Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Reacting to increased fares of Delhi Metro

Effective 10th May, 2017 the Delhi Metro has
revised its fare structure. It is quite an overhaul and you can read about it in the web. What is worse is that it has been announced that there would be another round of revisions in coming October.

What does the metro mean to Delhi? 

Its lifeline. Its that simple. Many of us are prepared to travel across the city and back just because there is metro connectivity. Over the last 15 years metro has been operational in the city, people have chosen their places of work or residence, schools, etc based on proximity to the metro. The advantage is freedom from the unpredictability of traffic on the road, smart card access, air conditioned coaches, fast moving trains, clean stations, and much more. Interchanges (sometimes inconvenient) between lines, few technical glitches off and on, overcrowding in peak hours, etc are looked at as shortcomings that can be overlooked in light of the benefits it offers.

You ask me to reach anywhere, and the first question I would ask is, "Which is the nearest metro station?"


Metro fares were revised last in 2009, and they were designed more or less to suit our pockets. The current revision was due, but it seems to be too demanding. The thought that it would get hiked again few months down the line has got ingrained in our minds and we have all started re-working our monthly budgets.

My concern is that if I, being in a reasonable salary bracket, am thinking so much about the increased travel costs, how would people with lower earnings and/or perhaps more liabilities do their financial planning?


The State Government wishes to encourage travel by public transport and is trying hard to incentivize public transport. This step seems to be a step in the absolutely opposite direction.

There are people who have become captive riders of the metro, because of many factors. They really do not want another option - and would stick to the metro, no matter what the fare is. 

Some people may want an alternative, but their brains tell them that there is no better option, and for them, metro it is.

But then there are people who have choices. One of my colleagues offered to car-pool with me. He even went to the extent of calculating my travel costs and stressing on the convenience of door to door services.

Response of some people to the price sensitivity analysis would be negative.. they would move out, and get spread between buses, personal vehicles, etc. They might end up incurring higher costs if you factor in comfort of travel, safety, congestion, etc but it is the burden on their pockets that seems to matter to them.

My demands

There is a section that has been in construction for long, and I have been waiting for it to become operational - this would make my daily commute from home to work and back much convenient. There are few upcoming corridors which would help Delhi significantly. So, now my thought is, "Ok you are charging as you please, now please give me new stretches to travel in".

And perhaps, if someone could convince the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to drop the plan of implementing the second phase of fare revision. 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Indulgence plans on our Anniversary

My husband and I were in Pune to visit my sister and incidentally, our 10th anniversary was around the corner. Without further ado, we started making plans to celebrate our togetherness in style.

“Shall we dine out?” I proposed.

He readily agreed and started working out on further details as he wanted us to have an indulgent dining experience. We did some research on the internet and shortlisted four exclusive dining restaurants:

1.   Zaheer Khan's Dine Fine – This restaurant attracted my husband as it had his favorite cricketer’s name in it. The food served here is completely different to what we usually discover at other restaurants. It has exclusive names which their chef has balanced out with great spices. The food and service at this dine is hard to beat as they have the best Dahi ke Kebabs and Tandoori stuffed mushrooms to indulge in. The restaurant has a decent ambiance with clad staff that caters well to your needs.

2.     Baan Tao – A name that comes up to your mind when you think of exclusive dining in Pune. Exquisite dishes from all over Asia are the USP of this restaurant, located in the plush Hotel Hyatt. Inspired by products from Japan, China and the Orient, the menu is full of authentic and traditional dim-sums and sea food. The interiors and ambiance is sure to rejuvenate your mind.

3.  Eon Fine Dine Resto Bar – One of the best restaurants in its vicinity, this fine dining destination has some world class kebabs on its menu. You are offered a welcome drink on your arrival, which lifts your spirits and makes you look forward to the dining experience. The Chicken Reshmi Kebabs are to die for, as they melt in your mouth the moment you take a bite.

