Yearly Archives: 2017


Desi habit of Jugaad   Recently updated !

Is the Indian way of thinking, a unique contributor to our success? YES! As Indians we are all aware of how “jugaad” works. For those who are still not aware of what this term implies – it is basically a means to innovate or find a low cost yet quick and effective solution to any problem. This is a very Indian thing. Sometimes the stuff that people come up with is really admirable and they should probably patent and market it. There are innumerable situations where “jugaad” has come to my rescue but in this post, I Am going to highlight a particular situation where jugaad was really helpful when I was outside India and needed to use my Indian skills.This incident is from 2002 when I was in Japan for 2 months, on site , as part of my IT industry life. The very opportunity for going on site to Tokyo had come my way due to the fact that no one, yes NO ONE, in general wanted to go to Tokyo. There were a lot of issues with such a  long stint at Tokyo. Apart from the usual cultural difficulties, most outsiders in Japan face (or at least faced in that “era”) two particular problems the most. The first was the language barrier. There were barely any people who spoke English. And if at all, all of them happened to be working with us. So if we actually needed some help outside of office, it was nearly impossible to communicate anything and one had to be really good at “dumb charades” to attempt communicating anything. The second issue was food. It was really really really difficult to find something palatable, let alone vegetarian. For the Japanese – chicken, egg, pork etc counted as Vegetarian fare and seafood was what was considered Non-vegetarian. Thus even if you would confirm from someone if the thing you were buying was vegetarian, there actually was no guarantee that it really was. So the only way to get through was to cook oneself.

Now comes the interesting part. Most of the time, we used to get by on things like sandwiches & salads or the Japanese versions of “curry”. Trust me you don’t enjoy it especially with sticky rice. So an Indian meal was a luxury and very tough to find. For my own food supplies, I had taken Atta (whole wheat flour) with me from India , since I knew it would be really tough to find there. And I had taken a pressure cooker along. I had been provided accommodation arranged  by the Japanese organisation I was working for and it was available to me till 31st december 2002. Before leaving for new year celebrations, I wanted to exhaust my food supplies and also have a celebratory new year meal. In other words, I had to use ALL the atta I had and also make something really nice. So I invited some of my Indian colleagues over for Aloo ke paranthe. It took them NO time to say yes, because none of us had had a proper Indian meal in months.

The issues started cropping up when I had to actually make them. Not only does the entire world use electric stoves which take painfully slow to heat up, but they also obviously don’t have the usual utensils Indians use. In this case – those were Tawa (flat pan), chakla & belna (Indian style circular board & rolling pin ). So after boiling potatoes, I kneaded the atta in my precious cooker. In lieu of a tawa, I used a shallow pan. And to replace the Chakla, I used a thin chopping board. For belna usage, I needed something evenly cylindrical and at that point all I had was a glass bottle. So I used the glass bottle to roll out the paranthas.

As a result of all these jugaad items, a “lavish” (by our Japanese standards then) Indian meal was prepared for new year celebrations. My colleagues really appreciated the Aloo paranthe they had in Tokyo, and till this date they remember them fondly thanks to this!

Jugaad is certainly one skill that all Indians inherently possess. When the situation comes up, thinking out of the box is all it needs. We are more Indian than we think. Just like this TVC for Lufthansa shows how our Indian values are now being recognised at a global level.

 

** This post is part of a #MoreIndianThanYouThink contest being run by Lufthansa Airlines

 



The new Tata Tigor experience   Recently updated !

Some readers of this blog may know that I really enjoy driving (to the extent of taking part in rallies and driving at F1 circuit etc) and I quite enjoy trying out the latest cars out there.

Recently I was invited by Indiblogger and Tata motors to try out their latest addition – Tata Tigor (it was yet to be officially launched then) and they chose a few handpicked bloggers from all over India, for the 2 day soiree. I was quite excited at the prospect because there were a whole lot of fun activities as well as a trip to the Transport museum in store.

So off I set one early afternoon in March to the 1AQ gallery. This gallery is perfect for holding a variety of events what with its manicured lawns with quirky statues and plush interiors. Over sumptuous lunch curated by my friends at Food talk india and catered by Olive kitchen and bar, all the bloggers got a chance to interact with each other, watch lot of interesting performances, try one’s hand at spray painting graffiti, explore the extraordinary coffee blend prepared specifically for us and watch & gulp mesmerising molecular gastronomy appetisers.

Perfumery at 1AQ

Sample perfumes gifted to us

Styling area at 1AQ

So we all got to try out a range of perfumes with notes ranging from woody, to fruity and we were presented whatever suited us best. Next up, at the styling section, were lined up a whole lot of accessories along with the playbooks for various “looks”. I chose the 60’s style look. I was accessorised with a scarf (that matched the colour scheme of Tigor) and a pair of hoops. 

