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  • Autism Speaks… Story of a mother's tryst with Autism

    April 2, 2013

  • So-Saree's One year of Blogging - A Journey Back in Time

    January 9, 2014

  • Nikhil Thampi Love Through Nail Art

    January 27, 2014

  • Saree Style Tips from the Royalty Rajmata Gayatri Devi

    March 4, 2014

  • Life's Lessons The Intriguing Case of Jiah Khan’s Suicide

    June 13, 2013

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Monday, 13 November 2017

What Happens at the OKTOBERFEST stays at the OKTOBERFEST…SO PROST ON!!

The hard working Germans are suddenly tired. Why you ask? Well, the Oktoberfest is just over and they are still recuperating!! The sudden loss of Mass (German one litre beer mug) from their hands is still a sore spot and their feet are still itching to walk back to the Wiesen (Oktoberfest grounds). But well, they always have the next year to look forward to and maybe put a spring back to their cold (only because of autumn is settling in fast) feet!

After my second visit to the world’s biggest Volksfest (people’s festival), I thought I should pen down not only my experience but also a few tips for those keen to visit the festival next or coming year/s.
Before I start, in case any of you are planning to visit the fest in 2018, stop reading (and whatever else you are doing) and book yourself in one of the beer tents NOW! And I am by no means exaggerating – booking for the tents begins within a few days of the end of the festival and are sold out before you can say Prost!

Let me begin with a brief history of the festival for the more curious. Oktoberfest was initiated in its original form in the early 19th Century, in Munich, mainly as celebration of the (then) Crown Prince Ludwig I nuptials with Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The first festivities were held in the Munich field grounds near the city gate, which is now named “Theresienwiese” (Theresa's fields). Even today the Oktoberfest continues to be held on the same grounds. What began as horse races, have now culminated in the largest beer festival of the world!

In case you are not sure what magnitude I am talking about, here are a few statistics from the 2017 festival (and this is just Munich!) – 6.2 million Guests converged at the Wies’n and consumed close to 7.5 million litres of beer in just a fortnight!! So if you are a beer lover – this is your Mecca!!
Ironically, I am more of a wine person, but that hardly mattered; I had to experience what the fuss was about. And was I in for the shock of my life! This was not just another “fair” or “festival”, it was like Disneyland for the Germans, who are always up for a glass of beer! The grounds itself is about 42 hectares (0.42 square kms) and is one of the biggest fairgrounds in Europe. During the Oktoberfest there are about 14 bigger official beer tents, 22 smaller tents serving beer, other drinks and German speciality fair food and several carousel and other amusement rides to keep the visitors occupied throughout the day and well into the night.

The festival begins with a parade from all the breweries in horse drawn carriages and floats. This is then followed by the traditional Beer Barrel Tapping - at noon the city mayor opens the first beer barrel in the Schottenhammel (beer brewery of Bavaria) tent. With the initial pass and the exclamation "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!") The Oktoberfest is then declared as opened. Twelve gunshots are then fired on the stairway of the city’s hall of fame -Ruhmeshalle.
This is the signal for the other restaurateurs to start with the serving of beer.
Now on to the more fun facts. In case you really want to get into the mood of the fest, you need to be dressed in the traditional attire. For women, it is a Bavarian Dirndl dress with an apron tied around it. Each apron is wrapped and typically tied with bow on the front. Put your bow on the left side if you’re single, the right side if you’re taken, and in the middle if you’re are a virgin!

Also, just based on my past visits, I would suggest braiding your hair – preferably two braids, if your hair (and you) are upto it! That would really make you blend in the crowd.
For boys, a typical outfit will have a button-up shirt (either white or checkered); leather Lederhosen shorts with suspenders, an Alpine hat, and sturdy Bavarian shoes. The significance of the Lederhosen is quite interesting too; while the peasantry wore both short Lederhosen and longer styled "Kniebundhosen" made of goat or sheepskin that was dyed black, the nobles, who were often adept hunters, chose to make their Lederhosen of deerskins - a much softer and higher grade of leather. These were then richly decorated to symbolize their nobility. Part of the uniqueness of Lederhosen can also be attributed to their intricate embroidery that is found both on the trousers as well as on the suspenders. Oftentimes the embroidery signified a certain region of the country

 Now that you are dressed to the nines, let us start with the beers and food. Inside the grounds you will find 2 options for beer – either inside one of the big tents or at stalls all across the grounds. To get inside the tents, you need to have reservations, which can be done online, or else you can hang outside the tents for an hour or two and hope someone leaves and you can then get inside. These tents are essentially huge wooden marquees of the 14 official breweries of Munich, and have been brewing beers for centuries.

