Monday, November 25, 2019

The Mesmerizing Festivals of Spain



I hail from the state of Rajasthan and hence have grown up amid bright colors. Is there any other place in India more vibrant and colorful than this princely state? I guess not. However, one destination abroad that breaks the norms and matches this “riot of colors” is undoubtedly Spain. The bespoke beauty of this country has always fascinated me; so much that I ended up visiting seven times. Trust me, each time was a different and new experience. The ministry of India tourism brought me on the panel of Indian-Spanish cultural exchange program and my endless journeys to Spain began in 2011.


Being an important part of any culture, I observed Spanish festivals closely. My favorite? Woah, it’s difficult to pick one.

January is the time for Tamborrada, a tradition which started with mocking Napoleon's troops that had invaded San Sebastian in 1813. Hundreds of organizations and people participate in the exciting street festivals playing drums. The celebration also represents the union of citizens in pursuit of happiness.
Image source: Everfest

During my visit to Tenerife in February, the Spanish carnival season was a cherry on cake. This celebration easily rivals the carnivals of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where the streets transform into a sea of colourful processions. The extravagant costumes are not to be missed. The island was full of fun, colour, glitter and glamour, that filled my soul with so much joy. Spaniards really know how to enjoy life.
Carnival season of Spain 

While every festival in Spain is full of energy and fun, Las Fallas de Valencia in March is larger than life. Visually one of the most spectacular Fiestas, the city inhabitants make giant paper mache figures representing notable people as well traditional figures. With work officially suspended, the figures are displayed in the city during the entire week of celebration before being burned down at one of the most amazing bonfires marking the end of the festival. I was mesmerized by the giant effigies and fire show.
Image source: Tripsavvy

My hands were full with celebratory mood and cultural knowledge and I started preparing to leave for India in April. But guess what? Festivals are never over in Spain. I was invited by my tour operator’s family to attend the Feria De Abril Fair in Seville. The fair lasts for two weeks, usually from the last week of April to mid-May.  What started as a cattle fair in 1847 is now a period of serious dancing, drinking, eating and socializing, with late night. From around midday until early evening - especially on Sunday, the first official day - Sevilla society parades around the fairground in carriages or on horseback. The sheer extent of the April Fair's spectacle felt extraordinary.

Image credit: claudiawiens

I left for India the following month while planning to return in the June next year. I was welcomed with lots of wine being poured on my head. No kidding. This is Haro Wine Festival whose origin can be traced back to the 13th century that started a dispute between two neighboring villages. The festival now sees people of all age groups throwing buckets loads of wine at friends and strangers with music playing in the backdrop. To my surprise, the once quaint town of Haro changed completely after sunset. Who would not enjoy throwing wine at people and watch some to drink from the same bucket? The excitement refused to die down and got etched in my memory forever.

Source: Bergerpaints


July was relatively low for me in Spain because I was too scared of being run down by bulls. Thousands gather and run after the raging bulls at the San Fermin festival in Spain’s Pamplona. This fiesta gives the country of Spain a time to celebrate in honor of San Fermin, the tortured saint. Though I did not participate in the bull race, I did venture out in the evening to experience the parades and music shows.


Come August, the town gets painted in red and crimson. Thanks to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara for enlightening us. Though criticized for wasting tons of tomato crop, La Tomatina continues to attract people from all parts of the world. It is a super fun celebration with so much tempo and energy. What amazed me the most was how people throw tomatoes at each other like crazy yet behave so civilized.

 Image credit: radseason.com/

My short stay sponsored by the ministry of tourism ended in August and I bid good bye to Spain that had filled my life with vibrant colors. I miss the festivities and excitement there. This is perhaps the only country besides India to have so many festivals and rituals. In case you are doing a research on cultures, without battling an eye, I’d suggest Spain. If you are looking for an agent for your visa application,  I'd advice BLS International without a doubt. 



Monday, June 17, 2019

Conveniently Inconvenient: The visa processing bottleneck




Visa facilitation centers in India were enforced by the Government to ease the travel process and shrink the complications. The tourism industry thrived on these visa application agencies and our dependency on them multiplied. However, it came as a shocker for me that none of the core objectives have been met by most of the visa management companies, leaving customers upset, angry and hopeless. These instances only create bad memories and corrupt impression of the country’s most trusted establishments. Here is what I came across.




