Sunday, May 13, 2018

OMG! This is the Perfect Summer Drink!

Goodness of sugarcane packed in a bottle sans added sugar and preservatives - that’s OMG for you. OMG- Oh My Ganna is the coolest drink in town, a sugarcane juice that is 80 percent natural. 

I recently ordered a carton of 24 OMG bottles and was pretty impressed. This tasty, healthy and convenient beverage is already my go-to drink for this summer. It comes in three zesty flavours- Ginger, Cumin and Lemon. While the cumin flavor is sweet with only a hint of cumin; lemon flavor is for those who don't want their sugarcane juice to be overtly sweet. The packaging gets full marks- pint-size bottles that are easy to open. 

In a market full of aerated drinks and artificially sweetened juices, OMG comes as a refreshingly different drink. The parent company Nutricane Beverages  has not just ensured that the drink is free from chemical preservatives but also that the packaging is environment-friendly. Good for your health and mother Earth's too! 

A lot goes behind the scenes when you are set to launch a drink like this. In this case it was extensive R&D and consumer trials that were done over the years to launch a beverage that will become a staple among conscious  and discerning consumers. While the launch is already making a lot of buzz on social media with consumers giving it a thumbs up ( yes pun intended), the makers are busy strengthening distribution, ensuring that it is available at all modern trade stores.

Sugarcane juice is a rich source of Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. It helps boost immunity, fight infections and also helps in strengthening liver, that’s why you would often hear people recommend it for jaundice patients. The health benefits of sugarcane juice galore, but one cannot trust the roadside vendors who sell sugarcane juice often in unhygienic conditions. Therefore its a no-brainer that next time I visit a supermarket for my grocery shopping, I will stock up my fridge with OMG. 

The bottle is priced at Rs 40 and lasts for about six months. The pack of four is handy and good gifting option as well. Have a super summer Explorers and tell us in comments section about your great finds for this summer.  

P.S: This article has been written after trying different flavors of OMG! Oh My Ganna over 10 days, so you can be assured of its authenticity. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thank God It's Healthy

When a restaurant chain that has been consistently serving good food in an even better ambience launches a ‘healthy menu’, you just go to try it out. 

On a Saturday night, that was not supposed to be the sin night, I headed to TGIF located at DLF Place Mall in Saket. As usual the music was perfect, the ambience was right for a casual dinner out. The new ‘Super Healthy Foods Menu’ that the global chain has launched in India is concise but just what foodies like me need- guilt free tasty treat. 

To start with I ordered the very healthy Fruits and Nuts Super Salad. It looked good, colorful and surprisingly was not the mundane healthy salad that we have to do when we go out. Of course it was full of super foods rich in antioxidants- crisp lettuce, spinach and broccoli topped with walnuts, apples, dried apricots, cranberries, and blueberries. As I posted some pictures on my Insta story, the janta was already asking me which new restaurant I had checked into. Well not new its our good ol’ TGIF! 

Fruits and Nuts Super Salad at TGIF

Next came the Salmon. When I saw the menu it was a no-brainer that I had to order the Salmon. That’s what a tasty nutritious super food meal for me is- Fish. In fact my friends often joke that I married a Bengali so that I can binge on fish dishes all my life ( of course not many know that Sindhis equally love their fish, though they don’t obsess over it). The new menu offers Salmon in two avatars- Pomegranate Honey Mustard Salmon and the second being Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce. Since my server recommended the first one, I ordered that. The deets: Grilled Salmon Filet topped with pomegranate honey mustard vinaigrette and served with toasted almond, cranberry & blueberry couscous and ginger garlic kale. Super foods done right, served right. 

Pomegranate Honey Mustard Salmon

Meanwhile husband settled for his fix of protein- Wasabi Miso Glazed Chicken. Marinated in lemon and olive oil, the grilled chicken breast was topped with a spicy wasabi miso sauce making it delicious. I had recommend both salmon and chicken items. 

