Shopped till we dropped at Law Garden Ahmedabad

You are in Ahmedabad, & you are not visiting Law Garden? Not possible!


Given the avid shoppers that we are (mother –daughter duo), on our first day in Ahmedabad we headed to Law Garden in the evening which is haven for Gujarat Handicrafts mainly from Saurashtra & Kutch.  I was told that there is no activity in the market during the day time, but in the evening when Law Garden closes, the market comes to life.  It was our long cherished wish to shop for handicrafts in Law Garden since the time we had seen it on Television in the serial – Taarak Mehta Ka oolta chashma where entire cast, especially Dayaben with her friends shopped for her Navratri wares.  Believe me, in reality, it was more vibrant than shown on the television.

We shopped for some Ghagras, duppattas, junk jewellery, bespoke neckpieces and home decoration items. We used our limited Gujarati skills to bargain unlimited, though were quite unsuccessful at that. It was not difficult for the sellers to find out our limitation with Gujarati but overall we got some good bargain deals given by the fact that I don’t like to negotiate especially while shopping for handicrafts. I believe we should support Indian Handicrafts by buying at good prices. More on that later…

Law Garden market is unique in certain ways as it sells only handicrafts and that too of very innovative designs at value for money pricing. If you know how to negotiate well, then you can strike some great deals, unfortunately which I could not.

As it is I am great lover of Gujarati Handicrafts, this place looked just apt for me to satiate my yearn for mirror work dupattas, chaniya cholis, bags, batua, mojris, bedcovers, kurtis and wall hangings. So much so, that I want to visit the place again around Navratri to shop at Law Garden in all its glory and splendor.

My daughter Tanya loves bling and she spared not a single shop to pick up something or the other which ranged from oxidized jhumkas to studs to danglers and what to say of kadas and chadas.

After forcefully putting a full-stop to our shopping we headed towards food court adjacent to the market for some mouth watering chaats and ice creams.

Indeed there is no place like Law Garden in Ahmedabad!

Gujarat Tourism need to promote it as most happening shopping destination, it will immensely benefit the artisans and economy of th

e State.


रग रग में मुंबई सिटी

First Rains brings CHEERS to many, And TEARS to many!

mumbai 13

As Mumbai completely transforms with its first showers to present sharp CONTRASTS, one one side it becomes lush green, breezy, cool, whereas on the other it brings along inordinate train delays, snarling traffic, pot holes and bad roads in all their splendour and glory. Still we MUMBAIKARS love them! Mumbai rains are life line of Mumbai – you can love them, you can hate them but can’t ignore them!! Pooja GandhiTravel-knots presents you splendid Photo-Essay by young & exuberant Pooja Gandhi, ace photographer & alumni of J J School of Arts. Enjoy rains with piping hot Chai & Pakoras & of course how Mumbai looks in rains…






Picturesque Munnar in an Exclusive Photo-Essay

My Colleague & Travel buffs Ranjeet Patole and his wife Darshani recently visited Kerala – The God’s own country Kerala (/ˈkɛrələ/), historically known as Keralam,  an Indian state in South India on the Malabar coast. Known world over for its back waters, splendid greenery, exotic beaches and to top it all highest literacy ratio, was preferred choice of Patoles to spend some stress –free and quality time in peaceful and serene Kerala.  Their first port of destination was Munnar, a hill station located in the Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Munnar is situated at around 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, in the Western Ghats range of mountains. Ranjeet & Darshani were gracious enough to capture beautiful Munnar in his camera, you can view those pictures on my blog in an exclusive photo – essay.

The name Munnar is believed to mean “three rivers”, referring to its location at the confluence of the Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. Munnar town is situated on the Kannan Devan Hills village in Devikulam taluk and is the largest panchayat in the Idukki district covering an area of nearly 557 square kilometres (215 sq mi).

The nearest major railway stations are at Ernakulum and Aluva (approximately 140 kilometres (87 mi) by road). The Nearest Functioning Railway station is at Udumalaipettai according to Google maps. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is 105 kilometres (65 mi) away.

Most of the native flora and fauna of Munnar have disappeared due to severe habitat fragmentation resultant from the creation of the plantations.

However, some species continue to survive and thrive in several protected areas nearby, including the new Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Manjampatti Valley and the Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, the Eravikulam National Park and Anamudi Shola National Park to the north, the Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east.

These protected areas are especially known for several threatened and endemic species including Nilgiri Thar, the grizzled giant squirrel, the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, elephant, the gaur, the Nilgiri langur, the sambar, and the neelakurinji (that blossoms only once in twelve years).

You can visit websites of and for more details and planning your trip to Kerala and Munnar.





