Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Perfect Caravan - The Perfect Childhood

How would the world be if the greatest of inventors kept their discoveries and inventions just for themselves instead of giving it to the world? Sharing your happiness does not decrease it but increases it multi-fold.

"One idea can change the world."
What is the best childhood memory you have? Mine is reading out passages from Enid Blyton's Rag, Tag and Bobtail and Other Stories to my kid sister during our bed time. We would cuddle up together on our bed and I would read her out a couple of passages as we took a flight together into the magical world inhabited by goblins, fairies and elves. I remember and delight at how I taught my baby sister to read and spell words from our Dr.Seuss and Blyton books before my sis was formally taught the alphabets. I used to make her sing along with me as I read aloud poems like The Midnight Tea Party and many other rhymes I had learnt.

Can't thank my parents enough for not subscribing to the
cable connection for our TV till I was grown up.

I was introduced to the wonderful world of story books when I had by chance happened to find an old hand-me-down copy of Blyton's Tell Me A Story which belonged to an older cousin of mine. The five year old me was so fascinated by the colorful illustrations in the books which helped me imagine and make pictures inside my head how creatures like elves, brownies and pixies looked like as I read along the stories. It has been more than sixteen years since and I still have the book with me. That was the beginning and I haven't stopped gorging on books ever since. My mom often caught me hiding and reading my beloved Famous Five books behind my textbooks. Every year with the money I got on my birthday, I would go to our local book store and come back with my hands full with bags filled with story books. Our school library card permitted just one book a week and I borrowed the books my friends has issued from the library and read as many and as fast as I could.

A few pictures from my very first story book
A few months back, a friend of mine happened to send me a surprise gift package. I literally cried out of joy when I opened the package to discover my very favourite books from childhood, the entire set of The Naughtiest Girl inside it.

I happened to see this video which was a part of the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012 partnered by Franklin Templeton Investments

Rohini Nilekani, Founder Chairperson of Pratham Books put forward a few insightful facts that provide a statistical view of the child readership status in our country-

  • Our country has a child readership of around 300 million.
  • The book output which caters to this 300 million readers is just 25000.
  • In comparison to the United Kingdom where every child has around 6 books to read, one book in India is shared by 20 children.
  •  50% of these books published in our country are in two basic languages- English and Hindi. A very small number of all these books are published in vernacular languages. In a country with more than 150 languages and with 200 million children who cannot read English, it is important to publish more books in the regional languages which can be read and understood by these children.
These statistics were something I wasn't at all prepared for. I could not imagine how life would have turned out for me had I never found the joy of reading story books. They helped me think out of the box, imagine a world that I had never seen and they made me who I am today. And to think there are children who have access to not a single book is heartbreaking. It is extremely important to tell a child how the world looks beyond the text books. There is a world full of surprises and wonderful stuff that only textbooks can never teach you. It is only with the help of these story books that you can discover them and take your flight.

Pratham Books with association with some philanthropic patrons have started with a mission to reach out to these little kids in every corner of the country and have set out with the motto of "A book in every child's hand". The dream is a huge one to accomplish but since their very foundation Pratham Books have changed the scenario for the better. Pratham Books have engaged a huge number of writers, illustrators and enthusiastic volunteers who have helped create original stories which children can easily associate with and have published story books in more than 11 languages so far.

The video clip reminded me of the time when I was in primary section and the school library was accessible only to the secondary and senior secondary students. I used to pray to God to make me grow up super-fast so that I could read all those beautiful story books I saw neatly stacked up in the library shelves. During the lunch break, I would stand outside the library door and peep inside and stare at my lucky seniors who could read those books. Little did I know then that the school librarian had been keeping a watch on me. And one fine day, to my utter delight, I found her approaching me and taking me by my hand. She made me sit on her chair and asked me why I religiously stood outside the door everyday and I told her the reason. Miss Grace (that was her name) went over to the magazine rack and brought me a few copies of Champak and Tinkle to read and told me I could come to the library and read whenever I want. That was the kindest and the best thing anybody could have possibly done to me.

