Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kitchen woes

It has been just few years since I started cooking myself. Initially it was always mommy coming to the rescue. After marriage, there were many situations when I had to manage cooking alone for more than 5 members. My husband has always been there to help me but at times when he is not around it gets too difficult to manage situations such as food fix. I have always played safe when it comes to cooking. If I have to invite someone home I plan well in advance and also buy the ingredients accordingly.

In my childhood days I have never seen my mom being too prepared for guests except for relatives who used to inform before coming. I have had guests coming in as a surprise and my mother always found a solution to give them snacks, tea/coffee/juice. She always kept snacks, lemon for a lemonade, squash or even simple items like ingredients for a pakora or a quick snack ready at home. In fact, if there were many guests at home suddenly mom used to send me quietly to a nearby snack shop to but either samosa or cutlet or aloo bonda. It was so easy for me to just go and get something nice in just 10-15 minutes while my mom kept the guests occupied. This quick delivery was only possible in a two tier city. In a place like Bangalore, guests would prefer coming home only after calling once. No one would like to return back seeing a locked door after travelling 25+ kilometers. But, surprises are always unexpected. One fine day, when entire Bangalore was having a holiday for the elections our friends, a group of 11 came home suddenly. Their voting booths were near our house so they thought of dropping in. 

It was a very quiet day for me and my husband after we had cast our votes. Since, everyone was encouraged to vote, shops except few medical stores remained closed. They were supposed to re-open only after 5:00 PM. We had had our morning coffee and had left for voting. We came back and to our surprise there were 11 of our friends waiting outside. They had not even had breakfast. They were all bachelors and their cook was on leave so they had just managed to make tea for themselves and they had left to cast their vote. From there they had come home to meet us. 

I looked at my husband gave an expression of dismay. There wasn't much grocery and vegetables at home which I could cook for lunch.  It was also the end of the month and we were yet to stock up on fresh grocery. Nevertheless, I invited them in and went into the kitchen. I scanned my fridge thinking I could get some easy option to cook for 13 members.

I was left only with onions, small potatoes, tomatoes and a bottle of pickle. No other green veggies or even pulses. There was some curd left and a small bowl of milk. I made mixed rice with tomatoes, potatoes, onions and served it with pickle and curd (mixed with milk) as a side dish. That was the most embarrassing situation for me. With no shops or restaurants open near by we only only had  an option to serve our guests with something which was left at home. I still feel embarrassed when I recall this situation.

Image Courtesy : IndiBlogger 

Had there been food ordering Apps like TinyOwl then it would have solved many of my problems. I could easily order food from places which could have been open that day and also got it delivered home. I would have been in a better state then. This incident happened when there weren't any Food Startup. Now I have better options available with many food startup's ready to deliver food home.

I have tried browsing through the App but haven't ordered anything from here yet. Hoping to use it soon. It is very simple to use. You have restaurants and food joints with user ratings. They make it easier by using your address to locate food joints around your house. There is a pre-set menu served by these food chains which are available for home delivery. One doesn't even need to haggle for change when the delivery staff comes home because they have 'My Wallet' facility which can help you recharge before so that money can be deducted from here. I see that there are many food joints that have volunteered to offer food via TinyOwl.  They also have offers available like, Uber Ride discounts, food discounts, coupon codes which will attract more customers. Hoping it turns out to be user friendly. You can also try downloading this App. They have an Android as well as an iOS version available for download.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Will my life get easier with Airtel 4G?

Airtel 4G challenge Ad is the new buzz in the Ad world. Everyone is trying to take up the challenge to prove that Airtel 4G is faster than any other network. On the contrary, I am still wondering if my life will really get easier with 4G? I am still pondering over upgrading to a 4G SIM, even though I am an Airtel user from the past 10 years. 3G has been working fine so far but sometimes I hardly get proper internet connectivity even  in Bangalore. But if 4G works there cannot be anything better than this. 

Currently, I have Airtel Broadband at home which has not been quite good when it comes to the Upload speed. In order to get a network connection with an equally good Upload and Download speed we switched over to ACT on a trial basis. I have been paying double of the internet bill from the past 2 months because Airtel Broadband did not help me much. If I get it upgraded to 4G and the speed is as desired I would do away with an extra internet connection at home. I will be able to have an internet connection which will suffice for everything.  

