Friday 20 May 2016

Book Review: Dronacharya at the Workplace

The Mahabharata remains the most popular epic in India. Be it the childhood stories narrated by mom or granny or the story books that filled the quiet afternoons of summer vacations. Not to forget the immensely popular television serial from the 90’s where one would find deserted roads & bazaars on otherwise busy Sunday mornings. For a typical Indian, at some or other point in our lives we have crossed paths with this epic. But have you tried correlating the situations in the Mahabharata with our day-to-day corporate life? Sounds absurd doesn’t it? How come a day full of spreadsheets & presentations can be compared with archery competitions, battles & family feuds? But when you give it a thought the line of difference seems to be disappearing. Fights over targets in a conference room & that over ownership of land start to look similar though on a very different levels. It’s often said that Mahabharata covers every aspect of life. Hardly any character is either good or evil. Most are pictured in grey shade & that is what it makes so real & humane.   

Meghdoot Karnik’s compilation of short stories, Dronacharya at the Workplace, reflects on these patterns & provides a different perspective to look at the day-to-day corporate life. Though for someone who is an ardent reader of Mahabharata the references from this epic seem elementary, it’s interesting nonetheless. Also the real life circumstances narrated in the stories makes one relate to them. Meghdoot’s book deals with the most intriguing part of Mahabharata that is the politics. It provides solutions to common conflicts in corporate life from Mahabharata. It thus demonstrates that whatever is the era the human psyche remains the same with its frailties and forte.     
In recent time we have come across multiple commentaries on Mahabharata. But one thing that sets this book apart from others is the thought provoking narration. Such reflection on real life is the true success of this book.
A number of times the conversation between the characters is in Hindi which retains the Indianism of the plot. For non-Hindi readers, the author has provided quick translation so the story line is intact. The language is fluid & keeps with the pacey plot. The book cover gives a good impression of the theme of the stories. ‘Dronacharya at the Workplace’ makes a good read and we can expect interesting novels from Meghdoot Karnik in future.

-Team So-Saree

P.S. The book was sent to us for a review, but the opinions expressed here are completely ours.

Thursday 19 May 2016

Spa Review: Kairali Ayurvedic Centre, Mumbai

I was invited to review the Mumbai centre of the Kairali Ayurvedic centre on a Sunday afternoon. And no one can refuse some weekend pampering especially if it's in a spa.
The Kairali Ayurvedic Centre is not exactly a spa, it's a healing centre. But all things that involve massages and relaxation I tend to refer to them as spas, so excuse me for it.

About Kairali Ayurvedic Group 
Kairali Ayurvedic Group was established on solid ground of Ayurveda research. Since its inception in 1989, by Mr. K.V. Ramesh and Mrs. Gita Ramesh, Kairali has built on the achievements of its forefathers, developing its product infrastructure to make a diverse range of Ayurvedic medicines available to a multi-national audience. The Group is also into AyurvedicMedicines & Healing Centers. Its signature Ayurvedic health retreat and multiple award winning hotel and spa TheAyurvedic Healing Village is one of the leading Ayurvedic health retreats in Asia, and among the best wellness centers in the world.
Kairali Group is founded on authentic Ayurvedic medicine and philosophy, delivering high quality natural Ayurvedic therapy by providing luxury Ayurvedic spas.

They have recently entered the US market and opened a centre called
Kairali World of Ayurveda in Connecticut, USA. It will offer Relaxing Massages, Refreshing Body Works, Reviving Wellness Techniques, Rejuvenating Body Treatments, Health & Diet Counselling, Holistic Healing Services & a full range of authentic Ayurvedic Therapies. For further details please visit

Health Thru Ayurveda....The first thing that I noticed when I entered the Kairali Ayurvedic Centre in Chembur, Mumbai.The centre was a cozy and compact place with tastefully done interiors. Inspired by the Keralite culture, there was a Ganesh Idol at the entrance with fresh flowers strewn in a big brass bowl filled with water.
At the reception, there was a tall brass diya with beautifully decorated marigold flowers and the ceiling had bells hanging from them.
Even the water that was served to me was served in copper glasses. And I was pleased with the overall welcome at this place.
I was then oriented with the various services that the centre offered.

I chose the Abhyangam massage which is a head to toe 50 minute massage with medicinal oils and offers complete relaxation accompanied with a steam bath.

