All posts by Nidhi Gupta

Looking forward- Trending 2017

2017 is just knocking at our doors and it’s about time to be ready for all the latest trends that will be vogue this year… This blog piece will cover two trends – Fitness and Food.

Fitness-

Yoga in Full bloom

Rooted in ancient tradition, yoga will continue to remain a part of the exercise routine for all fitness and wellness enthusiasts. With so many styles and methods- from Power Yoga, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Kundalini, Sivananda- Yoga never lets you get bored and is the perfect regimen when you hit a plateau.

Older Adults get livelier, fitter

The fitness industry is increasingly focussing on older adults to help them enhance their quality of life and pursue their interests. Senior citizens and retirees, who have a good amount of time and can dole out cash, do not mind diverting all their energy towards fitness or wellness classes. Apart from the traditional laughing clubs that are growing in popularity, there are different activities designed specifically to keep the 60-plus age group in mind.

Marathons, Triathlons

Touring for sporting events is the new fitness fad. It isn’t just seasoned athletes who are running marathons in different parts of the world; even average runners – along with their friends and family members- who are now chasing marathons and triathlons. From Lunchtime sweat sessions to trading Saturday night cocktails for early morning runs, an increasing no. of people are preferring social time to log training miles.

Food-

Indian street food going global

golgappa

It’s the turn of paranthas, tikkas, gol gappas and chaats to be the main course globally. Teppanyakis and stir fries, popular street food the world over, will make way for tawas and Kadhais. Expect variety of dosas, chelas, burgers with spicy Indian patties and fries in place of quesadillas and pizzas too while Indian sherbets will be the flavour of the season!

Expect anything from gulukand cupcakes and mithai jars to a famous French desert giant selling mishit doi and mango lassi.

Super Bowls

Meals that pack a punch, conveniently tucked into portable bowls, are becoming the new “food” in both restaurants and grocery stores. They are nutritious and can incorporate protein, whole grains, vegetables and delicious sauces into one dish. Super bowls are versatile, and easy to cook to.

Sriracha will get even hotter

sriracha

Sriracha ( A hot sauce from Thailand made from a paste of chilli peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt) will be increasingly used by chefs as one of the top ingredients and served in chain restaurants around the world. Other hot ethic flavours would be ghost pepper, sambal from Southeast Asia, gochujang from Korea, and harissa, sumac and dukka from North Africa.

Stay tuned for more trends in the next post… keep watching this space.

Cheers!!

How about gifting an experience?

A nice quirky coffee mug with a latest photograph planted on it, may be a cool gift, but what if you paid for a class on coffee-making or a quad biking experience for a biker friend? In a world of abundance, gifting an experience would be far more memorable. What say?

The wedding season demands something different this time, you best friend’s birthday gift need to be special. Ditch the boring perfume-watch-designer bag routine-sunglasses; instead present your loved ones with the experience they will cherish for years. Give the traditional concept of gifting, a heart-warming makeover.

In an age where people hardly find time to pamper themselves, what could be better than gifting an experience and letting your loved ones indulge in their passion? My friend in US was being gifted a “Dive with sharks”, well that would freak us out, but yes try something out of the box, not to an extent that the box needs the “fitment”…. 🙂

Your Experiential Gifting Guide:

Sports and adventure: Enrolment in a sports club, badminton coaching, bunjee jumping, diving course certification, driving course, ice-skating, cycling tours.

Wellness and beauty: Spa treatment (this will always be welcomed), Czech beer rejuvenation, foot reflexology, salon haircuts and styling, holistic health packages, make-over trials.

Culture and entertainment: Learning ethnic painting, movie/theatre/musical tickets, blogging workshops, fashion exhibition tickets, photography, and home décor workshops.

Gourmet: Fine dining, wine tasting, beer appreciation, cocktail-making session, Thai cooking holiday, cake-baking, multi-cuisine meals.

You can add much more to this basket according to your choices. Experiential gifting promises that your effort and choice will be well-received.

Experiences stay much longer in a person’s memory. There is nothing like trying your hands on something new, especially if you get a chance to meet new people, be active a have a few laughs.

So get on to exploring your loved ones passion and make their BIG day a real “BIG” one… 🙂

That needs a mention that my birthday too is knocking at your doors very soon- and I would love to hear from you for my RedCandy… your suggestions, comments and anything that you want me to write on…

Cheers!!