My husband and I are into Candid photography and we have our clients from different parts of the country. Once their wedding moments are captured and the time comes to send them the soft copy of the photos we hesitate because of a bad upload speed we have with Airtel Broadband. We have resorted to sending them pictures in a pen drive and later we courier it to them. Although, there are so many options to upload photos online and send it to the couple. Even if we do try uploading photos online we wait for 2 days so that 1000+ pictures can be uploaded. Airtel 4G should certainly help us for all this. 

Now, that many websites are becoming App only, like Myntra where I try shopping often for fashion products, I have to resort to mobile internet connection also. Whenever I am not at home and I need to use the internet, 3G comes in handy for me. I have been happy with Airtel 3G so far but in many situations the network vanishes suddenly and my payment gets stuck midway. In such situations 4G will come in handy. 

I am a blogger and also an avid reader. While travelling I suddenly feel like either writing and reading a book. I have started buying E-books more now. If network is as fast as 4G I can buy books easily and also keep blogging through the phone. 

If 4G turns out fast, downloading movies within 5-10 minutes will be a dream come true. I can also watch all the English TV Series and catch up with the latest episodes instead of keeping it for download overnight. Watching movies in phone will also be possible. I can also download songs through or I can listen to the songs when I am offline also. Hoping the unbelievable speed will help me in the future. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Building a dream home #HomeCanvas

After staying in a city like Bangalore which is slowly increasing in population, I decided that if at all there should be a dream home , it should be in a place where would want to spend a holiday or a nice weekend. It could be any destination within 60 km limit from the city so that it doesn't make us feel too tired to travel all the way and spend the weekend there. I realized that that the city traffic and the bursting population will not have any solution. The city might expand from its outer limits but moving around might be very difficult. However, I have to accept this fact and live here because this is the city that has given me my dream job and my future family. So, my husband and I decided to have a house which we can call as our own. It should be a place where we can seek solace and comfort. One such place to live which we can easily call as our dream holiday home-  'A Weekend Home.' 

Thanks to Godrej Interio for even giving me the reason to think about having a dream home. We have been staying in a rented house. From the day I came to this house I started feeling that it was mine. But I realized soon that however attached I might have got to this house, there will a time when I would have to leave this place. I had never given a forethought to the specifications of my dream home. 

I have always wanted a house with space provided for a garden where we could sit in the evening and have tea/coffee and enjoy the beauty around. A small garden with few flowering plants and ornamental plants. I wanted to have some home grown vegetables where my husband I could do organic farming. Our house should be a self sustainable house with rain water harvesting facility with solar power. There should be a small garage in the basement. A cemented path should lead to the garage from the top. 

The walls of the house should be made of stone and the ceiling should be made of wood. They should be strong enough to withstand heavy rain and strong wind.  My husband always wanted a fireplace in the drawing room. We would prefer to have minimal furniture in order to give the house an open look. The drawing room should have a sliding glass door that opens into the garden. It should be such that when we open the door, enough sunlight should penetrate inside the room plus we could also have the view of our beautiful mini garden while sitting inside the house. The furniture chosen would be made of rot iron or teak wood. We wanted a corner adjacent to the drawing room where we would have our book rack and also a reclining chair or a bean bag where we could sit and read books at leisure while sipping a piping hot mug of coffee. One corner of our stone wall will be dedicated for the various photo memoirs that we would like to hang. The upholstery chosen would be of monotone colours. We would prefer white netted curtains and brown cushion covers. 

All the bedrooms should have a soft yet comfortable queen size bed and a wooden side table. Wooden racks attached to stone walls should be there to keep souvenirs from our personal collection. Wardrobes would be simple and made of wood again where could keep our clothes. We did not plan to have a television in the house because the house should be able to keep us cut off from our regular life. The bath and washrooms would have a tiled flooring with simple yet beautiful faucets. We wanted to keep the bath area simple yet sophisticated. Only the shower area would have a wooden flooring in order to give a natural feel to it. 

Coming to the most important part in the house- The Kitchen. I wanted an L- shaped look in my kitchen. The granite slab should have all the important appliances needed including the gas stove and the chimney attached on top. The center of the kitchen should be left empty and should allow enough moving space. A small table should be attached one corner of the wall where we can keep 4 chairs. It should serve as a  mini dining area inside the kitchen. Kitchen should also have an open area with sliding glass doors overlooking the backyard where we would have planted our mini organic farm. This would help me as I would have easy access to the vegetables. 

