Monday, September 30, 2013

Storme-D Into The Little Known Heaven; Dooars.

It was that time of the year, when sun with its strength compelled me and my friends to plan a vacation. Our motto was to look for a cold region and be miles away from the heat of Mumbai, however, the usual places we had been to or any place that was almost everyone’s favorite were certainly not in our list. The reason was simply to explore a new realm, perhaps a virgin land.

Our search finished on Dooars; not a virgin terrain but not much explored or heard of. Undoubtedly none of us had much of any idea of the place. Dooars or Duars are the floodplains and foothills of the eastern Himalayas in North-East India around Bhutan.

So, we set off for our journey to the beautiful cold valleys. We, total five of us, landed in Kolkata. Our plan was to take the roadways from there to Siliguri; the gateway to Duars. A SUV was our requirement for our exploration. Ergo, instead of the much preferred jeeps or maxi-taxis, we chose Tata Safari Storme, which we borrowed from my cousin to go to Siliguri. It was our plan to drive in the same vehicle to Dooars as it was perfect for our adventurous expedition to the valley, as TataSafarai Storme provides a host of accessories such as fog lamp, canopy, PND, alloy wheel etc., crafted for such thrilling journeys.

We made our way through NH31 to tourist lodges run by WB govt., which we had booked earlier. Taking in the scenic beauty of the tea gardens and the dense forest which lay on both sides of the highway till Dooars, our journey had already developed into a divinely thrilling experience.

Reaching the lodges, we made our plans for the next three days. Chapramari forests were our first destination. We rode our way towards the nature, in our now much beloved Tata Safari Storme. Our citicized bodies kept inhaling the pure air of the valley. Once, we reached we were in for a magnificent treat. The forest thrived in a mesmerizing assortment of flora and fauna. We were lucky to encounter two bisons, though, not lucky enough to say hello to our favorite Royal Bengal tiger.

Next day our host region, saw us at the Jaldapara Santuary, which has the immense uniformity of massive trees with array of orchids. The dense land ringed with chirping of birds and wild animals. It is a land of ecstasy for lovers of nature.

The third day, we went on to discover the local bazaar, the timber industries and the tea gardens; these are the main contributors to the economy of the region. It felt like the heaven had just come down for us with wonderful warm local people. The food, the valley, the land had given us a refreshing life we deserved.

Our three day vacation, however, was over within three blinks of eyes with a promise of many more visits to the place and yes, with our friendly companion Tata Safari Storme, which made our journey more adventurous and thrilling. 

***This post has been written exclusively for Tata Safari Storme-I am Explorer and Indiblogger. To discover more about the thrilling experience of Tata Safari Storme and its accessories, visit Tata Safari ***

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Beaten By Bhagath, by S.V. Divvaakar.

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

The Establishment, The Challenger.

Title            : Beaten By Bhagath! A Tale Of Two Writers.
Author       : S.V. Divvaakar.
Pages          : 191
Publisher  : Frog Books/ Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN          : 978-93-82473-03-9
Price           : India Rs. 125/-; Elsewhere US $5
My Rating : 3/5

"He was now the establishment, and I was the challenger."

Often we wish we could  take on the world with our passion and not with our 9-5 job. Many of us do follow the dream to make it a reality. Success, though, comes to not many.
"Beaten By Bhagath" is about a man's passion to make it big with his writing, albeit a result of his ego and encouraging line from his sexy lady boss, he wants to overthrow the big name K-10; a celebrity author and his friend. Its about the dramatic roller-coaster ride of a debutante writer and his book.

The Plot:
S.V. Divvaakar takes you on a journey of a man who wants to dethrone his ex-roommate, an old friend who is a star writer and has ventured into many facets of life, enjoying success everywhere. It gives you a glimpse of the path that one has to tread to publish one's debut book. It talks of changes that come by in life when a writer is determined to reach maximum of readers as soon as possible beating the reigning best selling author. The changes grill him, and brings out the worst of him. As you progress further with the story, you experience BB's passion...his challenges... his judgement... his realizations, along with fate of his debut book.
What exactly does a novice BB do? Does he find success? Do the friends meet? ...

