Monday, October 19, 2015

Picnic after a fall !

Monday, August 31, 2015

Istanbul: a mash-up of East and West

Istanbul: a mash-up of East and West that vibrates to the rhythm of techno Sufi drums and daily prayers. The city is an expanse of neighborhoods’ that stretches across the tips of Europe and Asia and – even while supporting a population of about 20 million (not all documented) The red bus guided tours had some different numbers to what the tourist guide had to tell us – it has managed to organically unearth itself amongst the hills inbetween the Marmara and Black Seas. Despite this city’s green serenity, the locals carry the age old conflict of East and West within, something clearly visible when one compares the old city surroundings and the chic neighbourhood of Ortakay.

Thankfully for the traveller, no one in Istanbul is willing to give up the time-honoured legacy of Turkish hospitality from their lost empire. So while the workday moves at a snail’s pace between tea breaks and nargile puffs, the nights are packed with an affable energy that threatens to sweep a visitor off their feet if they don’t mind their ‘ç’ and ‘ș’. Attention to the details of everything pleasurable: food, company and beauty is an essential part of Turkish culture. Istanbul residents’ commitment to this satisfaction of the senses seduces the nose with roasted hazelnuts and perfume, the eyes with the distorted colours of glass lamps, the heart with the salons of homes, and the imagination with the greenish blue eyes of that girl/guy sitting across from you at the cafe.

The historic Sultanahmet on one side of the Golden Horn, the fun European side of Beyoğlu and its many suburbs on the other and the Asian side divided from the rest of the city by the Bosphorus. All are fascinating and all have their own attractions.The most important thing to do when planning a trip to Istanbul is to allow enough time to explore. Too much to see and too little time is a common catch cry from those returning after a visit to this wonderful city.

In Sultanahmet

1.The Topkapi Palace
The palace was the home of the Ottoman sultans during the 15th to 19th centuries. Four courtyards with beautiful gardens and fountains surround a multitude of buildings housing the Harem…a must see, we Walked to the end of the garden for a fabulous view over the Sea of Marmara.. all while enjoying a dollop of ice cream at the café to beat the heat.

2. Aya Sofia or Hagia Sofia
Built in 537 as a Church, it later became a mosque in 1453 and finally, in 1935, a museum. You will be in awe of its beauty as you stand under the dome taking it all in. Take the steps to the gallery where stunning mosaics dating back to the 12th century can be seen. As one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul it is a sight that shouldn’t be missed!

3. Sultanahmet Imperial Mosque or Blue Mosque
Across Sultanahmet Square facing Aya Sofia stands the city’s main Mosque with its six minarets. It is known affectionately as the Blue Mosque because of the blue Iznik tiles that decorated the walls. You need to make sure you are suitable clothed to enter this mosque. But worry not, they will further cover you up anyway.

4. Hippodrome
You will have probably walked over the Hippodrome without realising that this was once the scene of chariot races and the centre of Byzantine life. Three statues still remain here. The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts also overlooks the Hippodrome.

5. Kalpali Çarsi or Grand Bazaar
I can guarantee you will get lost in the maze of streets and passages that is the Grand Bazaar. Each trade is congregated in its own area: carpet sellers in one street, goldsmiths in another. There are some good buys on the leather street whilst the arts and crafts, ceramics and brassware areas may also tempt you. You’ll need a rest at some stage so pop into the Fez Cafe in the centre of the old part of the market for beautifully served refreshments and to plan your next stop. Despite many warnings from everyone who has ever been to Turkey, We got lured into buyinh Turkish tea. With Love tea that looks like pot pourri and Apple Tea which tastes like heaven, do you blame me ?

6. Galata Bridge
Fishermen line both sides of Galata Bridge day and night. On the level below you’ll find a wide range of fish restaurants. As you walk from the Eminönü, the Galata Tower rises like a beacon. Walk up the Camondo Steps, or take the street that leads you pass the music shops. The historic funicular that runs from Karaköy to Tünel may just be the answer for those that do not like hills!

7. Walk the length of İstiklal Caddesi to Taksim.Keep walking up the hill from the Galata Tower and you will reach Istanbul’s famous pedestrian avenue, İstiklal Caddesi which you can take all the way to Taksim Square. If you don’t feel like walking, one of the famous historical red trams will be only too happy to take you! Explore the side streets that lead from here…there’s a whole new world waiting to be found!

