Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shopping Is My Cardio..!

“It is the last and final boarding call for Mr. Govind Mehrotra travelling on flight number GM1109. You are requested to report at boarding gate number 07” - This was the announcement being made at the Pune airport while I was engrossed in making an express checkout on a popular e-commerce website ordering a beautiful Purple dress for my girlfriend, the delivery of which was being claimed by the website to be made in the next 60 minutes, which meant that the shipment would reach my home before I could, even when I would be travelling on that PNQ-BLR flight at a speed of around .8 mach (approximately 800+ kms./ hr.) in a B737-900ER jet with that amazing Boeing Sky Interior setup, which in itself is an amazing feature of the new generation aircrafts, of which I am a great fan as it somewhat reminds me of the aisles of The Dubai Mall which houses each of those single names I swear by.

And yes, that boarding call announcement was very much for me, and finally I boarded my flight back to home racing with the shipment while wondering if it can really reach before me!

On the weekdays I flaunt being a corporate lawyer draining all my energy by the time I reach Thursdays, but Fridays rejuvenate me for two reasons: one is obvious for all of us and the second is  me being able to throw open my voice-over-password-protected wardrobe (I am extremely possessive about it) to self to choose the best of the colours for Friday Dressing.

Now if you’re wondering, why it was so important for me to buy a dress online almost risking the chance to miss my flight, you seem to be a person of all senses in place. But here is the real story: Ashmita (I call her Ashi), a friend of mine since the 3rd standard in school, graduated in Retail Management and after working for a fashion house for almost 8 months found the entrepreneur in herself being taken by a storm for the thought of opening her own boutique, and that’s when I was hired by her, as a freelancer to merchandise her venture and get her the best(est) stock in the market at jaw dropping prices. In simple words, it meant that she wanted me to shop and haggle those bargains for her, which is primarily considered a woman’s job but I find myself totally addicted to it (don’t you get any ideas, I am perfectly a male and straight too), and I would be paid too for it. Woohoo! All hell broke loose when I could not thank her enough not because I was about to make some extra moolah than from my corporate slavery but for the sheer reason of giving me an opportunity to do what I love the most – SHOPPING! Yes, you heard that right, Absolutely Right. No questions asked, not even how much I would make, and I got myself booked on the first flight I could make myself available upon to the shopaholics’ heaven – Bangkok. I flew, landed, filtered the streets, picked-up local slang, bargained as much to the ratio of 70%, shopped to my heart’s content (so much so that the shopping bags had to be dragged to the main road to catch a cab) and gulped down a few bites quickly only after 8 hours of breakfast – all of it with a grin on my face and with no-tiring-super-charged feet, only to head back again to the market, and this time it was the Night Market in Bangkok Central.

Almost when I reached out a cab outside my restaurant which in fact was a Toyota Corolla, a sweet and 22-something damsel came running towards me (or may be the cab) yelling “Excuse Me”, and because the chivalry always has the first spot, she was definitely excused. And the next was amazing. She came as close to me when I could smell that she was wearing a Lady Million by Paco Rabbane, she said a quick “Thank You” in my face and sat in the cab telling the driver to head where I was heading! Bewildered, and with my neck inside the window of the cab and the rest of body standing outside, I exercised my fundamental right of announcing, “Excuse me, but this is my cab.”
Damsel: I’m sorry. But I really have to rush through and catch the Night Market and it may close down.
Me: Oh! Don’t worry. It remains open till 2 in the morning, and I am heading the same way, can I join (as it was my cab only) and we can go Dutch (bargain again).
Damsel (thinking): Ya. Okay.
Me: Khn k̄hạb rt̄h, tlād klāng khụ̄n, pord. (Driver, Night Market, please.)
Damsel: What was that? You know Thai?!
Me: Little Bit. I pick it up all on the go.
Damsel: Aaahan. That’s interesting. By the way, where exactly you are going?
Me: Night Market.
Damsel (surprised): For? Shopping??
Me: Yes.
Damsel: You gotta be kidding me! Men, and shopping? That too alone. No way.
Me: Why? What makes you so surprised?
Damsel: When I came running towards the cab, just before it was actually that I was persuading my boyfriend up in the hotel room to go shopping as it’s our last day here and I really wanted to put the best of this place in my closet and that man did not even move, and in turn asked me, “What’s that you get here which you don’t get back there in India?
Me: What???!!! Literally??!! I mean he really said that? How one cannot shop when in Bangkok. It’s sin, of the highest gravity.
Damsel: Yes, that’s what. The lazy lad is wants to sleep as he is tired after the safari we did today. Huh.
Me (LOL): I can understand totally your plight. Anyways, don’t spoil the mood. Let’s explore the shopaholics heaven at its best.

