Monday, 28 July 2014

Saree and Confessions

Hello All.
Hope you are doing well. Its been long since we had a real chat. And I am so missing talking to you all.

A few weeks ago I registered myself on Indiblogger and BlogAdda. And while I was having a great time networking with fellow bloggers, the contest bug bit me. 
I started writing for contests hosted by these two bloggers sites, because the prizes were so tempting.
First came: Ishq-E-Oman
Then came: The Story of Mardaani

Then the: Review for Baba Elaichi
And then: #WhatTheBlack

While I had fun writing these posts, it drained me physically. I am not the kind of person who does impromptu posts. I write what comes to my mind, I write what I like. So writing for these contests was a big challenge for me, considering my crazy schedule.


Also, I realized these contests posts that I wrote had nothing to offer to my readers. And am sure they turned away disappointed after reading the first few lines.
So for the time being I have decided to give these posts a break and get back to what I like and presumably what my readers like.

Here you go....

 
 
These pics were taken somewhere in November last year when I was contemplating doing outfit posts. We took these pics on the terrace of my building, because posing on Indian roads with hundred stares is still an art I need to master. Until then, you just have to make do with this location.
The saree I am wearing here is a cotton saree bought from Craftsvilla.com and the pearl jewellery is a gift from MIL. Hope you like it.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

#WHATTHEBLACK


Black is the colour of my kajal, Black is the colour of my mane, 
Black is the colour of desire, and Black is the colour of pain.
Black has it all, Black doesn't need company.
Black's the colour of the night..nothing else could be so right.

Black is an integral part of my life and I just cant seem to get enough of black in my life.
So when I heard about the #WHATTHEBLACK contest for BlogAdda, I didn't have to think much.

Below is a short list of all things 'Black' that I desire.
Black Limo: Ever since I took a Limo ride in Vegas, I have had a strong desire to own one. A limo needs no justification. Stretching to infinity, stylish, cozy, expensive and black.
Now who wouldn't desire that?
Roaming around the city in my spacious limousine listening to my favorite tracks while I stretch my legs in my spacious ride. "Ain't no mountain high enough...!" ;)

Back Stallion: Tall, slender, swift with shiny mane and black in colour. I desire a black horse thats gallops at lightening speed, a black horse that takes me on his saddle and gallops to neverland. Escape the world on the back of this black angel, while my mind drifts to a dreamland.
Who needs Prince Charming when you a have a Black Horse.
Black Onyx: The precious stone onyx is formed of bands of cryptocrystalline silica. Due to its rarity, it is a precious stone. But Black Onyx is the rarest of all. In Feng Shui, Black Onyx is believed to have protective energies. This is because black signifies the absence of light, and thus, it is believed to create invisibility. Due to its beauty and rarity I would love to own a necklace made from the prettiest and rarest black onyx to attract some green eyes which the black onyx will ward off due to its mythical powers. WOW..isn't that a double whammy.

Black Truffle: One of the many species of the genus Tuber, Truffle is referred to as the "Diamond of Kitchen" because it is highly valued as food, due to its taste and rarity. Consider this, a truffle weighing slightly over three pounds was sold for $3,00,000.
But the truffle that I desire to devour is the Black Truffle of Perigord in France.
I am sure that to taste the black truffle, I might actually have to sell off half of my bridal jewellery, but the result would be culinary delight fit for the taste buds of Queens.

Black Gold: The last on my list is an item, which is so precious that it will ensure that all the black things on my wish list are fulfilled multiplied by 100.
Black Gold means Crude Oil. Imagine owning an oil well would solve most of your problems. No fretting over the rising fuel prices or of the rising inflation. You can dictate your terms and even get an opportunity to rub shoulders with the world leaders. How interesting would that be.

I think I need to put a full stop here. Who's knows where my dark desires actually take me from here.

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com.

P.S. I do not own images used in this post.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Baba Elaichi - Review

The history of mouth fresheners dates back to million of years because very sadly bad breath existed back then as well.
The continued efforts and trial and error done by our ancestors has resulted in the inventions and production of modern day mouth fresheners.
India being a culturally rich country found their answer to mouth fresheners in natural ingredients, which not only kept the mouth fresh but also took care of the overall oral health.