Once inside, you are easily sucked into the music, dancing and gala. People dancing on the wooden benches, waitresses mulling about delivering the beer, traditional German music being played by local live bands and the outside world just ceases to exist!
Beer at the fest is generally only available as “Mass”, which is essentially a one litre beer mug. The locals consume an average of 10-12 Mass of beer on any day of the Oktoberfest! So it’s no joke when I say that the fest is not for the weak-hearted! Although you will be spoilt for beer choices, my personal favourites were Paulaner and Löwenbräu. The former is more of a strong lager and the latter is a slightly malty flavoured “meadow” beer.


Food options are also ample, but mostly limited to Bavarian and German favourites – like wurst, sauerkraut, schnitzel, fish delicacies, pommes (potato fries), crepes, and roasted nuts. You will also find a few coffee, soft drinks and such other stalls, but I say why bother??!!
So now that you are reasonably equipped with the information about Oktoberfest, when are you making your flight?

-Gouri Patwardhan
For So-Saree

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Product Review: Richfeel Quinoa Hair Repair Serum

Today I am going to review the new hair repair serum from Richfeel. In today’s hot and polluted weather conditions, just a shampoo and conditioner just don’t cut it. You absolutely need to follow up with a good serum on damp hair to protect the hair follicles.

Especially if you have frizzy hair like mine, hair serum is your best friend! Even on the days that I don’t wash my hair, and I am planning to go out, I am used to dampening my hair a bit and scrunching them with some serum. So you can imagine how much I am always longing to try out good hair serums.

Richfeel has come up with their new hair serums which contains the latest Superfood on the block – Quinoa. Now everyone who is health conscious knows how beneficial quinoa is for your body. It contains loads of proteins and can be substituted for other starchy carbs like rice or sooji. Similar to our body, our hair also needs a constant dose of proteins to make them shiny and supple. So maybe quinoa is really the answer!
I used the serum for a couple of weeks to try and see the impact of it on my hair. After brushing my damp hair post a shower, I used a small quantity (about 5 ml) and ran the serum through my hair (avoiding my scalp) scrunching my hair (mainly because of the curly quality of my hair, girls with straight hair may avoid the scrunching).
Post this I generally let my hair naturally, but in case you are used to drying it with a hair dryer, that should be fine too post the application of the serum.
My general observations to the usage were that my hair stayed on quite curly with fewer frizzes – which are mostly what I expect from a good serum. There was no stickiness or crunch in the hair (which I totally hate!). Also, there is no distinct odour to the serum which also generally what I prefer – because odour would generally mean additives. 
A couple of drawbacks, according to me, were that firstly it is a bit too runny for a serum and secondly I think this would work better for hair which is less frizzy/ curly unlike mine, since by day two my frizz was back.
So, in conclusion, I would recommend this hair serum strongly – especially to girls with frizz free hair!!

Product Details:
Quantity – 100 ml
Price – INR 249

-Gouri Patwardhan
  For So-Saree

Monday, 23 October 2017

How I brought my 'Gharwali' Diwali in Vancouver!

