Delhi’s Wedding Shopping Bonanza – Part II

If the heat, rain, sweat and absolutely no bargaining skills is killing you – do not fret there are some great air-conditioned stores to choose from. They have more or less similar things and it’s a matter of your choice and luck that will change the ‘how-great-is-this?’ rating for these.

Here is a look at some specific Retail Stores

Frontier Bazar and CTC Plaza are some of the top choices. Meena Bazar , Gujralsons , Chhabara 555, Heritage Handloom Emporium and Bombay Selections are great stops for suits, sari and dress materials.

Most of these have multiple outlets in Karol Bagh, Chandni chowk, Rajouri Garden, Lajpat Nagar, South Extension and basically all over Delhi.

If you are the get-in-buy-and-get-out types you are guaranteed to be irritated with these shops. Well! Shopping for wedding in general is taxing for you, these ‘aaoji-bethoji’ (come-sit) will make you want to scream. But nonetheless this has to be done. Window Shopping or like my mom calls it ‘nain-tripti’ (pleasure for eyes) is an essential part of wedding shopping, especially if one is going to spend a considerably large sum of money on these purchases.

Some women can spend hours on end just looking at the variety in a store like Frontier. With multiple-floors of garments there is never a ‘that’s-it !!!’ for these ladies. The salesmen here are also very enthusiastic and will charm their way into making a sale. If you like they will drape the saree or lehnga with so you know how it will look, give you tones of options to play with color, and you can purchase a made-to-order, absolutely unique wardrobe here.

I believe that a bride’s trousseau is like her treasure chest, it should have a sample of the awesome things India has to offer. It is incomplete without silk sari. Nalli has a great collection of the Kanjeevaram, Kota silk, Mysore silk and other specialties of the South. Glass bangles look very festive, a great place to buy them other than Charminar (since you’ll have to go to Hyderabad for that) is Hanuman Temple in CP. It is very close to Nalli Silk Sarees.

The wedding season brings with it ‘Sales’ do make use of them. In fact, Wedding has become such a big industry that a specialty mall by the name of ‘Wedding Souk’ in Pitampura Delhi has recently opened, but I haven’t ventured to that part of town so thats all the information I have. Do let me know if there is something exciting you know about?

If you are looking for really high-end designer wear, head towards MG Road, Santushti Complex or Hauzkhasvillage to get your fill of Ritu Kumar, Satya Paul or Ogaan Or just step into DLF Emporio

Delhi, the capital city of India, is a place of great contrasts and convolutions. The many sights and sounds of Delhi make it easy to spend days exploring the old bazzars, the high-end malls and designer stores. I have had some fun times, and hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Happy Shopping!

Delhi’s Wedding Shopping Bonanza – Part I

Love or Arranged, Marriages will be absolutely no fun without the wedding shopping. Or so I believe! Weddings give not only the bride and groom the freedom to splurge freely, but also an occasion for the invitees to shop for that special outfit.

As we all know, Punjabi weddings go over the edge sometimes, most of them carry on for a couple of days and there are about half a dozen functions the bride needs to dress-up for. So most families start a couple of months in advance to stock up on the clothes, shoes and accessories. A Good Idea!

If you are doing you shopping in Delhi, I’ve put together some of the best stores and shopping areas out of my experience.

I want to give you fair warning that Wedding shopping can go completely out of hand and you may end up buying things because it is ‘so pretty’ or ‘the price is just right’. The best way to avoid that is to PLAN. Have a budget, make lists, set the number of sarees, bags, suits, shoes (well! Not shoes) you need to buy. When you are buying something ask your self – Do I Like it or Love it?And is this the best thing I have seen anywhere or the best thing in this shop? And always ask – Where all will I wear it?

Now that you are ready with your Plan, lets go shopping!

First stop – Karol Bagh & Chandini Chowk

Karol Bagh & Chandini Chowk are the most famous and well-explored shopping hubs. These places are so famous that movies and books like Zoya factor & Pyar ke side effects have made reference to them. And not in vain, I may add. You will get your traditional to designer copies here and at comparatively fewer moolahs too. You will however, need to be familiar with the gallis-gochas and certainly need to be great at bargaining.

Chandni Chowk is one of the largest wholesale market of Asia. Earlier it was almost impossible to reach there but since the arrival of Metro service from CP to CC, it has become more accessible. Put on your walking shoes and be ready for narrow lanes and lots of people. I can safely say that, I love the Delhi Metro – they brought in the metro where cars couldn’t go before.

