Sunday, June 28, 2015

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous

"Don't tell me that you are going to Goa again"- Mom sounded rather skeptical as I read out the body of the email- "This is perhaps the third time this year. Isn't it? Don't you feel like trying something new this time around?"- I was interrupted midway. 


Oh yes! She was right on the money with this inquest, Goa has been my favorite hunting ground this year...I have been there twice this year, once for a nostalgic reunion and then for the indelible OYO Xplorer tryst. But this invitation from blogadda seemed to be pretty interesting because of the one-liner "9.00 pm - Meet fellow bloggers and relax for the night at a 5 star property"- this is something that I wanted to do for long primarily because of the fact that Calcutta doesn't get to host Blogger-meets too often (in-fact I reckon we haven't got off the mark yet); we are often deprived of the essence of a collaborative concursion. I have been writing this on various blogging forums that Calcutta, with such a rich base of bloggers, should feature in the calendar of official blogger meets' regularly; this could actually have a positive impact on the younger generation in Bengal and encourage them to venture into the blogging arena; I'm glad that I've been a part of the Zesty ride organized by Blogadda in Goa last year and as a logical extension, now I that I got to drive the all new Renault Lodgy along with 39 celebrated bloggers of the country, it was quite an overwhelming feeling. I was absolutely sure of the fact that the #LiveLodgycal experience would turn out to be a glorious rendezvous of sorts; with bloggers from all over the country coming in, I was so looking forward to this one for many reasons..!

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the Leela, Hampi..the stage was set for an epic weekend.
Photograph: Self Clicked
Bills Gates had once said that "The best teacher is very interactive"; yes the more we share, the more we learn...the more we connect, the more we absorb. I feel that a creative output is actually the resultant of regular consociation and assessment-gathering, this holds good both in terms of passion or profession...and blogging is nothing but a creative manifestation of your thought process. Yes, we bloggers might be divergent when it comes to genre, writing pattern, target audience, taste, perception, perspective, propensity, interpretation....but there's one common underlying platform, the quiddity of unprejudiced articulation. I reckon most of the bloggers are good readers as well, again, because of the inherent inkling called self-improvement- the most interesting aspect is that a blogger toggles his/her role very often, once a blogger...always a reader. Now that a food blogger meets a fashion blogger, the idea of 'fashionable food' might pop up....when a luxury blogger meets an automobile counterpart, they'll talk about luxury driving- this is nothing but a free flow of inviting ideas. This comes with another interesting caveat that a food or a lifestyle blogger might have a completely different perspective when it comes to reviewing a car, and those stimulating digital doctrines might be of immense help to a certain sector of the audience. Also, being essentially a photo-blogger, I was keen on building my knowledge in the automobile sector (though my dad is essentially an automobile engineer...gah, we often tend to ignore what parents say...isn't it?) because of the prospective presence of car-geeks and aficionados in the meet...I wanted to learn from their past experiences and gauge through their point of view, of course adding my idiosyncratic photo-finish to the entire scheme of things. Also, as a part of the Kolkata Food Bloggers, we generally arrange a monthly 'blogger's table' meetups to discuss, review and propose newer ideas for the upcoming events / prospective blogging topics...I could sense a fantastic appositeness in the #LiveLodgycal event, the only difference being a rich diversity in the contributors' column. Ahan!