The Characters: 
Not many main characters to talk about. Except BB rest make it in short sketches, including K-10. The main character BB is perfectly flawed. BB made me smile, there was a moment when he disgusted me, some of his decisions disappointed me, he made me want to lecture him on a few occasions. All in all, I enjoyed BB’s faults and flips. K-10 through BB's eyes introduces his intelligence, his determinations, his wisdom. I secretly wished to know K-10 more.

My Experience:
There were times I flowed with the lucid narration while other times I went against it. However, I wished hinglish didn't make its cameo; I am not much of a fan of it. I loved the candid take on the current variety of books that are in fad. Divvaakar aptly points the reason for the new generation writers opting for very plain conversational style. As we see K-10 declaring that he doesn't want to write books that people can read only with a dictionary by the side. He wants to connect, not to overwhelm.The little details that penetrated my mind through the chapters held my attention throughout.

Its a fine read with good insights on the publishing world. Grab your "Beaten by Bhagath" if you are toying with the idea of publishing your (debut) book, and even if you aren't, go ahead... pick your copy, it has a few lessons of life to learn as well.

-Namrota Mazumdar. ]

***This review has been written as a part of the Book Review Program for The Tales Pensieve***

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shop The Future Way

With technology being part of our lives by now, there are no guesses for what lies in the future. Flying cars, space tourism (tours to other planets), real estate booming on moon, five dimensional television screens with images probably interacting with the audience et al could be our future. I wonder how something as important (for us) and commercial (for the companies) like shopping would transform into.

Let's not go too far into 3013-ish but hover around 2030. My fantasy tells me the year 2030 would host a multi-dimensioned shopping opportunities for both online and offline shoppers.

Flying Chinese Food Cart (Movie: Fifth Element)
Shopping malls with five dimensional themes with interactive computers to list the sections where to find what you are looking for. How wonderful it would be to just walk into a mega mall, and glide your fingers on the big screen that blinks at you to use it and find what would suit you, your loved ones or your home.Even as you know where to find your treasure, as you stride towards your destined shop, the display windows of other stores would lure you with their own 4-D screens. Here models would capture your senses displaying clothes, perfumes, gadgets, etc. which would also give you a trial opportunity right there showing your image so you would know how you would look like in them or with them. 

Online shopping portals like, ebay, would deliver your order on your door step on their flying carts. After you place your order on your multi-dimensional computer screens, where again the image would pop out before you giving you the options. Then magically (technologically) you would touch the screen below to put your image instead and see yourself wearing that red dress, or the hold the new multi-G android or just the new book you want to read.
Ah! future shopping would be so much fun, so much to look for. Hope it shapes sooner than 2030.

***This post is exclusively for The Future Of Shopping, by ebay through Indiblogger. 2030 is far, so if you want to check out ebay collection right away, visit: HERE***

[Image courtesy: Google]

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Yatra to Falls and Sand.

A short two days holiday was being planned by me and my friends, Shruti, Roopa and Shreya, I knew the best place to venture upon. A twin waterfalls at the island town of Shivasamudra, 139 kms from Bangalore.
Cauvery falling down in mirth.

Without any other second thoughts, we immediately booked our flights and hotel from Mumbai, through
Our motto was to have a spontaneous trip; hence, we hired two scooties for our adventurous fun.

The roadway itself is one beautiful memorable ride to the falls, the landscapes, the greenery add to one’s experience and the rocky terrains of a near by town gives a fascinating touch to your journey as it’s the spot where, Gabbar and Samba made their characters and the movie Sholay, one of the best celluloid creations of all times. 
Sholay spot.
Once you reach your destination, you are in for a divine experience. The Cauvery River curves its way from the rocks and ravines only to get segmented into two luscious waterfalls; the Gaganachukii waterfalls.
The magnificent twins at Ganchukki
Carrying few snacks and bottles filled with water we made sure, we keep our body energized. We were led to the watch tower from where the Gananachukki falls can be witnessed perfectly. It was dream to be in the presence of such water-bodies dropping off from the mouth of the mountains, roaring their way down.