4.      Panash –Mouthwatering Asian dishes and an exquisite ambience are the two things to look forward to this fine dining restaurant in Hotel Sheraton. With a soothing d├ęcor and authentic Shoji windows, the place offers a perfect ambiance for a great dinner experience. Two dishes which you must try at Panash would definitely be Ebi Furai and Jasmine Rice.

To add a bit of elegance and exclusivity to our anniversary my brother in law offered his new car- the limited edition Maruti Suzuki Dzire Allure. 

The car is designed for comfort – it has front to centre arm rests and premium dual tone seats with pillows. The interior is styled elegantly and ergonomically, so that one does not feel tired even after driving for long hours. As for the exteriors, the body graphics are so smart that you feel proud to be its owner. All of us felt happy and relaxed while we went for a drive. The world around us seemed to be a lovelier place, as the stress of driving, and other mundane things of our lives were taken off our minds. We felt relaxed.

If you want to know more about the car that can enhance your driving experience manifold and be part of your special indulgences, do check out the limited edition Maruti Suzuki Dzire Allure here. Also, follow Maruti Suzuki Dzire on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Chinese, Indian or both?

"Chinese!", I said, the moment we decided we were going to eat out that evening.

"But I was planning to go for Indian cuisine", my husband sulked.

So the golden mean was obviously, to find a place that served both. We did some research until we discovered Veda & Djinggs, in Sector 29, Gurgaon, which promised to bring together the best of both worlds, with the food being prepared in the most authentic way. We headed there straightaway! It was easy to locate.

Indeed the delectable menu had many an awesome dish from both cuisines!
The staff were also friendly and smilingly answered our questions about the ingredients used, methods of preparation, etc. They told us that there were separate teams for each cuisine and the experienced chefs were on board who innovated with the recipes and styles of serving. However, the core essence was to maintain the authenticity!

For example, they would cook each portion of biriyani in a claypot and serve it as it is.. this retains the flavour and adds an extra dash of taste!

There were many innovative dishes such as Dahi ke kabab and Palak patta chat, which we loved.

So next time you are in Gurgaon, do check out Veda & Djinggs!
Photos Courtesy: Team Veda & Djinggs, Santanu Saha

For detailed menu and further photographs, do contact me!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Goodies to spice up your Platter

Godrej is a name associated with great quality. And here's presenting a box of goodies from the newly launched L'Exclusif range, brought to the Indian market by Godrej Nature's Basket. Isn't the assembly tempting?
What I adored about these products are:
a) Innovative recipes, using natural products: The taste of mustard powder and honey together as a coating of cashew nuts is just an example. Be it jams, nachos, coated nuts, chocolates or icecreams, this wide range of products has something for every meal to #FeastYourSenses! View the range here!

b) Hygienic packing: Once a pack is opened and partially used, storage of the remainder has been kept in mind while packaging.
c) Attractive label graphics: Bright colours on a sober black background have  resulted in attractive  graphics that would tempt you to try the products right away!

d) Reasonable prices: You may be wondering about the prices of the products, especially when they are of such great quality and so well presented.  But I was surprised to find them to be priced very reasonably.

These products have become the secret ingredients of the unconventional servings I conjure up for my guests. Would you like to try some?
Photos courtesy: Supratik Bhowmick

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sri Lanka : A Teaser

Many people would ask me, "What to do in Sri Lanka?"

Because, I was in Colombo in November 2015, and in Kandy the following January.

Here are the reasons why you should NOT be asking me that question:
I was there for work. Alone. Not exactly, but without friends and family - I had senior colleagues with me. And amidst tight deadlines. So much so, we had to work day in and day out, even during weekends, leaving us no time for enjoying.

Now comes the reason you may still consider asking me, nevertheless:

A beautiful country is beautiful in all aspects: so what I could absorb is enough to give you a feel.

Look at this- the road is adjoined by a railway track, and the sea is right after that!

Colombo has a sea face along Galle Face Road.. the view of the sunset is so tranquil. 

