Monday, December 12, 2011

My "Unreal" World!

I often look back at the year that is now swiftly slipping away. The Home Run - R's final semester at IIM A begins today. In just another 3 months this sanctified campus that I live in will be a talk of the past. Sometimes I wish I could hold onto this time I happily spent doing hardly anything in what I call an  “unreal” world of mine.
Yes, it’s unreal – it’s unreal because of the small pleasures of living a different experience that I will miss once I step out of my small secure surroundings.

On a particular day in November 2010, I sat through what I remember as the longest cab ride home from work. R recieved his much awaited admit into IIM A and I couldn't wait to see him. That November I spent thinking about how important this one year in Ahmedabad would be for me and for R. I was excited and anxious, I was uncertain.

The results for the next year have been declared and soon these courtyards will be full of another set of little ones and their contagious laughter. Last year around the same time R and I were in an ecstatic phase of life. We would spend our evenings after work feverishly planning our move to Ahmedabad. R’s inbox would be flooded with emails from his prospective classmates, now buddies and I would fight to read every one of those mails. Meetings, lunches and dinners were planned, a Google group for spouses was formed. At that time April seemed a whole 4 months away, and it felt almost like a decade.

We're now almost at the tail end of the crazy one year at IIM Ahmedabad and the reverse counting to March 9 has now begun in most households. At this point, I wish there was a pause button that I could press and hold on to the little joys of living in a closed community like this one. At times I find myself debating animatedly with my NRI friends about how the life on campus is "unreal".

Why "unreal"?

 - Because in the "real" life R and I usually spend most of our weekends endlessly seeking, fighting, chasing and then haggling with plumbing guys, electricians, and mechanics. In the "unreal" world they are a phone call away and I don't pay them. 

Unreal? Yes!

- Because in the "real" life that I spent in Noida, I lived with hours and hours of electricity cuts and water shortages. Power cuts don't happen in the "unreal" world and if they do, we receive an email about the date, time and apologies for the inconvenience! 

Unreal? Yes - I moved from the land of Power cuts. 

- Because in the fast paced "real" life I had been so preoccupied that I hardly knew my neighbor, leave alone the pot-luck dinners that we enjoy in our unreal world. One year is a really short time, by the time you start enjoying weekend dinners and poker nights, its time to move on. 

- Because there are days altogether when R & I don't even step out of the campus. Almost everything is a call away.The KLMDC Cafe and its range of not extraordinary but palatable dishes usually makes up for a dinner out - atleast technically.

- Because I live in a city that I have grown incredibly fond of within this short span of time. Ahmedabad that has recently been rated as one of the best cities truly lives up to its A+ grade. 

Although I do miss my relatively larger TV, fridge, and house -  but then, what the heck, I would give anything to live this one year all over again!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind!

My red dell 1420, nicknamed Della became a wreck after we moved to Ahmedabad. Della gave up on the IIMA LAN and just couldn’t connect to the WIFI. Della ate up the already restricted storage space in my new house on the IIMA campus for a while until I started to work. Miraculously, sometime later, Della befriended the WIFI and I quit borrowing (read: stealing) R’s laptop for my work.

Last Wednesday, I sat in the Library at Raffles Millennium while my student was busy attempting the Product development test that I had set for her. I then decided to clear out the junk and discovered an unnamed movie folder. The folder brought back memories of a wonderful winter – spring transition of 2008.

I met R in the January of 2008. He wanted to do an MBA, loved ghazals and was a serious movie buff. My thoughts about him being a real and not a ‘wanna be’ movie maniac were confirmed when he brought a 300 GB external hard disk drive with him on one of our dates. He asked me to bring my laptop along and that day I was gifted a folder with over 50 of R’s all time favourite movies. The main folder was neatly divided into ‘seen’ and ‘not seen’ and I was given the ‘seen’ folder so that we could ‘talk about those later.’

