A drive till neemrana 1

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The first 4.5 months of this year went in coping with the kneecap dislocation and the subsequent MPFL reconstruction surgery I had to get done to fix the ligament that got ruptured. This included intensive physiotherapy for 2 months and even though I am not 100% ok yet, I am at least “kaam chalau” ok. Good enough to go out and be social again. I’ll write more about the MPFL reconstruction journey later. For now I shall talk about another journey – one from Gurgaon to Neemrana, while driving myself (yes, a big deal after surgery) and that too in a brand new car – the new Tata bolt! I got invited by Blogadda to join in on this drive that was happening on 10th May. Even though I was a bit apprehensive about my driving a long distance after surgery as well as climbing stairs – after talking to Harish from Blogadda, I was assured that there were many other drivers and it wasn’t mandatory to drive. It was as per comfort level. In fact there was a participant who didn’t know how to drive, but I digress :).  As for the stairs, well some were to be climbed to get to our destination for the day, but I could skip anything else that seemed physically taxing for my knee for now. So off I set on Sunday morning, reached Galaxy hotel at the pre-decided time and was assigned to team no 1.  We were to drive the petrol version (revotron) of the car first, followed by an exchange with the diesel version at a pit stop.

After an intro round and some appetisers, Mr Sethi  from Tata Motors shared some of the features of the Tata bolt. They also announced a contest – the best picture of the day would win flipkart vouchers. After lunch, we got ready to leave. All the cars had an ice box that was filled with cold water, juices, lassi, lemonade and some assorted snacks. Much needed on the hot searing sunny day that was the 10th of May! They were also equipped with Samsung tabs using the “connectnext” technology, through which we were constantly in touch with “Captain Bolt” – for all practical purposes a mysterious voice that kept tabs on us, our whereabouts and our requirements :) .. In reality a person of the Tata Bolt team who wasn’t a part of the cavalcade & also provided us some media to play during our long drive. All cars were RED in colour except the pilot car. Boy I love that colour! My team mates were Prasad – an angel investor amongst other things and Alok – An SEO specialist. Alok didn’t know how to drive … and then there were two :). Accompanying us was Anuja from the blogadda team. Since we were team no 1, we were the first ones to be flagged off. I decided to drive first for as long as I could drive and then hand over the car to Prasad. We first went to leisure valley grounds, where a track had been set up to test the suspension of the car. Once we were through that, we set out for Neemrana Fort Palace. The “Revotron” version has 3 modes of driving in the city – Sport (power), Eco (Mileage), City (Mix of both). We mostly drove in the city mode. Even on the highway on sports mode, the difference could not be discerned because of constant traffic jams. It felt great going for a long drive after a gap of more than 4 months. I didn’t feel the level of discomfort I had expected due to my knee and drove till the pit stop. Once there, we exchanged our car for the Diesel version and Prasad got behind the wheel. The hi-tech music system and the voice of Captain bolt kept us entertained throughout the drive. Soon we reached Neemrana. The heat was unbearable and I slowly troddled up to Jalgiri Mahal which overlooked the superlicious swimming pool! We had some refreshments and then it was time for a tour. The group went ahead while I decided to skip this part. However, I did venture out on my own and caught a glimpse of the Hawa mahal.

The place was seeped in history, and sounds of birdcalls & their echoes. Parrots and peacocks roamed around unafraid of human contact. It was strange seeing huge trees growing over by the stairs and what not. Small little peepholes in the parapets of the fort had been converted to toilets with a view! Bougainvillea creepers adorned the palace and in some parts they covered whole walls like ivy. There were tiny little manmade ponds all over the property at various heights. And a swimming pool of course. Wonder what it would have been like in ancient times.

The inviting pool on a sweltering day!

The superlicious inviting pool in the sweltering heat! #neemrana #boltdrives @tatabolt @blogadda #cinemagram

A video posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on

 

Soon the tour ended and the entire gang came back. We all had high tea and watched a folk performance. I was still uploading my instagram images from the day and making Cinemagraphs (Animated GIFs made with short video clips) when the prizes were announced. I shouldn’t have worried cos the only image I had managed to upload by then, won me the best image of the day award! :) The prize was flipkart vouchers worth 4K. But the bigger surprise of the day was yet to come when Tata Motors announced the results of a blogging contest that had already happened a month or so back. And one of the bloggers  – Ragini – won a brand new Tata Bolt! I am sure everyone wanted to be in her place at that moment :).

My winning image!

 

  Eye of the tiger! @tatabolt @blogadda #boltdrives   A photo posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on

Cinemagraph of the folk performance

Soon it was time to leave and although this was a touch and go trip, it was still worthwhile. I clicked some more images of the fort palace that were appreciated by Neemrana properties as well.

