful pages to assuage my curiousity. I wanted to cut, stick and play right away. The Money book looked cute too but I decided to organize the financial numbers with my husband later.

The two colorful books made me a child again!
The two colorful books that made me a curious child !

Continue reading Lets do a Scrapbook on Happy Life!

PHOTOSTORY: Travel blogger became an #OYOxplorer in GOA

 

With every travel, holiday or trip, we usually bring back amazing stories, lovely captures, precious memories and uncountable savoring moments.  But there are few experiences which give your more. Its been nine days that I have been back from my recent trip to Goa and I am totally in love with the hashtag  #OYOxplorer.  I refuse to give up because travel-blogger sounds old,  OYOxplorer sounds super-cool and totally in vogue.

 

GOA souvenirs
GOA souvenirs

 

Recently OYO rooms did a massive blogathon in 4 cities (Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon) and a special one in GOA.  Oh yes, I must confess I did do a happy dance when I had received a call that I was selected for the GOA fun.   :-)

Through this post, I wanna relive the moments just the way they happened… mind it this is not going to be about a travel post on Goa but about being an #OYOxplorer in Goa.  In fact, this trip made me feel like a modern day explorer many times after one of my relatives posted a comment on my Facebook status calling me the same.

The way it started!, Goa, OYO rooms, OYOxplorer
The way it started!

Continue reading PHOTOSTORY: Travel blogger became an #OYOxplorer in GOA

I have an eye for ‘Paisa Vasool’ and I love to take a little extra!

Mum never forgot to request the vegetable vendor to put some odd 200 grams of green chilies free along with the bundle of coriander and Dad always succeeded in convincing the specky electrician uncle to check a few flickering light fittings when he was supposed to do only one.  Dadi (Grand ma) never forgot to give a dozen of tasks to Chachu (Uncle) mentioning ‘aate aate yeh bhi le lena’ (bring these too while you are coming back) when he went for a small errand of his own and Chachu would not give up on the ‘Golgappas’ and ‘Rosgullas’ in the family, friends and neighborhood parties until his stomach gave the last signs of exploding. Whenever I asked him why he overstuffed himself, he would say ‘Bachche, we bought them gifts, its important to take a return gift and something extra’.  Thats called #PaisaVasool.  With the faintest notion that the term ‘Paisa Vasool’ was actually about our Indian-ness,  I often felt amused, irritated, convinced and more when my family members went a little overboard to get that little extra. 

I have grown up in a great Indian ‘Paisa Vasool’ family. Thus, I love to extract my extra zings that are  satiating, amusing, fulfilling and enriching!

Continue reading I have an eye for ‘Paisa Vasool’ and I love to take a little extra!

A day around Alberto Torresi and Agra

Taj Mahal in Agra
Taj Mahal in Agra

It is crazy hot summers in North India and in this scorching June Pendown got an opportunity of visiting a shoe factory (Alberto Torresi) in Agra. It was hard to predict that Agra would be hotter in comparison to Delhi but still I couldn’t say ‘No’ to this proposal because I had reasons too many. First, I make a dutiful husband and more I am a blogger in the making. More, an all day trip to Agra sounded promising and I was keen to learn what happens in a shoe factory.   :-)

Alberto Toressi
Alberto Toressi

Continue reading A day around Alberto Torresi and Agra

Molecular drinks – Cheers to the tasting session at Barcelos

 

Barcelos
Molecular drinks at Barcelos

Honestly, I knew very little about  Molecular mixology before getting an invitation to ‘Molecular Drinks tasting session at Barcelos’.   While I acknowledged the invite mail in my inbox, the word ‘molecular’ stayed with me till I had googled and read about it to my utmost satisfaction.

 

Summer Coolers, Molecular Mocktails, Barcelos, Food and Drinks
Barcelos has come up with Molecular drinks  and I got a chance to be among the first to taste them!

Continue reading Molecular drinks – Cheers to the tasting session at Barcelos

When I dined in a man-made ‘Cave’

Yet another post from Oman because I am doing the #Oman #Travel series. I did tell you that the OMAN ROAD SHOW that happened in DELHI last month propelled me to write about every bit of my amazing experience there.