We would also plan to contact some local villagers around to take care of the garden in our absence. Our home should a place where we would wake up to the sound of the chirping birds instead of the blaring horns of the vehicles. A home close to nature. 

“I am participating in the  Upload and Transform #HomeCanvas activity in association with Godrej Interio and BlogAdda. If you are not blogging, you can still be a part of this activity. Here’s how” in their blog post.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pangong Pa- tso

Before I start blogging about my first detailed blog post about a recipe, I would like to thank Del Monte India for giving an opportunity for bloggers like me to try our hand at writing food blogs.

My husband was more happier than I was because I was going to make his favourite cream based pasta just because I needed to participate in this contest. He had been requesting me to make pasta at home and I kept postponing it thinking I will do it over the weekend. So, when I decided to make the pasta after registering for this contest my husband commented, "Now situations are such that I get to have pasta only because of a contest." 

Well...... I did not respond but just thought of making this pasta tasty so that he doesn't get a chance to comment again. 

We both love Italian food and most of our special dine out dates are to Italian restaurants. We both have the same taste when it comes to Italian food. Little Italy by far stands as one of our favourite Vegetarian Italian restaurant chains. Without much ado I registered for this contest on IndiBlogger. 

I got my Del Monte's Farfalle Gourmet Pasta packet within a few days after registration. Receiving the pasta itself was encouraging enough for me to start the preparations of the recipe. 

My pasta packet and the letter from Del Monte

This pasta is made of Durum Wheat Semolina which is very healthy. Its high protein content but with less gluten provides instant energy. ( Note: It might not be too healthy an option for those who cannot digest gluten.) Semolina/Cream of Wheat/Suji/Sooji as we call it in India, is most suited for making pasta along with a combination of durum wheat. It gives a sense of fullness thus preventing us from overeating. It is rich in vitamins and minerals.The advantage that Farfalle pasta has over the other types of pasta like Penne/Fusilli/Macaroni is that its bow/butterfly shape absorbs all the flavours well  and at the same time it gives a good look to the pasta. I have added many vegetables which are nutritious and also rich in vitamins and minerals. Milk and cheese added here also add to the nutritive content of the dish.( leave apart the calories we gain from them)

I made a cream based Indo-Italian fusion pasta because I don't really know how a true Italian Pasta is made. One has to learn from the masters to get to know the actual recipe behind the awesome pasta that is considered as a staple food of a traditional Italian cuisine.

My pasta is called - Pangong Pa- tso. The name has got nothing to do with the ingredients of the dish or any Italian dish. I named it because I was still hung over by the recent visit I had made to the beautiful Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh.

'Tso' means 'a lake' in Tibetian/Ladakhi language.

Recipe type  : Main Course 
Cuisine :  Italian, Continental
Serves : 2-3 
Preparation time : 25 minutes
Cooking time :  40 minutes 


Capacity of measuring bowl and measuring cup used = 150 ml
L-R ( Measuring cup, Measuring bowl)
  • 250 gms of Del Monte Gourmet Farfalle pasta (half of the packet that was sent)
  • 5-6 tbsp of Olive oil ( Brand used - Di Sano Olive Pomace Oil ) 
  • 375 ml, 2.5 cups full cream milk( Brand used - Nilgiris Rich Cream Milk )
  • 2 tbsp of garlic herb flavoured butter ( Brand used - Amul ) 
  • 3 cubes of processed cheddar cheese ( Brand used - Amul )
  • 1 cup Red bell pepper 
  • 1 cup Green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrot
  • 1 cup Brinjal/Aubergine/Egg plant
  • 200gms, 1 big cup button mushrooms
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 8-10 shallots
  • 8-10 big cloves of garlic
  • 5-10 branches of parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp of Pasta seasoning herb ( Brand used - Keya) Contains dried garlic, iodised salt, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, anti-caking agent. 
  • 4 tbsp Maida (Finely milled refined and bleached wheat flour)/ Cornflour. I used Maida. 
  • Non stick curved, deep pan/ kadhai 
  • Wooden spatula
  • Water Boiler
  • Steel Colander / sieve
  • Borosil serving bowls/ plate/glass bowls
  • Forks and spoons


  1. Heat 900-1000ml ( 6 cups) of water to boil in the non stick pan.
  2. Once the water starts boiling add the farfalle pasta slowly. Optional :You can add one or two drops of Olive oil if you want into water while it is boiling or choose to add once the pasta is drained in the colander. I added Olive oil later. 
The pan used for making Pasta
3. Boil the pasta for around 15 minutes and then strain it in a colander. Ensure that the pasta is cooked in such a way that if you put a fork through it, the fork can pass through it easily. The pasta should not be over cooked. 

