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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Love Zomato ? Hate Zomato ? Now , Karans feedback for Zomato !!

Its been a long time since I started reviewing places on Zomato and my interest into the world of gastronomy or molecular gastronomy ( the new trend ) started  . A big credit of this goes to Zomato in bringing out the foodie in me . As part of the process , not only I have learnt that there is more to a restaurant than just going there and ordering a meal and paying and coming back . A lot more things happen in between all these stages and I am sure , as Indians we all love our food and knowing the places where its served best - just helps .

And in this step-up , I always believe there is no better way than a feedback to make things more smarter and more friendly . After all ,Zomato is for foodies like us and we also need to do our bit for the big Zomato family that we all are a part of . So , here are some thoughts I felt like sharing with all ( on a special request from the team at Zomato : ) )


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Three features I love 



  1. I like the fact that Zomato has played interestingly in the larger benefit of the foodies . Not everyone needs to be a member to be able to read reviews , browse places and check out what other foodies are writing about .  In this way they capture and build both type of target audiences -  Active writers /  reviewers and also those passive folks who just want to browse and pick up a quick place. A win-win for all . 
  2. Collections -  A kudos to the entire team at Zomato and specifically to the folk who thought about this . It saves a hell lot of a time by clustering places basis a key genre and thereby narrowing the search all together .  A 'wow'  in terms of customer experience and innovative thinking. 
  3. Foodie levels -  The foodie ladder is a thoughtful way of ensuring 'serious' foodies continuously do their bit of fair reviews and keep on climbing the ladder .  The four levels are good enough where Zomato ensures that the interest is build up and there are points for everything that one does. 

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Three features I think we can have / refine them to be better 

  1. Photos  - My personal experience , uploading photos is a pain since half of the time it gets rejected due to a lower size file or something on similar lines  . Zomato needs to work to ensure the 'photo' option factors in almost all formats and the size limit something that has 99% success rate .  A big reason why I have stopped posting pictures even though I do click them . 
  2. Twitter -  Zomato needs to be integrated with Twitter as that has a big chunk of audiences , globally & locally and far better than the Google+ . Currently the integration to find friends is only available on Facebook and Google+ . May be a next step would be to have LinkedIn as well as an option along with Instagram . 
  3. Zomato foodie card - This is something on mind for a long time and I feel Zomato should work in creating a proposition for only genuine and top foodies as there way of appreciating them .This could be criteria based  - Only big foodies and above can apply.The proposition could build in plug-ins like: 
        1. Exclusive invites to new restaurant launches in respective cities ;
        2. A fixed savings of 15% or above at ALL Zomato featured restaurants;
        3. Invites to Zomato foodie meets and a chance to may be featured in the Zomato restaurant guide.
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Hope the above helps in a tiny way to ensure we continue to do what we do best - serving foodies and building the food culture locally available  ,globally. 


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Married life wishes - secrets from the hills



This may be easy to relate like other things in life but hard to implement like many things in life.  On one of my recent visits to Shimla  ( yes, I do visit this place when I am not in Jaipur ) I came across a beautiful couple whom I have been seeing for years now but never really got a chance to meet or know them .

Shimla as we know is crowded so  Mashobra is the place for people like me who appreciate serenity . They live in this beautiful area atop a hill with a home ( I am not allowed to call a house ) designed and done beautifully by the two of them . You meet them ( though they don’t  like to be discussed or talked about and prefer living peacefully ) and you will know what it takes to be in a relationship ,  be married , raise kids and more importantly be with that one person all throughout thick and thin and yet everything stays afresh . 

Whenever I used to go to Mashobra all we did was to exchange some smiles and hand waving . Bad on my part , I never even said a hello or a good morning to them .  But this time , I feel now when I back to my base I wanted to talk to them , know them and just be with them for some time.  So , I did wish them during our morning walk and yes ( not because I am the sweetest of the lot ) they invited me for breakfast .




As I entered their abode , I saw the HOME name as sheetanchal ( comes from their two daughters – Sheetal and Aanchal , who are in the US . No further details please : ) )

The home is done so beautifully with simple pieces of furniture that look so elegant  . I could feel the positive vibes all over the place with ample sunshine , fresh air and everything you would ever want from a hill side home .  They have a helper but Aunty does the cooking herself while uncle ensure the garden looks manicured 24*7  since he does organic farming as well .

She made us a lovely breakfast with fruits , salads , milk, honey and fresh French breads .  Over food they talked about how they met and the life till date and how Mashobra happened.  Surprising, both are former seniors executives who worked for top notch MNCs during their working years .  