8. Smoke hookah. Argilah, nargile, sheesha, hubbly bubbly – whatever you call it, there is an ample supply of hookah bars in Istanbul where you can lounge around while you smoke the water pipe and sip on a class of tea or coffee.

9. Rainbow Stairs

If you’re walking from the Istanbul Modern to the Dolmabahçe Palace, keep a look out on the other side of the road for the painted steps that join Findikli to Cihanger (Cafe Nove is on the corner)
A local resident painted the stairs to brighten the area but two days later the council painted over them in boring grey! There was such an outcry that they were redone! There are now quite a few stairways in the area that have been painted.

10. Taksim SquareTaksim Square, known as the heart of Istanbul, lies at one end of Istanbul’s famous Istiklal Cadessi. The Independence Monument, at the southern end of the square, commemorates Attaturk’s roles as military commander-in-chief and as a statesman. To the north, Cumhuriyet Caddesi takes you to Nisantasi.

11. Nişantaşı
Nişantaşı is Istanbul’s most fashionable shopping and residential area. Besides great shopping, there are some interesting art galleries, fun cafes. Walk down Abdi İpekçi where you will find international labels including Prada, Cartier,Louis Vuitton and even Laduree! There are more cafes and shops on MimKemal Öke and Atiye Sokak

12. Drink Turkish Coffee
If you come to Istanbul you have to drink tea out of a tulip-shaped glass. Turkish tea is prepared in a rather unique way using a teapot that has two level: one to boil the water, and the other to brew the tea. You then pour the tea into the glass and dilute it with the hot water so that it’s made to your taste.

13. Roof top BarsWatching the sun set from one of Istanbul’s many roof top bars is a must! 360 is one such, pverlooking the golden horn is my favourite in Istiklal Caddesi. Just around the corne.

14. Last and by no means least….eat lots of Turkish food!Where to start…you’ve got to try it all! From the many fabulous bites offered on the street, to cheap and hearty meals to high end restaurants n clubs…Istanbul is a gourmet’s delight. Eat a sesame seed covered pretzel. You can pick up one of these tasty pretzels at any bakery in town, but I suggest you grab one from the little red stands along Istiklal Avenue.

It just adds to the experience. Eat Turkish pizza. Lahmacun is considered to be the Turkish equivalent of pizza. This thin dough is topped with vegetables and herbs. Or a hearty portion of Kumpir,,, mashed baked potatoes with herbs cheese n vegetable salad !!! my heart yearns for it each time I think of it.

We went to some stunning restaurants .. REINA which later turns into a club is on the top of the list of every food blogger, tourist list, local list. And it has rightly earned its place there. I am yet to eat a better warm goat cheese salad which topples my senses like the one that did at Reina. Paired with some amazing wine I thoroughly enjoyed my Pizza too. We were later shifted to the club which played a mix of the best international hits.

For a quite date night my husband Kunal and I would recommend Angelique on a weekday. A table by the bosphorous makes for a romantic setting, no ?

We also dined at Sortie – the club which boasts many restaurants, Cinquo per Cinquo being the Italian Fare.... with some amazing Cocktails !

Ofcourse with all that fine dine, we kept lunches to street fares and an afternoon having some finger licking hummus and pita-falafel sandwiches at Falafel House ! Ask for a vegetarian menu and they will be happy and accommodating.

Have you been to Istanbul? Are there any places you think should be added to this list?If so, I’d love to read about them in the comments!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Mozarella without fringes !

Cheese-pedition as I called it yesterday ! I am one to go to or swing by my neighbourhood Nature'sBasket to buy my cheese. Every since I first attended a cheese part back in Belgium - where I was exposed to 20 different cheese on a platter I realised what a big deal this whole cheese business it. We only knew of amul and Britannia and the cheese world came to a screaching halt !

My second host mom is an experienced cheese-maker and in the few months I lived with her an an Exchange Student, I've watched her play with curds and whey, experimenting with a vast assortment of exotic cheeses. It's definitely one of those things that gets better with practice. Many things can go wrong and they probably will. So I suggest starting with a simple cheese in the beginning, like mozzarella. Plus, it doesn't need to age. Instant gratification!

Here are the basic steps...

