The Times They Are a-Changin’ : My Delhi

I’m a Delhi’ite. I was born here and have lived/visited Delhi every year of my life. I relate to every word of the Delhi 6 song “Yeh dilli hai mere yaar, Bas ishq mohabbat pyaar” .

At different times in my life Delhi meant different things to me. For most of my schooling years, it was a place for summer vacation at my grandparents place. My memories are of enjoyable times spent with my cousins, maybe because there was no school to go to, or maybe it was the ‘dadi ka laad aur pyar’.  The majority of my time was spent between Karol Bagh & Green Park and occasional drives to India Gate for ice-cream. That was the Delhi I knew and loved.
Delhi was also part of my schooling as I did my 7th grade from here. Delhi to me was about living in Delhi Cantt, going to school in an Army 3-ton, swimming at the club for recreation and Gopinath Bazar for samosas in the evenings, usually post the swimming!  My world was limited to the extremely green, uncrowded part of Delhi. What is not to love about all that?

My next stint in Delhi was the three years spent in DU-South Campus. This was the time that I really explored Delhi, by which I basically mean movie halls, shopping centres and eating joints. The expanse of which was narrowed down to Sarojni Nagar, CP, Janpath, Shanti Nikatan, Chanakya Puri and Priyas. These were the kind of places we, as students could afford on a limited budget. Our most important asset was the DTC bus pass as we hopped on and off buses whenever we pleased.

My first job also happened to be in Delhi too. A Sales job teaches you many things, one of which is going to places you’d have never even heard of. In the 2 years of this job, I travelled mainly in my car. One thing is certain, I learnt more about Delhi driving myself than I would have ever otherwise sitting comfortably in a chauffer driven car (as most Delhi-ites do). For me, all the places were associated with companies; Nehru Place is where IFCI, Bengali Market was next to FICCI and so on. Places I most frequented were Sohna road, Okhla Industrial Area, and the Naraina Industrial belt along with the others.

Having said all that, I recently moved back to Delhi. In the last few months that I have been here I have realized that there is a lot of Delhi left for me to explore. I still have to visit the Lotus temple, Akshardham, North Campus, Humayun’s Tomb, Doll Museum, and Gandhi Smriti. The food tasting at Nizamuddin, Bikaner House and Andhra Bhawan are still left. To be a part of the cultural scene is only a dream… especially seeing a play at Kamani or Siri Fort and also a definite look-see at the recently opened Kingdom of Dreams at Gurgaon. That’s just a small list right now… 

So here is my New Year’s resolution: Exploring Delhi!

Ordering In @ Marathahalli Bangalore

With busy schedules and 9-5 jobs that never get over at 5, home-delivery or ordering in most homes like ours is a common phenomenon. If you are lucky and live in Koramangala or Indranagar, the food hubs of Bangalore, you’ll have plenty to choose from. But for the unlucky ones like us who live in Marathahalli, the choices are somewhat restricted. Of course we have Dominos and Subway but some times you need more than just junk food.

A good place to start is Mast Kalandar, especially if you have some company. Order the Family packs of Dal Makhani and Sinful Punjabi Panner. Make some Rice, Roti and Raita at home and you have a perfect meal. Just remember that they take more that 45 minutes to deliver so order early.  Eating alone try the Sinful Punjabi Paneer combo (served with daal makhani and 2 butter naans) or The Great Indian Maha Combo (served with paneer curry, daal makhani, veggies, rice, 2 lachcha parranthas and patiala chaas / coca cola).
If vegetarian food is not what you crave for then – Pattaka Singh is a great option.  Especially if you like Punjabi food like we do. Some of you’ll enjoy the hard core Punjabi accent more than the food.  The chicken dishes were very good, although a little on the spicy side.
If you feel like having some ‘spicly sambhar and rice’ – the tiffin meals at Andra Spice are a good option, but remember a single meal can feed more that one or two. In one tiffin meal you’ll get sambhar, palak dal, rasam, one dry veg, papad, chutney and almost a kilo of steamed rice. I would however, not recommend ordering in the thali, its much more fun if you have them serve to your requirements at the restaurant.
How can one be in Bangalore and not talk about Biryani? Biryani seems to ‘HIT’ in Bangalore, no matter which part of the city you reside in. There are a few options for ordering in your biryani – Andhra Spice, Bhagini, Ammis Biryani etc. All are good, but my favorite is Hyderabad Biryani House (HBH) where the rice and meat are cooked to perfection and the aroma is heavenly.
I have to mention Treat, Spice Garden and the kathi rolls of Golconda Chimney as they are the oldest take away joints in the area, they have fed us long before any of the others came marching in. The best way to order is definitely Hungary Bangalore.
For something light like dosa & chat – Dosa Corner/ Corner House is next door and the best part is the big scoop of Rocky Road or Death by chocolate after the meal.
These were a few of our tried and tested order-ins, let us know yours. Hungry Kya?

