Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mirchi and Mime: An Afternoon with Food and A Friend

Mirchi and Mime (Photo credit)
What better times can there be than the ones spent in the company of great friends and delicious food. Last monday was one such day. I went out to meet my friend, Mitu Samar, a leading personal branding consultant. She suggested that we catch up for lunch. And the place we went to only added to the great time we had. Since we live close to each other, we decided to meet up at Powai in the same complex where Cafe Mangi is. I did not know there were more cafes in the area nor had I heard of this restaurant where she was waiting for me. The place is called Mirchi and Mime. Here is their Facebook page.

What is unique about this place is that the waiters/servers are all deaf-mute people. It just shows that when people are trained and given the opportunity, they can do a good job of anything. The menu is a simple one with columns for soups, salads, appetisers (tawa and tandoori), Vegetarian and non vegetarian main course, sides/breads and desserts. At the top of every column is a specific sign for that category which you can use and indicate the item number showing the fingers of your hands.

The menu at the restaurant Photo credit
The meal starts with a person who can speak explain the concept to us and introduce the person who will serve our table who welcomes us in sign language. I think the sign language added a unique aspect to the eating experience. It was so easy to communicate with them with the basic signs we learnt in no time. And the food was just delicious. We ordered chicken and fish. The flavours were great and the service impeccable. It was a unique dining experience.

If you happen to be around, I'd recommend that you drop with for a great meal at Mirchi and Mime.

PS: This is not a paid post.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Re-blogging: 101 Blog Post Ideas To Make Your Blog Hot

101 ideas to make your blog hot! (Photo credit)
For today's post, I am re-blogging a wonderful and insightful post that I came across recently. This post has 101 ideas simple ideas on adding variety to your blog content and keeping the readers engaged. What else does a blogger need! Here are a few of my favourite ones from the list:

1. Run a contest
2. Review books/movies/products
3. Interview someone famous
4. Write a photo post (which is what I did at the beginning of this 7 day marathon)
5. Share travel experiences
6. Jot down lists - the longer, the better
7. Add guest posts so that you can get breathers
8. Bust a myth
9. Write about your success/failure stories and lessons learnt from them
10. Write pros and cons of something
11. Share your blogging story
12. Write a series
13. List your popular posts (which is what I did on Sunday. See! The ideas are already working!)
14. Write a hand written post and post a picture of it. Pretty unique, I'd say!
15. Write A-Z of something you are good at

For the whole laundry list, here's the original blog for your reading pleasure.

101 Blog Post Ideas To Make Your Blog Hot

Do share your most favourite ones in the comments. I'd love to know what's on your list!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blog Round up - The Most Popular Posts

Writing makes me jump for joy!
While I am getting back in the groove with my blogging, I thought it was a good idea to share some of the popular posts that got maximum views. Since most of you have just starting discovering this blog in the limelight, it'll be nice to see what I wrote in the past. And it has been a great journey down the memory lane finding them for you. I found that there have been quite a few posts with views between 200-400 views. So I have zeroed in on a few posts you might find interesting.

1. Since one of my hobbies is watching re-runs of sitcoms, the first post is, Unanswered questions from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Having watched the series several times, I realised that familiarity does breed contempt. After the initial novelty wore off, I started wondering about the plot and asking questions, which I thought were pretty valid. Do you agree?

2. Indra Nooyi kicked off the hornet's nest when she said that women could not have it all. What do you think? My take:

3. The brutality of Nirbhaya rape shook the nation at it's very core. As a woman, it hit my belief in the very existence of humanity. In this post, I feel no rage, no pontification, just a numb disbelief:

4. I generally don't write about my personal life. But having conquered the 7 year itch in my marriage seemed like a time I could start handing out nuggets of wisdom about the institution. And it got quite a few views too! Here is it:

5. With feminism and women's rights talked about everywhere, I thought we should spare some thought for the men too. So I decided to jump to their defence and found a lot of places/situations where they might feel left out but we don't care. I think it's a must read for men and women! How far do you agree with me?

6. An ode to the zeitgeist of our times, this is a heart felt post for the great times we live in. We have the freedom and the liberty to do what we choose.

Thank you @blogchatter for inspiring me to start writing again. This post has been a pretty great one since I could go back and trace my blogging journey. From someone who wrote as a novice to someone who picked up the ropes along the way, I can see the transition in me as a blogger. My titles are better, thoughts more structured, presentation numbered or sub headed and included images. The journey of learning do's and don't's has been long, painstaking but fun! I can't think if anything else that gives me greater joy than producing a piece of great writing! 

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon - Movie review

Not worth a watch! 

I'd like to confess that this review is based on watching an hour of the film. I also want to confess that I went to watch the film just for Kapil and for the sheer hard work that's taken him to the big screen. However, from whatever I had heard of the plot of the movie, I knew that it wasn't going to be very great. And I was proven right five minutes into the film. 