Cooked Pasta strained in the colander

4. Meanwhile, dice all the vegetables and keep them in the respective bowls. Shallots 
should be made into two halves or four halves. Parsley can be cut into short branches by removing the long stem. Mushrooms should be cut into two halves. 

The chopped vegetables

5. Boil the diced carrots and aubergine/brinjal in a water boiler for 3 minutes. The vegetables should become semi soft and not completely boiled. I have used an electric boiler here. You can use even a pan with water to boil the vegetables. 

Carrot and Aubergine in the boiler 

6. Pour boiling water in the cup containing broccoli. This will help in killing the insects if any inside and also remove any gaseous pesticides of any. (Just the same way we do before making cauliflower curry.) Keep this for 3-4 minutes. Later, remove the water and keep the broccoli aside. 

Broccoli in hot water
7. In the heated pan add 3-4 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of garlic herb flavoured butter. Once the butter has melted and the oil is heated up add the chopped garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes on a medium flame.
Olive oil and butter added to the pan
Chopped garlic turning slightly golden
 8. Once the garlic starts turning slightly golden brown add the shallots and fry for a 1-2 until a golden colour appears. 

Shallots turning golden 
9.  Add the chopped red bell pepper and fry for 1-2 minutes. 

Red bell pepper added
10. Add the chopped green bell pepper and fry for 1-2 minutes. Cook this in medium flame. Allow the bell pepper to become slight soft.
Green bell pepper added
11.  Once both the bell peppers appear slightly soft and also start releasing a little water, add the chopped zucchini followed by broccoli which has been strained out from the hot water. Keep mixing in a medium flame. You can cover the lid of the pan and allow them cook for 2-3 minutes. Keep checking by opening the lid and mixing it so that the mixture does not become too watery and also should not get over cooked. 

Zucchini added to the veggie mixture
Broccoli added after that
12. Once the vegetables appear cooked and soft add the chopped mushrooms. In order to see that the vegetables have been cooked you can press them with the wooden spatula and check. The veggie should not be chopped or mashed just by applying slight pressure with the spatula. 

Mushroom added with the other half cooked vegetables
 13.  Mushroom has to be cooked for 4-5 minutes so that it becomes soft and brown in colour. It should be cooked well. Mushroom will also release some water which will help the vegetables to cook faster. 

14.  Add the boiled carrot and brinjal/aubergine in the end so that they do not get over cooked. 

Boiled carrot and brinjal/aubergine added
15. Cook these vegetables in low flame now for 4-5 minutes. 

16.  Add 4 tbsp of maida and mix well. Add little salt also along with this. 

Maida added

17.  Now pour milk slowly while stirring the mixture. You must ensure that there is no clump formation as maida can cause the milk to thicken and also form clumps with the vegetables.

Note- Cornflour can also be used instead of maida.  

Milk is added

18. Once the milk has been added continue stirring in a medium high flame. Ensure that there no clumps even after stirring well. 

19.  The mixture will start becoming slightly yellow. That is a sign that it is getting cooked. 

20. Add salt according to your taste requirement and continue stirring. Since you have already added salt before you might not need much addition now. If you feel that the mixture is becoming thick slowly, you can add approx 100 ml water to make it little watery. 

Mixture turning yellow after it is cooked in milk

21. Once the mixture has come to boil, reduce the flame to medium and sprinkle the pasta herb mixture. 
Pasta herbs added
22. Once the pasta mixture taste is fine according to you and the aroma of the Pasta herbs have wafted in the mixture add the boiled pasta that would have cooled by then.

23. Keep stirring continuously while added the boiled pasta into the mixture. Instead of adding all of it together, you can add little pasta and mix it gently. Do this until all the boiled pasta is completely soaked in the pasta sauce. 

