Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Dash of 'Bombay' in Bangalore

The flagship 'Bombay Store' has spread its legacy from the maximum city to the silicon valley of the country. Situated in the heart of Bangalore city, at 1 MG Road Mall, the lifestyle store has continued its heritage of bringing swadeshi artifacts and home decor to the patrons. I was one of the lucky bloggers to get a chance of touring the newly opened outlet along with four other bloggers.

The Founder- Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Ethnic Lampshades
Being a Mumbaikar, now based in Bangalore, I had already picked some stuff from the Fort outlet in Mumbai a couple of time. But this store and the products on display totally left me enchanted.

To begin with, the items in home decor section of the store is sure to figure in every home maker's wishlist.
Unlike the other retails outlets which caters only to the contemporary taste, The Bombay Store blends well the traditional and modern approach thereby giving the consumers a wide array
of choices.  

The archiac lamp shades caught my eye the moment I entered the store. They were beautifully done and came in different colours. 

Another intriguing home decor item were t he round shaped woollen  balls which anyone would mistakenly take for being kids play item but
it was actually a fancy piece which is quite a 'in-thing' now.

Fancy Round balls 
Fancy balls as home decor pieces
Up next it was time to explore the 'Elephant Company' products. Inspired by the pachyderm this collection brings out a rare appeal to all the products under its belt. From mouse pads to fancy umbrella, fancy tissue holders to trays these range of items were quite a hit amongst the buyers.

Tissue holders
The trays on display wore a pretty picture and were inspired by the 'India' theme. Interestingly they had each city on display. Talk about serving your city!

Trays in the 'India' theme

Another  highlight of the store were the Mughal motifs and artifacts which I'm sure are a Bombay Store exclusive. These pretty things serve as perfect gifting options. They not only add to the decor but also bring out the essence of a rich cultural background that the Mughals have brought to India. 

Mughal Motifs


Traditional clocks to adorn you wall
The monsoon fever was also well caught up in the store with umbrellas in vibrant colours, newspaper prints and animals prints hanging across the walls.
Newspaper print umbrella
India themed Umbrella

The tour ended with on a funny note when I came across a set of T-shirt that associated the major cities of the country. And it goes without saying that the city which amused me the most was Mumbai. Take a look and let me know if it truly depicts the attitude of us Mumbaikars :)

Mumbai-inspired T shirt

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Bombay Store: A Perfect Blend of Traditional and Contemporary Style

The Bombay Store, first thing that pops up on my mind hearing these words is rich heritage and culture. The Bombay store is truly a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary style. Started in December 1906 by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, The Bombay Store is still classy as ever.

More than 100 years of tradition is what sets 'The Bombay Store' apart from other retail outlets. From Home Decor, Wellness, Fashion accessories to Artefacts, it has a variety of products that appeal to different tastes and sensibilities.  

On one hand they have their range of traditional 'Mughal Motifs' trays, coasters, candle holders and on the other hand they have a popular range of 'Ishstyle' apparel which is quite a hit amongst the youth.

My favourite section of 'The Bombay Store' has to be Artefacts and Home Decor. They have a wide variety of equisite artefacts in metal, leather, wood and clay to perk up the ambience of your home and make it more beautiful. Be it the 'Om' hanging bells or the cute Ganesha idols, these artefacts are bound to mesmerize you. 

If you haven't experienced the shopping at 'The Bombay Store', you for sure are missing on something.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Celebrating Dravid

With over fifty tributes bookmarked, hundreds of tweets favourited and another hundred statuses liked, March 9th, 2012, has brought in enough 'Dravid fodder and scoop' for all Dravid fanatics like me. The only remorse being, its not just another ton or a milestone of his, that all of them are celebrating; its his swan song that the fans and fellow team mates are writing about.

