Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A Royal Affair

“Mere Sapno Ke Raajkumar, Mujhe Hai Tera Intezaar,” Jane Worthington listened to the radio and she knew she was in India with the music, overtly talkative auto driver and the relentless horns. This was not just another journalistic trip, it was the trip she ever wanted to take. She was looking for her brother who was lost long ago in a spiritual retreat to Benaras with their family. That trip to India soon turned into a nightmare because it was flooded with people and they somehow lost her brother in the crowd. So, India did not bring much fun memories. “Look Madam, this is Sravanapura,” the auto driver said.

India might not have brought good memories to her but an Indian did, that too rather mixed memories. He was there for her during her sophomore years of college, knew her story, had a great thing going unless he had to go back cause of some political reason. Yes, he was from a family of royals and everything he did, everything he said, had a rather political tone to it. Like when he broke up with her, he wrote to her a note that he stuck outside her door. The note was sealed in red wax and she felt like some contract was over with statements like, “ Humblest apologies for not being able to take our arrangement any further from here due to some unavoidable circumstances.” The unavoidable circumstances were some political clashes that were taking place in his area, she read it on the online local news “The Sravanapura Express”. So much for closure.

They never heard from each other after that. Sometimes, the drunk version of her checked his facebook page but even that showed no sign of emotion, only some forwards or politically correct status messages and how Sravanapura was making progress as a state. One of the days, the inebriated Jane checked his facebook status, only to see the news of his engagement to the Benaras political veteran’s daughter flashing on his page. Her heart sank a little bit. She later dug into the profile of his fiancĂ©e. She was a pretty face with a strong political background as well. Her father was a strong social and political leader. They ran a society for lost kids in the state, gave employment to orphans, etc. They appeared to be influential people and she saw a ray of hope that she might find her brother after all.

She messaged Prince Vijay Dev Varman on Facebook that she was planning to visit India and would like to get together for some important discussions. An instant reply she got the moment she hit sent “ That for writing in to Prince Vijay Dev Varman. Your message is important to me. We will see what can be done about that. Jai Hind,”

An automated message? Wow!
She laughed in dismay till she immediately got a call on her mobile, which seemed like an Indian number.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Quintessential Bucket List for an Impeccable Abu Dhabi Adventure

Abu Dhabi Emirate - Tourism Media
Abu Dhabi has been on my travel wish list ever since Carrie Bradshaw and her girls whisked themselves to the capital of the United Arab Emirates saying “Abu Dhabi Doo” in SATC 2. On an extensive search of this mainland on an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, I just fell in love with all the information I could gather about it. If you think of opulence of culture, magnificence of architecture, thorough look into the heritage that prevails and have a complete smorgasbord of all you could long for a vacation for all ages, you have to think of Abu Dhabi.
Everyone who has an eye for perfection and grandeur will certainly keep Abu Dhabi on the top of their list. So, being the self-proclaimed travel freak in search for a memorable adventure that I am, here’s my two cents on the travel itinerary I have planned for my currently quixotic vacation to Abu Dhabi:

Basking In the Glory of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
No visit to Abu Dhabi is complete or even justified without a wholesome tour of this exquisitely beautiful and cultural landmark with fine detailing that shouldn’t go unwitnessed. In addition to this religious and cultural magnificence, the mosque center also has world's largest hand-knotted carpet and chandeliers.
Source: Not known
Reaching the Zenith of Fun and Frolic in Yas Island, Ferrari World
This amusement park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is sheer dream work that has manifested itself into a theme park that ensures plethora of fun and adventurous activities, thrilling rides and a sure shot recipe for jollification of one’s Abu Dhabi trip. Being the first Ferrari-branded theme park that has the record for the largest space frame structure ever built, this has to be the place where I intend to relive my childhood, make memories that last for another lifetime as well and ride as many roller coasters as I can take.
Image: Aziz J.Hayat
Water, water and more water at Yas Island Waterworld
Home to 45 rides, slides and attractions – five of which are world-firsts, Yas Island Waterworld is a must visit waterpark where one can drench oneself in the awesomeness of idiosyncratic rides and have fun in abundance playing with more and more of H2O.