When I won a trip to Oman through my blogpost, it was indeed a proud moment for me but when I visited Oman last year, I felt double lucky. The country’s landscape bowled me over.  I thought it was only Europe that made Indians go weak in the knees but this one too has a unique setting and a dramatic landscape. My all time favorite destination happens to be Norway among the eleven countries that I have visited and I find it hard to get impressed by man-made beauties.  But Oman made me think again.

Marvelous natural landscapes, rugged mountains, wadis, sea-green water, golden dunes etc, totally won me over and I felt arrested in Oman’s beauty.

Muscat, the view captured just outside the Cave Restaurant in Muscat
The view of the city captured just outside the Cave Restaurant in Muscat

Continue reading When I dined in a man-made ‘Cave’

DAY 2 in Goa: We went High on History and Heritage

Day 2 in Goa!   :)

For all those who think Goa is all about beaches, Sand, Sun and party, this post will change your view.

Candolim, OYO property, Balcony, Goa
I woke up to this beautiful view from my room’s balcony at the OYO property at Candolim

Day 1 in Goa had been amazing and you know because you read my last post.  After a peaceful sleep, I got up all excited for the next day. It was a Sunday and we had the whole day to ourselves. We had plans to go to Old Goa, the part that I hardly remembered because I had visited it with my parents when I was 6 years old.

I got ready at the earliest possible but before that I did spend sometime overlooking the balcony of my room and the lovely view (picture above) energized me for the day. 

Continue reading DAY 2 in Goa: We went High on History and Heritage

Asiatique, the Riverfront is a charming lifestyle hub of Bangkok

Experience the Water Journey to Thainess at Asiatique the Riverfront, Bangkok

Asiatique:  There, I loved the huge Ferris Wheel that shone beautifully against the dark sky. Situated on the bank of the river, this one lifestyle hub has  chic and snazzy shopping and dining options.

 

Waterfront shopping Arena_Asiatique in Bangkok
It operates from 5 p.m. to Midnight

When the night is young and you are in Bangkok, its time to be at Asiatique, the Riverfront.  And if you are putting up at Ramada you just cant ignore this lifestyle hub which is just 5 minute walk away. I was there in Thailand at Songkran (Water festival) time and it was so much fun to walk that really small distance seeing children playing with and soaking everyone in water. Yes, during Songkran everyone plays with water all day and till late night. Its an all day fest that goes on for 3 days.  To know more about it, read my post here.

Continue reading Asiatique, the Riverfront is a charming lifestyle hub of Bangkok

The Desert, Camping fun and the Bedouins of Oman

I was invited to Oman – India Road show ’15 which was held in Delhi on 29th May.  The event made me nostalgic and infused me with passion once again to share my untold stories of fun and adventure in Oman.

This was not my first time in the deserts but definitely first in the sea sands of Oman. Dune bashing on 4WD is adventurous (my first experience in Dubai was thrilling) but it is just one of the things that we were supposed to do in the vast tracts of nothingness, the limitless carpet of rolling and shifting dunes of Sharqiyah Sands. I was keenly looking forward to experiencing the vibrant desert-sunset,  doing some night adventures in the oryx camp, enjoying nippy morning of the sands and getting acquainted to the Bedouin style of living in the  Wahiba Sands (named after the Wahiba tribes)

 

Making our way towards the Wahiba sands in Oman
Making our way towards the Wahiba sands in Oman

 

 3 hours south of Muscat, the beautiful Wahiba Sands are also called Sharqiyah Sands !

In the Middle of the Desert - Muscat -Oman
And soon you realize, its vast expanse of desert on both the sides

 

Continue reading The Desert, Camping fun and the Bedouins of Oman

My Bestie lives in Shetland Islands… Lets Travel there!

When you are absolutely fascinated about the gorgeous place that your best friend and her hubby live in, you can do much more than just being J.  ;)   I decided to interview my bestie ( a newbie blogger ) and here she takes us on a virtual travelogue to go dreaming and then bag-packing anytime. 

 

Shetland Islands, Shetland Archipelago, North-east of the island of Great Britain
The Shetland Dock, Isn’t it Gorgeous?