The cab zoom passed through the narrow Sois (Thai for ‘lanes’) and dropped us off at the marketplace’s corner to start with. The two of us screened the streets for the most amazing stuff the place had to offer us and grilled down the shopkeepers for the maximum of the discounts, just like FBI agents hunted the globe in the search of Laden. And one of the shopkeepers was smart enough not to offer us a flat 60% off, as we asked, on what he quoted but a decent 40% discount and a THB 300 coupon of his store which can be redeemed on any of our next purchases. And the smart shopper within us made its route back to his store back a precise 09 minutes and bought half a dozen of Ocean glassware by paying just 50 Bhats out of pocket and the rest by the coupon. What a deal it was! Fabulous. When the market started packing up, we headed back to the hotel half asleep in the cab but with a content smile on our faces that we shopped so much. Aah, what a feeling it is.

And then a professionally-trained-to-make-us-go-weak-in-the-knees voice of the air hostess made me awake asking for me to fasten my seat belt as the aircraft started descending to reach Bengaluru. Her Mother of Pearl Omega immediately caught my attention, and while following all the due instructions she gave me in the last 15 seconds I complimented her with: “Nice watch” which she acknowledged with a “Thank you, Sir” with that perfect smile, these girls always carry on their faces.

“Welcome to Bengaluru. The outside temperature is 20 degrees celsius. As we have left the active runway, you may now switch on your mobile phones and other electronic devices.” – this was the voice of the beautiful cabin crew in-charge and no later the cabin was buzzing with the tones of various makes of cellphones being switched on, SMSes coming and some people even on calls announcing their arrival to their near and dear ones. I too switched on my overtly priced eye-candy cell phone and the first communication received was an SMS which read: “Thank you for choosing us. Your shipment no. 310115040101 has been delivered at your address. Please remember to retain original packaging should you wish to return the product. T and C apply. Thank you for shopping with us today.” And by the time, I could have come over my disbelief that I had lost the race, the next SMS came, which was from my credit card company and read: “Your account has been credited with Rs.200/- as cashback from” I almost started jumping in joy for I did not had to even move myself an inch to buy what I wanted, at a throwaway price on which I got a further bargain, with a within-an-hour delivery promise fulfilled and a handsome amount coming to me as cashback. Is there any other presidential privilege these folks at the backend of all this business could have possibly extended to me? And the answer was NO. I was pampered, enough, already.

I made the engines of my car roar, and zipped off to my girlfriend’s place with her present gift wrapped, only to hear the customary dialogue of hers – “OMG! One more dress! Now where will I keep this? My wardrobe is already stuffed by you.” But no one ever will feel that orgasm kind of feeling one gets after shopping, which I do. With the volume of apparels, shoes, bags and what not I bought over the weekend, the grin on my face had become so prominent that my girlfriend actually interrogated me if I had a “Thai Message” done, which is making me feel so out of the world? But only I and all the other shopaholics of the world can actually understand that what it does it feel like to people who live by it and claim that “Shopping Is My CARDIO! Period.”

This post is a part of the Shop, only to Save More! activity by with at

This post is a part of the <a href="" target="_blank">Shop, only to Save More!</a> Activity by <a href="" target="_blank"></a> in association with <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

First Day, Forever Show...

