Tag Archives: Mumbai

Desaru Coast set to welcome Indian business and leisure travelers in 2018

Malaysia’s First Premium Integrated Destination to increase Tourist Receipts with New Offerings

 “India has always been an important market for Malaysia. In 2016, a total of 6,38,578 Indian travelers visited Malaysia, maintaining its position as the sixth top tourist generating market to the country. Desaru Coast will definitely make the Indian excited and thus giving a boost to arrivals to the country” said Mr. Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Director – Tourism Malaysia, Mumbai. He was speaking during the exclusive preview of Desaru Coast here in Mumbai recently.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Philip Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Theme Parks & Attractions and Chief Commercial Officer of Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd. Said, “  “Desaru Coast’s India tour will open doors for us to connect with buyers of all sectors within the travel-value chain commerce whilst positioning Desaru Coast as the destination of choice amongst holidaymakers and business travelers alike within the region. We look forward to sharing a preview of the destination that will appeal to international travelers with its myriad of offerings.”

 Ms. Olivia Ooi, Senior Vice President, Destination Sales & Marketing, 2. Mr. Philip Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Theme Parks & Attractions and Chief Commercial Officer of Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd.
3. Ms. Kristine Lim, Vice President, Destination Sales & Marketing

Developed by Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn. Bhd., Desaru Coast is located at the south-eastern region of Malaysia, spanning over 3,900 acres along an unspoiled 17km beachfront facing the South China Sea. The destination is easily accessible via land, ferry, and air. Desaru Coast is home to four globally renowned hotels and resorts, two world-class golf courses, a themed water park, a retail village as well as a conference centre.

Anchored by Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, one of the world’s biggest water parks with the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia, the attraction also presents visitors with a Malaysian fishing village atmosphere. Visitors can also experience the first water coaster in the region and a unique mix of wet and dry rides.

The fully-integrated beach-front destination will encompass globally renowned hotels and resorts namely The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.

Adding to the vast array of leisure and holistic offerings is Desaru Coast Riverside, a 23-acre water-front landscaped retail and lifestyle village located in the heart of Desaru Coast that delivers an all-inclusive leisure experience, including a range of retail, eateries and entertainment outlets. Completing the unique blend of experiences that the multi-billion-dollar integrated destination has to offer is the Desaru Coast Conference Centre, an equipped multipurpose venue with a banquet area and exhibition space that can host up to 1,000 participants. The conference centre is furnished with meeting and breakout rooms, VIP lounges, a pre-function area, and courtyard to cater to MICE events, corporate functions and entertainment events.

Golf aficionados will get the chance to tee-off at the first Els Club in Southeast Asia, the third in the world, The Els Club Malaysia in Desaru Coast. The Els Club Desaru Coast comprises two championship golf courses, the 27-hole Ocean Course and the 18-hole Valley Course. Managed by Troon Golf, the Ocean Course was designed by 4-time Major Champion, Ernie Els, while the Valley Course was designed in collaboration with Els’ long-standing friend and major champion, Vijay Singh. Golfers can be guaranteed a world-class golf experience with an incredible view.

Desaru Coast is set to unveil its destination offerings in stages, with the opening of The Els Club Desaru Coast – Ocean Course in September 2016 and The Els Club Desaru Coast – Valley Course in March 2017, followed by the remaining components from end June 2018.

The Indian travel community and visitors are welcomed to find out more about the latest updates on Desaru Coast developments at SATTE, New Delhi, Booth no. E170, Hall 1 (January 31st – February 2nd, 2018).

For more information, visit www.desarucoast.com

The Great Mumbai Shopping Festival is here!

Aamchi Mumbai is all set host apro “The Mumbai Shopping Festival” from January 12 – 31st organized by MTDC,  purportedly on the lines of the Dubai shopping festival.

It will be first of the kind grand shopping cum fun and fair mela with many themes like fashion shows, street performance and more all around Mumbai city and Suburban, Thane and Navi Mumbai area. Complete 3 weeks (20 days Shopping festival mela) starting 12th January 2018 will last till the end of the month will be a grand trade fair and discounted shopping event with an extra dose of late night fun and fair with hotels, airlines giving discounts and restaurant and bars opened late night too. A great opportunity to enjoy best discounts and offers at more than 50 different locations in Mumbai.

MSF 2018 is a joint initiative of ‘Maharashtra Tourism’, ‘OMCPL’, ‘Maharashtra Unlimited’ and ‘Visit Maharashtra’. A festival dedicated to shopping here forth putting Mumbai city on the world map as a huge Shopping Destination. These 20 days events bring in Entertainment, Prizes, Lifestyle, Great Experience with almost every part of Mumbai on Sale, Discount and Offers of about 5000+ local & international brands covering South Mumbai, Western Suburban, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Far North Vasai Virar locations. Many Associate partners like MCHI Credai, Naredco, FICCI, GJEPC India, Retailer Association of India, India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd and Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association gave support and push to this festival. The Opening ceremony of this festive event will be held on 12th January at BKC (Jio Garden) and Similarly Closing at Gateway of India on 31st January 2018 by Hon’ble CM.