Chawdi bazaar is a great place to get your wedding cards printed. Near the paranthey walli gali, you’ll find the shops with ribbons, wrapping paper, baskets and boxes. These come in handy when the gifts for relatives and so-and–so need to be packed. For some great quality dry-fruit visit the spice market.

Now coming to the main event, the clothes. Both CC and KB have hundreds of small no name shops stocking up the bling goodies. The price range to suit any budget, but one must have a good eye for the material and the workmanship, or else you’ll be taken for a ride. Ask for designer rip-offs of the spring or winter collection, you’ll definitely find what you are looking for.

One can certainly see a shift to latest malls and other shopping destinations, in most Indian metros. But these small gallis and tiny nooks & corners have a charm of their own. There is an excitement about going there. It’s like watching a real good thriller after seeing a couple of boring chick flicks.

A little off topic, but while you are there, take a tour of the neighborhood on a cycle rickshaw down the traffic-choked Chandni Chowk. This place is — if not all of India’s , but certainly a large part of it — main shopping thoroughfare, lined with shops selling drippingly sweet and chats, lurid textiles, perfumes and jewelry and also has an anomalous branch of McDonald’s thrown in for good measure.

As you can see, I can go on and on about Chandini-Chowk, but I shall stop here. I still have a couple of great stores to tell you guys about so watch out for Part 2!

The Best of the Idiot Box

Television has become not just the pastime of the bored, but also an inherent part of our everyday lives. It’s no secret I love watching television, the only difference is that earlier I watched and waited in anticipation for an episode every week, now, I watch online or download the newest episodes, without so much as watching an advertisement or changing the channel in between. It’s pure unadulterated continuous television watching experience!

I have been watching a number of shows since I was a kid, so I’m gonna list my favourite from then and now!

The Wonder Years
An adult Kevin Arnold reminisces on his teenage years spent growing up during the 60s. As he goes from adolescence to adulthood, he experiences, along with his best friend Paul and sometimes-girlfriend Winnie, the full range of trials and traumas that come in just about everyone’s life. This nostalgic and heartwarming series, where one boys journey, similar to  many others the same age, is one I remember from my childhood days.

Doogie Howser M.D.
Doogie is no ordinary teenager, he is a doctor. As smart as they come, he has been a doctor since the age of fourteen. But it’s not because you are highly intelligent that you don’t have the same feelings toward life. He is constantly torn between a life of teenage fun with his buddy Vinny, and a more serious and quiet life practicing medicine. I remember this show for one of the best endings in television, i.e. he maintains a diary entry  on his computer, and every night you see him come back to his desk and write the most philosophical yet true yet common things, that happen in daily life, but you never really give a second glance to. Following the life of a child genius makes this another great show. Ps. the main character  Neil Patrik Harris is now ever so popular as Barney from ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (another top fav in the list to follow).

Some may call it the longest running sitcom on TV – Why? Cause this particular show created history, its broadcasted in various countries, different languages and many an off shoot of the same concept can still be seen in television and cinema today. Six young people, on their own and struggling to survive in the real world, find the companionship, comfort and support they get from each other to be the perfect antidote to the pressures of life. We know them as Ross, Rachael, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler and Joey. The ten seasons of Friends are most likely on every desktop and DVD cabinet of this generation of viewers. Its hard to describe this series, as if you haven’t watched it, you’ve pretty much missed a slice of this generation’s best comedy. Everyone relates to some character, they find their quirks embedded in them, and its probably that way, the aptly titled sitcom is the longest re-run show till date.