Once the download was done, there was a moment of awkward silence. To move the conversation forward, I coyly asked him “which is your favourite?” My question turned out to be a date spent listening to the stories of why and what he liked in the movies he had saved and spent hours downloading. I wondered all through the conversation if I should even mention any of my favourite chick flicks for the fear of sounding immature.  But damn the question – our conversation ended with him asking me to watch his favourite movie – “The Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind.” A movie that by the sound of it had irked me to delete it from the folder at the very first instance was now on my ‘must watch’ list.

With a sheepish smile I promised him I would. Somehow my smile didn’t manage to blow him out this time and I was badgered with the same question for as long as I can remember – “did you watch it?” and my answer forever was “not yet” until I could stand it no more. One Sunday evening I put on my earplugs and sat down to watch and analyse the movie.  I was soon discovered by my roommate sleeping on the laptop while the eternal sunshine quite literally shone upon me. Technically I had watched the movie; atleast played it from the beginning to the end. I sent an sms out to R “loved the movie.” Yes, I loved it – I had never slept so well through a movie. He never replied and we never spoke about it again. I wonder why!

The unnamed movie folder still lay on my laptop unopened for almost three years until now that I decided to make use of my idle time here in Ahmedabad. I decided to give R’s favourite movie another try. So this afternoon while R was busy as usual, I gave up my afternnoon nap, put on my earplugs, made myself a super cup of Gujarat’s favourite wagh bakri masala chai and pushed play. I hoped to pull through the movie that as per R was almost like one man’s greatest gift to fellow mankind.

I managed to watch it from the beginning to the very end. I didn’t just watch it, I enjoyed watching it! I enjoyed it so much that I found myself looking up the Alexander Pope poem that Mary (Kirsten Dunst) quoted during the movie.

"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd." 

The movie begins with a background score that I had initially hated during my first attempt at watching it. My toleration levels were higher this time around and I soon discovered a beautifully created storyline. The idea about erasing one’s memory about a loved one, then to realise the intense love and feelings associated with the memory while going through the erasing process and the struggle to hold onto those. Phew! Heavy but definitely worth my afternoon siesta! Can't wait to "talk about it later" with R!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trick or Treat!

An impromptu Halloween trick or treat session by the IIM A juniors!




Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Hong Kong diary

The third term at PGPX was an International Immersion module for R.  A term that probably I looked forward to more than him, a term that entitled me for a grand holiday in reward of the erratic 1st and 2nd term schedules that I had to bear with! Of the five destinations picked  from across the globe, R chose the Chinese University of Hong Kong to help him gain insight into the Chinese perspective of doing business today.

So on Sept 3 we landed in the newly built HK airport and were greeted with a sea of swanky Ferraris and Maseratis, Porches and Lamborghinis parked alongside our hotel shuttle. Turns out that a club of sports car owners in HK were at breakfast in the Regal Airport hotel. Wow! That was an apt introduction to Hong Kong's luxurious lifestyle in the grandest terms. These people know how to spend their money and spend it well!

We were put up in the Regal Riverside Hotel, a touristy yet comfy hotel in the quiet New Territories area overlooking the Shatin River. From here began the discovery of Hong Kong for us the three ladies who decided to tag along with the students for the trip.

The Hong Kong MTR is an extensive network of metro rail that interconnects almost all parts of the city and in one word is the "lifeline" of HK. Most metro stations open into a Mall of sorts and for the first few days we would squeal out of sheer excitement until we discovered that almost all of HK is a large, really very large mall in itself! This shopping guide to Hong Kong that I discovered and printed just before leaving became our bible for the trip. I would rate the Argyle Centre in Mongkok as the Star of low budget shopping in HK.

Hong Kong oozes style. Of all the malls that we visited there was never an empty one. The mix of population that lives in HK can give the Fashion capital of the world a run for its money. Apparently, most foreign brands in HK do better business here than in their own home country. It almost feels like everyone around you is on a perpetual shopping trip!

We visited most of the touristy "must see places" and I cannot stop marveling over the cable car network created on the Lantau Island. A cable car for me - until I visited the Big Buddha on Ngong Peak was a slow means to travel between: Point A & Point B and my frame of reference for years had been the Gun hill in Mussoorie. The extensive and intricate engineering opened my eyes to a whole new world of cable car rides. The fact that point A to Point B in this case was almost a half an hour ride over and across several mountains and the South China Sea, the Crystal Cable car ride with 360 degree views, emerged as the sure shot winner of the trip.

