Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My win-win-win+ solution with TATASky+Transfer

As a mom to a energetic toddler who absorbs information like a sponge, I need to be on standby all the time to "entertain" her. Kids now-a-days know what they want and when they want it. And they always seem to want it NOW! Like NOW means NOW!

And then go do their routine tantrum of crying out loud, yelling and turning that happy face into a angry pout. Not just toddlers, it's all these munchkins till the age of 10. Surprisingly, they even say they're "bored" while a humongous pile of toys lie idle. In short, the Doreamons and the Pokemons can act as a potential toddler tantrum detonator to any mom!

My tot who never glanced at the TV screen in the first year of her life has suddenly found her fancy to Disney's creation -Mickey Mouse and his so called imaginary clubhouse.

So I've resorted to downloading the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode and Sophia the First episode videos via the YouTube app on my phone. So there, win-win situation? NOPE, say my inflated mobile data bills!

That's right. Downloading those episodes in the offline mode will still cost me a bomb in data charges.

Then early September while surfing for the HotDog song on my phone, an ad by TataSky caught my eye. Already a TataSky+ subscriber, I was actually wondering if there was any free recharge up for grabs (wink).
Not quite. But what I discovered, could potentially be a win-win-win situation for me and my kiddo and my data bills.

#TATASky+Transfer Credit: TATASky
TATASky+Transfer is the innovative and first-in-its-kind brainchild of the folks at TataSky DTH to bridge the gap between watching entertaining TV recorded content on mobile. So the concept is, if you get the #TATASky+Transfer box home, you'll be able to download the entire series of episodes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates as they are aired and stream it LIVE on your tablet or mobile phone through the TataSky App - importantly -wait for it -It does not need an internet connection!

How does TATASky+ Transfer transfer the data to you mobile/ tablet? - was also my first question.
Through your home WiFi! Simple.

Even if you're away from home, you can order the STB at your command to record the special one hour special episode of Kumkum Bhagya that you secretly want to see that you curiously want to glance and then watch it on the go.

With 500GB storage on the TATASkyHD STB, movies on the go on your device is a cakewalk!

Now I can go ahead and recreate that yummy Sicilian pasta recipe shared by Chef Ranveer Brar on Living Foodz using the transferred video as a guide and avoid shuttling to-and-fro from kitchen to living room.
I can keep ogling at Harvey Spector of Suits whilst binge watching Big Bang Theory and guffawing on Sheldon's wisecracks.

Oh, this TATASky+Transfer box is going to be a keeper for sure!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Merawala Sea Breeze?

Do you remember the Asian Paintsadvertisement a couple of years back?

That hugely popular ad showed how a married couple traversed through the desert to lay hands on a Rajasthani man's powder blue colour pagdi, only because the wife loved its rich colour. When the befuddled man refused to part with it, the couple took their chance to snag it when he had gone for a dip in the river. To which the lady exclaims "Merawala Blue", leaving the Rajasthani man sporting the husband's chic beret.

Yet, I could not correctly visualize my vivid colours in the contrast of my now beige and boring wall.
I wish there was a tool to virtually guide me to take the decision of a colour splash on my beige boredom. I was searching for merawala colour guide!

I had the very same crazy moment when we were renovating my home. I love colours that stand out but do not overpower the overall look and feel of a room. So while renovating we had a plethora of options to choose from! From which colour floor tiles should match the shower curtain to which pillow cushions should complement the display wall in the living room - I was seeing colours!

Bed Bath and More have come up with this unique concept of viewing how your home will look like after it has be painted. So you can visualize how your virtually painted home will look like even before a drop of paint touches the wall.

This ingenious tool is called the PaintFinder.

  1. Go to #PaintFinder tool on the Bed Bath and More website.
  2. Click on your choice of shade of paint from the drop-downIt will show you various shade options available.
  3. Now click on any shade in the palette. (I clicked Sea Breeze)
  4. Choose any virtual room. You can also see the same colour for all the other rooms in the display.
  5. Preview a large snapshot of the room.
  6. Shortlist upto 3 shades and order your shade card. And you're done!
Bed Bath and More have an introductory offer running to get your colour shade card delivered to your doorstep for FREE!
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
How my Bathroom will look in the PaintFinder
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
Preview how your room would appear in the PaintFinder tool.
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
The handy Paint calculator 

The PaintFinder sports a handy paint calculator, Key in the metrics in the calculator to evaluate how much cost it would run up to paint your home.

