Fashion and all. Amen.

So the office had scheduled its annual marketing meet in Delhi this year. As if it being my first meet and getting to know the national team and all that was not enough to get me hyper excited, we were being put up at …wait to hear it…the Taj Palace!

Now I don’t mean to brag but I love hotels. I love how the rooms magically clean themselves  when you return back after a long, tiring day. I love the inviting beds, with their crisp white sheets, the forever clean towels, all those abstract paintings and dim lights and switches that are always an arm’s distance away. But this -was taking the experience to a whole different level.

So after day 1 in the tub (not before spending long minutes longingly looking at the pool-side, and then looking at the mound on my waist, and imagining what an abomination I would seem like in swim wear) we headed out for dinner. And there, behold, Lisa Hayden in her ravishing avatar, sashaying towards the bell desk! And then we see many, many such hotnesses, and that was when it struck us that there just might be some event happening at the hotel.

As we waited for the men to get dressed and join us (as is the case these days), we decided we might as well get comfortable and watch the show. There was a fashion event happening- google tells me that it was apparently the “Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers India Couture Week 2014”. Here I sit, with two senior managers discussing business strategies, with a head that is swinging left to right on its own accord (that I had to hold the jaw from dropping is a different story).

Women- I fell in love with them without a second thought. Dear lord, I have never SEEN so much beauty, so much fashion, live, in one frame! Little black dresses of every imaginable kind (I thought of mine, dumped so carelessly in my cupboard and curled inside with shame), shoes- so much bling in shoes that I would never be able to carry off, and gowns- slit in the middle, on the sides, giving me breathtaking sneak-peeks of toned legs and flat waists.. I was determined to stop eating for the rest of my life.

And as my manager caught me shamelessly gawking at all the colours and designs in motion, and clicked her tongue in disapproval, I couldn’t help but wonder- if this was what the visitors looked like, how much more awesome would the actual event be!

Fashion, gosh. I never gave it much thought before this. Is it necessary? No. Is it important? Hell Yes.

And that, has been my best hotel experience so far. Acting like a lizard, soaking in the designs and colours and pretenses. I don’t remember much, but I remember feeling awed, and yes, I remember picking my eyes off the floor and sticking them back in when they popped out.

So it has now been a week since I decided to sweat and run burn the fat away. I shall tell you when I start.

EAT, Pray, Love (Part 1)

Just ahead of my BIG (and first) international vacation, one of my best friends advised me to go Eat, Pray and Love. Very un-original of him I must add, but little did I know that that was exactly what I would be doing, hop, skip and jumping across three different countries, time-zones and cultures.

The original intent of the trip was Cambodia, decided on a whim, and surprisingly executed. There were only two economical ways to get there- via Thailand or Malaysia, and we unanimously chose Malaysia. Though now we might have second thoughts about it, it was not so bad really. There is only so much you can do in a foreign city in one and a half days, and we did it all!

Malaysia was my EAT. We ate like it was the last day on earth. The cuisine was so similar yet so different; a blend of Indian, Chinese and Malay. We stuffed ourselves with noodles of every imaginable type, and soups of every imaginable colour (and combinations of both) I must add that some of the mentioned dishes were tried in Singapore, yet, Eat land would always be Malaysia.

The country is fiercely proud of its cuisine, and I would not mind visiting it again, because this was like some food pilgrimage. Meat and shrimp ruled the menu, the tastes reminded us of home, vaguely. Tamarind, ginger and garlic were prominent additions, and the combinations were not very different from what we use back home.

Some of the must try’s are the Nasi Lemak (queer rice based dish with curry and eggs- had an amazing version in a restaurant. And then had a mind-blowing, super- economic version on the street, off a cart), Mee Goreng (a soy based noodle dish. Too much soy), Char kuey teow (rice noodles, fried over charcoal, smoked noodles), curry laksa (with its spicy coconut based curry filled with shrimp/chicken), Roti Canai (Indian inspired flat bread) and Murtabak (paratha-kind of bread, filled with meat, served fried), lots of dumplings and lots of soup.

Of course, we did not have satay (flavoured meat, fried on skewers). Or Durian (which is like the national fruit of Malaysia)

But what I liked best were the prawn chips and the bamboo dish- made from rice flour and jaggery, again bought from an obscure vendor off the street.

But all those tongue twister names surely call for a picture!

Photos from xolo

Nonetheless, for the rest of us, three places in Chennai where you can sample some of what was mentioned above:

1. Pelita (Chennai’s signature Malay restaurant, Pondy Bazaar, opposite Holy Angels school)
They have amazing Satay, however, I have never tried the other dishes. Nonetheless, I think I would go back to try my favourites someday soon.
2. Kebab Corner (Greams road, on the little, unobtrusive street immediately after the Fruit Shop on Greams Road building)
The murtabak we had here was not very different from what we had in Malay. Do visit- highly recommended. They are open only from 4pm to 8 pm.
3. Kailash Kitchen (tucked away inside a little building in Choolaimedu- you wouldn’t know unless you are led by a regular)
This is a Tibetian place, however, they have really good dumpling soup. Do not venture into the kitchens, for your own good. And they close by 7 pm.

And we took some time to gawp at the Petronas towers, visit the Batu caves and the Bird Park as well. But we really could not do anything else.

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A lovely country, filled with friendly people, a lot of Tamils, so we did not really feel lost, yet something was still missing. I might probably call it the warmth. 

Pray and Love, coming soon enough 🙂