 

The “stage” where performances were held

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we watched the performances we could try out the specific coffee blend made for this event. It consisted of 2 coffees from south India and one Brazilian variety. Overall it tasted super awesome. We were given sachets of the same to try at leisure and I must say I am hooked.

 

Coffee blend made specifically for the Tata Tigor event

Healthy salads

Molecular gastronomy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spray painting graffiti wall

Parmesan buttermilk explosion with lime gel, dehydrated basil snow, faux tomato, avocado mousse

Plethora of desserts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lunch was to be eaten with the eyes and the mouth. There was a whole lot to watch and marvel at apart from wolfing down. The healthy salads, the molecular gastronomy shindig , the curated coffee and of course a plethora of desserts – left everyone satisfied. All this was brought to a plate near you by Olive kitchen and bar. While we had our lunch we watched some upbeat performances. There was a spray painting wall where everyone was encouraged to paint an adjective that came to their mind when they saw the new Tata Tigor.

 

 

Then we were all interviewed by a camera crew and took some group pics , had a lot of fun and left for our place of stay for the next day – Andaz, Delhi. Once we reached Andaz , we were allotted rooms on a sharing basis (now THAT was a first for me because I haven’t had the experience of sharing a room with a stranger and wouldn’t choose  it if it was left to me)!   We signed indemnification documents, copies of driver licenses et al – everything in preparation for the drive early next morning (6:30 am). The hotel rooms were nice, though not quite sound proof. We were welcomed with gujiya and a custom made chocolate for the event.

Welcome Gujiya

Customised chocolate

The room with a view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After settling down all the bloggers congregated for the pre-unveiling of the Tata Tigor. It was done with much fanfare.

Pre-Unveiling of Tata tigor

Pre-unveiling of Tata tigor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the pre-unveiling, we were introduced to the special twitter studio arranged for us that day where attendees could create videos or GIFs of themselves and share instantly. For the drive I was put together by 2 other women (one of whom who drove) and the 3 of us made some funny GIFs at the twitter studio, with the two “driving” women  pretending to drive and the other one sitting it out 🙂

Twitter studio

 

 

 

 

It was an early night for us because the next morning we all were to actually drive the brand new Tata tigor – both petrol and diesel variants. The ETD was 6:30am. So we all got ready, grabbed a very quick small bite (can’t really eat this early in the morning) and we were flagged off by representatives of Tata motors.

 

 

Flag off by Tata motors

The car was really comfortable to drive. Packed with modern features, we had a navigation route already set for us to follow. The route actually crossed my place in gurgaon and had it been on the way back, I would have certainly gone home :). The new Tata tigor is very stylish and comfortable. It is neither a sedan nor a hatchback and hence termed “styleback”. Though looks wise, space wise, and comfort wise, it is nothing short of a sedan. Measurement wise it is barely short of 4 metres. It is very easy to manoeuvre and has loads of boot space. On our drive lot of sound bytes were taken by the camera crew following us. Somewhere half way to the Transport museum at tauru, I exchanged seats and tried my hand at driving. The car has got a lot of power even for the diesel variant. What REALLY stands out are the 8 yes EIGHT Harman speakers in the car! All the more reason for a peppy drive. Tata motors has especially focussed on the car being stylish and it really does look it, going by the way the car was getting stared at during our drive. The colour we were driving (copper dazzle) was also quite eye catching. The car has a lot of little nooks and crannies for additional storage across the interiors. The brakes are also pretty impressive, I specifically checked out the braking system by applying sudden brakes. Soon we reached the Transport museum which actually is pretty close to Gurgaon.

 

There was a food truck waiting for us to serve us proper breakfast on our arrival. We grabbed a quick bite and explored the museum. It is a vast space. There are 4 floors full of lot of quirky stuff, historical stuff and basically has everything to do with transport.  And all of it is owned by  one person! Here’s a brief glimpse of the museum.

Transport Museum, Tauru

Transport museum – Tauru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a car installation

Bajaj – a cult phenomenon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coin car – covered with 1 rupee coins!

Pakistani truck art

Art installation made with discarded parts of a cycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A glider hanging at the museum

The reception desk made with a Morris Mini and a chair made with a Vespa scooter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The All new Tata Tigor styleback has been launched at the starting price of 4.7 Lakhs.  The Tigor is very well priced and suited for  Indian families that wants to upgrade from an entry level hatchback but still get a bigger car out of it.

