Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Phone

I bought a new phone last month. It is my first smartphone. Yep, I did take my time to jump onto the bandwagon. I could never understand how anyone can spend 20k on a phone. After all, it is used to make calls, send text and check emails. What else is a phone needed for?
Apparently... a lot.
When KC and I first visited Reliance Digital to check out phones I was confused. What is an andriod.... windows phone? Whats the difference? Which is better?
The week after that we went to Croma... the sales guy explained the differences between the phones. By then, I had shortlisted Nokia Lumia and a Samsung phone. I did not want to try HTC or Blackberry.
I picked a Nokia Lumia 820 for 3 reasons:
- It is a Windows phone. Apparently, the apps on windows are security tested while those of Android can be uploaded any one.
- It is a Nokia. I am a Nokia loyalist... have always had one. They are the only sturdy phones in the market and can survive my clumsy fingers
- It has color options. I bought a red phone. Why don't more phone companies have color options? I would gladly pay more money to buy a phone in color.

Things I do with my phone:
- Make calls
- Send text
- Check fb, twitter, mails
- Click awesome pics
- Use as a kindle
- Use as an alarm
- Play Fruit Ninja
- Read my horoscope
- Check in at foursquare
- Use the internet
- Use as a GPS
- Check linkedin
- Make notes
- Search for recipes
- Stay online on fb, gtalk, whatsapp
- Look for restaurants on zomato
- Listen to music

All in all... I am very happy with the phone. A smartphone is worth all the hype. I am never bored or lonely with it around me.
The battery is fairly decent. I have also purchased a portable charger from Nokia (costs 1400 bucks). It needs to be charged for a few hours and can charge any phone once on the go. I charge it every night and use it while travelling.

I will write a post on the best and most useful apps on windows phone next week.

My resolutions for April'13

1) Blog everyday... I plan to type atleast a few lines (if not an entire post) everyday ... starting 1st April'13

2) Shopping ban beginning 1st April'13 till 18th April'13 (I am in Delhi for the weekend and need to shop... :)). The previous shopping ban really helped... I saved money... I realized I don't "need" to buy stuff. Of course, I did blow up money after 2 weeks... but thats ok.

3) Start jogging every morning... I started this and then stopped... need to start again

4) Start gymming again... the battle with the bulge continues... whatever happened to my will power? Did I leave it at Gurgaon?

5) No more fried foods, desserts, chaats,.... etc

Filum time

I have watched many, many movies recently but not blogged about them... here goes:

- Supermen of Malegaon:
   I watched the ad on TV when it released but forgot to download it. KC and I picked up the CD to kill time during this long holiday. I loved it. It is a documentary of people in Malegaon who make movies. The movies are generally a spoof of the existing one- Sholay... Deewar... etc. The guy (producer/director) decides to attempt the spoof of Superman. He finds innovative ways to film the hero flying in the sky.
The purpose of the documentary is not that someone in Malegaon is making movies... it is about people with limited means following their dreams. If they can do it, why can't we?

- Paranorma:
  This is an animated flick about a kid who can see and talk to ghosts. Everyone thinks he is mad and a freak until he saves the town from the witch's curse. An ok movie... can be avoided in the theater.

- Mere dad ki Maruti:
   This was a surprise entertainer. We read the good reviews and headed to the theater 2 weeks back. I had only heard the "Punjabiyon ki battery charge rehendi hain" and hated it... I assumed it was some stupid low budget flick. It is a fabulous and funny movie. The actor - Saqib Saleem is Huma Querishi's brother... the actress - Rhea Chakraborty is the winner of TVS Scooty Teen Diva 2009. Why is this fact relevant? I had watched every episode of the TVS Scooty Teen Diva and remember Rhea quite well. It felt awesome to watch her in the movie. The flick is funny... with liberal doses of Punjabi making it very enjoyable. Do watch this movie. It is very, very funny with a strong cast (people who can act and do not ham).