When it comes to travelling abroad, visa processing centers can give you real nightmares. From mismanaged crowd to impolite staff behavior, applying for visa is turning out to be the most unpleasant experience. I guess, a thorough research and good word of mouth may give you a real picture of the scenario. Well, I am still searching for alternatives and a way to not blindly rely on tall claims.

Have you ever experienced this before? Do you prefer the services of a visa processing company or arrange everything on your own? Do share in the comments section below.  


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A fascinating road trip: Gurugram to Bikaner



A stretch of smooth roads lined with trees on both the sides was hubby's and my dream. We could think of no place around NCR especially when Gurgaon authorities are on a tree-felling spree.  Post our trip to Sikkim in October 2018, we were planning a road trip this time. This was when after multiple discussions and research we zeroed in on Rajasthan. So we formulated a road trip from Gurgaon to these three cities in the exact order- Bikaner, Jaiselmer and Nagaur.

Let me help you plan a great road trip from NCR to Bikaner.



Choose the right time:
Rajasthan must be visited in winters, ideally from mid of September to mid March. Since temperate soars to 50 degree Celsius, summers is NOT the right time to visit Rajasthan, unless you are too fond of heat or want to leverage low price in off-season.
We chose first week of March (2019) when winter was slipping away slowly before the onset of summer.

The right clothing:
While summers can be harsh, winters are equally brutal. Carry clothes in cotton or breathable facbric in summers. Do not underestimate winters. From long jacket to woolen caps, you need it all.
P.S- We hadn't packed much of woolens and the first day in Bikaner was spent battling the biting cold.



Roads:
The road condition from Delhi to Bikaner is excellent. Thankfully there are no potholes or unmarked bumpers. Barring a few places after Manesar, the roads are smooth.


 There isn't much traffic on the roads which makes driving even more pleasant. he roads get crammed up when you are about to reach Bikaner.



Distance:
The road distance from Gurgaon to Bikaner is 462 km via NH8 and NH11. If you choose NH52, it will be 502 km. It takes 8 hours or more to travel from Delhi to Bikaner. Once you enter the city, the view changes to an laid back, cluttered old town. The city traffic would slow you down. Since Bikaner is one of those old cities that has not modernized much, be prepared to drive through the narrow crowded lanes.
P.S- Hotel parking places are on the roads, not within the hotel premises.

The route: 
1. Delhi-Bahadurgarh-Rohtak-Bhiwani-Chirawa-Jhunjhunu-Mandawa-Fatehpur-Ratangarh-Bikaner (NH709 &11)

2. Delhi-Rewari-Shahajahanpur-Behror-Kotputli-Reengus-Sikar-Laxmangarh-Fatehpur-Ratangarh-Bikaner (NH709)


3. Gurgoan-Rewari-Narnaul-Chirawa-Mandawa-Fatehpur-Ratangarg- Bikaner (via NH11)

We drove on route 3 (NH709)


Enough greenery on both the sides of the road was soothing while the balmy sunshine caressed us on the gentle winter morning. The latter was trying to shine through the layer of fog and the weather was pleasantly cold.  I must say, roads in Rajasthan are just so amazing. Driving never felt so good. The journey was enjoyable and we looked forward to an equally great holiday. Thankfully Google Maps guided us well and did not take any diverted route. As we sped on the highway, pieces of sandy lands started to appear and after Ratangarh vegetation turned scanty. The moment we entered the city of Bikaner, we felt the massiveness. Jam-packed market-place, the chaos, colorful houses, vibrant turbans of men, narrow lanes, the laid back vibes, we enjoyed it all. Plus the old part of the city has a railway line running through the busy market. It was a sight to behold, when the people stood clear of the rail line, halting across the barriers watching the train pass by. I had known that such kind of market exists in Thailand. My first brush with this hence happened in my own incredible India. 

Struggling through the congested lanes, we made our way to hotel Oyo Babu Heritage by lunch time and prepared for the day-out.

The lanes of Rampuriya Haveli

Our Itinerary:
We left from home at 5 am
We made it to our hotel in Bikaner by 2 pm.
Had lunch and rested for a while
Left from hotel at 4 pm to tour Rampuriya Havelis.




