Friday, 19 December 2014

Burma Burma Review

The only good part of travelling all the way to South Mumbai for work is that sometimes when you get time to step out for lunch, you can go and visit some very interesting food joints.

A vegetarian only Burmese food joint definitely falls in the category of places i have been dying to check out.

The place is located close to Rhythm House and Kala Ghoda Cafe and if it is your first visit then its best if you put the GPS on and try and locate it on foot in the narrow lanes where chances of a car getting stuck are very high.

Its a quaint little place with nice interiors. I did not feel transported into a Burmese land when i stepped into the restaurant but thought the Burma man in the logo was very cute.

Samiza Hincho (means Samosa Soup when translated) was high on the recommendations from friends who had been there before and it was truly amazing. We had decided to share a bowl and regretted that decision at the first spoonful (I cribbed a lot bout it).

The soup was followed by Chilly Tangy Chickpea Tofu. At the first bite it felt odd as even though the dish mentions chickpea tofu, you expect the taste of soy tofu. But couple of bites down the taste kindof grew on us and we liked the dish.

Then came the Tea Leaf Salad. I have had it before in Burma Superstar in San Fransico and cause of that had high expectations from the salad. It did not disappoint and was really tangy and crunchy.

We also ordered Manday Meeshay which kind of reminded me of soupy noodles with veggies. The waiter initially refused to give us more than 2 bowls to share it (as per him the portion was only good for 2) which made us not want to pay the service charge, but we are difficult to say no to. Anyway the dish was mediocre and even the Brown Onion and Roasted Chilly steamed buns were average.

There were some super hits and misses in our order but the place is nice and serves good food at a great price point. Worth going back to at some point.

The dessert was at La Folie which is a couple of minutes walk from Burma Burma and serves some unforgettable goodies.

PS: If anyone wants a free uber ride then use my referral code po5ym
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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Things that I would do if I was jobless

Since we are in India let me clarify that the image says "Working it" and not "Working IT (Information Technology) :P
You know... 
  • Am I jobless without any savings (like right now :P) ???
  • Or do I have tonnes of them (my magical figure of 7 crores in the bank)??
So first let's talk about being almost broke and jobless..
  • I would (it kills my cool quotient - but all points for honesty) search desperately for a new job!!!! Loser me
  • Go back to my hometown to get rid of almost all personal expenses :) Daddy dearest still lovingly looks after me. Also who can pay these killer rents in MUMBAIIIII
  • In-between frantic job search  - I'll keep myself busy - writing this blog offcourse 
  • Watching TV series on my mom/dad's laptop because - let's face it, my laptop died years ago and I have managed these years with my "official" laptop... Which I am pretty sure the company would take back as soon as it quit
  • Get rid of my smartphone and move to Nokia Asha (if they still make those). Because I might need cash... and Olx might look inviting.. And also who will pay for all the data and calls?? Thanks to my job I haven't paid a single phone bill in 7 years!!!
  • Make numerous business plans for my own enterprise - might not act on any one of them coz of lack of FUNDING
  • Make numerous travel plans too!!! - might not have money to execute them but HEY kill me for being optimistic!!
  • Eat home cooked mommy's food!! Undoubtedly the best privilege of being jobless
  • Get married - it’s an option! Though not  good one :P For all you know I will get terribly bored and need a change
Now for the fun part... The utopian world of being jobless with 7 crore in the bank!!!
I don't have to think about this one.
I'll spend the rest of my life travelling. One country every month....

I even have a photo list ready on my Pinterest broad. Aptly titled: Travel Bucket List (

No points for guessing which one I most identify with :)
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

My English Speaking Rickshawalla

Everyone who knows me well will attest to the fact that I hate taking ricks from the airport as most of the rickshawallas think you are an outsider and try and take you for a ride (pun intended).

So last time when I landed in Ahmedabad from a super late flight, I warily eyed all the queued up rickshaws trying to pick the least shady looking driver. Its then that this older gentleman approached me and politely asked in ENGLISH "Ma'am can I offer you a ride in my Rickshaw. Dont worry I will take you safely".

This question asked in fluent English did not just make my jaw drop but also got me curious enough to hop onto his rickshaw. Once we started heading to my house, I couldn't control myself and had to ask how come he could speak so well in English?

So he started telling me his life story. He had lost his father when he was 16 years old and as the oldest child he was forced to skip school and start earning by being a rickshaw driver.