Desert Safari
There’s nothing as serene and surreal as gazing at the sky full of stars whilst on a Desert Safari. How is an adventurous trip even complete unless you sand surf, ride and see camels, get a first-hand experience of the culture and click selfies wearing the traditional clothes, the quirky essence of henna, music, food, seeing a belly dance and coming face to face with a falcon? Yes, all that should be done to get the true essence of being in Abu Dhabi.
Image: Pinterest
There are plethora of other activities that can accentuate the visit further, but these are the places and the activities that set the benchmark for a quintessential vacation. Dripping in fun at water and theme park, seeing the manmade island that has become the very highlight of the city, riding high on deserts, and a sneak peak into the luxury and finery of picturesque places and monuments, that’s Abu Dhabi for you and if that’s not the perfect set of ingredients for a memorable vacation, then what is?

For alluring packages to Abu Dhabi, visit https://www.tui.in/package/yas-abu-dhabi-delight and they will have it all sorted for you. #AbuDhabiBucketList

Monday, 30 January 2017

Relive the Hyderabadi Decadence #TheLodhi

Having heard so much about the Hyderabadi cuisine and never having been to Hyderabad, my excitement to try out the coveted delicacies could be judged from the fact that I skipped breakfast to relish the lunch.

Elan, the partly alfresco restaurant, offers the most serene vantage points. The icing on this absolutely beautiful restaurant is the food and impeccable hospitality. Special mention to Mr. Saurabh Joshi, who attended us with the most gleeful smile and utmost care of our taste and preferences.

The specially curated menu offers a varied glimse into the hyderabadi gourmet culture of what the Nizams relished. From delectable kebabs to the hyderabadi speciality biryanis, the menu has it all. Let me give you a sneek peak of what it has in store for you:

Kebabs: Was never a spinach fan, but the palak rye shami kebab had such incredible blends of spinach, rye leaf paste, cashew nut and spinces that I was amazed at where was this form of spinach all my life? The other kebab I tried was anjeer khubani kebab..you will like it if you have a knack for strong cardamom taste.
Main Course: Hope I do justice to the Oh-so-mellow and beautifully cooked Hyderabadi Murg Qorma. It was on the non-spicier side but the coconut in the dish, just brought out the perfect essence. Paneer Tamatar Ka Kut was simple yet delectable. Mirch baigan ka salan was another incredible dish that brought out the spicier and tangier version of baby aubergine.

Kulchas as never before
The must try breads have to be Hyderabadi naan and gilafi kulcha (highly recommended, pista stuffing in a naan...whaaaaa). The breads are fresh, soft and self-sufficient per se if you go by the taste. Also, the variety of chutneys they have to offer are great as well.

Now, the Egg Biryani is not just a biryani you taste, but THE BIRYANI that will be etched in your memory and taste buds of course. The sheer essence of all incredible-smelling spices steaming out from the biryani was heart warming enough than the sheer bliss of tasting it. Frankly, I overate. So much so that there was no room left for dessert. 
Ze MAIN course

The drinks of the specially curated menu which accentuated the speciality food was some chilled and tangy Mango Mint Shikanji.
More refreshing than a lyril Ad

To sum up, Thanks #Elan #TheLodhi to bring the Hyderabadi cuisine to the capital in the most sumptuous manner.

The menu is self sufficient, memorable and drool-worthy. Disclaimer: Every item on the menu is enriched with dry fruits. Skip a prior meal if you wanna relish the curated menu.

P.S. You still have time to taste the exclusive menu at Elan for the menu runs till 7th February'17. Go over for a weekend brunch. 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Plans if you have no plans for NYE

New Year Eve, like many other celebrations is over rated. Studies suggest (not really a study but an unbiased observation of self) that most people party on New Year's Eve out of the sheer peer pressure. Drinks, food, over-dessed people, loud music, drunk dancing, draining all your savings on an event you won't even remember cause you're gonna be sloshed..you will see enough evidences of your friend's partying and giving real time updates cause they wanna rub it on your face and say I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN YOU LIKING/REACTING LOSER ON FB.

Nonetheless, ignore all that. Let me suggest the mechanism or tell you alternate plans that can help you cope with the not-partying-on NYE scenario.

Spend Quality Time With Your Family: Presuming the other family members don't have party plans as well. Sit, chat, have drinks, gossip, talk about politics and the youth that irresponsibly parties, etc. etc. You can volunteer to cook for the fam-jam or just order food from outside. Ask the pizza delivery guy to join as well for crying out loud. This way you earn some brownie points of having prioritized your family over lack of any plans whatsoever meaningless partying.