Shopping Partners

Shopping destination and Hospitality partners like Malls, Restaurants, Hotels, Various Retail Outlets, Departmental Stores, Petrol Stations, Airlines, General Stores, Movie Theatres, Online Shopping giants are all connected together for this mega shopping event of Mumbai. Below are the listed partners:

Music Concerts, About 13 Stage and Sports Events and Many performing arts can be observed at 13 various locations in Mumbai city, Suburbs, Thane and Navi Mumbai area. Below are the details.

Street Performances

Music Concerts for all genre performed by Bollywood and Marathi folk world along with Local Musicians and talents less known. College and Rock bands, International EDM artists will all be seen rocking late night performing Classical, Rock, Indie Pop, Jazz and more.

Venues

Bandra Carter Road, Girgaum Chowpatty, Shivaji Park, Worli Sea Face, International & Domestic Airport, Juhu Beach, Outside 3 Star Hotel Kharghar (Navi Mumbai), Vashi Railway Station, Galleria Mall Powai, Upvan Lake Thane, Cypress Garden Mulund and Maxus Mall Mira Road.

Late Night Zones & Bazaar

During Weekends, Late night Bazaars are organized opened till and wee hours (Till 4 Am). Few locations are kept wide open for fun and entertainment for family and friends to enjoy along with shopping. Below are the dates and late night locations :

  • 13th January & 14th January (Bandra Jio Garden, BKC)
  • 19th January & 20th January (Mindspace Malad Link Road)
  • 26th January & 27th January (Powai)
  • Food Trucks and Khao Galli Food Options

Food Truck Association of India will showcase food options at the trending food truck eateries of Mumbai. These will be a weekend fun and eateries zone with dates as detailed below :

13th and 14th January at Worli Seaface.

19th and 20th January at Mindspace Malad.

26th and 27th January at Powai.

Infiniti and InOrbit Mall Malad, High Street Phoenix Lower Parel, Phoenix Market City Kurla, Oberoi Mall Goregaon, RCity Mall Ghatkopar, Grand Central at Seawood Navi Mumbai and Thane Viviana Mall.

Super Markets Brands & Grocery Stores

DMart, Big Bazaar, Crossword, The Bombay Store, Reliance Fresh, Haiko Powai, Vijay Sales Outlets, Nature’s Basket, Reliance Mart and Digital outlets.

The idea is to come to Mumbai, enjoy its delicacies, visit tourist spots and shop, availing attractive discounts everywhere. “It is going to be a unique experience!

Nobody welcomes Lord Ganesha like we Mumbaikars!

Come August and Mumbai is all set and appropriately decked up to welcome Ganpati Bappa with full fervour…VARMA House hold is no exception to this and is all set to Welcome Bappa today like always!

Special mandap is being set-up for Bappa where traditional welcome would be given to Lord Ganesha, special aartis would be performed and my favourite part…Laddoo ka Bhog! Many friends and relatives visit Bappa and spend time for Puja Archana. It’s a special day in Varma Household where every body is welcomed with prasad and delicacies.

Mumbaikars celebrates this festival with great zeal and enthusiasm, every Mumbaikar keenly await for the festival, cleans their houses, buy new clothes, makes many delicacies, invites friends and relatives and celebrate. Mumbai becomes Bappamay during this period. Countless stalls are set – up and people make a point to visit these stalls until the time Bappa stays there. Mumbai is the most famous for its massive processions. Even the households in Mumbai celebrate the festival by installing an idol of Lord Ganesha and worshipping it for over ten days. The houses are cleaned and the idol is brought in with the family members chanting ‘Shloka’ or religious verses. The seven to ten days long festival ends with the ‘Ganesh Visarjan’ where the idols are immersed in the water; it is done as a procession with millions of people accompanying the idol along with a lot of music and dance.

It was Lokmanya Tilak who popularised the festival during the freedom movement and made it a community celebration. Colourfully decorated Idols of lord Ganesha are installed both at homes and in Sarvajanik Ganesh Pandals. The occasion becomes very lively and enthusiastic with the devotional songs, dances and drum beats being a part of the rituals observed by the devotees of Lord Ganesha, as part of the festivities. Pandals across Mumbai are known to thematically represent the current social issues that the city faces through tableaux, paintings and decorations.

The entire city of Mumbai celebrates Ganpati festival irrespective of caste creed and religion. This celebration brings out the splendour of street life, the spirit of sharing and giving and the strength of the city’s artistic traditions.

I am in complete celebration mode with beautiful Ganeshostav Collection from Triveni Sarees which are in vibrant colours and exclusive designs.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) have been appealing Mumbaikars to use eco-friendly Ganesh idols and artificial ponds for immersion to curb pollution. The pollution control board has also directed the mandals to remove flowers, clothes and decorating material before immersion. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also increased the number of artificial ponds to increase the convenience of Bappa Bhakts.

We as Mumbaikars should make sure that the festivities are not marred by the scars it leaves in the form of pollution, thus GO GREEN this year and always.

Ganpati Bappa Morya in Mumbai!

MUMBAI set to host biggest Business Festival: Make In India

In my series of festivals, Make In India features prominently owing to its grandeur, magnitude, attitude…truly a never seen before Business Event ever! Be in Mumbai to be amidst big – wigs of Business arena not only from India but across the globe, who have changed the industrial landscape of India. Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India would be inaugurating the event on 13th February and the highlight of event would be inauguration of a Make-in-India centre at Bandra Kurla complex and a business forum meeting featuring a number of global visionaries and leaders from the fields of finance, industry and design. A ‘Time India’ award to recognise excellence in manufacturing will also be instituted at the week-long event.

