Monday, March 16, 2015

Hosting #101 .. Surmounting a Grocery List !

Yes – we live alone. We are the quintessential Mumbai couple who manages a HOME for 2 ! Yes, I do not have a mother in law to meddle in my everyday house running skills (oh btw I love my ma-in-law ) … we do not have a bhabhi who will willingly cook while I am away at an important meeting. we don’t have a father in law who will take over the bills – Kunal has to make time to sort them out. When we throw a party, our shopping list doesn’t get distributed by the dozen people living under the roof…I can write book titled "The Bible of surviving in Mumbai x 2" or like Kunal likes to call it... just sucking it up and getting used to ticking off, till the last item on my TO-DO list on an everyday basis !

Off the many things that I fast learnt on my first few times of living and running a household for 2 is that you can maximize the potential that the internet with a few clicks of the button. After weeks of plotting and planning dates with the various members of the family we singled out to a fair day in August to host our very first Sunday Brunch to celebrate Raksha Bandhan... All but 40 guests confirmed for what started out as a small get together! I pulled my contacts togther and got a caterer on board to help me with the food…At that point in time I felt like a winner..but i soon realised my worries had just begun !

2 days before the event I called to fix the menu with the ‘Maharaj’ I began jotting down the list of items he was already rattling into the phone... I couldn’t find anything to write on – so I started jotting on the day’s news paper. The times of india was surrounded by items like maida, vinegar, chilly sauce.... on he went… I flipped the paper over to write on the bottom half… oranges..cinnamon powder..ajino moto.. I started writing over the empty spaces on the advertisement now mentally trying to figure out where I would get these things from… spaghetti..oregano…rosemary and that’s it. I was already feeling exhausted… oh madam… did I make you write dry mint powder ? I scanned the list but couldn’t find it… so I fit it right beside the weather update…read heavy showers tomorrow and day after. I could already feel the grey over my head.

Right after putting his phone down I started making a fair list. The fair list comprised of only 68 items to be bought !!!! My eyes pop-ed out. With a kitchen that is run for 2 people, we definitely needed to re-stock our rice, I have never allowed cardamom powder into my home which was about to change and our month supply of fruits was to be ordered just in a day's time. I frantically called my mother in law who sweetly offered to run errands for me… but I decided to take the plunge into house-running-bliss. She sounded skeptical, but we decided it would be best if I use this moment to learn a thing or two about hosting a social gathering !

For those who know me, I’m quite an organization freak… I divided the list into Grocery & staples, Fruits & Vegetables, Bread & Dairy and others… I was not quite sure where I would get the others items. But I decided to tackle one problem at a time.  Yes – I know what I did next will make my mother laugh and I can hear my distant aunt mocking from her grave, "I TOLD YOU SO"– but some of the items on that list, I didn’t know what they meant. When I did huh on the phone to the maharaj – he said arreh madam, do you not know this also… I just pretended that the line was unclear. Yes... I know your laughed a little...So I google’d them + Mumbai to see where I would get them ! Pop came the ad for

I have never been to an online supermarket..I clicked. The screen went white and flashing… it was almost as if I was in a HyperMarket without the clutter of leading brands flashing in your face… There was no walking through the aisles, there were no screaming children toppling everything, there was no forgetting anything and having to walk back all the way to the start for a bag of sugar !

It was a simple interface that allowed me to go through my entire list… within minutes I had shopped for every single item on all 3 of my segregated list. When I usually go to a hyper market I end up buying so much more than I am actually required to.. call me a retail junkie… but there was nobody trying to force a plastic spoon with the latest aachar to try and forcing me to buy either. There was absolutely no temptation.

Ofcourse I had a few items missing from my toileteries and personal care  items which i took care off before moving on to checking the other tabs on their website.

The best part of shopping on was the Discounts and Promotion tabs where I could take my own time to decided whether the scheme worked for me or not.I checked out within minutes and opted for Cash on Delivery – since I do not prefer using my Credit Card for household items and Since I was shopping for Rs 400 and more they offered me free Delivery – at a time slot convenient to me… ofcourse I had to fish for the convenient time a bit – but the website assured me that they are working on expanding the slots. I'm not a big fan of the registering on websites.. but I had to unfortunately – they promised me it was a one time thing. And in hind sight it has made all my next round of purchases a lot easier with the website already knowing that i will opt for Cash on Delivery and also the address is already fed in, saving me all that time to re-type is over and over again. 

The delivery was made promptly… and the party was a grand success. The brunch service had a few glitches – things are bound to go crazy with 40 hungry gujratis enjoying their first time experimenting food they could barely pronounce let alone knowing how to write them. Burmese Khow Suey and Chinese Ramen Noodles all prepared Jain Style were my saving grace. 

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Graffitti that adorns New York

I wanted to share some photos I took whilst on holiday in NY last Christmas. I loved every minute of being in the Big Apple. It was such an assault on the senses but in the most wonderful way! There was so much to see from the fashion on the street and architecture, to the build boards and lights displays. Kunal and I went through New York ... charging ahead each morning on foot... Sipping coffee from the chic-est little cafes with character and lunching and dining in only A-listers and highly recommended ones. It helped to have local friends - Karan and Vira who had edited the list for this refines selection. One would think breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a snack at different places would have pretty much covered it all... but New York is a feast for gourmands like Kunal and I. We still didn’t have enough time to fit in all the ones I wanted to visit. Every time I stepped out side my hotel I felt such a buzz from everything going on around me.

One of NYC’s many pleasures is turning a corner to find a street-art mural taking up an entire wall, or spotting a piece by a well reknownded artist. It’s up there with yellow cabs, steaming manholes and hot dog stands. I have to admit, I don't understand Grafitti art much – It’s really a mixture of fine art expressionism with exciting street edge. Some of it is not even to my taste.. i am more of a canvas with abstracts on a wall. But some of these defy my sensibilities and there is something that appeals even to my mind. As I rode the red tourist bus around NYC I went click click click on my camera to find these amazing life size artworks.


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