Kandy, on the other hand, is a land locked town. The key attraction is the beautiful Kandy Lake. It is a man made lake... a jog round it is a perfect start to your mornings!

And while you move around the lake, you'll come across the world famous temple, Temple of Tooth. Many followers of Buddhism travel from all over the globe just to visit this temple. Just make sure you are dressed decently. Men in shorts are not permitted inside.

But, what to eat? Well, all cuisines are available. And if you want to try something Sri Lankan, then try their chicken curry. Make sure you check out the local bakeries which offer fresh pastries, cakes and snacks.
You may like to shop for Sri Lankan cottons, gems and local handicrafts in Kandy. Money exchange is quite convenient, so there is no need to carry too much local currency.
Photos courtesy: Myself
For more details, contact me on my Facebook page

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Summer Collection Menu at The Imperial

While the heat waves sweep over North India, do not let the heat get your appetite. Try the Summer Collection Menu at The Spice Route, The Imperial, New Delhi, which balances our desire for good food with the fruit of the season – mango. When asked for the inspiration behind such an innovative palette, Chef Veena smiles and says, “We dress differently in Summer. So why not eat differently too?”

You are in for a surprise as you shall move on to try the new, yet simple recipes inspired from Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. For example, the traditional salad is replaced by YUM SEE KLER, also called “Four friends’ Salad”, which contains tangy carrot, raw papaya, raw and ripe mango.

Tossed with peanuts, this keeps you admiring the balance of the ingredients and sets your mood on the hunger track, where you want to delve for more.

Another salad you may like to try is YUM MAMUANG, Chef Veena’s signature preparation: freshly grated green mango tossed in spicy and tangy Thai dressing. 

But do not let the salads fool you to think that the Summer Collection Menu is all about vegetarian dishes. Chef Veena admits that some of these recipes are her own, but born out of experimenting with different spices.

Next in the menu that is likely to catch your fancy are AMBA ISSO TEMPERADU and ALLEPPEY FISH CURRY. The first is a Sri Lankan preparation of prawns, stir fried with curry powder and slivers of raw mango, while the latter is a recipe from Kerala, as suggested by the name. It is fish fillet cooked in traditional Kerala curry and raw mango.

For the chicken lovers, the menu features GA XAO HOT DIEU, a Vietnamese preparation of stir-fried chicken with ripe mango and cashewnuts. It has a subtle tangy taste, which makes it my personal recommendation for all food lovers.

Mangoes dominate the main course too, where Chef Veena tosses up Jasmine rice with ripe mango cooked in coconut milk. I never knew one could cook rice like that!

Also try the MAAMBALAM  APPAM, or soft centered rice pancakes with mango. And if you still have space left in your tummy, finish your meal with the Vegan Mango icecream. 
Photos Courtesy: Self, Team Imperial
For more photos, visit my Facebook page.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A new ingredient for Cocktails

The next weekend is going to be the most special one of the year: its the last one. And also the first one of 2016.

As we bid farewell to a year that flitted by so quickly, needless to say, friends would get together at my home for series of parties. A key reason is I have some recipes of nice cocktails up my sleeve. Being a non alcoholic person myself, I turn out to be the hostess who is sober even at wee hours, and the festivities can go on as long one wants.

When I got invited for a hands-on cocktail learning session with Black Dog whisky at Social, Defence Colony, I was sceptic initially. Scotch is not something that I had ever used, or even heard anyone use for cocktails.  However, I chose to go.
The venue was had a rustic, yet funky feel, which seemed so perfect to bring together photographers, journalists, bloggers and more on a winter morning.

The chef, with loads of experience under his belt, not only demonstrated, but also encouraged us to toss up quite a few cocktails ourselves, giving us valuable tips such as never to be miserly with the ice. The recipes were very easy, and most ingredients are usually available in our kitchens!

Paired with tasty food, the cocktails were enjoyed by everyone present. 

So next time you are served a unique drink from my counter, you know what the secret ingredient is, don't you?

For more details or photographs, check out my Facebook page.