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A grand hi-tech laser show at Chowpatty with many more programs are being lined up during the week. Kala Ghoda Fest has also been extended to coincide with the Make In India. Mumbai would be a treat for Business, Art, Culture, Cinema and Tourism lovers during this week – February 13 – 17, 2016. If you have not booked the ticket yet, do it now!

Prime Ministers of Sweden, Finland and Lithuania will be among the foreign delegates from a number of countries who will participate in the event to showcase Make-in-India initiative, one of the key programmes of the Narendra Modi government. Delegates including senior ministers and government functionaries from Poland, Japan, Indonesia, Colombia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Mexico, Germany and South Korea will also participate in the event.

The Make in India Week will also witness States like Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh organizing their respective investment seminars, showcasing their key strengths & business opportunities. All these events would be in partnership with CII. Senior Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers, Senior Union Government officials and officials from various State Government and senior industry leaders would participate at the event. A number of Heads of State and Ministers led Government and Business delegations from different parts of the world are expected to attend the Summit.

The week-long ‘Make-in-India’ event in Mumbai beginning February 13 will showcase India’s potential in the manufacturing sector and woo foreign investors. The event will offer foreign investors unprecedented access and opportunities to connect and collaborate with young Indian entrepreneurs, industry leaders, academicians and government officials. Key opportunities in sectors like auto, defence and aerospace, food processing, chemicals and petrochemicals, electronics and information technology, pharmaceuticals, textiles, industrial equipment manufacturing, construction equipment, and infrastructure will be showcased through seminars and discussions among major stakeholders.

make-in-india1

The ‘Make in India Week’ would focus on the following:
– Make in India Center would be the platform for exhibiting innovative products and manufacturing processes developed in India along with a vision to leverage design, innovation and technology in the backdrop of global manufacturing.

– Asia Business Forum would comprise of a series of seminars, CEO meets, roundtables and networking events on economic challenges, investment opportunities, design and innovation. This event would feature global visionaries and leaders from the fields of finance, industry and design.

– Hackathon would be a 24-hour marathon event where coders, engineers and designers collaborate intensively for 24 hours to come up with ideas to solve urban design problems.
– Many more events such as State Sessions, Design Conferences, Cultural & Fashion Shows and Networking Dinners would be conducted.

The event would showcase the people, policies and partnerships that are driving India’s new manufacturing revolution as well as display India’s potential of design, innovation and sustainability across various manufacturing sectors. The flagship event is a medium for reinforcing India’s commitment and potential to emerge as a global manufacturing hub.

Wait for more updates on the same in the days to come!

Diwali: Teri Dhoom Apaar!

Gwalior Gharane ki Hungamedaar Diwali se aamchi Mumbai ki Khaas Diwali

November 11, 2015: Diwali, festival of lights, always had special significance in my life; I love the festival beyond limits. My mood completely transforms during these days, as I come in great festive moods, when my mind is surrounded by thoughts of Diwali and Diwali only. This Diwali was special in many ways, quite different from others and yet…to be cherished forever!

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Read on to know it all…
…I had changed the job and celebrated my first Diwali (Dhan Teras) at my new office, MCHI with my office colleagues. This was the only job in my entire career, where I took longest to adjust. I feared each day; I will not survive here more than few days. I kicked myself everyday for making this career choice. But not only I survived; I survived well, mixed with my colleagues like sugar in the milk. Celebrating Diwali with them was quite an experience! Though I missed very much the Diwalis celebrated in my earlier office, Apnapaisa.com. Still, this Diwali celebration was no less! We celebrated Dhan Teras with great fervour in office with celebrations at home for my brother Prabhat’s birthday. Not to mention, Magnum ice-creams given by office, this added to the celebrations. What challenge it was to bring that box of ice-creams in local train, but I loved it when family relished it.

With new job, many things changed, like new office timings, new train timing, new set of train friends, new office colleagues, new office vendours, new boss…everything. But one thing which remained same was my fighting spirit to counter all these new changes in my life which had thrown new challenges. I promised to me, I will not run away without giving a tough fight to all this and more. I will quit when I am at peace with myself and as a well-thought move, not giving it up all, and today I am completing one year here.

Fun time with pretty colleague Jaya Sawlekar.
Fun time with pretty colleague Jaya Sawlekar.

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On personal front, the challenges were not less; daughter Tanya had boards, and career choice entrance exams, anxiety paramount. Encountered & endured all, Tanya passed with flying colours, got selected in many design schools and made a choice of UPES Dehradun. Things looked up after a long period of turmoil. Sending her that far was very tough decision, and it happened…whatever was to happen, happened.

For the first Diwali, Tanya was not with me as she could not come over for Diwali holidays from Dehradun. I missed her badly, but was satisfied that she enjoyed Diwali with the family of my childhood friend in Dehradun. I am indebted to Bijalwans for all my life, for giving such happy moments to my daughter and making her Diwali truly special.