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit Golf and Spa Resort
Photograph: Self Clicked
And, fortunately, it didn't turn out to be very different from what I had expected. There were a few tweaks here in there with a film-reviewer (Murtaza) pitching in with his entertaining perspectives or a social media geek (Neha) talking about those revered hashtags. Boy! I would have certainly missed a lot of action had I rejected this exclusive invitation from Harish as a part of Blogadda's exclusive blogger engagement programmes in association with Renault India who had jointly stitched together a memorable weekend for the 40 privileged bloggers- there, we are talking about collaboration yet again. As a matter of fact, my leave request (for Friday, the 19th) was rejected just a couple of days before the meet but I had to take the gamble...such opportunities don't come everyday. I'm sure all of us must be eyeing that exclusive twitter-handle-badge that Harish was wearing on his shirt...that must be a resultant of some spirited jugaad that was pretty much evident from the last conversation we had. Kidding. And then, when I got to know about Satish's ingenious Sapling Project, I wanted to draw his attention to City of Joy...and eventually we got a chance to interact as well. This is exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned "association" or rather a joint effort that's attributable to the spirit of blogging. I still remember my delightful conversation with Madhumita who has taken up the onus of portraying the essence of her origin, the picturesque North-East to the global audience through her fantastic blog-posts; having worked in the North-East for over 3 years, I did understand that this part of the country, in-spite of having immense potential, has been grossly neglected from the tourism point of view...it was fantastic to connect to such a gifted and of course like-minded fellow blogger. Talking of inspiration, well, as a kid I always wanted to travel around the country, explore rugged terrains, indulge in the local cuisines, meet local people, take back those rejuvenating experiences and relive them at a later stage in life...I found solace when Deepak ji, the man behind Mumbai Daily took the centre-stage. For man who's set to conquer miles on his venerated motorcycle, the mere exercise of uploading one picture of Mumbai everyday on his blog is certainly edifying enough; yes, the blogosphere is rich and multifarious. We also had a published author in form of Aditi, who's incidentally an army wife and a prolific traveler in Rutavi, with the thrilling experiences of the Everest base-camp conquest or the Rickshaw-run sharing their respective anecdotes with the other bloggers in an engaging panel discussion that was moderated by Prateek. Furthermore, I have been following Rekha's fantastic food-blog posts for the while, especially after her laudable effort in a food-blogging competition organized by Borosil India...it was very interesting to know about her source of inspiration behind food-photography. I hope all my readers are keeping a track on the multifariousness in all the blogger profiles that I have mentioned so far...the jhanda of "Unity in Diversity" has been held high alright. Just to complete the curve of diversity, we also had an anesthesiologist..a doctor in Roshan (who was incidentally one my team-mates for the #LiveLodgycal drive), who's blogpost "Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India" had gone viral on the internet and earned him a feature on BBC...whoa, that's some achievement. Yes, the bloggers are achievers indeed...their identity pretty much lies in the way they express, and of course, they don't write to impress. The #LiveLodgycal experience was all the more arresting as far as I'm concerned because this was our chance to know the faces behind these illustrious URLs...yes that's how the digital world converged with the hominal world. Not to forget the very informative presentation on the glorious history of the brand Renault, the evolution, the Lodgy and it's chimerical features by Mr. Manish, the production manager, Renault India that set the tone perfectly for a fantastic 70 Kilometer ride that was scheduled for the next day. Our spirited team The Fleeting Four comprising of the ace bloggers RoshanSenthil and Prashanthwas absolutely geared up for the big day...the Super Saturday when we tamed the beast and raged through the picturesque Goan boulevard. It was certainly an experience that I'll remember for a long long time..!
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: Atul Sabnis, the man who clicked the 'happy faces' series.
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: Ace blogger Arun Prabhudesai talking about monetization of blogs
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: Here's Satish talking about his Sapling Project...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: That's Aditi Kumar Mathur talking about her publications...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: The Serial Traveller, biker Rutavi talks about her expeditions
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: The blogger who portrays the essence of N-E, Madhumita...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: Neha Kapoor talks about her journey in social media....
Photograph: Self Clicked

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: Ankita Vadhel, Marketing Head, Blogadda addressing the bloggers
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: The production manager, Renault India, Manish presenting to us..
Photograph: Self Clicked
The venue? Well, words fall short when I talk about The Leela- our hide-out for the weekend, a luxury hotel that is built on 75 lush acres with a pristine beach, a 12 hole golf course and world class dining facilities, making it one of the finest 5 star hotels in Goa. I think exploring the entire in-house area of the gorgeous hotel was a challenge in itself, I did make an attempt though. The comfort and niceties of the hotel allowed us to unwind, unravel and engage freely...a much needed aspect of weekend getaways. Full marks to team Blogadda and Renault India for making it happen. Also, the presence of a number of distinguished food bloggers did mean that the 3-course menu would be absolutely luscious...and we were not disappointed either. I have always believed that the merit of restaurant is directly proportional to the savory-quotient of it's desserts spread, yes 'The Leela' did live up to it's name in this sector (I'd, however, resist my temptation of posting food pictures on my blog for now.)