Photos courtesy: Supratik Bhowmick 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Fashion Tips in Clicks!

Its party time, as we bid farewell to 2015. 

I had a dilemma... I wanted to wear a red shirt for a Christmas brunch, but really didn't know what to pair it with so that the look matched with the mood.

Browsing casually on the web, a link caught my eye: "5 ways to wear Red", it said. It was like a dream find for me!

It happened to be the online fashion magazine of Jabong (an online shopping portal that needs no introduction)... I thought the name was also very perky: Juice. Many of us may know and are regular customers of the portal, but not many know about this magazine.

The contents of this month's edition have actually been designed keeping in mind the festive mood.. so along with fashin tips, you have tried and tested hangover remedies, guide to tequila and more! Plus, it is very easy to browse through the sections. The pages load quickly, and what you see entices you to delve in further. I not only got what I was looking for, but quite a few innovative ideas as well.

So, whatever it may be on your mind, from quirky nail paints to following celebrities, do check out the December 2015 edition of Juice!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Organic Way to Healthy Living

Health is Wealth. 

And our wealth depends on what lives we lead; what we eat. Unfortunately, fertlizer and chemical rich vegetables, fruits, staples... all join hands to steal our wealth, making us prone to many a health issue. 

What is worse, with our hectic lifestyles, we are left with little time to do much about it, although we know that the products available in the market are very very poisonous.

"I Say Organic" solves this problem by delivering organic products right at your doorstep. You can either order online, or place an order over phone. 

Founded by young enterpreneurs, ISO has connected with farmer groups across the country who deliver the fresh produce to them every morning, out of which the best is handpicked and sold to consumers. 

The products include Fruits, Vegetables, Tea, Coffee, Rice, Lentils ... and even spices! 

Do check out their first physical store in Select City Walk Mall, Saket, New Delhi. You'll fall in love with the products, and can also obtain some health tips! Also, you can get connected to a nutrionist, if you have specific queries. 

You might find the prices on the higher side, but, considering the quality and safety of the product, they are absolutely reasonable! 

Afterall, who minds being healthy?

For more details or photographs, check out my Facebook page.

Photos courtesy: Supratik Bhowmick 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Fine Dining becomes Fine Experience !!

A fine dining experience is not only about good food - it is also about how it is presented and of course, how it makes you feel. With SelectED (SelectED Events & Dining), you are no guest or customer, but God and Gods dine in style!!

Its attention to detail and ability to surprise you that makes your experience very very special - just a small gesture, such as your name on the menu sets the mood, isnt it?

What is more is you get absolutely exclusive service customized as per your requirement. It would always be one-event-a-day-and-thats-it for them; no matter the size of the gathering. It could be anything - a birthday, house parties and celebrations, corporate events, weddings and related functions at your own home or chosen venue - there is no limit!

SelectED is the brainchild of Arjun Sharma, an eminent personality of the hospitality industry who is not afraid to experiment and Ishaan Sarkar, who carries with himself tons of experience from the premiere group of hotels. Chef Gaurav Mathur has joined hands to form an awesome trio.

Attention to the presentation and a constant strife to innovate is evident as the salmon and chicken kebab in wasabi flavour is served in a glass jar, with smoke infused into it and covered with a traditional papad. You open it, and the smell tantalizes your senses.

Just look at this wondeful ensemble:
Customization goes to the extent of finding the perfect cutlery and crockery or even getting it made - so the biriyani comes alone in a plate, creating a royal feel and the assortment of fish, chicken and mutton comes in a crescent  and is placed over the plate like a crown:
The willingness to experiment flows to the jamun flavoured sorbet, and desserts which include traditional jalebis topped up with cream, pastry with a raspberry surprise and a coffee flavoured soufle with fresh caramel on it. In fact the chef comes and caramalizes the sugar with a spray in front of you.