Is discipline needed? A dream is enough…

Your dreams and aspirations should be strong enough to make the journey as seductive as the destination. Our battle with discipline has been one that almost all of us have lost most of the times. No matter how hard we try, this is one beast that refuses to be tamed.

This losing struggle has been at times the bane of our lives, but perhaps the greatest liberator too. Because in refusing to be tied down by time schedules and constraints imposed by others, we give creativity and Consciousness free rein. Pay heed to your inner monologue, this inner monologue which exists within all of us, is the greatest guide and master one could ever hope for.

Let me be quick to say that here indiscipline is not being advocated, its discipline that is imposed on one externally. Every task requires certain rules and processes, but these should be laid by oneself with a motivation to achieve it. There are some things that must be done even if you force yourself to do for the sake of your own growth, health, general sociability and compatibility. Once that is being taken care of, the externally-imposed discipline is just an albatross around the neck which will put one off rather into doing something.

That does not mean, to give less energy, attention or passion to what you do. Look for and connect with aspects that excite and arouse your passion. Create a passionate affair with every task that comes your way. And with this, the task rather than a “Must Do” becomes a “Love To Do”.

Dreams and aspirations are greater motivators and means of achieving goals, rather than the dreaded discipline. Our dream should be such a compelling motivator that one should be seduced into working towards it.

We all need motivation to achieve anything – be it better physique, writing a book, earning money, become a cook or even wake up in the morning. Discipline is required if the motivation isn’t strong enough. Why should one have to be flogged into pursuing one’s own dream?

When motivation is strong, we create our own sets of rules and routes towards it which in turn becomes pleasurable and welcome. One starts looking forward to the time spent in that structure once your rhythm matches the pace and you set yourself towards the goal.

Surely, external discipline in formative years is a necessity, but that is because we do not any better then. With time, when you give up a beaten track and choose your own drummer, you have a greater responsibility towards yourself….

Cheers!!

Watch it!! You are the message you convey!!

What and how you convey about yourself to the rest of the world influences perceptions and the ultimate reality about you.

A great respect comes for people especially leaders who manage without any effort to execute a total change in public perception, leading it to a more positive and winning zones. It requires immense courage to look at you from an outside perspective, have the gumption to work on negatives; to actively project the positives and finally emerge a winner by winning a million hearts. Cultivate a persona and sense of mystique that keeps you seductively enveloped and newsworthy, not to please people but to be remembered as a person who made a difference. (With this I can’t help but to remember and embrace my mentor, a true leader, and an incredible human being- Srikanth Sir…)

We all are driven by an enormous amount of expectations/pressures that is thrown on us every-day which commands our behavior. A leader wears that crown willingly of making his/her organization profitable but the ability to neatly demonstrate the value of the most humane tenets of leadership – having the fortitude to smash targets while being sensitive towards the needs of people helping him/her smash those targets, is what leaves an indelible impression and that is when your message is conveyed about who you truly are.

By being well-aware of our own-selves, our triggers and aspirations, we can project the image we wish the world to see. Far from allowing yourself to be pulled down by jibes and criticism, use them as the springboard to improve and catapult to greater heights. What others say about us becomes irrelevant in the face of the confident foot we set forward and our self-belief.

Some of the best lessons learnt from some best people in my life:

Always recognize everyone
Right from the CEO of the company, to the junior-most employee, everyone, and everyone, is good at something.

Earn it

Earn, instead of commanding, respect. Do this by being sensitive to the needs of your employees, and explaining your decisions to your juniors to ensure they know the context in which you are operating in. This will allow them to identify with your thinking and make it easy for them to accept and internalize the work given.

Some “team” time:

A secret to a happy team to relate to your thinking is by sharing small, personal chats with them. Every Monday morning, gather for five minutes to discuss what you did over the weekend – even if it only involved sleeping for 18 hours over 1 day (right, Yukti?)

Admit your mistakes
Admitting your mistakes only makes you more human, along with giving you a newfound appreciation of the nuances of what you do and the importance of being more careful in the future.

Working with Srikanth sir and some great leaders, with time, I have learnt that it is not difficult to be a great leader – but all that depends on your definition of greatness. It is one thing to be great by fulfilling targets and boosting company revenue, but another to be highly regarded by your colleagues. The latter can only come if you focus on the more humane side, which emphasizes on you being honest and sensitive towards others.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Cheers!!

Not another Brick- Frame it right with memories and art!