24. You can keep the stove in a medium high flame and mix gently. Make sure the creamy sauce that is stuck to the corners of the pan is also scraped and added back to the pasta mixture. 

25. Cook the pasta for 8- 10 minutes in the creamy pasta sauce. If you feel now that the pasta has absorbed the sauce and it had become thick again you can add little milk again. This is solely dependent on your choice. If you like a thick creamy pasta you can choose to leave it this way. 

( Note: I did not realize that my husband was going to be late for dinner. When I was cooking the pasta it was creamy and thick and also the pasta was completely dipped in the sauce. By the time my husband came all the milk had been absorbed. I had to add little more milk to make it of a slightly liquid consistency. My husband likes it that way. So you can choose to do the final touches just before serving. Pasta tastes awesome even when it is slightly warm and also when it is cold straight out of the fridge.)

Boiled pasta added to the creamy sauce
 26. Once the pasta has absorbed the creamy sauce, take the cheese cubes and grate them onto the pasta while it is cooking in low flame.

Grated cheese
27. The cheese will start melting in the heat. Cook the mixture for 5-8 minutes.

Final, cooked creamy mixed vegetable pasta

28. I used a borosil white melamine dish to serve the pasta. I garnished it with parsley and added grated cheese on top. 

Note : We were just two and the quantity I had made was for 2-3 members. My husband loved it to the core and after a hard day at work he was too happy to enjoy the pasta. Since there was extra pasta, he even had it the next day. He loves having cold pasta too :-) 

My husband is happy and ready to devour the pasta

So, what do you think was the secret ingredient in my pasta???

I feel it is shallots and aubergine. There are many who do not like brinjal/ aubergine/egg plant and are also allergic to it. They can choose to omit adding this vegetable too. Although, aubergine is used in many Italian dishes. This vegetable has an origin from India so I thought I should add it and its flavour was blending well with the other vegetables. Shallots added as a substitute for sliced onions also helped in enhancing the taste. The garlic herb flavoured butter let out a wonderful aroma when the garlic slices were being cooked. Overall, these ingredients added to the taste of the pasta I made. 

I added many vegetables in this because I wanted to make a pasta which was high in calories but at the same time was loaded with nutrition. I chose vegetables with different colours in order to bring in all the vitamins and minerals. I wanted good amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals in the pasta that I was going to make. I added 3 cubes of cheese considering the quantity I was making. If you want a less cheesy pasta then 1 cube would also do.  Pasta made at home is any day more healthier than what we eat outside because we do not have control over the calorific value there. 

The creamy white sauce and the yellow boiled pasta blended really well with the colourful vegetables.

In order to give you all a better idea I have also made a short video of this pasta making process. You can check out the video here :- 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mallamma and her kids create #ColgateMagicalStories

Yesterday as I was climbing up the stairs to reach my house I could hear someone crying. The sound  seemed to be coming from Mallamma's house. 

Mallamma is my maid who stays in the ground floor of our apartment. Her family is more or less like the care taker of our building. They are a family of 6 including her husband and four children. The eldest son works as a construction worker with his father and the other three are school going children. All are boys and by now one can guess what nuisance they can create when they start playing together or even fighting. Oh!! By the way, we stay in Bangalore, Karnataka. Mallamma is a very common name here. The three young boys named Basavaraj, Jagadish and Veeresh go to a school which is run by a temple organization here. It is a Kannada medium school but these kids also are made to learn English as one of the subjects. Most of their conversation is in Kannada, the local language of Karnataka, but these kids are sharp enough to pick up English words and also talk. Among them , Jagadish talks more often in English and is very confident about his replies and words, despite  being grammatically incorrect. They fall in the 7-12 age group. All three are very sharp and witty kids. They love to read, write, draw and also paint. They play together, create lot of noise, keep coming to my house sometimes with their mother and also fight a lot. 

There was no one around so I walked down and went to their house. I knocked the door and there came a crying Jagadish holding bits of paper scrap in his hand. Mallamma was obviously not around, otherwise she would have taken them to task by then. My heart melted seeing Jagadish crying so much. On being asked he told me that his eldest brother had thrown his toothpaste box into the dustbin. I wondered as to why would anyone cry for a toothpaste box? I was too tired to ask anything more. Considering that there was nothing major that had happened, I went home. While having my evening coffee I scrolled through the IndiBlogger page. To my surprise, there was this contest which was showing up first- 'The Power of constructive parenting' sponsored by Colgate and bloggers were asked to participate in it by sharing the magical stories called #ColgateMagicalStories. As I read through the contest details and looked at the video, I deciphered the reason why Jagadish was crying so much. 

