Big, Beady Necklaces

I picked up these necklaces from Sarojini Nagar and I thought they were really eye catching. What would you wear with these?

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Cheston Cold and other Banned Cold Drugs!

Last week, I caught a pretty bad cold. Normally, I’m quite lazy and I don’t like to take any medicines because I always forget and tend to skip doses in between. But this time, I felt way too sick and I had to go work. I went to the local pharmacist and he didn’t have the medicine that I wanted so he recommended Cheston Cold (by Cipla). I was in no position to say no or doubt him because (a) my head was heavy and my nose was drippy and (b) a weird sand storm was brewing outside and I had to rush back to my PG.

I have a habit of checking out medicines online even if they are prescribed by a doctor. I’m just curious! Anyway, so it turned out that Cheston Cold has been BANNED in India since January 2011 (edit: I just learned that the Madras High Court revoked the ban a few months ago) and banned in other countries several years ago! The reason being that studies show that phenylpropanolamine (PPA), which is there in Cheston Cold, can cause hemorrhagic strokes in women between the age of 18-49.  Great, I fit the criteria perfectly!

There seems to be confusion about the safety of PPA. While many countries have banned it for a long time now, pharma companies are saying that there seems to be no side effects in Indians! Seems like, we’re pretty tolerant 😛 Anyway, just to be on the safe side, here’s a list of drugs that contain PPA.  Next time, you have the sniffles, be sure to check the ingredients before you take it!

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Product Review: Head & Shoulders Lemon Fresh

This past month in Delhi has caused my hair and skin to be in a bad shape.  My face has become so dry that layers of skin are peeling off! I tried everything but so far, nothing has worked. Any suggestions?

Luckily, it’s my last week here and soon I’ll be in Bangalore, where my skin stays much much better.  Even though, I can’t do anything about my dry, peeling skin, I found a great solution to my hair problems. The dry and dusty air of Delhi had made my scalp dry and itchy. I normally use a SLES/paraben  free shampoo but somehow it just wasn’t get the work done. On top of that, I discovered that I had DANDRUFF! Let me tell you, I, very rarely have dandruff and needless to say, I hate it! My solution to dandruff has always been Head & Shoulders. After seeing all the boards in the metro stations advertising for the new Head & Shoulders Lemon Fresh Shampoo, I decided to try it.

I wish I could have taken a few scalp photos to show you how this has worked. It’s a little awkward to ask my PG mates to take a photo of my head 😛 Anyway, this shampoo has really worked wonders and within two-three washes, there was a visible difference.

New Head & Shoulders Lemon Fresh

 

 

Long list of chemicals.

 

 

Milky pale yellow.

 

 

Cost: Rs 129

Quantity: 170ml

Pros:

1. Gets rid of the dandruff!

2. Nice cooling sensation.

3. Reasonably priced.

Cons:

1. Ah the chemicals! I’m going to switch back to my old shampoo after another 2 washes. It scares me to use this on a regular basis.

2. Weird smell. It’s not too bad but I don’t like it much either.

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Here to stay!

As usual, I’ve been procrastinating! It’s such a terrible habit and I can’t seem to get rid of it.It’s been several months since I last posted anything on this blog and suddenly, today I felt the urge to post something again. I guess it’s just the feeling of being in Delhi? Yes, I’m here again for the summer. I’ve been here for over a month now but I haven’t been doing much outside work and the occasional shopping trips.  The infamous scorching heat of Delhi  is to be blamed!

However, what I HAVE been doing a lot is eating at the State Bhawans. My workplace is located in Chanakyapuri – an area with swanky embassies, official residences and fancy cars. The eating options are either too expensive for a daily affair or cheap but very unhygienic. So my co-intern and I decided to check out some of the State Bhawan canteens around the area.

Gujarat Bhawan (Kautilya Marg)

Our undoubted favourite is Gujarat Bhawan where you can get a thali for Rs.80 and it includes, the usual rice and roti, three curries out of which one will be a paneer dish, one dry sabzi, one snack item (pakora/dhokla) and salad. The thali is unlimited so you can be sure that you won’t be able to stay awake at work after such a heavy lunch! Jokes aside, the food is really tasty, not too rich or oily and has a sense of familiarity (ghar ka khana). They used to include a dessert along with the thali but now they charge separately (Rs 15). So far, I had the chance to try basundi and aam raas. A little too sweet for my liking but nice to end a meal. The service is really efficient and you don’t need to call them. They will come to you! Sometimes, it can get a little crowded for lunch but it’s definitely worth the wait! Needless to say, they do not serve non-vegetarian food.