1 gallon of raw or unhomogenized whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
2 tsp citric acid dissolved in a ¼ cup of cool distilled water
½ vegetarian rennet tablet dissolved in a ¼ cup of cool distilled water
2 ml of calcium chloride (optional: some say this helps if using store-bought milk)
Salt to taste
5 to 10 ice cubes

Steralize all equipment with boiling water before use.
Poor milk into a large pot.
Stir in diluted citric acid (and optional calcium chloride) into cold milk.
Heat slowly to 90˚F (32˚C), stirring gently.
Take pot off burner, stir in diluted rennet, and let sit for 30 minutes.
When solid, gently cut curds with a long knife into 1 inch cubes (should make a clean cut).
Put pot back on stove and slowly heat curds to 90˚F (42˚C).
Take pot off burner & prepare two bowls of water: one boiling, one cold w/ ice cubes & salt.
Using a slotted spoon, separate the curds from whey into a cheese cloth lined colander.
Scoop curds and submerge them in the hot water bowl (or you can microwave for 1 min).
FUN PART: Stretch and kneed curds with your hands until it has a smooth elastic texture.
Form curds into balls and place them in ice water bath for 10 min before eating. Or eat hot!

There is nothing better than a caprese salad with your own homemade Bocconcini. I mixed them in with yellow cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, lemon, olive oil, salt and lots of black pepper.

Here are 3 cheese-making kits I recommend for your very first batch, all of which I've never personally used or gifted to others but have seen in peoples home of on some famous blogs that i follow !!
Mad Millie
Urban Cheese Craft
New England Cheese-Making Supply Co.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cheese, Say Cheese, Cheese Please !

Hope you are going to aim at eating lots of CHEESE today... today is National Cheese Day, ofcourse that is in america! The good people of AMUL Co-operative are you listeneing ? We need a cheese day !!! I'll be marking June 4th on my calendar to celebrate properly next year with one (or ten) of these cheesy recipes.

You know these diamond ads kind of make you want to analyse your relationships !! I am not a diamond kind of a girl, but i do measure up Kunal's love for me. He who loves his cheese more than anything else especially when its slightly char/ burnt and is flaking from the top of his lasagne, he who keeps it on the side and savours it in his last bite, offered me his best part and let me have the whole thing !!! I had my AWWWW moment... nothing like a tear in those diamond adverts but something that lets me sleep with a smile on my face :)

Mignon Kitchen Cheese Bags
Coeur de Neufchatel Heart-Shaped Cheese
Kitchen Papers By Cake Cheese Markers
Quitokeeto / Jacob May Black Walnut Cheese Board

Ofcourse, watch this space tomorrow to learn how to make your own mozzarella! I am on a cheese-pedition !!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happiness is Contagious !

Happiness is officially contagious! A Harvard study followed 5,000 people over the course of 20 years, and found that positive emotions spread up to three degrees removed from the original source. Which means, we transfer our happiness to people we interact with directly and to people we haven't even met. Like a chain reaction. When we feel good, you can bet a friend of a friend of a friend will feel good too. And the effects last up to a year. I absolutely love this concept, don't you?

So let's try an experiment....
Right now, make a conscious effort to spread your positive emotions to others.
Get happy. Do whatever necessary to raise your vibration and elevate your mood.
As you interact with people, visualize yourself transmitting a contagious "happy virus" to them.
Notice the positive effect you're having on others. And yourself.
Revel in the fact that your positive emotions will spread to people you don't even know and touch more lives than you ever thought possible.

It's JUNE 1... something crucial is happening in my life right now... it needs happinesss as an ingredient to help me through it ... Who's in? :)

{Original image by John Van Noate}

Friday, May 29, 2015

Love Struck !

Hello Lovelies ... I hope everyone is  feeling their toes and fingers and all 20 of them !!  I am still finding my bearings post my little episode yesterday. I was required to go under a full body anesthesia. It was very scary. I was also attached to an IV drip with glucose... Yes the worst is behind me and now I am snuggling with my lover sipping on some Iced Tea.

But apparently when I was in the under world, of course I don't remember any bit of it but Kunal tells me I kept weeping and saying I don't tell him enough how much I love him... ! I still dont know whether that is true of not, whether I really feel that I don't appreciate him enough, I would like to take this moment and tell him how much I Love you Kunal Shah... !

He sat right next to me through the entire morning. Got me fresh juice and water to sip onto all the way back from the doctors. And even when I was home, he propped up the pillows, tucked me into our marital bed and got me some soul food.

I am so very lucky to have him !! I don't know many men who would sit next to me all day, each day and listen to me talking about my unusual dreams, telling him what to do if I die and informing him time and again on the way to deal with the world knowing fully well that I married him because he was world wise in the first place !!