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I fondly remembered last Diwali, when many of Tanya’ friends were at our place for Diwali celebrations who took charge of the kitchen, decorated the house with Rangoli, did Puja…what not. I also fondly remembered Diwali when Papa was around who loved to celebrate Diwali with all his family members in Gwalior and did so year after year. It was almost a ritual to visit city of Gwalior and Gwalior Fort to enjoy the lighting after Dinner. It was so much fun with all buas, chachas, chachis, phoophas, cousins…Dadi & Baba. So many people, so many festivities, so much confusion…near mayhem. But it was great fun! The days look like part of history…where everybody has moved on in their respective live. With papa no more, most of his sisters & brothers gone, Diwali will no longer be same for “Gwalior Gharana” as we addressed ourselves. I also remembered my Diwali in Lucknow when I, Prabhat and Mummy made lavish preparations for Diwali, I used to drive mummy to many shopping sojourns just before Diwali. Now she is ill and can’t be part of festivities like that still her presence is a great force who keeps telling us what to do and what not to do on Diwali, year after year.

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This year Diwali is particularly peaceful. I did Puja peacefully, lit up the entire household and made elaborate Puja preparations and kept talking to Tanya, friends and relatives wishing them happy Diwali throughout the day.

The only thing which has not changed is Diyas in my aangan, which luxury I had in our house in Gwalior, now in Mumbai too!

बचपन का वो घरौंदा करे फिर से रोशन
आओ सजाएँ खुशियों से घर आँगन
धन की फ़िक्र छोड़
सजाएँ खुशियों से जीवन
सुख शांति और समृद्धि से जगमग
करे पर्व ये पवन

‘51 diyon ki deepmala’ in my aangan is a visual treat and I get so many compliments for my Rangoli and Diyas from all my building people. I loved it then also, I love it now also.

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Though, the ritual of shopping was missing this Diwali, as I wanted to make someone else’s Diwali special. It gave me so much joy – The joy of giving!

Hopefully, shopping ritual will spill over of my birthday on November 29.

Till then, may Goddess Laxmi showers her blessings to all my followers, friends, fellow bloggers & family!

Last but not the least, special thanks to Blogadda team for making this year truly special for me when I was part of many contests for which I won many prizes and WIN 15.

Thanks Blogadda for keeping the child in me alive!

BEER & WINE OUT FESTIVAL by Living Liquidz concludes in Mumbai

The two-day festival (October 31 – November 1) organized in association with High Street Phoenix was first of its kind being hosted in Palladium, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Beer & Wine connoisseurs were seen having a great time at this fest…besides celebrated actor Sachin Joshi who sampled some great collection of wines & beer at the fest.

The fest was an especially handcrafted weekend destination for all the beer & wine-lovers in the city, which gave everyone the opportunity of sampling the top-notch brands in the industry.

A wide array of wines to select from, showcasing and sampling world of wines from India, France, Italy, Australia, Spain, Chile, South Africa, Germany, California, UK and New Zealand where you could experience the wines from names like Living Liquidz, Chandon India, Prestige Wines, Berkmann Wine Cellars, Fratelli Saraceni Wines, and many more!

The theme chosen was “Vintage” as it holds royalty traits of the ancient times. As you all know, Wine has been there since decades and it is enjoyed by everyone ever since it was created. The best and the most flavoured wines are often bottled and then cellared for decades (giving it a vintage feel) as the texture and flavour takes decades for fermentation. This helps to bring the wine’s flavours into a harmonious ideal. When a wine’s flavour has aged into its potential, it is said to have reached its peak and it’s time to drink it. Thus the Vintage theme was the ideal match for the Beer & Wine out festival.

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It is believed that wine is bottled poetry, every time you unscrew the cork, words can never befall you. If you too are passionate wine-lover, know all about it or are a wine connoisseur in the making, then this fest was a great place to be in. Presented by Living Liquidz who has asserted themselves as the global benchmark for fine wines and liquors, this was like having the one-stop-shop for all party lovers.
Beer & Wine Out festival also had treats for the beer lovers. Beers like the popular Goa Kings Beer and Bira 91 were there to tease your taste buds at this two-day stress busting affair.

The traditional process of making wine is dated back epochs ago when wine was prepared by crushing grapes inside large tubs and tanks with the help of just your feet instead of a mechanized method or wine press. This grape stomping tour is not only a fun team activity but it is also accompanied with tasting the end product as well as other fine wines plus dancing to music along with couple of other entertaining activities. With festivities round the corner, this two day festival also helped giving everybody the best gifting options for your loved ones.

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Speaking about this upcoming gala festival, Moksh Sani, MD, Living Liquidz Wine & Spirits India Pvt. Ltd. says, “We are proud to present a one-of-a-kind wine and beer festival for all wine lovers as well as everyone who wants to know more about the spirits that have been complementing meals for people residing across the world. Through this two-day event, we aimed at giving everyone a wholesome experience and a complete stress buster away from the everyday hassle of regular life. We will be host to our home-grown brand as well as several popular names at this festivities that celebrate life.”

It was really a great occasion for Beer & Wine Connoisseurs to Chill Out to the hilt, which they did, I am sure!