This is how you can plan a safe and glitch-free road trip by ticking off your essentials- 
  • Get your car serviced to avoid breakdowns 
  • Check car's tyre pressure and fuel tank  
  • On long road trip your car is prone to breakdown, flat tyre or overheating. Carry your car tool box just in case. 
  • Carry enough drinking water with you. I always carry my Milton Kool Rover Water Jug (11 liters capacity) on my road trips. This jug has traveled places with us! 
  • Pack dry snacks. Dhabas are not too frequent on lone highways.  
  • Please do not litter or trash plastic anywhere. Ultimately it goes into our own water bodies. Be a responsible traveler. 
P.S- We made the trip in March 2019. Also, the blog post made it to the list of trending posts of the day on Indiblogger home page. 
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Monday, December 17, 2018

The beauty within



Beauty is interpreted in many forms. The idea of beauty planted in heads of young girls often comes from TV or films and age old mentality of the society. For many women, fair skin is beautiful. For others beauty means size zero and looking young. It would not be wrong to say beauty is skin deep. Whats surprising is that these thoughts are deep rooted in the 'literate' section of the society. I refrain from using 'educated' in place of 'literate' because often the two are confused. We are taught to read and write in schools, graduate and earn our degrees. That simply does not make us educated because we fail to imbibe the values and life lessons in the educational institutes. Or else why would we indulge in the evil beliefs of the society? My best friend's mother too has the same mindset. Many a time she expressed worry of her daughter's dark complexion and that she would have a difficult time finding a groom. She was also concerned about her education status because a highly educated girl faces a tough time finding an equally educated groom. I would not be surprised to hear the same story from many other women, especially rural places. 


But a woman shook my belief and it was astonishing to see that come from someone who is not literate and was born to a poor family. She is my domestic-help Sharda who comes to work everyday with the same energy and wears a broad smile on her face like an accessory. She works in ten households of my residential colony to support her husband financially and give a good life to her children. 
Sharda's story of battling the odds moved many to tears. Born in a tiny village in Nepal, Sharda along with her four other sisters were married at young age and they traveled to Delhi with their husbands respectively. Her rickshaw puller husband got into the habit of drinking and his medical illness halved his earnings. Her son got into bad company and quit school. It was then when she fought back and decided to work as a house help, much against the wishes of her husband. Her earnings stabilized the financial conditions and she planned to do something which usually women from her society don't- She got her handicapped daughter Meena enrolled in a school. Criticized by many, including her husband, Sharda was determined to get Meena educated despite her disability and change her life. Meena was born with a crippled leg and missing fingers in right hand.  
My respect for Sharda grew by many folds when I came to know how she braved the odds for her disabled daughter who would otherwise be treated as liability in our society. Husband and I offered to help her financially and would often try passing on little things to make her life a little comfortable. A dignified Sharda would always refuse our help saying she cannot accept favours, because she is earning and accepting help would only defeat her motive of providing a respectful life to her girl. 

The only time she asked for help was when her elder daughter Meena graduated and was  looking for a job. I called Meena to my place for a short meeting. Watching her converse in flawless English was unexpected and quite impressive. Her confidence amazed me. When she told me that she tutors school kids and supports her family so that Sharda could retire, my eyes welled up. The next day I gave a box of cosmetics and skin care products to Sharda for Meena. As always she refused saying "These things will dishearten her didi. If she knows there are cosmetics to mask her flaws, I would be a liar in her eyes".  

Her statement left me stunned.  What a woman of substance she is!  
My husband and I recommended Meena for jobs that matched her skills. The day she landed with a job, Sharda came to thank us with a box of sweets. It was the happiest and biggest feat of my life. I felt so happy for her who brought up Meena like a normal child and did not let her disability hinder her success.She did not abandon her at birth and always told her how beautiful she was. Meena is a mentally strong girl who never pitied herself and never considered the problems her limitations.  

Sharda did not stop working and Meena is earning well, making everyone proud of her. Like mother, like daughter. For me, Sharda and Meena are two exceptional women with true beauty within themselves.