Shopping Therapy: Log in to your Flipkart/ Amazon/ Jabong/ Myntra or whatever online shopping website sails your boat. I'm sure they will have some discounts for the wee hours shoppers..you kinda see a trend of them celebrating and discounting on special ocassions. So fret not, treat yourself with some clothes or gadgets or whatever :)

DO NOT LOG INTO SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS: Never should you ever commit the terrible mistake of logging onto your social media accounts and being the spectator of crazy partydom. People are gonna go live, tag places, upload pictures and videos and what not. You don't wanna be liking or commenting or reacting to such flaunters and feel sad for yourself. You can log in and watch but why see flashy displays of people with happening life.

Watch A Movie: Infact, watch your favorite movie/movies(if time allows) or binge watch your favorite show. Lay on your LaZboy, make some popcorns and sip that soda. Enjoy in cozy confines of your room. I can bet its gonna be better than those partying.

Indulge in a Hobby: Play some guitar, sing by renting a karaoke, read some book, write some greetings..basically indulge in something you've always wanted to indulge in. If you run out of ideas, you can easily think of good comebacks when people ask you what you did for the new year. You can even blog about how to get rid of the new year hangover cause people partying certainly need that. *pens down the topic for next post*

Create your own party: There are going to be people who are sailing in the same boat as you...like those not partying. Call them over to your place and indulge in some like-minded conversations. Yes, talk that talk.

Do some good deed on the 1st: How about starting your new year early morning with a list of good deeds that you can do. One of my friend is donating blood, and that's a great use of the 1st day of 2017. It also makes it special and memorable. So your good deeds can range from distributing sweets in an orphanage, donating blood, distributing blankets to the homeless to giving your maid a weekend and doing your chores by yourself. Little pleasures of life, eh?

So fret not, its not mandatory to party all night, dance like crazies, and wake up with the worst hangover. Actually, that's not how you should be welcoming the new year. So break 'em stereotypes and create your own rules.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide for Men

Christmas is just around the corner and so is the bemusement of buying an appropriate present for your family, coterie and friends (with or without benefit). If you happen to be a social animal, you shall socialize the most around the December end. More socializing means more presents to buy, of course in return of one. 

Buying Christmas presents can be a tough chore for you, since you are biologically repellant to shopping and have the innate ability to buy the same thing in different colors. We provide you the list of items that shall be an intelligent buy and an ideal present:
  1. Food- What is Christmas without a cake? From the plethora of cake sizes, flavors and prices of the varied Christmas cakes, you can buy the one you want. Other eateries like cookies, chocolates, pastries and doughnuts are anyways a hit among people of all ages. You can gift baskets full of goodies; they will seem to be wholesome and sumptuous. Do consider the diabetics while deciding on buying a cake.
    Om Nom Nom
  1. Clothes- As Christmas falls within the coldest time of the year, there are many clothes and accessories that you could gift. Clothes, preferably woolens, can be a good Christmas present. If you don’t want to invest on expensive winter clothing, hats, mufflers, caps, are some of the clothing accessories which shall be economical and adequate while presenting.
    Go for clothes that are same for all sizes
  1.  Books and magazines- It is advisable to gift books and magazines, provided whomever you are gifting to, is educated. The books or magazines you intend to gift should be of the recipient’s interest. Like gifting an ‘Autocar magazine’ to a makeup aficionado is not such a good idea. You can gift bestseller novels, or even non best seller ones for they come cheaper. By gifting a book or a magazine of the reader’s interest, you not only are promoting education, but also bagging bulk discounts.
    Well? Read!
  1. Beauty and Wellness- Nothing proves to be a better gift for a female other than a beauty product. The cosmetics work wonders for a female, and you instantly earn extra marks for being so considerate. You can gift cosmetic items like lipstick, lip glosses, mascara, a set of hair brushes, and the list is endless. And let me tell you, nothing makes a woman happier than a set of expensive fragrance. You can also gift wellness items like weight reduction items or the ones that reduce hair fall, in case the people under question suffer from these problems. Please note that one might find such wellness presents offending if you don’t share a comfort level with that person.
  1. Music- You can buy CDs, MP3s and other music gifts. But gifts should be of the taste of the person you intend to gift it too. There are various music types like jazz, rock, country, etc. You can buy exclusive CDs relating to such music types of a particular band or limited compilation CDs, which have too much meaningful content. You can also gift a musical instrument if the recipient is interested in the same, and more importantly, you.
    Bas Bajna Chahiye Gaana
  1. Electronics- If your budget permits you, you can buy the following electronics and gadgets for the people who are close to you ( Of course you don’t intend to spend a fortune on buying expensive gadgets for every person you know):
·        Tablets – Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy, etc.
·        Laptops and Netbooks – HP, Dell, MacBook, Toshiba, etc.
·        Mp3 Players – Apple iPod, Microsoft Zune, etc.
·        eReaders – Kindle, Nook, Sony eBook, etc.
·        Cameras and Camcorders – Canon, Nikon, Kodak, Sony, etc.
·        TV's – Samsung, LG, Vizio, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Philips, etc.
·        Blue-Ray Players – Sony, LG, Panasonic, etc.
·        Consoles and Video Games – Sony PS3 and PSP, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and DS, etc.
                              Make sure you buy  a product that everyone has heard of. The price should not influence your decision, since you can’t ensure a good deal when you buy in half the market price, as when we say the buyer’s not a fool, the seller’s not a fool either.
Please compute the ROI before investing

