Friday, July 10, 2015

Where’s the honey, honey?

“It never works! No matter how hard I try.”

My adamant brain argued with my hopeful heart.
My heart was the optimistic one, it believed I could lose those oodles of kilos I’d put on over the last few months. Thanks to the ghee laden Indian desserts, cream laden curries, the crunchy comforting packets of junk food and the deep fried non-vegetarian starters.
If only I had a control on my taste buds. I repent the countless times I convinced myself that this was the ‘One last bite’ I would have and ‘Will start dieting tomorrow’. Alas! Tomorrow never comes alas!
It’s not just about not eating, dieting is about eating the balanced healthy diet to match your body type and lifestyle. (And by balanced diet, having a chocolate donut in each hand does not count ;P )

Think about the countless number of diets you have tried. The Aktins, The Paleo, The Vegan, The Fruit, The Smoothie, The Juice, The detox… I could go on and on and you still wouldn’t lose a pound!
The science might put things into perspective that this particular diet maybe particularly beneficial for you, however, when you really go ahead and do the diet, things may not go ahead as planned. Crash dieting is not a healthy way to lose weight. In fact the fad that crash dieting is, does more harm than good. Crash dieting is said to be harmful for the skin and bones, causing one to lose essential nutrients that a body needs to function with.

So what is the answer?
One must remember, healthy eating is not a fad, it is a lifestyle.
Remember, the golden rule: don’t diet just to lose weight, lose the junk lifestyle and switch to a healthier lifestyle.
It took some time for me to understand this fact. Even switching to healthier substitutes for some foods that we crave for. Example: Oily junk food, Sugar, Refined flour, etc.

The healthier and sweeter alternative to sugar is honey. Whereas the healthier alternatives to oily food is baking, roasting them; for refined flour is using whole wheat flours.
Apparently one teaspoon of sugar amounts to almost 16 Kcal!

On researching on the net further, we can find many good healthy uses to honey. For instance, Dabur Honey’s website that dedicates to the benefits of honey, not just as an additive, but as a use in various recipes that can bring out an interesting taste and flavour in the Honey Diet. If you’re thinking that it’s only desserts that will use honey, you might be in for a sweet surprise! And who has designed these sumptuous dishes? Why Michelin Starred Restauranteur and MasterChef Vikas Khanna of course!

I’ve incorporated the habit of adding honey into my green tea or lemon juice instead of using the granular white sugar.
I’m consciously switching to a healthier lifestyle. Are you?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cricket - A sport that connects Indians

In a country like India, where cricket is synonymous to a religion, it is perhaps considered sacrilege to ignore a match that India is playing in.
Cricket is in the blood of perhaps every Indian in India or on the surface of the planet. Regardless you play the game or not, Sachin Tendulkar is the ‘God’ of the game called cricket. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev are historically celebrated and Sourav Ganguly and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are worshipped – even the ground they walk on.

An India – Pakistan match ignites patriotic passion in every Indian to their motherland, regardless of whichever desolate corner of the world they maybe in.
The incessant discussions, the fantasy leagues, the pre-match analyses, discussion of the match tactics during the match, the post-match post mortem analyses, the name-calling, player heckling, jibe throwing behaviour that is a part and parcel of this addictive madness.

That is the power and magic of cricket. Truly a sport that unites.

I believe each Indian has a fond memory associated with this revered and celebrated sport.
For instance,
Do you remember going to your neighbours place and huddling up to the television set with your friends just to watch the match on Doordarshan?
Do you recall you and your sibling/s fighting over the television remote to keep cricket match over any daily soap or entertainment program? You may try to make peace by switching to the soap after a wicket has fallen.
Or imagine if you were in another country where cricket was only considered as an insect and there is an India – Pakistan match on. Imagine trying to dash out for countless ‘loo breaks’ in middle of an important business meeting and the collective look on your colleagues’ faces when you return smiling back into the room.
These little memories build up our nostalgia. However fond the memories are, we love the game to the core.
But these times are long gone.
Today’s fact paced life, every second counts – even the time spent on the video to load. For a person like me, waiting a couple of extra seconds for a page to load when on an important website can drive me to the edge. Yet when I watch cricket, I make sure I am updated with the game scores via real time on Twitter.
I just checked UC Browser that has this unique way to connect us to the game without missing out or losing our connect from our real game – LIFE.
By surfing fast and quicker, we not only enjoy watching and experiencing cricket but also don’t miss out on our daily tasks.
Moreover, for cricket fanatics a convenient space called UC Cricket helps to connect to the match wherever they are with features such a LIVE scores with auto updates. 