Kunal is the sort of confident guy, who just knows how to make the smallest things seem oh so important and the biggest thing seem surmountable all the time. He is the reason why I have learned how to relax.... he is the reason why i know what things to priporitse and give my everything to.

Kunal, you make my world go round ! Thank you love for being my everything !!

Canvas Love Tote
Be Still My Heart Dress
DIY Heart-Shaped Tea Bags
Awkward Dating Card

Monday, May 25, 2015



For today's Etsy Faves, I invite you into my English cottage garden surrounded by sweet smelling blooms to soak up the sun in our vintage floral frocks and sip rose petal tea. Won't you join me?

English Rose Soap by Ravenscourt Apothecary
Vintage Style Floral Watch by FreeForme
Floral Print Bow Bandeau Set by Amourouse
English Garden Herbal Tea by Willow Rose Body Care
Rose Garden Fabric Leaves by Jane Joss
Cotton Voile Floral Day Dress by Manika Atelier
English Garden Wedding Invitation by Fercute
Vintage Floral Earrings by Memory Vendor

Friday, May 22, 2015

Crystals and Gems

Gemstones are living creatures. They are active participants in nature. Protons, neutrons and electrons are flying around in an absolute bliss of balance and participation, upholding patterns of sacred geometry.

Everything on earth has a vibration, and crystals are no exception. Certain kinds resonate at extremely high frequencies and can raise the vibration of the energy around it, including our own. Some people collect gemstones and wear them as jewelry for this very reason.

For those of you who really really know me, I am knee deep into astrology and everything that is around it. My world goes into lumber if I hear an astrologer is near by. Back in 2010, I was on a trip to Bangalore, where a reknowned astrologist gave me a yellow guru stone to wear in my first finger. Ofcourse I did not like flaunting it. Cast in yellow gold, I dont know whether it got me good fortune of not, the yellow sapphire ring definately gave me immense strength and positivity. I remember 2010 breezing by... work flourished, I went on multiple dates - none with my present husband, lol ! But as a 24 something life couldnt have been better ! It was until I LOST that ring... I remember putting it in a small jewellery box when I was travelling to Africa and then when I came back I forgot all about it. And Never FOUND IT :( I yearn for it to come back into my life.

A Year into my marriage too a Tarot Card reader gave me a pink crystal for a happy married life to be put on my bedside. i believe it is helping me bring positive thoughts into my bedroom ! Kunal and I had been in committed relationships before we met each other... this sometimes caused fricition and I BELIEVE the crytsal has helped in healing our relationship and a much more stable partner towards the other.

Of course science is slow to support any alternative method of healing, but I discovered some pretty cool research that proves crystals and gemstones do have a positive effect on our happiness and emotional well-being. The double-blind study was conducted by world-renowned physician and pain-management expert, Dr. Norman Shealy, who gave one group of clinically depressed participants a genuine quartz crystal and another group a faux crystal made out of glass. They were asked to wear the "crystals" as pendants around their neck without taking anti-depressants. 3 months later, 70% of the people who received the quartz crystal showed no signs of depression. While only 28% of the group who received the glass remained depression-free.

I know if Kunal does not support my GEM STONE facination my father in law will dig the deepest hole in his pocket to fund it ! He is in absolute obssesed state - Kunal calls it the mid life crisis. MEN GET CARS , my father in law gets GEMSTONES... and why shouldnt he. He adores his collection and now plans on writting a book on it too ! #Passion comes in many forms.

So you might want to dig out that old velvet pouch you have hidden away in your drawer and start putting those pretty rocks to use! Got no stones? Start your collection with a crystal curio set!

Thursday, May 21, 2015



Friends, I consider myself lucky because I am spiritual. And because i know there is a god above me, I feel I am in a happier space. Using the definition of spirituality as an inner belief system that a person relis on for strength and comfort, it makes perfect sense. 

University of British Columbia study found that children are happier when they feel that their lives have meaning and value. Numerous other studies, many conducted by agnostics, have also demonstrated a close link between spirituality and happiness. A strong internal life purpose enhances our wellbeing.

I am grateful my mother led me down a loving spiritual path while I was young. Ofcourse in India spirituality and religion are often confused, inter changed and used as per convenience. But over the years I have understood that her taking me to a religous meet was not to force me to choose a path led by religious leaders. It was infact encouraging me to question the world, think for myself, and believe what feels true to me. 