After learning more about the centre, I was escorted to the massage room.
Like every Kerala massage centre that I have visited, this place too smelled of oil.
The massage room had a wooden table where I had to lie down and a platform which had 3 bowls of oil. One for my hair, one for my face and one for my body.

After changing, I was made to sit on a wooden stool, where the masseuse first started with oiling my hair and massaging it.

The hair massage graduated to a back massage where the masseuse gave special attention on the spine and her massage began from the end of my nape ad ended on the tail bone.

Then I was asked to lie down on the wooden massage table, as she started pouring generous amounts of warm oil on me. And the massage began.
Solid but uniform strokes with the correct amount of pressure ensured that each part of my body was well massaged.
At the end of the 45 minute massage I was almost ready to doze off, but I was woken up for a steam bath. The steam bath made sure that the pores of my skin were opened and the massage oil was well absorbed.
After a quick shower, I was rejuvenated to an extent that I felt like a new person. I was served a special herbal tea after the massage which was quite soothing and refreshing.

If I have to mention one flip side, it would be that the massage rooms only have fans and no air conditioning, so it gets a little sweaty especially during summers.
When I took up this issue with the staff, they told me that almost all Ayurvedic massages require the absence of fans/air conditioning for better results of the treatments.
So that answered my query.

They also have a variety of massages/treatments to heal various health problems like arthritis, insomnia, obesity, etc.
I was surprised to see that they also have a host of beauty treatments, facials, scrubs and wraps which will give you a makeover fit for the royals. And all the ingredients for these treatments are sourced from Kerala.

I was happy with the experience I had and would recommend it to anyone and everyone who would like to get an authentic Kerala massage in Mumbai itself.
The Abhyangam massage costs Rs. 2,000 and lasted 50 minutes including the steam.

Address: Bungalow No:3, CHS, Near Atur Park S.T. Road, VN Purav Marg, Basant Garden, 
               Chembur, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400071

Timings: 8 am to 1pm and 4pm to 7 pm, all 7 days a week

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Lip Myths Busted and Review of

Did you know?
>Both matte and long-wear lipstick tend to dry out your lips.
In fact all balms or lipsticks that come in tubes contain waxes that tend to dry out your lips. 
Dragging a stick across your dry lips, especially one that's not brand new, can only irritate the skin further. (Source)

>Your tongue transfers saliva from your mouth to your lips which actually eats away and destroys the thin layer of skin covering the lips. This can easily become a vicious cycle leading to painful, cracked, sore lips. (Source)

>Licking your lips can actually dry them out. Saliva contains digestive enzymes - including amylase and maltase -- that wear the lips' thin skin down, leaving them vulnerable to environmental exposure like dry air. (Source)

Don't know about you guys, but I was surprised when I read these eye opening facts about lips and Lipsticks.

I have always been a fuss free person and applying sunscreen every time I step out in the sun feels like a Herculean task to me.
So after procrastinating for years, I have finally accepted that lip care is as important as your skin care routine.
And that even your lips need daily scrubbing and moisturizing to stay their youthful self.

Thanks to SkinCafe I was introduced to some amazing lip products and I tried these products for almost a month before I could give my verdict.

First Things First...
Did you know that Skin Cafe's products are freshly made without any preservatives.

They start manufacturing the products only after you place an order. So each product that is delivered to you is hand crafted specially for you with utmost care.
They use zero preservatives and that is why they have to be used within 3 months from the manufacturing date. Hence they are sold in small 9 gm glass bottles.

The lip scrubs, lip butter and tinted lip balms come in yummy flavors that smell heavenly. And I had a hard time keeping the products on my lips. I was so tempted to eat them.

I was sent the Tiramisu Lip Scrub, Vanilla Creme Brulee Lip Butter and Apple Cranberry Pie Tinted Lip balm for review.

Tiramisu Lip Scrub:
Ingredients: Arabica Coffee Beans, Demerara Sugar, Sesame Seed Oil, Cocoa Powder

The Tiramisu scrub smells heavenly and its grainy texture is perfect for scrubbing your lips.
Take pea size portion of the scrub on your fingers and massage it gently in circular motions on your wet lips for a minute. Wash off with water once done.
Arabica Coffee Beans, Demerara Sugar, Sesame Seed Oil, Cocoa Powder - See more at:
Arabica Coffee Beans, Demerara Sugar, Sesame Seed Oil, Cocoa Powder - See more at:
Arabica Coffee Beans, Demerara Sugar, Sesame Seed Oil, Cocoa Powder - See more at:

