Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Event: CodeJugalbandi, Mumbai

Good day People,

Yes, we keep returning after long gaps but we do return, dont we? ;) So after all the Diwali, Alibaug Vacation, winter weddings,...I was thinking of getting back to some kind of routine & upgrading my skill sets as a Software Engineer. I am not a big fan of Java, .Net frankly speaking. I have these mental block which makes me balk at the idea of learning new coding languages.

My sister sent me links to few software meetups, sessions happening on Saturday-Sunday. I have been to Barcamp, GoogleIndia event. These are fun, interesting, give you an idea of the new happenings in the world of technology.

CodeJugalbandi, the name caught my interest, me being a music lover & coder. Read a little about it. The location being Mulund( at The Playce) and it being on a Sunday, got me to register for the event. It is a free event and happening for the first time in Mumbai.

CodeJugalbandi, is a unique session where Jugalbandists-experts conducting the session will propose problems and try to solve them using different instruments-coding languages in this case.

This session was conducted by Dhaval Dalal and Nitish Rathi. We had 15 participants. We began the session at 10am. Dhaval & Nitish started off the session by explaining that Always go beyond syntax, semantics is the base. You can be an polyglot if you understand and follow this. Till late, the industry moved towards object oriented programming, now slowly its changing course towards Functional programming. Functional programming was the main highlight of this session.

Dhaval and Nitish, our Jugalbandists
The session had different Melodies. Each melody is a concept which is explained, demonstrated in different languages and a problem given to the participants.

Serious coding happening, experiments conducted with languages
We had made a list of the languages the participants used to code. Since many of us didn't carry our laptops, we were asked to group up with people using a language we haven't used. This made all of us to know others in the session better plus code in a language new to us.

Some code in Java, Ruby, Javascript

Python, C, C#
We solved 2 melodies. There are many more interesting melodies, you can check them out at codejugalbandi.org. It was an intense coding session, a first for me. Everyone was engrossed in understanding the melody and trying to see if they could use or solve the problem in their favourite or entirely new language.

Discussions, opinions

Lot of discussions, new insights, different aspects came to light. We had a lunch break at 1:30pm to fill  our plates with pizzas and have some more discussions, getting to know more people.

We concluded the session by each of sharing what we liked, what surprised us, what we would do differently now that we have a new understanding.

Unanimously it was decided we need more of these CodeJugalbandi sessions. Functional programming needs to be promoted. The word needs to be spread, so use #CodeJugalbandi @CodeJugalbandi on Twitter, Facebook,... Sponsors needed to conduct these sessions.

What I liked about this session:
-It was totally informal. Small in size(was planning on leaving seeing the number of people).
-Everything was explained in simple terms, no rocket science stuff here. So beginners like my college going sister could follow it.
-The Jugalbandists took efforts to make sure everyone was on the same page. In some other sessions, everything is explained in complex manner and they dont bother if you follow, making you feel dumb.
-You actual network with people when solving the melodies. Everyone is happy to help and explain the new language. So there is a mutual give & take of knowledge happening.
-You get motivated to try new stuff. Get a new perspective for handling problems, new ways to use logic.

What I learned from this session:
-One language wont suffice. Need to learn, play around with new languages.
-Syntax shouldnt stop you.
-Object oriented isnt so bad after all ;)
-There is soo much more to know in coding! Roll up your sleeves and go play!

So if you are into software learning, I would recommend you follow up for more upcoming sessions. Its a great way to learn & network.

Bye. Take care until next time.
Have a fantastic week !

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Travel: Alibaug,Kihim beach stay at Mango Beach house

Hello people,
After a looong time we are back. Ganpati, Diwali festivities left us tired. So we went for a short 2day vacation to Alibaug. We were 3couples with my 1.5year old kiddo. So we were looking for someplace with proximity to the beach, away from crowds, food on call, a place to just chill no sight seeing, roaming around. So we shortlisted Alibaug, Kihim beach. My hubby's favourite website for hotel bookings: Booking.com showed us this homestay called The Mango Beach house. It is a part of a group of Hotels. Tripadvisor gave good reviews.

It is in the interior of Alibaug & the drive goes on & on through small dirt roads. So you can be confused if you are lost or will ever see the hotel. But thankfully you see it, a gate among fields and village houses.

The Main Attraction for us:
1) The beach was 5mins walking distance from the hotel
2) There was indoor swimming pool & bar.
3) Their spa was well recommended for.