This morning I decided to drive my husband, Kunal to work... a few kilometers down the road is a beautiful Jain temple with a wishing tree. I BELIEVE in wishes, I BELIEVE in asking GOD for everything. We are his children and he will deliver. And so I dropped him off and took a solo trip to Shahapur Derasar. The sun was scorching and my feet were burning from the time I took my shoes off and went into the temple... but inside was bliss. They say when you meditate in a room long enough it is scientifically proven to become cooler than the other rooms !! #TrueStory

A photo posted by Disha Doshi (@wildernesstheblog) on

Does it make me a happier person? I think so. It's this connection to a higher power, something greater than myself, that allows me to feel confident and secure with my place on this earth.

What do you think? Do you consider yourself spiritual? If so, does it positively affect your mindset? If not, in what other ways do you fill that space? Leave your comments below - I'd love to know!

The only answer to our [unhappiness] is a pleasure which comes not from the body but from a place deep within us.
- Philospher: Al-Ghazali

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

From Shopping lists to App Carts !

I am a last minute kid. I studied last minute for exams… I wait for the very last day to fill out visa application forms .. I wait for the very last second before I absolutely need to get dressed for the day… And like all other things I waited for 15/05/2015 to happen to download the #MyntraApp ! I have been the last one to get onto technology ALWAYS. So today – at the very last minute, when I logged into the Myntra website for my Saturday routine.. I was told it has moved to greener pastures – I finally caved. I Went to the APP store, downloaded Myntra and now it is on my home page along with the others - WhatsApp, Facebook, Ola, Zomato, Photo Editor, Instagram and many more. I have joined the bandwagon.

Logging into apps is now just a few clicks to log u in… Immediately I hit on the sort and refine button to see if there were plus sizes available..I have always been a plus size kid – so shopping for me was disaster. With those nasty comments by the retailers, I hated going shopping to see the sheer disappointment in my mother’s face. Somewhere in between what I liked or loved to finding the correct size for me in the ladies department when I was only a child – I kind of  hoped that there was a magic wand I could wave – That I wouldn’t have to make all those disappointing trips between the trial room and the ever shrinking number of designs available as I grew not only in age but also size.

It’s not that I am ashamed of my body weight… I am very much confident under my skin. But if fashion has progressed – I am happy that it is empowering me. I salute companies like #Myntra who have made the big move to an app … Big, pun intended. I cannot even begin to imagine what a relief it is to put those filters of size and colour to sort out through the crazy big collection that they have. I mean if only the actual retail store had that filtration process, it would have scared me lesser. And all this, without wasting my actual time – TIME is always shrinking when you are in my line of business !

I also always wished there was someone who would just put together a wardrobe for me. When I first heard about a profession called a STYLIST, I secretly decided that if I became rich, I will hire one to put together looks and details for me. Now, my mother may call this whole putting together a “LOOK” fraud ! But I say #Myntra you are my #bff. It’s like I am 15 all over again discussing over my fancy new mobile phone on what to wear to college with a friend – she would know my entire wardrobe. I still reach out to my phone – only to pull together something without all that mindless chatter.

So here I am spending a better part of my Saturday afternoon sipping coffee snuggled up on my sofa with my phone... what started off as a little breather has just made my weekend shopping bright. What would take me an eternity, toiling in and out of the crazy bandra shops for the junk followed by an evening at Palladium for the funk, I wrapped up the rhapsody and used the time to enjoy doing NOTHING ! Happy Weekend Cheer and Beer to everyone ! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's a Neesh - World !

My Reality : I sprayed my first pskkkk of Attar yesterday.
My Mind : Attar is a Middle Eastern Women's Aphrodisiac
My Apprehension : It's too strong for my taste. I do not perceive myself very feminine, but when it comes to Perfumes I veer towards florals after testing a bunch of earthy scents - ALWAYS.
My Heart : It is pedestrian to open a glass top bottle and apply perfume with your hand. A Perfume is to be sprayed and walked into.
My Desire : Perfumery or scents should adorn the glass shelves of my dresser. Colourful bottles brighten my day.
My Ambition : Sometime in 2013, I did blog about my desire to make my own perfume, call me crazy !

It's taken me long enough but I sampled Neesh's first bunch of Attar pefumery and I was impressed. All my apprehensions came to a screaching halt. I came home to find a glittering package of the entire range of Neesh's Attars Perfumes.  As a little girl I remember saving my dad's perfume boxes and empty bottles to play with... Neesh's perfume packaging is timeless and beautiful.What captivated me instantly are the colours of each of the product's packaging. 