A few years back, I had to move to Kolkata from Kochi and my parents were trying their best to reduce the luggage to the minimum. Naturally, my old stories books were set aside in the "leave behind" box of things. I, who was extremely attached to all my books was adamant not to leave them back. But then, better sense took over and I decided to give away my old story books to my friends from the colony. I gave a bundle of books to each and every friend I had and made them promise to read them after I left Kochi and I like to believe they kept their part of the promise and I was able to initiate a change, however small that was.

The aim of reaching out to these children and hand them each a book is a very difficult task to achieve. Pratham Books have taken huge leaps in the direction by publishing story books at extremely low prices of around Rs.25 each book. Even at this rate, the dream was a distant one. So they came out with an even better plan, the concept of a story card. An excerpt from the Pratham Books website explaining the concept of a storycard-

"The story of the Storycards is an interesting one! They are a living example of making an effort to reach the last child... Pratham Books has always been committed to increase penetration so that ALL children have access to good reading material. As Pratham's programmes began to touch the lives of more and more children through the READ India Campaign, there was a need for low cost material that could be distributed to the children. This was how the idea of creating story cards out of Pratham Books' titles germinated. In economically disadvantaged states, even the cost of a Pratham Books title would make it a discretionary buy whereas a story card can strengthen and encourage reading at a fraction of the cost and can be an attractive and motivational takeaway for a child. "

Just look at the interest and delight with which she is reading
The concept of these reading story cards is amazing as it reduces the production cost of books. The cost of producing these are fractional to the production cost of a complete story book. These are mini story books which are available each at Rs. 2 which can easily fulfill the dream of giving one story book to a child and ensure a change.

These storycards take me back to the time when I was in the primary section. Our school had allocated specific library periods for us when reading books apart from those in the syllabus were made compulsory. For us little ones who were not eligible to access the main library, our Head Mistress came over to our classes with a big bundle of these card like mini books which had fascinating tales and small wondrous articles about strange organisms like the Piranha fishes and sometimes about gardening and other amazing stuff. We used to compete to finish as many cards and find answers to the exercises that were at the back of these cards in the one hour duration of our library period.

There is a saying that goes "Charity begins at home". I believe that change is possible, it begins at the individual level. Every small step counts and it is only with baby steps that this mission can be accomplished. The best part of this wonderful initiative is the fact that it is open ended. People like you and I can join and encourage others around us to come together and work for the cause as volunteers, by pledging ourselves to the cause, helping in providing the books, donating and helping in establishing libraries in the remote corners of the country where these books are not easily available.
"Imagination is what sets us apart from all other organisms. Help children find their wings so that they can stretch them and fly."

As to how I plan to bring in the change from my side, I have promised myself to donate my first salary to the cause when I get a job. I had already started out with the change long before I had actually realised and I hope to take it a step further by doing my part of the change. I cannot explain the joy it gives me to see my little niece coming running towards me with her picture books and her Geronimo Stilton story books for me to read and translate the stories to her. It takes me back to my very own childhood.

Pictures from the niece's story books ^_^

This post is submitted as an entry for the Indiblogger-Franklin Templeton Investments "The Idea Caravan" Contest.
Visit for more such real inspiring stories.

P.S.- All pictures except 3,4 and 9 are taken from google searches.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Polka :)

The Polka trend is something I have been obsessing over for quite sometime now
and when I spotted this pretty monochrome polka nail art on this blog,
I couldn't help but put up an inspiration board via polyvore
 a casual chic look. :)

Click on the pictures to get to the item


Do you like the polka trend?

Till next,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Perfect Escapade with Ambi Pur

As I little kid I always had this dream of running away somewhere with my best friends...on a journey far far away from the country side..away from the hustle and bustle and camp for a few days. Well you can blame all my fantasies to Enid Blyton, who with her fantastic tales gave me the best childhood I could ever have wanted. I had always wanted to join Jo, Bessie and Fanny from The Magic Faraway Tree in their up-tree adventures to wonderful places like Land of goodies and Land of Do-as-you-please. How much fun would it be to escape to a land millions of miles away from daily life, from reality.