Last week when Blogadda shared with me details about the show of Ugesh Sarcar, honestly speaking I was not that excited but I told them that I will check with my daughter and fellow blogger Tanya before confirming it. When I shared about the show  with Tanya, she jumped with joy and told me that she has been watching his shows on Television. Now there was no stopping and on a hot Sunday afternoon we called OLA Cab which gave us very comfortable ride to the venue: Manik SabhaGruha  Auditorium at Bandra West on June 12, 2016.


Purposely I did no research on Ugesh Sarcar, the famed Mentalist & Mystician as I did not want to kill the suspense, rather I wanted to be surprised and I was surprised, hugely surprised. I had never seen anything like it even during several international trips. It was mind blowing experience and Sarcar is indeed a mind reader – par excellence. Ugesh, the young, exuberant & witty mystician kept the audience on their toes during the entire over an hour show. He engaged superbly well with the audience and made to the point predictions about hand – picked audience. A lady who was chosen for the act was truly surprised by the predictions he made about her. Alas! I was chosen in her place!! Never mind!!!


The telephonic conversation between a father & son was the most startling act. I loved it! The celebrity guest Mr. Rakesh Bedi, Bollywood Actor was also part of the grand finale act and looked enjoying for himself. Going by the fact, the restless soul which I am, I did not budge from my seat during the entire show. When the show got over, I was like “Arre Show got over, wish had lasted for some more time.” It was great connecting with fellow Blogger Suman Kher before the beginning of the show.


Ugesh Sarcar’s show had dollops of mentalism, moving cards with the mind, past & future predictions which was presented in a very soft manner laden with wit. No words are enough to describe his persona and act.

Being born into a family of magicians, the desire to become one was born long ago in Ugesh who used to tag along with his father’s performances and be an inquisitive assistant. At one such performance, he proudly said to him, “I will be the best magician.”  Probably he was his first client himself, predicting his own future. Known world over for his shows, Ugesh was very charming on stage and audience of all ages, probably across generations loved to be part of his show.


There is no word that exists in the English Dictionary which can describe this versatile, creative and persistent young man. He coined his own term, ‘Mystician‘.   He is a world class Magician who touches the lives of people with his magic touch. His simple, yet deeply philosophical ideas have transformed the destiny of differently abled people through a self-designed mission called ‘IAmPossibleMagic’.

Ugesh Sarcar spent almost three years, completely cut off from the society, and dedicated all his time, energy and efforts in mastering the art of mentalism & mystic which rewarded India with world-class and world –famed mentalist & mystician.

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And finally, when we I stepped out. Ugesh Sarcar’s Camera crew stopped me for a camera byte which I happily obliged.

You can watch my reaction on

Thanks a ton Blogadda  for the Passes!




Fascinating Rajasthan! Symphony created by Diversity!!

रंगीलो राजस्थान: पधारो म्हारे देस!

An exclusive photo-essay!


This land is a colourful melange of massive forts, stunning palaces, diverse cultures, delectable cuisines and warm people, set amidst a rugged yet inviting landscape.

Rajasthan is a land that has inspired me and countless others. Come tread on the sands of time. In Rajasthan you will find every hue in Nature’s grand palette – the red sands, the blue of royalty, the pink cities or the amber sunsets. Surrender yourself to the sounds of trinkets or the sounds of the all conquering wind. Sight and sounds that are far removed from any city. Sights and sounds that will transport you into a folk lore.

The contour of Rajasthan is varied and well divided by the Aravalli Range that spreads across the state from the southwest to the northeast. With an unproductive region in the northwest to a comparatively fertile land in the east. Rajasthan’s topography is a potpourri of the sandy deserts and prolific vegetation. It is home to the Great Indian Thar Desert and the Chambal River which is solely responsible for the water supply in the region.

Music, art and dance is woven into every inch of this land  called paradise. You will find it carved in every grain of sand. Here you will find the past, the present and the future. You will find passion. You will find adventure. And you will find yourself.

Irrespective of rich cultural roots, Rajasthan is equally modern and flourishing as any other urban city. The state roads flaunt the most expensive vehicles and at the same time run camel carts, horse drawn tongas and scooter rickshaws. The region is well connected by a network of roads and a steadily improving transport system.

Come, walk into the unforgettable embrace of Rajasthan.

In an attempt to reinvent and celebrate the extraordinary strengths of RAJASTHAN, these projects and events created especially for the larger domain of the people and their inherent traditional and contemporary skills, connecting with similar international interventions showcased in the State, the Chief Minister, Vasundhra Raje, has infused a new, fresh and contemporary energy into the inherited


When it comes to accommodation, Rajasthan welcomes royal tourists and backpacking travellers equally. Your choices range from luxurious hotels to economical yet comfortable dormitories. The State owned Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation also run a chain of hotels in the major destinations. These tourist bungalows provide reasonably priced accommodation in the form of dormitories, single rooms, air-cooled and air-conditioned rooms.

Courtesy: पधारो म्हारे देस &

#ShareTheLoad – Different perceptions across generations!!