I am the kind of person who likes to assimilate natural things in my diet and instead of mouth freshening chewing gums I would any day prefer Saunf, Elaichi or Cloves as mouth fresheners.
When I received a sample of Baba Elaichi, I couldn't wait to try it.
The packaging claimed it to be Exotic, Aromatic and Refreshing.
So the real success of this product would be if it really passes these 3 criteria.
I opened the new click clack pack of Baba Elaichi to discover silver coated cardamom seeds with Saffron sprinkled on it. It made a pretty sight.
Test One Cleared: It looked Exotic to me.

The next instant I was holding it in front of my nose with my eyes closed to breathe in its aroma.
It smelled spicy and flavorful. The aroma was strong yet subtle in a very pleasant way.
Of Yeah...test number 2 cleared as well. I just wanted to keep inhaling its aroma.

Then I gathered a few seeds between my fingers and tossed them in my mouth. The next few seconds were blank.
Slowly the flavor started unfolding in my mouth. Minty, flavorful with a tinge of sweetness. The Elaichi in my mouth kept me salivating, while I tried to decode its taste. After some more time, my complete mouth felt refreshing and flavorful. This feeling continued for more than 3 hours even after I had chewed and swallowed the Elaichi seeds.
The third and final Test...I have never tasted anything as REFRESHING as this.
And bad breath...gone in seconds.


Ingredients: Green Cardamom Seeds
                 Aromatic Spices
                 Silver Leaf
                 Saffron
                 Saccharin Sodium
The silver used to coat the Elaichi seeds are produced in house with 999 grade silver without any animal skin contact and is untouched by human hand.


My Verdict:
>Good packaging: The click clack pack is smart, compact and handy. Very easy and light to carry in your bag if you are traveling.
>Baba Elaichi delivers what is promises. It doesn't disappoint. It fights bad breath and keeps your mouth fresh.
>5 gm pack of the Saffron coated Baba Elaichi costs Rs. 65. Considering the price of Cardamoms, this is a good deal. It is reasonably priced.

Should you buy it?
YES. YES. YES.
Just make sure you buy it in bigger quantities because this is one mouth freshener you would like to enjoy with your entire family.
After I tasted and loved Baba Elaichi I decided to share it with my family.
Well ..their Verdict..Check the pictures below..
MY FAMILY VOTES FOR BABA ELAICHI
And they go for a second round...Some more Baba Elaichi Please..!
P.S.This post is written for ‘Baba Elaichi, Spread the Freshness Campaign.’

Saturday, 19 July 2014

So-Saree Readers Speak - Gayatri

Another So-Saree Reader speaks today.
Today's Reader happens to be an ex-colleague of mine.
Back then, I knew her as the girl in our office who wore sarees as everyday office wear.
No points for guessing..I fell in love with her right then.

But then we never really interacted.
We actually got back in touch and hit it off well after we both quit our jobs and started blogging.
Yup..We are Blog Sisters...if that, even is a terminology.

Today she is here to share her Saree Love.
Over to you ...Gayatri.


Aditi and I were working in the same organization, but we never spoke to each other. Like me, she too loved Sarees and this made us connect instantly! She would be the only one excited to wear a Saree, during festivals in office. I loved the way she draped the saree and accessorized it with simple and beautiful jewellery. When she left the organization to become an entrepreneur, my respect for her increased even more...Very few people gather the courage to take the road less traveled. Somewhere, she inspired me to follow my heart too! I am so happy to see her growing in her chosen field, successfully!