Another highlight of our trip was Oceanpark. I loved the dolphin & walrus show. The sea animals are well trained and completely charm the audience with their amazing co-ordination and tricks. I didn't want to leave. The Oceanpark also had some mind - blowing rides - literally! We came back extremely tired but thoroughly amused from our day trip - a day well spent.

While on the trip, we happened to witness the Mid - Autumn Carnival which takes place on a full moon night. Very similar to Diwali, the Chinese light beautifully shaped lanterns and eat mooncakes. The Victoria Park in Causeway bay was decorated with huge lanterns and showcased the famous Dragon dance. It was a pretty sight, although I expected a little more.

Food in HK is yum for some. HK is also known as the food capital of the world with its array of food specialities. Mostly things that walk, swim or fly, HK is the perfect place for the hardcore non- veg junkies. Being chickeaters, we had trouble explaining our likes and dislikes to a few bewildered non-English speaking waiters. Chicken feet are a delicacy and baby chicken is actually a frog. We even spotted lizards on skewers in a famous night market. We spent another fun evening pub hopping in Lan Kwai Fong, HK's famous pub district.

I could easily have spent another 15 days in HK, just taking in the vibrant energy that the city exudes.
The charm of Hong Kong lies in the reminiscent of its coloniser and the pace of its present, almost like a Calcutta put into a New York. A spice market that ran in the middle of the super chic Central, the trams in Causeway Bay and old dilapidated buildings with vintage cars made sure that the city's rich history did not die away in the realms of urbanization.

Phew! There has never been a holiday like this one! Two whole weeks of snoopying around every nook and corner of the majestic Hong Kong city - a grand Soiree to remember.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Hare Talks"

There were some days in March this year that I often found myself in a wavering mindset - discussing the pros and cons of my decision to take a break in my career and moving with R to Ahmedabad. I would often question myself and then hope that I would not regret my year away from the otherwise mundane worklife . The last five months have been truly worth it and Friday the 26th was yet another day in Ahmedabad that assured me that my decision making skills were in place!

After I moved to Ahmedabad, I spent a lot of time looking for the so called "Perfect job". I had a long wishlist and I was being extremely choosy - that is when I came across Raffles Millennium International Design Institute. I was invited to work as a visiting faculty 2 days a week, 3.5 hours per session & attached to the Fashion Management division. "This should be interesting, I thought."

As I walked into the campus last Wednesday, I was handed over a bright orange invite for the "Hare Talks". The invite read: a unique public networking event for designers, artists and other creatives in Ahmedabad. This instantly triggered an interest in the inquisitve me. "Why Hare Talks?"  - my question was answered beautifully by Gary during the presentation.

The "Hare Talks" this Friday evening was a "one of a kind" presentation conceptualized by Gary McLeod, faculty of Visual Communications at RMI. Gary drew his inspiration from the shy and usually lonely hare and then compared the attributes of the hare to those of a designer. He then beautifully blended in the story of the birth of the city of Ahmedabad. Legend has it that "Sultan Ahmed Shah, while camping on the banks of the River Sabarmati, saw a hare chasing a dog. Impressed by this act of bravery, the Sultan, who had been looking for a place to build his new capital, decided to locate the capital at this forest area on the river bank and christened it Ahmedabad. The incident is popularly described in a one liner saying "Jab kutte pe sassa aaya, tab Badshah ne shaher basaya" (translation: Seeing the hare chasing the dog, the Emperor built the City)." The name "Hare Talks" now made perfect sense. 

The format of the talks was based on the speed of a Super Hare - one who can cover 12 kms in about 5 minutes i.e. 1 km in 25 seconds. The Raffles team invited 10 speakers from various fields of design - Architecture, Product design, graphic design, watch design. The speakers were to talk about their work through presentations that consisted of 12 slides. Each slide was screened for 25 seconds (as tiny hare ran across the screen), therefore in all every speaker had just five minutes to talk. 