On normal Fridays, I tend to giggle a tad more than I usually do 'coz for the reason of it being a Friday! Cheers. But Friday, the 21st of March '14 was not the same. I was really not sure that the way I had planned my Friday ahead, on insistence by a female colleague, who happens to be a school-time buddy of mine is something I really wanted. But for the fringe benefits like a free (and awesome) IndiBlogger t-shirt, free food at Tivoli, and an evening with the bloggers at the IB community, I gave in. I actually love being at such meets and Friday was just perfect but Sunsilk was not really instigating the male within me to wiggle all the way to this meet instead of hitting the Hard Rock Cafe and do some head banging.

All said and done, I was dragged out of my cabin exactly at 4:30 in the evening to reach the venue on time and before I could once again ask that "are we actually going?", I was given this "yes-and-don't-you-ask-this-again" look right in my face and the next I remember was posing like an RJ and had a fun photo-shoot activity going on. Wanting to give some rest to the part of my body which was covered with the back of my chinos, we went in and got ourselves seated, finally.

The lights dimmed, and for the whole duration from 00:00:01 to 01:12:02, I was SPELL BOUND. The way and the pace at which the Real FM moved was so natural that it never seemed like someone is even 'acting'. Riya, Saloni and Natasha had so much character in them that the screenplay was just flowing, naturally, like wind, rather free wind I should say. Riya's anger on Sameer and "Dilip sahab ki awaaz mein, Mohammad Rafi pe filmaya gaya", Natasha's "26 states" and "we ain't counting Bhutan in this", Saloni's "Tu sirf blogs padti hai na, kabhi newspaper bhi pada hai tune" - these dialogues are going to be super hit punch lines in the coming days as and when the movies makes it reach to more and more people. And when with that typical well-read-girl-next-door kind of attitude "Delhi is a Union Territory" was delivered by the duo in unison, it was so much full of conviction that it could have sent Sheila Dixit and Arvind Kejriwal, both into the thoughts of reconfirming Delhi's status of being a half-state.

The lead actresses very way too fabulous. With each of their moves, ranging from the dialogue delivery to the ease with which they sculpted themselves into the characters of those supergirls who save a whole radio station in a city as huge as Mumbai, I have nothing else to offer them but a Hats Off and a standing ovation. It’s literally heroic of them to not let themselves be shattered in an hour when the father is ailing in the hospital, but be positive, courageous, determined, creative, change-maker and confident, while living up to the true meaning of being brave and showcasing trust and friendship at its best.

The magic element in the movie is pretty much evident throughout. With the amazing story and a class apart screenplay, only this team could have done justice to this amazing piece of art, which, in fact they have and makes me fall short of the adjectives which I can further use to describe the awesomeness of this masterpiece which has been created flawlessly. May be a “Te che rai banja raja mein udat re chachangache che rangai banja...” kind of a feeling could only be felt rather than been told or written about.

And the way Riya keeps her promise of “Aaj ki special subah main hi bajaungi aapki...”, she certainly has impressed all of us with Saloni’s song towards the end which makes a lot of sense, connects us instantly and is as sweet and divine as anything else could be, leaving each strand of hair on my arms charged up with emotion and my eyes going moist when her father acknowledges that he is proud of her sister.

With the meet coming to an end, I almost felt my feet reluctant to move out of that place ‘çoz I was simply left asking for more. I was hypnotized, mesmerized and was made addicted to Real FM – a name which carries a very meaningful connotation: “Life’s Real Frequency Modulation”.

The breeze outside Tivoli gave me a sense of new life, a sense that I have been awaken after a long sleep, and with a thankful sigh to Ashmita for bringing (read ‘dragging’) me there and again she giving me a look right in my face, which said “Awww, come on, now don’t say thanks. I know I am awesome and this was far better than your stupid TGIF plans. You can replace the thanks with a modest Death By Chocolate. I don’t mind that.”