लाल बाग़ का राजा, परेल मुंबई, बप्पा के भव्य दर्शन

Even after working in Lower Parel and Dadar area for over a decade, I couldn’t make it to visit Lalbag ka Raja which I would always regret. Inspite of planning it many times, it never got materialized. May be I was not destined to be there! Like every year, Lalbag ka Raja is here in all its glory and splendour, don’t miss…particularly if you are not crowd phobic like me.  Here is the sneak peek:

Lal Bagh ka Raja, Mumbai
Lal Bagh ka Raja, Mumbai

The pandal is designed as a sheesh mahal (glass palace) here the idea is for the idol to be reflected from every corner of the pandal to project the larger-than-life image of Lord Ganesha.

A brief history:

When Peru Chawl was shut down in 1932, fishermen and vendors who were ousted from their marketplace prayed for a permanent place to set up their wares. They vowed to organise a Ganesh festival if their wish came true. After sustained efforts by local leaders and residents, the landlord agreed to give them a plot, which is the present-day Lalbaug market. Devotees believe Lalbaugcharaja grants wishes and the mandal attracts thousands of visitors.

Legacy: In its 82nd year

Location: Lalbaug market, GD Goenka Road

Nearest stations: Western line: Lower Parel; Harbour line: Cotton Green; Central line: Currey Road

Best time to visit: Anytime during the day

Courtesy: Hindustan Times

WordUp! HairDown! at Satur(day) Bloggers Fever!

September 21, 2014 will always be etched in our memory (Bloggers congregation) which was well-spent at the hip and happening venue Blue Frog, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Excited, we all thronged the venue at sharp 9 A.M. (Though we are never on time to work on Saturdays). We did not want to miss even a minute of interaction with accomplished bloggers in fields as wide and varied as politics, fashion, issues, comedy, storytelling…what not.

The event which had brought together all of us was organised by IndiBlogger Commune represented by Vineet, Nihal, Anoop, Renie…everybody! What a pleasure it was to be greeted by this welcoming lot. That’s why we do not like to miss any of the IndiBlogger events. The event #WordUp and #BigRock was very graciously hosted by Blue Frog. Let me tell you, this awesome venue was quite a treat where we bloggers flocked and hopped like frog. Right from morning breakfast, beverages, lunch to evening tea…everything was wholesomely delicious. Not only this, my daughter Tanyaa (Blog: http://www.couturepixie.wordpress. om) caught up with her friends – Pallavi, Sam, Mitchelle, Vinita like long lost friends. All of us have forged a great bond; it was not long ago that we had met each other at an IndiBlogger event – Dove. Day started with Nihal, Anoop and his friend belting out soulful numbers with Philippine girl on the orchestra. It was an amazing experience…Nihal is a phenomenal performer, real Rock Star!

Then lot of contests followed – lot of cash, Flip-Kart vouchers were doled out…my bad luck I did not win any! Emcee of the session Anoop was at his hilarious self. He masters the craft. After initial few minutes of interaction, we all settled down in that interestingly crafted venue – Blue Frog. I am still wondering why it is called Blue Frog – Neela Medak. Oh yes, one event needs a mention here – animated conversation with eminent fashion and lifestyle blogger – Sherry Shroff, I am sure Tanyaa must have achieved nirvana by this interaction with her favourite model & blogger.

I loved my interaction with very young and highly accomplished blogger – Anshul Tewari of YouthKiAwaaz.com.   His Libya experience should make India proud. This youngster taught us – Think like a blogger, Act like an entrepreneur! A very invaluable learning indeed. In Anshul’s words, “Principles of Journalism are applicable to blogging. You have to report the issues, you have to edit your posts, there should be issues which should not be questioned on stratosphere. We worked on the quality of conversation that young people are having, so we started teaching journalism to people, then started monetising blog which catered to local audience.” He added, “I asked my parents to give me a year and this is when Youth Ki Awaaz happened where great content is involved”. Then came along well cherished association with IndiBlogger which set the ball rolling. He concluded, “It was quite a struggle, we had to fight out parental pressure, peer pressure to make a mark with this unconventional choice. Thankfully parents were very understanding”.

YouthKiAwaaz.com, is an online platform for young people to express themselves on issues of critical importance. As per popular media, he started YouthKiAwaaz.com for news and views of the youth that found no place in the mainline media, and to break the stereotype of the Indian youth being apathetic.

The session was started by Vinit Goenka, the National Co-Convener for the Bhartiya Janata Party’s Information Technology Cell who shared, “Social Media is a platform of civil liberty. Social media arm of BJP works hard to connect with people of India through various channels. All of us know 2014 elections belonged to Social Media. Society is divided into two sets of people, people who are active on social media, and like to express and other set who do not like to interact. So we pay attention to them also”.

Very pretty Sherry Shroff as she fondly called, Scherezade Shroff already has over a million views on her YouTube channel and a huge subscriber base from all over the world. Scherezade uploads fashion & beauty videos, makeup & hair tutorials, DIY’s and lots of other fun videos on her YouTube channel. She also has a fashion blog called http://www.fashionalized.com. She shared, “Blogging is a passion for me, I just started with writing but there was no way I could commercialize it. I was a model and blogging was what I loved doing on and off. Then I started with networking, and now I blog every day, blog is your voice, that is the reason is you are a blogger and you want to be heard. Your focus is more important as a blogger. Your views should be your views”.

Lakshmi Rebecca, own online talk show, ‘Chai with Lakshmi’ which has had over 30,00,000 views. The show features people positively shaping India for the future. It was a pleasure listening to her who shared that how challenging it is to make video blogs and how did she overcome these challenges.