I’ve been following So-Saree from last year and I admire Aditi’s patience. Her nail-arts are the best. I too hope one day to try some of them. As of now, I just want my nails to grow. Any tips on that, welcome!
I was in school, when I first wore a saree. It was our annual day and the theme was ‘National Integration’. Though I don’t have the pictures of, I remember how excited I was to wear a saree. As I grew up, my love for sarees increased. I would eagerly wait for festivals like, Vishu, Onam, Ganesh Chathurthi, Navratri and Diwali. I learnt the art of draping the saree, from my step-mom. She believed that a Saree enhances the beauty of a girl. Sarees do accentuate your curves when draped efficiently. I have a huge collection of sarees, right from the traditional Paithani, Kanjivaram, Dharmavam, Banarsi Silk to simple Chiffon everyday wear. While I was working, I ensured to wear saree at least once in a week. I traveled in the Mumbai local trains and trust me it is quite challenging to wear a saree amidst such crowd.
I prefer to wear chiffon sarees during rainy season, as they dry very soon. My personal favourite are Kanjivaram, Kerala cotton and Coimbatore cotton silk sarees. Though I love sarees, I don’t enjoy shopping for the same. Most of my collection is either gifted by my dad or my husband or mother-in-law. I am lucky, for they choose the best for me!
I like wearing simple accessories, mostly pearls or a gold necklace with the traditional ones. With chiffons, I prefer, long earrings and a smart bracelet. I love to add colorful glass bangles as well, as they enhance the beauty...even more.
Like me, do you love sarees, if yes then which are your favorites. I am waiting to hear....
Happy Weekend!!



Thank you Gayatri for this wonderful post.
You can follow Gayatri on Twitter and she blogs on Outside the Kitchen Window and Pacman's Foodie Venture.
Do check her blogs out.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

#DateWithDiamonds In a Saree

Hello Everyone.

I hope you have already read my post for Kama Jewellery's Blogger Event.
If not read it here.
This event also included a contest for bloggers, where we were supposed to name the collection. The blog with the maximum votes wins.
I named the new collection -
Indrani - For The Goddess In You.
So if you have liked the name, please make sure you visit this link and vote for me. ;)

Now that my agenda for this post is complete, we can indulge in some vague talk. ;)

People have always asked me, why I never post pics of myself, and why I do not do outfit posts.
I generally tossed this question, because I had never really given it a thought, until now.

So after some pondering, this is what I have realized.
I am not a fashionable person. I cannot keep a tab on trends and emulate them in my wardrobe. I still struggle when I have to put an outfit together. 

But the blog world has helped me, nurtured me, enriched me in a way, I could have only imagined. And slowly and gradually you will see me sharing pictures of my outfits on this blog. Till then, please bear with  me and my blabberring.

That is also, why wearing a saree comes easy to me. The elegance and panache that a saree presents is uncomparable. You need no accessories, you need no styling. You can just wear it with confidence and a smile, to rock it. 


And so, very predictably, I chose to wear a saree to the Kama Event.
This is one of my favorite sarees, which I bought almost 5 years ago. It is a printed pure silk saree in monochrome. I teamed this saree with a pearl set and I was good to go.

Let me know, what you think about my outfit.
I am sure you have caught the glimpses of it on my FB page and Twitter, but for those who haven't we have it here on the blog.




Have a Good Day. :)

P.S. Pics 1,2,4 were clicked by Rosh of Everything That Clicks. Thank you so much girl. I owe you big time. :)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Story Of A Mardaani

When BlogAdda announced the Mardaani Blogging Contest, I couldn't think of anyone else than Sayuri.

You always read and hear about great personalities and get inspired.
But I have been lucky to see and know such a person in great proximity.
Sayuri is a very dear friend of mine ..actually she is more like an elder sister.
Today I want to share her story.
Sayuri Dalvi is a single mother of an autistic child and has run in numerous marathons for Khushi, a registered NGO that works for the cause of improving the life of children with disabilities; Autism in particular.

The below post elucidates how life unexpectedly brought Sayuri face to face with Autism and at the end, you will realize she is a Winner all the way, because she just doesn't know to give up.
 A True #Mardaani I would say.