And just like that, as quickly it had arrived, its gone! Diwali 2017 and my first one in Canada was a bitter sweet experience. Bitter for all the pangs of homesickness and sweet for all the new experiences and memories. Like most Indians, Diwali is my favourite festival too! During my growing up years in Mumbai, it was my favourite time of the year as this festival of lights literally illuminates the whole country with the radiance of joy and hope. Everyone's happy and cheerful; for some its the excitement and thrill of the holiday season, for some its the anticipation of buying new clothes and dressing up in finery, for most people like me its about the sheer joy of gorging on the variety of sweets and savouries prepared for the festive occasion. As much as I like Diwali for these superficial reasons, I also enjoy the customs and rituals attached to it. Every year I enthusiastically partook in all the diwali related activities at home, right from cleaning the house, to decorating it, making rangolis, helping mom make diwali treats, buying last minute presents and so on. It was a time of the year when I spent quality and fun time with my family. Being away from home on diwali feels sad and although I have been through this experience a couple of times before (while I was studying in London), I can never really get used to it.
Diwali fever hits mumbaikars a month in advance, but here in Vancouver there was no sign of Diwali at all. I was already dreading the thought of a dull diwali this year. I comprehended that I would be extremely homesick, if I don't have the diwali feels around me. To make myself feel like home during my favourite festival, I decided to bring my 'gharwali' Diwali here in Canada. Let me show you my small attempt at bringing the diwali feels in Canada.

Home is where the heart is: 
Although not a house owner yet, the rented apartment that I currently live in Vancouver is my favourite place in the city. Its where I spend most of my time and for someone who knows me very well knows that my home is my temple. Its typical to get paranoid about Diwali cleaning,  and with only weekends on my hand to do some real cleaning, I started it a few weeks in advance. I made a list of things I needed to decorate my house and ordered them online. Most of the stuff was ordered from Mumbai, my mum and sister picked up a few things along with my Diwali outfit. Just a couple of days before Diwali I received a box full of Diwali presents and goodies from home.

Truly a festival of lights!

Some ethnic decor

My feeble attempt at making rangoli

Diwali treats that came all the way from home

Diwali dinner on Lakshmi Pujan

Diwali at work:

Diwali fell on a weekday this year and as you can guess it was not a holiday in Canada. However, I decided to go to work instead of staying home and sulking over being away from family. Since I am the only Indian in my office in Vancouver, not many people were aware of this festival or its significance. I took this as an opportunity to share some Diwali gyan with my peeps at work. I dressed up in a traditional outfit and brought in some traditional sweets and savouries to work, and to my surprise everyone liked it. At the end of the day, although I worked on Diwali day it felt like a mini celebration with my colleagues. 

The celebration:

Diwali calls for a big celebration and get-together, so I decided to host a Diwali party at my apartment for my close friends in Vancouver. After all what's a Diwali celebration without sharing traditional sweets and food with your loved ones. I tried my best to cook an authentic Indian meal for dinner. Instead of playing the traditional card game, we played Uno :), took random pictures, chatted, laughed and had a really great time. This was my favourite part of Diwali.

So, as opposed to my fear and dread of not being able to celebrate my 'gharwali' Diwali away from home, this experience taught me that no matter in which part of the world you are or how far away from family you are, you'll always find light in darkness.

 For So-Saree Canada 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

HEMA MALINI - When Dreams Transcend and Reality Confounds

As clichéd as it sounds, She really is the one and only “Dream Girl” who has graced Indian cinema, 
ever. Gorgeous ladies have always dominated the Hindi film industry, but it is difficult to think of anyone who has enamoured us – males and females alike, for so many decades.
The lyricist who penned down the immortal Dream girl song, just about managed to capture the beauty of this mesmerising diva - She really is like poetry in human form! Add to that those absolute mouth watering sarees, her natural charm and aura of sophistication and you have the perfect package!
And just like perfectly aged whisky (I really am full of clichés today!), Hema Malini has not
disappointed us with the passage of time. Maybe it is enviable genes, her strict dancing routine or decades of hard work in perfecting perfection, she really shows no signs of aging or losing any of her impeccable fashion sense!
Whether it is a dance show or an award function, a photo shoot or her daughters’ weddings, Hema Malini manages to effortlessly pull off any saree and always end up looking like someone’s dream taking human form.
Here are just a few pictures I managed to put together of my saree idol; hope you enjoy them as much I did.


-Gouri Patwardhan
 For So-Saree


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