Wasabi Miso Glazed Chicken

The surprise and what I had say is a must try item on the new menu is actually the vegetarian option— Vegetarian Tex Mex Chili. Chipotle peppers, sun-ripened tomatoes and red onions lend the right flavor to beans and spicy brown rice pilaf. I was almost upset about giving it step-motherly treatment for being vegetarian but it turned out be an underdog. 
We rounded off our meal with the berrilicious Fruit Crumble. Healthy dessert sounds like an oxymoron, except when you are ordering one from TGIF’s new healthy menu that is loaded with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and peaches.  

Fruit Crumble

Why you should go for TGIF’s healthy menu? Besides being a tasty option for those who like to watch what they eat, this menu is a limited period one valid from May to July, so you gotta hurry up. 

Fast Facts: 
-TGI Fridays has 13 restaurants in India.
-Its operating hours are 12 noon to 12 midnight.  
-For more information, visit

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Babymoon Diary: What It's Like to Travel When You're Pregnant

It’s one of the most overwhelming phase in a woman’s life. Right from the day you get the news, to the D-Day or the Delivery Day, pregnancy is a phase marked with lot of emotions and moments that will stay with you for a lifetime. 

Being a travel blogger whenever I thought about getting pregnant, the first thoughts were whether I will be able to travel during pregnancy or not. It wasn't the deciding factor for planning one, but maybe one of the deterrents. Whenever I was asked Nation’s favorite question- When are you planning to have kids- I would start making a mental calculation about the time it would take to check all those destinations on my travel bucket list.   

Surprisingly when I did get the news of my pregnancy, travel was the last thing on my mind. I was looking forward to the nine months of pampering and puking, seeking answers to all the questions that I had and just too excited planning the arrival of my baby. I had tickets booked for a trip to Langkawi (Malaysia) with my husband and another couple. Incidentally the couple that was traveling with us too were expecting their first baby. My friend was in her second trimester, while for me it was just the second month. My husband was in no mood to cancel the trip and truth be told my itchy feet didn’t want to cancel either. 

They say second trimester is a safe time to travel, but I was still in my first trimester. When I asked my gynecologist she told me that even though traveling as such doesn't have any direct negative impact, its a grey area wherein as a doctor she can’t give me a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I took my chance and travelled. It wasn't one of the best trips of my life, since I was feeling nauseous most of the time but now being a new mom I am glad I travelled during my pregnancy. Thankfully we had tickets booked for business class and I slept through the flight. There were some obvious restrictions like I couldn't go for adventure sports or cable car ride but there were whole lot of touristy things that I couldn't do like getting a spa massage done or going to that popular night club. One had to be careful while eating too, so experimenting with a new cuisine was not an option since it could make an already nauseous me sick. But now when I look back all I remember are those leisurely walks on the beach and sipping coconut water at the hotel pool side.  I have realized it was a good idea to have that baby moon, as life is one roller coaster ride now with the baby and travelling is not an option for next few months. 

Sun and Sand helps you beat the pregnancy blues! 
I also travelled to Rajasthan during my pregnancy. It was a weekend vacation at the stunning boutique resort- Lakshman Sagar in Pali. By that time I was in my second trimester and was feeling much better. So it was a smooth one. Plus since the place serves meals cooked home-style with fresh organic ingredients, it did good to me. Being a  domestic holiday I was less jittery about it. 

Even though I am a spa addict, full body massage was not an option so I settled for a facial at the spa at Lakshman Sagar

It is a great idea to go on a Babymoon but remember its not all glam and easy. So if you are planning to go on one, think and plan well. Yes we all pregnant girls dreamt of lying on a white sand beach with a baby bump shining against the turquoise waters after learning about Shahid and Mira’s Maldivian baby moon…but don't jump at the idea looking at those celeb pictures. 

Shamira returning from their Babymoon

Here are some tips that will help you in planning a Babymoon, if it’s your first time.   