And holding this beautiful hamper, we left for another treat of gulping down with her favorite dessert, while we both were continuously humming the tune of “Ab tak safar accha raha, iss mod se jaayen kahan, raaste mein jo bhi ho, hoon hoon hoon hoon hoon hoon....

If you are looking for what's the rating I give to this amazing piece of art, all you shall note that may be next year, this movie gives the Oscars, an Oscar!

This post is a part of the Sunsilk Real FM for #SunsilkRealFMExperiences at IndiBlogger.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oops! I am married to Excel, and I honeymoon with Outlook.

At this juncture of life, when girls at least a dozen years younger to me are multi-millionaires in the western part of the world, I am sitting at this airport waiting to board a flight which has been graciously paid for by my employer, and wait before you think that I am some kind of a handsomely paid MBA-pursued-tie-wearing-executive, or by any means rich, please note that I still dream or rather fancy an iPad, a similar kind of the one on which the 7-year old kid around me, being totally un-stationary and continuously making me feel so underprivileged, is playing Angry Birds Space (which seems to be the only purpose of the device to him) on that retina display and is probably his personal one as his father sitting opposite to me in a Chambray Blue shirt and crisp Grey trousers, is having his own full-size device; and even an overnighter bag like the ones almost everyone around me is carrying, neither of which I can afford out of my salary. And with the tides of thoughts, the frequency and subject of which are changing almost every micro second, I feel happy and puzzled about being born as a human being!

I still have not understood the purpose of life and without giving any consideration to this basic query of mine, my mother and relatives are at their wits' end to get me married as if that will unlock the treasures of the hidden temple for them! I don't know why she named me this, but a dear friend of mine calls me "bird" since the times when I never even knew that I wanted to fly. But now I can totally relate to it. Maybe, she is one real astrologer of some sorts.

The person to my right is busy clearing his Outlook inbox and the one left to me is tangled in the rows and columns of an excel sheet without realizing that was it this which he aimed at doing in his life? That he works like a slogging ass who has grown from a 39 collar size to a 44 collar size only to meet some client expectations in the coming few hours when his kid does not find his father by his side to drop him off to the school bus's stop. He could not afford to take a leave 'coz of this oh-so-important meeting which compels his presence when his wife/ girlfriend wants to catch up the first-day-first-show of a movie releasing today with a tub of over-priced pop-corn and a tumbler of some stupid cola (both highly unaffordable due to excessive and compulsive common sense I think that I possess), the ad of which tells us to scratch the label to get lucky and meet SRK, as if that's the Moksha in life! (Bloody hell, I don't even get to scratch my head if I am in front of a client considering "Business Etiquettes".) At least, I don't take a "Yes" for an answer that any of us wanted, if at comes at such cost price. 

Coming back to my present surroundings, all the females around here look young and fresh and few of them catch my eye just instantly for the reasons of either they exude the confidence of being the next Angel of Victoria's Secret in those pair of inches high heels or simply for the way they are dressed up in immaculate business attire or tops and denims which look to be custom-made for them if at all, one goes by the hug these clothes give to these lovely women, who smell as great as a bottle of Burburry Weekend, while I try to stand as close as possible to them making sure that nobody notices it, to fill my nostrils with that heavenly fragrance, while being in the queue to collect my Boarding Pass. 

As I feel great about all this, I have now started dreaming about flying either to California or Italy and roaming around in the streets dressed in a White linen shirt, a pair of light Blue denims and tan Brown boots and playing DJ in the deserts of Dubai some day. 

I may sound insane, but that's how I see life - unplanned and unpredictable. And now it's time for me to study, without being caught, this beautiful young girl who is sitting opposite to me in a Cream sheer shirt and coral Red trousers with matching lip color, paired with leopard-print wedges, as the overly baby-dolled air-hostess of the company I work for, has pleasantly requested me to switch-off my "iPhone" (I din't buy it, a scratch card scheme got me it). 

