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Monday, 28 May 2012

Lavasa Bloggers Reunion

Every morning after a cup of tea, I walk around the pages of Face book, Twitter, blogs and other social media channels to update myself with the latest events. I normally see the same set of people, most of them are unknown to me personally, but I know them well from their profile pictures, their postings and the news that we share.

I am never sure who reads my blog but I was surprised when I was invited by Windchimes to participate in Lavasa Women’s Drive2011 along with seven more bloggers to spend two days of leisure and tour around the city.

That was the first time that I met bloggers whom I had never met before. I may be very active online but otherwise I am quite reserved and don’t interact freely with strangers. It took me some time to interact but others were very friendly and full of news to share, soon I was enjoying with them, laughing, chatting and touring around the city.

Nisha Jha, the travel blogger, Kiran, blogger and author, Leela Shakti, DNA sub-editorand author, Monika Manchanda, the food blogger, Ramya Pandyan, a netaholicblogger, Anuradha Shankar, thetravel blogger, and Shashi, shoppingstories blogger were the eight bloggers whom I met the first time and Biswajit was our friend, our guide fromWindchimes, who would calm our nerves when things went wrong.

We spend two days together in the beautiful city of Lavasa and then we went on with our lives with just the memorable time etched into my mind.

Over the period of one year, everybody has progressed exceptionally well in their own field. I wanted to meet them all, at least once again, but getting them under one roof was bound to be a difficult task. Every month I asked if it was possible to meet up but always somebody was busy. Three months passed but we were not able to find common dates to suit all. I had almost given up and decided to try for one last time and wrote a final mail asking

‘Will we ever meet?”

Kiran responded saying that we could meet this coming Saturday but Shakti had already planned for that week-end and said she couldn’t meet.

 I wanted to call it off again but this idea had stretched too long and we decided to go ahead with whosoever was free on that Saturday. We discussed various venues and finally zeroed it at Lemon Tree at Bandra.

At 1pm, Biswajit send me the message that he had already arrived and was waiting at the top floor of the restaurant. I waited for Nisha, since she was coming from Panvel, 3hours away from Bandra, to attend this meet-up. We met at the end of my lane and took an autoride to the venue.

The ambience at this restaurant was very soothing and peaceful with beautiful decorative plates, vases and blue lanterns on the wall, there were artistically painted white logs and branches on the ceiling, the etched floral glass on the windows, white and mustard paint on the walls and white shades to keep the sunlight out.

The tables were distantly placed with enough privacy to each group. We sat comfortably on the soft seats with ample of cushions of different sizes to lean on. The quorum was not complete, unfortunately, Monica is in Bangalore, Shakti had her college reunion and Kiran had last minute guests. Five of us met, ordered the drinks and refreshed our memories of the days spend at Lavasa..

When bloggers meet what do they talk?

Blogging of course.

We started the meals with drinks, each one ordering their own preferences; they had interesting combination on their menu card like spicy guava, blue berry yogurt, Chunky Muesli, etc. Over the drinks, Ramya, who now conducts regular workshops on blogging, discussed the various methods she used in her workshops and how she uses visuals and content to her blogs to make it interesting.

The next, we ordered the starters like Mediterrian grilled salad, Cajun potatoes and chicken in green pepper sauce. In between our chat, we clicked few pictures of the food as they arrived, which amused the waitress a lot, who was so distracted that she brought the wrong order of potatoes, which had to be moved away before we finish off the plate. This year 2012, I had made a second trip toLavasa again with other set of people, I was happy to share my experience and how different it was from my last visit.

For the mains we had Basil Ravioli of oven dried tomatoes and olives, a Shepherd pie, Ratatatoville Risotto and vegetarian sandwich platter. The food was quite bland to our taste and we had to order extra tomato chilie sauce and Mustard sauce to alter the taste. I was specially amused by this long black pepper grinder which looked like a weapon of mass destruction. We continued our chat on different topics. Nisha had just returned from the Malayasian BloggersMeet and Award Nite, and also had spent two months, working with NGO in Cambodia teaching school kids in the rural areas. It was interesting to hear her stories of the natives and how rewarding it was to work for NGO and contribute to the society in our own capability.  

My Blue Berry Yogurt lasted throughout the meals; sipping slowly and relishing every sip so when they ordered Crème Brulee and Bitter chocolate and apricot mousse for deserts, I only watched them eat. Anu spoke about her romance of apple pie and how she has enjoyed at different places. I have never ever tried the apple pie but now am curious to try one at Yazdaan Bakery when I visit South Mumbai next. Anu has been travelling widely across India and she has a new hobby ofcollecting postcards and stamps of different countries, it was interesting to hear about her adventurous travel tales across India.

The lunch lasted over four hours, bill was paid but our conversation had not yet come to an end. We had to vacate the room for its closure during lunch hour. We moved to another room downstairs, which was cozy bar with wooden tables and chairs, to continue our conversation. Biswajit, who is the social media consultant, discussed the importance of virtual interaction on net and how useful it is to the corporate world.