1) Think Baby Moon, Think Luxury! 
Yes don’t even think about a budget holiday. You don’t want to risk anything while you are pregnant. Ensure you book a centrally located hotel with all the amenities, a comfortable car and flight thats not too crammed. If you cant afford an international luxury trip, settle for a domestic destination instead. Don't assume you will manage, its tougher than what we imagine it to be. In India, train travel can be a nightmare for a pregnant woman for a simple reason that the toilets are not clean! One needs to pee a lot during pregnancy. Road trip is a better idea for short distances. 

2) Avoid travelling during first trimester

Wait and watch how your pregnancy is shaping up. During first trimester one is still getting used to all the physical and emotional changes. Doctors too advise not travelling during first and last three months of the pregnancy. I personally feel fifth and sixth months are the best to travel since the bump is not too big and by fifth month we are used to all the body changes and sickness. 

3) Talk to Your Gynaecologist
I know lot of girls who didn't want to discuss their travel plans with their gynecologists because they fear being discouraged. My gynae too discouraged me for my first trip, but was surprisingly quite happy when I told her about my plans of travelling in the second trimester. If she says a no, ask her to give you reasons. If she says a yes, take as many tips as you can. My gynae told me to avoid plane food for a simple reason that its stale. That was a helpful tip. Of course we all google as well for such tips but your gynae can tell you things specific to you since she knows your exact condition. 

4) Just follow your heart! 
People will have lot of free advice to give when you are pregnant, from telling you how to eat to how to walk (yes seriously!) and unfortunately the flow of these free suggestions will only increase once you have your baby. In India, travelling for fun ( the better term of course is leisure travel) during pregnancy is still a taboo. Don’t listen to people who discourage you, if you want to travel go ahead, but if you don't feel up to it don't give in to the pressure from husband who might insist and has good reason to do so. After all you have that big belly! 

If you do go for lot of selfies! You have no idea how adorable you look with that pregnancy glow and cutesy bump, the resort wear just makes that belly look even sexier! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

He Never Lets Me Down

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” 
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

We all need to look within for that inner strength but many of us are also lucky that we draw our strength from a special someone who never lets you down even when the going gets tough.  

I draw that strength from my husband who has been a a great friend, mentor and someone I can count on. From shopping to career advice, its amazing how over the years I have started to rely on this person I met at work first, almost a decade ago! 

I take lot of pride in the fact that I am an independent woman capable of taking care of my own financial, emotional and other needs. Having said that I have no qualms in agreeing that I depend on my husband for lot of things. One of the most important decisions of my life was to quit my job as a journalist and take the risk of being an entrepreneur. My husband was the one who encouraged me to take the plunge and without him I wouldn't have dared to take that step. Few days back I was watching Lava Mobiles TVC and I realized the qualities mentioned of trust, reliability and strength are also the qualities that define my husband and the relationship I share with him.  

So often we take the person we depend on for granted and at times we forget giving due credit to that person. But that doesn't change the self-less attitude of our loved one who has been there and the one who never lets you down. My husband has been there through good times and the testing times. He never lets me down in my weak moments, irrespective of the fact that I have been there for him or not. 

In todays world when relationships are fragile, lives busy and careers challenging, I am lucky to have someone I can depend on and a partner who is trustworthy and reliable. He is my strength and I am glad I wrote this post to thank him, albeit a little late. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My #KhudKoKarBuland Moment

We all nurture few dreams and look for the right time and opportunity to realize them. But it’s a few lucky ones who witness their dreams materialising. Besides the grit, luck and hard work, it’s financial planning and making the right choices that help few of us realize our dreams. 

I too had a dream of quitting my journalism job one day and to start a travel website where people could read about my journeys and get inspired. I wanted to write, what I believed in rather than what sells. I wanted to break free from the deadlines and towing the editorial line and ideology that media houses followed. Being self -employed would also mean being able to spend more time with my family. But it’s not easy to quit a job that pays well and take the risk of becoming an entrepreneur. It’s even more difficult when your husband too has just turned an entrepreneur just few months before you quit your job. 