Without much ado, I hurried to the nearest option available for me. The medical shop that is opposite my house.  I bought all three packs of the Colgate toothpaste with Calci-Lock Protection, that would make the teeth strong and also have cavity protection. I rushed to their house with the toothpaste boxes and offered it to Jagadish. He had become quite dull by then. He smiled looking at them but did not say a word. By then, it was time for them to sleep. So I bade them good bye and told him to take the boxes from my house the next day morning. Within seconds, the youngest one, Veeresh responded, "I will also come with Jagadish". I laughed looking at them and left without saying a word. Had I mentioned anything more, they would have surely ended up fighting again. 

I somehow wasn't able to wake up early today. I had totally forgotten about the toothpaste boxes that were lying on my table. I woke up with a start when I heard chattering noises coming from my drawing room. While rubbing my eyes, I walked into the room only to see Jagadish accompanied by Mallamma who had already come in for the morning duty (cleaning the utensils). He was already seated at the table and was admiring the toothpaste boxes. I brushed fast and scurried with my camera. He was not even aware that I was going to capture these moments which might be just 'out of the ordinary' moments for him. He was dressed neatly in his school uniform and had also had his breakfast. I asked Mallamma about this miracle that had happened today in the morning. On any normal day, Jagadish would never be up so early and also get ready to go to school. Mallamma told me that he had been up from 5:00 AM and was fidgeting in the bed telling that he wanted to get the toothpaste boxes from me and come to my house. I was totally surprised feeling embarrassed at myself for waking up late and also astonished at the fact that one small encouraging tone could make this little boy feel so hopeful. I could see the excitement and gleam in his eyes. He was totally engrossed in opening the box and taking out the tit-bits from it. Mallamma also joined him and encouraged him leaving her work. Though she didn't know what exactly to do, Jagadish managed to pick up words from the box and understand the instructions. He asked me for a cardboard box, which I promptly gave him as I found one by chance.

Mallamma, an illiterate daily-wage worker, is one such mother who falsifies the theory that the  uneducated lower class cannot teach their children. She herself is not educated but makes sure her kids have a good education. She ensures that they study daily and also involves herself in their day to day activities at home. Despite all the domestic help she does in different houses as an occupation, she never fails to drop and pick up her kids from school. She also sends them for tuition, because she is not educated. She is a very smart, encouraging mother, a Modern woman in the true sense. She follows the concept of constructive parenting in all ways. 

Even this activity happened because she took interest and brought Jagadish home. She was standing and watching him do the creative work without having a clue as to what was written on the box. After Jagadish explained to her in Kannada she understood what was this whole exercise about. She started instructing him too in between, asking him to stick properly. She was learning with him. It was a very beautiful interactive session. Here the interaction was not based on words or conversations between the mother and son but was based on the mere presence and support which she offered for her son.

Jagadish was mid-way in finishing his work when his little brother Veeresh joined. He had just woken up and was amazed seeing his brother up and ready that early. He too started making something that he could from the left over cut outs. It was time for school by then and the kids left everything on the table, neatly arranged promising to come back in the evening. 

Pieces of scarp from the toothpaste box

They stood by their words. At 6:00 PM, post school and tuition they came home. They were 3 now. They finished up the exercise within fifteen minutes and completed the beautiful castle with the people in it. They knew exactly what to do. Creativity was just coming so naturally to them and I absolutely enjoyed filming the whole activity. 

Mallamma also joined in later and was very satisfied seeing her kids happy and involved in something where they didn't fight.

L-R : Jagadish, Mallamma, Veeresh

Such is the power of constructive parenting, where one can be an active participant along with the children. This will encourage them to do better and also create a strong support system where they would be free to approach their parents for things as silly as building a castle. It is the best example of using a kids creativity to make something out of waste. 

The Colgate Creative activity 

An accomplished smile 
So, I am am representing Mallamma, who might not be able to blog about her feelings here but this interactive session can be an inspiration for everyone. Her way of involving with her kids and trying to help them out is one of the best examples of constructive parenting.