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: The picturesque Leela hotel and it's surrounds in the rain...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: The picturesque Leela hotel and it's surrounds in the rain...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: The beautiful dining hall at the Leela, the food was great.
Photograph: Self Clicked
The ride? One word- Blogtastic. The ride from Cavelossim to Canacona (and return), a total stretch of approximately 70 Kilometers) was perhaps one of the most enjoyable driving experiences, almost at par with the exposure of driving the Ferrari at the BIC or a weekend road-trip from Bombay to Goa. Just to spice it up, we were given a list of fun tasks to complete in course of the drive....but then slowly but surely we realized that the quintessence of an on-road jaunt, especially in the Goan monsoons, was a prodigious drill; there were those occasional moments that stimulated the "adrenaline rush" when we spotted a yellow-shaded heritage building or lady with a pink umbrella- we were actually enjoying the mellow whiff of a competitive zest that formed an essential component of the drive.  We also had to click some whacky pictures with the Lodgy itself using our burgeoning imagination; the points earned by the individual participating teams, as  a result, would be accumulated while calculating the final team scores. The driver's seat was essentially the best seat in the house, we shuffled occasionally but then the Lodgy's inherent capacity and comfort-factor did impress us to the core. You can read the detailed account of the driving experience and my take on Renault India's newflanged spectacle here. We stopped at the Lalit Golf and Spa Resort for lunch after spending some quality time at the Canacona beach. I incidentally had a photographer's duel with Senthil at the beach, a fun practice that is seen on social media pretty regularly these days. While the selfie-queens (and an odd king) started to strike poses, our beloved Senthil impressed our host, RJ Archana with his tree-escalades and Prashanth demonstrated his peachy acrobatic skills at the beach (a decent ploy to get clicked, boss :D). Incidentally, I liked the Lalit food to that of the Leela...and was pleasantly surprised to overhear that even the food bloggers concurred in this respect (I see a ray of piquant hope :D). Archana, by the way, was a fabulous bubbly host full of life and I enjoyed the quick-fire interview session brimming with banter just after lunch, and we were all set to return to base..!

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: Gearing up for the #LiveLodgycal drive in Goa...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit, the selfie queens in action...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit, look at the layers in there...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit, travel blogger, Manjulika
Photograph: Self Clicked

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit, Food blogger, Rekha Kakkar
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit, even I got clicked ;)
Photograph: Senthil
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit, the selfie king in action...
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: At the private beach of the Lalit, that's Prashanth in action...
Photograph: Self Clicked
The best part of the experience? Undoubtedly the "biggest party of bloggers" that was waiting for us late in the evening after the panel discussion was over. How many times have you seen a group of crazy, animated bloggers singing their heart out and burning the dance floor? Well, it was certainly my first...and I hope that I'll get to see this more often. Much of the credit goes to Goa's leading band 'Forefront' for having set the tone perfectly for a magical evening to unwind...they did just enough to arouse the eclipsed party-animal in all of us, and the rest is history. I guess some of the moves displayed by the bloggers would get them a direct entry into ABCD 3, I hope Harish is taking note of that. I think whatever happened at the Leela on that particular night will actually remain alive as one of the brightest & celebrated chapters in the history of blogging... a group of food, fashion, lifestyle, photo, automobile, business bloggers dancing on the same platform- duh, unimaginable. Also, special thanks for Roshan for releasing that very exclusive (censored?) video that features Harish's sensational moves...don't worry Harish, I won't share the link through this blogpost hehe. Also, there could be prospective Indian Idol contestants with Neha showing her prowess in crooning when she took over the mic, the others joined in soon...and there you go, the spirit of exultant collaboration. Intoxicated much? Yes indeed, bewitched by the gravity of the moment. The party continued till late night; nobody was in a mood to retire for the night, it was our one last chance to celebrate the essence of blogging together on a single platform until Ankita stepped onto the floor & we obediently followed her decree (like we always do); Ankita...we will have to make it happen yet again.