So say Goodbye countless loo breaks!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Best 12 Droolworthy Food Photographs

I love food.
Through and through. I am a self-proclaimed foodie and have no regrets on the "foodie" tag whatsoever. I love nibbling, biting, tasting, eating, chomping, slurping, munching, gulping down food. And living in Mumbai has pampered me silly with yummy food I cannot resist. So much so, I dream of good food and make goals to complete my foodie experience - from the raste ka vada pav to the hor d'oeuvress at a fine dining restaurant. And looking at good food can make me go weak in the knees. Literally. So here is my visual treat - The 12 droolworthy food photographs from my Instagram feed, so far:

A photo posted by Gauri (@missalpao) on
Why keep desserts for last? Let's begin on a sweet note (I sense those with a sweet-tooth nod in agreement). Chocolate Mud Pie that I savoured at Sbarro - A fast-food restaurant at their flagship restaurant in Chembur.

A photo posted by Gauri (@missalpao) on
"Who says 'NO' to chocolate must be crazy" I said when I dug into this wonderfully chunky treat at Beanspork, Vashi.

A photo posted by Gauri (@missalpao) on
A cold day called for some freshly baked hot Chicken pizza from Joey's Pizza, Koperkhairane. Care a slice?

We mangloreans love our jackfruit and the leaves too. To the uninitiated, 'Khotto' may simply seem like idli batter encased in jackfruit leaves, but the flavour the leaves impart into the idli is absolutely wonderful.

Goli Bajo. My all time favourite snack. A small story behind this snap. The batter for the 'bajo' (fritters) came all the way from a Hotel in Bailur, a small town in Karnataka. My ma-in-law fried these in hot oil and they came out perfect - firm on the outside, soft and tad bit sweet in the inside - just the way I ate them the first time.

Got some buns? Manglorean Buns are simply deep fried dough. The dough is made with refined flour, curd, sugar, bananas and a pinch of soda-bi-carb. A very very well kneaded and well rested dough makes for a delicious, puffy batch of buns. Buns go well with staple tea or coffee.

A true fish lover is bound to drool at this. Red hot spicy Malvani spicy fish curry is bound to leave you sweating thanks to the red chillies packing the punch in the curry, yet yearning for more.

One of the jaunts that I chanced upon when in Churchgate and devoured the Chilli Cheese Fries at 'The J' Must for a cheat-day.

A chutney connoisseur that I am, I prefer it over the watery sambhar that is made.(Yes, true to my South Indian roots). Though, I love the idli-wala uncle's ground dal based chutney over my mom's coconut and spices only chutney. (Shhh.... don't tell her that, idlis made by her always rock!)

For living in Bombay (Yes I call it that to sound more profound) you cannot, I repeat CANNOT go a week without chaat. I had this sev puri at a local shop at Goregaon. Every chaat guy has his signature style of presenting and plating chaat, and this guy always sprinkled seasoned nuts over all chaats he made.

Iconic as it is, a trip to City Bakery is a must when I'm visiting the Siddhivinayak Temple. It has been as much as a ritual as is smearing the vermilion teeka on my forehead after offering prayers. What I try loooove about this bakery is the fresh bakes they churn out day in and day out plus the affordable rates of their wares. When you're here you must also try the chocolate chip cake- it is out of this world.

When the rain Gods were overbearing outside, I was curled up in my cosy office devouring this succulently coated chindian cuisine. I'm not a purist when it comes to Chinese, so love all my "schezwans", "chopsueys" and "manchows". I had this Chicken Hunan Dry from a local restaurant called Manthan in Goregaon west. Thank you Rain Gods.