TheQtiyapaGuy” has become synonymous with New Age Entertainment and is hailed by Media as the driver of revolution in Content Creation. The Viral Fever’ Brand has been hailed as India’s most Progressive Content Company by some of the best & biggest minds in M&E Industry. With approximately 690,000 subscribers, 48 million views and less than 100 uploaded videos; these numbers are something every YouTube user would crave for and media moguls will pay universe to get, but it was never easy to reach these figures. Arunabh’s story is nothing less than inspiration and passion personified. He shared, “Life has been full of challenges, road blocks, law-suits, threatening calls, what not…but we knew that people were loving it. Creating such content, picking up stuff from the lives and moves of leading politicians of the country was no mean task. So much was at stake. Life was difficult initially. He added, “We had great time during election but this Government is providing very little fodder”.

Snigdha Manchanda, the founder of TeaTrunk and Story Ninja, as a Tea Sommelier has been rigorously trained under a Japanese Tea Master in Sri Lanka. She started Tea Trunk as a medium to provide people with good-quality tea. Through Story Ninja she reaches out to content creators, marketers, teachers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs or just about anyone who enjoys a story well told. She was very child – like with very melodious voice. Her expression was natural and she has accomplished so much at such a young age.

Amit Agarwal is a personal technology columnist and founder of Digital Inspiration, a popular how-to blog since 2004. He is the chief curator of the IndianBloggers.org directory. Amit has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from IIT Roorkee and, other than blogging, he also enjoys writing web apps and scripts that enhance productivity. Amit gave us wonderful blogging tips and we are able to incorporate even half of these, we will really go places as bloggers. Would love to connect with him!
Stand-Up comedian Bhavish Ailani had us in splits with his comedy.

In the end lot of prizes were WON ( I WON NONE)…just kidding! ( Disclaimer: No malice towards winners, all in good spirits).

This all-day, invite-only, super-charged, event on blogging, and nothing but blogging – Word up! Concluded with some great music and dancing – HairDown!

– Bienu Verma Vaghela for IndiBlogger

Can one Night stands, Stand?

Team Wordoholics

Read the previous part of the story, Chapter 10 here

Chapter 11

Shekhar returned home tired after spending day with his novelist friend and finds happier looking Tara and Roohi. Roohi was packing her bags for next morning and Tara was busy on phone with Jenny. He served the dinner himself and settled on the couch with his big mug of hot chocolate to watch TLC channel where they were showing Himalayan destinations. In no time his mind went back to the trekking / mountaineering expedition he had gone with his friends, accompanying a group of tourists of different nationalities. Why & what happened there, Shekhar is still seeking those answers, but tonight he wanted to relive those moments which he had fondly treasured. The story teller in him was awake…

…that was an unforgettable experience. What could have been worse than this, wrong person, wrong timing, wrong setting …but no wrong intentions, that was the only solace. Shekhar hurriedly walked towards his untidy room and parked himself on untidier bed with an intention to catch up some sleep which he badly needed. Good thing was Maa had gone to Pishi Maa’s house otherwise would have pestered him no end, “Khokon ki holo? Coffee, Chai…ki?

Hesitatingly he picked up the phone to call Tara after a week, just thinking of connecting with her and put her at ease. But the person on other side replied, “Tara has left the job and the city forever.” I retorted, “When, Where, Which city, Why,” but probably I only had the answers to these questions. Another chapter of my life was over which came and went like a breeze…

…Days passed, months passed, years passed, life was just the same for Shekhar but there was some kind of vacuum in his life. In the words of renowned film maker, Mahesh Bhatt, “Tanhai (loneliness) aapko aur bhi srujnatmak (Creative) bana deti hai”. This was happening with Sehkhar too. One fine evening he got an offer from a well-known publishing house from Delhi to commission stories and books for them. In no time he lapped this opportunity, now the showcase was ready for larger world for Shekhar Dutta’ s words & works. They started taking his works to next level, promoted him extremely well as accomplished author, his books were visible on stores on a pan India level, book-stores, book-reviews, book – fairs, book-discussions and book-fests became a norm. “Have I arrived”? Shekhar questioned himself. Maa was happy as she had a car to herself to visit her relatives and Kali Baari temple nearby.

In the evening while taking stroll on the mall road, and lost in his lingering thought that whatever it takes, he must take a break from all this to rejuvenate himself. Life was becoming too monotonous amidst all these interesting fictional characters of his stories. Luckily he chanced upon the board of travel agency whose advertisement he had seen in paper today.  Shekhar walked into the travel agency to check some outings to Himalayas. There he got to know about some exciting tours starting next Sunday from Dehradoon. He enrolled himself for that expedition along with that tourist group for Sahasradhara, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Joshimath etc.

 

chamoli joshimath urrakashi urrakashi

“Interesting, tiring & relaxing at the same time”, thought Shekhar. Maa was happy to see her son happy. Shekhar did some mental calculations and said, “Yes I can afford this holiday and a nice holiday gear from Dehradoon too!” The tour was to start next Sunday which looked like ages to Shekhar as living so close to Himalayas he had not visited these places…his excitement was palpable.