Interestingly the Cauvery splits itself and creates another fall called Barachukki which is to the south-west of Gaganachukki. And sadly, many people aren’t aware of the place or they find it tiring to way their journey few kilometers more, hence, the place is still a virgin, with only few tourists taking in the beauty of this waterfall, which, BTW, had my heart the instant I stepped in its lap.
Stoned steps
Several fleets of stone steps lead our way to the bottom to witness the magnificent waterfall. With several vendors selling puffed rice mixed with pea-nuts, tomatoes, diced cucumber (another variety of sookha bhel) and slices of cucumber with a dash of salt and red chilli powder. I was told once, that these help in fueling your body with the required energy to climb up and down such heights; guess these village people are more aware of such things than us city-dwellers.

Once reaching the ground a rocky base welcomes you with hoards of tress standing firmly and the water from fall flowing in its own terms along side.
The Barachukki Falls
We had our lunch here which we had packed *smarties-that-we-are* and shared it generously with the monkey friends around, with keeping in mind not to litter.

Many people dared to step in the current and splash water at each other but we refrained as we didn’t carry spare clothes, a point we mentally sketched for our next trip. We stepped forward towards the coracle rides, which the locals had their sweet and obvious name-Katori. Frankly, I prefer calling it that.
Towards Barachukki Falls in Katori.

Our Katori-man who got conscious and didn't smile for photo :-|
A gentle ever smiling man took us for the Katori ride which took us to the base of the fall. Captivating is the way they approach the waterfall, they have ropes tied at the base of the fall with another end lactched somewhere in the middle of the bank and the base.  He pulled the rope and there we were almost the base, they had reminded us the danger of the fall during monsoon, so, we had to be happy with the a-little-more-than-a-foot distance. But we did get quite drenched, so much so for no extra clothes.

The Katori-man pulling the rope.
On our way back to the bank he gave us a natural water-park experience, by swirling the Katori thrice, making us scream our heart out. With all the adrenaline rush at its best, my friend asked for another swirl and he was generous to oblige. No guesses I had my heart in my mouth. 
Screaming with joy we were back on the stairs with our journey back to Bangalore.

Next day, we headed our way towards Talakad, a desert like town, 133 km from Bangalore. Again on our scooties we rode towards our destination. Again, we had packed some sandwiches and wafers and ample of water in case our tummy growls at a place where food refuses to exist.

Once we reached, our souls swelled with admiration. The temples, once which were 30 in number, are now buried under the sand and gave me a feeling of being a part of ancient India. With loads of history and mythology attached to this sand filled destination, it a paradise.

Temples buried under layers of sand.

My next trip to this place in future is a definite YES; I would plan it with my future hubby for a short two day trip, and with wonderfully taken care by this would make my trip to these awesome-st places a journey to remember. 

***This travel post is written exclusively for  Creating Happy Travellers- Contest***

[Please Note: The images are property of the author, if you like any of the photo and want to use them, please take the permission.]

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Raising Lecherous Streets.

I was raised as a free human with no leash around my ankles. My parents never felt the need of a boy, for they wanted a child and not a bundle of particular gender in their arms. My hangouts weren't restricted, my studies never faced a halt and my decisions were never challenged on the basis of my sex, as discrimination of any sort does not exist in my family.

Having such humane surroundings in abundance the biased nature of the society was a culture shock to me, which till date shocks me with the same intensity. Irrespective of class, caste or creed, the society grants boys the liberty to feel superior to girls and in turn the latter crowd is made to believe in their foisted inferiority status.

In a jiffy a woman is conveniently blamed for the sexual assault she is subjected to.
Its time we recognize the fact that her shorts, minis, backless do not invite a rape, but, his lecherous intentions leads to the heinous crime.
Hanging out with guys does not make her less of a woman but his aim to defeat her freedom makes him less of a man.
She does not shame womanhood when she laughs at adult jokes but classifying her as an available sex-toy for her laughter at such jokes shames humanity.

Not acknowledging, that her friendly and free nature does not mean her body is available to anyone is a result of the imbalance that’s fed in the minds of the children. Yes, it is the upbringing which is making his mind sick. Today we see the rise in the pestilence called rape, in India; what are we raising here, a nation of sexual predators where no woman, even in a city like Mumbai, which once was the safest haven for women, wants to step out without a pepper spray? The streets are full with such leeches who throw lewd remarks and gestures at women, mentally undressing her, and numerous times the sheer guts make them grope the dignity of women.