  1.   Beverages- Since you are going to drink anyways on a Christmas party, gifting beverages can be a sweet gesture. The plus point of presenting the beverage of your choice is that you don’t have to compromise on what you want to drink. A wide range of beverages for people of all ages and taste are available. From a vintage bottle of champagne to juices for kids, you can buy anything depending upon the taste and age of the recipient and of course your budget.

Ho!Ho!Ho!! Shop On Guys!!

Comic Con 2016 #Delhi

A comic book aficionado?
Superhero lover?
Living in your fantasy world?
And would literally like to live in your fantasy world?
Understand the Big Bang Theory as it is without reading the subtitles or never googling the things they say and talk about?

If you're affirmative to even one of the questions stated above, then you must, I repeat YOU MUST visit the Comic Con. A place where like minded people/weirdos/geeks/nerds get to be their true or fictional stuff with other like minded people/weirdos/geeks/nerds. The result, surprisingly, is an action packed three day event with kids, parents, singles mingling in activities and shopping fiesta with super hero/villain gusto.

Highlights of the Events:

For the Love of Wrestling
  • Guest List: Being a one of a kind event for the one of a kind people, the guest list included the hot shots of the cartoon, anime and all things geek industry. The list included Tim Richmond, cartoonist and illustrator for Mad Magazine, Cartoon Network, Marvel, National Geographic, etc., Nicholas Wild, Artist and writer of Kabul Disco and Silent was Zarathustra, Joe Harris, Author of X-files Comics, Batman Joker's asylum, Gaurav Gera of the Shopkeeper fame, Rana Daggubati *whistles*. So you can click pictures, if lucky, talk to them, if luckier or just see them bask in the awesomeness they possess. 
  • The WWE: We all have that childhood fantasy of wrapping the hefty WWE champion belt around our waist. But can that dream ever come true without entering the wrestling ring and getting beaten up by your opponent? Yes. Comic con made it come true. You get to pose or dance or cry with happiness with the World Champion belt that you get to momentarily hold. The queue is long but so is the reward, what say?
  • AXN: Promoting several shows, AXN had bunch of activities that you got to do flaunting your skills or lack of any. The activities were varied and so were the participants. Interesting stuffs they had laid out there. (Psst: You even got to feel like a hero saving your friend who volunteers to get locked up for you to feel like a hero. Setting new friendship goals, hi-5 AXN!!)
  • Baahubali on VR: Need I say more? The most incredibly shot movie with the most incredible effects you saw on 3D. Now you got to watch the trailer on Virtual Reality. Just how much can you thank Comic Con for letting you actually step into Baahubali's world.
  • Slap Popcorns: Just 20 bucks, incredibly delicious, fast service and you have the great american snack in your hands. I bought lots of peri-peri ones cause they were just so tangy and good!!
  • Pose with the storm trooper: Like who doesn't want to live their star wars fantasy. Even the queue builds up your excitement till you finally get to pose the way you like with the Trooper.
  • Shopping: Superhero T-shirts, live comic illustrations of self for 500 bucks, illustrative posters, coasters, costumes, head bands, poster clocks, superhero accessories, collectibles and what not...there's just so much shopping you can do and so many things you want to buy. Just, ahh, save for the event next year.
Collectibles that make you cry with Happiness
Must haves
The prices are decent with INR 375 for one day pass, there's a decently priced 3 days pass and a buddy pass as well (group entries). The price is economical considering the fun you're gonna have. There was a food court as well with leading chains. Saw people hogging in their super hero attires. Funny sight that was.