Delhi 6

This is not a movie review, just a few things I thought of when I saw the movie.

  1. Yeh dilli hai mere yaar, Bas ishq mohabbat pyaar….Iske baye taraf bhi dil hai …Iske daye taraf bhi dil hai… the songs were remarkable.
  2. Extraordinarily talented  ensemble cast- Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Waheeda Rahman , Rishi Kapoor Om Puri, Atul Kulkarni & Divya Dutta
  3. Movie is about the People & Place, not Plot or Story.
  4. Loved the dance-song-routine on the rooftop – Ghenda phool. Abhishek was at his hip-hop best.
  5. Longest ever Motorola Advertisement. Even when he is having an out-of-body experience & meets Amitabh in heaven, he is thinking about his Moto-Rocker.
  6. Chandini-Chowk ka khana, jalebi , parantha…
  7. Surfing channels was an interesting take on today’s India- were we have going to the moon & invisible kala Bandar both as breaking news on the same day.
  8. Sonam kapoor, is beautiful, should have been given more air time and trendier clothes. She does do the college thing of changing in the metro station’s loo but when she goes for the Indian Idol audition finally, she is wearing a salwar-kamiz.  Not that she was looking bad, but just a thought.
  9. It’s no RDB but it’s not bad, a one-time watch for sure.
  10. Love Delhi.

Taxing Time

It’s that time of the year again when reminders from the finance & Hr dept are filling up our mail box. ‘Investment Declaration’, ‘Tax’, ‘Exemption’, ‘HRA’, ‘Flexi’ are the only thing one hears about. I hate this time as much as I hate paying tax, but some things can’t be avoided. I’m listing some basic fundas I know about Income Tax India. If you know of something different or better, let me know!

 

What is the Tax slab for 2009-10?

taxes

 

What is Taxable Income?

Gross Salary Income + Income from any other source (Interest, House Rent etc)

LESS Exemption under HRA

LESS Conveyance Allowances of 9600/-

LESS Medi-claim/ LTA/ any other allowance

LESS Interest paid on Home loan up to 1, 50,000/-

= Gross Total Income

LESS Deductions under Sec 80 C up to 1, 00,000/-

LESS Deduction under Sec 80 D/E/G

= Total Taxable Income

 

What is the HRA exemption?

HRA Exemption – Least of (Actual HRA received OR Rent Paid by the employees less 10% of Basic OR 50% of Basic (metro city))

So, if you live in Delhi & 50% of your basic is 1 lk p.a., which is the HRA and the rent paid is also 1 lk then the tax exemption will be 90 thousand. (1lk- 10% lk)

The only way you’ll get HRA = tax exemption is when your rent is Rs.1.20 lk i.e. HRA+10%of Basic

 

What is deduction under Sec 80 D/E/G?

Sec 80 D Medical Premium for self / parent (up to 15,000/-)

Sec 80 E Interests paid on Education Loan

Sec 80 G Donations to approved fund (generally 50% of donated amount)

 

What is deduction under Sec 80 C?

Every one is always talking about the 1 lk investment. These are done under section 80C.