Ever since we moved to our new place, decorating the new home was the most exciting yet challenging task with your parents wanting to have some simple sober white walls vs your choice of doing up some funky art, Moroccan pottery, photo frames and molding. So how to come out with a common way that raises the sophistication index quite a few notches higher instantly and not giving your parents reasons to reject your creative ideas.

With a little bit of imagination, walls can be your display pride. Use framed photographs, contemporary wall art, wall stickers and your space will be transformed. It is probably because of rising demand that every online furnishing store will give you ample options in their wall stickers, night glows or decal section to choose from. An exotic Moroccan rug on the entrance wall can be warm and inviting. Wall artwork is simple; you could use old cutlery, vintage photographs and letters, and maps that can be transformed into beautiful wall art or collage.

souvenir-on-the-wall

Redefine a wall corner with travel mementos collected over the years.

If you love mirrors, collect five mirrors in different shapes and sizes and hang them in one corner wall. Flaunt your trophies and passion on the wall. Vintage beer advertising framed, your golf skills nicely clicked, that bungee jump that is etched in your memory forever, clocks, fine art… you get the picture… 🙂

img-20160910-wa0009

Frame it right with memories and art

When you do up the walls, they key is arrangement. Hunt for treasures. Look for old windows that can be turned into picture frames. The trick lies in being creative and innovative with what you do. Let it be your signature style of how you define your personality.

moroccon-pottery moroccon-pottery-1

If you love collecting Moroccan pottery, decorate your collection on wall.

Happy Decor… 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

Give that “Goa” trip a new spiritual twist

Chakra dancingChakra dancing and singing for inner peace at a healing retreat in Goa.

Youngsters are flocking to hippy-chic, soul nourishing wellness festivals to find inner peace. The quest to de-stress at physical, emotional and spiritual levels is high for this generation that’s overworked, stressed and anxiety-ridden. Such is the demand for soul nourishment that these open-air festivals are giving rock fests a run for their money. From acroyoga, acrobatics, Thai massages to divine singing and chakra dancing, tai chi, cuddle therapy, ecstatic dancing, glitter shows- healing the mind retreats are also getting creative to attract youngsters from across the globe.

There is a focus on bonding, relaxation and healing. You meditate and relax with complete strangers, pick smiles and make eye contact. People experience a variety of things and go back rejuvenated.

Gong Shower: There’s a 5 minute relaxation session where the recipient sits upright, the gong (ancient healing instrument)is held by hand and played all around the body; followed by a 10 minute relaxation session where the gong is on a stand but travels vertically up and down the spine of the recipient.

Cuddle Therapy/ Llama hugging: Cuddle sessions highlight the power of the hug. The llamas are a pet for therapy, hugging them relieves you of the emotional fear and keeps those blues away.

Llama therapy

Glitter full moon meditation and shower: You feel powered by the energy of the full moon, bathe in the moon’s glitter and sparkle at this fest.

Lantern meditation: Revellers armed with lanterns symbolically light the sky with their highest hopes, deepest regrets and fondest dreams. Lanterns symbolize good fortune and celebrate the life of a loved one. Music and dancing follows.

Lantern festival at Lanna meditation centre.

Spiritual massage: This massage isn’t just about physically revealing pain, but self- healing and empowerment. Chakra massaging removes blockages and barriers stored within the body’s energy system and auric field.

Chakra dancing: This is a creative meditation in the form of dancing. It balances the natural flow of energy or chi. This dance involves slow motion body work and follows free body movements. Indian rhythms, chants, Latin jazz beats etc. are used.

Are you up for the dong shower? 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!!

‘Pickle’ your taste buds…

Fermented Foods  Kimchi Salad

You probably have fond childhood memories of relishing your granny’s homemade achaar and chutneys. Remember the lengths you’d go to, to steal a palmful of murabba? Food, as they say, is the best nostalgia. A winning dish is one through which people relive their memories. Today, fermented products go high up on a chef’s list.

Fermented ingredients has played a major role in its entry into restaurant menus, describes these foods as the flavorful space between fresh and rotten.

Fermentation Festivals around the world

Every year, to celebrate the benefits of fermented foods, world-class fermenting artisans and enthusiasts come together to set up festivals. Boston Ferments in New England, Santa Barbara Fermentation festival in California, Fermentation Fest in Wisconsin, Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood festival in Korea, are among the dozen festivals that were held in 2014. From holding workshops on how to master fermentation to having a market that sells homemade samples of cultured food and drinks, these festivals give you a low-down on everything fermented.