So goodbye cold wars from disagreements on paint colours and shades. And Hello to the PaintFinder from Bed Bath and More to visualize and colour your imagination into your home.

“I am participating in the #PaintFinder activity in Association with BlogAdda &; Bed Bath & More

Thursday, September 24, 2015

One piece of #SachchiAdvice for LIFE

Generally, people are not really great givers. But when it comes to giving advice, people love to give it. More so, people give advice better than following it.

I have been on the receiving end of many such sermons and pieces of wisdom from time to time in my life. Be it from my parents, peers, friends, distant relatives, close relatives, acquaintances; I have even received advice from remote strangers that I barely know.

Yet, there is a common thread between all of the genuine advises I've received; is that they care about you. And that's why they give advice.

Of all the pieces of advice we receive, there is always one or more nugget of wisdom that makes a permanent imprint on our soul. One powerful phrase; that one one small kernel of avuncular wisdom that we're set to carry forward with us in the rest of our life.

And here, let me share my piece of advice:
It was the time when I was completing my degree. I was staying away from home, loving the independence, yet within the reach of my parents. One result day, I was shell-shocked to receive a setback or what engineers call - an ATKT. (Allowed to Keep Term; a second chance given when one fails a subject in engineering)
My entire world had collapsed. It was a huge deal for me, as I had NEVER failed, well, before that day. Even so, I had sworn to myself at the beginning of the course, that I shall give my hundred percent and will not blemish my academic record. But, it had just happened, without any warning. What's more, is that I had less than a month to clear the re-exam along with the other upcoming exams.

That day I returned home- in no mood to enjoy my freedom and independence- earnest to yearn that much needed comfort and solace of my loved ones. I was sad, in no mood to interact. It was almost bedtime, when my dad sensed me out of my usual self- all tired and weary from work - asked me to sit down and have a talk with him, He told me to spill what was in my heart. 
I blinked back tears, all composure lost and said "I have failed, Dad." I hung my head low, unable to meet him in the eye. To me my dad is my academic hero - always among the first of the class and took matters of academics very seriously. And was strict.

A moment had passed.

"So what?" he said. Bewildered, I immediately looked up at him straight in the eye of his ludicrous comment. "It's okay, Gauri" he smiled and said, "This too shall pass"

I looked at him with intrigue of not being admonished, but being met with understanding and yearned to know the explanation of those four words. Sensing my curiosity, my dad went on to tell me a story of a King and his Kingdom. Here's the story in a nutshell:

There was a King who was in search of a single answer to all situations and called the wise men of his kingdom to seek the answer. A wizened old man wrote the answer on a piece of paper, but asked the King to only read it when he is in extreme danger and not otherwise.
After this event, the King's kingdom was attacked by his enemies so brutally that he had fled by the skin of his teeth. Cornered and alone,  in that moment the King remembered the old man and read his answer - "This too shall pass" - was all that was written. 
This made the King realize that sorrow or danger is only but for a moment and it will pass.

He returned to his Kingdom and later gathered his men again and this time he annihilated the enemy.. Basking in the glory of victory in his kingdom, he suddenly thought he was the greatest king ever. Then his attention drew back to the old man's answer. He reflected again "This too shall pass" was the answer he sought. Even happiness and life's riches are short lived and is not permanent.

The King had finally found life's answer.

"THIS TOO SHALL PASS" - This piece of advice that made a huge difference in my life. That day was a complete turnover for me. Of course I cleared the re-exam, rejoiced in the celebrations of completing my course and went on with life. Yet I remember this piece of golden wisdom that my dear father had given me, in every difficulty I faced and will face; and in every victory I enjoy and will enjoy.

I could now recall how he must have drawn strength and gone through with life when he faced difficulties and sought the drive to go on. And it is now my turn to move ahead.

This was my piece of #SacchiAdvice. But this advice is not to be kept with oneself. Like Grandma's wisdom, it needs to be passed on from one generation to the next. 

“I am participating in the #SachchiAdvice Contest by MaxLife in Association with BlogAdda.”

Sunday, August 30, 2015

1 Food Fix & 3 Lessons to Cherish

Food is an integral part of my life. Yes, I’m a foodie. No, it’s no confession, it’s a fact. A fact that I’ve accepted gracefully as a part of my life. More so, there have been instances where I’ve planned my day around food. So eating for me can be emotional, celebratory and sometimes irrational. I love hosting people for food as it builds wonderful memories. And of course I can share a story from some memorable experiences that have been closely associated with food.