How I Met Your Mother
The show is about 5 friends – Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin. Ted and Marshal were college roomates, and Marshall has been dating Lily since college. Barney is Ted’s self proclaimed best friend (they first meet at a urinal -*trivia) and Robin, well, egged on by his best friend’s upcoming nuptials, (Lily & Marshall) Ted believes he finds the woman of his dreams in Robin, a Canadian in NY to land a job in a TV Network. The Narrator of the show is Ted and even though in the beginning you think he will end up with Robin, the whole concept of the show is Ted speaking to his two kids on the couch, about How he met their mother, which till date, the series isn’t even close to getting at. Barney is played by Neil Patrick Harris, mentioned above as the young Doogie Howser. And Lily, is Alyson Hannigan, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Big Bang Theory
A recent addition to the television circuit, The Big Bang Theory began in 2007. It is the story of 5 people – focusing on three main characters – Leonard, Sheldon and Penny. Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper are both brilliant physicists working at Cal Tech in Pasadena, California. They are colleagues, best friends and roommates, although in all capacities their relationship is always tested primarily by Sheldon’s regimented and non-conventional ways. They are also friends with their Cal Tech colleagues, mechanical engineer Howard Wolowitz and astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali. The foursome spend their time working on their individual work projects, playing video games, watching science fiction movies or reading comic books. As they are self-professed nerds, all have little or no luck with “popular” women. When Penny, a pretty woman and an aspiring actress originally from Omaha, moves into the apartment next to Leonard and Sheldon’s, Leonard has another aspiration in life, namely to get Penny to be his girlfriend. The show is firstly for those who are at least interested in technology and have a somewhat basic idea of physics and chemistry. But you might also be like me, who loves the jokes, Sheldon Cooper and Bazinga! While Sheldon is the most annoying roommate one could ever imagine, his quirks make him likable, acceptable and adorable! Bazinga is his way of telling people that he has played a practical joke on them, or that he is simply joking. (Otherwise he never does so). His roommate is the ever patient Leonard whose heart is set on his neighbour Penny (Kaley Cuoco – “8 Simple rules”). It’s a great show, with tons of laughs and Indians will love it cause of the presence of Raj Kuthrapalli, an Indian character played by Kunal Nayyar.

Cougar Town
Recently started show, though it will air on Indian television from this month. One season is over in the US and its a pretty funny show. The main character is Monica of Friends fame or Courtney Cox. She plays a recently divorced woman  who decides to find some excitement in her dating life. Cougar a is term we’ve all used at some point to describe older gals who get glammed up to troll for younger men. A woman of 40 years with a teenage son, divorced husband, hot across the road neighbour and a best friend (on the side house) neighbour, Jules (Cox) owns a real estate business and post divorce, decides to get back on the dating market. Her friendship with her neighbour and best friend Elle (Christa Miller) is hilarious, where one of the best quirk about Ellie is that if a conversation goes on too long without her name in it, she zaps out and doesn’t listen. Her son Travis, gives the cool underlying funny moments with ease and her ex-husband reminds you of “God, that was a mistake” kinda guy! Overall, a fun series to watch!

Two and a Half Men
A hedonistic jingle writer’s free-wheeling life comes to an abrupt halt when his brother and 10-year-old nephew move into his beach-front house. The Harper brothers Charlie and Alan are almost opposites but form a great team. They have little in common except their dislike for their mundane, maternally cold and domineering mother, Evelyn. Alan, a compulsively neat chiropractor and control-freak, is thrown out by his manipulative wife Judith who nevertheless gets him to pay for everything and do most jobs in the house. Charlie is a freelance jingle composer and irresistible Cassanova who lives in a luxurious beach-house and rarely gets up before noon. Charlie “temporarily” allows Alan and his son Jake, a food-obsessed, lazy school kid who shuttles between his parents, to move in with them after Alan’s separation/divorce. The sitcom revolves around their conflicting lifestyles, raising Jake (who has the efficient, caring dad while having a ball with his fun-loving sugar uncle who teaches him boyish things), and bantering with Evelyn and various other friends and family. Other fairly regular characters include Charlie’s cleaning lady Berta and his rich, self-confessed stalker neighbor Rose who often sneaks in to spy on Charlie.The show has its share of laughs, sarcastic moments and well once you start watching, you tend to continue.

I am a big fan of crime shows. This one is by far a little more interesting, and moves from crime, to fiction, to family. Started very recently – 2009, the show is about a best selling writer – Richard Castle, who is asked to help Detective Beckett on one of her cases (where the murder is similar to Castle’s books) and thanks to his friendship with the Mayor, he assigns him self to shadow Detective Kate Beckett in her cases for his new book, whose main character, Nikki Heat, is based on this detective. Castle is played by Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic plays Beckett. Castle’s daughter Alexis (an over achiever, straight and strong headed) and mother Martha Rodgers (a retired actress) give the series the homely feel and colour, and act as inspiration to Castle’s problems without even knowing it.