I believe every woman has TRUE BEAUTY within her in all the roles she plays. For over 18 years across 650 plus salons across the country, Naturals has been helping the Beautiful Indian Woman get more Beautiful.
Today Naturals Salutes the Beautiful Indian Woman.
Presenting Naturals TRUE BEAUTY… http://bit.ly/naturalsOF 






Pic credit: pixabay







Thursday, November 15, 2018

Start healthy with morning detox



In the wake of rising pollution and health hazards, we all are trying to protect ourselves from the drastic effects.  My focus has always been on healthy living and changing lifestyle. Post festivals and with the onset of winters, when our immunity is worst affected, here are easy ways to detox and build immunity against diseases. Read through my 7-day infused water consumption that I do each morning-   

Day 1- Zesty Mint and Lemon Water





Make three-four thin slices of a lemon and soak in a jug of water with 9-10 mint leaves. Let it sit overnight. Strain and drink the infused water in the morning. Make sure you de-seed the lemon slices lest the water should turn bitter.

Known as the ultimate summer refresher, mint and lemon together are a great detox. Rich in antioxidants, lemon helps to cleanse and alkalize body and mint stimulates digestion. Use the lemon slices in your dishes later. Chew mint leaves to kill bad breath or improve digestion. The same mint leaves can be used for second infusion the following night. Too much of this water might lead to frequent urination, headache and fatigue. Also, overuse of mint is harmful to gastro-oesophagal patients.


Day 2- Calming Tulsi Infusion


Pic credit:Fit Quint


Pluck a handful of tulsi or holy basil. Wash them thoroughly and soak in water. Strain and consume early morning on empty stomach. You can use the leaves later in brewing tea or simply chew them.

Tusli is extremely beneficial in relieving cough and cold, inflammation, bronchitis, anxiety, upset stomach and insomnia, besides many other benefits.  Do check for allergies or medical conditions like diabetes, pregnancy or thyroid before intake of tulsi leaves.


Day 3- Make it work with Methi

Soak a tablespoon of methi or fenugreek seeds in a glass of water. Strain and consume on empty stomach every morning. Use the soaked seeds in your salad, poha, upma or vegetable tadka (tempering). You can also consume a spoonful with some honey. The greenish-yellow infused water tastes slightly bitter.

Methi promotes good kidney function, weight loss, shiny hair, digestion, aids in controlling insulin and regulates menstrual problems However excess of everything is bad. Do not over-consume. Doing so may have side effects.


Day 4- A Punch with Ginger




Wash, peel and slice a few pieces of ginger and put in a water jug. Put the jug in the fridge letting it sit overnight. Strain the water, heat it till lukewarm (not hot), squeeze half a lemon in it and consume empty stomach in the morning. You can use the ginger pieces in tea or tempering dishes. The colour of the infused water would look a little dirty/light brown and the taste has a tinge of spice. Rest, it would feel like consuming plain water.

Laden with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, ginger balances blood sugar, cholesterol, weight and hydrates body. Ginger also cures cough and sore throat. However, since ginger causes burning sensation in mouth, gas and heartburn, do not over consume ginger.

Day 5- Win it with Ajwain Infusion 



Just soak two spoons of carom seeds in a cup of water. Stir and strain to have it on empty stomach. Alternatively, you can also boil, strain and cool the water pre-consumption. The taste would be a little pungent and the colour orangish-yellow.

Ajwain or carom seeds are a storehouse of benefits from digestion to relieving toothache. They also relieve acidity, cold and cough, treat pain due to kidney disorders and promote weight loss. Over-consumption may cause heartburn, dizziness, stomach ulcer and nausea. Hence do not over consume ajwain.

Day 6- The Under-Rated Fennel Seeds Water



Soak fennel seeds (saunf) in water overnight. Heat the water with seeds for a minute or two. (Do not boil). Strain and consume it on empty stomach. You can also have this twice a day. The light yellow infused water cools your stomach and tastes refreshing.

Fennel seeds are known for improving digestion, irregular periods, boosts immunity, improves digestion and flushes out toxins from the body. The time especially post festivals is when your digestion goes for a toss. Fennel seeds water combats acidity, bloating, stomach cramps and improves kidney function. Avoid excess of it as it may lead to allergic reactions and may not suit those prone to blood clotting.

Day 7- Detox tea from Organic India





I have been a regular consumer of Organic India Green Tea. During festival shopping, I came across their store at one of the malls in NCR and thought of trying something new. Tulsi Ginger Turmeric Tea instantly got my attention. Ginger and turmeric are good to cure throat infection, cold, improve immunity and allergies. Similarly, Tulsi Cleanse Tea is a great detox, immunity booster and supports liver & kidney function. Warm Tulsi Ginger Turmeric and Tulsi Cleanse tea are my go-to detox infusions these days.
Dip the tea bags in warm water for about a minute or two and sip while it is warm.