 


Review : My Vistara Airlines & premium lounge experience

Vistara Airlines is a New Delhi-based joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. It marked its second anniversary of operations on 9 January 2017. However I had not used their services till date. Knowing the quality of Singapore airlines, which I consider the best in the world (out of all the ones I have tried), I really wanted to try out flying with Vistara Airlines. My expectations were based on whatever I had experienced with SIA. So when Vistara Airlines reached out to me for a women’s day extravaganza, It took me absolutely no time to get on board. Literally 😉

Vistara has recently launched flights to Amritsar and Leh. So on this women’s day, I was invited to join a group of excited women to try out the Delhi<->Amritsar sector, which included a 3D/2N all inclusive stay for all of us at a plush property (More about this property later). Some women from this group came on the inaugural flight from Bombay<->Amritsar (It’ll always be Bombay for me 🙂 ).

Checkin experience with Vistara airlines

So on 8th March, I reached the T3 terminal, Delhi to board my Vistara flight to Amritsar. I had already done the web checkin and chosen a window seat. So all I had to do was drop my baggage and collect boarding passes. The counter specifically meant for this was busy with one confused passenger. The normal checkin counters were fairly empty, so I got my boarding passes from one of them. The staff was smartly dressed, friendly and swift in their job. I proceeded from here to the Signature lounge of Vistara airlines.

Signature lounge of Vistara Airlines

The Vistara Signature lounge is the only lounge in India, that exists near the boarding gates at the airport, more specifically Vistara’s boarding gates. All others exist in the inner area. So it was a relief to know that one won’t have to trudge all the way to the gates after having a relaxing period. Entry to the lounge is complimentary for Vistara’s Business Class customers, Club Vistara Platinum and Gold members. . Premium Economy Class customers can also use the lounge by purchasing a lounge access pass for INR 1,000 only.

Vistara Signature lounge at T3, Delhi

Seating area at Vistara Signature Lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facilities available at SIgnature lounge of Vistara Airlines

The signature lounge packs a lot of stuff into the limited space. This lounge has a dedicated business centre with seamless connectivity, including tele/fax and video conferencing, reserved meeting space, Exclusive VIP room, A ‘Do Not Disturb’ room, Reading zone for the bookworms, Buffet area, a Fancy shmancy bar, standing counters and of course a large seating area with storage and Laptop charging points/USB Ports at every seat! The charging capability is a boon for on the go travellers.

Standing counters

Reading area

Bar at Vistara Signature lounge

 

Mocktails at the bar

The bar at Vistara Signature lounge

Comfy seating

Individual seats with charging points & USB ports

Decor matching the brand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meals at Signature Lounge of Vistara airlines

The meals are complimentary for all the guests who have access to the lounge. There is a lot of choice in the buffet. Ranging from quick bite that can be grabbed immediately to proper meal that can be had leisurely.  Both vegetarian & non-veg options are there. The meals are a mix of Indian and Continental cuisines.

Vistara also offers street food of India at the lounge, which is typically difficult to serve on  flights; this includes Bhel Puri and Golgappe. There are 4 cycles of the menu every day (Breakfast, High Tea, Lunch, Dinner) . They also have a snacks bar and well a “real bar” :). As of now, The liquor license is awaited and will be there soon. I quickly grabbed some Thai curry with rice before my flight was to depart.

The In flight experience

The flight was very comfortable. The economy class leg room was surprisingly a lot! It didn’t feel claustrophobic and my knees didn’t knock on the front seat. The seat was pretty comfortable without having to recline it. I didn’t have to hunch into a convex shape while getting into my seat because there was enough space between two rows. Usually with other airlines, one can simply not stand straight due to lack of space. Here are a few images that describe the experience.

 

Our cabin crew

Sharklets on the wings

Snack during the flight

In-flight magazine

Didn’t get to sit in them but Business class seats do look comfy!

Economy class sits have PRETTY good leg space!

Our cabin crew, pilots and some of my colleagues

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the return flight, we were seated in Premium economy seats. The seats were of course very spacious. The service included a hot towel and a juice box apart from whatever is offered in the Economy class. The meal was same as that in Economy class because it was a very short duration flight (45 minutes). For other sectors meals are more pronounced.

Leg space in premium economy seats

Seats in Premium Economy easily span more than 1 windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sure look forward to flying Vistara again!

 

Tweet: Review of @airVistara Airlines & their signature lounge - via @twilightfairy #travel https://ctt.ec/68bfs+

 


The Orb – One of the most visually striking lounge bars in Delhi

Recently Radisson Blu Plaza, Delhi Airport, opened ‘The Orb’ – a new and very visually striking lounge Bar.

With the opening of  this avant-garde lounge bar, Delhi now has a new venue for all fun loving people and party animals.  They have an exquisite collection of innovative cocktails, sumptuous relishes, and live events that add to one’s evenings.