But thankfully I had nurtured my dream and planned my finances. I had savings and had also invested in right insurance and investment policies to secure my future. I took the plunge.  

The latest Birla Sun Life Insurance ad video #KhudKoKarBuland touches a chord and reiterate the fact that everyone should invest in an insurance policy. We often wait till our thirties or our children to be a little older before we invest in one, which is not the right approach. Adversities doesn't announce their arrival in advance and there is no ‘right time’ to make your dreams come true. 

In one of the videos we see a man, Madan, lying on hospital bed and has just undergone a bypass surgery. He has been advised by doctors to not resume his job. When his boss, in a bid to help, offers his son Suraj the job of his PA, the man with a smile answers that it’s not needed since Suraj is leaving for his MBA in England. The boss is stunned at his PA’s planning wherein despite being bed ridden he secured his son’s future and helped him realize his dreams. 

The time is right whenever you are ready. Life is uncertain and we all grapple with our insecurities. Therefore it’s although more imperative that we plan right and make sound choices. Have you planned your finances well to realize your dream? Have you invested in right products to fight with adversities? Birla Sun Life Insurance can help you in your journey of life and in realizing your #KhudKoKarBuland moment.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Food Trucks at One Horizon Center, Gurgaon's Business Hub

No festival in India is celebrated without binging on some scrumptious food. While most in corporate world miss out on festivities and food because of hectic office hours, One Horizon Center- business hub in the heart of Gurgaon and a development by Hines India and DLF- has ensured that its tenants get to enjoy food during office hours, that too in a fun innovative way. One Horizon Center has brought in Food Trucks to its premises that serve variety of cuisines- Thai, Mexican, fast food, ice-lollies and even dessert popsicles! You wouldn't be surprised to know that the commercial centre houses office of Zomato and Coca Cola, besides Apple, ANZ, American Express and many others.  

The participating Foodtrucks include – Drifter’s Café, Frugurpop, Something Saucy, What The Truck and Eggjactly. 

Drifter's Cafe 

So at the Drifter’s Cafe the food is an eclectic mix of Thai and Chinese dimsums, appetizers and box meals; while Frugurpop is delighting One Horizon Center office-goers with their fruity and cream flavoured popsicles. The Triple Berry, Frutilicious and Oreo and Cookies Cream Bar are loved by all. Something Saucy and What The Truck are tantalizing the guests taste-buds with sliders, mexican, wraps and fast food. 

Business Suits and Lollies- Only at One Horizon Centre, Gurgaon 

"Frugurpop only aspires to get bigger and better and being surrounded with the largest multinationals at One Horizon Center developed by Hines gave the brand an exhilarating push! The coolness of the Popsicles reflects in the employees, who devour this refreshing delight during their hectic day at work! The association surely lives up to our motto~ Let Joy Take Over and reaches the highest floor of the tower,” says Pallavi Kuchroo, Founder, Frugurpop.

Food that makes office-goers happy! 

“Ever since we started our business we have been looking for opportunities to step into corporate parks and residential communities as we have designed our product for people on the go, however only Hines India gave us an opportunity as they saw food trucks being able to fill an immediate requirement of food and beverage offerings to their tenants who look for hygienic, tasty and cost effective options,” adds Ankur Gupta, Founder, Drifters Café.