These stress relieving, caffeine-free tea can be consumed at any time of the day. P.S- These are not green tea.

P.S- This post made it to the top on Indiblogger home page.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Adrenaline Rush - Zero Point, Sikkim



Sikkim is an incredibly beautiful state and every place in this state exudes an enigmatic grandeur. One among them is Zero Point. Husband and I were fascinated to visit this place as we were intrigued to know how it feels at the last outpost of civilization in knee deep snow.  My late father-in-law had served in NEFA valley. Hence husband wanted to see a similar place where his dad was posted. Zero Point undoubtedly topped the list. A big salute to Indian Army which operates in harsh conditions, guarding the Indo-China border 24*7.




A day before your visit to Zero Point or Yumesamdong, your driver/travel agent would have submitted your documents in advance, which are checked on the day of visit. Zero Point is usually not included in North Sikkim itinerary and travel agents charge Rs 3000 extra for this trip, clubbing Yumthang Valley with it. Your homestay would provide you with packed breakfast (usually bread butter/jam) since you would have to leave early morning.

The distance from Lachung to Zero Point is 51 km and roughly 30 km from Yumthang Valley.
(We first went to Zero Point and stopped at Yumthang Valley on returning from Zero.)



Hilly topography, harsh weather and proximity to China perhaps made it impossible to build roads. You would experience sharp turns and jerks throughout the road journey. Nonetheless the beautiful untouched nature around makes up for painful ride. The breath-taking sight leaves you mesmerized. After all its the journey that matters.




As you ascend higher, vegetation starts diminishing and rocky terrain becomes more prominent. The roads tend to get very slippery and extremely dangerous during snowfall. Ask your driver to drive slowly and very carefully on this route even when not snowing. Rash driving is not an option here. Give way to Army trucks whenever you see. Army personnel wave at passing vehicles as a gesture of wishing happy journey and making you feel good. Waving back to them is a nice gesture.

On the way, don’t forget to stop at ‘Jalebi Point’ for yummy snacks which are made by Indian Army personnel. Their motto is to bring a smile to faces and not let anyone go hungry.
P.S- Food items at Zero Point are expensive and the hygiene is not really trustworthy.  Advisable to refuel yourself at this stop. Hot samosas and jalebis felt absolutely amazing as we famished. (Remember our breakfast was just bread butter?)  

The super bouncy ride comes to an end at the Zero Point Parking. At 15000 feet above sea level, the place is covered in snow most of the year. When it hasn’t snowed, it would be biting cold.


We were at loss of words with the exhilarating beauty of the place. The Sun hid behind the greyish clouds and the chilled winds kissed our skin. Wood-fire at a nearby tea stall made us feel colder and we pulled our jackets tighter. The white blanket of snow seemed to beckon us as our body tried to adjust in the sub-zero temperature. Thankfully we did not feel uneasy because oxygen level isn’t low here unlike Gurudongmar Lake. While we felt ecstatic being surrounded by snow wondering what was China doing behind those gigantic mountains, our heart went out to Indian Army that braves these challenges everyday just to keep us safe. A heart-felt thanks and grand salute to them.


Enjoy hot snacks at the little shacks here, play with snow, enjoy nature at its "whitest most" and take home good memories. A usual protocol is to leave within an hour lest the parking should be full or  weather conditions worsen. Avoid Zero Point during rainy season.

Overall the place has nothing except for being an important landmark before China. However the exotic beauty of this place keeps you charmed.

Travelling to such places often changes your perspective about life and lot of things. The distance between life and death could be a thing as small as a wrong step on the hills or slipping on the rocks. We could somehow re-live the conditions what dad had endured during his service in NEFA. Our trip to Zero Point was also in his commemoration.  

P.S- This trip of mine was in Oct 2018. In case you have queries on planning your trip to North Sikkim or Zero point, feel free to reach out at shilp3005@gmail.com or leave your query in comments below. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Biotique Bio Wheat Germ Youthful Nourishing Night Cream





Hello beautiful people. I am back with another product review, of another night cream from Biotique. So far its products have never disappointed me. Having tried the Biotique Neem Purifying Face Wash and Spot Correcting Anti Acne Pack, I randomly picked up the Bio Wheat Germ Youthful Nourishing Night Cream since I was hunting for one.