They met while working and hated each other from day one. Interestingly, things fell into place and both of them got married and moved to the US . It was a typical corporate life but both of them managed it so well that they did everything they wanted to . Aunty learnt dance ( kathak to be specific , published articles , did a Ph.D and most importantly went for an Himalayan expedition ) . Uncle learnt cooking, changing diapers , swimming and above all something he cherishes  - being patient ( a trait he says he cultivated by being with his wife ).

Their daughters too were brought up independently yet groomed in tradition but having a modern outlook .

I can go on and on and it’s something which I may not be able to pen down completely so I will stick to key parts .

Success – they say is something you don’t get unless you work very hard for it . Forget what people say ,  destiny holds .

Marriage -  It’s a bond that you will be bonded till the time you are here on this earth .  Only a lucky few get this .

Children -  The most precious of all the gifts your wife can give to you . Priceless , that’s why wife’s are always superior :P

Secret to a happy life -  Have no expectations from others .  Believe in this and then see how people go to any length to do the world for you.




You are right , many of the above I have imagined and reworded as well to ensure you appreciate me as a good writer .  But leaving all this aside , see and read and implement what they have been doing so well .   I know it’s hard to find someone like them but life would be so much simple if we stopped making it complex like for most other things that we do.  You never know when the call will come and then you will have no time to go back to that same person you once left & that one thing you wished to learn may be .

So while you start becoming nice and understanding from today also make it a point to take breaks . After all , I do keep sharing lots of stuff for you all .


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Last week it was pouring in Delhi like anything and this song was on my playlist almost always . Listen to this and I am sure you would like it. 

Also, one the rare places where I wrote this article is - Sakleys . The ambiance was perfect and so was the company

Friday, August 29, 2014

Be your own support system

The story of thanks . At times , we all need support systems in some form or the other. I used to be of a very different school of thought some time back but then someone made me realize that it’s not so tough to confide with someone about what you feel.  For many of us sharing our thoughts, what we are feeling, why we are feeling a certain way doesn’t come easy and hence all the more need for these folks to talkabout  .

Support systems usually are people (warm-bodies ) as I call who LISTEN to you patiently without an intent of not responding or reacting to what you say . I agree, they are a hard find but I am sure you will have them around you, knowingly or unknowingly.   I , by nature don’t speak or share much with others since it doesn’t come to me naturally . But whenever I do, believe me I am the most talkative of the lot :)



A random discussion with an old friend sometime back made me realize that all this while I have been sharing with her most of the things and vice versa . I don’t know when did I started doing so but in the process it felt both of us knew so much about each other that it was really fun just being ourselves.

That’s one way to do so. A next level of sharing  or venting out can be writing .  Agree this is a trait one is born with and not necessary you can develop but it’s a good thing to write or share about . When writing you have at your will your undivided attention , you let your thoughts gather and settle down and most importantly problems now come with solutions  . In the end , you also help those who may be suffering from a similar dilemma and hence it’s a positive deed that you do.

After all , most inter-personal problems, be it at home, work or outside, occur when we are unable to control our emotions at a critical time.

Siblings ;  that’s a high risk high gain stuff. Siblings these days are very smart and hence you need to be guarded as to what to say , to whom and when . You never know when, even though unintentionally they might just say something you never expected them to say or share .

If the above three don’t work then believe me you just have a passing thought and nothing big. Before it makes itself into a snowball effect , let it go . 

Not all things in life are to be solved  . Some just need a bit of ignoring . Not everyone you meet  you would fall in love with and marry . There is only one and hence keep it for the best .Not always is a good thing to share or talk to someone about how you feel and why you feel the way you feel . For some it may be just a tick mark activity and for some no option but to listen to you thinking when you would finish.  So , start speaking and sharing and when you find no one to speak to I am all ears .


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On a lighter note farzi cafe seems to be doing a lot of rounds these days .  Here is my review on Zomato .

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Choices in life - WE make

It was a nice surprise . We all have a sweet tooth and I am no exception.  Given it’s a festive air all around with EID and today being Teej , I was craving for ‘ghevar ‘ .  You get this superb thing this point in time and it’s a no miss .

To top it all I got a beautiful email and a tweet followed from one of my readers . Though out of the many things she asked me and shared , one thing which stood apart , is what I am going to share or write today .