A nervous never ending wait at the psychologist’s got over after waiting for about 25 minutes. 
We were called in (my then husband [we are divorced now], Vihaan and myself). Vihaan was anxious as expected, it being a new strange place. He was given tasks. 
He was non verbal at 22 months. So obviously, most interventions were observations around his motor, fine motor, auditory and visual processing, cognition, tactile and sensory needs. He was all over the place. I am sure these words sound Greek to most. They did to me too then. Thank God for technology and Google!!
Vihaan gave the least eye contact and even screaming his name into ears gave absolutely no response. It made me think if he was deaf or that if he knew he had a name and you are supposed to look when you are called out. No child blabber and gibberish, no baby talk. (How sweet those terms sound... Hard luck I never got to hear them). No chewing of food until he was almost 18 months and I cleaned puked meals almost thrice daily. (Doctor, but he has teeth, how can he not chew). 
He only liked cuddling me and barely liked touched by anyone else. (Oh, may be he such a mamma’s boy, I thought to myself). He was almost getting closer to his second birthday and he still didn't call me something. (Now isn’t that every new mommy on earth dying to hear). Tantrums and behavioral meltdowns were violent from throwing a metal car at the fan or anyone closer (you got saved only if were agile enough to duck yourself) to self harming, head banging till it bled or if I had a lucky day, it got away with flinging of any piece of furniture in the vicinity. He had sleep disorder ever since he was born. I didn't remember a single day I had sound sleep or a matter of fact ever slept. I used to fret visits to the barber or cutting nails at home. He would go into crying spells when I chopped his nails and we needed four people to hold him at the Hair Dressers'. To top it all, he would have pooped out in his diaper out of fear and anxiety by the time the session ended. There were so many things that would happen everyday that life perpetually had become a living hell and I wondered if this was really what motherhood was.
Waiting time always brought back horrendous memories. The psychologist watched him for an hour. (When most of the doctors and pediatricians couldn’t make out what exactly this was).
Your child obviously is Autistic. He has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) – pat came her reply.
The moment she uttered the Diagnosis, it had a dramatic effect on me, just like they show in movies, the only difference… I saw it in reality. I wished this was all a bad dream. But the warm flowing tears were a reality check. It was real. My son had a dangerous sounding disorder I had never heard about. 
AUTISM – the word kept ringing in my head all through the drive back home. I was numb, feeling helpless and the world around me had shattered. My marriage was already in a wreck  and Vihaan’s diagnosis was a blow on it. We further drifted apart and I was in no mood to save it. They say, it takes two to tango and I had seen the spark gone. A lot many reasons for adulterated marriage – huge age gap, dishonesty, disloyalty, cheating and abuse - physical, verbal and emotional. It felt like a conspiracy and I indulged in blasphemy. I cursed God till I had no words to go further. I cried every night until I would choke on my tears and fall asleep exhausted.
I read books and searched the internet about Autism which drove me nuts. Every blog or article would scare me beyond imagination. I was in a denial for a few months. I couldn’t accept that fact that my only child would be ‘special’, a label which he would carry life long. I would never see how a normal child behaves, reacts and grows. Instead what started was a series of therapies – speech, occupational, sensory integration and group. Every week would be drilling and hammering, grueling tough sessions of therapy. Vihaan would sometimes not cooperate and things would get difficult. School became a dreadful trip. He went to an inclusive school but later I realized he couldn’t handle long hours and would throw tantrums sometimes resulting in unintentionally harming other kids. I would invariably get called to school. But thankfully, the principal and the teaching staff were warm and caring.
Eventually I realized Vihaan couldn’t cope. Otherwise seemingly easy activities like a dictation or copying things from the board got tough for him. Attention span was less and he couldn’t concentrate on the teacher and would drift elsewhere. A few years at school went rough. He would be bullied because he was repetitive. Children laugh at him because he self talks. He has a funny mannerism and body language and I have often seen people have a laugh at his expense. 
Meanwhile my marriage had almost fallen apart. I had a tough time because I had no help around Vihaan. I would work, cook and drive Vihaan to therapies and classes. I had also applied for a divorce petition in 2008 which finally came through in 2012. 
At the same time, Vihaan also got through another school, an international school for kids with disabilities. He started it in August 2012. Since then, he has a fantastic change in his personality. He has become very social, completely aware and curious of his surroundings, a lot more independent with functional chores and has progressed well with language, though his learning language is universally English. But this has been a long journey from what we started a few years ago. Today I am cordial and friendly with my ex husband ( though I am still puzzled how can someone who gave me a tough time for almost 11 years mellow down so much).  Perhaps you value something when you lose it. I don’t intend to turn back though. He will always be an ex, no matter what!!
My son is my rock. He taught me a lot of lessons. I started believing in karma and I believe there is redemption. It comes in any form. There is no escape; we have to pay in some way. AUTISM made me a better person. Today, I am no more vain, proud definitely, because I have emerged a strong survivor of circumstances. I am responsible, accommodating, patient and grounded. I save and invest. I live for the present. 
In the entire turmoil which evolved me, I developed a hobby. I was always an athlete. I took up running again to vent out frustration, anger and despair. 
I want to quote a few lines I came across a friend’s blog once…I relate to them as if written for me –