Countless time have I imagined to have an amazing life like Mike and Belinda and their parents from The Caravan Family who were always on the move discovering amazing wonderlands and new places all the time.

Growing up, those dreams metamorphosed into pleasure trips with friends. Moments spent with friends, however ordinary, seem special when we look back and take a trip down memory lane. Yet the moments which stand out most in our memories are the exceptional ones; and what could be more special that a road trip taken with your best friends? Many of us get a chance to visit different places with family, but not everyone has the luck to travel with friends. My idea of a perfect getaway would be a road trip with my bestest buddies. I have often pictured myself and my besties in that car advertisement where these friends take an impromptu trip to the hills just to have a cup of hot tea sitting on a hillock.   Dreamy stuff 

After we all graduated, and moved into different cities, it has been difficult to accept the idea that we won’t be seeing each other every other day. So taking some time out to actually be together in person again would be wonderful. I would choose three other friends of mine to take along on our escapade into the wilderness of nature - Emely, Drisha and Debopriya. All four of us are pretty tight and a trip like this with help us relive all those amazing memories of our past together all over again.

That is us- Drisha, me, Debopriya and Emely

Now for a road trip, we need a car...and I choose Jaguar F-Type. I just saw the advertisement on TV and I was literally gaping at it like those people in it. You  might wonder when in India does one find anything as outrageous as that thing? Well, some wise person said "dream big" and I take it very seriously...I make sure I do it big when dreaming. Since, this is a dream trip why not make it as outlandish as possible. I get to fulfill my dream of riding it...imagination mein hi sahi

Errmm...coming back to reality...I can't go for this one for this trip because it is a two-seater and I am taking three more people with me, so we need a bigger and more comfy one. Since I have a crazy love for Convertibles, I think I will go with a Volkswagen EOS . 

Okay, so now the destination. Since all of are extremely fond of hills, we decide on Lonavala and Khandala. Why this and not fancy places like Darjeeling and Shillong? Ah well, for one, these places are a little less crowded than others and more importantly, I can totally picture myself screaming that Aamir Khan song "Aati kya Khandala". Also a recent read of Piyush Jha's Compass Box Killer with the beautiful and rich descriptions of Lonavala and Khandala has made me want to go and get lost there.

We drive upside and stop midway during the ride and get soaked in the rain and dance to Bollywood songs. That Jab We Met song, "Hum jo chalne lage" would be so perfect in this setting as we drive slowly past the green enveloping all around us, the sound of the wind whistling, the beautiful rainbows in the sky before the rains, the fading fog as we ride through it and the wonderful sound of the cascading waterfall. *sigh* I can already imagine the four of us awestruck and enchanted by the resplendence of the elevated Maharastrian locales.  

The inviting lush green

The riotous green welcome us as we whizz through the valleys, uphill soaking in the beautiful smell of the earth as it drizzles. We sit atop at the famous Amrutanjan point next to Khandala Ghat munching on chips, eating candyfloss and sipping our dear cuppas of hot masala tea. Oh and not to forget click millions of pictures doing crazy Titanic poses. 

Duke's nose
We will halt over at the Duke's Nose , one of the most popular sites in the entire area. The place gets its name from the cliff which apparently resembles the shape of Duke Wellington's nose. This place is Heaven for a nature lover for it provides all three- forests, mountains and a vast water view from just one single spot as you stand at marvel at the bounty nature has endowed to this place. We sit munching on the famous chikkis from the area, roasted peanuts and sip on the delectable local drink, the thandai. A stop at the local waterfalls near the Lohgad fort is another thing we have been planning to do for a long while where we'll dance in the beautiful streams of water coming down from atop and get drenched to our heart's content.

waterfalls near Lohgad fort
We'll keep the hood open for the times when it doesn't rain and do crazy poses like filmy heroines, letting our hair fly in the wind, hold up a scarf and and let it flutter with the wind or do the Emma Watson pose from Perks of Being a Wallflower as Emely strums her guitar and sings a Taylor Swift number sitting on the back seat. 