They include an employee’s contribution towards PF, so that investment that needs to be made is of

1 lk – PF deductions for the year (12% of basic). The rest of the investments may be made in one or all of the following:-

Ø Public Provident Fund

Ø Life Insurance premium (ULIP/ Traditional)

Ø Pension plans

Ø ELSS – Equity Linked Saving Schemes of mutual funds

Ø Infrastructure bonds

Ø National Savings Certificate

Ø Special Fixed deposits (5 years)

Ø Home loan principal repayment

 

What is the Tax on Bonus?

All Variable Income/ any one time variable payment (e.g. Incentive, Overtime and Other Allowance) have a higher tax rate which is calculated and deducted in the same month in which the payment is made.

 

Lastly, Tax Saving is a good idea but not Tax Evasion. Don’t fell bad about paying taxes, it’s our country that will benefit :).

 

Just what the doctor ordered…GOA!

Picture this ….Beach-Beer-Book on a Sunny Sunday Afternoon. Isn’t that what a relaxing holiday is all about!

Our recent trip to Goa is just what we needed, not that we are over worked or exhausted, but who doesn’t love a little pampering & relaxation.

Most believe Goa to be a place for huge groups of friends, open-top Gypsies, Loud music, Water sports & late nights at Titos. They are right & we have done that a on our previous visits and sure it was fun … but there is another side to Goa, where chilling, taking things slow, (the travel-show-hosts cliché of ‘being spiritual or being one with the surroundings’) is priority.

On our most recent trip, we decided to drive down to Goa, stay in a small resort, chill on the beach & basically make no plans.

I confess, I am a planner, although I’d love to be the impulsive type I’ve never been able to NOT Plan. Surprisingly I got used to an unplanned day very quickly. I guess its easy when all one has to do is lie in the sun & look at the surf, read ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – a trilogy in four parts’ (that’s always makes me smile).

After this trip, I have decided to leave all the planning to hubby dear, I’ll be there to enjoy the moment. WHAT FUN!!

So what were the unplanned things we did? We hit the restaurants, beaches at odd hours of the day. The great thing about Goa is that food & drink is available all the time. The same is true for the crowds at Baga, Anjuna & the others.

Read on about Goa in the travel & review section.

Internet Goals for 2009

This post is a part of Daniel’s Internet Goals group writing project. My Internet goals for 2009 are:

1. Launch a new blog dedicated to tech tips and trick. I have the domain up and will start posting soon.

2. Reach atleast 200 subscribers for the tech blog.

3. Contribute more guest posts and build up readership on the tech blog.

4. Reach a 1000 daily visitors.

5. Increase online income. I don’t have a number in mind, but I’d definitely be writing more this year and have my fingers crossed 🙂

That’s all for me, I think. You might have noticed that all my goals for 2009 are for this new blog that I haven’t even launched yet. I’d have given the URL to you guys but I just don’t think the site is ready for the public yet so that’ll have to wait.

In the meantime, you can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email or follow me on twitter and I’ll make sure you guys are the first ones to know about my new blog.

The theory of Multiple Intelligence

Multiple Intelligences

My kid doesn’t get good grades … All she is interested in is music and games… Why don’t you get a REAL Job ?  He’s such an idiot ! Flunked math again !

Here is some food for thought … Can intelligence be measured by just an IQ test, which is common for all? Is there only one kind of intelligence?

The other day, while channel surfing, I chanced upon a program on T.V. discussing Frames of Mind – The theory of multiple intelligences by Howard Earl Gardner (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences)

Gardner has different view point on the kinds of intelligence that exist. KINDS – yup ! He has a theory of multiple Intelligences. According to him – intelligence is ‘the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting‘.

