Monthly Archives: October 2012

Bargaining Heaven: Bandra Linking Road

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When I was a kid, I wasn’t the biggest fan of accompanying my mom on shopping trips. The main reason behind this was the fact that she would try to bargain anywhere and everywhere. I remember several instances where she even tried to bargain at a  department store.

Over the years, I have bargained a bit (only on my trips aboard as you can’t really haggle in the States). Last week I had a  one chance to brush up my bargaining or haggling. Bandra Linking Road, is one of the premier shopping areas in

Jewelry Store at Linking Road

Mumbai. It is also a bargaining heaven. Linking Road is comprised of narrows alleys that are crowded with vendors selling “designers” jeans to jewelry. You can probably find your everyday outfits and accessories for half the price of a department store.

For most people this cut in price would suffice and they would not bargain further. This rule doesn’t apply to Bandra Linking Road. I went in the mindset that the vendors can still go much below the price they would initially quote.

I noticed some interesting things from a sales standpoint also. Most of the sellers wouldn’t tell me the price immediately, they would say “pick out everything you like and we can talk about price later.” Once you had picked out items you liked, they would mention the price and automatically say they are willing to down to a lower price for you (reason behind this could be anything: they like you, they want to be fair, etc.).  This is where the actual negotiations start! I typically would try to go down by another 50 to 100 rupees of the quoted price and see if I could get the product at that price. I once tried to reduce the discounted quoted price by another 50% and was blatantly told to go to another shop. Even the walk away tactic didn’t work for that vendor.

Another interesting observation: the sellers would jump from shop to shop to assist with sales. When I asked one how

You can any material at this shop

come he was initially at another stall that I was browsing, he replied by saying they are all brothers and help each others’ shop out.

Apart from the great prices Bandra Linking Road offered, one of the key selling points for me was that in those tiny alleys there was a tailor who would alter your shirts and kurtis immediately!! Now, tell me where you can find that?

An hour at the linking road and I had picked out 2 necklaces, 2 shirts, 2 kurtis, and 3 pants for a grand total of 3000 rupees or approximately $60. I was one happy shopper that day and can’t wait for another visit to this place. I guess now I slightly understand why my mom bargained anywhere and everywhere, it’s part the entire shopping experience.

Come Fall in Love…with a Yash Chopra Movie

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The news of Yash Chopra’s death came as a shock, not because I wasn’t aware that he was in the hospital. But because you can’t imagine the world without certain people. He took romance on the silver screen to an entirely new level from the valleys of Kashmir to the scenic beauty of Switzerland, and his passing is a great loss to Indian cinema.

Yash Chopra

If I had to recommend one of his movies to watch, it would be Lamhe. I mean it’s a classic. I have watched it more times than I can count, and in addition to it being my favorite Yash Chopra movie, it is also my favorite Bollywood movie.

Lamhe DVD Cover

I remember loving Dil Toh Pagal Hai and Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, when they came out, and probably watched them countless times in the two years following their release. But I can barely get through 10 minutes of the movie now. They somehow don’t appeal to me the way they did back then. And so I avoid watching them, because I still want to continue to like them as I did when I first watched them.

Lamhe is the one movie that I can watch over and over and not feel that the dialogues atr over the top or cringe at the unrealistic nature of the scenes. I don’t remember much about watching it the first time, other than the fact that I had the longest crush on Anil Kapoor after the movie. And I think to this day I have a tiny crush on the Anil Kapoor of Lamhe. But as much as I love the movie, it made me hate my name growing up, because of the way Sridevi’s husband would pronounce it. I still can’t watch the parts that have him calling out my name.

According to me, a Hindi movie is not complete without songs, and I am firm believer in the whole song and dance routine in the movies. I watch a select number of Bollywood movies, and I have never watched one where I did not like at least one song. And this movie has some amazing songs, from Megha re Megha to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Yeh Lamhe, Yeh Pal Hum’.

If you haven’t watched Lamhe, you are seriously missing out on an amazing evergreen movie. It makes you want to fall in love all over again.

Which is your favorite Yash Chopra movie?

Pet Company: Bobby

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For most who know me, know that Bobby has played a major role in my life. From being a toy I carried around in school to actually having a pet with the same name now. I would like to introduce you all to a very important member of my family: Bobby aka Bobby Darling!!