With each of us taking turns to drive the car from time to time, we’d make sure no one gets to miss the scenery and the fun on the way. It would be perfect as we drive downhill with green fields on one side and the rocky green hills on the other as well as a clear blue sky above, Lady Gaga and Ke$ha blaring from the stereo. We would laugh and recall all the silly things we used to get involved in, and take pictures to capture the moment and sing along to our favorite tunes. Stopping at the roadside dhabhas along the way to taste the yummy vada pavs, we’d make sure to talk to people and hear their stories while sharing ours.

Since, we are taking the trip in the monsoon, we sure don't want the car to smell all musty and stale. And to make the car smell like a million bucks, we have the newly launched Mini car vents , thanks to Ambi Pur, the world's No. 1 car air freshener. I pick the Sky Breeze variant from the five exotic fragrances available. The reason why I chose this particular one is because it immediately reminds me of sands and salts...of beaches and mirth.

This post is a part of Indiblogger's Perfect road trip contest sponsored by Ambi Pur. A million thanks to both for letting me at least pen down my ideal road trip if not make it in real. 

For more info about the the Ambi Pur mini vents, click here.

Till next,

P.S- All the pictures except for the third one withall four of us are taken from google.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Hello Friends,

If you ask me to pen down my five fave moments and choices I made last year, saying yes to reviewing Aniesha's debut book would definitely be on the list. Saying yes to it not just got me a pretty book to read but was the beginning of a friendship, a bond and a sisterhood which is very rare to find. We started chatting before I received her book and now after some odd 7-8 months, I can happily state that she is one of the most treasured friends I have. Her story's title aptly describes our story of friendship from being virtual friends to real life friends. She is our guest today and this is a story she had written for little kids. I hope you all like it as much I did.

This is what she has to say-

Magic! was written as an exercise for a creative writing workshop I had been a part of. The deal was my prompts were: scientist, library, cigarette and fantasy... I hope you guys like what I came up with! Enjoy. And thanks for letting me guest post on your blog, Swarnali!!!  


Fantasy is necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.
- Dr. Seuss

“Damn kids and their stupid world of make belief!” swore Tanmay Sarkar, pulling on his pair of socks and cramming his feet into his large leather shoes.

His feet hurt when he stood up. He could swear his shoes had shrunk an inch, since the last time he wore them. But he knew all too well that was impossible. He was, after all, a scientist and everything in his world revolved around reason and rationality. There was no way in the world that his shoes could’ve just shrunk of their own accord. He half-hopped, and half-winced his way out of his dingy bachelor apartment.

He had to go to the library immediately to get his hands on Descartes’ Principles of Philosophy. He woke up that morning from an inspired dream and he felt it in his bones, that Descartes could guide him to an answer. As he struggled his way to the library, his heart sank when he remembered he’d been banned from entering his beloved shrine as and when he pleased.

Tanmay still maintained that it wasn’t his fault, and things wouldn’t have gotten as much out of hand as it had, had the lady reading J.M. Barrie’s novel not provoked him. He couldn’t understand what joy the children sitting around the lady, reading aloud in the library, could derive from hearing about Peter Pan and his adventures in Neverland. After all, Tanmay reasoned, it was made up place. No such magical places could exist. And he knew Science could prove that. He’d told the lady so.

She had scowled at him, and gathering the children about her said, calmly, “Could you please keep your views to yourself, Mr. Sarkar? You’re disturbing the children.”

A small boy piped up, “Does that mean there’s no Santa Claus either?”

“Or the tooth fairy?” the girl sitting next to her asked, her eyes as round as saucers.

Tanmay laughed at their silly questions and said with scorn, “Of course there isn’t. Those are all made up stories to get children to bed on time.”

“That’s not true,” said another little boy. He was sitting on the lady’s lap, carefully looking at the illustrations in the book, “Some of it is true. There’s magic in this world.”