Orissa Niwas (4, Bordolai Marg)

Being an Oriya, I love dalma, pakkala, machha bhaja and the list goes on. I haven’t had good Oriya food for nearly six months now which was the last time I went home. So I was delighted to find the Orissa Niwas restaurant quite close to my office. You can a regular thali (Rs 60), a deluxe thali (Rs 80, not sure), non-vegetarian side options and even a pakkala thali! I haven’t tried the pakkala or the deluxe thali. I always just stick to the regular thali. For those who haven’t heard of pakkala, it’s rice which has been fermented in water and you eat both the rice and water along with some garnishes of your choice and an array of side dishes.  The regular thali comes with rice/roti, dalma, one sabzi, one vegetable curry, khatta, salad, papad and kheer. The food is authentic and true to the flavour of the Oriya cuisine. I really loved the place and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try Oriya food.

Himachal Sadan (Sardar Patel Marg)

The last bhawan for the day is Himachal Sadan. This building is located on the main road yet a little inside so it might be a little difficult to spot and unlike, the other two canteens, this place was pretty quiet.  We ordered thalis (Rs 60) which comprised tandoori style rotis, a black dal, malai kofta, raitha and salad. It was simple and didn’t have as many curried as the Gujarati thali but it was tasty and fresh. This place seemed more like a small kitchen for the guests staying at the bhawan rather than a restaurant. So don’t expect many options here.

That wraps it up for now! Next week we’re planning to hit a few more Bhawans and I’ll keep you updated. I’ll also try to take a few pictures so you can drool looking at the food! Until then, let me know if you have any recommendations or if you’ve eaten at any of these Bhawans.

🙂

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Heading to Mumbai

Hello,

It’s my last weekend in Delhi and I’m torn apart about how I should spend my last 36 hours here! I want to pay a visit to the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, Paharganj, Indian National Museum and the Daryaganj Book Market. So many things to do, such little time. I regret all those Saturdays and Sundays where I slept in late. Oh well, I’ve got to make the most of whatever time I have. On a happier note, I’m now going to Mumbai for a month! I’m really excited about this trip as well, especially for the culinary delights and the beautiful architecture that the city has to offer. Also, let’s not forget the shopping! If you stay in Mumbai, or if you know some awesome places around the city, please do share them with me!

Anyway I’ll be updating soon. Here are some sneak peeks 🙂

One of my favourite places


Beautifully chaotic - Chandini Chowk

Restaurant Review - Watermelon, Khan Market

The famous Gali Paranthe Wali

This really needs no explanation.

Restaurant Review - The Kitchen, Khan Market

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Kolkata Getaways I : Bienvenue à Chandannagore!

A few weeks ago, my friends and I decided to just get away from the city for a day and we were confused whether we should relax by the riverside at Raiichak or do a bit of sightseeing near Cooch Behar. Since we just couldn’t pick between the two, we decided to go to Chandannagore, a former French colony on the banks of the Ganges River and just 33 kilometres from Kolkata.

How to get there

We took a local train from Howrah station and since there are trains leaving every 15-20 minutes, it wasn’t very hard to get the tickets but the station was really chaotic, as expected! So we had to ask a few people to find out about the platforms and each person had a different answer! I’ve noticed that sometimes people are willing to help you even if they don’t know a thing. Little do they know, they’re actually not helping at all! Anyway we managed to get on to the right train and we found places to sit so our journey was comfortable. It took us about 45 minutes from Howrah to the Chandannagore Station and the best part about the journey was the fact that it only cost us Rs.8! Once you’re at the station, you can take a cycle rickshaw or an auto rickshaw to the “Church.” (This should cost you around 10-15rs)

You can also hire a car or drive down there by taking Grand Trunk road or the Delhi Highway route. If you want a more leisurely journey, then you can even take a boat from Kolkata or Belur and cruise down the river.

What to see

The first place we went to see was the Sacred Heart Church of Chandannagore but when we got there around 10am, the gates were locked. The gardeners who were inside the locked compound (strange?) told us we had to speak to the Father to allow us to enter, so we went in search of the Father but in vain! We did find his P.A. who was a really annoying chap. He pretended to be really busy when he was really just hanging outside the premises of the adjoining school and told us we could only go to the church at 5 during evening mass. When we told him we were from Kolkata and we just had a few hours to spare, he said he can try to open it at 4, “specially” for us and when we asked him why couldn’t he just unlock the gates for 10 minutes, he said he doesn’t have the time to unlock the gate when he was standing right in front of it! So we asked him to give us the key and he said that we wouldn’t have the strength to open the gate! Finally, we just left it at that and went to visit the Nandadulal Temple which was, no surprises, closed! We had an hour to kill before the museum opened so we decided to take a ferry ride to the other side and back.