He did well for himself and got his younger sisters settled and then married a lovely lady who has been his biggest support over the years (I could sense the deep love when he spoke of his wife). He also has a son to whom he wanted to give good education and pushed him to do his engineering in computer science.

In middle of all this he wanted to finish his education but that was not happening for him so once his son started college, he reached out to one of his Neighbours to help him learn English. The gentleman was kind enough and thought him the basics of grammar and how to do word association. So while his son studied in college he spent 4 years learning how to speak English.

Now his son has started working and he wants to give him couple of years to settle in before he can retire. He is 53 right now and his dream is to take his wife abroad for a long vacation as he feels that thanks to his good english, he can now take care of her while traveling.

By the time the story got over we had reached my place. But the journey ended with me getting an open invitation to come to his house for a meal and meet his family.

PS: I think he fleeced me for an extra 100 bucks, but what the hell his English and story were worth it.
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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Kiss and let kiss

Have been planning to write this since I was in my early 20's as could never understand what the outrage was all about.

I have no idea when or why kissing in public became an offense. Maybe at some point it was made a criminal act to help with population control as the authorities must have thought that if people kiss in public next logical step will be them tearing of  their clothes and start making out in public with no self control. Nobody tried to figure out how the countries which are not as modest as us keep their lusty hormones on check in public.

I mean if some poor firangi decided the have a destination wedding in India with the priest saying you may kiss the bride. The next thing would be apna havaldar walking up the aisle and asking for fine or threatening to put the newly weds in jail.

I live in a city like Mumbai where people dont have enough space to breathe and if these space starved couples find sea link to be a good backdrop to express their love...what's the harm. Dont most us have touristy public kiss selfies from the effiel tower. What's acceptable in Paris should not be a crime in india.

In fact I think all moms who stress about their children getting married should lobby to allow public kissing. Simple logic is that their errant and unwilling to settle down kids will start feeling left out in all the PDA and try to sort their love lives out. I can personally vouch on the effectiveness of this point.

Honestly today we as a society are acknowledging the third gender and fighting for gay rights. Compared to that kissing in public is a old story and I say let the poor couples be.

Kiss and let Kiss!!!!!
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Monday, 10 November 2014

The Salt and Pepper Obsession

This comes from all the Mills and Boons i read while growing up :p

Dear Salt and Pepper haired gentleman

Because of your awesome hair we believe that you are a gentleman by default and irrespective of how smart you are, we will think you are one of the most interesting human beings we are ever going to come across. As we look at you adoringly, in our subconscious it is the images of George Clooney and Richard Gere which are constantly flashing and the thought itself makes us go weak in the knee.

We believe that your hair gene makes u want to hold chairs, pay bills and open doors for all women u care for. Also we are sure that this hair color will only come to you if you are seriously rich and simultaneously generous about giving out expensive gifts. Your definite Phd/professional qualifications are not as important to us as your ability to discuss all topics with equal amount of knowledge.

It is obvious to us that because of your smart hairdo, you would have an equally sharp dressing sense and no doubt Tom Ford or Armani are your favorite designers and you so prefer Hermes ties and Zegna cufflinks, but don't worry we will like u as much in your Diesel jeans and Ralph Lauren Polos (Prefer whites though as it brings out your lovely complexion).

Sometimes we feel that you are so perfect, you might be gay, but u r just the right amount of metrosexual. Some days when u dont like driving your Audi to work, we love checking you out on that Harley that you spend time personally maintaining. Would really appreciate being asked for a long drive though :)

We hope that someday soon we get to meet in person.

Yours lovingly

PS: If anyone wants a free uber ride then use my referral code po5ym
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Saturday, 8 November 2014

'FILLING' AA JAAYEGI! with Aloo Baba

Few kilometers away from Pushkar, on a random road, resides Aloo Baba. The sadhu who eats only aloos and nothing else…he came highly recommended by our hotel manager Narendra Singh, who in his style said “sir ek baar Aloo Baba ko dekh ke aao…filling aa jaayegi”…I tried correcting him once…but then Narendra continued selling many other spots around Pushkar that have a lot of ‘fillings’. So I decided to shut up.

Anyways…after gazing at bored camels and hungry horses for more than 2 days Aloo Baba sounded tempting. So without thinking much, we hired a scooter (that won't pick up pace) and a motorcycle (that won't ride straight), and the four of us went ahead to meet to our god man.