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: The revitalizing performance by band Forefront....
Photograph: Self Clicked
And as the great Frank Herbert says “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story” ...I guess, Goa is where we transcribed the first chapter of this chronicle that thrives on synergy...it is indeed a continuous process, the momentum builds from here on. Thanks to Blogadda and the entire team represented by Harish, Ankita 1 and 2 (LOL! I figured out that more than 50% of the Blogadda team present in Goa comprised of Bongs..what a pleasant surprise), Sushma and Tridib who drafted the table of contents and of course, Renault India for spawning the invaluable preface. Our wait for the Glorious Rendezvous 2.0 begins here. 

#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: I had to pose with the beast, I simply had to...
Photograph: Prashanth
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: What a fun driving experience it was..he's a lookback
Photograph: Self Clicked
#LiveLodgycal: The Glorious Rendezvous: Super thanks for Blogadda and Renault for making it happen.
Creative by: Blogadda
Check out a fun video made by the Tech Blogger Giri...perfectly captures the mood of the #LiveLodgycal experience!! In case, if you want to dig deep and analyse the experience from the point of view of culinary eminence, kindly refer to Roshan's post :P
I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by BlogAdda.com in association with Renault India. The official pictures from the event are also up on the official Facebook pages of Blogadda and Renault India. You can also browse through the hashtag results of #LiveLodgycal for some exclusive snippets from the event. Whatever happened in Goa, has gone live on the social networks by now, make sure you don't miss out on the updates. Do check out by review of the all new Renault Lodgy by clicking this link. 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

And we tamed the beast- The Renault Lodgy!

Well, a photo-blogger writing a car review could turn out to be rather funny but then I'll try and make it slightly interactive. Oh shucks...I already mentioned that you are about to step into a rather drab "Review" post but then be rest assured, this is not going to be taxing enough (hehe, did I just stamp my own feet?). Whatever..the point is, whenever you are on the driver's seat, you must be safe and comfortable in the first place and ambitious in the second. Infact, that's what my automobile freak dad proclaims and rightly so, the Indian roads do not even remotely simulate the F1 feeler...even a second's transgression could be cataclysmic; that on a family trip could be calamitous to say the least. Having said that, countering my dad's appurtenant questions would certainly pose a bigger challenge than driving on the bustling Indian roads; oh yes...that's the disadvantage of having a top-notch automobile engineer in the family. Dude, let me tell you how excited he was when he got to know that we'll be driving the all new Renault Lodgy on the Goan highway, something that he would have loved to have done; it's interesting actually...for a man who has been a SUV-loyalist all through his life, is now vouching for a contemporary breed of the MPV. Shows that somewhere down the line, the MPV's have certainly managed to make an impact...and a recent survey says that the consumers belonging to the age group 35-40 years have a greater inclination towards buying this breed that essentially serves as a more than decent family car. There I said it...we contrived some cherished bonds in Goa and my word, all these connections were stitched in a Lodgy, yes my friend..the Lodgy did live up to it's reputation. And why not? It's the brain-child of some of the fantastic engineers from across the country, working under a single roof in the name of Renault that has pioneered in this sector right from it's inception. The Duster has been the lead exponent when we talk about numbers and customer satisfaction index, but then the Lodgy, which is Renault's first venture into the domain of MPVs in India, promises to exceed expectation. Just try and imagine the reaction of a family man (the ones who are (un?)fortunately unmarried can give it a rest) who got to see the first ever MPV (released in the year 1984)...he would have been absolutely overwhelmed. Boss, let me put it very straight...we are talking of utility cars out here and the prospect of buying a 7-8 seater with a more than decent mileage at an affordable price does tick that check-box. It absolutely goes without saying that Team Fleeting Four comprising of the ace bloggers Roshan, Senthil and Prashanth was all geared up for the big day...the Super Saturday when we tamed the beast and raged through the picturesque Goan boulevard. Infact, we were pretty much aware of the fact that we had to complete a number of tasks on the way from Cavelossim to Canacona (and return- a total stretch of approximately 70 Kilometers)...but then the experience was overwhelming enough to efface the "quest for milestones"; it was rather an unstintingly delectable ride in the Goan monsoons. Believe me, this driving experience was refreshingly different!