My mother, me & my daughter are representatives of three starkly different generations, strong characters, well – educated, well-groomed and head-strong individuals. She imbibed some values in me which helped me immensely in my later life (Read: Married life). It cannot be denied that marriage brings along a BIG bundle of responsibilities for which we are not well prepared for. If you have certain ambitions to fulfill, then challenge becomes even bigger!

Tanya & Bienu

For her GenNext she was fully supportive of my career moves but alongside she said that your career should not take heavy toll of your family life which you have willfully chosen.  I assured her that it will not but unfortunately it did. Household chores were too much to handle with demanding office job and cranky child.  For her it was unthinkable for her to suggest me that I involve my husband into household work. What to say of knowing about Akshara which has been at the forefront of the effort to making our society a gender equal and violence free one. My mother fully believed in “division of labour” but she always encouraged me to do it together, but how? Probably she had no answer!

A girl’s life is full of dreams, she is born with the wings and we as parents give flight to those wings. She dreams to becoming a good student, successful professional, loving wife and caring mother but the biggest dream is of having supportive husband.  Unfortunately, social milieus don’t support her dreams. Howsoever well-qualified she is – she has been allotted the roles of wife and mother through an unwritten code which brings along host of household responsibilities. The mindset needs a change and should embrace #ShareTheLoad where mothers of sons have a bigger role to play. So that concept takes firm root with future sons-in-law.


I, as a mother has taught my daughter to efficiently balance all roles with élan…it is just not enough that you are a successful professional but a lousy home maker. You are an equal partner with your husband, as a bread-winner and as bread-baker. You should involve him in your laundry especially with the help of Ariel and make it the most enjoyable chore of the household.

My daughter Tanya has noticed that whenever I have fallen sick or travelled on work, house has not come to a grinding halt, courtesy – #ShareTheLoad concept which we adopted years ago. Thus it was not that great a challenge for me to imbibe the concept in GenNext as I was the harbinger of this concept in my family or even social circles.

Now many girls in the family have emulated this model and are proud professionals and great home makers too!!

Having a cake and eating it too!!

I am taking part in the #ShareTheLoad Challenge with Ariel and Akshara at BlogAdda.


#ShareTheLoad: It worked! It really worked for me!!

When I received the blogadda post on twitter about the campaign #ShareTheLoad with Ariel and Akshara about the sharing the load of household chores, it interested me no end. I am sort of a champion in my family who has broken the mould of stereotypes of working husband and sulking wife. Even before marriage I had discussed with my husband about my inclination to work, not just work but take up career in the demanding field of media. This way I had eroded that first hurdle hence it did not come as a shock to him after marriage.  I am sure he wouldn’t have figured out what it was like having a working wife coming from conventional Gujarati household.  Even I came from stereotypical Kayastha (UP) background where girls pursued higher education, but were seldom allowed to go for work that too for unconventional fields like media.  I started working at an early age on responsible positions, not bothering much about household work. (Big disadvantage of having efficient mother). Mother being an excellent home maker and father being a breadwinner, everything was well set in Varma household as everybody was in their well-defined roles.


However this was not the case when I got married. Life became stressful with family, household, kid, office…what not. The carefree life of bachelorhood took 180 degree spin. The life looked like a big trapeze act, balancing so many roles at a time and one slip, you are gone. Time was passing…child was growing up.

It was then, one fine morning, me and my husband decided to walk into each other’s territory, emulating the concept of #ShareTheLoad in toto.  This was some twenty years ago.  I would like to share here that sharing laundry was the biggest decision as it was always a woman’s domain to provide family members with washed and ironed clothes, every single day, so much so…four times a day.  The conventional mould was broken when my husband Mukund started helping me with Laundry every Saturday; yes we did laundry only once a week on Saturdays.  Not only it was like #ShareTheLoad but we started enjoying it together with chit chats on various topics under the sun right from family matters to religion, politics, education, entertainment, banking, finance …what not?  Washing clothes was no longer a mundane course for us now. And yes, Ariel has been our constant companion since then, which is very friendly on hands, clothes, washing machine and on pocket too!


There have been many such times when I have had pressing schedules, urgent presentations, Blogadda deadlines  or outstation travel, Mukund completely steps out of stereotypical mould of husband and takes complete charge of not only laundry but of entire household. This way in my generation, the mould was re-engineered which enabled me to excel in my work and my house also ran smoothly.

My mother was quite surprised at our decision as she could not imagine in her weirdest dreams that Papa would step in to help her with the laundry.

Nobody taught me or worked towards it at that time. Also I did not know about #Akshara as we went by the dictum: Necessity is the mother of invention!


Indeed Akshara has been at the forefront of the effort to making our society a gender equal and violence free one.