Paneer Mushroom Pinwheel, mint mayo, tomato chilli marmalade_

Paneer Mushroom Pinwheel, mint mayo, tomato chilli marmalade_

Phuket Chicken'- green onion, wild ginger, thai chilli

Phuket Chicken’- green onion, wild ginger, thai chilli

Oreo Cookie Baileys Cheese Bar, mango & blue berry sauce

Oreo Cookie Baileys Cheese Bar, mango & blue berry sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Achari Fish Tikka, pickled baby shallots, lemon mint foam _

Achari Fish Tikka, pickled baby shallots, lemon mint foam _

Hazelnut Mousse Fudge, chocolate ganache

Hazelnut Mousse Fudge, chocolate ganache

Roasted Beetroot Salad with goat cheese, orange & caramelized walnut

Roasted Beetroot Salad with goat cheese, orange & caramelized walnut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Orb has an extensive cocktail menu, and enough live performances to keep you coming back for more. Their drinks menu has a lot of variety unlike many other places and includes everything from signature cocktails, Martinis, Jagerbomb, Tequila, single malts, blended whisky, vodka, gin, rum, champagne and various wines. Basically one is spoilt for choice.

The cocktails have rather intriguing names like Chamba Booti, Khopdi, Masala T-Knee, Rajkumar, and Orb Marry.

Apple cinnamon

Apple cinnamon

khopri

khopri

12 slaps

12 slaps

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Caprioska

Orange Caprioska

Orb Mary

Orb Mary

Reflection

Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True to its meaning, “Orb”, that means a sphere or more literally a spherical celestial body, the lounge bar showcases exactly that. The interiors are very trendy and lit up in shades of blue. At The Orb, the seating is arranged around a circular table, which is a very welcome change from regular linear bars. The ambience is also very “electric”. It is not a very big bar and with its circular core,one can feel like one’s partying on an island in the middle of a hotel. Apart from the live DJ performances every evening, there are mid-week blues (on Wednesday) and special performances every Friday night. In the month of March, the line-up of artists includes Soham Mallick, Namrata Nath, Jive Can, Anahita Dawar amongst others.

THE ORB

THE ORB

Keeping in mind the rising spate of crimes against women at venues that serve alcohol, The Orb guarantees  a fun and safe outing. The management and staff has been trained & sensitised to extra care for women.

Images in this post have been provided by Radisson Hotels.

Here are some more details of this bar

Address

Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport, National Highway 8, Near IGI Airport, Mahipalpur, New Delhi

Phone number

26779191, 2677 9045, 9899115508.

Social media

Twitter, Fb, Instagram, Youtube

Cost

₹3,500 for two people (approx.) with alcohol

Opening hours

 5 PM to 1 AM



Highlights of India Design ID 2017

This year, India Design ID celebrate​d​ 5 years and I was invited by them to attend the same. Even though I am not a designer per se, any creative individual can benefit from attending such shows. A different perspective of things is what it takes to open up one’s “Creative eye”.

So this year, India Design ID 2017 was as usual showcasing a lot of decor brands, architects, interior/exterior designers along with ID symposium featuring eminent speakers from India and abroad. The latter was the most exciting part. I would have attended all 3 days of the talks, had the venue not been extremely far from my place.

Most brands at such shows have stalls which present a “vignette” of what a consumer’s space would look like. They can replicate that exact look if the consumer wants or one can buy a la carte as well. Established names such as Arttd’inox,  Antonio Lupi, Beyond Designs, K2India, Roca, BoConcept, The Pure Concept etc were present at the show. A few brands like Apartment9 gave a “complete experience” where one would enter a stall and get transported into a completely different world, which was a result of dim lighting, appropriate music, various vignettes along with mannequins performing their roles, snacks, champagne, attendants – the works!

There were a number of pop up cafes at the India design venue, Including Nomad cafe by Park Hotels, a pop up by Le Meridien and many others.

Without further ado, here are images of some of the things that caught my eye at India design.

 
“Images from India Design 2017”

From India Design ID 2017. Posted by “PSpective” – photography by Priyanka Sachar on 2/18/2017 (30 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2


I attended a couple of talks at the ID symposium. One of the most interesting was Humberto Campana’s furniture design with things as quirky as chairs made out of bubble wrap or stuffed toys! Have a look.

Chair made with bubble wrap!

Chair made with stuffed toys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He also likes using a lot of raw natural materials like cane and bamboo. One must check out more of the Campana brothers’ work here and here.

After the ID symposium got over, Asian Paints announced “Intense Ocean” as their Colour of the year. At the after party, the theme was clearly various shades of blue as we were served cocktails with a blue curacao base :). I had a good time, met a lot of creative people and it definitely gave me a few ideas for my own work as well.