Bobby

Bobby has been with my family since December 2008, when we were living in Egypt. He too has traveled from Egypt to India, and I think he also has adjusted well to life in India–from being able to maneuver the crowded streets to knowing not to get too excited every time the doorbell rings (in India, someone or the other is always coming in or going out of your house).

Bobby before his haircut

Some days I think my life revolves around Bobby. He is very particular about when he needs to be taken downstairs for his walks. He will start a whining sound (which I can imitate at times) to get your attention. Bobby also has a defined expectations for his meals, his water always has to be cold, lol. He will always drink his milk first and then eat the dog food; furthermore, my mom has to feed him his breakfast which consists of two rotis (indian bread)-he won’t eat it if you leave the rotis in his bowl.

On a more general note, having a pet in India is quite common and manageable. During my walks I do see a lot of people walking their pets. There are also pet stores, and general store (such as Big Bazaar or Hyper City) where you can get necessary items such as branded dog food (Pedigree for instance) and various pet accessories; you might just have to do some asking around to identify the nearest pet store. The same theory applies for finding a good vet. No, you won’t find a large PetSmart in India, at least not yet but this might change with government approving the FDI for multi-brands.

Bobby

Right now I am happy running around Bobby and getting his unconditional love. It’s fun coming home because I know I will be greeted with one of the most excited dogs who will ask you to pet him for a good 5 minutes as soon as you open the front door.

I would love to hear about your pets. Any funny stories?

Peek Into my Shoe Closet

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I can’t say that I have too many shoes, though my mom and my husband think I have a problem. I have a cousin who must own at least 50 pairs and she once picked nine pairs in a single outing. Compared to her, I only have 42 and the max I have ever picked at one time is 3 pairs.

My Shoe Closet-with most of my shoes

My shoes are mostly mid range brands like Charles and Keith, with a couple of no brand shoes from Bangkok thrown in. I love Jimmy Choo and Louboutins as much as the next girl, but really I don’t want to have to spend that much and then get my shoes re-soled after a 1000 steps.

I had to give away or leave behind quite a few pairs when I made the move to India, but I ended up purchasing something like six pairs just for the wedding. But I do keep my shoes clean and boxed, and so they last.

My Wedding Collection

When I was in Bangkok and working, I mostly owned flats. It is difficult to navigate the pavements, skytrain stairs and the walk to and from the station in heels. India however is a different story, with the public transport not exactly the most convenient or not readily available in some places, you either take a car or cab it to your destination if you can. And then you can carry off the five inch heels with ease.

I do own a variation of flats, plastic rain shoes, slip-ons, wedges, high heels, but I tend to play safe with colors. You’ll mostly find neutrals, black and gold in my closet. There is however something to go with both traditional and casual wear. If I am wearing a saree, the most comfortable shoe for me is a pair of plain white heels, which do not tug or get stuck on the threadwork. Walking around in a saree is difficult enough, you don’t want to be constantly fixing it as well.

The perfect pair to wear with those expensive sarees

I want my next pair to be bright and strappy and bold. Or maybe I’ll pick the neon green Nike sneakers that were all over the Olympics when they launch in India.

Love these wedge heels from Charles and Keith

If I did have to pick a favorite pair that I own it would be these gladiator wedge heels by Charles and Keith. I absolutely love them, and you can walk and walk and not have your feet hurt. I used to own a pair of white strappy Topshop flats and these Steve Madden flats with the tiniest of heels that I wish I could find again. I literally wore those every day until they wore out.

How many shoes do you own, and which is your favorite pair?

Namesake: Cafe Coffee Day

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So we finally met up and that too at Cafe Coffee Day or CCD as it is popularly know. Yes, we did pick the place so it could coincide with the blog. Plus, it does serve some delicious coffee and masala chai.

Meet in Thailand or in India, we are pretty much the same. It always involves eating, talking/gossiping and shopping. And a mini photo-session. It definitely was a fun day.

Just wish the shopping was a little better. We hardly ended up picking anything, which is always disappointing.

Reunion at Cafe Coffee Day

Here are few additional snapshots from that day.

Pallavi

Cafe Latte

Swara

We do love silly faces and our silly selves

How was your week?