For me, a cricket loather, it all started with a heated discussion between my uncle and dad,that I was privy to. It was Rahul Dravid's ODI debut. While my uncle felt he was just another youngster making his foray into the international circuit, my dad, having followed Dravid's domestic career, knew he would go a long way. The discussion boiled down to a bet, where one felt his career won't last for more than five years and the other was certain that his presence in the team wouldn't be questioned for the next ten years. Thus began my fanfare towards the game and the man.

There were times when I would  feel a void if I didn't see the Indian team in action, Dravid to be precise. His milestones brought more mirth than the team victory. Eventually I realised, with those lofty cover drives and orthodox forward defenses, keeping with the gloves and fielding at the slips or forward short leg; I had begun to romance the game. Over the years like any star struck teenager and an ardent fan, I collected numerous SportsStar issues, newspaper articles featuring him and his heroics, woke up at wee hours (during tours abroad) midst exams, not to study, but to watch him play. Not to forget the failed attempts to meet him and let him know about my fanfare.

And fourteen years later,as luck would have it, I was being interviewed for my first ever job, by the man himself, Rahul Dravid. Now how many of them can brag about being chosen by their idol for a job they always wanted to a part of? Well, I proudly can. I knew Dravid was a dedicated craftsman, but what I didn't know was that he does carry his dedication towards his work, off the field too. During the 20 minute interview, where he gauged my cricketing know-how and team fanaticism, he did get constant phone calls. While anyone in his place would have attended the calls, Dravid simply chose to concentrate on the task in hand and choose an able candidate for the job.

My first job appointment

After being chosen by him, to tour with the team for the Champions League in South Africa, I got a chance to know him from close quarters for the next one month. Apart from getting to know him professionally, Dravid, the person, continued to entice me. One of the first in the team to hit the nets and gym, and the last one to leave; unwavering concentration and grit  in place. With age was catching up, he worked doubly hard and didn't even miss the optional practice sessions. I am yet to come across a person more dedicated to his craft. The well read person that he is, a dash of humour and sarcasm always accompanied his talks, albeit in a healthy way. I remember him ruing about how the WiFi in the hotel we were staying at, had gotten slow overnight and he asked Robin Uthappa whether everyone in the team was logged onto Skype, chatting with families and friends, for the WiFi to have gone bust.

At a Team Dinner outing.
But one incident that distinctly stands out in my memory, is the parting shot that Dravid gave me. As a mark of souvenir, he gave away the jersey, he wore during the match he had just played that evening. Quite an unexpected gesture, since I hadn't asked for it. Being an ardent fan of his, he knew how much it meant to me.
Most valued possession- Dravid jersey.

All this just seems so recent, I now find it tough to accept that an illustrious career has come to an end. Team India's go-to man, won't come out to bat at no.3 now, nor will he field at the slips. After sixteen glorious years of serving the game, Dravid has left too big a void to fill.
And my dad, having won the above bet, is optimistic about a Dravid comeback, when he sees the Indian middle order in doldrums. As a fan of the game, I can only wish the team does well, with or without Dravid.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Cricket connects in the Rainbow Nation

Thanks to the amazing hospitality provided by the Rainbow Nation and its people, I just couldn't sum it all up in my  previous blog. Here's an account of my interaction with two..well, I won't reveal it all out here. Read on to know who these two gentlemen are.

Venue: Hotel Sandton Sun lobby, Sandton city, Jo'burg.

Early morning buffet breakfasts at the Sandton was something that I always looked forward to. Apart from the yummy breakfast , I got to meet interesting people there. Seated across me were two men, in their late fifties and what started off as a  casual cricket chat went on to become a full fledged tete-e-tete.

 The two gentlemen Arrie de Beer, a South African and Ronald Hope from England, told me that they had been to India on work. Curiosity creeping, I wanted to know if the Indian Premier League (IPL) had got them all the way to India. And surprisingly it had.

Being the Chief blogger for one of the IPL teams, Royal Challengers Bangalore, participating in the tournament; I was more keen to know, which team they were rooting for this season. And faced some disappointment when I received a unanimous "Our lips are sealed. We can't take sides." Still prodding a bit further I let them in on my fanfare for the Royal Challengers, hopeful that they would spill some beans or their take on RCB. And worked!