Then we hit the museum, which thankfully was open! Unfortunately, cameras weren’t allowed inside so I couldn’t get any photographs. The museum had an interesting array of artifacts from the Anglo-French War, maps used by explorers, furniture and my favourite exhibit – newspapers from the 19th and 20th century.

By now, we were famished! There are two restaurants here – Rasoi and Hotel Shalimar. We decided to eat at the latter because we had seen it from the rickhsaw. The restaurant was clean, reasonably priced and the food was good. They serve mostly North Indian and Chinese. We were hoping to eat some good fish but unfortunately they didn’t have any fresh fish.

It was still early afternoon and we had pretty much seen most of Chandannagore’s attractions. Apparently there’s an amusement park but we weren’t interested. The other place of interest was Patal Bari ( The Underground House) but we heard that it wasn’t open to the public. So we took a stroll down the Chandannagore Strand and sat down on a bench facing the river. This part of the town is really beautiful. It’s the best place to sit and watch the sun set over the river.

Next, we went looking for Surya Kumar Modak’s sweets shop. They are famous for creating the Jolbhara Sandesh which is a syrup filled milk based sweet. They also had a unique variety of flavoured sandeshes. We tried the Jolbhara, which was really sweet (and tasty too), because of the syrup filled inside.  Unless you have a sweet tooth, you won’t be able to eat this by yourself. We also tried the Chocolate Sandesh which was quite good as well. It tasted like chocolate ice cream.

Our last stop for the day was a 138 year old bakery near the Church called Das Bakery. They still make french bread so we decided to pick up a loaf. They also have cookies, buns and breads. The place looked as if it had not changed over the past century. The paint was peeling, the shop was dark and dingy but I loved every bit of it.

Tips

* The musuem and the Church are completely closed on Saturdays so avoid going there on a Saturday.

* Try to attend the morning or evening mass at the Church. This way you’ll get to have a look inside.

* You can even try to catch a play or a dance performance or a concert at the Rabindra Bhavan.

* Chandannagore doesn’t have many hotels so it’s better to do a day trip from Kolkata.

*Hygienic restrooms are rare in Chandannagore but the one at the Museum is really clean.

The Chandannagore Museum

Random House

Jute Mill on the other side of the River.

The Nandadulal Temple which was closed.

Half Eaten Jolbhara and Chocolate Sandesh

Chandannagore Strand

Sacred Heart Church

Sacred Heart Church from the side

The 138 year old Das Bakery

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Beat the heat at Keventers – Connaught Place

The temperatures in Delhi are soaring and the weather this afternoon was pretty bad but we still decided to do a bit of exploring. At the end of the day, we were exhausted! We dragged ourselves around Connaught Place, thinking of places to just sit and lap up the air conditioning but we found something much better – Keventers’ Milkshakes!

Keventers has been around for decades and decades. It’s one of those places that hasn’t changed much over the years, maybe other than the prices! The place is so popular that you’ll find a huge crowd outside the shop even though there are no signboards. Many old timers say that the milkshakes are not as good as they used to be and now they have more ice and less milk. I don’t know about all that and to me (not very fond of milkshakes), they were delicious! I could taste the creaminess of the milk and it wasn’t overdone with sugar. They were served in huge 400ml glass bottles which really added to the charm of the whole place.  Keventers also has some snack items like patties and stuffed kulchas but I was too full to eat anything! All in all, it was the perfect refresher for a hot day.

Also, while paying the cashier, notice how fast his hands move! They never fail to amaze me 🙂

Crowd waiting for their milkshakes.

The looooooong line.

Strawberry and Pineapple Shakes. You can even get Chocolate, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Mango umm and a lot more!

 
 
 
Keventers
17A Connaught Place,
Delhi
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Photos – Peace March for Ngaba

I attended a peace march last week organized for the current situation in Ngaba. Here are some photographs from the march, unfortunately I don’t have too many of them! But do check out Lhasa Rising and the Students for Free Tibet website and facebook page to learn more about the cause.

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Haul – Earrings!

Hey!

I know many people don’t like haul posts but I just wanted to share how much I love shopping in Delhi especially for accessories. I am seriously addicted to buying jewellery but then again, I guess that’s the case with every girl! Here are some of the earrings I’ve picked up and all of them are under Rs 150ish!

clockwise: forever21, street shop in lajpat nagar, fabindia and forever21.

all from street shops in lajpat nagar and janpath

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