I am a distance runner.
I have been trained to keep going even when it’s hard. 
When it hurts. When it sucks. When I don’t want to.
I look past it all. Relentless, call it what you want – stubbornness, determination, endurance, guts.
Deep down, I don’t know how to give up.

After Vihaan’s diagnosis, I never thought I would bring him till what he is today. Though we have a long journey further, I am confident I have made a genius and he will do me proud one day. We’ll try..overcome obstacles and move on.
Autism is a neurological disorder and the causes are yet unknown. It can be genetic sometimes. These individuals are just like us. It is a social disorder, so most individuals find it difficult to make friends, hold onto a social conversation or understand jokes, sarcasm and diplomacy. They mostly remain simpletons; manipulation not at their discretion. Many of them cannot emote well, so they do not fall in love, marry, or have children.
 I was obviously shaken when I gathered I wouldn’t see Vihaan do things we would love our children to experience and enjoy. It no more deters me. The aim is to make him an independent individual. They just need integration, education in a unique direction….that’s when you know you are blessed with a diamond, uncut and unpolished. We just have an extra effort. They are different, not less. They need our acceptance! 



This post is my entry for I am Mardaani activity exclusively at BlogAdda.com for Indian Bloggers.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Vat Savitri Vrat 2014

Hello All. Its raining in Mumbai finally, though not as much as we would have liked. But nevertheless, please make sure you take good care of your health during this season.

In other news...I have participated in the Bloggers Contest for Kama Jewellery. So please click on the below link and vote for me.(Aditi Ganatra)

If you have been following So-Saree's FB and Twitter updates, you would know that last month I observed the Vat Savitri Vrat for my husband much to his disapproval.
But when it is a question of extracting gifts from him, I never listen. ;)
To know more about the Vat Savitri Vrat read here and here.
Below are a few glimpses of my Vat Savitri Pooja this year.
Pooja Items
Vaan
Pooja Set Up at Home
A Closer Look
The Real Pooja Venue: Banyan Tree

And this is what I wore for the Puja.
 

Hope you like it. :)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Ishq-E-Oman