Riding in the middle of Aravalis, half eaten by stone companies and half spared for later, we reached a white regular looking temple that had a strange and big Aloo Baba graffiti on top!...and I thought…oh god it’s a set up!...aloo baba is a gimmick to keep bored tourists interested in pushkar…he will be another fraud, who is doing this for money and not for finding the greater truth and shit like that…I feel like kicking narendra’s ‘fillings’ fact i’m gonna… before my cynical thoughts could get any more violent, Richa interrupted with a shriek… “oh Aaloo baba!”…I looked at what she was looking at and found a frail, not-so-old man with long hair staring back at us.

He looked a little shocked. Obviously who wouldn't after hearing his name in such a shriek voice….but still “aao aao” he said welcomingly. He opened the gates and walked back inside the temple complex. Within seconds he laid out a mat for us to sit on and asked us to go in the kitchen and prepare tea if we felt like “apna hi kitchen hain…chai peene ka man hain toh bana lo”.

Kitchen!’ this word means a lot to Shivali, my wife, she just loves 'the kitchen', in whatever travels we have done so far, she has been in almost every kitchen that would not throw her out…it wouldn't matter if it is a hotel or a restaurant or a camp or a homestay and now a-feather-in-her-cap!...a temple too! straight she went into the kitchen to make tea…

But what happened after the tea came…was a wonderful experience that I cannot write about…because we just smoked {not marijuana (but you can if you carry it along)} and sipped and spoke with Aloo Baba, and so would you when you go….cause he is a chiller and in Narendar's words 'filling aa jaayegi'. 

Jai ho Aloo Baba!

The main entrance to the temple

Aloo Baba - Mr. Sweet love himself

Nowhere else would you see Kaali like this in a temple

This is the actual Hanuman mandir where devotees pray and do pooja

Richa & Shivali making the 'tea' that started it all

Rajat 'filling' it with Aloo Baba

Richa & Shivali 'filling' it on the top of the temple
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Thursday, 25 September 2014

A Thumbs up for Terttulia

Both me and Surabhi have been lazy bout writing for a work work driving us nuts. But we are trying to get back especially as we bullied so many of you into following our blog.

So i am no food critic but the weighing scale definitely indicates that i like food, so when we dropped by this awesome place - Terttulia at Shivaji park, felt like putting down a note of recommendation as all good things deserve our admiration.

I just recalled vague mentions of Terttulia (from Pune) before today and honestly when someone says food joint in Dadar, only Oven Fresh comes to mind so when my lovely super townie colleague recommended the place, it was a worth a burrp search. Not too many reviews there but whatever was written was all good.

Let me start by saying that the place looks lovely and yes i am one of those shallow people who gives as much importance to ambiance as to food in a restaurant. The whole rustic European feel is something i still dig as it always makes me want to plan my next Europe holiday so that was a big thumbs up.

I sat and read a book (Ken Follet's Edge of Eternity) on my phone while sipping on a glass of superb Melon Sangria, till my friend arrived and honestly between the book and wine i could have waited longer without any issues.

I ordered the Karari Roti with my white wine sangria and oddly enough they went great together. My friend who is a dismal eater had arrived by then and we decided to share the main and then indulge by ordering personal desserts.

We got the 3 mushrooms with mascarpone risotto. I might not know much bout mushrooms (Only started eating them in my 20's once i figured that my mom had fooled me all this while and there was no necessary link between mushrooms and cat poop) but i know my risotto and Terttulia served a very neat one. We were in such a rush to try it that even forgot to click a pic before spoiling the presentation.

Lastly came the desserts. I am not a big chocolate fan and Archana's Chocolate Mousse was my least favorite item of the meal. I had ordered a crusty phyllo with cream cheese and poached pears and the dish turned out to be as fancy as it sounded. Totally loved it.

The only red flags bout the place are that the Airtel network doesnt work inside which on the plus side means u can have a meal in peace. Secondly on a weekday also we realized they were almost fully booked so dont risk it, make a reservation and go.