Sitting in the audience I could gather that the event would be a hit. A quick succession of speakers followed by a Q&A round kept the audiences enthralled. 

I was particularly impressed by the work of Mr Bhargav Mistry which he called "Passion Design". Mr Mistry's interest in music led him to collaborate with an Italian Musician Mr Corrado Rossi. Together they created an album called Road to India which is an amalgamation of Sarod and Piano. Interestingly, the two musicians have never met, the album was entirely composed and recorded via the Internet

The talks that lasted nearly 2 hours including a 30 minute break for interacting with the speakers left me thinking about the various details in design that I had often missed. As struggling mathematician, I never knew or cared about the existence of the Fibonacci number or the Golden ratio that is found in the creation of nature. Some artists and architects believe the Golden Ratio makes the most pleasing and beautiful shapes and can be seen in the spirals of shells and the facade of the Taj Mahal. 

Within a span of 5 minutes, Mr Sudhir Bania helped me look into product conceptualization. About how a basic form can be played with to create a unique design.

"Hare Talks" is an event that I will look forward to attending during the rest of my stay at Ahmedabad. It truly helped me understand design through the eyes of various artists who think "out of the box". 

The team Raffles' efforts are truly commendable.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The T- Nite Festival!

When I quit my 5 year old working life in March 2011, I felt a funny, empty feeling. I was relived and confused at the same time. The feeling died a few days later only to erupt yet again to bother me. This time I realized that I was missing the chaos of the much awaited Talent festival. Suddenly there were no more dance practices, no more posters to be made, no frantic doorbells in the middle of a sleepy afternoon and no tempo shouts of X-PLO-SIVES reverberating in the campus. I remember watching T- Nite videos with R on Youtube in November last year and I cannot believe that T- Nite for us is also an event in the past.

This year the T- Nite was aptly renamed the X- Nite. It was ruled by the talented XPLOSIVES who proved to the fucchas that age didn't matter to us - we are "Young and Restless" -  even though most of us are still nursing our aches. T - Nite witnessed an explosion of talented individuals. All through the 4 nights of incredible fun students, spouses and kids came out and celebrated an event that brought us a lot closer as a batch. It was heartening to see little kids screaming Explosives with the same fervor as their moms and dads. My favorite little boy Ollie had even painted a tiny flag hoisted on a straw for himself. He ran about waving it just like the other uncles around him. 

The various section Newsletters were the highlight of my mornings all through the T - Fest. Instead of the newspaper I would open R's inbox for my dose of morning giggles. The situation was almost war-like with the sections bashing each other with funny, lewd comments and photos all in the spirit of the T-Nite. There were some really funny ones worth saving. 

The T- nite ended with a Class Act which was truly a "Class Act" by the 101 Xpolsives. The students performed "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara" in various languages.The class came together in traditional attire and the act was closed with a grand applause and ovation from the audience.

Still recovering from the T- Nite festivities, I am unable to express the sheer joy witnessed in the 4 dramatic days - I am sure that the many videos on Youtube and photos on facebook will!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Talent Nite 2011 and a few August thoughts!

Its almost August and its time for the much awaited T-Nite already! The Talent Nite or rather four full nights of cultural events have given the students and the spouses a chance to awaken their deep seated hidden talents in a range of activities. From walking on the ramp, moving the two left feet to stepping into the shoes of Kishoreji and Lataji or just reminiscing Pablo Picasso, T-Nite promises to bring the best out of the PGPX community.

The countdown to the T-Nite events is evident with a sudden influx of emails in my rather sleepy inbox. The enthusiastic wives can be spotted running around with babies, laptops and audio speakers. Lots of spirited students are often found lost into discussions as to how they can possibly squeeze a few precious minutes for a practice session. 

The T-Nite kick off event is on the 4th of August and it will be fun to watch the thirty-something dads and moms in a back to school mode. 