 Trust me, your occasions would become memories with exclusive catering services from SelectED. 
Photos courtesy Sayan Bhowmick

Friday, July 24, 2015

Childhood lessons for Tooth Sensitivity

I still remember the stinging effect of my first ever ice-candy, and the look on my elder sister’s face. While the chill drowned the taste of the flavour, she gave me a “know-it-all” look, for she had tried hard to keep me from it.

Back home, my mother gave us some water at room temperature and told me that both of us had sensitive teeth, which meant that we should be careful about having cold stuff. Although my sister maintained that she didn’t like ice candies, I knew what the truth was.

Both of us were used to brushing teeth twice daily and had sparkling teeth that would have fitted the advertisement of any toothpaste. We were also taught to drink water and rinse our mouth well after every meal, whether hot or cold, so that the acids and juices produced by the food could be washed off, and there would be no damage to our teeth.

Years have gone since then. Milk tooth gone, education over, we have got immersed in our busy lives. Nevertheless, childhood experiences remain in our subconscious. One day, a commercial on television caught my attention – a young guy was holding his cheek because of the sensation caused by having something hot or cold, and the dentist recommended a particular toothpaste to him - Sensodyne.

I wouldn’t have noticed it had it not been for my colleague, who had told me that he likes to have his tea after its cooled off a bit, and not piping hot (the way I like my tea to be). Was this also a case of tooth sensitivity, I thought. So, the very next morning, I went up to him and asked him about the effect a hot beverage would have on him. The answer was what I had already guessed – it caused a sharp pain in his teeth.

Realizing that this was quite a common phenomenon, I asked my dentist about it. He confirmed my guess, that most people who have sensitive teeth do not realize the problem, and tend to stay away from the relevant food practices, even if it is their favourite dish. I asked him about the toothpaste I had seen being advertised the other day - he told me it was a revolutionary product that has been developed after much research and can help many people across the world.

No marks for guessing which toothpaste I use. But, if you can relate to the experiences above, trust me and change your paste. Even if you know someone with similar issues, recommend it to them. Please share your story in the comments section!! And what makes it exciting, is the fact that every story stands chances to win an attractive voucher for dining out.

To know more about Tooth sensitivity, follow Sensodyne India on Facebook.

If your teeth hurt when you have extremely hot or cold food, you might want to get yourself checked for tooth sensitivity. And what better way to do it than at the comfort of your home? You could check the sensitivity of your teeth by clicking on this link.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Phone anyone would Desire!

It is not wrong to say that our phones mean almost the whole of or lives. So, when my husband lost his phone, his sole focus was to buy a phone right away. He literally snatched my gadget from me, opened the Flipkart app, and ordered a phone that seemed to impress him with its features : Asus Zenfone2.  He was so excited that he saved the image of his new phone right away:
As I raised my eyebrows at this impulsive buy, he pointed out the bold design - straight lines, slightly rounded off at the corners. The thickness of the phone is just 3.9 mm, he said. And the design is ergonomic - placement of keys are such that one can use the phone by sheer instinct! Now, that's an architect speaking!

"The display screen seems to be almost edge free", I  commented. This was received with a big nod, furnishing me with details of a high end 5.5 inch HD display screen. Also, this comes with a high speed processor that will facilitate high speed internet surfing and video streaming. Now, that got my interest hooked, for my phone, which is presently a bit old, hangs when I try to do few things at a time. 

"Now be a real multi-tasker", came a dramatic reply.

Plus, the memory is 4 GB - so, now store all the music, videos, images and files you want, without worrying about available free space and your favourite stuff slowing your phone.

What is a phone without a good camera? This one has two - the rear one is of 13 mega pixels, while the front camera is of 5 mega pixels. So, not only one can click sharp photos and shoot clear videos, it would be possible to click wonderful selfies as well!

All smart phone users have a common phobia - battery consumption! "Which is the compatible power bank?", I asked. I got a surprise, when I was told that it comes with great battery backup.
I personally thought black is a boring colour - for those who agree with me, there are versions available in gold, grey, red and white too.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Unforgettable food experiences!