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Thursday, 3 July 2014

For Men: First Impressions @ First Dates

I was once told that men look for beauty and women look for substance when they go on a first date with someone new. Must be true loooooong back but now we live in a shallow shallow world and even women go by appearances - atleast where the first impressions are concerned.
He/She can be the most interesting person you come across but the sad reality is that if the person comes in shabby packaging then you will never reach the 'getting to know each other better' part. At some point in the future I would like to test this theory extensively though a social experiment but for now lets be superficial :P
Surabhi just came back from Milan and couldn’t stop ooh-aahing about this superlatively hot European colleague she saw at the Fashion Week. Though she put a disclaimer to the gushing by saying that thank god she did not speak to him or would have been disappointed - as she suspected that he was not that interesting. But it was his appearance that is still bringing smiles to her face.
So we decided to put down a short 5 point guide for men on how they can improve the appearances on the first date…especially if it is one of those blind dates that are an output of kindhearted friends or relatives or matrimonial sites.
1.       Don’t wear Jewelry – It’s a women’s arsenal and let her have it. Big chunky gold chains and rings might impress ammas looking for rich grooms for their daughters but they only put off the younger women. I believe that the only accessory a woman notices on a first date and feels impressed with is the right watch. Pull out your best branded watch and let it do the talking.
2.       Sun does not equal Sunglasses – Women like to look into your eyes and try and figure out what you are thinking. Their conclusions might be all wrong but they still like looking at your face without the distraction of sunglasses perched on your nose or head. In case you didn’t know, only women look good using sunglasses as hair bands. The only way you can get away with sunglasses on a date is that it's a beach or you are Salman Khan.
3.       The right car – A friend went out on a date with a guy who owned multiple cars and some of them were seriously fancy, but he came to meet her in an Innova which stinked a little. She would have let it pass but he also was wearing shorts with socks rolled up halfway to his knees. You can’t fault a woman for wanting to be picked up in a nice car and in case you don’t have one, there is always Uber.
4.    Don't get Flowers - yes we know we are debunking the usual 'fail safe' mechanism that men turn to. But please Flowers!!! Everyone knows that you didn't have enough time to give it a thought, and you put all women in one big cliché - hence flowers. Do some research and figure something more personal but not intrusive. We are not suggesting Lingerie but something on the lines of a good Book.

5.    Lets not get too casual or too formal - I am going with the assumption that you want to go all out and impress a woman on the first date and hence you will pick a nice place to take her out - and why shouldn't you... it's probably your only shot with her :) It is also safe to assume that she will put a lot of thought in what to wear especially as you are taking her to a nice place. So don't land up at the date in your shorts, tee and flip flops. It just gives the impression that you don't want to make the effort. On the flip side, do not land up at the date in your best suit afterall its not your wedding reception and you don't want to look like a 'gift wrap'. I would suggest pick a nice pair of fitted denims and club it with a smart tee and a casual blazer. That outfit will pass all the tests and not make you feel out of place anywhere.
If all else fails - my humble suggestion is to stick to classics. An indigo denim and white shirt  is my all time favorite date wardrobe suggestion for the guys - (switch to black if you are - let's just say - not in your best shape). This combination never fails to make you look effortlessly fashionable. I have done enough dipsticks and can confidently say that its a favorite look with all single women. 
Well after the appearances and superficiality of the date is evaluated and appreciated, the real tests begin where we try to figure interest levels, sense of humor, chivalry, compatibility, ability to have a nice conversation etc etc etc....some even say that the list is never ending and I just want to add 'on both sides' to it. 
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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

What i loved bout California

I always think that if I was born with a silver spoon and did not have to work to earn a living, I  would spend my life wander lusting. Since the day the travel bug bit me, I have become its  lifelong victim.
In May I was absconding from everything urgent and important at work and took off with the entire family to meet up with my most adorable nephew in California.