She candidly asked me that how do I deal with choices . Choices to write on my personal webpage, choice of not writing and a choice of writing and not sharing .Huh ! Too many choices , you see. 

I will start by sharing an interesting thing which I read a while back during my trip to Jaipur.

“You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself."


Life is like a road. There are long and short roads; smooth and rocky roads; crooked and straight paths. In our life many roads would come our way as we journey through life.

Just like any road, there are corners, detours, and crossroads in life. Perhaps the most perplexing road that you would encounter is a crossroad. With four roads to choose from and with limited knowledge on where they would go, which road will you take? What is the guarantee that we would choose the right one along the way? Would you take any road, or just stay where you are: in front of a crossroad?

My situation was like this a while back.  And then I did something which one of special ones shared .The enlightened person said - ‘Keep a balance between your head and your heart – you don’t want to throw logic out of the window, however it’s important to listen to your gut.’ And I took a strong step in this direction.

Choices are something that we get every day . Waking up is a choice and marrying someone you don’t want to is also choice . Changing for someone whom you love is also a choice and taking a step back from doing something wrong is also a choice. What is important is that where in life you stand and at that point what is it that matters you most , positively.  At times , choices you make effect not only you but also your surrounding and the people associated with you .  A decision once made should have one persons’ full buy-in and that person is – YOU.

Now that you have made a decision, be ready to face its consequences: good and bad. It may take you to a place of promise or to a land of problems. But the important thing is that you have chosen to live your life instead of remaining a bystander or a passive audience to your own life. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time can tell. But do not regret it whatever the outcome. Instead, learn from it and remember that you always have the chance to make better decisions in the future. Give , like I always say and do  - your 100% . 

As for me, I chose to share this with you all :)  . So go ahead ,  make choices that not only make you happy but also your near and dear ones smile.  And in case , it didn't work well , its OK. Learn and move on but never forget.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Inspire a fragrance - Mussorie & Chakrata

This may be a bit surprising but then Jaipur is something that I have explored enough. And now it was time to step-out of the Delhi heat ( which is never ending ) and head to the mountains.

Mussorie 

Being from a hill state myself , its an awesome sight to visit any hill state or a hill station . So ,it was Mussorie . People know it as the   "Gateway" to Yamunotri and Gangotri Shrines of Northern India . My take - it used to be beautiful but now its a lost charm unless and until you are either staying at a place outside Mussorie or may be in cantonment area. Crowded to hell , hotel and resorts , half of the folks are from Punjab and Haryana and not to forget the traffic stuck which happen right from Dehdradun.

To escape all this , try staying at the beautiful The Claridges Nabha Residence, summer retreat of the erstwhile Maharaja of Nabha, the heritage hotel set amid 13 acres of private cedar and silver oak forest and only a single-storey colonial building, opens out into a central courtyard and provides a sweeping view of the garden and the rolling green hills.


Nabha Palace , Mussorie 
It was love at first sight .  

My pick of the two key places to visit in case you are a first timer here are: 


  • Kempty Falls
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration
  • Camel Back road
  • Dhanaulti



Chakrata

A far better pick than Mussorie would be Chakrata which can be reached from Dehradun via Mussoorie or Vikasnagar. Both routes pass through beautiful mountainous road. Travelling in the monsoon can be quite tricky as the area sees frequent road blockages due to landslides.






The area has an abundance of conifers, rhododendrons and oaks. The red rhododendrons are the most abundantly found in this region. A key attraction near Chakrata is the waterfall named Tiger Fall. A secluded -nearby, leafy hamlet of Deoban offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas stretching from Kinnaur to Garhwal and Kumaon.

It rains almost everyday here and with its limited population its a place you would love to stay around more than you thought of. 


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Plan a vacation and I am sure besides unwinding you would love to breathe in some fresh air .  And , I am a message away in case you need any further details on any of the above. 


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What's more ?  Thats what I think every-time I come back from the hills . What is that one thing I can bring back with me to remind me of the calmness and the sheer happiness which I experience . And I always thought of a 'fragrance '  . Inspired by hills which has a cooling effect on you and soothens you everytime you breathe in. When it rains in the hills and the connect which the droplets have with the ground and smell that raises from the ground - That ! Only if I wish folks from the Godrej ( http://www.godrejaer.com/ ) who really do an awesome stuff with creating fragrances that connect with your senses , create something unique from this experience. #InspireAFragrance as we call. 


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Connect with me on :

Personal webpage – www.karankumar.com
Twitter handle – @karansayz

Instagram - http://instagram.com/karansayz

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