- Jolly LLB:
  Another good flick. The story is no great shakes but it is a great example of how a mediocre story can become a good film with a good cast. Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani and Saurabh Shukhla make this movie very watchable. Not to be missed in the theater.

- Django Unchained:
  I was supposed to watch this movie with my bro last weekend but he ditched. I went ahead anyway (I have no issues with eating/watching movies alone). The only Tarantino movie which left me disappointed. The first part was awesome but 2nd half of the movie is like any Bollywood love story. Boy loves girl.. they get married... they are separated... friend decides to help unite them... friend gets killed... boy takes revenge... rescues girl and they both live happily ever after. To this drama... add some slavery issues. Hollywood meets Bollywood.

- Paranormal Activity 4:
  I have watched all the previous parts and watched the 4th one when both KC and my bro were home... the more the merrier. A major disappointment... the worst of all parts (not that 2nd and 3rd parts were too great).... not scary at all... the scares were expected and seen earlier. The beauty of part 1 was that it was something that could happen to anyone. Sure, there was a back story mentioned. But, imagine this... you and your bf/hubby move to a new house or even in the same house... weird things start happening. They are very subtle and would not be noticeable without the video cameras.. there is no way out... and one ends up killing the other. The end. Scary. In the sequels, you realize that there is a strong back story and the fear that it could happen to you is gone.

- Salaam Bombay:
  I had seen this long back... decided to catch it in the theater (lack of other options and I like art movies). Love this flick. KC was not too impressed since the movie only shows the reality. It does not answer any questions and there is no happy ending. I like that movies are getting re-released and we get to watch it in multiplexes. I would watch the good, old movies over the newer ones any day. Looking forward to Chashme Badoor.

- Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster returns:
  A movie which stars Jimmy Shergil, Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill, Soha Ali Khan... with such a strong cast it is difficult not to enjoy the movie. The script is also ok... it is actually better than part 1. I liked it. Hilarious too. Worth a watch. Why don't we see Jimmy in more movies?

- Midnight's Children:
  The review said "this is a book which should not have been made into a movie". And I wondered if there is any book which cannot be made into a movie. The review was right. I can confirm this because I am reading the book currently. The charm of the book is not in the story ... it is in the way it is written... it is about the words... sentences... I don't think the story is very good or different or the attraction of the book. Avoid... at all costs.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The posts have slowed down...

I don't know why I have not posted in 12 days. Have I been so busy??? Even on weekends? I don't know.
I promise to blog more often. It isn't that I don't have enough to say... its just that I am not using/planning my time well.
These days I feel like I am running all the time to catch up with up with time. Its the Mumbai effect. People run so fast on weekdays that weekends drain them completely.
I was in Hyderabad and Bangalore this week for work. Bangalore is my 2nd favorite city (after Delhi). It is green... clean... with good weather... nice houses... quaint street names (Richmond road, Whitefield)... excellent food options (I love South Indian non veg)... big, big malls and showrooms (10 times the size of those in Mumbai)... a very young and cosmopolitan crowd. There was a time when I was seriously considering moving to this city.
Hyderabad is not bad either. My last visit to this city was extremely traumatic. My brother had packed his bags and left his engg college. He told his friends my parents have called him home. But he was headed somewhere else... and nobody knew where. My parents were frantic with worry. They flew to Mumbai while I travelled to Hyderabad. At that point I was in Rajkot. I still remember that night... my friend had come to my hotel for dinner. I received a call and realized my bro was missing. I decided to fly to Hyderabad in the morning. But, there are no flights from Rajkot. I booked a cab... my friend accompanied me. We left Rajkot at midnight for A'bad. We reached at 4 am... this friend left immediately for Rajkot where he went straight to office at 8/9 am... while I caught a 6 am flight and reached my bro's college. After blasting the authorities for having no rules or regulations to prevent students from leaving just like that, I headed to the local police station to file a complaint. The police was very helpful and sent a constable with us. I questioned his friends (who knew nothing)... requested another friend to help me trace his phone no... and then tracked down the travel agent from where he booked his ticket to Mumbai. The friend who works in a telecom company pulled some strings and informed me that the last signal was found at Sion in Mumbai. The driver of the bus remembered my bro (very, very fair guy with glasses) and confirmed that he got off at Sion.
By then my parents realized that I had better leads and flew down to Hyderabad. We then boarded a bus to Mumbai. Thankfully, in the morning my bro contacted my cousin in Mumbai and returned home.