I am advised by people to carry weapons and learn self defense. Never have I seen a boy being advised to treat a girl with respect.
Stringent laws and due punishments will be made, maybe even implemented, but, the rotting root needs fixing. We need a society which does not ask a woman to not to step out at night nor solicits her clothes.
We need a society that tells the men to treat women as humans, a society which doesn't blame the victim but punishes the culprit.

I am a woman and I want to breathe in life freely ... beautifully ... humanely.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Close to Nature with Blossoms and Breeze; Ambi Pur

The pretty white and pink 275 gm can freshly fetched from its package sat eagerly on our glass table enticing me with its name, "Blossoms and Breeze" to put it to use. The little 5.5 ml pack parked beside it with the same name wasn't far behind either. These were Ambi pur air effects and Ambi pur set n refresh (both blossoms and breeze) respectively. It was now no longer a reviewing task for me, it was about getting connected to the fragrances that rested inside geared up to mingle with the air.
Ambi Pur Air Effects-  Blossoms and Breeze
I first pick was the can first; the Ambi pur air effects- Blossoms and Breeze. I held it pulled the trigger back and as instructed and shown in the photos I sprayed the fragrance in my living room in a sweeping motion. The moment the aroma fanned out in the room I felt like I was transformed to a place with an unpolluted environment and natural springs all over. I was close to Mother Nature. It just made me feel alive with its subtle fresh scent and I realized it had eradicated malodors as well.

Ambi Pur Set n Refresh- blossoms and Breeze
Quickly striding towards the table I released the Ambi pur set n refresh- Blossoms and Breeze from its pack and set to my bed room. As instructed I activated it with its cartridge inside carrying the perfumed oil. Designed intelligently the product with its scented oil eliminates malodors continuously and releases a misty aroma in the room.
The similar feeling cam back to me, I closed my eyes and felt the fragrance swayed me to a meadow full of blossoms.

I had stumbled upon fresheners that were more than the other fresheners. Ambi pur had Fresheners that along with spreading Freshness it created happiness by snatching away the un-wanted odors that linger around home. 

***This write up is a review on Ambi pur air effects and Ambi pur set n refresh products for Ambi Pur #FreshNHappy contest. To get in touch with them click Here.***

[Images: Google]

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reliving Memories!

When Ambi Pur India presented us with a plot to tell them about the nostalgic memories we associate with different smells or fragrances in our home, I was already floating in those fragrances that always lead me to revisit the memories associate with them.

Some memories resurface with fragrances around us at home; memories that leave you with different emotions related to those moments.
And being no exception to this it happens to me quite often.

One of my nostalgic moments that come alive is when jasmine flowers are brought to offer to gods, at home. It takes me back to my childhood days at my nanihaal. I used to be with my naani most of the time especially in the mornings. Fascinatingly glued to her errands related to her daily poojas, I used to help her with my small hands in plucking flowers from the courtyard garden, something I was deprived from in Mumbai. My favorite tree was the one which had these tiny pretty white flowers called jasmine. The pleasure of plucking the flowers and collecting them in a beautiful metal basket meant for the floras only used to increase many folds along with the fragrance of jasmine that enveloped me. 

Hopping and jumping, I would follow naani into the room, which was our constructed for the gods to dwell, and the bliss would continue and increase, as I would get to decorate the temple with the flowers and then doll up the beautiful idols of gods. This used to be our routine every morning and these memories got etched so deeply within me that the jasmine fragrance at home makes me nostalgic and a smile creeps on my face and I look up knowing naani must be watching me from wherever she is and would be feeling reminiscent to those memoirs. 

Folding Hand-fan 

Another delicate scent that takes me back to a nostalgic period is that of the sandalwood paste that mom churns by rubbing the sandalwood stick on a peach hued stone. My only visit to Mysore palace resurrects whenever I smell the sandalwood paste. The magnificent palace is a neighbor to various vendors sitting outside the palace compound selling products shooting high claims about the products having been made from original sandalwood. From hand fans to incense sticks and various cosmetics; every product was associated with sandalwood. I was being targeted by various vendors who tried to sell anything and everything they had. Although my eyes had their full attention only for the wooden artifacts I ended up buying a pretty looking folding hand fan which had sandalwood scent and definitely not made out of the expensive sandalwood as claimed. It has been more than four years now and even today the sandalwood paste scent always makes my trip to Mysore palace and my experience with those interesting vendors and their products alive within me.