The Indian picture

Fine dining establishments across India have opened their kitchens to traditional fermented recipes like kanji (a drink prepared from the juice of black carrots), curries made from kachampuli ( a fruit vinegar from Kerala), jau ki ghaat (a ragi drink from Rajasthan), iromba (a spicy Manipuri chutney made from fresh vegetables and fish). The distinct flavor that fermentation imparts to a dish is one of the major reasons why chefs are using this technique.

A good kick in your gut

Eating healthy fermented foods increases the good bacteria and helps digestion. It also improves the immunity and purifies blood, as the bacteria flushes out all the toxins. If you lead a stressful life and have a diet high in sugary and processed food, the beneficial microbiome in your gut becomes unbalanced- which cause unclear thinking and excessive worrying. This can be corrected by consuming foods like buttermilk, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi etc.

Eat cultured foods, And above all, you can go back to your childhood memories by just ‘pickling’ your tongue. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!!

Where there’s tea, there’s hope…

Hot piping cup of chaiChai with friends

Holding onto a hot cup is a great way to recharge you. 🙂

Indians have a soul connection with piping hot chai. Are you the one for whom a cup of tea is an excuse to share great thoughts with great minds. From the little tea stall behind your office to the tea vendors on railway platforms; from your neighborhood tea stall sessions and that playful eye contact with your hot neighbor, to friends chilling with hot chai over an upcoming match… “Chai pe charcha” has always been and still is a steaming part of India’s fabric.

Had a bad day at work? Cool it with a bitching session at the chai corner. At any point of time, if you feel you need a companion when everyone around fails to understand you, there is always a cup of chai for comfort. It never lets you down. In fact, it will perk you up in an instant.

Indians connection with tea begins at home, with the first aroma in the morning. It is your humble companion during those intense political discussions, train journeys, highways breaks and rainy day romantic getaways; also it comes to the rescue to eliminate the hitch to strike a conversation with other person.

Interesting Fact- How Afternoon tea became a trend

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” 🙂

While drinking tea as a fashionable event is credited to Catharine of Braganza, known as the tea drinking queen, the actual idea of having tea in the afternoon was developed into a social event in the late 1830s by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. She enjoyed having light sandwiches and tea in the late afternoon to prevent the sinking feeling she experienced during the long gap between meals. She began inviting others too and it became a trend.

The unifying force

Since the British popularized tea in India, it has become an integral part of the rhythm of life here. It has a constant, unifying presence in a profoundly diverse country like ours. From the lush green forests of Jharkhand to the white desert of Kutch, I have noticed that tea is the one connecting factor that energizes and heals one and all. The chaiwallahs in India brew their tea fresh using ginger root, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and many other spices depending on the region.

The Tea Tour

In Jammu, the preparation of tea is different. A lot of milk and cream is added to the tea along with cardamom and cinnamon. This tea is called ‘desi chai’. Kahwa, made out of saffron and almonds is very popular.

Rich, milky and spicy, south Indian tea is known for its distinctive dark color and intense aroma.

Authentic Darjeeling tea is blackish-green in color.

The popular brew of Assam is known as Ronga Saah (Red tea without milk). It is the main component of English breakfast tea and often had with a slice of lemon.

A typical north Indian tea is served in Kulhad (earthen pot). Since day soaks up all the moisture, the tea often has a very strong flavor. The next time you are in Punjab and craving for tea, simply order, ‘Ek kadak chai, malai maar ke’.

The term synonymous with tea in Mumbai is Cutting Chai, which is based on the concept of ‘aadhe se zyada and poore se kam’. Afterall, we Indians love sharing, don’t we?

Thanks for Stopping by!!

 

Friendship: The first place where you can knock….

Young adult friends hugging on a sunset at the sea

In 1935, the U.S. Congress declared the first Sunday in August a holiday to honor friendship. To celebrate this occasion I want to honor all my friends —when I count the friends who grace my life, I am in awe.

I consider my friends to be ‘family of choice’. I am a rich woman whose friends are among her treasures.

A few weeks ago, when I was thinking of her, her phone ‘called me’ inadvertently. We laughed about that. Don’t you love when that happens? (Shivani…:))

Friendship—It is one of the most beautiful & amazing relationship. Where you may be miles apart, where you may not talk for months, but when you talk, when you meet, It seems like you were never away (Aru, Prerna…:)) Friendship, where there are no formalities, No excuses, No complaints, No explanations.