Though they can work better with the parking facilities at the location, i.e NSIC Ground, Okhla, cause I literally had to emotionally blackmail them (for all the valid reasons) to give me that last parking spot left, I think the event is a big hit and you should definitely attend next year.

Have fun...Do Not Miss Next Year!!

Thank you for stating the fact

Friday, 2 December 2016

Sona Kitna Sona Hai Is the Rhetoric Question of the Day!!

Government is surprising us left and right these days. And well, its amusing to see people who thought this investment was safe, that investment was safe to sit with a calculator and calculate corresponding taxes.

An Indian favorite, something that pleases your wife and is a public display of your wealth, some family heirloom, while some just coins waiting to be encashed in times of need. We are golden people, quite literally like Bappy Lahiri.

Gold Bina Chain Kahan Re

So, what now? Do we pay tax on all the jewelry we have in our bank lockers? or personal lockers? Or the ones we are currently wearing? Who will wear the jewelry when seized? To help you out with the questions, let's understand what the Government is actually saying:

No tax will be imposed on jewellery/gold purchased out of disclosed income. 

The disclosed income is one in your bank or the cash balance that you pay tax on..post disclosure. Jewelry can mean all sorts of jewelries..platinum, gold, diamond. They also mention gold separately because some people prefer buying gold with investment prospects- rich in bricks and poor in coins. It also includes exempted income and reasonable household savings. Obviously no woman saves around 5-10 lacks as household saving. The reasonability of a saving can be determined on the basis of the average household income that you have.

The Amended I-T Act will also not apply to tax ancestral jewellery and gold.

So you have rich ancestors or family heirlooms running from generation after generation. We have seen movies where the saas handing over the khaandani kangans to the bahu made us set daughter-in-law goals. So the ancestral jewelry would also not be covered under the Act, because we value the Indian culture of khandaani zevar!!

No seizure of gold jewellery up to 500 gm per married lady, 250 gm per unmarried lady and 100 gm per male in I-T searches.
The Government thinks that 500 gms(approx 15 lacs as per current rate) is adequate jewelry a married lady should own during her lifetime. Little do they understand that wearing the same jewelry to every family function would make them look so normal. Ostentatiousness runs in our blood and we like to flaunt. Nevertheless, the flaunting comes at a risk now. 

Some questions, that may arise, considering the financial paranoia we are waking up with these days. Let us understand this better:

Q: Is there a limit on the amount of jewelry one can hold or purchase?

A: No, there's no limit as long as the jewelry has been purchased from disclosed income, exempted income (like agricultural income), reasonable household savings and inheritance.

Q: How can the Government seize our gold?

A: The limits specified, namely 500 gms per married lady, 250 gms per unmarried lady and 100 gms per male are only applicable when any search proceedings are going on by the Income Tax department, which in other terms we also refer to as raid!! 

The search proceedings are initiated by the Government if the Authorized Officer is in possession of information that:

  • You were served a summon u/s 131(1) or a notice u/s 142(1) to produce books of accounts or documents, and you failed to produce the same.
  • If a summon u/s 131(1) or a notice u/s 142(1) is issued or might be issued, the officer believes you are not likely to produce or caused to be produced books of accounts or other documents relevant for such proceedings
  • You are in possession of money, bullion, jewelry or other valuable article or thing and such property wholly or partly has not been or would not be disclosed.
Q: When a search is being conducted and its part of the family tradition to have that kind of jewelry, what then?
A: It is the discretion of the officer conducting the search not to seize higher quantity of gold jewelry based on factors including family customs and traditions.

So all those who rushed to the jewelers converting their black money into gold was a sane idea, who's laughing now?!

P.S. Have more questions. Post in the comments.