Kis Kis Ko Pyaar Karoon is the story of a man who gets married to 3 girls for the flimsiest of reasons that defy all logic. And the rest of the film is a Saajan Chale Sasuraal style dodging of people he doesn't want to run into but does. Plus, the palatial, well furnished homes in Mumbai for 3 wives is a tad too much even for the suspension in disbelief that Bollywood usually requires. 

We walked out in an hour for 2 reasons. One, the plot was pretty clear and the comedy wasn't as great as I had expected. Two, and more importantly, my spouse thought this was my way of torturing him for something wrong he did to me.  So I decided to leave in the better interest of my marriage ;) 

To be honest, my expectations of comedy from the film were quite high. It's a dud in that dept. Kapil, somehow, doesn't seem to fit the big screen. The image of Bittu Sharma is too overwhelming in my mind to see him as anyone else. His dialogue delivery, gauche dancing and his mannerisms simply remind you of the guy who appears in the comfort of your homes every weekend. 

All the lead women are new, unknown, model like people who are there just to look pretty. The skin show and forced glamour just makes it unreal since no one sitting at home (as confessed by the characters themselves) would have the well toned bodies they have. The songs (2 in an hour) are out of place and make no sense.

All in all, it's a dud for me. I expected a much more powerful script, performance, comedy and power from an actor of Kapil's calibre. I don't doubt his ability to act or his screen presence but with this film, the script itself lets him down right from the start. Wishing him better luck next time! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

#WIN15 - The Brilliant Blogging Event By Blogadda

A day full of meeting people and having fun is great. It's even greater when it involves your passion - writing in this case. I blog for my passion for writing. And it is always a bonus to get to learn the ropes from stalwarts in the field. I registered well in advance for #WIN15 and was super excited about it. Though it was a little early and too long for a Sunday, I was there nice and early. I was greeted by smiling (and not sleepy) faces at the registration desk. I was also asked to give out a video byte about what I look forward to the most in the day. (Btw, I got to check if that went on air!). Once I was in, it was catching up with people I knew and the game of - doesn't that guy look like X on Twitter - began for me.

The event was in a huge hall and the stage was all set by the time we took our seats. The entry of the host of the day - Siddharth Kannan - on a cycle, greeting people on the way was an apt introduction to how much fun we were going to have with him. The event was divided into talks in the first half and workshops in the second. The day began with story telling with Lakshmi Pratury of INK talks who spoke about how to identify passionate story tellers.

Next up was a very interesting talk by Dhaka based blogger Rezwan who spoke about how blogging in evolving in his country. That was followed by Huffpost India editor, Sruthijith telling us about the best way to keep blogging and writing. The talk on travel blogging by Ajay Jain threw light on the lesser known aspects of travelling and blogging. It was pretty inspirational to know how traveling had really made him evolve as a person. This was followed by a chat session Anaggh Desai and Aditya Magal - the Gods of blogging. The morning sessions ended with talks on the business of blogging. Harini Calamur, Ashok Lalla and Prashanth Challapalli delivered insightful talks about how bloggers could monetize their blogs by writing for brands.

By the time we were out for lunch, these sumptuous designer cakes made by the talented chefs of JW Sahar greeted us in the lobby. Networking continued during lunch where we caught up with more people who had walked in late in the morning.

These are all cakes!!!!

The workshops began post lunch. There were two workshops in each slot and hence you could choose just one. Since the first set of workshops were on food and travel blogging - both not my area of interest, I decided to wander around. I ended up in one of the other venues hosted by Blogadda where Pampers was launching a new diaper product. And guess who I found there....

My celebrity moment! :)
It was awesome to see her and be a part of an event she was hosting. I have always found her fitness inspirational!

And then arrived the creative writing workshop with Natasha Badhwar that I was really waiting for. (The parallel workshop in this slot was on video blogging) It was the most unique workshop on writing that I have ever been a part of. Like her columns, Natasha's workshop had emotions involved and she brought a new aspects of what can make us better writers. Being ok with who we are and permitting ourselves to feel the way we are were fresh and unique perspectives I gained from her workshop. 

The day was getting a bit long by now since we started at 8.30 in the morning. But the high tea was refreshing with yummy snacks to fill our bellies. The day was far from over and we had a whole lot of fun lined up! When we came back to the main hall of the conference, we had Suchitra Krishnamurthy of the Dole Dole and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa fame. This part of the evening began with Suchitra and Natasha (Badhwar) discussing the way blogging has changed since Suchitra used it in its earlier days. It was great to hear how she leveraged online power to promote her album during the 90s. And then came the grand Blog adda awards followed by the launch of the book Game of Blogs. 

Phew! It was a long but fun day full of learning and meeting people. Looking forward to more such events in the future! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

ThrowbackThursday - Memories from 2012

Found this photo with the spouse from september 2012
I am declared the super blogger this week by Blog chatter during their blog chat which happens every wednesday at 8.30 pm. I am using the opportunity to blog every day for 7 days to justify the honour. Since it's only laziness between me and my wonderful writing, I think it is a great way to kick myself into action!

