Search This Blog

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lending a helping hand- Sights that linger

Lending a helping hand

There are some sights that linger long after you've seen them and here is one such.

Spotted  this on my morning walk yesterday and loved watching the  beautiful and precious grandmother  grand daughter bonding. 

The old lady was fragile and tired easily but her granddaughter kept her going.

When they finished their walk, they sat on a bench and talked. 

Then got up, picked some pretty white flowers for the 'pooja' at home and carried on.

I continued my walk, then headed home too but not before capturing this moment forever.

I also realised that the roles had been reversed.The child had now grown up and the grandmother had aged...

Some sights truly linger...

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Dad My Hero- A Fathers Day Special

Memories-Waking up in agony and crying with an acute stomach pain at night. I must have been about 7 years old and we lived in Calcutta at the time.

My dad came rushing in from his bedroom and asked me what the problem was. All I could manage to say  was, " My stomach is paining Pop.Very badly."

As it happened that day, our car was at the garage for some major repair and we had no means of transport. It must have been 2 am but my father didn't hesitate. He just picked me up and ran. 

Ran in the middle of the night for almost 1 km, till he reached the home of our family doctor, a Dr. Mrs. Pai. Ringing the bell with quiet determination, yet ensuring that I was doing OK, my dad became a real hero in my eyes that day.

What followed was not quite as exciting. As it turned out, I had a case of severe indigestion ( not appendicitis) as my parents had thought initially, and after a dose of medication and a quiet lie in, Dr Pai drove us back home.

It was about 6 am by then after which my dad proceeded with his normal day's routine- got ready for the office,and worked a whole busy day while I rested at home waiting for him to return.

A bond was forged that day and one that continues till today. 

My dad- about 5 years ago

Of course my dad did all the normal things that dads do for their children.He held my hand as I learnt to walk. He picked me up when I was low. He cared for me when I was sick. He gave me a warm and loving hug whenever I needed it. 

Over and above, he also did some more interesting things such as accompany me for my night shift at the General Overseas Service( GOS) at All India Radio where he would sit in the newsroom watching, listening to and making interesting conversation with all the famous newsreaders of the time.  

A more recent pic with my Dad-H S Serna 
Incidentally, I must point out here that my father was the ONLY parent ever permitted to enter the "secure zone" of All India Radio . The reason, he didn't want to deprive me of a wonderful opportunity to experience the life of an English Announcer( which I only did on a part time basis while still studying at the Indian Institute of Mass Communications). Yet he wanted to ensure that I was safe and that all was well.

Makes me wonder as I sit and write this, how many other dads would have done this for their daughter? I really don't know of even one other such dad.

I could go on and on- my dad told me and my brother interesting stories inculcated a love for the fine things in life- coffee, chocolates, eating out and enjoying being 'foodies' wherever we traveled and so much more.

Cut to the present

In Sep 2013, and then again in November of that same year, my mother had to undergo a major surgery. We were in Muscat while my brother Navtej lives in the UK. While fully abreast with all that was happening on a daily basis, we had planned to come to Delhi closer to the surgery and then stay on as required. Goes without saying, my dad had to bear the entire brunt of the pre op tests- of which there must have been at least 20, finalising the admission procedures, along with a hundred other misc. things that go towards making the entire package of what surgeries have come to mean in the modern day world.

Finally all that was done and over, the date for the first surgery was set in September and we reached well in time for the operation. My husband Avi and I spent our time with my dad during the procedure and realised that he was in acute mental stress. Giving him a tight hug, both of us told him that all would be well, it was a mere matter of time. ( As it turned out, all went well at this surgery as well as the second, far more complicated one and my mom is doing fine now.)

We saw his eyes well up with tears and while he quickly brushed them away, he hugged us back and said, "I really couldn't have done this without  you,  my bacchas."

An unimaginably poignant  moment and I don't mind admitting that a few tears escaped my eyes too. Here was this strong man, my dad telling us that he couldn't have done it without us.

Sab Time, time ki baat hai..