Vanilla Creme Brulee Lip Butter
Ingredients: Beeswax, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil
After scrubbing your lips, it's time to seal your lips with a Lip Butter.
SkinCafe's Vanilla Creme Brulee Lip Butter is an off white colored lip butter which smells like the Vanilla Creme Brulee you have tasted in some fancy restaurant. It is thick and moisturizing.
Apple Cranberry Pie Tinted Lip balm
Ingredients: Beeswax, Mango Seed Butter, Cocoa Butter, Avocado Oil
The Apple Cranberry Pie Tinted Lip balm is a beautiful cherry pink lip balm thats thicks and creamy. It gives your lips a pinkish sheer colour and keeps your lips hydrated at the same time.

My Experience:
I introduced a two step ritual to my bedtime beauty routine.
[Don't be fooled. My bedtime beauty routine till date included brushing my teeth. :p ]

1)Scrubbing my lips

2)Moisturizing my lips with a Lip Butter

 I have been following this routine religiously for the past 20 days.
And I love how my lips feel soft and supply all the time. I need to reapply the lip butter only twice/thrice a day at the most, compared to almost 8-10 reapplications that I previously did before I started using SkinCafe products.
Even the tinted lip balm is something I have been addicted to. I use it every single time I step out. I love the dewy look it gives my lips and my lips love it too. :) So, if you are a beauty enthusiast and looking to start a lip care routine, I would recommend Skin Cafe to you without blinking an eye.
Custom made freshly with natural ingredients, their products are so good, that you will be a loyalist for life.
Do give them a try atleast once. You can thank me later.:)

Tip: SkinCafe recommends using clean dry fingers, a lip brush, or maybe even the back-end of a clean spoon to grab any skin product from its packaging. If using fingers, flick the finger outwards, to push the product on top of your fingernail rather than beneath it.   

Friday 13 May 2016

Restaurant Review: Aaswad Restaurant, Dadar

This post was long due.
I had visited Aaswad restaurant in Dadar on the very weekend, when I read an article that Misal Pav had won an award for "The World's Best Vegetarian Dish" in London.

The entry was submitted by none other than the humble Marathi restaurant in Dadar called Aaswad.
The Marathi manus in me felt a lot of pride, as I have always thought that Maharashtrian cuisine has not received its due.
I announced to my Kutchi family I am married in, that it's time I introduce them to some real good traditional Marathi food, which they had still not tasted in spite of living in Mumbai for their entire lifetime.
We drove to Aaswad on a lazy Saturday evening and reached at 7.30 pm. The tiny, humble eatery was overflowing with customers. People had assembled in huge numbers with their families. We registered our names on the waiting list, and were told that we would have to wait for an hour.
We were a little disappointed but then we were too excited and decided to wait. Banners had been put around the external walls of the restaurant about its win at the London Food Festival. Lots of food was being packed for take away by people who were getting impatient by the long queue lining up outside the restaurant.
It was finally our turn to take seats.
Our first order, the very obvious misal pav. They had an option of dahi/yogurt misal pav, but we stuck with the original.
Next we ordered the life line of Mumbai and my husbands favorite vada pav, and then kothimbir wadi on my insistence.
While we were waiting for our order to arrive, I recommended we order Piyush too, a cool yogurt based drink in stead of the regular soda.

Loads of people around us were ordering varan bhaat, which also happens to be one of the popular dishes in Aaswad .
Finally our missal pav arrived. 
Misal Pav
It looked good, nice color, nice texture but small on portion.
I took the first bite and was disappointed. But first impressions can be deceptive, I went for more and with every bite, was trying to absorb and taste as much flavor as I could. But the disappointment continued. It lacked flavor, it lacked the zing and the tadka of the "ghaati masala" which I have experienced every time I have tasted misal pav in other popular joints. I felt that the misal pav I make at home, was way better than what I had just tasted.
Vada Pav
Then came the vada pav, very cutely packaged and it looked delicious.

But the verdict was the same,  the size of the vada was too small, and they failed to create the simple vada pav which is staple Mumbai street food.

Kothimbir Wadi
I was really hoping the kothimbir wadi here would stand up to its legacy. I always thought my mom made the most amazing kothimbir wadi, but I was proved wrong when I tasted the one at Ladoo Samrat in Lalbaug, Mumbai .