I can recall a time when I was away from home. This was in the year 2010 in Bangalore, where I was visiting the garden city to appear for GD/PIs for higher studies. I was there for about a week, and a college friend had invited me over to her flat for the three day stay. I was overwhelmed with the hospitality that she showed me for the week that I stayed with her. She being a foodie like me, served me with yummy local cuisines as and when I was studying and preparing for the GD/PIs. Right from Gobi Manchurian, Kurma, Puliogare to Paneer Butter Masala with Parotta, Filter Coffee and Buns, I had the food and the effervescent company of my dear friend. After the GD/PI, I was spared with another day before I returned to Mumbai. Moved by her warm reception and hospitality, I promised to treat her and her roommates to dinner; I insisted despite her trepidation and her sincere "it-is-ok-you-don’t-have-to".

Lesson 1: Don’t make promises when you’re happy and don’t make decisions when you’re angry’. 

I had decided, I’ll order the food in from the same restaurant where I had sampled Gobi Manchurian and Paneer Butter Masala, at 8.30PM since the girls returned from work at 9PM. And so at around 8.00 PM I ventured out into the streets of Malleshwaram, searching for Ice cream. It was pouring in early of June – very unlike Mumbai I had thought – and I saw that the nearby shops slowing closing their shutters. I reached the Havmor ice cream shop and saw that it too was about to shut for the day. I asked him why they were shutting shop so early, to which he said in broken english-kannada – “Illa Closing time in Bangalore ees 8.30” And only some ice cream and chemists were open till 9.00 PM or so.


Lesson Two: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

And I shrieked! This was not Mumbai! Bangalore restaurants shut waaaaaaay early! No '10 PM parcel jaldi bhejna'- order here. There goes my dinner treat, I thought. When I asked where I can get a hot dinner to eat, he scratched his head and told me to run, literally run down the temple road street and look for a restaurant called Sairam’s who might be open right now. Sensing every minute ticking I rushed to the street with the help of his directions and made it to Sairam's. And it was no restaurant, it was a chaat corner!


I was wondering whether Mumbai-kar was tattooed to my forehead which is perhaps why the shopkeeper made the suggestion. Anyways, with no choice left, I had to make the best of the situation and ordered a variety of chaat to take away. I also packed a few piping hot Mangalore bhajjis that a nearby tea packed tea stall was churning. As I reached back and dumped the ice cream in the freezer, I smacked my head in the lack of planning I had. 

Having gotten drenched in the rains, I dried myself up and then headed to assemble the dining table, crockery and the “dinner”. I readied myself to withstand the disappointment and crestfallen face that my otherwise cheerful friend will have and the snide backhanded comments that she might get from her roomies after I leave. Sigh!
And in no time, it was 9 and the girls were back. Though there was no wafting aroma of the paneer butter masala welcoming them in, I made sure I at least had the presentation top notch. After they had freshened up I welcomed them with some lime coolers followed by the bhajjis. Oohs and Aahs commenced. I smiled wryly. I could sense their hunger and anticipation. Silently I brought out the food and placed it in front.

I remember to this day, all I could manage to say is 'Tuck in’. A long pause followed.

Because after that the three of them smiled broadly and loaded their plates with the chaats.
I was flabbergasted. They’re animatedly eating and enjoying the chaat platter. No. They’re stuffing their faces full. 

My friend managed a ‘so yum’ and a ‘I miss Mumbai’between bites of sevi puri and mouthfuls of pani puri. I had a broad grin on my face as I was basking in their moment of food bliss. Three rounds of ice cream followed with ‘thank you for the yummy treat’ in chorus.

Too tired to explain the chain of events that preceded the evening, I called it a night. The next day I explained to them over filter kaapi and buns of how I had goofed up.

Lesson 3: Always try and make the most of the situation.

Post the round of giggles and nodding that followed, my friend said to me “Arre yaar, honestly I was going to tell you not to order from the same place as we’re kinda bored of eating Bangalore food. In fact it was a welcome change. And you know how I crave sev puri!


I was really relieved to hear this that I had not disappointed her and not embarrassed her in front of her friends. And her roomies had asked me for the nook’s place that I had found thanks to the shopkeeper and the law of serendipity. To this day, this wonderful food memory remains a talking point between my friend and me. We may be in different parts of the world, but whenever we have chaat in a foreign city, we’re bound to recall this incident.