“This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Energizing Life with dance, music and #MaxFreshMove

Just as variety is the spice of life, freshness is the fuel of life. As one of the key factors that keeps us going, it is exactly why we look for freshness in everything from our food to our relationships and jobs.Everyone’s way of bringing this freshness might be different, but the one thing that majority of people will agree with is that there is nothing better than some dance and music to jazz up one's life. Be it unwinding with some music at the end of the day or venting energy in a club by busting some moves, dance and music make us shed our proverbial skin and renew our vigour for life.

When it comes to dance, there’s no one better than Allu Arjun with his fantastic dance moves and Anushka Manchanda accompanying the performance with her vocals, taking it to another league altogether.Allu Arjun is now clearly unstoppable when it comes to keeping the cash registers ringing at the box office. While the stylish star’s previous film 'Race Gurram' has earned more than 60 crores as ticket sales, his recent release,  'Son of Satyamurthy' has touched a share of 50 crores worldwide. This makes him the only actor in the Telugu film industry to have films crossing more than 50 crores back to back. With box office collections becoming the critical metric to measure success and market value of a star, Allu Arjun has huge box office potential.  The actor is currently getting ready to work with Boyapati Sreenu for his forthcoming film, which will go on floors soon.

Energizing life with #MaxFreshMove.
*( Image courtesy Blog Adda)
Discovered on one of the first and most explosive reality shows in India just before she turned 18, Anushka Manchanda is a brand of musician who is individualistic and ever evolving. Born into rock and roll loving family, she started playing the piano at an early age. Picked from thousands of girls across the country to be a part of VIVA, India’s most successful, all-girl band which sold over half a million copies of their first album, her connect with the youth led Channel [V] to sign her on as a VJ, with whom she travelled all over the country shooting for and hosting music based shows. Launched into the Bollywood playback scene with her first super hit song 'Golmaal', she has by now, worked with the top  Indian music directors.

So when I saw the two of them break into an impromptu performance at the T3 Lounge of the Indira Gandhi Terminal at New Delhi recently, it was one of the most exciting happenings in a very long time! With amazing energy and a huge amount of enthusiasm, they performed a series of two song and dance routines and it was almost ten minutes later when the applause from the delighted passengers waiting in the departure lounge finally died down. 

How it started was really very simple. We were on a morning flight from   Muscat to Delhi on Oman Air this May and were informed that there was a delay of about one hour because of an approaching storm near Muscat. Since those weather conditions are quite regular during the months of May and June, there's nothing that anyone can really do about it, but hope for the quickest and minimal damage mode so that the the storm passes and life can go on and ahead in the most expeditious way. My husband and myself had a book each and it wasn't long before we were busy reading Accompanied by a nice Cappuccino which we bought from a nearby Starbucks counter, it seemed the best say to spend that one hour.

All  quiet and peaceful until we felt, rather than heard a flurry of movement and in a matter of minutes it seemed as if almost everybody around us was making a beeline for a corner of the seating area that Oman Air had earmarked in Departure Lounge for our flight. What could be the reason for that excitement , I wondered to myself and reluctantly looked yup from the very exciting PD James murder mystery that I was engrossed in.

That was when I saw them, and clearly understood the reason for that sudden flurry of movement-Allu Arjun and Anushka Manchanda were right there and by the looks of it getting ready for an impromptu performance! Very exciting I thought to myself and from the looks of it it was clear- all the passengers on our flight thought exactly the same way!

Thereafter we were all treated to a truly exciting performance- Anushka had her guitar and rendered some power packed vocals as Allu Arjun stepped right into that beat and danced...And how!

Did we enjoy ourselves? In a word, totally.

What a wonderful coincidence it was to have Anushka and Allu travelling with us on our flight to Muscat. Normally, a delayed flight is a cause for a fair bit of annoyance  and inconvenience, but if I was to be totally honest about what we experienced by way of that vibrant impromptu concert that morning, this is clearly one delayed flight that we aren't going to forget in a hurry.

In more ways than one...

I am blogging for #MaxFreshMove activity Are you?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Remembering Major Somnath Sharma( PVC) on my daily morning walk

A morning walk- Major Somnath Sharma Park, New Delhi

Every morning since the 1st of June, I walk in the park close to our home. As parks go, its absolutely beautiful. Green, clean, and very well maintained, with flowering bougainvillea, beautiful shaded walkways and a wide variety of greenery.Like me, there are many other people who also love to walk in the same park and its a pleasure to breathe in the clean morning air at that time. Goes without saying that the air is not half as fresh and clean as the day progresses, but be that as it may, this park is truly the lungs of the area.