What does the brand claims 
This rich-feeling, firming cream is blended with pure Wheat Germ, Sunflower and Almond oils, vitamins A, B, C, D, E and extracts of Carrot and Galangal to moisturize and strengthen skin for a more vital, resilient, younger appearance.

Wheat Germ is one of the most sensitive oils in the botanical world, a natural antioxidant with vitamins A, D, more vitamin E than any other natural oil, plus lecithin. Its pampering properties also protect skin from dryness and environmental stress.



The magic of ingredients:

Having read a lot about the benefits of wheat germ, almond, and sunflower oil, I was inclined to try this nourishing cream. With its anti aging properties, wheatgerm also brightens complexion and reduces wrinkles. Almond oil helps to retain moisture and promotes flawless skin. Antioxidant rich sunflower oil effectively moisturizes, prevents skin damage and pre-mature aging.



My experience with the cream:
The cream with off white color has a smooth texture. The fragrance is soothing and does not irritate (Thank God!) It moisturizes and nourishes leaving skin soft and hydrated. You would actually feel your skin bouncing with good health after the first application. The cream comes in a plastic container with a green lid and label that claims Ayurvedic Recipe with 100% botanical extracts.  The 50 g cream is priced at Rs 230 (May be even lesser online).





Over a period of time, your skin would start feeling good and hydrated. This does not claim to remove scars or oily texture but nourishes skin well. Though it may not work on dark spots or fine lines, a daily massage can keep tour skin healthy. I mix a little cream on my palm with two drops of Avon Miracle Glow Facial Oil and massage at night. My skin feels soft and supple in the morning!

Read here about the best day cream experience of mine from Lotus.

What I liked
- Has a mild fragrance
-Skin feels nourished and healthy after first use
-Very little is required to apply on skin
-Gets absorbed onto skin when massaged gently
-The  plastic jar packaging is light weight, compact and easy to carry even in your travel kit.
-Reasonably priced
-Would work as magic in winters for dry/chapped skin as well as cracked heels.

What I did not like
-I did not like the plastic jar. Somehow I feel plastic does not keep the product fresh and it reacts with chemicals in some or the other way. Additionally, plastic is also not good for the environment either.
-The cream is not lightweight. Skin feels weighed down.
-This cream would not suit people with oily, combination or acne prone skin. This is meant for dry to normal skin only.
-Not recommended for humid weather

My overall rating - 3 on 5
A repeat purchase? I don't think so.

   

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

MeToo - Isnt the onus on us?



In the wake of the #metoo movement and the shocking incidents of digging out past sexual harassment cases, I felt the urge to share something. All ladies have had their "me too" incidents. The reason why girls don't speak about it is that they were never encouraged to, since childhood. Voicing their opinion or naming the culprit was never a part of the Indian culture. It might bring shame to the girl's family. Correct me if I am wrong?



A man who might have made sexual advancement towards you and did what he was not supposed to, got away with the crime because he knew about the loopholes of the "cultured" society we live in. Young girls are the easiest target for sexual predators. Reasons- One, the fear of not speaking up or the tender age when sexual abuse is beyond her understanding; and two, families/schools hush up the cases fearing defamation and three- law is a perhaps a joke. (Readhttps://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/startling-details-of-dehradun-school-covering-up-girls-rape/articleshow/65864937.cms )

The offender is not be blamed, but the crippled mindset of our very own society.

Our country has Khajuraho temple with statues of Kamasutra on display, but shies away from imparting sex education, at home or school alike. People use free internet to feed on porn, but wont use the same internet for sex education. (Workplaces are no different when a girl under pressure chooses to remain silent on such disturbing incidents. They choose to avoid such people, gatherings or switch jobs. And the cost of speaking up or resisting a sexual attack? Defamation of family, her job or even life.


Courtesy- https://www.army.mil

I thank my stars for protecting me from such creeps atleast in my corporate journey. The owner of a company (my first job) was always full of encouragement for ladies. He was totally against sexual harassment and trained us to be vocal about it. I still remember his words asking the female sales staff to be bold enough to walk away or slap a client if he asks for sexual favors in return for business. For him a woman's safety and self respect were more important than client business. Bosses like these are hard to find, especially in field of sales.