Twilight at the Neemrana fort, clicked by twilight at the Neemrana fort 😉

 

The magnificent sun set as viewed from #neemrana fort. #boltdrives @tatabolt @blogadda #ipadography #panorama

 

A photo posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on

On the way back we had the diesel car with us throughout and since I had not driven that variant I decided to drive for as long as was comfortable. The journey back was again full of laughter, jokes, friendly jibes and of course Captain bolt’s announcements. He also conducted a quiz about the features of the car and we all won Bookmyshow vouchers. If only, we had won cars instead ;). Around halfway, I again did an exchange with Prasad and sat in the backseat. The car is comfortable and has enough leg room. We reached Galaxy hotels at 9:30 pm and after the entire gang bade farewell (which almost drowned the sound of a shaadi band) we all headed home with new experiences and friends. It was a Sunday well spent at #Boltdrives with BOLT from Tata Motors and Blogadda especially since there were prizes involved :)


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Hair today, what tomorrow! (Review)

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So I took up the #happyhairchallenge from Garnier almost a month back & at that time my hair had the tendency to be like what I highlighted here!

Here’s the journey from a tendency like this –>

monica-geller1

to using this –>

IMG_20150220_220013_1

to hair like this –>

MonicaBlonde

KIDDING! No my hair didn’t change colour! :)

to this –> (well somewhat)

MonicaClean

After using the shampoo frequently over a period of a month, following was my experience:

In the initial days of usage, my hair would feel soft immediately after the wash and conditioning process. However once my hair would dry properly, it would look rather electrified and I had to apply hair oil each time to just settle it! (grr – see topmost image above again) So I reduced the quantity of shampoo used. I also increased the time I waited, before washing off the conditioner and the results improved considerably. No more frizz. And my hair felt “silky” & easy to maintain. I might as well add, that the conditioner bottle mentions applying it on scalp but I NEVER apply conditioner to my scalp (ever since I learnt from haircare professionals that one is not supposed to). I take some in my palms and rub it from roughly 1 inch of hair follicles to hair tips without going to the scalp. It does help in reducing hair fall because conditioner is tougher getting out of one’s hair. Also, I don’t wash my hair without applying hair oil and massaging well first. So the product hasn’t been tried on an absolutely “dry” head.

More thoughts:

Both the shampoo & conditioner have attractive & bright packaging and a pleasant fruity smell. They have a pretty good shelf life (36 months) compared to other brands. The lathering is moderate. Not too much and not too less. I personally like more lather, but as long as results are fine, this is ok too.

The conditioner bottle’s instructions mention leaving it in for 1-2 minutes, but I left it for a good 3-4 minutes before washing off (towards the later half of my experiment). I have tried leaving it for shorter but as mentioned above, it doesn’t help my hair in the least.

Previously when I had been asked for a hair evaluation by Garnier (“Which is the biggest hair problem that you face?”) Mine in decreasing order of concern, were:

  • Frizzy/Unmanageable hair
  • Rough Hair
  • Dry/Undernourished hair
  • Weak roots leading to Hair Fall
  • Split ends

After using the shampoo for a month, the rating that I have submitted to Garnier is the following:

Does your hair feel Nourished after using Triple Nutrition?* – Yes
Does your hair feel Stronger after using Triple Nutrition? * – No
Has your hairfall reduced after using Triple Nutrition? * – No
Have your split-ends reduced after using Triple Nutrition? * – NA
Does your hair feel smoother and softer after using Triple Nutrition? * – Yes
Is your hair more manageable/easy to detangle after using Triple Nutrition? * – Yes
Does your hair look shinier after using Triple Nutrition? * – Yes
Rate the Fragrance of Triple Nutrition * – Love it!
Would you recommend Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition? * – Yes , can. In this price range.
Will you buy Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition? * – May be.

Good STUFF :

  • Affordable (Rs. 135/- each).
  • Good shelf life (36 months).
  • Colourful bottle, easy to open flip cap.
  • Smells nice.
  • Smoothens hair once you get what’s right for your hair.
  • Hair detangling made easier.

BAD STUFF :

  • Does not reduce hair fall.
  • Made my hair dry and electrified till I figured out what’s right for my hair (which was after not following the instructions on the bottle) .
  • For those finicky about chemicals in your shampoo – well this is not for you.
 Rating : 3.5/5

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for this review, but I did receive the samples of the product from Garnier. This is an unbiased review of the same.


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Hair today, what tomorrow! 1

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Since the beginning of time immemorial, I’ve had rather long hair (almost knee length or at least butt length for most of my life). Last year on women’s day I chopped my tresses in a bid to do something different, and went in for “shoulder length hair”. I know that counts as “long” for many but for me it was *rather* short going by what I had almost all the time. My biggest problem has always been how to keep my hair free from entangling and avoiding heartbreak (also known as hairfall that results from the aforementioned entangling). My hair is naturally wavy, and it tends to go rather frizzy if not maintained properly. Every hair wash episode is a mini project in the art of combing hair without entangling or breaking the long length. I have never tried any chemical treatments and have never straightened, streaked or coloured my hair. I go in for hair spa treatments from time to time to tame the tresses. In short, I’ve been a rather aadarsh bhartiya naari. And now that I have “short” hair, and tend to keep them open, I need all the help I can get to maintain my hair.