But there is one more very important  reason why I'm choosing to write about this particular park. Located right next to Som Vihar , that primarily Army Colony colony in South Delhi, this park is a memorial  to the  legendary war hero, Major Somnath Sharma who died so that his countrymen could live.

In memory of that legendary War Hero-Major Somnath Sharma

Major Som Nath Sharma was the first recipient of Param Vir Chakra (PVC). Param Vir Chakra is the highest Indian gallantry award. Major Somnath Sharma was awarded the Param Vir Chakra  for his bravery in Badgam, Kashmir in November 1947 while fighting Pakistani invaders. 

Born on 31 January 1923, in Himachal Pradesh, Major Somnath Sharma, was commissioned in the Kumaon Regiment on 22 February 1942. On 22 October 1947, Pakistan launched the tribal invasion of Jammu & Kashmir with the intention of  grabbing the Kashmir valley by force. To save the State from a tribal invasion, India dispatched troops to Srinagar. On 3 November 1947, Major Somnath Sharma's company was ordered on a fighting patrol to Badgam Village in the Kashmir Valley. He was soon surrounded by the enemy from three sides and his company sustained heavy casualties from the ensuing artillery bombardment. Realizing the importance of holding onto his position as both the city of Srinagar and the airport would be vulnerable if it were lost,  Major Somnath Sharma and his troops who were  outnumbered seven to one, fought till the very end and halted the advance of Pakistani invaders for a few crucial hours till Indian reinforcements arrived.

Incomparable beauty reflected in the early morning light

She steps onto my favourite path- Leafy, shaded and oh so beautiful

Her daily dose- 8 rounds without fail

As I turn the corner

Thats me- Taking a break

Up close and personal-Shades of green

Looking up and loving it!

Pinks, greens and then some more

Light and shadow play

As I walk, I think.. 
The same chain of thoughts every day.

I love this park and I love the calming routine of a morning walk that preps me up for the rest of my day.

But over and above everything else, I think about Major Somnath Sharma,  the dedicated army soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice- that of his life and fought till his last breath.

Then laid down his life so that his countrymen may live...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

OYO Rooms Review-A memorable weekend with OYO Premium EOK, New Delhi

'We aim to change the way people stay away from home', said the tagline for OYO, India's largest network of branded hotels and I knew I would have an exciting means of finding out exactly how true that statement when I received an e mail from Indi Blogger informing me that I was one of the 5 chosen ones in New Delhi for the OYO Premium experience on the 30th of May.  Sounded exciting and I glanced through the well planned and detailed programme for the day.Starting with the check in at the Oyo Premium EOK ( East of Kailash) at 2 pm, we were supposed to explore the area around and tweet a series of photographs with the hashtag-#OYOxplorer and # Delhi. 

Right after check in -A  glimpse of my room and balcony

A quick background check and I learnt that OYO Rooms is India’s largest network of branded hotels. It currently operates in 16 major business and travel destinations including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Goa, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Manesar, Neemarana, Kolkata, Varanasi and many more to come. OYO Rooms offers an unmatched proposition to its consumers at affordable prices that start at Rs 999. 

As a brand, OYO promises every customer a comfortable stay that includes an AC room, complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi with 24/7 customer service support. Hotel owners who partner with OYO Rooms see a significant increase in occupancy levels and become a part of the brand that is recognized and loved.

Currently, the company is under the 'invest-and expand mode', and has attracted two rounds of PE funding already. OYO's traction and market coverage has swiftly increased because of being listed with travel aggregators like Make My Trip, Clear trip and Effectively, OYO doesn't own any of these properties, and instead, invests in marketing and management quality improvement for the hotels under its fold-Truly a win-win for OYO as well as the hotels.  

Check out
My room-Spacious and comfortable with an attached balcony 

Saturday, the 30th (May) afternoon, an extremely hot and muggy day in New Delhi, saw me checking in at the OYO Premium, EOK. The venue is a comfortable, economical and safe stay option located in a peaceful residential locality in the heart of south Delhi with a number of markets and restaurants close by. 

