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Showing posts from 2015

Inside the Anne Frank Museum | Amsterdam

"Her would haves are our possibilities..."  - Emma Thompson on visiting the Anne Frank Huis

Off late, I do not go a night without watching a documentary on the Holocaust. My interest in that important and unforgettable part of mankind's history piqued when I stumbled upon an interview between Oprah Winfrey and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel. The manner in which innocent Jew men, women and children were massacred during the Second World War, gives me goosebumps. The world knew what was happening inside the concentration camps but no one did anything, everyone watched silently - this is somethingHolocaust survivors speak of in their documented interviews. Wiesel's book 'Night' published in 1960 is his first person account as a Holocaust survivor and is a must-read. One of the most remarkable accounts of those dark years came from Anne Frank. She took to her red and white checkered diary to vent out her irritations and feelings during her years in hiding in Amst…

Arriving In Vienna One Night

Vienna, the capital of Austria rests on Europe's longest river, the Danube, a river whose color changes from blue to yellow to muddy brown. Wien (German for Vienna) is a city that's rich with imperial history, where art and creativity flourish. It grabs top spot on the best-cities-to-live-in survey. Naturally then, I came to expect a lot from my trip to Vienna after spending an enthralling four days in Amsterdam and Belgium. 
I landed at Vienna International Airport by KLM at 11.30PM. While the airport wasn't stunning, my mind wandered to figuring out the most economical way to get to my hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Vienna Schoenbrunn. But the airport had signs only in German (seriously???), so going by the pictorial icons I figured out the fastest way to get to the city center was the City Airport Train (CAT); a 19 euro fee for a 15 minute hassle-free ride (it's cheaper to buy return tickets). What was a pain was using the automated ticket machine which for some odd …

Bravo Sweden!

Earlier this month, Sweden hit the headlines by announcing its enforcement of six hour work days. A bold move there Sweden, but definitely a welcome first-mover. The country really has shown how much it cares for its people by making this move. The idea behind this enforcement is to enable people to get more work done is less time (read increase productivity) whilst leaving them with enough time and energy in the day to pursue their personal life. I absolutely stand by it. 
I have always thought that people have been made to or think they have to invest 90% of their day in work. But why? Do relationships not matter? Does putting effort in a hobby or a non-work creative pursuit not matter? Who made it mandatory to work from 9AM to 5PM? And that by the way are not the standard work hours. In India at least. Maximum companies have a 9AM start time which means your day begins at say, 7AM when you wake up, get ready and probably get some breakfast into your system. The work day by all mea…

Trivia and Trifles of the Effervescent Amsterdam

While on a recent trip to Amsterdam, I learnt so much about this vibrant city and its dwellers. Amsterdam has had a long history of being innovative, creating many firsts and paving the road as a precedent. Through my trip, I typed on my phone some really interesting nuggets of history and trivia about the city so that I could bring them alive in this blog post. It was through listening carefully to tour guides, reading local books and visiting museums that I found out so much about the city. 
- We are familiar to the canal snaking through the city of Amsterdam. Do you know how long the canal system is? 75 km and has 1281 bridges crossing over it. Impressive right? - While walking alongside the beautiful old canal houses (many of them date back to 400 years), look up to their roof and you will notice a huge hook. Wondering why every canal house has one? It was used to hoist furniture or goods into the house through the windows. This very thoughtful age old fixture is still relevant an…

An Immersive Stay at Andaz Amsterdam

I have stayed at some great hotels, but none were like the Andaz Amsterdam. None of them. No hotel has impressed me as much as this Hyatt brand of hotel has. It's so good, it warrants an entire blog post. And here is why - right from the word check-in, you're really made to feel like you've stepped into a little slice of Amsterdam
The hotel is located on one of the hottest streets in Amsterdam called Prinsengracht, a street along the city's most prestigious canal. A lot of the city's attractions are a short walk away. The hotel is designed by the famous Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. So no wonder hints of this vibrant old city of Amsterdam peek out from the interiors to induct you into Dutch culture. The lobby was stunning - with its prominently blue interiors, there was a touch of quirk everywhere. From the very high ceiling is suspended an enormous artsy lighting-cum-chandelier installation.  Above each reception desk there are huge white bell-shaped chandelie…

#InAbuDhabi - What to See, What to Skip

Recently, I was fortunate to visit Abu Dhabi. The city has an impressive resume - it's UAE's political, cultural and commercial centre, UAE's capital city, Dubai's satellite city and over 8 years ago was even declared as the world's richest city by Fortune Magazine. 
Abu Dhabi didn't disappoint. I had a great time there and found the city fairly easy to navigate. Distances are not too much, taxis are abundant and the fares don;t really burn a hole in the wallet. People are friendly and you sink into comfort zone when you spot familiar brand names in shopping malls. 
Here's what you simply must explore if you find yourself #inAbuDhabi.