Back to School reminds me of my time at boarding school in Dehra Dun. At one point, it was impossible to imagine life outside Welham. The unending promises of never loosing touch, seem to have faded away into the distant past and the girls I spent my growing up years with have been replaced by the realities of today. Having graduated from school in 2001, our batch is celebrating our 10th year reunion in October this year and I can't help repeating the cliche 'how time flies'. The promises may have faded but the memories still remain fresh as I turn another year older in August. R often tells me that I have never grown out of my days at Welham and I always tell him 'I never can!'

The little children on campus take me back to my blissful days spent at Welham. Hopefully they, like me will take with them fond memories of growing up in a playground called IIM Ahmedabad. 

This August also brings with it the release of Amish Tripathi's second book in the Shiva Trilogy - 'The Secret of the Nagas'. After the unputdownable 'Immortals of Meluha', I hope the second book lives up to the expectations. Can't wait to grab my copy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rain or No Rain

The monsoons have hit most parts of India barring the sun drenched, parched, scorched, dried out Ahmedabad. It seems as if the Rain Gods are unhappy for some reason unknown to the Amdavaadies. On most mornings I find myself looking up into the cloudy sky and proclaiming loudly to R - "Its going to rain today". None of my prophecies have come true till now, and more so are being repeatedly ignored with a half hearted nod from R. I hail from the Himalayan valley and to get my rainfall judgement incorrect is quite a blow to my weatherman (read woman) instinct. I was born, bred and buttered to recognize the signs of an oncoming shower. How can anyone go wrong - the clouds are there, the breeze is there, but where IS THE RAIN?

I chattered on with my incessant rantings about the missing monsoons with the fellow wives who like me were contemplating a fasting session to please the Rain Gods. It was just then that I read an email from a frustrated colleague in Delhi. My thoughts drifted back to the unbelievably chaotic Delhi city during the monsoons. Hours and hour of traffic choked roads, flooded underpasses, idiotic drivers who honk for no reason in the middle of a bumper to bumper traffic situation, sudden death of the traffic lights all over the city, truckwalas who decide to park their great vehicles as per their whims and fancies on NH 8 and a pitiful state of government affairs that chooses to overlook the problem year after year. I could see myself trapped in my Alto for unbelievably long hours on my way to and from work between Noida and Gurgaon, battling  the rampant call center cabbies who drive as if they own the roads- how I wished and prayed to the Rain Gods to end my trauma then. 

I realised that this year in Ahmedabad was the answer to my prayers and yet I had not stopped cribbing. I must have driven the Gods crazy. 

I looked up into the cloudy evening sky, and sent out a small mental note
"Dear God, 
Thank you. Rain or no Rain!" 
Yours truly, 

I have decided to let the Rain Gods get by their business in this extremely busy season of the year. As for me,  I will patiently wait with a mug of coffee to enjoy a rainy day on my balcony in IIMA. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spotted a piece of Art - Liekart!

Today morning as I strolled into R's syndicate room (group study room assigned to a group of 6-7 PGPX students where they spend most of their waking hours) where he was frantically taking printouts before the final exam, I came across this pictorial representation of the Term 1 exam timetable on the white board. The picture left me thoroughly amused and appreciative of the artist's representation of what the exams meant to them and what I love is the drawing of the 'killer' Term 2. I can't stop laughing, these guys are amazing!

 A liekart or liekert scale as explained on wikipedia is is a psychometric scale commonly used in questionnaires, and is the most widely used scale in survey research. The scale captures the intensity of the respondents feelings. The scale is named after its inventor, psychologist Rensis Likert.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The End of Term 1

With the last exam tomorrow before the Term 1 officially draws to a close, the buzz word around is "the holidays". The Academic Gurus have been kind enough to grant a 2 day Summer vacation to unwind before Term two -  2 days i.e Saturday and Sunday :) The prelude to the holidays was pretty evident post exam today. The Joos cafe was teeming with groups discussing, planning, re planning and excitedly looking for "things to do" in Ahmedabad while the Mumbaiwalas began their final "hours to go" count down to the airport tomorrow evening. A few fitness freaks were happily jogging and we decided to attack Gujju food yet once again and headed for Swati Snacks. R has sailed through the dreaded Term 1 - yay!