And if, when I am aboard and sailing above at 37,000 feet, I realize what's the "Purpose of Life", I'll just gulp down the juice of the Katrina of thoughts my lazely-cooked and over-conscious mind would present to me in a wine glass, and will keep you posted (even if you don't want to be). iSapath.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Why I laughed when I was thrown up in the air...

“Trust”, in my opinion is the primary and the most important factor upon which a relationship is built, and I believe that there are no second thoughts about this even for those who are reading me now.

When I grew up old enough to start understanding things around me and keep a memory of them as well, only then I realised flipping through the albums of my childhood when I was made to wear frocks of my elder sisters, that in all my past years till then, it was only “trust” of the fact that I would be caught back safely, due to which I used to giggle up when I was thrown up in the sky by my GrandPa as I felt amused on being treated that way. That’s where I learnt what “trust” is. And then I learnt the same again in my mother’s eyes when she assured that my school complaint will not be passed on to my Dad provided I promise not to repeat the mischief again - a promise which I never kept, but she always did. And then again, the way my brother firmly held and pressed my hand when I rode the bicycle all by myself only, for the first time ever in my existence till then, it kind of sent to my heart a strong wave of strength, may be we can call it a signal of the Sixth Sense, but today I know that it was all the element of Trust not just between two people but a sense of assurance, reliability and purity between two souls, a promise so divine in its letter and spirit that it just cannot be defined in a word. It needs to be realised, understood and felt.

Years passed and from school, I went to college and it was then a day when Maa took out a royal blue coloured velvet-cushioned box from her locker from inside of which emerged a meticulously placed and properly tucked at all the places, an enormous, shining-to-blind and ever beautiful piece of jewellery and showed it to me. 

I was awestruck! Totally. My jaw dropped, almost touching the floor with eyes having question marks popping-out of it as big as at least the size of a 100 Rupees note. She understood my anxiety (after all she is Maa), and told her that this was a gift to my great great great grandmother on her marriage, by her mother-in-law and has been the family symbol of ours since almost more than half a century as on date. The aura of that one traditional piece of jewellery looking at me from the inside of that plush adobe it was resting in was wonderful in itself. And while I was still under the magnetic effect it was obviously showing upon me, she told me that me being the eldest in the family will have to carry on the traditions of the clan and accordingly, this gigantic piece of jewellery be passed on to my would-be wife by her. This made me immediately take my eyes off from that amazing piece of art, crafted as beautifully as nothing else in this world, and got them set upon her. She smiled and whispered, “Don’t worry, even if you have a girlfriend, we’re happy, provided she promises to love you at least as much as I love your Paa.” I was speechless, literally. 

I was still busy in calculating the magnitude of trust that every generation of my clan has been passing over to the next forthcoming generation and now also the reason why Kalyan Jewellers was the undisputed sole choice of theirs. Yes, you got that right - it was this element of trust only, which in the coming time will perhaps only be understood by my life partner when she would be entrusted with all of this, and while all these times I would still be engrossed in penning down my thoughts and experiences forever and ever…..

Monday, March 17, 2014

the journey towards "The Last Point"...

There are 2 kinds of people on-board towards a destination. One - those who travel just to the destination for whom the word is "vacationer" and Two - the other species who travel just for the sheer love of traveling; and I undoubtedly and proudly belong to the latter category. 

The reason I love to travel and travel more is that I firmly believe in the mantra of "The journey itself is the reward".

Until then it was just another day when I came across a TV ad while compressing the photographs of my last destination explored inside out when I saw serene secluded beaches blessed with pure and white sand while wind blowing through the coconut trees and nothing was looking made or covered up for the ad shoot. I was mesmerized and was convinced that it's another random ad of New Zealand tourism when I got to know by a flash message that it's nowhere else but the "Incredible India" showcasing "The Andamans". I was seduced within a nano-second and got to know that where I am heading next. 

The next prerequisites were - my gang, my camera and a couple of boxers to get me flying outta home, even before the newspaper for the next day arrived at my doorstep!