The Indelible #LiveLodgycal Experience: That's the all new Renault Lodgy.
Photograph: Self Clicked
"Dad, we are just back from the ride. Thora sa to rest karne do"- I literally pleaded on the call. Dad had called me almost 20 times during the ride, he was virtually there with us for the major part of the jaunt...such was his excitement level.
"That can wait. First tell me which variant did you get to drive? How does it look from the outside?"- He catechized; his voice was literally trembling in ebullience...this has been the story all summer whenever I've taken a test drive and he has not been around. That goes with the caveat that he already had distinct opinion with respect to the relative prominence of all the MPVs that have been released in the Indian market till then. He had a palatable disapproval for the Honda Mobilio or the Maruti Ertiga or for a matter of fact, the overhyped Xylo because of they simply don't tick all the boxes of all-round-excellence from the perspective of being people-movers...but then apparently his initial research about the Renault Lodgy was reassuring. It did strike those chords.
Just to give you a small background, the new Renault Lodgy has been released in 2 diesel options- the 85 PS variant with a maximum torque of 200 Nm @ 1900 rpm, 5MT gearbox and a fuel efficiency of 21.04 kmpl and the 110 PS model with a maximum torque of 245 Nm @ 1750 rpm, 6MT gearbox and a fuel efficiency 19.98 kmpl. Honestly speaking, both are absolute gems!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guru Dakshina

Well, the ones who have been following my blog, would now know that I have been scribbling in my diary almost regularly right from the age of 4...it's a practice that has become a part of my life. When it comes to counting the volumes, well...they are as many as 35, carefully stacked up in study- a habit that I have cheerfully inherited from dad; he has been writing in his diary for over 40 years now...astounding, isn't it? And it goes without saying that apart from being our treasured mode of assuagement, our venting zone...it does archive some of those best moments of our life in a very lucid, plebeian mode of expression. I can never match up to dad's style of writing a diary, he has an amazing control over the language and mode of asseveration...I have always been an amenable disciple. I have never seen him skipping the aspect called "Daily notes" except for the day when I met with a deadly bike-accident and he had to rush back from office...he did make up by writing an extra post the very next day but. I've been rather rusty and sporadic at times, unable to strike a balance between work life and personal life...but then his periodicity has been courteous. Alright, let's pull up some of those very nostalgic accounts straight from the diary and present them in-front of readers, these excerpts have been promulgated in an unaltered state to keep the essence intact. It is a depiction of our undefiled bond..!!



Date: 26th July 2005
Time: 21:04

Dad has bought an A.C. for us today...wait, for me. It has been installed in my study, exclusively for me. But why? I know that the heat wave in Calcutta is unbearable right now and we have been contemplating about procuring an air-conditioner for the entire family....but why did he do this? Yes, he has been passing through a very tough phase at work...still he has been investing so much for my education, ensuring that I get the best of resources in terms of academic advocacy; I don't know whether I should be happy or sad about this. I'll be studying in comfort while the others would "toil in the heat"...and dad, as always has a smile on his face. "I had to drop out of the IIT KGP M.Tech because my dad wanted me to work and support the family, I don't want you to see you doing that. Follow your dreams...and we'll do as much as we can to support your aspirations"- He had once attested. This was perhaps a major stride in fulfilling his son's ambitions...he sees his shadow in me and he wants me to step up to task. I will Dad, I will.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Goa Revisited- Anecdotes of the #OYOXplorer