What I loved more about the hotel:
1) Free Wifi available only around the pool, so no cooping in your room & working !
2) There were no phones, so if you need something get yourself out of the room or use your mobile phone.
3) There wasn't a Watch in sight, so just chill and stop thinking about time, work, tasks.

Entrance to Mango Beach House
It is a warm, cozy, peaceful place. Its surrounded by Mango (that's where it gets it name from) and coconut trees.  The staff limited and friendly. Out to help you as much as they can.

The dining cum Reception area
Totally it has 8 rooms and 2 suites. We had booked 3 double room with full board that is all meals and boarding. Since my family was not keen on roaming around we just chilled around the hotel.

The rooms around the dining area

The rooms around the pool

The pool and bar.

The spa building
The spa therapies were truly relaxing & rejuvenating. One by one all the family members got at least one massage done.

The website says its design and layout is of Mediterranean style and with minimal changes to existing structures and trees. We liked it, spartan and clean. Good for our kid to run around with hurting himself or damaging something.
A small porch for all rooms with these huge chairs
A clean, cozy room
The rooms are spacious, well ventilated. They make you feel at home instead of being over the top types.
Open bathrooms
The bathrooms are superb, Huge, those old British colonial style fittings, airy & lots of sunlight.

A just vacated suite. Just a bigger room
And private balcony
The food was lovely for vegetarians too, if you think it being a coastal village will only have fish & non veg food. The kitchen staff tried very hard to make the food compatible for all. There was: us 6 1/2 and another family of 4. We had a kid and an American guest, but we shouldn't have worried coz the chef made the food mildly spicy and tasty. Also they made lovely snacks for us in the evening to enjoy besides the pool with drinks. Me being a chai person loved their morning and evening chai's. Our American guest enjoyed the pastas we ordered and their biryani, pav bhaji and some delicious desserts.
Those lounge chairs were superb to recline on, listening to the birds and water. 
Some recreational game of pool
A swing set and hammock to laze around

There were a couple of wells around this property. This one had a family of turtles, not seen in this pic
Our family chilling at the bar in the evening.
The dinning area. Everything bathed in warm colours to give a Mango & cheerful feel
The friendly staff and my kiddo who loved their food, so he is out checking if dinner is served
Bright lights around, so neednt worry if you are scared of creepy crawlies

We had checked the beach the day we came. You just step out of the back gate of the hotel cross a couple of houses, follow your ears and a dirt road, whola you are on the beach.

On the last day, I got up at 6am to catch the sunrise and some photography of the place.
As promised 5mins to the beach
Kihim beach nothing else
I was late, the sun already up & shining
Sand/Wave roots? Work of waves on sand
On my way back, took a different route deeper into the village.
Old village setting
Reminds me of our house at my native place
The hotel is converting such old houses around the property into rooms
-Lots of mosquitoes, the place is surrounded by trees. The hotel staff takes efforts to put mosquito coils wherever possible, but do use Odomos or a repellent
-Take your own vehicle. If you have a driver, dont worry he will be well taken care by the hotel staff.
-If you want to go sightseeing, be prepared to travel. There is nothing around Kihim. The hotel gives a brochure with all the things you can do in Alibaug, but they are all far from Kihim beach.

So in all 2 nights, 3days flew by beautifully. We loved everything about the place.
Hope to do more such getaways to recharge ourselves. Hope you try The Mango Beach House soon.

Let us know your vacation stories.

Bye. Take care until next time.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Festival: Gokulashtami or Dahi Handi, 2014

 Good day ppl !

Dahi Handi at RCF Chembur. Human pyramid to break the curd filled pot at height
Check my post for Janmashtami, 2011 I had such different views about the festival 3 years ago.

Gokulashtami/Janmashtami or Dahi handi as in popularly called in Maharashtra this year was on 18th Aug 2014, Monday.
Lot of people having a holiday on Friday 15th Aug & Monday 18th Aug were delighted with the loong weekend.

Gokulashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated the earlier day & night. At 12am, everywhere people celebrate the birth of the Kanha. There are all night jaagrans & hymn singing sessions in temples.
The next day, is Dahi handi. This is to depict the curd stealing by Lord Krishna or Nandan as he is called with so many names. Krishna could enthral & captivate people with his smile, guileless behaviour, endear himself to all, tease the gopika's who couldn't resist his charm, make mischief with his friends by stealing butter.