Today I can proudly say, #ShareTheLoad worked and worked quite well. Was it a dream for me? Oh yes! But not that far-fetched!! I took the inputs from my mother’s generation and started working on gender equality since then.

Today I have imbibed these values in my young daughter Tanya who is studying to be Digital Designer and is near adept at household work too! Oh yes making her think on these lines was quite a challenge. How? Read it in my next blogpost.

I am taking part in the #ShareTheLoad Challenge with Ariel and Akshara at BlogAdda.

Ganjing Carnival in Hazrat Ganj Lucknow, Down Memory Lane!

I came across pictures of Ganjing Carnival on my facebook page which made me really very emotional, as Lucknow as a City has great sentimental value for me. My heart immediately traversed to 90s, and thoughts crossed my mind of the wonderful time I spent in Lucknow then. . I can safely say that some of the best years of my life were spent in Lucknow and Ganjing was integral part of my stay in Lucknow.  


Shifting from Delhi to Lucknow can be termed as backward integration for me and many people advised me against it. Given the headstrong person, that I am, I stuck to my guns. Before that I had just been to Lucknow only once that too for my interview appointment in PICUP. I had not applied much thought to it that what shifting to Capital of biggest state of the country would entail. After selection, I was quite clear that I am going to join PICUP and shift to Lucknow. In no time, it all fell into place.

नवाबों के शहर – शहरे लखनऊ


The ‘open’ culture of Delhi was in sharp contrast to ‘closed’ culture of Lucknow. This posed serious challenge for me as an individual. Your every action was under scanner, in office, in market, in extended families and friends (??).  Now that I was in Lucknow, I had to learn the trick of the trade, as goes the saying: While in Rome, Do as the Romans do!  Going by the Mantra, I started making friends in colleagues but most of them were from Lucknow only. Obviously they bonded well in office, after office, could connect very well with each other. I being an outsider, a Delhi girl, though it generated curiosity among them but they were far from friendly. Few months passed in repenting about my decision, my heart ran back to Delhi all the time and I cursed myself for making the decision of shifting to Lucknow. But now, nothing could be done. I had found solace in the posters all over: मुस्कुराइए की आप लखनऊ में हैं!

As times passed by, I made friends with my colleagues: Geeta Sindhi, Amarjeet Singh, Ajay Kumar, Nadeem Ahmed, Kanika Gautam…with special mention of Shri Jwalant Swaroop. He is worthy of another special post.  Not to miss mention of bosses like: Mr P.L.Punia, Rajive Kumar, V.K. Chopra, J. K. Gupta and Prabhat Kumar.  Things started changing, I started gelling in Lucknow & PICUP cultures simultaneously and frequent visit to Hazrat Ganj – the upmarket shopping destination of Lucknow played a big role. The visits to specific destinations, movie theatres – remember watching “ Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ in Mayfair and coffee shops played a big role with my office colleagues and with Geeta in particular.

Evenings in Ganj were just amazing with setting sun providing the backdrop, foodies thronging the by lanes, lovers walking in the Lover’s lane ( actually called Lover’s lane), families out of shopping and movie lovers for movies all made up for the strong case in favour of Ganjing at any given point of time. Yes, Ganjing is the term, everywhere people go for shopping, outing, strolling but in Lucknow people go for GANJING! It was quite an experience in itself which made my stay even more pleasurable.

Now when I read about Ganjing Carnival, it was down memory lane…how time has flown. I don’t remember specific shops, cafés or even movie halls but I very fondly remember shopping with my mom in Ganj, hanging out with my friends, fun time with girlie gang or some official meetings too. Ganj holds a very special place in my heart like everyone who has been associated with Lucknow in any which ways.  Ganj is heart of Lucknow and Carival is the Celebration.

So for the uninitiated: Hazratganj (Hindi: हज़रतगंज, Urdu: حضرتگںج) is a major shopping area situated in the heart of Lucknow in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In addition to bazaars, it also contains shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theaters and offices. “Ganjing” is a term used to describe ambling and shopping in the wide lanes and by lanes of city’s ganj market. Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) together with city’s administration organizes monthly carnival on the second Sunday of each month in Hazrat Ganj market. On this night, the market becomes a no-parking zone with barricades and security services. Various types of cultural and entertainment programmes are held for the general public. Lucknow Police watches the crowd with the help of drone cameras.

Today Hazratganj is a major Victorian style shopping area. It houses showrooms, shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theatres, offices and businesses. Hazratganj shops sell the famous Lucknow chikankari  material. Gurjari, Handloom Emporium and Gandhi Ashrams are also located in the market.


The Sahara Ganj Mall is a 5-storied major shopping mall located in Hazratganj. It is one of the largest shopping malls in India covering an area of over 425,000 square feet.  It also has PVR movie theaters besides a huge food court.

Look forward to making it to Ganjing Carnival, till then like me you too see it to believe it!