Now I can’t possibly pass off Monica’s excuses for my frizzy hair.

monica-geller1

 

Or try and tame them like this.

monica-cap

Or try things like this.

monica-friends-dreadlocks-beads

So I went in for something simpler..ahem!

.IMG_20150220_220013_1

(Ok, I couldnt help dramatising that image with textures etc)

Recently, Garnier contacted me and asked me if I wanted to try this product and review it, so here I am, trying out Garnier’s Triple nutrition range. Here are some closeups of the product that I am about to review.

IMG_20150220_215913_1IMG_20150220_215905_1

I was asked “Which is the biggest hair problem that you face?” Mine in decreasing order of concern, are:

  • Frizzy/Unmanageable hair
  • Rough Hair
  • Dry/Undernourished hair
  • Weak roots leading to Hair Fall
  • Split ends

All hair products have several claims.. be it hair masks, serums, shampoos, conditioners, hair oils and what not. Now I am about to test out the claims of this one! And I’ll be putting up my review as part of the #hairchallenge.

First impressions:

The appearance looks attractive. I like the bright colours. The bottles have a good grip on slippery shampoo-ey hands. They have a very convenient to open cap unlike many other brands where you have to struggle to flip open a rather tight cap and end up with hurting fingers and the shampoo splattered on the wall. The stuff smells real nice – but then don’t they all :).

Let’s see where it goes. Shall post a review update soon. And needless to say the review will be based on my personal hair experience and nothing else.


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Queen’s Luncheon 1

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Although I was making the meal & enjoying the luncheon in the aforementioned subject, I wasn’t the queen in question here. It was mostly the British monarch.

During my London & Scotland trip, I enjoyed Fish & Chips at various places. One of these places had served the chips or as we call them – potato wedges – with a very tasty minty mushy peas dip that I always wanted to try back home. I had also saved some Lemon Curd from Fortnum & Mason and decided to make the day a tad British my including these flavours in my meal for the day.

So here come the scrumptious details.

Appetiser:

Quick Recipe – Peel & quarter potatoes, sprinkle herbs & seasonings of your choice – I used thyme & zatar. Sprinkle olive oil, Salt, Toss. Bake. Have with minty mushy peas.

Minty Mushy Peas (Dip for the Potato wedges)

Quick recipe – Saute peas with spring onions & a handful of mint for 4-5 minutes, add a splash of water, pressure cook. You can also add water & put to simmer till peas are cooked but I prefer pressure cooking. When done, just puree them, add Salt, seasonings, a little lemon juice as per taste.

Main course:

Quick Recipe – Cook & drain pasta, In a large pan saute veggies of your choice, with thyme/rosemary, add pasta & salt/pepper. You can eat this at this stage too. I made spinach pesto by blending blanched spinach, garlic, cheese, green chillies & olive oil. You can add walnut or almonds too for a nutty taste. Mix pesto with the cooked pasta. Reheat if necessary. Eat with parmesan cheese shavings.

I followed this with a muffin & lemon curd from Fortnum & Mason :)

PS. Here’s how Jamie Oliver makes Fish, chips & minty mushy peas


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Had a Kneecap dislocation & now need MPFL surgery 9

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It’s been a while since I’ve seriously blogged any personal stuff here or even blogged at all, for that matter. I’d been planning to get back to blogging since quite a while now (does anyone even read these blog updates anymore?) … but twitter always stood in the way of expressing myself in long form. Or even reading long form for that matter. I digress.

To cut a long story short, I’ve had a kneecap dislocation (patellar dislocation) & it turns out that one of my ligaments (MPFL) is now torn to such an extent that it needs reconstruction through an invasive surgery :( The post op rehabilitation time is 3 months to say the least to get back to normal movement. It takes longer to get back to an active lifestyle. And I’ve already spent 24 days in a brace (Immobiliser) following the kneecap dislocation. So I’ve been planning all these mini-projects to do in this bedridden state. One of which is, not just getting back to blogging, but also blogging through this entire experience as a coping mechanism & also as an education to anyone else who needs to know the medical details of such an episode (there really isn’t much in terms of personal experience online). Other mini-projects include knitting a muffler (nothing to do with the fact that I support Kejru), editing a hell of a lot of photography stock that I’ve accumulated over the years, purging faltu data from all gadgets, formatting/upgrading all software on existing devices and may be learning how to code ios/android apps. I might even get back to some of my favourite activities as a child – decoupage, papier mache etc. Let’s see how it goes.