I have been writing about my various gastronomic journeys for some time now, and its time I put together some of the unforgettable experiences, that stimulated my taste buds to remain engraved in memory ever since.

Best Soup: Pumpkin Soup, Olive Beach, Chankayapuri (This particular outlet is closed down, but Olive is very much there in Delhi)
Soups are my favourite ... in a restaurant, you'd always find me experimenting with the choice of soup, whatever the cuisine may be. 

On a fairly hot afternoon, at Olive Beach, the chef recommended his signature soup to my friend and me - a pumpkin soup. Both of us were skeptical, as pumpkin is not a vegetable we exactly like, but the chef assured us that we would like it. 

Indeed it was wonderful, it had a subtle taste, enhanced by black pepper sprinkled over it. 

Best South Indian Meal: Kausstubh, Saket District Centre
Foodie that I may be, my taste buds are inclined heavily towards non vegeterian food. So when my friend wanted to go to a strictly vegeterian place, I was initially unwilling. However, with some coaxing, I went - and had one of the most wonderful expeiences.

For one, the best of each South Indian state has been brought under one roof. I could never imagine there could be so much variety. Did you know there are numerous varieties of rasam and dosas?
Writing about this meal would be incomplete without mentioning the "1 metre Coffee"... a coffee that is blended in two mugs held at a vertical distance of 1 metre

Perky Non Vegeterian Snacks: Punjab Grill
I am fond of non vegeterian snacks that are cooked on charcoal, are barbequed and have the perfect balance of spices. I fell in love with the presentation of mutton in a model of a charcoal iron - it had a lovely smoky taste as well. On the right hand side image, you can see chicken minced up and tossed with the spices to make a tasty snack.   

Innovative Non Vegeterian Main Course: Le Meridien
If we are to talk about innovations in food, I can only think of Le Meridien - the chef is always willing to innovate and brings out the true essence of the ingredients. He served us a twin flavoured chikken tikkas - the ingredients come in layers for you to mix and enjoy. The prawn comes in its true form dipped in tangy sauce and basil leaves. And the biriyani is prepared in the serving bowl - it comes covered, and when one opens it, the aroma mesmerizes him.

Japanese Cuisine made Fun: Yum Yum Cha, Select City Walk Mall
This is again one of my discoveries. Attracted by the colourful decor, we stepped in this cosy outlet, and came out with a lovely experience. Some of the items in the menu have been brought to India for the very first time, so you must try this place. The items that swept me off my feet are: sea food salad - a cold salad of diced crab; sushi platter and Takoyakioctopus dumplings.

Best Dessert: Brownie and Tiramisu, again at Olive Beach
You are full, yet, your taste buds crave for something sweet to complete your meal. Chef Sujan at Olive Beach tossed up two perfect desserts for us - the perfect proportions, and so well presented. The tiramisu had a teasing coffee flavour to it, while a chunk of vanilla ice cream complemented the chocolate soaked brownie. For once, we simply forgot all about the calories!
Have I got your mouth watering?
Photos courtesy: Atul Tayade, Angon Bhattacharjee, Self

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Adding a Secret Flavour to your Cooking

In the mood for experimenting with my time-tested recipe of mutton curry, I embarked on the lookout for new ingredients that can be used. This is when I chanced upon a bottle of Ballantine's whisky, which a friend had got for my husband, as both of them are lovers of scotch. The label seemed to invite me - "Stay True, Leave an Impression".

 I had read in a forwarded message that if you add a spoon of whisky while cooking, the oil would not burn. No one was at home, and this was the time to try this!

So went in the first tablespoon of whisky with my favourite sunflower oil, and indeed, facilitated the cooking. I added another spoon as a secret topping just before serving it. Everyone who tasted the mutton, simply loved the unique flavour brought by the scotch.

Curious, I googled "Ballantine", and discovered that the founder of the brand, George Ballantine, was an innovator and entrepreneur,  and always acted with conviction and flair. I smiled quietly to myself, as I was reminded of my bold experiment.