Tanmay threw back his head and laughed harder when he heard that. He’d meant to interrupt the children’s story telling session that day but on his way to check out a book, he’d overheard Peter Pan being read out. He’d snorted for the lady had been reading out the part about Tinker Bell, the fairy, helping Peter Pan.

He had never believed in fairies, and his rude snort had made the lady look up from the book. When she asked him what the matter was, he’d told her. In the process, the small children who’d believed every word they’d ever been read out began crying and wailing. The manager had to rush to the small reading circle, and pacify the children. When he realized it was one of Tanmay Sarkar’s tongue-in-cheek comments which made the children so restless, he became so furious, he banned Tanmay from coming to the library as when he pleased. He allotted Tanmay specific timings to come to checkout and return the books.

Now, Tanmay rushed in his too tight shoes, towards the library. He checked his watch and saw he only had ten more minutes of his precious library time. He wondered if he could bribe the security guard into letting him enter for just five minutes. Acting on the impulse, he went inside the first shop that came on his way and went straight to the tobacco counter. He couldn’t help but notice that there were several dolls and stuffed animals decorating the little shop. He wondered vaguely what purpose those could possibly serve a store which sold tobacco and chocolates.

He purchased a pack of cigarettes. The woman behind the billing counter seemed oddly familiar to him.

“Hi, I’ll take the pack of cigarettes, please,” he said, reaching into his pocket for his purse.

The woman raised an eyebrow at him and said, “Are you sure you want just a packet of cigarette?”

“Of course,” he replied, “What else would I possibly want?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” she hissed, “Maybe the chocolate bars in your other pocket?”

“I did not take any -” began Tanmay indignantly, reaching into his other pocket. He stopped abruptly, when he felt two chocolate bars in it. He pulled them out, completely bewildered. “How on earth did that happen?”

“I’m sure you have an answer for that, Mr. Scientist,” replied the lady, acidly.

It was then that Tanmay realized who the shop assistant was. She was the same lady he’d unwittingly picked a fight with, so many days ago in the library. Her sarcastic comment had jolted his memory. He blinked twice and said, “I have no freaking idea.”

“Why?” she asked, “Is science letting you down? The same way your shoes are?”

“How do you even know about that?” he asked, taken aback. Indeed, his ever shrinking shoes were beginning to give him blisters now. He had tried to take them off. But they clung to his feet indignantly.

“Oh you wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” the lady replied, smiling at him, “But I still have some scores to settle with you.”

“Huh?” Tanmay couldn’t have been more surprised, “What did I ever do to you?”

“As if you don’t know,” she hissed, her eyes narrowed into slits, “My little son no longer believes in magic and fairy tales thanks to you.”

“That’s common sense,” muttered Tanmay. Immediately, he got smacked across his face by an invisible hand. “Hey!” he screamed, indignantly.

“Does liking science make you such a big non believer,” the lady wanted to know.

“Reason cannot support magic,” replied Tanmay. He ignored the invisible hand which tweaked his ear next, “But I’ll say your son has decided to become wise.”

“My son believed in Peter Pan before you came along and forced him to grow up,” the lady accused Tanmay, “And I’ll give you a choice, Mr. Scientist. Either you make my son believe in magic again or I’ll report your little shoplifting spree to the police.”

“What nonsense!” thundered Tanmay, “How am I supposed to do that? And I am not fond of children either.”

Someone pulled his trousers and looking down, Tanmay saw a teddy bear was trying to get his attention. His eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, when he realized that all the inanimate objects in the whole shop had come alive. The rows of miniature stuffed dinosaurs kept on the shelf behind the counter were performing a ballet. The candy bars were performing their own jig on the counter. And though science could never prove it, Tanmay could swear he saw fairies flying around above his head. The door at the other end of the shop opened, and the little boy from that day long ago, entered the shop.

“What’s going on?” he asked. He didn’t seem to mind the shop being so alit with life.

Tanmay stared at him. A sharper tug at his trousers made him look down at the teddy bear and ask, “What?”

“You have to tell the boy there’s magic in everything,” the teddy bear said.