The journey started in a plush luxury bus from Dehradoon and his mind was wandering in the beautiful valleys during the course. Shekhar was in blissful state with no story ideas dancing in his head. He was calmly enjoying the journey, the jungles, the mountains, the lakes, the valleys, the flowers…what not!  “OMG! I am missing out on such much in life by remaining confined in four walls of my house”, he was talking to himself.  When bus halted for tea and snacks, Shekhar found himself bonding really well after some hesitation with this group who represented some really far flung countries like Romania, Spain, Mozambique, Brazil, Miami, Alaska, U.K. who were charting out Beatles numbers in chorus on their instruments.

Once again some surprises unfolded. He was introduced to handsome looking AVP from a publishing house in U.K. who loved Himalayas, was accompanied by his colleague Tara, who was none other than Ms Mukherjee. Obviously his excitement had taken a beating…but? How to face this awkward situation now?

man woman

After few hours of travel, he could notice Aryan and Tara getting close, really close. Any way when they reached Chamoli, weather took its ugliest turn, there was thundering, showering and land-slide, the bus had to halt and change track once weather improved. For some unknown reason, Tara had started noticing my presence. Amidst all this chaos, she came and sat next to me, whole day stuck in the bus they chatted heartedly on topics ranging from their school days, college days, first crushes, teachers, maa, baba, friends, frenemies…what not. This was the most wonderful conversation Shekhar ever had; He found Tara to be charming to the core. She admitted that she was attracted to Aryan as she finds him handsome, soft-spoken, loving and brings lots of presents for her from New Delhi’s Dilli Haat. Enough to charm any girl. “Were they in a relationship”? Yes! Probably. But Shekhar’s attraction towards Tara was unquestionable now.

Amidst all this, they did not know how time flew. It was evening and then suddenly they saw everybody around them discussing Aryan who had not returned yet from a nearby market, where he had gone to make a call to his mom from a PCO. Now was the time for bus to leave, but Aryan was nowhere in the sight. Tara got very anxious and insisted on waiting for Aryan. “But it is not possible. He will join us in the morning when weather improves”, tour conductor gave his farmaan.

business-casual-man1

Bus moved on and so his life…weather was slightly better at their next halt. Tara was very tired, anxious, worried, drained out and hungry at the same time. Shekhar felt like comforting her with a big hug but did not let this thought proceed. After having hot & sumptuous dinner, Tara  made a strange request to him, “Can I sleep in your tent, with you?” I am very scared to stay alone in my tent for the night, and I don’t trust anyone else”. Shekhar’s jaws dropped in dis-belief. He was aghast at this very strange request. His Indian sensibilities were at play. His life was quite bland and now this sudden decoction?? He reluctantly gave in to her request. Shekhar thought, he will sit and wait for the morning while watching this sleeping Cinderella. For any young man, writer, sensitive, sensible (???) and close observer of life and relationships, this was strange. Really didn’t know what to do. Tara slept well and Shekhar said to himself, “Great going till now”. Suddenly lightening struck and Cinderella…oops Tara’s sleep got disturbed, tired and sleepy Tara came very close to me, held him tight and started blabbering strange words…it was time two young people could not control their emotions…night was long, dark and tumultuous!

OMG! he said to himself, “What is this? Why me? Only me? Before dawn Tara moved to her tent and Shekhar saw her sipping coffee in the morning with Aryan. She did not want to face him anymore. Was it Shekhar’s fault only? Whatever it may be he wanted to steer clear. Shekhar returned from the tour mid way on pretext of Maa’s health but…Some strange feelings stayed on! Who can explain such one night stands? His heart was bombarding him with questions and more questions. Why Shekhar and Tara get trapped in such situations, was it destiny, probably Tara thought that way.  Now she had handsome Aryan and intellectual Shekhar in a tug of war in her heart and in her head.

Another year of incessant writing and his publishers from Delhi arranged a book-reading session for him in Jaipur’s Literary Fest. It looked like a dream opportunity, “Presenting my words & works to the literati of this world”, Shekhar murmured.

Excited Shekhar drove to Dehradoon to catch flight to Jaipur. Maa had come to see him off for his debut flight.

Hoping no drama ahead, Shekhar took off…but that was not to be!

img1 - jaipur (3)

Arrangements, venue, gathering, everything was just awesome, which Shekhar had never experienced before. He felt blessed to be here. For the first time in his life he chose to wear a formal suit for the evening dinner and he really looked handsome. Feeling little awkward, he sat on a table and started flipping Marwari menu; which read like Greek, Latin to him as he had rarely tasted cuisine of any other state. Suddenly he was distracted by a very familiar feminine voice, “Oh! No, not again…She can’t be Tara”, Yes! She was Tara who was involved in some serious discussion with an author. With red-bindi on her forehead, gold Bangles in her hand and beautifully draped Magenta Dhaka sari with Pashmina shawl overthrown, she looked a resplendent Bengali bride. Married? Thank God! While in his thoughts, she turned her back to adjust her sari & Lo & Behold! Their eyes met. In no time, Tara was sitting in front of Shekhar, with lot of emotions crossing his face and probably her heart…but they were happy to see each other. She worked in a U.K. publishing house and was representing it in Jaipur fest. First thing she asked him was about Maa. After having Marwari dinner for the first time in his life, that too in a formal suit, and Tara for company, setting looked strange. After dinner Tara told Shekhar how it was like working in the U.K. publishing house and why she is planning to return to Mumbai by year end. She also expressed her desire to work with him while she is in Mumbai. Shekhar was a relaxed man after ages, but past moved before his eyes like a show-reel. His feelings took a spin once again when Tara told him, “though I am not married yet, but I believe in institution of marriage and I am a strong and independent woman, and love taking life in her stride”. Though she was talking of strength and independence, Tara looked emotionally charged, vulnerable, probably Aryan had ditched her and settled for a Punjabi girl…who knows.  Now one more question followed him, “What does she think of one night stands”?  Can it be love? Shekhar shrugged his head.