I was keeping my fingers crossed that the kothimbir wadi at Aaswad would at least give my moms kothimbir wadi a tough competition, but alas I was disappointed again. Forget matching up to Ladoo Samrat's, it couldn't even match up to my moms standards.
Even the Piyush was not flavorful enough and diluted. The best memories that I have had of Piyush were in Pune as a kid and the next best was at Ladoo Samrat again.

All in all, my verdict is.... if you are the kind of person who is tasting/experiencing Marathi food for the first time, you won't be disappointed here, as it is a pocket friendly and you will get to taste a variety of signature Marathi dishes that you get in Marathi homes only; like pittla bhaat, varan bhaat, zunka bhakar, etc. But if you are my kind ... who has eaten it all and experienced it all as far as Marathi cuisine is concerned, this is not a place for you. There are much better places in Mumbai who serve delicious Maharashtrian cuisine.

And if you are amongst those who wanted to visit this joint only on the basis of the award bestowed upon it in London, believe me it's not worth it.
Rating:  2/5

P.S. This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Mother's Day Special : Working Moms Vs Stay-At-Home Moms

Hey Everyone...It's Mother's Day today so
Happy Mother's Day to all the lovely ladies out there.

Without our Mom's, we wouldn't THANK YOU SO MUCH!

On this special day, I want to make a special announcement.
We are introducing one more segment on So-Saree and it is called the So-Mommy Segment.

Here, we will be covering topics on Motherhood, Parenting and Kids as well from now on and to hone this segment, we have an experienced person.

I give you...Jagruti.
In case you are a regular So-Saree Reader, you would know that Jagruti is my sister and is the mother of my cute little nephew Aditya.
I have been trying to get her on board for the longest time and today as I introduce her on my blog, I feel my hard work (bribe, threatening) has finally paid off.

Jagruti is a Chartered Accountant by Profession and works as a Vice President in a reputed bank.
She is a working mom to 5 year old Aditya (my darling nephew) and with the So-Mommy Segment she intends to take you through her Motherhood Journey.
She is an avid reader with special interest in Indian Mythology. So I am keeping my fingers crossed that So-Saree Readers will also get a glimpse of her story telling skills on my blog.

So without much ado, let me pass on the baton to Jagruti.
All The Best...Didi.

When I decided to write for So-Saree, my sister Aditi told me that the first post must sing the virtues of a working Mom. Few of her reasons were...
  • Aditi had seen too many posts praising the sacrifices of the stay at home mom and judging the working mom.
  • In spite of being raised by our working mom, we never felt the need for friends because we always had our mom as our best friend and confidant. We never ever wished that we had a stay at home mom (but then our mom was "Super Woman")
  • Me being a working mother would know (or claim to know) enough of the trials of a working mom
So, I started working on this post in my typical non creative way (my excuse : I am number person not good with words!!). I googled Working Mom vs Stay-At-Home Mom and was I surprised!!
This is the hottest debate topic on the internet. It includes all the views of the mothers who have judged me for working and all my views for judging a stay at home mom.

It is then that I realized that I don’t want to add more to this much written debate. (Sorry Aditi).
I don’t have any worthwhile opinions on this topic. Instead what I have is a huge list of questions which I want to ask all mothers including myself.

  • Why do we mothers have this debate ?
  • Do we perennially feel guilty for not having done enough for our kids and want to get over this guilt by judging others?
  • But don’t we hate that every person we meet (elders, neighbors, colleagues and many more) judge us for our parenting choices?
  • Why should a mother have to justify her choices to outsiders? 
  • Why a working mother who everyday goes to work, with a crying heart when she has watched her child crying for her, justify her devotion? 
  • Why a stay at home mom have to explain her worth when motherhood is a full time job?
  • Is motherhood a battle against other mothers or a journey with our children?? 
  • Shouldn’t we mothers be together on this greatest and most challenging roles of our lifetime? 
  • Why do we want to prove to all that we are the best mother in the world when our child (the only one who matters) already feels we are the best?
My Mommy.. Strongest !!

Will So-Mommy answer these questions? Maybe.. not necessarily..!
So-Mommy will be a journal of my journey through motherhood. What worked for me.. what I liked.. my triumphs. You don’t want to know about my failures.. or maybe, you do need a good laugh on a bad day. :)

Godspeed Mothers… your journeys starts every day!!
Let me know your views.
This is my first ever post, so will read and reply on every comment you put on this post. :)


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