Here is another incident that made an impact on me. I remember, it was one warm afternoon, before lunch. I was in a conversation with my reporting manager (female) with my back towards the door and he (a senior colleague ex Army personnel)  had just entered office after a meeting. While passing by, he tickled me on my waist. It was barely for few seconds but I turned numb. The sudden movement of his fingers pinching my waist was least expected. Perhaps it was a jovial, fun gesture I thought, because he was smiling and he went to his workstation like usual. It wan't sexual harassment but clearly unwelcome and shocking. In a state of shock, I sunk onto my chair, feeling disgusted and angry. Since this happened in front of my reporting manager, she immediately reported to boss (the owner). Boss summoned the gentleman and blasted at him to everyone's surprise. Later he individually counselled me and encouraged me to stand up for my own dignity. "If something feels wrong, fight back, because there wont be a good human being everywhere to protect me", he said. My respect grew for him by many folds that day and since then I have been bold enough to fight sexual harassment. I refused to be touched inappropriately and ended up kicking or hitting guys on several occasions. I refused to be ogled at and ended up looking straight into the eyes of the ogler and asking him to back off. I refused to be sexually exploited and ended up fighting men in crowded buses, public places or parties.


Narrating one of these incidents to my mom once, she got scared of me behaving “boldly” and advised me not to react or speak on such instances. It was not mom speaking, but a person brainwashed by the society who feared for her daughter’s safety. After all our culture does not allow women to speak up or report while guys get all the liberty. That is exactly why a sex criminal walks off fearlessly whereas the victim lives in constant fear with her self-respect, career and life at stake. 

The struggle continues for many till date. Why wait for another "MeToo" to start? Ladies, you need to be the change yourself. Unlearn what was taught to you, because its high time. Speak up, fight back, report but do not let men use you. 


P.S- This post was selected for IndiBlogger's Featured Posts (Special Independence Week Edition), and was displayed on the homepage of IndiBlogger.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Lotus Herbals Nutranite Skin Renewal Nutritive Night Cream




Lotus Herbals has a great product portfolio and is quite convincing when it comes to the product benefits. As I was super impressed with Lotus Herbals Day Cream's performance, I was looking for an anti aging, nourishing night cream and ended up buying Nutranite Skin Renewal Nutritive Night Cream.



What the brand says:

This is a luxurious nutrient-rich night cream that helps renew the skin while you sleep. It repairs the damages caused by dehydration and exposures during the day to give a supple and renewed skin. It boots skin's resiliency, strengthens natural defenses while restoring firmness and smoothing imperfections.

The 50 g pack comes in a sturdy glass jar.

Why should you go for a night cream?

We often wonder if night creams are useful at all. Little we realize that your skin that has gone through so much wear & tear during the day (UV rays, pollution, stress) and needs a repair formula at night. Night creams hydrate, moisturize and replenish renewed skins replacing the dead and worn out cells. 

Active ingredients: 





The benefits that Lotus claims: 
  • Consists of natural oxidants that make the cream highly antiseptic and astringent
  • Repairs skin cells by removing dirt and impurities
  • Helps in strengthening the skin's natural defense
  • Consists of nutrients that restores skin's firmness and resilience
  • Adds a gorgeous golden glow


Good things I experienced:  



  • The texture is quite silky
  • The density of the cream feels rich and smooth
  • A very little is required to apply on face and neck 
  • Moisturizes very well

Cons that I found  - I felt cheated. OOPS! 
  • The sales rep sold this Lotus Herbals night cream to me calling it anti aging cream, which is not one. (I read the same in reviews later). This is just a nutritive night cream that vitalizes, hydrates and adds glow to your skin. It does not tighten skin nor works on fine fines.
  • Secondly, this is too heavy as a night cream. The cream leaves my skin oily and sticky. It might suit those with dry skin type, but definitely not the combination or oily skin type. I am scared of using it as it may cause acne or breakouts. The cream is lying unused in my closet. (Sigh!)
  • Though the fragrance is mild, it is not pleasing. To me it smells of too much chemicals.
  • The jar is not travel friendly.
Price- MRP: Rs 455. You can get it a discounted price online. 

My rating- 2.5 on 5. Lotus Herbals can do a better job I am sure. This disappointed me.  

(If you are looking for nourishing creams, why spend so much on Lotus Herbals? If you are looking for anti aging benefits with night repair formula , there are way better products in the market in the same price.)

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