So this is my visual treat to you. What do you think? Lemme know your thoughts and experiences in the comments section of this post:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I don't know where to start. As I reflect back on the 25 years with you, I literally have tears in my eyes. Where do I start? No memory can be more beautiful than the other. I cherish each and every lovely memory I have with you till date. 

Should I ask you to remember the lavish party you threw when I was born? Or should I ask you to remember the time when you refused to hold me for the first time ever after I was born, only because you had a cold that day? 
Shall I ask you to reminisce the time you scolded me while teaching me to ride the bicycle? And then gradually pushing me to drive a car and ride a scooter.
Or how about the time you helped me ace my maths exam in high school; when I was petrified of it?
Can you remember the time I lost your favourite umbrella in an autorickshaw? And yet you didn't say anything but you gave me your other one.
Or shall I remind you the countless times you used to drop me to school in the car when I missed the bus? Even when
Let me remind you of the countless times I waited for your return from your foreign trips bringing me a memento or a gift each time? I still remember you basking in the smile on my face.
In school, do you remember fighting against a teacher’s wrong for me? I admired the power of your writing then.
In college, when I was staying away from home, do you remember the time you and mom took me to the doc when I was too sick with fever to get up?
When I grew up, do you remember you the time I forgot my exam hallticket at home? You rushed to the exam hall and got it for me. And the countless times you backed me even when I was in trouble.

Dad, with tight hug, I want to thank you with all my heart-

For the education you gave me
For the opportunities you gave me
For making me independent
For the values you gave me
For always being my guide
For the friendship we share
For the always treated me as an equal.
For giving me my freedom to make my choices
For supporting me through and through
For trusting me completely
For making me strong, just like you.

I will always always always always love you.

- Your Gondi Gauri

“This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.”

Saturday, June 13, 2015

#ComeCloser to Radiant Skin

A flawless glowing complexion is desired by everyone and envied by all. Right from a young girl to a gracefully ageing old lady, the skin exudes youthfulness, charm and freshness of one’s personality. But come puberty, one is sceptical of one’s skin, especially the face, as pimples, dark spots and blemishes dent the confidence of anyone. Moreover, our facial skin goes through changes with the change in season – summer, winter and monsoon; in age – puberty, pregnancy and old age; in sickness and with diet as well. Regardless of these changes, it is imperative to take care of our skin, starting from a young age.
Starting young, uncannily it was my father who used to keep advising me to take good care of my skin at all times. I have an oily skin and it is imperative that I keep it clean. An oily skin requires to be kept clean as the skin pores can have dust and grime settle in them, which may lead to pimples and blackheads.

I follow a simple regimen daily:

1.       Wash hands and face after coming home:

This is a basic yet a very important and understated regimen. Whenever I come back home after an outing, I first – leaving all other tasks aside- wash my hands and then wash my face using a mild face-wash. I believe, this step not only helps me keep my skin hygienic, but also keeps my face fresh and clean. Especially, I live in a metropolitan city, where everywhere I go I meet pollution and dust which directly affects my face.

2.       Use a mild cleansing face-wash

An oily facial skin needs to be washed and cleansed often, but not more than 3-4 times in a day. Washing face more than 3-4 times can leave it dry. Use of a soap to clean the face can result in more dryness and can make skin more oily.

3.       Use little or no makeup

Even though I am in a profession where looking one’s best is imperative, I believe and advocate in applying little or no makeup daily. To go all natural! Personally, it is only on occasions like parties and weddings do I apply makeup, albeit just to touch up my face. Else on some occasions I sparingly use kajal, lipstick and lip gloss to highlight my eyes and lips.

These were some of my tips that I carry out to take care of my skin. It cannot be stressed enough that having beautiful skin is truly a blessing, but maintaining it is all the more important.
However, acquiring that flawlessly beautiful and radiant complexion may seem like a daunting task, but truth be told, it is not that difficult to achieve. #ComeCloser and see the benefits of Ayurveda with VICCO Turmeric Cream to perfect the natural way to acquiring radiant skin.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Book Review: The House that BJ built

Book Title: The House that BJ built
Author: Anuja Chauhan
Pages: 408
Genre: Drama
Price: Rs. 259 (Flipkart)
Publisher: Westland Ltd

Thanks to Flipkart and Westland for sharing the uncorrected bound proof copy of Anuja Chauhan's second installment of 'Those Pricey Thakur Girls' with me for the review.