Ronald Hope and Arrie de Beer(r)

Arrie, just couldn't stop raving about our coach, Ray Jennings (yes, I did mention him in my first blog). Being a cricket enthusiast and having travelled around the world with teams, he knew most of the players from close quarters. And Ray, he said, was one of the finest individuals and mentors a team could ever ask for. (No..his Protean connect has got nothing to do with the volley of praises for the coach)

Ronald Hope, from Manchester, was more of a football fan and was surprised about how we Indians follow cricket so ardently. "Isn't Hockey your national game?" he asked. I sheepishly admitted that it was but we Indians followed cricket as a religion and hockey as a result took a backseat.

Now, it was my turn to fill them in about the various fan club activities that team RCB undertook and how we were doing our bit for the environment, apart from being a cricket franchisee. The two were mighty impressed by the 'Go Green' initiatives.

As the rendezvous was cut short by Indian team skipper, M S Dhoni's entry, I wanted to know their profession, as they seemed huge cricket buffs like me. I was in for a surprise when I got to know who the 'fans in disguise' really were.

P.S  Sir Arrie and Sir Ronald Hope, were the two ICC officials monitoring the tournament (CLT20). And finally Sir Arrie did give in to my persuasion and admitted that 'HE IS ROOTING FOR THE ROYAL CHALLENGERS' All thanks to this chance encounter at the breakfast, I found a new RCB fan.

This post is my entry to Around the World with Expedia contest at Indiblogger.
Escapades are fun when you go all out and enjoy, not having to worry about the hole it burns in your pockets. Expedia, now in India, gets you the best travel deals while you make the most of your holiday.

Friday, 24 February 2012

From the Rainbow Nation with love.

While the world was still reeling under the withdrawal symptoms of the FIFA World Cup in 2010, I had a chance to visit South Africa, after being chosen as the chief blogger of a cricket team. Three weeks in the rainbow nation with a fun filled tournament to be a part of, it was tough to bid adieu to the wonderful country and its people.

Touchdown Jo'burg
Fourteen hours, two flights and a few airline meals later we arrived in Jo'burg. My first glimpse of the city and I absolutely fell in love with it. Our first stop in South Africa was the High Performance Centre in Pretoria. Huge green lawns, lush outfields coupled world class infrastructure, the HPC was every sports persons dream come true.
Here, I was in for some world class cricket, rugby and football action. And yes! I did get my hands (legs rather) on the Jabulani balls which were quite a hit after the FIFA World Cup.

The local team with Jabulani balls

Bon Appetit
 One meal in SA is like a buffet in India. The portions are just humongous. The 'rainbow' not only applies to the country and its people, but also to the cuisine that South Africa has to offer. The cultural melting pot that this country is, I was in for some lip smacking delicacies throughout my stay. While the Butchers Shop and Grill at the Mandela Square, served every kind of meat available on earth, I tried kudu and snail (albeit its awful taste) to get a hang of the local cuisine. Also a wild spinach dish, Morogo, which is an ancient local preparation, might win your taste buds over.  But its Nandos and its hot peri peri and Creme Soda that I really crave for.

Squid pasta.. look at freaking quantity!

Surfs was time to discover Durban

Amazing beach fronts, sand installations, seafood and a whole lot of Indian population, thats Durban for you. Renting a bike and cycling along the entire beachfront promenade,was the perfect way to unwind. The huge oceanic waves lashing past and the early morning chill hitting my face..ah bliss!
Durban beach front
Up next, was a trip to Ushaka marine world, where it was time to let go off all my inhibitions and soak in (here, I mean literally) the world of marine amusement.  
Numerous passage ways of huge underground aquariums from turtles to sharks, pythons octopus and beautiful bright fish this place had it all and more. Ocean walking and shark diving just added to the mirth and daredevilry of the outing. Holed up in huge glass cage with those scary looking monsters all around you, phew, whoever said shark diving was fun!