Handi at Chembur naka. One of the highest prize money handi in Chembur
The Dahi handi festival is celebrated as a person who is Govinda or a group of people called Govinda pathak, form a human pyramid to reach a pot filled with Dahi (curd) hung very high & break it. These govinda's are drenched by people with water to foil their attempts. Any pathak can try their hand at breaking the handi. The winning team gets the prize money. So these pathak's are seen touring the city from early morning till late at night. There are now all-women pathak, who are encouraged.

The govinda pathak's touring the city, at Mahim

This festival is more popular in Maharashtra & Mumbai. Now it is getting more mileage due to participation & support from political parties.

The Govinda pathak practise for this day months in advance. The height of the Handi is increasing day by day & also the prize money.

Some are friendly & having fun. Seeing me with camera, waved !

The hooliganism on this day reaches a high. Youngsters part of these Govinda pathak's travelling by trucks,bikes harass, tease ladies & girls. Most of them are drunk.
How they think they can be Kanha's teasing the gopika's is beyond sane imagination?

The pyramid has many layers.Children are made to be at the top of the pyramid as they are light & nimble. When the pyramid crashes, lot of people get hurt.

The high court had passed a ruling, not to let people below 18 years be part of the pyramids. Days before the festival the Supreme court made changes by lowering the age limit to 12 years.

Hope the festival doesnt turn more ugly as its getting these days.

More Indian festival posts:
Gudi Padva
Divyachi Amavasya
Janmashtami, 2011
Ashadi Ekadashi

Bye. Take care.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whats that pic-40

Good day ppl !
15th August, Independence day is over but people are still greeting Belated Independence day !
Are we really independent ?

This quote at St. Michelle Church sums up what true Independence means:

True independence exists in doing what is right, St. Michelle Church
More posts of quotes at St. Michelle church :
New Year
Whatsapp Panic

Check out more such thought-provoking Picture posts at our
Whats that pic series

Enjoy ! Do What is Right !
Bye. Take care :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Food: Status restaurant, Mahim west

Good day Ppl !
Food review here. For Lunch out we colleagues  decided to try Status at MahimWest. Its opposite Hinduja Hospital & near Goa Portuguese at MahimWest.

This place was being built some 4 years ago when we used to frequent the area. It seems there are more outlets with this name around Mumbai.

The name mentions Refined Gourmet. Wanted to find out, if it really was.

The restaurant, Grade 1 says plaque outside.
The interiors are ok-ok. They wanted to portray the multi cuisine menu with the ambiance I guess. The waiters were helpful & alert.
They serve Indian, Chinese, Continental and also have a bar.
They have an upper floor seating area too. Didnt need to go up.

We were a group of 6, 4strict vegetarians, 2 coz of the majority & Shravan month. So we settled down with the menu. Everyone today ordered Mocktails

Fruit punch, Mango Blossom & Virgin Mojito
We ordered 3 veg starters. 2 of them were Paneer, very good. Other was Corn quiche turned out to be bland corn cheese balls, the mummies in us complained the ready to eat corn cheese balls from McCain are way better. :D

Paneer dish, hot & spicy. Was yummy.

The starters were filling. We ordered a Paneer sizzler with rice & a Cannelloni Florentine which was a baked dish. The waiter suggested we order another main course dish, so we ordered another sizzler.

The baked dish turned out good, the accompanying Garlic bread was a little burnt. The sizzlers were ok-ok. Turned out we shouldnt have ordered the 2nd sizzler. Had to pack it up.
Also 4 dishes out of 6 we ordered were Paneer ones, for atleast a month no one is going to try Paneer I am sure :D

Lot of space & tables arrangement was good from couple seaters to large groups.

The bill with food & drinks came around 3000Rs. 500per person, is a good enough to shell out for a good eating place near to office.

I am not sure if I will go or not go there next time. Didnt find it too bad nor praise worthy.

More information about this place:
Name: Status
Location: TH Katria Marg, Mahim West, Mahim, Mumbai
Contact number: 02224442121, 02224443538

Want to read more food reviews:
China Bistro, Shivaji Park, Dadar, Mumbai
Chokhdhani, Jaipur
Lassi at Dadar station

Bye people. Take care.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Whats that pic-39

Greetings ppl !

Hello after a long time :)
I rummaged through my weird-pics-collection. Found a lot of them, so this is top most on the list.