My sis's friend once told her- some people are like an spring... the harder you suppress them... the harder they bounce back.

I had planned to write something else but well... tomorrow, I guess.

Btw- The shopping ban lasted 17 days... including 2 weekends... not bad... next time I will target a month. What interrupted the ban? A nasty boss and a pair of footwear. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

So much going on...

I had an interesting evening yesterday. I have subscribed to Vellvette box. It is basically a beauty box like the ones available in USA, UK. You pay a minimum amount of Rs 399 in the 1st week of the month... the box with sample sizes (sometimes even full sizes) of prominent brands (Dior, Clarins, Dior, Benefit, Victoria's Secret, Clinique etc) are sent in the 4th week of the month.
You can read more about it on my beauty blog here:

So, on Friday evening I received an invitation from Vellvette to attend a one houe skin care session by Clarins at Palladium Mall. I had to pay a refundable amount of Rs 500 and would be given free goodies from Clarins, Vellvette and food. Well, what did I have to lose? I went there. To cut the long story short, the session was awesome.
You can read more about it here:

As women (and some men), we take great care of our skin. We follow a daily routine and a weekly routine... and I realized that we may not be doing it correctly. I learned many new things and got a lot of clarity on what routine should be followed.

Few of my learnings:
- I cleanse, tone and moisturize my skin twice a day (morning and night) and yet my skin is dehydrated. Know why? 'Coz I don't use a scrub weekly. I did not know that. The Skin Advisor took one look at my skin and said it is dehydrated... due to which the acne marks take long to heal... the other marks take time to go away... my skin is so oily. All of this 'coz I don't scrub weekly. A scrub removes the dead skin and brings newer cells to the surface. This helps skin heal faster
- Always use a scrub after cleanser. I used to skip cleanser and go straight for scrub. The cleanser removes dirt and pollution and scrub removes dead cells
- Use a mask preferably after scrubbing. It is the best time for skin to absorb the goodness of the mask
- I learned the right way to remove eye make up- without tugging and pulling
- I learned the correct way to apply eye cream
- All products should be rubbed in the hands and brought to room temperature before using them- shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, toner, serum, eye cream etc.

I will be attending all future workshops organized by Vellvette.

I have started jogging. It is the best and most refreshing exercise. I generally jog/run for 30 mins the morning... the empty road (as empty as it can be at 6.30 am in Mumbai)... with music in my ears and my body running. I find cardio in the gym very, very boring... 20 mins on treadmill, 10 mins on cycle and 20 mins on cross trainer... Jogging is a much better replacement. In the evening I go to the gym for 30-45 mins for upper or lower body workout.

I miss Jazz. Should I join again? I don't know... maybe I will look for other Jazz classes.

Living in Mumbai this time around is not as bad as the last time. The city sucks... it is the worst city in India and I would never want to settle here. But this time around I am staying in the same area as before so there are no surprises... and KC and me were prepared for the separation... last time it came as a shock. In new news... KC has shifted jobs in Gurgaon... he will not be moving to Mumbai. I am planning to move back next year. It is just a year of separation. We have not yet worked out details of how I will move back... but thats the plan.