Ambi Pur Blossoms and Breeze
The other nostalgic moment that I have been experiencing for sometime is the one that Ambi Pur Home Freshner- Blossoms and Breeze gives me. Its fragrance reminds me of nature, spring and rain forest. Takes me to this world filled with unpolluted environment surrounded by Mother Nature and I relive my moments that I had with my family and friends in Lonavla-Khandala, many years ago.

That's the power of fragrances, they can take you back anywhere anytime you already had been to and relive those moments.

***This post is penned exclusively for Ambi Pur's Smelly to Smiley contest. To know more about their fabulous products and experience a dreamy aromatic world you may visit: Ambi Pur India Facebook***

[Images: google]

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My first IndiBlogger Meet; courtesy HP

My excitement broke all the boundaries and streamed out of me when I saw the invitation to HP Android IndiBlogger Meet, Mumbai. The reason for such exuberant enthusiasm was that it was going to be my first IndiBlogger meet and it was being sponsored by none other than HP who were to present their new gadgets and devices. I registered myself ASAP without thinking twice. My brain scripted a message which it kept playing for me- no plans, no appointments could stop me to be attend the meet.

I got in touch with my friends who were already experienced IndiBlogger-meet dudes and dudettes and now I was about to join the caravan.

The D-day arrived and with tons of fervor within me, I set out of home to reach the venue. I along with four of my friends arrived on time 
after losing our way for a while and found the place filled with the Indi team and many co-bloggers.

The room wasn't a big one but was spacious enough for us to sit and move to the rear for refreshments, which were being eyed upon by each blogger, yes that included me too.

HP team was almost ready to stage their new dashing products and we all took seats as per our choices and convenience of having known faces around us.
Slowly all my friends began to join us boosting my joyousness with every entry.

Gallons of excitement rolled with every minute and the fun had its own source of greeting us every time we thought it can’t get better than this.
Any event without a witty host is like Iced-tea without ice cubes, and IndiBlogger with this knowledge made no mistakes here and we had a wonderful host who kept the entire evening weaved together.
Before HP began with their presentation we had touches of introductions and I came to know that 
I wasn't the only sophomore there. Also interestingly we had a blogger family amongst us whose son was the youngest blogger there who was all of 13 yrs only.

Renie under the black veil
The evening got more entertaining when it was sprinkled with fun games where participants (Renie being the first one, who threatened our host with life for naming him, though his face had a yay-smile) were covered in a black cloth which seemed related to burkha, and they had to guess the word displayed on the screen with the help of hints by others. The best part, the inning hint giving soul and the participant both won something from HP.
In fact the evening was more interesting as there were loads of gifts and prizes by HP.

HP came by with their gadgets; the laptop that can be turned into tablet, the family tab were the ones that caught my attention. The question-answer sessions that went on was as appealing for brains and ears as the HP gadgets. 
The fab HP presentation

Sudarshan with his brilliant presentation
Further things got more engaging with three bloggers staging their presentations which were pretty informative. (Here my friend Sudarshan was best here, and no I am not being biased here, he was indeed brilliant and many of us weren't aware of this talent of his).

Everyone's favorite time arrived when it was announced that it was Food-time. Being a holy day Mom had instructed me to not even look at the non-veg section and so I had to give a pass to the deliciously rolled non-veg item. I didn't even have the heart to ask, what it was. Anyhow, I savored the veg patties and the little brownies were yum and I ended up gorging upon four, yes, I cheated my diet that day. 

The activities kept the event flowing. From the guessing game, introductions, punches on others to the group hug part where our group won and I ended up with speakers which I almost begged to almost everyone there to exchange with whatever they had, but everyone were too much in love with what they got and refused me with the what-a-crazy-girl look. 

The man who makes it all possible

And then, time just flew and the meet ended but not before the give-aways. I must confess, I was told the bloggers are presented with Indiblogger t-shirts and I was all ready to own mine, but fate had something else planned for us, it was a pistachio hued HP Android, IndiBlogger Meet Mug that I received, which is btw one of the most prettiest mugs I have ever seen. 

Having Renie that evening was one of the best things of the event. Wish I could have said an official hello to him. But, may be next time.
I thank Indiblogger and HP for this wonderful evening and I can't wait to be part of next meet, I will no more be a sophomore then. *Grins broadly*

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