Image source:

This book is about the the Thakur Girls coming back together to meet their father LN Thakur, fondly referred to as BJ. He is under the care of his granddaughter Bonita Singh Rajawat (Bonu) at his home on 16, Hailey Court in Delhi, who runs a garment workshop under his roof. Samar Vir Singh, upcoming Bollywood director, step-grandson of BJ visits the House to meet BJ and complete the missing piece of the puzzle of his film's story on BJ's parents - Pushkar and Pushkarni. BJ insists that he sell the house worth Rs 200 crores and divide it into 5 equals hissas for his daughters and Bonu. However, post BJ's death, what follows is a series of family squabbles, vehemence unearthing painful past histories, and a full blown property dispute court case on the House that BJ built.

What I really loved is the style of narration- simply superb with right amount of Hindi words that fit well with the situation and dialogues. Some dialogues are simply unique and memorable, for instance:

I'll make them squirm like well-salted earthworms,
I won't sell, Even my jooti wont sell.
And if I die na, then even my gosht won't sell.

You need balls to do business!...Remember, any incomepoop can work in an office...

And some are truly hilarious, almost that I burst out into laughing while reading the book - an instance of perfect comic timing, that is now-a-days very rare in books.

Throughout the book, I loved the usage of stereotypes and similes that one can connect well with. Moreover, every character in the book had a distinct and distinguishable personality, akin to a family drama, yet the camaraderie shown between them was flawlessly executed. My favourite bit was the bonhomie between Samar and Zee and the random banter and gossip among the sisters and their aunt.
The crunch part of the story was superbly glued together with all the other bits and pieces, coming together as a perfect narration.

Though this is my first book review of one of Anuja Chauhan's titles, I am truly in awe of her style of writing. It is zany, peppy and unputdownable. Looking forward for more !

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review: The Case Files of P. I. Pojo - The Killing of Mr. Heathcote

Book Title: The Case Files of P. I. Pojo - The Killing of Mr. Heathcote
Author: Meghna Singhee
Pages: 204
Publisher: Penguin India
Price: Rs. 199
Genre: Mystery

Pratap (Pojo) Pande is a teenager who studies at a boarding school in Panchgani called Heathcote International. Son of parents that are creators of a popular detective show, Pojo is a precocious boy who loves to solve and unfold the mysteries behind everyday cases, akin to a Private Investigator (P.I. ). And one such mystery he resolves to unfold is when the mascot and icon of his school, a cat, is said to be killed - Mr. Heathcote. He has his sidekicks as a super senior Radha Rao and Pops - a junior to Pojo, who's also Radha's cousin to help him uncover secrets, search for clues and interrogate suspects. Eventually, Pojo solves the mystery, in a truly Sherlock meets Poirot style - a tad bit eccentric and the use of the little grey cells.

If you've been reading my book review, you'd know I'm a sucker for mystery and a thriller any given day. So when I signed up for the Book Review program with Flipkart, they sent me this book right away. One look at the cover, you'd think it is uncannily representing a children's book. However, abiding with the adage- I judged this book by it's content and not the cover.

And it was truly a delight to read this book at one go ! Meghna Singhee has done justice to the whole idea of representing a hostel life set in a hill station, be it the junior-senior divide, the banter, the pranks, the hostel food, the allowance, the midnight escapades, the social gatherings, the hot shower restrictions, the free time break and the finer and innocuous details of the on-goings of the staff and the students day in and day out.
It brought back nostalgia by transporting me back to the days when I was away from home for higher studies. The characters have be described well, with each of them distinct from the other, as one would actually find in a hostel. Overall, I liked the smooth flow of the book's narration with witty and funny anecdotes, with one chapter after the other connecting the dots of the mystery flawlessly. And in the end, when the mystery unfolded, it was a wonderful surprise!

I would love to recommend this book to anyone who would like a good mystery, age no bar. (Even though the back cover says '10+')

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