The campus which was quiet and deserted until last week is now buzzing with activity. The PGPs are here. A few sets of proud parents walk about clicking pictures of their young geniuses in India's crimson campus. Its not uncommon to see a guitarist strumming away while his friends swing and sway to the music. 
Squeals of laughter erupt from out of nowhere at regular intervals followed by pulsating chants of "Muggo Fucho Muggo" that seem to increase into decibels enough to vibrate the brick building. The slogan is a traditional way of introducing the facchas to the unending stream of case studies, quizzes and the famed IIM A academic rigor. 
For a few seconds I stop & smile and then head to the LKP lawns with my friends to watch the Frisbee match underway at midnight. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We all scream for ice-cream!

Miss B came over to spend a few days with me in Ahmedabad before heading off home and starting the countdown to her "big day". For the past 10 years that I have spent living across the length and breadth of the National Capital Region, Miss B has spent a few weekends at all my crash pads including my latest abode at IIMA. Most of those weekends with her would be spent watching a few movies, catching up on the events in our lives and eating every meal at a different joint.

Just like those weekends spent in NCR, the highlight of her extended weekend in Amdavaad was FOOD, great Gujju food!!

We began our tour of the Gujjuland gourmet with our lovely Ami mami and her thorough insight into what was not to be missed. The round around Ahmedabad with her was probably the best vegetarian street food I have ever consumed on a single day!

Besides IIM A, Ahmedabad is also famous for its ice-creams. Miss B's first day on campus, the late night ladies meet decided to head to the Vastrapur Havmor. At 11 pm we queued up for a scoop of the famous Havmor ice cream with the Gujarati families who have a penchant for their after dinner ice-creams. For forty bucks a scoop, the ice-cream is far better than what I have tasted up North and I would rate my Mocha brownie fudge a perfect 10 followed by the sandwich icecream and then the black forest cake ice cream.

Besides Havmor, Patel Ice cream, opposite the Stadium on CG Road seems to be a popular guy. The ice creams are hand churned (hand made at their shop), and have a creamy texture. We tried butterscotch, chocolate and kesar pista. The local kesar pista flavor emerged the sure shot winner of the day, leaving the choco-chips way behind.

On our way back, Miss B spotted Hokey- Pokey at the nearby Shivalik Plaza and shrieked in excitement. Hokey Pokey is originally a Gujju chain of Stone creations hugely popular in Mumbai (as per Miss B). A delighted Miss B insisted on taking us out for a taste of her favourite ice cream creations. Creations because the ice cream is mixed with various add - ins such as kit-kat, brownies, chocochips, jujubes etc on a frozen stone slab. The guy flings the final product into the air and puts on a display of minor juggling of the ice cream before it lands into a hokey pokey cup. For final touches a chocolate feather is added to the ice cream cup. The entire sequence was amusing and hokey pokey turned out to be a great discovery!

Amdavaad truly lives up to its reputation of being the ice cream Capital of India. From a hand churned to a cool stone ice cream, they have it all!

In Miss B's words "Gujju food bau saras chey"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The famed IIM Ahmedabad Academic Rigor

When we first spoke about an MBA, R was pretty sure that it had to be IIM -A -  for the sanctified institute's long standing position as India's Super B-School. But did he know what he was really getting into? - I'm not sure, but it sure is a package deal! (pun intended).

In short here are the various moods that describe R's very first month as a PGPXer at WIMWI:

1. Zombied
2. Miffled
3. Stunned
3. Pondering
4. Meditative
5. Dude, this is IIM A, it can't get better than this...

Resting on the lines of mood no. 5, he goes through the grind every day, waiting for more to fall upon him. This is also widely the mode of being in the 6th batch of the One -O- One future CXOs who are walking the "walk" - 11 months to go!

For us, the ladies on campus, it can't get better than this and to think that there are 11 more such months to go, the party has only started.

P.S -  WIMWI: Well known Institute of Management in Western India - modesty huh!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A peek into IIM A - Old & New

The IIM A campus, our home for the next one year is typically a mix of exposed Red bricks and concrete. The Main campus is connected to the New campus built very recently by an underpass under the 132 Ft ring road.
The numerous arches and circles are the high points of the Louis Kahn design. According to a professor's wife I was recently talking to, there are about 400 neem trees on campus along with hedges of tulsi around the green spaces. 