Brown earthy tones is the colour I got attracted to instantly.
Belle D'Oud  by Neesh. The outdoorsy blend of dark amber and honey and berries aromatics is perfect for a chilly winter. Turns out I wore it for the mid-summer evening on a dinner date with my girls last week and felt just as fresh and a spring/summer delight. I've been reaching for it lately as the sun goes down and my day time perfume has long faded. 

This morning I was feeling colourful and decided to go a little NEON-Y.
Amour de Oude came to my rescue. I generally do not step outside my comfort zone. I'm almost hitting the big 30 next year sometime. But the Neon/Yellow packaging came with a note, its profoundly smoky, and a musk of dark amber. I was hesitant... It did come across a bit too strong, but I soon realised that being natural and not chemical, attar seeps into your skin and grows onto you. I smelled the new summer chic... and needless the say I felt a little transitional in the beginning. It's the same feeling like a spiced biscuit - you either love it or hate it. I would highly recommend it for people who want a change in pace... and go edgy !

I almost feel like a perfume aromatic connaiseur... But as I intend to go from bottle after bottle on each of these Neesh's signature collection I can tell you that this product is breaking free of the ordinary. It has changed the way natural aromatics like attar are seen. Right from the packaging which is handy, fits in my day bag as well as night bag, to the one scent for all aroma range that Neesh has. And the best thing, it is at a comfortable price point and a bottle big enough for your appetite and yet small enough to get into a different groove every few days.. ! 

Check them out on Facebook, Flipkart and other pages for details on what scent best describes you !


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Yellow Sunshine

If only yellow and sunny came with cool breeze... like Summers in London or spring in Belgium. I remember Magnolia trees blossoming around our neighbourhood when I was a student on exchange.... Mumbai sunshine has been radiant - blessing us with un-welcomed warmth and light a.k.a Heat Sweat and Grime... If only summer, sunshine and yellow looked like this in Mumbai !

Inspired by our recent golden rays, enjoy a few of my sunny Etsy Faves ....
  1. Felt Kitty Planter by The Yarn Kitchen
  2. Letterpress Print by Thimblepress
  3. Retro Bikini by Rellik Vintage
  4. Yellow Tablecloth by Dreamzzzzz
  5. 80's Sunglasses by Fivestones Vintage
  6. Happy Mail Sticker Set by Pink Olive
  7. Crochet Hair Bow by Plexida
  8. Vintage Linen Napkins by Olive Someday

Images via Happiness Is by Shannone Eileen

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cherry Blossom Loving !

Four Things - inspired by the cherry blossoms coloring our city all shades of pink .... 

I sat there the whole of yesterday and today re-evaluating my small agency life. Sometimes start-ups can be tough, especially ones relating to Social Media. Each time I found myself wearing off on these beautiful Spring filled images and brought me back memories of my short lived stay in Japan during the Cherry Blossom seasons !

I want to do to you what Spring does with the cherry trees.

- Pablo Neruda

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hosting #101 .. Surmounting a Grocery List !

Yes – we live alone. We are the quintessential Mumbai couple who manages a HOME for 2 ! Yes, I do not have a mother in law to meddle in my everyday house running skills (oh btw I love my ma-in-law ) … we do not have a bhabhi who will willingly cook while I am away at an important meeting. we don’t have a father in law who will take over the bills – Kunal has to make time to sort them out. When we throw a party, our shopping list doesn’t get distributed by the dozen people living under the roof…I can write book titled "The Bible of surviving in Mumbai x 2" or like Kunal likes to call it... just sucking it up and getting used to ticking off, till the last item on my TO-DO list on an everyday basis !

Off the many things that I fast learnt on my first few times of living and running a household for 2 is that you can maximize the potential that the internet with a few clicks of the button. After weeks of plotting and planning dates with the various members of the family we singled out to a fair day in August to host our very first Sunday Brunch to celebrate Raksha Bandhan... All but 40 guests confirmed for what started out as a small get together! I pulled my contacts togther and got a caterer on board to help me with the food…At that point in time I felt like a winner..but i soon realised my worries had just begun !