As  it turned out, I was the first to arrive and that was probably the reason I was given the key to Room 110 on the first floor, which I loved from the moment I walked in. A quick welcoming Cappuccino and I was refreshed enough to survey my surroundings. With an attached bath as well as a balcony, I couldn't have asked for more.

Some time later I was invited to join the others at the Reception. I was introduced to the others Supriya and two gentlemen, Gaurab and Vikas. Our tasks for the day were to commence shortly and we were all told to head out and start posting the 15 selfies( e.g- Check in at OYO, Standing in front of a well known Delhi monument, a pic with those in uniform, etc.

Supriya and I decided to pair up and go about our sightseeing together as did the two gentlemen. In retrospect, this was something that worked well as we were really good company for each other.

 I'm now going to take you sequentially through our activities for the OYOXplorer and the OYO Rooms Review so that you can see and share most of the things that we did. Starting with my first visit to the ISKCON temple, followed by the stunning Bahai Lotus Temple, and dinner and dessert 
 at the very 'hip and happening' Epicuria Food Mall at the Nehru Place Metro Station, the afternoon as well as the evening, were a whirlwind of discovery and activities.  

My first visit to ISKCON Temple, New Delhi

ISKCON Temple Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi Mandir, generally known as the ISKCON Delhi temple, is a well-known Vaishnav temple of Lord Krishna and Radharani in the form of Radha Parthasarathi. It is located at Hare Krishna Hills and the distance from OYO Premium East of Kailash is  1.7 km.

Following the norms laid down, we took a cycle rickshaw to the venue and had an interesting chat cum photo session with our rickshaw wallah. 

Inside a cycle rickshaw and loving it!

With our friendly rickshaw wala, Rajesh

The entrance to the ISKCON Temple 
As I stood there, a flock of birds suddenly flew overhead

Teatime snacks at the Govinda Cafe 

A Keepsake

Our next stop was the Bahai Lotus Temple which we reached buy an auto rickshaw.The Lotus Temple, is a Bahá'í House of Worship. Notable for its flower like shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the region and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. 

Waling to the temple on that very hot afternoon, I felt a wave of dizziness pass over me and had to sit for a while in order to feel fully functional again.Having said that, once we were inside that magnificent structure and seated on the comfortable wooden benches, it was as if all the heat and humidity outside melted away. As I sat there with my eyes closed, the delicious cool breeze that wafted through the temple walls had an extremely calming effect and I clearly remember dozing , albeit briefly.

The Lotus Temple shimmers in the hot afternoon

And then it was time to head back to a well deserved 'Masala Chai' back at OYO Premium. This is what we thankfully returned to and sat sipping that wonderfully calming brew in the downstairs lobby.

Relieved to be back in the cool interiors 

Loved the cool and fresh look

Sunset from my balcony

After a shower and another Masala chai, I decided to head to the Epicuria Mall for my dinner and dessert and was really glad that I made the effort. Take a look at the photographs just below and you will see how my evening panned out. 
Dinner at Sona- in the Epicuria Food Mall 

Feel that Saturday night buzz?

Love the look- Walking up from La Opera 

The Epicuria Mall from outside

At La 'Opera for a Latte and dessert

Back at the hotel by 1030 pm, I reconnected with family and checked my Twitter feed to see if I was satisfied with what I'd posted through that afternoon and evening. Satisfied that I hadn't overdone the 'selfies', I watched some TV before turning in for the night.

A relaxed morning the next day, an indulgent breakfast and a quick trip to the beauty parlour in the neighbourhood and I was ready to check out.

Breakfast next morning

An indulgent breakfast 

A relaxed Sunday morning 

Thanking the  GM, Mr Niruka who has been managing the property for the last few years I made my way back home. It was going to be a busy rest of the weekend and we had an engagement ceremony to attend that evening.

Did I enjoy my day out with OYOxplorer? 

A definite yes!

Would I do it any differently? 

Yes, I'd seriously reconsider setting up such an event in the peak of summer .

Monday, June 8, 2015

Taking my World With me in the Renault Lodgy- An exciting Weekend in Goa

Think about Goa and what does the mind's eye conjure up? Most likely the beach will be top of the list. However, the fact is that there’s a lot more to Goa than sun, sand and surf.Green and clean, rich in natural beauty, topped by stunning views, a relaxed way of life and  delicious cuisine, its always a good time to visit Goa.