The three of us - dedicated wives, decided to capture the campus one sunny evening a few days back.

The facade of the Main building & Louis Kahn Plaza

The famous Harvard Steps. According to a survey, 62% of Indian CEOs have walked these steps 

One of the numerous arches in the Old Campus

The underpass that connects the Old & the New!

The Married Student's Housing - New Campus

IMDC - New Campus

Classrooms - New Campus


Thursday, April 28, 2011


October 2010 was a great month that brought in a lot of good news. One that we had been looking forward to (and not talking about) was Rahul being accepted for an MBA at IIM Ahmedabad. And from that day on, began our 6 month wait to eat, pray and live on the hallowed campus starting April 2011.

All bills were paid, accounts settled, house wrapped up, car loaded and we were ready for a 1000 kms trip from Noida to Ahmedabad. The drive through Jaipur - Ajmer - Chittaurgarh - Udaipur - Himmatnagar and into Ahmedabad was fantastic. Pothole free roads, minimal traffic, and a smooth drive was a breather from Delhi/ UP roads. Finally on the evening of 6th April, we checked into the campus that would be our home for the next one year!

Just about 3 weeks in, and the course has started taking the best of R. I see him in precisely in three states - sleeping, studying or eating and this is just 60% of the peak in the first term. Life isn't the same for the wives on campus. While PGPX6 are at their case solving best, evening spouse meetings in the MSH courtyard is the high point of the day. Amidst peals of laughter, occasional shrieks from the children, the evening chatter moves into a more fruitful midnight coffee session - planning and re- planning and then perfecting plans for the week ahead.
For this week - Dam Maro Dam it is!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bye bye Alto!

In the countdown to get to IIM Ahmedabad, I had to let go of my dear Maruti Alto. Bought in 2006, the car was a friend indeed and shared a lot of my first experiences.
I will miss my very first car - Alto, let's go!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lunch at Gunpowder...

I simply love Hauz khas village for its charming old buildings, alleyways and the little eateries nestled within those buildings. One such surprise is Gunpowder - the Peninsular Kitchen. The little place overlooks the Hauz Khas lake, and specializes in Kerala/Andhra Non veg delicacies.
We chose a sunny Sunday afternoon with Dinesh and Dhanya, our experts with Kerala cuisines. The place is usually crowded so reserving a table in advance helped.
I don't remember most of what we ate, but the food was a bit too spicy for my palate. I loved the Karimeen and the malabar parathas with spiced buttermilk. Appams are soft, fluffy and help balance the spices in the food.
I have heard rave reviews about the Toddy Shop meen curry. There is also a Buff curry for any takers.

My take on Gunpowder would be a 7/10.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celebrating Delhi...

I have been living in and loving every bit of Delhi since 2001. With just about a month to go before R starts his PGPX at IIM Ahmedabad, I drew up wishlist of places I wanted to visit before we start off a crazy and hopefully adventurous life on campus at the IIM A.

So here it goes (just random, no preferences)

1. Kinari Bazaar, Chandini Chowk
2. Flower market at Hanuman Mandir
3. INA market for all its wonderful fruits and spices
4. Lajpat Nagar, for the home furnishing stores
5. Gunpowder, Hauz Khas village
6. Dilli Haat, for the n'th time
7. GK, M-block market, yet once again for its South Delhi charm
8. Mudpie at the Big Chill Cafe
9. Bengali Market
10. Sarojini Nagar

Out of my 10 Must Go before I Go places, I finally happened to visit the Flower Market at 7 am. The famous Delhi Flower Marketis set up in the wee hours of the morning and is wrapped up before the world wakes up. The Delhi Flower Market is supposedly Asia's largest Cut Flower Market.
For the last 10 years I have only planned to wake up early  and experience the Phool Mandi and its awesomeness. Today I finally did!
The flower market is set up on the pavement opposite the Hanuman Market in Connaught Place. The typical shoppers are small florists, individual buyers, swanky flower boutique owners and the pavement dwellers. The area is horribly crowded and I decided to leave my bag and just pocket some money.