Tanmay, a firm believer of science, could hardly believe his eyes or ears. All his life he’d rejected everything out of the ordinary. Yet today, he was standing in a shop, where everything was coming to life, performing their acts or advising him to believe in magic. A line of patchwork dolls decided to show off their catwalk skills on the counter. But the best part was a miniature winged creature fluttering in front of Tanmay’s nose and settling on it, decidedly.

“Fairy?” he breathed, amazed.

“Duh!” the fairy replied.

Tanmay got down on one knee, and when he was at eye level with the boy, he smiled at the boy. He’d forgotten his childhood and he’d forgotten how it used to feel to go off into another world through the books he’d read. He took the boy’s hands in his and looking at him squarely in the eye said, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

“Wrong about what?” asked the boy, surprised.

“That I said there’s no such thing as magic,” Tanmay replied, “There always is. We just don’t see it anymore.”

The boy smiled back at him and said, “I’m glad to hear that. I’ll be sure to tell the Lost Boys, when I see them again.”

Before the words of what the boy had said could sink into his mind completely, Tanmay found his surrounding dissolving around him. He barely heard the lady say, that since he’d fixed the problem he’d created, she was sending him to the library. When his eyes got focused again, he saw that he’d arrived in front of the library. He ran up the flight of stairs, desperate now, more than ever to get hold of the damn book of Descartes. He had had to double check his theory. The images from that morning were also fresh in his mind. He just knew he needed that book to hit the jackpot.

He checked his watch, as he approached the librarian, armed with the Principles of Philosophy he’d been wanting since the morning. The librarian took the book and his card and then scowled. He looked up from the card and said in a flat voice, “I’m sorry, Sir. Your card expired today.”

Till next,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review - Compass Box Killer

Compass Box Killer

Author: Piyush Jha
ISBN: 9788129124272
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Rupa
Number of Pages: 234
Genre: Fiction / Crime Thriller
Language: English
Price: Rs. 195 (review copy received from The Tales Pensieve)


About the Book: 

An edge of the seat thriller. Full Jalwa ~ Madhur Bhandarkar
"Akurle is just the first to die. To find who is next, find me first."

One muggy afternoon in Mumbai, a senior police officer is found murdered at his desk. When Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch arrives at the scene, he finds a cryptic note that spills out of a student s compass box.
Then begins a series of killings and in each, a telltale compass box reveals more clues. Accompanied by the attractive, ambitious TV reporter, Raashi Hunerwal, Virkar has to race against time to catch the Compass Box Killer before the bodies pile up. As the investigation shuttles from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, Virkar is taken deep into a labyrinth of backroom deals that lead to shocking revelations about the ruthless killer s motives.
Swarnali Speaks :

I haven't read film maker and author Piyush Jha's debut, Mumbaistan but heard a lot of good words from people who read it. So, when I found this one was up for review, I decided to grab a copy and see for myself. And no surprises, the book is as good as they say :)
For starters, I highly appreciate the author's attempt at penning an Indian thriller, something that is not so common with most contemporary Indian authors. I have barely read some 3-4 Indian thrillers in the past year and half compared to the tons of romances. And the appreciation is not just for attempting the genre but also skillfully using it to create a total paisa vasool (worth every penny) novel.
The language used in the book is fairly simple which can be read and understood by readers of all kinds. The only problem I had is with a few Marathi phrases the characters use which I could not comprehend. Adding them in the novel gives a nice touch to the book as the reader is reminded of the Mumbai setting but a translation in English right after the Marathi terms would've been really helpful for non-Marathi understanding readers like me. Also, the character of Inspector Virkar has a habit of mouthing colloquial Hindi phrases which I found a little unnecessary in certain cases.
 The book has a very typical Bollywood filmy feel to it which I was expecting . It is a complete entertainer - murders, unidentified mysterious and highly intelligent killer, a very honest and hard working policeman and kick-ass action  sequences seasoned with a fairly good dose of romance. I would definitely love to see this one transformed into a Bollywood movie someday.
The plot is racy and is very well knit. Murders keep coming one after another as the killer escalates in his game leaving behind notes in rusty compass boxes for the Inspector to find and unravel and connect together the pieces of the big jigsaw puzzle. A minor problem would be perhaps with the fact that the characters remain a little sketchy. I would have personally liked a little more detailing with Inspector Virkar's character.
Also, coming from a good publishing house like Rupa, I didn't find any typographical errors in the book, which is a major relief.
All in all, a really good read. I will definitely be picking up Mumbaisatan very soon.