My best friend Anushree Ganguly and her husband Shubham live in Shetland Islands. A few months back they were here for vacation to be with the family in Lucknow, India. But before proceeding to their parents place, they surprised me by spending a full day with me in Delhi. I was elated. Anu and I have known each other since ages and our friendship goes back to more than fifteen years in time. From teen-age school girls to married ladies, we have been in touch irrespective of the geographical boundaries.

Continue reading My Bestie lives in Shetland Islands… Lets Travel there!

A beautiful destination, OMAN is still on my mind…

Oman, Travel to Oman, Adventures in OMAN, Sultanate of OMAN, Beauty has an address.
Adventures in OMAN

When I told people that I was travelling to Oman, I got three categories of responses – ignorance, bemusement and encouragement (from those who’d been there and knew of its outrageous beauty). To my dismay, most of the responses I got belonged to first two categories, but I’d heard and read enough about Oman to know that there was much more truth in the third. I’d been to desert destinations before – Riyadh and Dubai – but I was excited by how much more Oman had to offer than stretches of sand.

Continue reading A beautiful destination, OMAN is still on my mind…

I enjoyed Buttermilk in Bangkok at Bawarchi

The famous glass of Buttermilk
When I had buttermilk in Bangkok at Bawarchi

 

Who opts for a glass of Buttermilk in Bangkok when there is Beer on the table? Well,  its always fun to do the unlikely and when you don’t drink, it doesn’t matter its beer or rum. When Vaishali asked for a Mango drink and I ordered for a Buttermilk, the two guys (Gaurav and Arpit from TOI and HT ) stared at both of us in amazement. Well Vaishali was still excused because she is picky with food options, the boys did not spare me until they gave me a new name ‘Buttermilk’ for the rest of the trip. Even today when they ping me, it comes as  ‘Hi Buttermilk’… Read on to know what fun we had at Bawarchi, Indian restaurant chain in Bangkok on the first day of Songkran.

 

Continue reading I enjoyed Buttermilk in Bangkok at Bawarchi

Its royal, its photogenic : Neemrana fort

If you live in Delhi-NCR and are craving for a short holiday to yourself or a family weekend getaway, let me suggest you to drive down NH-8 and take a stop-over at Neemrana fort. Last week I got a chance to experience the historic setting and old charm of this palatial architecture and indeed I enjoyed my time within its periphery. I was lucky with only three hours in hand and thus I used it best by clicking pictures. Honestly, this wasn’t enough and now I am tempted for a stay-over.

 

Lets walk in Neemrana Fort Palace

 

 

Neemrana, fort, Getaway from Delhi, Alwar
Built in 1464, this beautiful fort is a hotel resort now

 

Neemrana fort has a palatial look and its eye catching building connects you to the history of 15th century. It is situated on a hillock in the vicinity of Aravali hills around Alwar.  Re-built from its ruins, this heritage property was restored in 1986 and it was opened for public in 1991 and now it is one of the 27 Neemrana ‘non- hotel’ Hotels.  Continue reading Its royal, its photogenic : Neemrana fort

When you are a Consultant’s wife, you know this life….

When you have a husband who works very-very hard in one of the BIG FOUR management and strategy consulting firms,  you must learn to thrive on these three key-words audit, tax, and advisory.  (Honestly, I am hopeless on all the three.)

Read to know what it is to be a partner to one super energetic guy,  however the term ‘Partner’ is mentioned quite often in the house and definitely this ‘Partner’ is not you.

  • When you marry a Consultant, you walk into a glamorous world! Yes, I call it so because your life is hardly touched by monotony.  Even though your parents may thank God uncountable number of times for blessing you with a wonderful partner and a settled life,  I bet you will never settle down. You live with a room mate, who packs his bag, leaves on a Monday morning, returns in the wee hours of Friday night and leaves again the following Monday.

 

  • You have all the space in your life, room, cupboard more than you have ever wanted. You live your life, make your decisions because most of the time when you need a second opinion, his plane has already lost touch with the runway. By the time it lands, you are done with the ambiguity. A consultant is always on-the-go, thus the room and the bed is all yours. More, he perfectly knows the art of living a life out of a suitcase, thus you can shop in abundance and  keep the Almirah to yourself. 

Continue reading When you are a Consultant’s wife, you know this life….