"Are you sure you want to do this?"- Dad catechized. We were on our way from Nainital to Kausani, the most beautiful stretch of our entire journey, when the news arrived; the news was very exciting to say the least. 
"Yes Dad, I always wanted to become a travel blogger...and now that I have started, I want to make this count"- I proclaimed.
"It's going to be super hectic you know..."- Mom pitched in as we rode through those mushy patches along the silk route, she was concerned- "From the mountains down to the seas...don't you think it's an outlandish idea? We are already in the middle of a trip...are you on a ZNMD patch?"
"Mom look outside...it was bright and sunny when we started our journey from Nainital, it rained mid-way and now it's rather smoggy, that is indeed divergent...rather a diverse behavior isn't it? I don't mind travelling from the hills to the seas...I love the undulating trajectory, Mom"- I smiled at her. She had, by then, cornered herself towards that extreme end of the window-seat, trying to express her resentment...I wonder how would somebody be vexed at the prospect of this wondrous opportunity. I was already contemplating the prospect of flaunting my cowboy hat bought from the Lakeside store in Nainital while rambling on the Candolim Beach- 'trend-transfer' from the crystal clear lake to the limitless sea...it was an exciting "forecast". 
A few minutes' silence followed and she broke the trace. This has always been the case with my mom; she has can never hold on to her indignation.
"What about your leave? You had to fight so hard with your boss and the client to get a week's break...going to Goa means that it gets extended by a couple of days. How are you gonna manage?"- She investigated. She was right on the money with this one though...our car crawled along the hair-pin bend as her pinpointed words took me by surprise. Oh yes...honestly speaking, it's was quite a herculean task to grab hold of these annual leaves, I had to send multiple email requests to my boss and spend more than 100 minutes over the client call to get an approval prior to our vacation....the "perks" of being a consultant; and now it was pretty much evident that I would need a 2-day extension to attend the blogger's meet in Goa. The call changed it all. Let's roll back then.

The Experience of being the #OYOXplorer: That's how it started, from the mountains to the seas...
We had just about finished our breakfast when the call arrived. I know that my readers are already hitting the Ctrl+F button, expecting the word "dreaded" in semblance with the episode, but fortunately the scenario was just the reverse. The syrupy-toned lady on the other end of the call intimidated that I had won the twitter contest organized by OYO Rooms in association with Indiblogger, the reward being an all expenses paid trip to Goa including an exclusive two-day stay at one of the most exquisite OYO properties (OYO Premium), the Ruffles Beach Resort very near to the Candolim Beach in North Goa. The news came as a copacetic shocker to say the least as I had literally rushed through my entries (in form of tweets) prior to completing the work in hand and setting an "out of office" notification, absolutely glad that I got through. The competition, in itself was a visionary one...the contestants had to tweet about the craziest that they could do in their own city, the theme that tickled the "explorer psyche" and brought out the best aspects of their 'nest'- it goes without saying that browsing through the #OYOXplorer hashtag was another compelling exercise. Tweets flew in from all parts of the country and I'm sure it was a very tough job for the creative team at OYO Rooms to arrive at a final list of 4 grand prize winners who would be flown down to Goa from their base-location for an experience of a life-time. It goes without saying that all of us, Ragini, Manjulika (both from Delhi) and Sujata (from Mumbai) were elated to know that "we were the chosen ones". I had been to Goa for more than four times before this, but the prospect of being christened as an "Explorer" was certainly stimulating enough; as a kid I always wanted to traverse miles into an unknown territory and dig out new places...how about doing it now? Furthermore, I had closely observed the exhilarant reaction of the Delhi, Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Mumbai based bloggers who had got a chance to spend a cosy weekend at the OYO Rooms properties in their respective cities, just about a week before our Goa tryst...the reaction was just prodigious. The bloggers also had to perform certain fun tasks in their respective cities, just to spice up their weekend...and let me confess, I was expecting something similar to happen in Goa...but then we were the winners already. Err, confused? Even I was. Want to know what happened next? 

Monday, June 15, 2015

And miles to go before I sleep......