2 days before the event I called to fix the menu with the ‘Maharaj’ I began jotting down the list of items he was already rattling into the phone... I couldn’t find anything to write on – so I started jotting on the day’s news paper. The times of india was surrounded by items like maida, vinegar, chilly sauce.... on he went… I flipped the paper over to write on the bottom half… oranges..cinnamon powder..ajino moto.. I started writing over the empty spaces on the advertisement now mentally trying to figure out where I would get these things from… spaghetti..oregano…rosemary and that’s it. I was already feeling exhausted… oh madam… did I make you write dry mint powder ? I scanned the list but couldn’t find it… so I fit it right beside the weather update…read heavy showers tomorrow and day after. I could already feel the grey over my head.

Right after putting his phone down I started making a fair list. The fair list comprised of only 68 items to be bought !!!! My eyes pop-ed out. With a kitchen that is run for 2 people, we definitely needed to re-stock our rice, I have never allowed cardamom powder into my home which was about to change and our month supply of fruits was to be ordered just in a day's time. I frantically called my mother in law who sweetly offered to run errands for me… but I decided to take the plunge into house-running-bliss. She sounded skeptical, but we decided it would be best if I use this moment to learn a thing or two about hosting a social gathering !

For those who know me, I’m quite an organization freak… I divided the list into Grocery & staples, Fruits & Vegetables, Bread & Dairy and others… I was not quite sure where I would get the others items. But I decided to tackle one problem at a time.  Yes – I know what I did next will make my mother laugh and I can hear my distant aunt mocking from her grave, "I TOLD YOU SO"– but some of the items on that list, I didn’t know what they meant. When I did huh on the phone to the maharaj – he said arreh madam, do you not know this also… I just pretended that the line was unclear. Yes... I know your laughed a little...So I google’d them + Mumbai to see where I would get them ! Pop came the ad for

I have never been to an online supermarket..I clicked. The screen went white and flashing… it was almost as if I was in a HyperMarket without the clutter of leading brands flashing in your face… There was no walking through the aisles, there were no screaming children toppling everything, there was no forgetting anything and having to walk back all the way to the start for a bag of sugar !

It was a simple interface that allowed me to go through my entire list… within minutes I had shopped for every single item on all 3 of my segregated list. When I usually go to a hyper market I end up buying so much more than I am actually required to.. call me a retail junkie… but there was nobody trying to force a plastic spoon with the latest aachar to try and forcing me to buy either. There was absolutely no temptation.

Ofcourse I had a few items missing from my toileteries and personal care  items which i took care off before moving on to checking the other tabs on their website.

The best part of shopping on was the Discounts and Promotion tabs where I could take my own time to decided whether the scheme worked for me or not.I checked out within minutes and opted for Cash on Delivery – since I do not prefer using my Credit Card for household items and Since I was shopping for Rs 400 and more they offered me free Delivery – at a time slot convenient to me… ofcourse I had to fish for the convenient time a bit – but the website assured me that they are working on expanding the slots. I'm not a big fan of the registering on websites.. but I had to unfortunately – they promised me it was a one time thing. And in hind sight it has made all my next round of purchases a lot easier with the website already knowing that i will opt for Cash on Delivery and also the address is already fed in, saving me all that time to re-type is over and over again. 

The delivery was made promptly… and the party was a grand success. The brunch service had a few glitches – things are bound to go crazy with 40 hungry gujratis enjoying their first time experimenting food they could barely pronounce let alone knowing how to write them. Burmese Khow Suey and Chinese Ramen Noodles all prepared Jain Style were my saving grace. 

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Graffitti that adorns New York

I wanted to share some photos I took whilst on holiday in NY last Christmas. I loved every minute of being in the Big Apple. It was such an assault on the senses but in the most wonderful way! There was so much to see from the fashion on the street and architecture, to the build boards and lights displays. Kunal and I went through New York ... charging ahead each morning on foot... Sipping coffee from the chic-est little cafes with character and lunching and dining in only A-listers and highly recommended ones. It helped to have local friends - Karan and Vira who had edited the list for this refines selection. One would think breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a snack at different places would have pretty much covered it all... but New York is a feast for gourmands like Kunal and I. We still didn’t have enough time to fit in all the ones I wanted to visit. Every time I stepped out side my hotel I felt such a buzz from everything going on around me.