We were in California for 20 days and here is the list of my top 10 favorite things bout that state. Most of which can be done with adorable lill babies tagging along.
1. Shopping - lets get this out of the way before the tourist list begins. Sis managed to take us on day trips to outlet malls like Livermore and Great Mall around San Francisco and I shopped so much (17 kgs and USD 1500 worth to be precise) that I am still wearing new clothes to office two week later. And even if u cant manage to go to outlets malls, there is a Ross in every nook and corner. Post the US trip, 'clearance' is my new favorite word.
2. Cherry picking in Brentwood - we live in a agricultural country but I have never picked and eaten a fruit directly from a farm. In California there is a area called Brentwood where there are 'you pick' farms. They have farms with the most amazing cherries, strawberries, apricots and mulberries. They let you walk unsupervised in the farms and you can pick and eat whatever you like, just have to pay for whatever additional you want to buy. The gujjus that we are, we hogged and hogged and hogged and then bought a lot also. They are not open through the year so better to call and go.
3. Farmer's market at San Francisco downtown - Every Tuesday and Thursday (the Tuesday one is way better) outside the ferry building in SFO downtown there's a farmer's market with the yummiest line up of fruits, veggies and meals. All fresh out of the farms and freely available for tastings. Inside the ferry building we came across some superb food joints. My suggestion is to take a cappuccino from Blue Bottle coffee (way better than Starbucks) and walk to the rear of the building where you can sit and watch all the yuppie crowd while enjoying your coffee right by the ocean.
4. Hollywood walk of fame - I know its a clichéd touristy thing, but its a lot of fun to try and find the stars especially if you are looking for a celebrity whose star is not right outside the Kodak theatre. I was looking for Walt Disney and it was so much fun to find Charlie Chaplin and Sidney Sheldon along the way. Also its a perfect stage for lots of fun pictures. I also enjoyed the Kodak theatre tour and felt a little like a diva being on the Oscars stage.
5. The Warner Bros Studios - If your favorite pastime is watching big bang theory reruns then the VIP tour of the warner brother studios would feel like the most exciting thing to do in LA. We got to sit on the Friends couch, see real costumes from Harry Potter and go on the sets of big bang theory, two and half men and 2 broke  girls. The current seasons were over so no celebs :( but it was fun to realize that the staircase to Sheldon and Leonard's apartment is just one set where they keep changing props to show diff floors. Some interesting trivia we got to know was like....
  • Clint Eastwood likes to be called Mr. Eastwood and he is the guy everyone is most scared of
  • On the first day of friends shoot they needed someone to make coffee and one of the production guy volunteered who is known to us as Gunther. He had dyed his hair blonde just the day before and then for next 10 years he remained blonde.  He was just at the right place at the right time and makes 500,000 every year till date cause of friends reruns.
  • Charlie Sheen is not welcome any of the stages where Chuck Lorre has a permanent parking and trust me that's more than half the studio.

6. Old town at San Diego - Ever thought what time travel would be like??? Just go to old town at San Diego and you will feel like you are transported back by 100 years into an old Mexican town. Its amazing how well preserved the place is and you will find shops selling vintage Mexican trinkets and even more wonderful is the staff that is dressed just like the old times. And then there was the food...I thought Chipotle was good Mexican till I landed up at Casa De Reyes, which blew us away.
7. Carmel-by-the-Sea - Everyone kept telling me about the 17 mile drive and I thought it was superb and would have made my list if we had not finished the drive and stopped for a coffee at Carmel. It's almost like stepping into a fairytale land (and I saying this after having been to Disneyland). Small pretty houses with loads of art galleries and quaint cafes, the best word to describe this place would be enchanting. It is also the most dog friendly place I have ever been to. In fact we even came across an art gallery where the owner that filled the place with only painting of his dog.
8. $5 blackjack table at New York, New York in Vegas - Most of us Indians keep converting dollars into rupees when we travel and its so difficult to gamble our hard earned money away. With that conversion ratio in mind, I didn't want to play pure luck games and hence opted for blackjack where you can calculate the odds. After casino hopping through Vegas, it was only at New York, New York that we found the $5 blackjack table and that is where spent all my gambling time. 2 days of Vegas and loss of $60 is not bad in my book.
9. Ghiradelli Hot Fudge Sundae - I am not a big fan of chocolate but the world famous (that's what its called on the menu) Ghiradelli Hot Fudge Sundae is in a league of its own. I think its just wrong to go to San Francisco and not pay homage to your taste buds at Ghiradelli square. In fact I liked the Sundae a tad more than the Golden Gate bridge also
10. Madame Tussauds in LA - I think this only makes the list because it was a family trip with a kickass camera. It was super fun taking crazy pictures in all the illicit poses with the celeb statues. Was surprised how much even my mom enjoyed the place, even though she did not recognize anyone except Obama.
That's the my top 10 favorites but there were so may amazing things and places that we visited. The Venice Canals in LA, Boudin's sourdough bread bowl soup at Pier 39, La Jolla Beach at San Diego, Napa Valley, Golden Gate and Disneyland were also in my favorite list. Wonderful trip and thanks to sis and bro-in-law being locals, we got to do a lot of things that tourists will find hard to choose from the lonely planet.
But honestly, the best thing bout the US trip was the time I got to spend with Rivaan. Totally been missing nan nan since I have been back :(

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