"Love in miles…
As the vagabond sets sail….
The essence of backpacking is unfurled….
The free flowing spirit sets in….
And the speed limit transcended.

I wondered what could take me away…
From the corpy squeeze…
Or a muddled expectation marred kinship….
Or an entangled spree…
To run the rallying engine in search of no-where…



Resurgence speaks….
Reincarnation beckons….
Those tire marks showing the route to salvation…
The playlist synchronizing with the friction….
Hotel California resounding all along!

With the zeal to break away from the prick…
To “moments” on the boulevard…
To drink and to feel her presence beside…
Those rugged terrains transcended in a Vroom…
The hankering for inner peace to drive us home!

A tank-ful of zeal is all we need….
The yearning for a change to feed….
With the steer in hand and the rainbow to chase….
The inspiration to drive out of the maze…
Road-trip, you beauty,
You’re such a liberating phase..!"

Friday, June 12, 2015

The 3 Strokes of Skin Care...

Well, I guess nobody's expecting a male blogger to write on this topic but then I don't really see a reason why they shouldn't. When it comes to skin care, I think everybody's driven by the common principle, "everybody wants to look good in a photograph.." and the best way to do that is to take good care of your skin. I guess everybody's going to agree on the very fact that we don't need to head out and fix an appointment with an external entity with respect to skin-care tips since we all have in-house skin-specialists-cum-consultants taking up the onus- no points for guessing this one. Right from the salad days, we are treated with utmost care; both in terms of food habits and skin care because she says that they are mutually dependent. I've been a sports person right from the early days, a sprinter to be specific...baking in the Calcutta heat and sweating profusely, I needed a personalized solution to protect my skin, to nurture it and to avoid acne scars. In a  nut-shell, these were the preventive measures as prescribed by my in-house expert, mom:-
  • Always stay hydrated: This holds good for everyone going out for work in the heat with the direct exposure of sun-rays denting hard into their skins. Holds good for people who mostly travel in the heat and then enter into the air-conditioned offices almost immediately...the result could be very hazardous. Water is undoubtedly the best available solution in this scenario when it comes to striking a balance in the fluid levels in your body and having a reciprocative cooling effect on your skin. In case you are living hot and humid conditions, adding a pinch of lemon and salt adds a lot of value to your intake. Infact having a cold-water shower post office could be immensely helpful; frequent splashes of water on-to your face (mostly for people working in on-site locations / field visits) can eradicate the possibility of acne dents.
  • Application of milk: After water, milk is perhaps the most easily liquid that could pamper your skin efficiently. This holds good for toned milk as well, the only factor that one needs to cater to is that the milk should preferably be un-boiled so that it retains the all the possible nutrients in it. Milk has been quite the popular choice since the inception because it seeps through, blends well, cleanses and softens your skin in a relatively shorter period of time. You need to wash your face and apply milk in droplets until it covers the entire skin and slowly remove it with cotton after 15-20 mins of settling in. I have heard my grand-mom talking about "doodh-er shwar" (the settled semi-fluid portion of milk) being a wonderful cleanser...however if yogurt is used, it should not be applied more than once in  a day.
  • Salad Power: Since I mentioned salad days to begin with, the role of cucumber, that comes as a major ingredient...is fascinating. I have seen mom applying skin packs with cucumber juice (and sometimes slices) on her face and honestly speaking, the effect has been axiomatic. Apart from acting as a coolant, cucumber aids in skin tightening that adds glow and enhances "skin-health"...that, my friend, speaks for itself. We have plenty of in-house ingredients that can actually do wonders to our skin if applied judiciously. The other common one being orange and it's extracts; orange though being seasonal adds a refreshing zest to the skin cells and turns it soft after multiple, recurring usage. I'm sure that if you use any of the above 3 procedures diligently, you will reap long term benefits...that's what mom says. You can also apply the all new Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic cream with Foam Base that eradicates the possibility of oily skin, pimples, blackheads and adds a natural glow to your skin; it's tailor-made to suit your skin. Here's a look at the TVC.


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