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: The spectacular Buddhist temple

Wat Phra Thart Doi Suthep
The gorgeous GOLDEN PAGODA of the Wat Phra Thart Doi Suthep temple
Lanna-style wat
A temple complex that consists of many small temple areas. The main area is this where the original copper plated chedi thrives.



Continue reading Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: The spectacular Buddhist temple

I will not prove myself everyday!

 

Women
Woman is beyond beauty!

 

 

Women in Leadership – This is such a wonderful topic to write for when blogging makes your beautiful voice. As a women, I feel this is the ‘it topic’ to celebrate my own leadership as a freelancer, short-story writer, blogger, home-maker and an engineer who believes that #everywomanisaleader no less, no more.

Until I consider myself beautiful, I will not be able to appreciate the beauty of others.

 Night’s cozy snug,
Morning’s warm hug,
The banana shake,
Teamed with delicious marble cake,
Sunshine rays glittering in the house,
My laptop always with the mouse,
Mumma’s yummy delights,
Siblings love and cozy-fights,
Daddy’s heartwarming pep-ups,
Grandma’s round the year concerns,
I am truly happy if you let me be in my world, in my cocoon,
Here I  jump, dance, blog, cook, work, read or croon.

 

I do not like it when people tell me do it like the Men I believe in doing my work like a Women.

I am the only child to my parents and neither of them has ever told me that I am the son of their family, they have always felt proud saying that I make a wonderful daughter. My family gave me the first lessons on leadership. They always said, ‘Do as you wish because we trust you.’ Continue reading I will not prove myself everyday!

With the Cuckoo Clock at my home, here I join the German Traditions

My previous trips to Europe have been like fairy tale stories. Having lived in Oslo for more than a month and been around Sweden, France and Switzerland, my love for Europe has been enhanced manifold. We all know that this part of the world is blessed with unfathomable beauty, gorgeous landscapes, splendid culture and inspiring customs and traditions. Europe is intoxicating indeed!

Lets do a virtual trip to Germany before I present a brief about the GNTO press conference that I recently attended. Quoting the words of the Ambassador Mr. Stein…

Germany makes a travel destination quite much as you think but its equally different as one may not know. It has a totally different side to it which is equally fascinating.

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Continue reading With the Cuckoo Clock at my home, here I join the German Traditions

My stay at Balcony Chiang Mai Village

Jpeg

A relaxed stay-house or a comfortable hotel is a very important part of any trip be it vacation, holiday or work. Be it any place, a roof over the head is most important. As a traveller, I prefer starting my day from a cosy comfort and returning back to a warm and clean bed of my room.  Hospitable and courteous staff is another thing that stays in mind for long after I return from a hotel.

Continue reading My stay at Balcony Chiang Mai Village

10 highlights of my trip to Chiang Mai- “Rose of the North Thailand”

It is always a great feeling to travel to a place where you have never been before. No doubt traveling pulls me out of my comfort zone but it definitely makes me feel more alive. Thus, I love to travel and pick on different experiences as much as possible. 

Chiang Mai
CHIANG MAI is famous for its Art and Culture

I am just back from my trip to Chiang Mai in Thailand and I am writing this post to recollect all the fun that I did there.  Of course SONGKRAN festival was the theme of the FAM trip but I have 9 more highlights to add to it.

Chiang Mai is a beautiful province surrounded by picturesque hill tribe villages,  stunning natural beauty and scenic mountains.  It is equally renowned for being country’s top shopping destination for art and craft. Thailand’s second city is adorable and cute. Unlike Bangkok, it has a relaxed and laid-back feel about itself.  In its peaceful pace of life,  it has plenty of things to offer to the tourists.

Continue reading 10 highlights of my trip to Chiang Mai- “Rose of the North Thailand”

Songkran is water soaking fun, tradition and party time in Thailand

 

Do you know that getting bathed in water brings good luck? Have you welcomed New Year by getting soaked in Water?  Well in Thailand, people do. The month of April brings the festive fervor of Songkran. It is celebrated as the start of Thai New Year or famously known as Water Festival.

SONGKRAN DAY , Thai New year
Captured this at Bangkok Airport

I too did not know all of this until I celebrated Songkran in Thailand this year. I had the privilege to be a part of this water festival both in Chiang Mai and  Bangkok. Believe me I have never enjoyed splashes of icy cold water and getting drenched in bucket-fuls of water more than this time.  None can survive the Songkran fever if you are in a Thai province during this part of the year.