Thanks to Colgate for helping me create the #ColgateMagicalStories for these kids. 

Do check out the video to see this creative activity by the kids. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Flipkart IndiBlogger Meet - Bangalore

The most  important reason for even planning to attend this meet was the combination of Flipkart and IndiBlogger. Both, being one of the most sought after platforms on the Internet. I had an added personal reason to this too. As there couldn't be any other platform where a blogger wife and a techie husband working at Flipkart could attend the meet at the same time.Thanks to IndiBlogger, I got the invite soon. I had always wanted my husband to attend an IndiBlogger meet with me. He was not keen on registering his blogs in blogging platforms like IndiBlogger so it was too difficult to bring him along in any of the meet ups. It was a luck by chance event for me. 

This is the second IndiBlogger meet I have attended in Bangalore.The venue being Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore turned out to be a relaxed yet happening Saturday for me. Unlike the other Saturdays' when I need to slog at work. We were welcomed by the IndiBlogger team with the usual energetic rock performance by the very own IndiBlogger band. The venue, HRC was serving the purpose to add extra energy to the performance. With this warm up session we were introduced to the team from Flipkart headed by Mr. Punit Soni, the Chief Product Officer, who was accompanied by the  product development team. They were here to introduce and also demonstrate the use of the newly developed feature in their mobile app called- Point-Shoot-Buy. This feature enables the users to buy similar or the same kind of products from the Flipkart App store by just clicking a picture of the desired product we would like to have. It could be a picture of someone wearing a dress, a mannequin in a mall, an expensive watch in the showroom, a trendy shoe someone has worn to a restaurant, a sexy outfit worn by a colleague at an office party or even a poster of a bollywood/hollywood star with a ensemble we would like to re-create on us. The only catch or disadvantage of this feature to me seemed,; not recognizing the products if the picture is taken in low light. Adequately bright picture is required to search similar kind of products easily. Currently, only fashion products could be purchased using this feature from the Flipkart App. It seems to be a very nice feature especially for people like me who want to have clothes or fashion products which look attractive while on display in shopping malls or even showrooms. "How awesome would it be if I could just find that white top a girl in Bangalore Central Mall had worn! A similar top would go so well with my long skirt," I whispered in my husband's ears when the product was up for demo. 

I updated my Flipkart App immediately so that this feature could be easily used whenever I wanted to buy something. All I needed to do was to point and shoot. This would help in situations where one would like to have a similar product but wouldn't be very concerned if it was of the same brand. In future it could help people living in rural areas to just be able to buy a refrigerator or a cooler by just clicking a picture from a newspaper Ad or using a picture available online. Such is the vision of Flipkart and its team in providing solutions to citizens of this country and from all walks of life. They certainly have a promising future ahead.  

The Team activity
After a short introductory demo and Q&A session we were segregated into groups of twenty. It was a team activity where each team had to click a picture of any kind of fashion product which was around and search for a similar or the same product through the Flipkart App by using the new Point-Shoot-Buy feature. It was fun. We were struggling to get good pictures because of the dim lighting inside. Each team managed to get many fashion products in it respective cart. We were all struggling to get the perfect images that could match with the product. We had many options to search for under the fashion category. Shoes, sandals, watches, bags, scarfs, sunglasses, t shirts, shirt, skirts, bracelet, necklace, bangles, earrings, make-up products and many more products were chosen from the vast range of options we had. After this, an employee from Flipkart was sent to judge each team for the product match. We had to point out the product and show it on the app's cart. We were judged on the closeness of the image search in the app to the actual product.With a lot of addition and deletion our team ended up with 23 correct matches. Although we were not the winning team , this group activity helped me in getting to know 19 more bloggers. The team with the maximum number of products match was chosen the winner. Another highlight of this meet was the book reading session by two authors,Varsha Dutta and Parmita Borah whose stories were among the "Ten Love Stories", published by IndiBlogger and Harper Collins as a part of the Get Published contest. It was an inspiring experience to hear them tell about their stories. We also got a copy of the book along with personalized book marks from the author. Overall, it was a day well spent. Thanks to IndiBlogger!

New found blogger friends( Pic Courtesy- Madhumita Phukan)
 Picture courtesy : IndiBlogger