The flowers are fresh and available in every possible color. They come cheaper than one can imagine and a little haggling can get great early morning deals.  The idea is to just ignore the crowd and explore the liliums, orchids, roses, gerberas, oriental lilies, ferns, gladiolas and some artificial flowers. I managed to pick up 20 long stemmed beautiful yellow roses for 50 bucks, 10 deep pink gerberas for 25 bucks, and about 50 stems of rajnigandhas for 50 bucks.
Happy with my morning shopping, I headed back home driving through the green belt of central Delhi, taking in the fragrance of fresh rajnigandhas that filled my car!

Just for the "Good morning" experience, its a must- go!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Picturesque Maldives

                                     Aerial view of the bright turquoise blue lagoons!

Breath taking Maldivian skies...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Choosing the perfect Resort in the Maldives!

Maldives has some of the world's most beautiful and expensive resorts - although choosing one for yourself is one hell of a task. R & I browsed through innumerable websites, tripadvisor reviews, pictures and blogs for days before settling on the Paradise Island Resort and Spas. Its crazy coz one looks more beautiful than the other.

My experience says that it is better to first fix a budget and minus the air travel expense. The trick is to then divide the remaining amount into the number of nights one plans to spend on the island. Go onto travel websites like, and sort the resorts that suit your per night budget. Read reviews, blogs and shortlist the probable resorts. Finally compare the rates that your travel agent has to offer, the travel website has to offer & the hotel website itself offers. We finally booked directly through the hotel website - A package deal from some of the regular India travel websites wasn't promising enough for us. The idea is to plan well in advance to avoid rude shocks later.

My suggestions here are:

1. Maldives is divided into a number of Atolls. Therefore the distance from the Male airport may differ for various resorts. Resorts accept US dollars and the local currency is not required.
2. For resorts located far from the airport, there is a mandatory seaplane transfer which can get really expensive. Incase there is a constraint on the budget go for hotels that offer speed boat transfers instead. We paid $70 per person for the speed boat transfer.
3. Most resorts are self contained and have a number of restaurants on site. Its better to go for a half- board or a full board deal than just a buffet breakfast. We went with the half board deal (breaka & dinner) and experimented at their various restaurants for lunch.
4. Non swimmers who would like to venture out into the lagoons should carry floaters to avoid the coral hurting the feet. This will save you the expense of buying coral shoes from the resort's souvenir shop.
5. The Water bungalows are an an architectural marvel. You actually live on water for those few days. Go for it if the budget allows.
6. Since we skipped the water sports activities, we spent some of our time relaxing at the spa. Spent almost $500 for both of us.
7. Again, carry some snacks!
8. Usually, one island houses one resort (I maybe wrong here, but as far as I know). Therefore check on the food quality and general reviews on travel websites. A great resort with not-so-great food may not be the best holiday. It is not easy to hop on and hop off various resorts. These are self sufficient, hold all systems.

We booked a beach cottage on half - board meal basis for $1300 approx. This covered our 4 night/ 5 day stay, the speed boat transfer, some mandatory tax per room, daily breakfast & dinners and all other taxes. We spent another $100 - $150 per day for our lunches, a couple of cocktails and snorkel equipment. A couple of people we met around the resort had opted for water sports packages for about $220 for a couple which included various activities. The prices may vary depending on the season. Since we travelled to the Maldives in December, we availed good off-season deals. We returned satisfied with our holiday at the Paradise island resort and would recommend it to fellow budget holiday- makers.

Finally, as I mentioned in my earlier post, there is lots to do and nothing to do. Choose from a day trip to Male, dolphin trips, fishing trips, water sports or simply read a book and laze around on the warm white sand beaches. I have posted a few photos on my tripadvisor review.

Enjoy Maldives!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Random musings

A mid- working - week Wednesday in the New year, almost 3degrees outside, bad bad day at work - I cant wait for April!
WIMWI, Ahmedabad, see you soon.