One of NYC’s many pleasures is turning a corner to find a street-art mural taking up an entire wall, or spotting a piece by a well reknownded artist. It’s up there with yellow cabs, steaming manholes and hot dog stands. I have to admit, I don't understand Grafitti art much – It’s really a mixture of fine art expressionism with exciting street edge. Some of it is not even to my taste.. i am more of a canvas with abstracts on a wall. But some of these defy my sensibilities and there is something that appeals even to my mind. As I rode the red tourist bus around NYC I went click click click on my camera to find these amazing life size artworks.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Todos Santos .. The Mexican Dream

I want to blame travel magazines, tourist shops and souvenirs that I have received from Mexico before I actually got there for showing me a different Mexico. So blame me for thinking Mexico is Colourful buildings with bougainvilleas dropping low, almost touching the ground. Or I wasn’t wrong while dreaming of houses with cactus growing and women wearing very colourful clothes while knitting in their verandas. Of course I knew mariachi’s won’t be singing while I waltz hand in hand with my husband .. We first landed in Cancun – where I saw American tourists. You can’t count the Mexican imposters sitting in traditional clothes on the way to Cichen Itza ofcourse. Then in Mexico City – which much like Mumbai was abuzz with life, trade and commerce thriving on its streets and Malls filled with the noveau rich buying the American dream. Then to Los Cabos – which is a luxury beach va-cay with bikini tops and flip flopped men and women enjoying way too many margaritas. So where was this picture perfect Mexico from my coffee table book ?

It was not until I reached Todos Santos  that I realized,Much of my Mexican Dream was right here !

 Having read a handed down version of Lonely Planet –Mexico from many years ago and I quote “the once treacherous road from Cabo San Lucas, about 45 miles away, has been paved, making the town too accessible to day tourists.” And it’s true. The beautiful Transpeninsula Highway takes about an hour of straight driving before you get Todos Santos. A map was handed to us by our hotel concierge. But no sooner had we entered this town we realized how really SMALL it was. We passed two landmark buildings on the map in less than 30 secs on one street. The entire town was a 3 street by 3 street affair.When we parked in one corner of the tourist-town, I say Tourist-Town because I only include that part of town which was on a Tourist-Map .. rest all I am assuming is Residential.

We walked down the Benito Juarez - the main street. Garish villas are starting to mar the pristine landscape. It looked like developers are going to take over these ranches soon enough for boutique hotels.  Just like the few chic, small hotels in town, like the Todos Santos Inn as well as the Hotelito, a modernist-looking property that I read are run by EXPATS.Another thing that makes this town famous is the Todos Santos Music Festival, which was started by R.E.M.’s former guitarist Peter Buck who is a part-time resident of this quaint town. Our first stop was to go see the Legendary Hotel California – rememeber that song you all ? It is debateable, I understand .. But the property boasts Hotel California was made there … AMEN !

We then sat right across the hotel in Restaurant Tequilla Sunrise. Like people will tell you, Todos Santos is still small enough that if you’re looking for someone you can simply go to the handful of Cafes and Souvenir shops that line the 3 main streets there and find them. And if you dont just have a Damiana. Tequilla Sunrise introduced us to Damianas. Damiana Liqueur is a light liqueur made with the damiana herb that grows wild in Baja California, Mexico – that’s what the waiter will tell you… What it actually is, it is a mocking down tequila version of a margarita- very popular indeed.

What I loved about this little town were the restored adobe building in the center of town, which serve as various resurants, café and arts centers. Mexican arts, crafts, bookstores, restaurants, realtors and galleries are worth a visit, Leather goods, 100% cotton dresses, shirts and pants, Mexican woven blankets, furnishings and carpets are among the many things to choose from all thriving in this 3x3 matrix !

Tour the Galleries I would recommend .. As an artist town, Todos Santos has many galleries full of everything from paintings to handmade copper work and ceramics.. There are many resident Artists who sit there every Thursday sketching painting and in their element.  

Ofcourse TODOS SANTOS is really known for its SURFFING... We didnt end up doing it.. but definately the blue waters were a sight to see. No wonder poeple call this the dreamy town of TODOS SANTOS.

 Done with our tour, no place is complete without its food. We all turned towards Vira, who throughout our journey has pulled out gems from her Google Search and restraunt reviews. We stopped at Rumi Gardens.. the food is organic, fresh, healthy and prepared with love and gratitude. The price is just right too. We enjoyed the indoor ambiance with water fountain and Rumi affirmations that made this place very spiritual. Something like a yoga retreat but only with fresh basil vietnamese rolls ! 

Afterward, as you stroll home, you can still hear the sound of distant roosters and old, sputtering pick-up trucks blaring scratchy ranchero music... this is Todos Santos ! 


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