We all have those friends who has textured the fabric of years together that has fashioned a solid friendship through the weaving of loving, grieving, dinners, parties, long drives, ideas, failures, setbacks, and endless conversations about jobs, marriage, food, books, the news, and music. Vacationed and raced the bikes together, swapped jokes, struggled with learning the latest technology, lamented your aches and pains, discussed heart breaks and what not, you have done it all with them.

But, no matter the topic or occasion you can bet on one thing: They will be there to listen — about your endless talks on trials, successes, dreams, and careers. We all have that one friend when during those overwhelming moments, we shake our heads, wonder how this all could be, and after a mindful silence move to something easier to chat about, easier to weave into the fabric.

This beautiful bond helps make the world a little safer. The need for friendship is woven into our genes. The key, say the experts, is reciprocity and nurturance. The golden rule is to be the friend you would like to have. To make this happen, carve out time for each other. Make it a priority.

Your schedules, commitments and duties might make for a long stretch between getting together, maybe three or four weeks or longer. But it should always be on the mutual agendas. Friendship is a living organism that needs to be nurtured.

Email, text, send a card, go for lunch, instant message, take a walk together, or give a call. How you do it doesn’t really matter, but doing it is important.

Which reminds me — Richa, are you free on the 13th?

Thanks for Stopping By!!

Cheers!!!

Destinations to romance the rains

You’ve enjoyed it from your terrace, in your room nicely tucked in with those Maggi noodles, on a long drive… now soak in the monsoon magic with these getaways you can explore this season. Consider these destinations that don their rain-soaked avatars with effortless charm.

20160730_233848-1The Monsoon Ayurveda Treatment in Kerala

Green paradise in Wayanad: Located between the Kunnur and Kozhikode districts in Kerala, Wayanad is a sparkling green emerald sprawled across the slopes of the Western Ghats. The rainy season starts in June and lasts all the way till mid- November, during which the already lush landscape takes on an even more vibrant shade of green and everything, is washed squeaky clean. The most enjoyable way to experience it is by checking into a jungle resort; even better if it has a tree house. During the occasional dry spells in between, venture out and everything else the region has to offer. Wayanad wows tourists with some interesting prehistoric archaeological sites, tea plantations and thick forests, and is also home to some of the oldest tribes in India.

Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand: Popularly referred to as the playground for fairies and nymphs, the valley of Flowers in Uttrakhand is an enchanting spot that unveils its beauty only during the months of July and August. Formed by retreating glaciers, it remains blanketed in snow and ice through the remaining part of the year- it’s only after the thaw that it gets inundated with a sudden profusion of color. With around 300 varieties of flowers – including wild roses, geraniums and asters- set against the stunning backdrop of Garhwal hills, with gurgling brooks and streams meandering through, it’s enough to take your breath away. Be prepared to trek the 15 km trail that gets you there.

Cascaded beauty at Malshej Ghat: Located at an altitude of 700 m, Malshej Ghat is one of the less frequented, albeit most charming hill stations in Maharashtra. Surrounded by waterfalls cascading down its steep cliffs, Malshej Ghat is beautiful all year round. But the best time to visit is during the monsoon months, when the water gushes with gusto and exotic flamingos migrate to its green environs. If you love being outdoors during the rains, there is no limit to your exploration here. From placid lakes and gushing waterfalls, to fun hiking trails and an extensive bird life, the place can thrill one and all.

Bamboo Forest Trail: Located in Maharashtra’s easternmost district, named Chandrapur, Tadoba National Park referred to as “The Jewel of Vidharba” is the only central Indian park that is open during the monsoon. Apart from offering an amazing opportunity to explore the bamboo forests of Tadoba, this place promises a rendezvous with tigers and their cubs during the rains.

Be Monsoon-Ready

  1. Dress Appropriately: Opt for loose fitting, light clothing like shorts as opposed to heavier knits that take a long time to dry.
  2. Wear Sturdy shoes: Always wear well-soled shoes/sandals.
  3. Do not forget that umbrella and your raincoat
  4. Travel prepared: Avoid those creepy crawlies with mosquito repellant, anti-itch creams and disinfectants.
  5. Keep an eye on the news: Avoid areas that may be dangerously hit by rains.

Keep the Monsoon Magic alive… 🙂

Cheers!!