Can one night stands, Stand? Phew!

Story idea?? Nope!

Next morning when he was calling Maa from hotel lobby, a pat on his back disturbed him, she was Tara who said, “I will also talk to Maa”. He handed over the phone to her and they were in an unending conversation on this STD call. In the evening Tara told him that she was traveling to Mussorie on Thursday for some work there. Now…Ghosh…what is this yaar…hope I am not involved. They traveled together and exchanged notes on Jaipur fest.

Who knew another drama was unfolding in Shekhar’s life.

After a tiring journey, when he reached home, he noted that the house looked decorated with marigold flowers, buntings, lights, what not right from the gate. “Maa has done all this for Pujo celebrations”, he thought. Now Shekhar found his maashi maa, pishi maa, cousins, their children in their finneries…lot of activity in the household. Tired, he called for Coffee. “What was going on in my house? My room was looking like a decorated den. What is this yaar? Where have my stuff vanished? Why this bight pink bed sheets & curtains?” Questions & more questions.

Maa stepped into Shekhar’s room and declared, “It’s not Pujo but your marriage this evening, go and get ready for pre marriage ceremonies”. He angrily retaliated, “I am not doing this. Why a poor girl is being trapped? Think of her Maa, I am not husband material at all, and my life is fine”. But their was no point arguing, the stage was set for his hanging ceremony. She did not buy any of my arguments.

bong bride
The Bakra was ready for halaali in the evening. His mama from Cooch Behar brought the bride to the altar, to his greatest amazement, she was none other than Madam Tara Mukherjee…who looked coy Bengali bride in Red & gold Benares Saree, gold jewellery, make-up and beautiful to say the least. Shekhar & Tara were author & editor last evening and man & wife this evening. No wonder, Maa was so excited about his going to Jaipur, got him suit stitched, Shekhar recollected Maa receiving phone calls at odd hours and chatted animatedly. So were they in touch? They laid this trap for him? Shekhar was still seeking answers.

Destiny had transpired this for Shekhar and Tara.

Maa lived happily ever after…

…Now Aryan Ahuja is their neighbour.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ Blogadda #celebrate Blogging

Three cheers for 10665344_764322290293277_5715540420956964706_n

Read next part of the story Chapter 12 Here

– By Bienu Verma Vaghela

Korea Incentive Night celebrated in Mumbai with élan

Korea Tourism Organization, organized Incentive Travel Mart followed by ‘Korea Incentive Night’ on 29th April 2014 at ITC Grand, Mumbai. Korea Tourism Organization, New Delhi is leading the group of delegates comprising of Regional Tourism Organization from Jeju, Gyeonggi, Busan province, and Destination Management Companies and Cultural troupe from Korea.

The Travel Mart highlighted products and offerings from Korea on MICE perspective and it was attended by over 200 people from travel trade and corporates. Korea Tourism Organization is providing platform between Indian Travel Trade, Media & Corporate and Korean Suppliers. It’s a great opportunity for Business Networking among with Indian and Korean Partners for future relationship.

Korea has been ranked at no. 6 as ‘MICE Destination’ in the world. Korea has achieved the position at no. 3 for organizing the MICE events in Asia. Korea Tourism Organization is playing a core role in assisting and securing events for Korea. Korea Tourism Organization provides support from the first planning stages right to the final farewells. The utmost charm of Korea is its ‘energy’. No other country has such condensed and unique energy and charm that makes a truly memorable destination.

Korea Tourism Organization invited the Most Delicious Performance in the World ‘ Bibap’ – Bibap is a nonverbal performance based on the Korean representative dish, bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and beef). As a nonverbal performance, the actors mimic the sound of making bibimbap with beat-boxing and a cappella, demonstration of motions through b-boying, and acrobatics and martial arts. The performance was for about 30 minutes without any intermission.

“This is the biggest group of delegates’ of 10 organizations and over 30 people visiting India. Mumbai being Financial and Capital market of India is very important market for us to target. Since Korea is emerging as a preferred location for shooting, we will be targeting Bollywood for shooting in Korea also. Korea companies in Hi Tech, Automotive, IT, Semiconductors, Iron & Steel, Ship Building, Food and Packaging and Wellness has established globally and we will be focusing to target the same sectors in India for MICE events” Mr. Jae Sang Lee, Director, Korea Tourism Organization.

 

Korea Incentive Night-1 Korea Incentive Night-2


To know more about planning a MICE to Korea, write to:

Ms. Seema Kala @india@knto.or.kr or Or visit:www.visitkorea.or.kr

– Report by Bienu Verma Vaghela