So that was my tale. Me in a different city, with different social timelines and languages and of course different food. This situation could’ve perhaps turned out differently, had I know when the restaurants shut and open for business, what was best to order from those restaurants and save me the trouble of the commute.

Only a Tiny Owl could’ve perhaps been my knight in shining armour in this food fix. The Tiny Owl app. is what I'm referring to. How? The app tracks my location to check the restaurants in my area. Where I could’ve seen where I could order Paneer Butter Masala and Gobi Manchurian from and when cravings overcame me – Sairam’s chaat. Moreover, it could’ve given me a heads up as to when the restaurants would shut and save me the effort of running around in deserted Bangalore streets searching for sustenance.

TinyOwl is a mobile first food delivery app available on Android and iOS. They don’t have a web version. Don’t be deceived by the name – this tiny delivery app delivery to 400+ people with 2000+ daily orders in association with 4000 restaurants. They also have an app for home-made food delivery called Tiny Owl Homemade. What’s more, Tiny Owl is going to launch a platform for internet-first food start-ups. As they expand their footprint across 50 cities in India, I hope they help foodies like me to find food faster devoid of any food fixes and goof ups.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Speediriffic 4G

Speed is everything!

Really, is these fast paced times where every split second matters, speed is everything. We want in fast and now! Be it beating the clock to reach work or school, finishing our daily chores or googling the latest AIB video!

If you ask me, personally, in this day and age I feel speed is synonymous to the internet. How fast can one search, access, consume, interpret and analyse the terabytes data and information that is penetrating the inter-web every nano second? Videos, images, music, movies, blogs, podcasts, tweets are consumed on-the-go and on demand in personal screens and devices.

Did we picture this, say just 15 years ago?

Of course, not! It was then that India has just been bit by the internet bug and the information age had begun. Back in 2003, I can recall how it took me half an hour to connect to the internet at access my emails, on my personal home computer.

And fast forward to 2015, where it takes one barely 30 seconds to stream a 2 minute video on YouTube. But, what is more phenomenal is what has just been introduced for the first time in India by Airtel: Airtel 4G.

The fourth generation of mind-blowing internet speeds is perhaps the essential ingredient to a digitally powered nation!

Across India, 296 cities will be able to effortlessly stream high quality HD videos of Sunny Leone’s Baby Doll for the umpteenth time, download an entire Sunny Deol movie, listen to the music from the latest chart topping hits on Saavn, access real-time tweets on Twitter from the Prime Minister himself, upload and share Honeymoon/Karva Chaut/Doggie birthday photos on Facebook and upload videos to YouTube of their children dancing to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog theme song!

Personally life for me will get 4X better with 4G. 
On a regular day, I would download the Zomato app, quickly scan for the newest restaurants in Mumbai, download the UBER app and book a ride to the restaurant, download and play candy crush till I reach the restaurant, then upload gastronomically yummy food photos on my Instagram account as and when it gets served to me. While I savour the food, I would check-in through Foursquare and Swarm, rave and tweet on Twitter and later write about it in a blog post on my blog and post it on blogger networks and Zomato. All this speedirrifcally!

Airtel is ready to give 4G services at 3G rates, and even home deliver your 4G SIM card! So get ready to say your goodbyes to buffering videos, slow download speeds and mood dampeners of the past. Say hello fast internet for real time generation and real time consumption. So fasten your seat belts for this joy speed ride. I bet it is going to be AMA-no need to wait for it-ZING!

Amazing opportunities with #Airtel4G await! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My recipe for an Italian escapade

A decade ago, the only Italian food I knew of was 'Pizza'. I used to junk on Pizzas so much that Italy was the destination I craved to visit (And still is).

Gradually, I was introduced to 'the brother of pizzas', the pasta. Usually, to Indians, pasta is what one eats at a pizza place as a starter. At some point, I too believed the same. But as I was educated to the world of Italian cuisine, thanks to my dear husband, I was now well acquainted with the types of pastas, the types of sauces, the flavour combinations, the cheeses and was proud to have the knowledge to distinguish between a lasagna and a ravioli.

And then one fine day, Del Monte came along with their flavourful contest - Del Monte: Blog Your Way to Italy- on creating an original recipe of their Pasta to win an all expenses paid Italian escapade. (I bet some of you reading this, did not know Del Monte beyond their ketchup. You're welcome :P)

Thoroughly eggcited, I signed up. A few days alter, as promised, I received a packet of Del Monte's Durum Wheat Premium Chifferi Rigati Pasta, all carefully packed with a printed letter. My gastronomical adoration for pasta knows no bounds, but I needed to get my creative juices flowing in in creating an original recipe.