My relation with Oman is one planned by destiny. Until I got married, Oman was just a place I had seen on the globe during my Geography class. But post marriage, Oman became a part of my life.
How?
My father-in-law has been working in the Sultanate of Oman for the past 23 years. His love for Oman is evident from the fact that he just refuses to retire and return to  India.
My father-in-law's first gift for me was a gold bracelet he picked up from Gold Souk in Oman. He might forget to carry his essentials back home in India, but never misses to carry my half yearly supply of the most delectable Khalas dates which are one of the best ones in Oman.
Every year when he is back home in India for a vacation, he talks animatedly about the country, the countrymen and in particular the generosity of the Sultan of Oman.
I sit listening to him like a curious kid as he narrates me stories of the mythical land of Oman... the rugged mountains surrounded by waters, the extravagant displays at the Gold Souks, the lavish lifestyles of the Omanis, the delectable and peculiar culture of Omani food and most importantly the respect and freedom that the country awards to its women.
In fact I was surprised when I learnt that The Sultanate of Oman guarantees the freedom of worship to all its residents, irrespective of their religious beliefs. At present there are two Hindu temples, 4 Gurudwaras and several churches in Oman.
As I sit before my Pa-in-law each year listening to him animatedly, a part of me always longs to see this place, experience its culture and soak in its royal hospitality.
So when I heard about the Contest: Beauty has an Address by Indiblogger, I finally decided to write down my dream places to visit in Oman. And guess, what I discovered...
Beauty has a New address and it has Adventure, Royalty and Hospitality for company.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
My first stop Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. This is a gigantic and artistic structure constructed with 3 lakh tonnes of Indian Limestone. This mosque houses the second largest single piece carpet in the world.The carpet measures over 70 × 60 meters, and covers the the praying hall in a single piece which is 4,343 square meter in area.
The relation of women and jewels need not be explained, and that is why Qurum Natural Park makes it to my list to to visit places in Oman, because this park is considered as the Jewel of Gardens in Muscat. The biggest attraction here apart from the migratory birds that visit this park is the Waterfall Hill which looks splendid during the night. Also you just cant miss the  Rose garden in the park which is absolutely gorgeous with its huge variety of roses.
Oman is a culturally rich country and its contribution to world history, cannot be ignored. So, to study about the the history and culture of Oman, I would love to visit  the Museum of the Frankincense Land. This place narrates the tales of the ancient port and the frankincense trade trail.
Following the historical trail, I would love to visit the Nizwa Fort - Oman's most visited national monument which has immense significance in the long history of Oman.

Sumahram Old City
Like me, if you are the kind who likes to revisit and relive history, then a visit to the Sumahram Old City is a must. A delight for archeological lovers, it is believed that the remains in this city are as old as from the time of Queen Sheba. In the heart of the city is a small town called Khor Rori which is believed to date back to the first century CE.
Another place that I am really excited to see is the Oasis village of Misfah. This village is a manifestation of a paradise in the deserts of Oman. The culture and lifestyle of this sparsely populated village is very simple and traditional, and is a must visit in your trip to Oman.
One spot that I am really intrigued to see is the Earth Gravity Controversial Point. Whoever said Nature does not defy laws, had probably not seen this place. Be ready to be confused and surprised as you witness the theory of Gravity being proved wrong at this point.


Every Year thousands of sea turtles travel to the shores of Oman to lay their eggs. Now who on earth told the turtles about Oman's hospitality? Jokes apart, it is quite a breathtaking view to watch different species of sea turtles on the Turtle Beach in Sur, Oman. If your timing is right, you can also witness the egg laying process of some of the largest turtles in the world.
Bimmah SinkHole
A sinkhole is a natural phenomenon and is a hole or depression that is formed in the ground due to collapse of the surface layer. But a local legend in Oman believes that the Bimmah Sinkhole was formed by the falling of meteor. Flanked by rocky limestone filled with turquoise blue water, Bimmah Sink hole is nature's beauty at its best.
Because I am a compete water person, I would like to dedicate an entire day on a Dhow cruise to explore the breathtaking fjords of Musandam. Learning about the history of Oman sitting on the cushioned carpets of the Dhow gorging on lip smacking food and anticipating the spotting of dolphins...gosh I am daydreaming already.

Wadi Ghul
Next on my list is Wadi Ghul. Ghul is Oman's answer to the Grand Canyon of America. Rustic, enormous, ancient and utterly gorgeous, Wadi Ghul is a natural phenomenon that awes you completely.

And last but not the least, I would love to end my Oman trip on a high with some retail therapy.  For that a visit to The Centre for Omani Dress is a must as it is one center that is firmly dedicated and committed towards the national dress identity of the Sultanate of Oman.The Muttrah Souk is a place where you can buy gold, silver, artifacts, perfumes and many other things all in one place.


WOW...can you beat that!
Oman is everything that will make you fall in love with it.

And I can't wait to culminate my Love Story.

P.S. I do not own images used in this post.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

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