Vikrant Misra, co-founder, Eggjactly said, “We were delighted to get an opportunity from One Horizon Center to showcase our food and serve their tenants”

No wonder One Horizon Center has been rated as one of the top 3 commercial buildings in India. The 25-storey One Horizon Centre building in Gurgaon has 1 million square feet of office space.  The air-conditioning units in the building have filters to remove dust and impurities in the air and carbon dioxide sensors have been fitted to ensure that healthy levels of fresh air are maintained inside.
The building, located on an 11-acre site, has 60,000 square feet of retail space that will have dining options, a fitness centre, drycleaners, salons, spas, a pharmacy, convenience store and a day-care centre. 
"The management at One Horizon Center are offering a great proposition to their employees - first to catch the growing trend in foodtrucks which not only provides great food but variety on a daily basis!"- Rajat Chandna, Something Saucy

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Vistara's In-flight Meals

I haven’t flown Vistara yet. Recently when I was invited by the airline at the TajSats Airport office for a Chef’s table to sample the food that they serve on board, I thought it would be interesting to get a taste of what Vistara serves its passengers. Of course on board, at 35,000 feet the food is bound to taste much different, but it did give an idea about how Vistara, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines Joint Venture airline is offering travelers an enhanced experience.

Vistara on domestic sector offers seats across Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class. The food offering too is different for the three. While the choice is limited for Economy class, for Premium Economy there are three options to choose from compared to two in Economy. What they serve Business Class passengers is worth showcasing, as Vistara did at this select bloggers and food writers meet. 

For appetizers I sampled the non vegetarian platter that had Chicken Tikka, Seekh Kebab and Aloo Tikka which was served with mint chutney. The serving was generous, with two pieces each and it tasted good. But then you can’t go wrong with kebabs in India. Can you? The main course menu had choice between Chicken Teriyaki, Cajun Spiced Cheese and Zucchini Steak and the standard Matar Pulao, Awadhi Paneer and Amchoori Bhindi. I opted for Zucchini Steak which was delectable. Though I did have my apprehensions about the exotic sounding dish, but it surprisingly turned out to be very nice.

Kebab Platter for Appetizers that it serves Business Class Passengers 

Vistara that has positioned itself as a premier carrier, is trying to do things differently and going that extra mile to make the experience special. Food is an important ingredient of that experience. Vistara claims that it is the only carrier on the domestic sector to serve seafood on economy class. They serve Prawns, though Chef Arun Batra from TajSats Catering, who was face of the food that afternoon, tells me that out of North India flights not many fliers were opting for it so it is not being served for few months. Similarly Chef points out Vistara is the only domestic airline serving Japanese cuisine. TajSats which does catering for Vistara is an air catering company- a joint venture between Tata Group’s Indian Hotels and Singapore Airline Terminal Services- with over 1,000 employees. It offers its services to international and domestic carriers, charters and even institutional clients. 

Meal comes with a nice Salad
The airline is also breaking the monotony with seasonal food menu. For instance during summer months they serve mango coolers and even raw mangoes. Some time back they served Amla Kulfi to the travelers. Besides the regular tea and coffee, they also serve coolers and some specially created drinks.

In its rotating menu besides the usual Curries and Pulao, they have some twists like Idli Manchurian with Tempered Rice Sevian, Tofu and Mushroom in Hot Chilli Sauce served with Burnt Garlic Rice, Jalapeño Mozarella Shammy- all served in the Economy Class. Sounds quite a relief from the usual domestic airline food right? Just that its a measly meal on economy class when it comes to quantity. If it was any other domestic carrier I would have overlooked it but then if its a premium one which is going that extra mile for food, the quantity in the Economy Class Meal Box made me think. 

Economy Class Meal: Tofu and Mushroom in Hot Chilli Sauce

Besides going the whole hog with preparation and presentation of the food, the airline has been thoughtful about other little aspects too. On its short flights such as Delhi-Lucknow, passengers are handed over refreshment boxes before boarding, since there is not enough time to serve food on board. 

It's definitely heartening to see such emphasis being given to food by a domestic carrier in times which are not exactly conducive to run an airline business in this country. 

When asked if so much of emphasis on food has increased the costs, the affable Chief Commercial Officer of the airline, Giam Ming Toh says that they have done their maths and all internal costs are under check though of course they cant help the external ones. 

Have you flown Vistara and tried food on board?  Do share your thoughts.