For the first post this week, I ran into this much forgotten photo with the spouse. It was taken at a family function in 2012. I cherish such couple photos more also because we do not have a lot of them together. Initially, we used to ask people to click a couple photo during our travels. And then it just got a little odd to do that and we just got busy clicking the hotel rooms and scenery around. Of course, this is before the selfie wave hit us and we aren't so much of selfie buffs. 

Anyways, I digress. The most exciting bit for me when I look at old photos is to stare at them and wonder how much have I changed. Do I look older now? Maybe, you can tell me in your comments :)

I also want to spare a word for this saree - one from my Satya Paul collection and drapes pretty well. This also reminds me that this was the last time I probably draped this one - not many opportunities for sarees and each one has to wait a long time for its turn. 

What are your best Throwback Thursday memories? I'd love to hear about them. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

What outrages the modesty of a woman?

What outrages the modesty of a woman? How does one know if someone meant it or a woman is taking offense where none was meant? Is she at fault if she isn’t comfortable with what someone said to her? Or should she be trolled for speaking her mind? 

These are some of the questions that come to my mind at the ongoing furore about the objection Ms. Charlotte Proudman had to the mail that Alex Carter-Silk sent to her. While my blogger friend, Ankita thinks Proudman over-reacted, I somehow find myself at the opposite end of the argument. And here’s my side of the story:

I came to know about this episode through a tweet which had this Mashable link on it which has both their mails. I, then, came across this photo in the newspaper the next day. 

This set me thinking. This wasn't just some woman who got offended and wrote a mail and the matter finished. There is a whole lot of debate around it. I went back and read the mails. I discussed this with some people on Twitter. People seemed to be divided and there was no clear picture as to who people thought was right or wrong here. To my surprise, there are quite a few women who feel that Charlotte over reacted. She should have just shrugged it off as just another compliment instead of raising a rabble about it. But, I say, Charlotte found it offensive enough to write back on a professional network probably jeopardising her career prospects. This calls for digging deeper. 

When I think about it, the first thought that comes to my mind is how I’d react if someone sent me a mail like this on a professional network. That makes me go back to the mail and consider what could be offensive to a woman. Basics first, this person is almost double the age. Somehow that calls for more awareness about how your message could be perceived. Secondly, this is his first mail he wrote to Charlotte. I have written and received several ‘thanks for connecting’ emails on Linkedin but I don’t remember that dwells on how I or someone else looks. If I were to have 2/3rd of someone’s mail dwelling on my DP and adding one last sentence about his interest in my skills, I will definitely find that odd. 

I’d be ok even if he had just mentioned - you look stunning (though that’s not a word to be used in the professional context, not in the first mail) and moved on to his interest in working with her on the projects he found mutually beneficial. But he seems to be well aware of the implications of what he is saying, a seasoned lawyer that he is - “horrendously politically incorrect” and still says it. He himself uses strong words to say this might be very inappropriate - if he meant it just as a passing comment why couch it in defensive words so strong?

And he doesn’t stop there. He also awards her the best picture on Linkedin award. And when I read it, it feels like that’s all he is talking about and by the time he comes to her skills, it’s lost all meaning. It also looks like this guy definitely isn't aware of boundaries when he calls his own daughter hot

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for a minute and say - he did nothing wrong. Let’s consider how Charlotte must have felt. First of all, I totally believe in women’s instinct and the vibes that people give out even online. I am a woman who is active online. I make decisions about who to follow and who not to follow. I have had people compliment on the first chat and it did not feel offensive. And some others did not come out right and gave me second thoughts with what they said even after a few chats. It’s the vibes. Can anyone decide for me? Can you tell me if I should have felt offensive or not? Can even I explain why I get a certain feeling about someone. That’s why it’s called instinct. A woman knows a touch, words, tones - she just knows it! 

Assuming that Charlotte has even average intelligence, I don’t think she would just fly off the handle like this and create a furore. It must have come across as insulting to her. And I totally empathize with her. I am sure she has spent enough years becoming a successful professional and here is this guy only talking about her stunning looks. As an NLP trainer, I know that the onus of communication lies on the speaker, the person who conveys the message. If care is not taken to word/say it properly, don’t blame the receiver. If he is so innocent, I am sure she deserves the benefit of the doubt for being well aware of the implications of what she was doing by writing back. 

And what makes her point stronger is she doesn’t back off amidst the ensuing controversy. But accepts that she is willing to “endure misogynistic backlash that accompanies calling out sexism in hope it encourages at least one woman to feel she doesn’t need to take it.’ This definitely is not a woman who reacted at the spur of the moment, or better still under the influence of hormones - the major contributor to all female tantrums! 

And going by the headlines in newspapers and strewn all over the internet, it is pretty clear to me that once again, Charlotte is the victim. She is being called the Feminazi and isn't being supported by her own gender. If a woman feels insulted, do we question her - worse, even as women or do we support her? If a man chose to inappropriately express himself being fully aware of it being so, what are we doing by judging her? Should we target her with public shaming and silence all other women who may feel offended in the future but choose to endure it silently because we will not support her? Or should we strengthen one voice that had the courage to speak up against what she felt was sexist?

The ball is in your court!