With a day's halt at Kolkata witnessing the busy streets with traffic cops in white amidst the humid afternoons of the city and trams alongside my cab, it looked all very interesting. Besides the culinary delights of the Bong city has got me still asking for more.

The next day it was the time to fly towards the farthest point on the Indian map from the Dum Dum airport. From the window of the flight itself I started getting the view of what was coming my way and believe me, it was just a mere teaser.

As soon as we landed and reached our local abode it was really getting hard to wait to get out in the open. Although it rained, which was absolutely out of the blue, the 10 minutes long shower lowered down the mercury effect, and the prevailing coolness calmed our souls.

We took an open jeep on hire, which was a quite a tough deal to find but one generous local who knew what it means to us – the wanderers, generously agreed and we were off zooming the narrow streets of the island city. Zipping through the snake-like roads, we reached the Millenium Point which oversaw one of the most picture perfect beaches I ever witnessed in the last 25 years of my age. It literally looked like a scene right out of a movie or the kind of beautiful posters which I only saw at the Navrartri fares when I was some 10 odd years old. Nearby at a distance of just a few kilometers was "The Cellular Jail" – the toughest to break and huge enough to make you tired. With the authentic rooms or rather stores where the prisoners were hanged till death and the prison cells darker than dark, it gave me shivers down to the spinal cord to just imagine that how people survived over there for so many years!! The walls were painted with slogans of self-independence and freedom, the now turned monument had a lot to offer from a wanderer’s point of view and a lot to discover from a travel enthusiast’s point of view. This was followed by the light and sound show, an inexplicably awesome event, for if you miss this, then the only option is to go back again and watch it. Period.

The next day was the day to actually sail through the literal "Kaala Pani" and reach the Havelock island which was as serene, as 'serene' could be. The roads were smooth with plush greenery on both the sides and an occasional spotting of deer across the road. The town, as I shall call it, is all peaceful except the port area and is habituated by really simple and friendly locals. The Radhanagar beach was another wonder I got to witness with long, peaceful beaches and 'almost white' sand. The surprising part was that in spite of being such a great tourist destination, from no angel, it was over commercially exploited, contrary to the common belief. Playing in the waters of Bay of Bengal and getting buried in the sand to get me some anti-tan scrub was all the fun we did for over 3 hours, in addition to getting my digi cam being brought to it’s optimum use. 

The only way to experience what I want to express is to visit this place because to pen it down in words is nothing but to make a futile effort to make one see, touch and feel those waves of happiness, nirvana and freedom when there is so much to, feel, discover and re-discover. All I wish to say is that it would have been divine if the option of flying back, leaving that place, did not exist.

And if this all has already got you started packing your bags, you’ll find a surprise there because as I always say:
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware!

Let's Goggle it out...

Let it be the early summers this year or the last season of the chilling winters which lasted for longer than expected, nothing else works better to give a complete make-over to a face than a classic pair of sunglasses. And I am blessed to have a semi-rounded face which is a privilege to sport the ever-favorite aviators and the super cool wayfarers, both absolutely in an effortless manner.

I would sport these Ray-Ban aviators with short hair & t-shirts/ polo necks which gives a look of a gentleman as relaxed & royal on a cool Sunday afternoon.

At times I have forgotten my t-shirts at home, but never my sunglasses. No matter what. Period.

On the other hand, with a wayfarer as wild and adventurous as the one in crazy print with cool graphics and prints, it's just so easy to carry the panache of one's personality in such an amazing manner. Teaming it up on Fridays to work with a casual linen shirt gives that awesome finish to your aura that even the boss in the office makes sure to give you a second glance (& also be jealous) to have such a versatile face shape).

It is really amazing to know that a carefully chosen pair of sunglasses work like a magic wand to add up to the personality of a person, and to his/ her charm as well. Pick-up the wallet, go shopping and I wish you Happy GOGGLE-ing, friends..... :)