My ticket to Italy :D

So I sought some expert guidance (yes, from my hubby) on creating pasta with some subtle Indian flavours for those who cannot have a lot of spice (the elderly and young children).

So sample a taste of Gauri's original recipe, with step by step instructions:

Chifferi Rigati with Saffron and Garlic

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes


About 250 gms Del Monte's Chifferi Rigati Pasta
1 Zucchini cut into bite sized pieces
1 Yellow Bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
1 Broccoli cut in florets
1/2 Onion finely chopped
7-8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3-4 tsps of Oil (Olive oil is best)
1-2 tsps Oregano flakes
Salt as per taste

For the White Sauce:
7-8 Strands of saffron
1 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
200 ml Milk
2 tsps Butter
2-3 tsps Refined flour (Maida)

For Garnish:
Grated Mozzarella cheese


  • In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook till al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and add a tbsp of oil. Set aside.

What I really adored is the thoughtful little hack Del Monte has adapted on their pasta packets with a reclosable safety seal, to seal back your pasta packet for the next use.

  • In another pot, bring water to a boil. Add the veggies till cooked. Drain in a colander and pour cold water over the veggies to retain their crunch and lively colour. Set aside.
Blanched zucchini

Blanched Broccoli

You can also add mushrooms, red bell pepper and other veggies if desired.

  • In a thick bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and add the cornflour little by little. Beat vigorously using a whisk. 

  • Reduce the heat, and gradually add in about 150ml of the milk till there are no lumps. Take off the heat and let it cool.
  • Warm the remaining milk in a microwave for 5-10 seconds and then add the saffron strands; soak the saffron, till it dissipates the rich colour and aroma. Add this to the other milk mix.

  • Once this mix cools a little, add the kashmiri red chilli powder and add salt as per taste and strain.

  • Heat the oil in a wide saucepan. On high heat saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Toss in the onions till translucent. Add the veggies, and saute for a few minutes.
  • On low heat, add in the sauce gradually mixing in with the veggies. Mix well. The combine with the cooked Del Monte pasta.

  • Sprinkle the oregano flakes. Serve hot with a garnish of grated cheese and garlic bread sides.

And then served it to all in my family. And I basked in the reflected joy in their content faces!
And in Italian as they say,"Bellissimo!" sums up my experience!

That's my pasta story, lemme know your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Taking the #Airtel4GSpeedTest

Necessities 20 years ago - Roti, Kapda, Makaan.
Our necessities today - Roti, Kapda, Makaan and 24* 7 Internet access.

Don't you agree?

Technology is an indispensable part of our lives, the internet adds life to technology. In fact with majority tech users wanting to access information on-the-go, internet is as essential as oxygen. And with a faster internet speed, life is undoubtedly better. And who wouldn't like to be the zippiest in accessing information at the go on one's fingertips?

The latest advancement in internet surfing is - 4G. This fourth generation wireless technology adds a whole new dimension to internet surfing. For the first time in India, 4G speeds will be the fastest mode of surfing the internet - literally lightning fast- thanks to Airtel.

Gone will be the days of staring at the screen for the website to load or for the HD video download to complete. With apps for ordering the latest trendy Dior earrings to disposable nappies, one needs a fast, reliable internet connection.

So, I checked it out for myself. Airtel has recently introduced 4G and has pioneered a unique initiative where users could interactively assess downloads using 4G speeds in comparison with 3G and 2G speeds.

All you need to do is Tweet to Airtel's twitter handle @airtelindia in the following format:

Intrigued and excited to check out the most advance and latest technology, I tested it out myself.
I took the #Airtel4GSpeedTest to check the download time for downloading the Instagram app.
And I was truly amazed with the speed results!

Here, check out the results yourself:

The Instagram app is 8.03MB in size. Download of which takes more than half an hour in 2G speeds, 53 seconds in 3G and a mere blink of 8 seconds in 4G!

Who wouldn’t want to get 4G - the latest piece of technology with high-level speeds of up to 100 Mbps in an ideal environment - for accessing high definition-HD video streaming on YouTube, photo uploads on Instagram, music downloads on Saavn and much more.

4G opens up possibilities!

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