Blogging is the informal way of advertising and bloggers should not be taken for granted. There may be paid news in the newspapers and magazine but a blogger cannot be hired, because he will be honest and true to his content, he may not hesitate to give negative review if he feels like it.

Blogging is a very powerful medium which plays very important role in spreading awareness. There are no monetary benefits, it is purely passion but much importance is given to the written word. A blogger is invited to different events by corporate in the hope that they will get free publicity, people feel pleased when they see a blogger making notes, clicking pictures but they are never sure of what review they might get.

Blogger is not looking for free-bees; he is just looking for news-worthy content, to share with those who are looking for right kind of service, be it a new product, a film, an interesting place or an event. Bloggers should never be taken for granted because they are creative, moody and sometimes fun too.  

We missed Monika, Kiran and Leela Shakti. We had hoped to listen to Kiran Manral discuss her new book Reluntant Detective, or Shakti discuss her book, Imperfect Mr Right’ or Monika for her culinary stunts of those beautiful cupcakes

But most of all I truly missed Monika gurgling laughter. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


We may never have tasted a bun and we see in the bakery store for the first time, what do we do? will we buy it immediately and eat it? what if it is sour? or sweet? there is always a first time, and we have to take a chance because unless we don't taste it we will never know how it taste like.

But we don't wish to take a risk because we are afraid that if we don't like it, we might have to throw it away or give it to somebody who likes it. another best thing is to wait for some else to taste it for you. you wait till you get approval from the people whom you trust, but then again it may be possible that your taste might differ from the person whom you trust.

Well there is always the first time, so you go ahead and decide to give it a try. What will you lose if you try and don't like it? Just the price of the bun which u might throw it away.

But there will be many more incidence where you cannot take risk, specially if they are expensive products. Market is flooded with choices and it becomes very confusing to decide what you actually need. Advertisements don't help because they don't care about consumer, they are interested in marketing the product, friends cannot help too because they have their own point of view and what works for them may not work for you, therefore the only thing that you can trust is your own intuition and see for yourself what works best for you.

Decisions, decision, decision..sometimes you be right and sometimes wrong. But decisions have to be taken or the thought niggers you and hampers your action, because the decision is waiting for you to execute...........

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Vicky Donor - The Father of 53 babies

Friend says “let’s go for ‘Vicky Donor’ a Bollywood film, but I am in no mood to watch a film that week and I suggest a shopping in the mall instead. We spend the evening at a shopping mall at Juhu, looking at the latest gadgets on display and lusting for it. Lust is the only thing we can afford to do over over-priced gadgets that are beyond our budget. My friend, who is a compulsive shopper, however, shops and comes home with a kitchen appliance but reminds me that it would have been a better choice to go for a film.

I agree, I should have gone for a film instead.

One week later, another friend suggests for the same film. By now, the reviews are out and I am told that the film is doing quite well. There is good acting of the new stars, humor, good music and a fresh subject about sperm donation that has never been discussed so openly. 

The curiosity gets the better of me and I go along….

Blood donation, kidney donation, eyes donations, we have heard it all, everything can be donated to make the life of the fellow human more tolerable but why is sperm donation a shame, a taboo?

In the latest film ‘Vicky Donor’, the story revolves around Vicky Arora (Ayushmann Khurana), a jobless Delhi-based Punjabi boy who is convinced by Baldev Chadda (played by Anu Kapoor) to become sperm donor. He chooses to be discreet about this because of the fear of rejection from the society, so although this gives him money and the pride, it does not give him enough courage to disclose his activity.

But that is not all that makes this movie entertaining; it also has playful scripts discussing the culture of Bengal and of Punjab, which is so different in every aspect that it adds humor to the script, Then there is also wit and humor during mother-in-law’s drinking habits,played by Kamlesh Gill, her conversation with Dolly,(her daughter-in-law) which is sometimes difficult to understand because of its Punjabi accent but is entertaining nevertheless.

With new actors, the film is believable; there are no item songs, no unpleasantness, the story flows smoothly with fine acting by all the actors.

Before the movie was released, Ayushmann Khurana had done the promo of this film with college students and the girls who were interviewed, were put off by this idea of sperm donation and admitted that they would not like to be married to a sperm donor. 

I think we find this idea obnoxious because of the way Vicky Arora is advised by Baldev Chadda, (Anu Kapoor) the doctor. He asks him to masturbate over the porno materials to ejaculate those semen samples. 

However, one boy joked that he would be happy to see his children in every lane…..

You can watch the promo with college kids here

Over the box of caramelized popcorns and the pair of samosas, it was a perfect evening to spend a lovely evening in a cool auditorium and enjoy the fresh approach of this new subject…….

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Mumbai Roads

A random thought

Mumbai roads are ripped apart, pimpled with sand and stones, there is a narrow uneven path, I need to cross it, I stand there uncertain if I should dare to walk without losing my balance, I see a laborer, beckon him to hold my hand, confident now with the support of his arm, I get courage and walk with grace as if on a ramp......

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