Songkran, Water Festival
None will be spared with my Water gun

Continue reading Songkran is water soaking fun, tradition and party time in Thailand

In Singapore, I loved the common food of its indigenous people!

Merlion in Singapore
In Singapore, visiting the Merlion is a must. In the same way not eating the local food is a sin. Food is a very serious affair in Singapore!

 

Food republic, Singapore, Travel Places to Eat in Singapore
Yes, Singapore is a Food Republic. It is a food loving nation.

Continue reading In Singapore, I loved the common food of its indigenous people!

#CreateFearlessly: Mum and I had a great time cooking together

If I tell you that my Mum is my favorite cook, you would say whose Mum isn’t. Well I wouldn’t argue on this because all mothers are queens of their kitchen. Initially I would never appreciate my mum’s cooking, like every other kid had my own set of tantrums of not eating this or that but once I landed up in the hostel for four years of my engineering studies, I underwent a change. I developed immense respect for my Mum and her cooking. I would crave for her lunchboxes and  the lavish menus of Sundays.

My mother enjoys cooking and she is the famous one in our family. Even my hubby is fond of her cooking.  I live in the same city as my parents and I visit them often. My husband lets me stay with them when ever I demand but he has only one condition, ‘You must learn some cooking from Mumma’.  So now you may conclude that I am nothing close to a good cook when it comes to cooking.  Well, I have an excuse to this, my sweet Mum would never let me in the kitchen and eventually I went away from the house. For the first time when I had to put up on my own, I didnt even know how to chop vegetable. But later Mum on the phone and youtube/cookery blogs on the laptop became a great help.

My Mum makes a lot of local food and experiments with different recipes but never teaches me much.   ;) She believes in wholesome food than their junk avatars, thus she isn’t much into baking and grilling pizza and pastas. But I have been convincing her that she must explore this side of cooking too because there is so much that can be done with new electronic appliances. To this she says she is happy with her microwave.  At the start of the year, one day she asked me, Which OTG should I buy?Wow! this sounded good to me. I was happy that Mum wanted to learn some cake making. I simply told her, don’t worry about this, you will have one soon.

And as blogging would have it.  Last month U gifted a PARTY PLANNER to Mum.  Thanks to HAMILTON BEACH and Blogadda for sending it to me and encouraging me to #CreateFearlessly.

The PARTY PLANNER consists of OTG and Hand Blender. With the OTG, Mum and I did some group cooking and had a great time. Believe me it was so much fun to learn things from Mum and at the same time share some knowledge with her.

OVEN-TOASTER-GRILL– This has lovely accessories for baking, grilling and roasting. Its absolute fun with the Rotisserie which is a style of roasting where chicken is skewered on a long solid rod. Its capacity is 32 litre and 1500 watt.  

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Continue reading #CreateFearlessly: Mum and I had a great time cooking together

Ambipur made a great gifting idea when MCD workers were on strike!

Well if you live in Delhi I am sure you are aware that overflowing garbage, dump yards right in the middle of the colony, dirty public urinals and foul smells emanating from crowded markets is not a rare sight in the capital.  This condition will see no improvement until we decide to mend our ways and stop drawing sadistic pleasure by throwing the garbage in front of our neighbor’s gate.  Seriously it is a long journey before we learn to safely disposal the everyday wastes.

The refusal to work and strike that was conducted by MCD sanitation workers in East Delhi in second week of June painted the real picture of our people. So while our PM who has been going guns about ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan’ and our CM whom we believe is dedicated to do everything for the common man together chose to let Delhi people inhale stinky odors.  Guess what who came to our rescue?

Jpeg

A new product is home for review. Lets talk about in detail. Its one of the room fresher variety- Blossom and Breeze from Ambipur.  I must mention here I am a loyal customer to Ambipur and I often use their products for my car and my house. All its varieties have refreshing and delightful odors. Apart from linens and room,  I never forget to use the spray generously in the whole house when guests are due to visit us.  Its very simple to use, just press on the trigger and the nozzle releases flowery air that lingers for long.

Continue reading Ambipur made a great gifting idea when MCD workers were on strike!