My blog would be incomplete without a mention about the warm people I met during my stay in South Africa. From cricket coaches to Cage fighters, Physiotherapists to the Hooters girls, I was in for some amazing South African hospitality throughout my stay.

Ray Jennings
 A hard taskmaster at work, Coach Jennings makes sure everyone in the team is performing to his abilities.He planned and organised a visit to the Soccer city stadium. 
Ray Jennings at Soccer City Stadium
Based on the design of a calabash, an African pot, this ninety five thousand capacity stadium is an engineering marvel and shows what a beautiful sporting culture the South Africans have. Thanks to Ray's efforst I had the privilege to enter restricted areas in the stadium, even walking on the pitch, something very few people are allowed to do. Driving back we passed Soweto, the biggest black township in SA, also the Hector Pieterson Memorial, a wonderful monument built to commemorate the black uprising 

The Mandela house in Soweto

Another highlight was stopping by Nelson Mandela's small brown brick house in Soweto, the place where the Nobel Laureate was born. Throughout the tour, Jennings kept us supplied with information about South Africa's history. I wish my teachers in school were so interesting, I would have scored a lot better in History. Conversations with him ranged from cricket and rugby to history,from diets to his newborn granddaughter.

Evan Speechly
'Ever happy' Evan Speechly and  me
If there was an award for staying happy always, Mr. Speechly would win it hands down. Being assoicated with various cricket and rugby teams as a physiotherapist, Evan can sense a niggle with a mere touch. An avid reader and an excellent mimic, we bonded big time over books and humour. I did take few Hebrew lessons,from the Jewish born physio,considering the penchant that I have for learning new languages.

Theo Padayachee

 Like most African nations, South Africa too earns the dubious distinction of being rated high on crime chart. But with security officers like Theo on board, I didnt have to worry about being harmed in any way. 
Theo Padayachee- the enforcer
The intimidating figure that Theo is, I was in for a surprise when he told me that his ancestors had moved from Tamil Nadu in India to Cape Town, before independence. He could actually speak fluent Tamil as well. What really amused me was, Theo's intriguing past. He used to be a cage fighter, who had even served a term in the prison , before he mend his ways and got into providing security solutions to those who sought her services. But our interaction was more to do with discussing the latest gadgets and social media, than the protection business. Yes! we are still connected via Facebook.

The Hooters girl
HOot Hoot Hooters: Danelle

Not just a pretty 'Hooters' face, Danelle, ended up befriending and showing us around Jo'burg. From  shopping at the flea markets in Rose Bowl to the hopping to most happenings places in town, we simply had a ball. While Danelle is a football fanatic,cricket buffs, my friend Shireen and I, provided ample cricket gyaan and even ended up giving Danelle tickets to one of the matches. Glad she was and how!

The Kiddie brigade

Andrew (extreme right) with his friends.

You can call it a case of saving the best for the last, this bunch of cute little kids at the grass banks of Centurion, were the most endearing of the lot. Being the chief blogger of the team, I was on the lookout to meet interesting fans across the stadium where I came across Andrew and his friends, who were cheering their lungs out. Andrew's dad who had accompanied the kids, told that the six year old, was a huge fan of Protean side and Jacques Kallis was his favourite player. As we got talking, Andrew said he harboured cricketing aspirations like his idol. While I chose him as the 'Fan of the Day', his dad was elated knowing his son would be on the internet.

With the tournament done, it was time to get back to India, back to the grind, the normalcy et al. But I'll never forget the adventure, the food, the sights and sounds, the people I met and the mirth that ensued in the Rainbow nation.

P.S: Escapades are fun when you go all out and enjoy, not having to worry about the hole it burns in your pockets. Expedia, now in India, gets you the best travel deals while you make the most of your holiday.

This post is my entry to Around the World with Expedia contest at Indiblogger.