Experience Arabian Opulence at The Royal Rose Hotel This is a luxury five star hotel propped right in the heart of the city. Major attractions are not too far from here making this a convenient stay option. At first glance, the exterior of the hotel which is inspired by 17th century French architecture, wi…

Working with Students | Thoughts and Learnings

Have you ever had an experience working with students? How was it for you? Was it interesting sharing knowledge and your expertise with them? Did you in turn learn something from them? Responses to these questions would really interest me. I have had a recent experience working with students and it would be an understatement to say that it was exasperating. I took on these students considering they were being trained in skills I did not have and required for a work project. However, I was thrown in the deep end and realized very quickly how the students lacked the skills I was looking for and hence could not deliver the kind of quality I was expecting and was important for me to deliver. Hence I had to work doubly hard to get this project completed, relying on myself to work on elements of the project I had never tried my hand at before. The students showed lack of responsibility, lack of clarity and structure, lack of interest and drive and a disrespect of adhering to deadlines. Apa…

5 Reasons You Should Visit Classic Rock Coffee Co.

Size Matters It is news when in a real estate-crunched city like Pune you have a restaurant that’s bagged a space that spans 15,000 sq ft. It is rare still to walk into a restaurant that is that big; a restaurant with an indoor section, a huge outdoor dining area and even an amphitheatre. Without an intention to compare, when you walk in, Classic Rock feels like High Spirits v 2.0, mature and mammoth-sized. Its sprawling premises promises to easily harbor about 1500 revelers. And where they score over lots of restaurants is their parking lot that can accommodate almost 200 vehicles. Obviously, their manning is huge with 80 people on the payroll.
Cocktails & Coffee At Classic Rock, they take both their coffee and cocktails very seriously. Let’s talk Arabica first. They source their coffee beans from Kerala and even have a glistening silver roasting machine on site. Beans are roasted and grinded, so you’re guaranteed a freshly brewed Cappuccino (Rs 140). If you’re interested in some co…

A Grammar Nazi on the Prowl

I wish people read what they write. Proof reading is underrated and its importance is understated. With everyone increasingly hinging on social media to communicate with one another, the way we write has significantly changed. Our writing has become lazy and we could not care much about grammar. Sometimes even though we know we've made a spelling mistake, we don't care much to amend it. Oh, you'll get what I mean anyway is what we'd think to ourselves. Some really annoying mistakes people make in written communication are:
1. Using 'ur' instead of your or you're. Come on, don't be lazy...write the entire word! And hey, there's an actually spelling created to say you so please don't write u.
2. Not knowing when to use its and it's. This is a very common mistake that sometimes people don't even realize they have made. It takes a proof reading or two before you realize and go oops. 


Last weekend, I got a unique opportunity to visit Gowardhan Cheese Factory in Manchar district, a good two hour drive from Pune city. The owning home-grown company Parag Milk Foods brand portfolio includes Gowardhan and GO boasting of a range of dairy products that have been retailed across Mumbai and Pune over the last decade. I first started using their yoghurt when the local kirana store ran out of my usual preference of Amul, Danone and Britannia. One spoon of it and I instantly found it so fresh, light and 'unprocessed'.
I have always loved cheese but now I even prefer it over chocolate. So when I was scheduled to visit the GO factory, it bore semblance to winning the golden ticket and entering glistening gates to its factory much like the popular Roald Dahl's Charlie. Except that it was not all that dramatic! 

Restaurant Review | FRISCO, Koregaon Park

Simple flavours and honest food define this new feather in Koregaon Park’s edible hat.
Ranbir Batra, a fourth generation restaurateur sets foot into Pune’s food firmament with his new 50 seater American-style bistro Frisco. He’s let his chef Sourabh Kulkarni take the reigns and the menu is a labour of his love for simple fresh flavours and thorough research – he knows what the city’s diners aren’t getting to eat at existing restaurants and aims to fill in the void with his offerings. Pune born and bred, Kulkarni has previously worked in hotels going from being primarily a pastry chef to being a commis, a garde manger, holding rank in every possible wing in the kitchen.

Restaurant Review | Where Else Cafe & Bar

Where Else promises to be unique in Viman Nagar, a neighbourhood already brimming with so many eateries. Four young friends came together to put their love for food and travel experiences in a melting pot called ‘Where Else’. This new cafĂ© and bar is the brainchild of sibling duo Ardesh and Daisy Rustomjee and best friend duo Amritha Shrikumar and Sweta Jobanputra. These Viman Nagar residents have been firsthand witnesses to the rise of new eateries in their locality. With ‘Where Else’ they aim to fill in the void of a place that offers all-day breakfast and good quality indulgent food. We drove to the outlet in its first week of opening to find out if ‘Where Else’ is the place to be.