Now the long version of what exactly happened.

2014 has been a pathetic year in many ways & just when I was getting ready to bid it adieu, it gave me the worst blow of the year – or later as it turned out, perhaps much more. So on 31st Dec, I got ready, packed some stuff, set out from gurgaon for my parents’ place in Delhi. During the entire drive I felt some discomfort about something not being right. But I attributed it more to the car. Reached home, parked car in garage and then proceeded to take out the stuff from the backseat. My laptop was nearby but the main bag was far off towards the other end. The backseat part of the car was on an incline and my right foot was I think between incline and flat. I made one lunge to get to the bag.. and suddenly my right knee snapped and i was SHOCKED beyond belief. I screamed inadvertently in pain and also realised that my kneecap had dislocated like it had once earlier, 20 yrs back. At least this time I knew what was happening to me, but then it wasn’t relocating back at all unlike the last time when I was a teenager. This time the pain was excruciating cos the knee joint just wasn’t snapping back. Then in about a minute it managed to snap back and I slowly gained cognisance of what had happened & the world seemed to be crashing in front of me. I sat down in that very backseat and called my parents, who were two floors above, oblivious to what all had suddenly happened. And then another dislocation happened just when i was trying to straighten my knee! Each time the pain was excruciating and the knee joint just wouldn’t come back instantly either! Then it happened a 3rd time too! The conclusion now, was to somehow shift the car back out of the garage, shift myself completely into the backseat and go to a hospital like that. With great difficulty, I managed to drag myself in to the backseat and finally my parents & I, left for the hospital… and on the way another fucking dislocation happened AGAIN!!! The fact that it just wasn’t stopping was most disconcerting! And i worried about how much damage each dislocation was causing!
Once we got to the hospital, an immobiliser was tied to my right leg (which I still have on, 24 days later) and I was prescribed medicines to bring down the inflammation around the knee joint & address the pain. An X-ray was done but it was just basic & X-rays don’t show ligament injuries. At that point my knee joint was also too sore for it to be inspected physically and chances were that more dislocations would have happened if an attempt was made. So after this whole immobiliser, wheelchair, stretcher, xray, wheelchair session, we left for home. I was told to visit again after a few days when my knee joint had “quietened down”. Now the next hurdle – my parents live on the 2nd floor. I’d asked the doctor the procedure to climb stairs in this condition and with great difficulty managed 2 flights of stairs of our ancient ancestral house. Everyone had missed lunch due to this medical emergency and now we finally got home to take stock of the situation & what was left of our new year’s eve. I finally broke down & had a crying, hugging session. The shock of the whole thing was just too much. I was just going about my day as usual and suddenly I couldn’t even walk anymore, was bedridden and was looking at, at least 2-3 months of rehabilitation time. The unfairness of it all was just hitting me. The fact that it happened while doing something I’d done infinite number of times was very disconcerting. (More on what makes it happen, later). I knew that my extra flexible joints (I can twist both my thumbs outwards and touch them back to the wrist) made me vulnerable to this. In fact I’ve already had a kneecap dislocation 20 yrs back.. but that was a walk in the park compared to what had happened this time. Ultimately I tried to make myself believe that may be something worse had been averted and I got this “gifted” instead, but at that point I could barely reconcile myself to the situation.
Next up – after a week, MRI and digital x-rays were done. By this time I had reconciled to the situation and since I’d already dealt with a kneecap dislocation earlier, I knew the challenges. Back then the medical advice I had got was hardly anything. 20 yrs later, things had obviously advanced much more. Now there were ice packs, immobilisers, physiotherapy sessions, the internet as a huge resource and what not. As a teenager, I was just given a crepe bandage and sent off. It took around 6-9 months to get back to normal back then, but once it was ok, I forgot all about it. I thought this time the recuperation would be faster because I was equipped better. But when we showed the test results to the doctor – the first thing he said was, this would have to be cut open and operated. There is damage to the patella (kneecap) and the MPFL (the ligament towards the inner side of the knee) is torn and would need reconstructive surgery. Blood drained from our faces. There was shock once more. None of us could believe that the situation was THIS bad. We decided to take another opinion. Then another. And another. This includes a govt hospital, a sports injury doctor and a different hospital. They all say the same thing unfortunately. So here I am, gearing up for surgery now.
I’ll be writing in more detail about how these things happen, challenges & what to do in rehabilitation. But first a tiny note to all gyaanis, free advice givers, self appointed experts & well intentioned but ill informed wellwishers – kneecap dislocations have nothing to do with weight. Any surgery in the knee is not the same as “knee replacement”. Anything to do with a joint is not about weight. Yoga though an extremely beneficial regimen, can not cure everything.
As I wrote earlier, I’ll be updating my blog much more frequently and hope to hear from blogger fraands as well as people who have been through something similar.


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