Blue, Green and Beautiful Goa

(Image Courtesy-Wallpapers

So when I checked BlogAdda site and found this very interesting opportunity to possibly spend some time in Goa during the amazing weekend trip for the #LiveLodgycal Drive from 19th to 21st June, I realised that its  clearly  going to be one experience that I just don’t want to miss! Topping it would be the fact that for me it would be a great way to experience Goa for the first time ever and come back with memories to last a lifetime.

Technically, our world is the Earth, but the definition of ‘My World’ differs from person to person. These are the things which matter most to a person and according to the brief for this campaign, I've been asked to talk about my Top 5 things, primarily those which I'd find difficult to live without.So keeping in mind the fact that its the peak of summer, I'm going to try and define them  accurately.

Inseparable- Me and my large handbag 

The first one on my list is this large brown handbag that you see me carrying in the photograph above. Its a travel staple and one that functions as a carry all. From my bottle of water to some snacks, my make up kit, a shawl or scarf as the case might be and even a change of clothes, this bag can do it all! The other factor that adds to its charm is that it looks smart, is highly durable and I can and have taken it everywhere I go on an outstation trip.
My I Phone 5S

Then we come to my trustworthy and 'always with me' I Phone 5S. If I was to be really honest, I really don't think that I could last even one 1
( whole) hour without it. With over a 100 Apps, and the ability to do just about anything I want to do, this phone has proved to be a lifeline for me more than once, Given as a birthday present by my husband last year, this phone gives me hours of happiness so I guess by now you aren't surprised as to exactly why  its a huge part of 'My World'.

My Sun hat and dark glasses

Last month I bought myself this new pair of sunglasses and a hat. Since then both these items have become indispensable. For those of you who are familiar with the wrath of the summer sun in New Delhi, its probably easy for you to understand. Must add here that I have a have a real problem with exposure to the sun, so while some of you who need a higher dose of Vitamin D might think otherwise, for me, both these items are 'must haves' in the very real sense.

Last but not the least on my list would be a pair of blue jeans. These are something that I can team up with any kind of shirt/jacket/coat/etc and make a new outfit each time. Can I do without them? 

Seriously  NO...
A pair of comfortable blue jeans

Now a little bit about the all new Renault Lodgy, a spectacular looking car which will redefine what comfort travel is all about.
The All new Renault Lodgy

(Image Source- Auto

The Renault Lodgy has a massive boot space of 207 litres, expandable to 1861 liters, and can carry a whole chest of books, a gaming console, a set of speakers and so much more. If it’s entertainment you can’t live without, then you can connect your phone to the Medianav System and have your fun on the go! Can’t bear to be parted from your smart phone for any length of time? The mobile charger will ensure that your phone never runs out of juice. And if your world resides in your family, you can take all of them with you with ease, courtesy of the 7-8 seater Renault Lodgy.

Of course, no journey is complete without food and drinks, so you can carry your favourite food and drinks without the fear of spilling with the cup holders and luxurious flight trays.

Comfort-You only have to open the door to see how practical the Renault Lodgy is. Very spacious with up to 7 full-size seats over three rows. Its modular loading volume is unbeatable with folding 2nd and 3rd row bench seats. With climate control to the 30 L of storage space located around the vehicle, comfort for all on board is ensured.

Technology-When it comes to equipment, the new Renault Lodgy has even more to offer. Enjoy fingertip control of the MediaNAV multimedia system thanks to its 7-inch touchscreen. Parking is child's play, with the rear parking aid. Keep control over fuel consumption with the Eco mode and zip off for a smooth and easy ride.

With overall safety and relaxation ensured, you can now - travel safely and let the new Renault Lodgy take care of you. Their  experts have done their utmost to ensure the safety of all.

I will conclude on that on that note but not before saying that I just cant wait for an opportunity to experience the #LiveLodgycal Drive in Goa as well as experience the all new Renault Lodgy up close and very personal. 

I’m participating in the #LiveLodgycal contest with Renault in association withBlogAdda to get a chance to be a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive in Goa.