White Collar
The newest “crime-related” show on TV is luring viewers (read: female) by the plenty. The lead in the show Neil Caffrey (Matthew Bomer) is a suave ex-con turned FBI aide. This white collar (a non-violent crime, generally for personal gain and often involving money) criminal agrees to help the FBI catch other white collar criminals using his expertise as an art and securities thief, counterfeiter and racketeer. But you watch one or two episodes, and you’re hooked. Not just to the whole crime solving mystery but also to the exceptionally good looking, hat wearing, smooth talking Neil Caffrey. The guy who ends up catching Neil twice is the very intelligent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) who heads the White Collar Division. His wife is played by the beautiful Tiffani Thiessen. But one of the other very interesting characters is called Mozzie (Willie Garson) Caffrey’s aid and a quirky little man who has a little trouble with those he calls Suits (those in the bureau). This bald OCD character uses his intelligence, ingenuity and charm to help Neil in tricky situations. The show is addictive and one of the contemporary ones that you shouldn’t miss!

Grey’s Anatomy
A drama centered on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors. It has been running for five years now and still going strong, its got the McDreamy, the McSteamy and pretty strong characters to back it up. One of the best quotes from Meredith Grey in the series is about surviving surgical internship… “The key to surviving a surgical internship is denial. We deny that we’re tired, we deny that we’re scared, we deny how badly we want to succeed. And most importantly, we deny that we’re in denial. We only see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe, and it works. We lie to ourselves so much that after a while the lies start to seem like the truth. We deny so much that we can’t recognize the truth right in front of our faces.” The characters are full of character and feeling and sense and everything that is in the best television.  The story lines are believable with sad parts, funny parts, intense moments, and refreshing insights…just everything a great show needs. There are enough surprises to keep you guessing, but enough stability to keep one coming back to watch the next episode. This is truly an absolutely wonderful show!

Crime Scene Investigation (CSI)
An elite team of police forensic evidence investigation experts work their cases in Las Vegas. With the amount of episodes this series has, and the offshoots of CSI Miami, CSI New York, this is a great crime solving through forensics show. While the first CSI (Las Vegas) focuses on old school methods of forensics (still pretty much better than anything real in our country!) CSI Miami goes into a whole new digital playing field of forensics. The show is simple, a crime is committed – a murder/homicide… and forensics are the key to unearthing the killer. It’s one episode, one story and sometimes that’s all you have time for. So its something I love.

Creator Tim Kring, has a kick-ass imagination, and I for one love it. The series is about people who thought they were like everyone else… until they woke with incredible abilities. The writing and the interweaving plot and characters is compelling and interesting, nothing dumbed down, but nothing contrived either. The direction fits the concept perfectly, it grabs you as much as it should, without being distracting. The acting is most surprising in that it’s actually good. Masi Oka, who plays “Hiro Nakamura”, is quite possibly the best of the cast, and with the best ability – to freeze time, or time travel. The rest of the cast has impressive abilities as well. There are some pop culture references and nods to comic book lore which seem to give it a very cool hero/comic book hip feel that makes you trust the writers on this one. This is one show, you need to continuously watch, those who I know saw couple of episodes and came back later, well they are no longer interested in the show. Its something you need to be seeing from the start to finish without missing anything in between. The story moves fast, the characters keep interacting, powers or abilities are exchanged, history is revealed, the good and bad have thin lines of judgment and most of all, it travels in so many spaces of time, that continuity of the viewer and the cast is of utmost importance.

Couple of shows are now off air, one being the Gilmore Girls, my sister and I loved that show. Another few, 8 Simple Rules – for dating my teenage daughter, Charmed, Dharma & Greg, Lipstick Jungle (only lasted a season, but not bad!) Full House, Star Wars, Ugly Betty, That 70’s Show  and Practice are some I remember fondly.

Others that deserve a special mention, which I watch, but not so regularly now are – Boston Legal, Bones, Without a Trace, One Tree Hill, Scrubs. These did well, but somehow lost interest in them.

That’s whats so interesting about television… you start by sitting in front of the tv flipping through channels, get engrossed and sometimes before you know it, you’ve been sitting there for couple of hours. Right now top on the list of TV watchers is Reality TV. That post will come up soon!

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?

Soo Ra Sung – Korean – Bangalore

Chinese, Thai and even Japanese, we all know and have been to restaurants that specialize in these. But how many of us have tried an authentic Korean meal?

Well, I’ll forever be thankful to a friend of mine who introduced me two awesome things that are Korean.

