Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bad Hair Day?

The big day is here! Mona has her 4-hour appointment to get her hair straightened. This is a major make-over ($$$). We are leaving on vacation in a couple of days and she has been planning this for quite some time. The appointment is for 4pm on Saturday. My cousins are coming over for dinner around 8pm on Saturday - so this should work out just fine.

She is at the beauty salon where the first phase (yes, this treatment must be administered in multiple phases) has been completed when the power goes off. Not an uncommon phenomenon in this part of the world. This is the reason why diesel generators were invented. Everyone is waiting for the generator to kick in but ... no electricity. Power comes back on and off but is not staying on consistently enough for phase two to begin. Finally, the generator comes on-line until someone decides to start a water pump, which blows the generator again.

Finally, the owner requests Mona to continue the treatment at home. So next thing I know, she is back at home with a hair dresser and her assistant (and a bunch of supplies and equipment) in tow. Treatment continues at home and is completed after a couple of hours.

Results: A+!

Monday, October 29, 2007


It is the end of October and it is Halloween in Bangalore! Yes ... last week it was Dassera and next week it is Diwali but now it is Halloween. With the large numbers of expats living in the city, there is no reason to not celebrate the festival of fear!

OWC (Overseas Women's Club) had a Children's Halloween party at the Doodle Den on Sunday. All the NRI kids in town (and believe me ... there are hundreds of them in town) who cannot miss a year of tricking and treating showed up in their finest costumes. Kids had a blast with face painting, arts and crafts, games etc. etc. Ayaana dressed up in a pirate's costume and went to the party with Mona. Aanish is too old for Halloween and spent time at home playing cricket with me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And the party goes on ... and on ... and on

Last week, Ayaana turned 11 - her first birthday in India!

Planning for the celebrations started a few weeks ago. She was going to have two parties - a day party for her friends in our building and a sleepover for her friends from school. Of course, we had planned a family dinner for her birthday and we could not forget celebrating her birthday in school! I don't even want to think about what the wedding plans are going to look like for this girl.

Regular readers of my blog have probably figured out by now that Indians are extremely social. So these multiple celebrations should come as no surprise because it is natural for one to share happy moments with as many people as it is humanly (and economically) possible.

All the planned celebrations went well and she had a great time during the entire week! The girls had a blast during the sleepover (I am still not sure why they call it a "sleep"-over). Multiple cakes, dozens of phone calls, dinner at a favorite restaurant, a pile of gifts and a ton of best wishes .... this was a memorable birthday for her!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Advertising takes wings!

Inspite of flying extensively in India for the last 10 months or so, last week was the first time I flew Air Deccan. I understand that this is an extremely innovative airline when it comes to revenue maximization. Which is probably the reason it was acquired by Kingfisher some time ago. Air Deccan was started with a mission to bring air travel to the common man. Translation: cheap, low frills airline!

You quickly begin to understand their success when you notice the large ads painted on the exterior of the plane. You settle down comfortably in your seat and you see an ad starting back at you from the back of the seat in front of you. There are ads on headrest covers ... ads everywhere!

The airline even has a silent auction that is conducted during the duration of the flight. You can actually bid on items ranging from keychains to watches. If you have a winning bid, you pay cash for merchandise and pick it up before you deplane!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Dining" with the stars

Vidhyarthi Bhavan is an old iconic restaurant that has served legendary Masala Dosas for generations. The place is a must-stop for South India's most popular movie star, Rajnikant on his trips to Bangalore. After nine months in Bangalore, we finally made it out to VB last week with Maya Mami, who was visiting us from Los Angeles. We had actually gone to MTR for breakfast but seeing the crowd and not wanting to wait an hour, decided to go to Vidhyarthi Bhavan instead.

The restaurant is in the heart of Gandhi Bazar - an old building with the long and narrow interiors resembling a tourist bus. There is no air conditioned waiting lobby, no reservation system and no system of queue. If a table is not available, you simply target a table where you might want to sit and go stand next to it. Don't worry about offending sensibilities as the restaurant's patrons are quite used to this. You grab a seat when it is available, seat, eat and leave.

Masala Dosa is the main specialty here and you will be served one by default. The menu is limited to a couple of different types of dosas, idly, masala bhat and vada. Mona and Mami loved the Dosa but I thought it was a bit too oily and thick. The Chutney has a thin consistency but the Sambar was delicious. Vadas were fresh and crisp and definitely my favorite here.

Overall, quite an experience and if you are a foodie, you must check it out at least once.