Rating : 4 / 5 

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wine Trail with Four Seasons

A bunch of us, Kolkata bloggers consisting of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and food bloggers met on the 6th of July 2013 for a very enjoyable and informative session of acquainting with the wine extraction and preparation process, courtesy Four Seasons wines. I had attended a similar wine appreciation and food pairing event organised by Four Seasons last year at Oasis, park Street. You can find details of the same here.

So, what are the new things that happened this time? For one, compared to the mere seven bloggers last time, this year nineteen of us bloggers came together to share our love for wine and learn the knick knacks to appreciate it better.

The fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers

The food bloggers
The event was held in the very beautifully lighted Rose Room at The Conclave at Rabindra Sadan, Kolkata. The evening started with an introduction to the ancient process of grape cultivation and wine preparation from the ancient Greeks and Romans during the Dionysian satyr festivals celebrating fertility and health to the modern day advanced mechanisms. Our host and speaker of the day , Mr.P.P.K Mitter, fondly referred to as Peter who is a representative of the UB group, explained to us how the procedures during wine extraction works and resolved the doubts and clarified the myths regarding wine and alcohol.

Unlike last year, this time we had a detailed power point presentation which numerous slides which gave explicit information regarding the types of wines, their cultivation, harvesting, the areas where vineyards can be grown, the new and innovative technologies adapted by the UB group for the extraction of Indian Wine and the different types of glasses and equipment used for drinking and extracting wine.

After the initial introduction to the preparation process and the extraction of different types of Indian wines, Peter helped us understand how wines are to be tasted, paired and evaluated.
  •  There are three different types of wines based of color- White (generally golden or yellowish in tinge), Rose (Pinkish colored) and Red ( deep maroon to dark purplish in color). 
  • Wines are grouped into 3 other sections - still wine, sparkling wine and port wines. 
  • A lot of wines and alcoholic beverages, those prepared in the Old world countries get their names from the areas of their production like Champagne (in France), Port (in Portugal) and Scotch (the whiskey from Scotland). The same name cannot be used for the same spirit  produced in any other area of the world.
  • Wine can be best appreciated by following the 4 S's- See, Swirl, Smell and Sip. This evokes the four senses. By clinking the glasses, one evokes the fifth sense of hearing.
The four S's
  • UB group exports White Indian wine and Red Indian wines under the label name of Ritu, meaning seasons. Within the small time of its launch in India, Four Seasons wines have gained immense popularity and have received numerous accolades and awards for their quality.
  • Wine glasses are to be held at the stem and touching the curved area where the wine is contained is to be avoided. This is to ensure that the wine doesn't get warmed up by the heat transferred from the body of the drinker. 

The five wines we tasted were Sauvignon Blanc (white), Viognier (white), Blush (rose), Shiraz (red) and Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (reserve red wine).

 The food from The Conclave provided the best accompaniment for the five different wines we tasted.

Special thanks to Peter, four Seasons wines and The Conclave for the amazing experience.

Lastly, we all left the event tipsy with not just happy memories and a lot of wine related wisdom but also a beautiful Wine Appreciation Certificate. Now, I am a certified wine enthusiast (that is definitely going to make a lot of my friends green with envy). Yay!!  

To good times *Cheers* 

P.S.- For those who want to know more about the types of wines available under the Ritu and Four Seasons label can refer to Four Seasons's Facebook page and their blog.
P.P.S.- Not all photos were clicked by me. Thanks to Anupriya, Debiparna, Aniesha, Pooja, Animesh and Kamalika for the remaining pictures.