The first is the movie My Sassy Girl…

Sassy literally means Bizarre, is a South Korean romantic comedy film directed by Kwak Jae-yong, in which the lead protagonist’s chance meeting with a drunk girl on the train changes his life. It is based on the true story told in a series of love letters written by Kim Ho-sik, a man who initially posted them on the Internet and later adapted them into a novel. I will definitely recommend anyone who like romantic-comedies to watch it.

…And the other is the restaurant in Bangalore – Soo Ra Sung.

I was fortunate enough to try out this place before I left Bangalore and it will be on my itinerary when I visit Bangalore again. Soo Ra Sung is an authentic Korean restaurant on Wind tunnel Road near the HAL Airport. How do I know it is authentic? Well, for one it is owned and run by a Korean Lady and also, of the 6 tables occupied on the day I had dinner there we were the only non-koreans.

When had made reservations to ensure we get a place, as it does get crowded on weekends. The owner is a warm & friendly lady that makes your ordering easy and experience enjoyable.

One of the highlights is the barbecue meal that is done right at the table. All dishes on the menu are complete meals. They are served with a delicious assortment of small side dishes and condiments. Everything was cooked to perfection.

Korean food stands out from other cuisines mainly because of the banchan (side dishes) that are served during meals in small bowls, and can be anything from vegetables to meat to seafood. These are served with the main dish, and there are no separate courses. So when you eat at a Korean restaurant do not over order.

Koreans have perfected the art of preserving food over thousands of years, so many of the side dishes are pickled, salted, or fermented. Some are spicy and the others sweet & salty. Kimchi, Korea’s famous spicy cabbage, has over a hundred varieties with different vegetables, including some non-spicy types. You may be given a pair of scissors to cut the kimchi. Rice is the backbone of almost every Korean meal, and all the dishes will be served with some sticky rice.

You’ll also be served Soo Jeong Gwa (Sweet Cinnamon Punch). A traditional brown-colored Korean drink, consisting of cinnamon, water, sugar, dried persimmon, and ginger. It was a light and refreshing end to a great meal. Sojo (Korean wine) and beer is also available on request. Manuscrypts has given a great description of what one can expect in Soo Ra Sung.

One thing that caught my eye was the tiny notes on the lift. The restaurant is on the fourth floor, above a guesthouse. One has to enter a tiny lift that has precise instructions on when to open and close the lift.

The roof top location gives a wonderful view of Bangalore, making a trip to Soo Ra Sung well worth the effort.

Here’s to Good Food and Great Friends!!

The Killers – Movie Review

Interesting title… why? well cause it honestly doesn’t really depict what you think the film will turn out to be, but in the end, it to me felt almost like a title written in jest. The movie is about a whirlwind romance, where Katherine Heigel of Grey’s Anatomy fame (who I think quit television to come to act in rom-coms, which in retrospect must be earning her loaadz of money) meets the man of her dreams, Ashton Kutcher while vacationing with her parents in Nice, France.

Ashton Kutcher right from the beginning is seen as the quintessential spy – fast red sports car, perfectly sculpted body, sharp suit with  scuba diving skills useful in climbing aboard a ship and placing a bomb underneath a chopper .. you get the drift. Somehow I wasn’t very convinced of it… maybe because he isn’t a Spy-Spy but turns out to be a contract killer, which you find out fairly quickly. Somehow the whirlwhind romance, of meeting a girl in the same hotel, falling in love overnight and suddenly refusing to do your job, and getting ‘out of the game’ seemed to have taken less then the first ten minutes of the film. Edited well, but somehow I think it lost the essence of what it was… there wasn’t a spark that you saw, the love that you believed happened that fast… it seemed “scripted”…

Anyway that aside, you are taken into their sub-urban life when suddenly one day Kutcher is contacted by his ex-boss and all hell breaks loose! Suddenly everyone wants to kill him… in all this Katherine Heigel, his wife acts suprised, bemused, uses a gun, crashes into another car and is all – ‘I’m too normal, not exciting, humdrum life, too close to my parents” kind of person. The randomness of those who attack them is funny and at the end of it, the movie does have a lot of humour and fun moments… it won’t feel like anything new or something you haven’t seen happen before in a rom-com (think: whole nine yards) but it still worth a watch on your comp… I won’t recommend watching it in theatres, but yes, for those who love chick-flicks and like seeing it to numb your mind and just chill… this is a fun flick… plus who doesn’t mind looking at the cuteness that is Kutcher, Heigel – well sometimes I think she was better as Izzy

…. overall a good “girl-type” watch 🙂