Also, I have re-typed the food recipes (why are pics of posts prior to 2011 missing???) on my new blog

Yes... another blog. I have been writing new recipes... specially health related foods. I wanted to document it somewhere and decided to put it on a new blog.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Accidental Apprentice

I like Vikas Swarup books. The stories are different. The Accidental Apprentice is about a girl who is chosen by a stranger to lead his company... after she passes 7 tests. The tests change her life...
And there is a suspense in the end.
Must read.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Shopping Ban!!!

I just settled by cupboard and de-cluttered and well, I have too much of everything. There are clothes I have not worn even once and others I am wearing for 3 years and more but do not have the heart to discard. They will continue till they are not in tatters. There are shoes I have not worn once and others that are threadbare and will create major embarrassment at work if someone notices too closely.

So, to rationalize- starting tomorrow I am on a shopping ban. I am not defining a time line. Lets see how long it lasts.
The ban includes below:
- Clothes
- Cosmetics
- Personal care (unless I run out of something)
- Chocolates (Just like that)

Things I can buy:
- Groceries
- Food
- Liquor
- Anything needed at home
- Anything I run out of or need desperately (like underwear)

I need to find new things to do over the weekend. Maybe cooking???

Zara India sucks!!!

This post has been long due. Apologies to anyone who will wish I had written it earlier.
I have raved about Zara on my blog many times... It is one shop I would always visit at Select City walk mall. Recent events have completely put me off... completely.
Here is why:
- Last year in Jan I bought a tee shirt from Zara in the sale. On wearing it I found a tiny hole in it. I was horrified. I paid more than 500 bucks for the tee.
- KC bought linen trousers at regular price (not in sale). After wearing it 2-3 times, it tore... not just a tiny hole but tore all the way
- I gifted my bro a pair of trousers in Dec'12 (not in sale), he wore it once and there was a big hole
- I bought a dress in sale and found a hole on coming home. I bought the dress from Pune and could not go back to get it exchanged

On checking online, I came across articles about low quality of Zara clothes.

This is how it happens- a regular apparel company makes designs and sends them to different factories in different countries where they are created into beautiful clothes. The lead is very high. Zara has capitalized on the concept of new collection every month (in some countries twice a week). All clothes are created in Spain and shipped to different countries. This costs more leading to higher prices. So, while other companies take 3-4 months to get clothes made after a fashion week, Zara stores receive them within a month of seeing them on the runway.
The model is based on the speed. They get their clothes in stores 2 months before other companies. The result is lower quality. Somewhere quality checks are not happening (my perception).

I posted my complaint on the quality on the fb page and many people responded (for as well as against). There are many consumers who faced similar quality problems. The company did not apologize on fb. They sent me a mail separately asking for details on the product. I mailed them pics of the torn dress. They offered an exchange. By then I had already paid the tailor 20 bucks to get repair it. A lady called me and asked me to visit a store for my bro's trousers' exchange. I asked her to inform the store since we had not saved the bill. We headed to the Infinity Mall, Malad store. The store manager refused to help. He said he can get it stitched (Yes!!! I am not kidding). I called the lady and asked her to speak to the store. Then the store manager offered us an exchange. But, my bro wanted the same trousers and they did not have it in stock. I requested them for a refund but was refused. We left the store with the torn trousers and got them repaired at a tailor.

I was pissed and hell hath no fury like a Bul(l) scorned. I have ample time on weekends. I went to the Kurla store to investigate. Guess what I found?
- A white top with stains: According to the manager, a customer's lipstick stained the top. Why was it still hanging on the rack?
- A tee shirt with a hole. Manager had no answers for this
- I went to try on a gorgeous looking red skirt and found the inner lining was faulty

I am totally disgusted. Does Zara think that they can enter developing countries and sell trash at ridiculous prices?
I have stopped shopping after this incident. The store has lost its charm. And the reason the customer service is so bad is 'coz they KNOW they are selling defective clothes. They have not apologized even once.
Compare this to other companies where there is a complaint book. On writing a complaint, I have even received a call offering me a free product as a replacement (e.g Forest Essentials).

Beware if you shop at this store. It sucks!!!