The list of 8 intelligences that he speaks about include some that we commonly think of as logical and educational and some that deal with art and literature. See for your self:

Intel 1

  1. Linguistic intelligence: Understanding spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. Someone with strong Linguistic Intelligence will be able to remember great deal of info & have the ability to effectively use language to express themselves. Like – Russell Peters, Writers, lawyers, and speakers.MA shoe
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence: Having the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. Essentially, detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. Like– Vishwanathan Anand, Software programmers, Analysts.
  3. Musical intelligence: Having performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. Like- AR Rehman, DJ’s, Singers etc.
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: Utilizing one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. Having remarkable Mind–Body co-ordination. Like- Dancers, Gymnasts, Drummers, Sports person, even the kids who are good on PS2.
  5. Spatial intelligence: Having an ability to discern similarities across diverse domains. Visual-thinkers. Like- Manish Arora, Painters, Architect, Engineers, Designers, Bartenders
  6. Interpersonal intelligence: Having the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. Potential to work effectively with others. Like- Mother Teresa, Salespeople, religious and political leaders.intel 2
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence: entails the capacity to un derstand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations. Self-Understanding. Like- Osho, Spiritual Teachers.
  8. Naturalistic Intelligence: Having ability to understand and work effectively in the natural world. Like- Steve Irwin, Biologists and Zoologists.

Obviously, all the 8 are present in everyone and they rarely operate independently. It’s just that some people have Special Abilities or Intelligence (skewed towards one of the 8) which is what makes them brilliant.

Well ! After all this I have only one thing to declare – my genius 😉

The Drinks are on me !


This post is what, in web-jargon these days, is called a mind-dump.

As I sit in the office on a nice breezy (and slow) afternoon, wishing is all I can do and here are some of my favorite drinks that I’m wishing for …. right now !

Nothing extraordinary … out of  the box … but like they say – if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it !!

LIITE (Long Island Iced Tea)Djins @ Hyaat-Delhi, that’s where I first had LITE. The best part is that you need just one to get you into high spirits. One look at the ingredients and you’ll know why !

You need ½ a shot each  of Gin, White Rum, Tequila , Triple Sec & Vodka . Some Coke for the color & some lemon juice.

Shake all the ingredients except the coke with ice and strain into a highball. Then pour the coke on the top. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Rum Cola – Simple and effective.  Also known as ‘dhoka-cola’ , All fauji kids would vouch for this one. Most people like it with Bacardi or Old Monk but I prefer Capt Morgan’s. The spicy vanilla after taste is splendid.

You’ll need 1 shot Captain Morgan’s spiced rum, Coke. I also add ½ a lime.

In a tall glass pour in the rum & top the glass with ice. Add the coke & drop in some lime slices.

Center Shock – a good friend of mine once made this for me by accident. It’s something many people will not like, but I do.

You’ll need tender coconut in the shell, one shot of vodka and a straw.

Just make an opening in the coconut and remove about a sip or two from it. Fill in the vodka and keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Serve with a straw.

Mojito – It just looks so good that you have to have it !

You’ll need 1.5 oz White Rum, 10-12 fresh mint leaves,1/2 lime, 7 oz club soda & 3 tsp. sugar syrup.

Crush mint leaves and lightly squeeze lime in a cool tall glass. Pour sweet syrup to cover and fill glass with ice. Add the Rum, club soda, and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and a few sprigs of mint.

And of course Draught Beer (to keep my husband happy) – You need a can of chilled beer. Just open and drink.

I just have one request, when ever you serve a drink, please do it in the right glass. And although my husband says ‘a drink tastes the same in any glass’, I firmly believe that without proper presentation… the drink loses its ATTITUDE ; )

Do you guys have a favorite drink … let me know the recipe in the comments and I promise I’ll try them 🙂

Back From Vacation

This is a quick note to let all visitors know that I’m back from my vacation in Goa and just haven’t been able to update this blog since then. Work as usual has been taking most of my time but I intend to get back to updating this blog regularly as soon as I can find the time.

I’ve got loads of stuff to write about from the trip, the beaches I visited, the pubs I went to and the food I ate. Keep reading.

Off to Goa for the weekend

The long weekend that is. Tomorrow and Friday is a holiday in most places in India on account of the Festival of Dasara. Am off to the coastal state of Goa. Yummy seafood and cold beer is what awaits me.

I will not be posting at all while I’m gone. Expect an update with lots of pics from nice, sunny Goa when I’m back 🙂

Gotta rush now … the beach is calling me.