Cube Ice, that too Filtered !!!
 This is from our 2nd Wedding Anniversary dinner when hubby dearest in an attempt to salvage the day decided to take me out to Marine Drive & dinner at Pizza Express near Gateway of India.

This tiny shop is in the alley beside the restaurant. Its like a makeshift showcase. This is its backside with the declaration of serving Filtered Ice cubes in Sugarcane juice with Ginger & Lemon.

Odd items on sale
 This is the front, it seems it sells idols, batteries, conchs, .... god knows what else.

Guess its proximity to Gateway of India, makes these items on its Hot selling list.

You can rummage around the Whats that pic series. See what catches your fancy & drop in a comment :)

Whats that pic !

See you around in a bit !
Bye. Take care !!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: Kingdom Come by Aarti V Raman

Good day ppl !

Yes, another Book Review after a long time.

I got this book from the author Aarti V Raman, courtesy Sundari praising my reviews sky high to Aarti. So I read the book taking my own sweet time & more of my sweet time reviewing it :p
If you read Aarti's mail & her introduction in the book, her enthusiasm is INFECTIOUS. Makes you smile & do her bidding. Sorry Aarti for keeping you waiting.

IED, dead eyes, rubble, fuse, silver gray eyes, heaven, long legs, insane hatred, detonation wire, C4, shrapnel, dead, FUBAR, heart called organ, MI5, precision, technology, sensuous, twin assault, sanctuary, red flecked hair ends, rippling muscles, death-wish cigarette, ....

These words or in technical terms-Tags run around in your mind when reading this book.

The story:
How do you kill a man with no Achilles heel? You cut off his foot - Tom Jones
This line got me hooked !

Krivi, An ex army soldier who is the living-dead body caused by losing his lover in an Terrorist planned car explosion, is looking for revenge. He gets a lead about a orphan girl-Ziya who can be the terrorists sister. He jumps in to get close to her & get leads. Finds him falling for her and that she is innocent, but cant accept the love he feels. She is falling for him too. But as fate would have it, the only family & friends she has are ripped away from her by the same terrorist-The Woodpecker. She joins Krivi in uncovering and getting revenge from this mentally unstable ruthless being. With all these happenings, do these tourtured souls find solace & love in each other?

What I liked:
Exceptional writing and more exceptional research about everything. Aarti hats off to that. No wonder like you wrote in the Introduction, Harlequin Mills and Boon team waited for you to finish,re-edit the book. Felt as if you were a real ex army personnel to write so fluidly about military training, technology used, minds of terrorist, retrieval of data, bomb making and diffuse, Kashmir. I am sure readers got a brief intro to making a hand bomb ;) I want to go to Leh-Ladakh soon now & maybe streak my hair ends red too ;)

What I want more:
Loved the twists, human emotions clearly depicted via writing, really wicked revelations about the Woodpecker & Ziya's parents. I wish I could meet all the characters in real coz you portrayed them so clearly. But sometimes I wished I could run through the emotion depicting parts when there was lot of action happening. I would be gripping my phone when an action scene was happening and there will be detailing of how Krivi's eyes lashed, his grip,... I would be whispering.. Come on guys hurry up... you got milliseconds before KINGDOM COME ! :D

Thumbs up Aarti ! After a long time read such a fat book & loved it a lot. Keep writing & stay the same ! 
All the best.

Disclaimer: I received the PDF version of this book from the author for my honest review.

People here are links to know more & Buy the book:

Buy Links: 
Amazon India

Buy & read the book people. Aarti has many more books to her credit. Some more coming up. So try this one, till you start following her new releases.

Bye Tc.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thoughts: Happiness is within, Love yourself first

Good day ppl !

Incidentally this thought is projected throughout this week:

Love yourself first !
Image source: http://d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net/image_cache/1396722377621327.jpg
I follow the Zen habits blog, and today post is on the same topic:
Pursuing Happiness When It’s Already Within You

Read a nice, thought provoking message on Whatsapp:
Ladies, girls, women: You all need to try this !


We are all searching for happiness.
In achieving this happiness our attitude in life plays a crucial role.

After years of hard & dedicated service to his Company, Ajay was being appointed at an elegant reception as the new Director.
It was a small function where his wife Anita , a Home Executive & some of the wives of the other persons in top management were also present.

In an adjacent room, Ann, the wife of the CEO of the Company, asked Ajay's wife a very odd & usual question;
"Does ur husband make u happy?"

The husband, Ajay, who at that moment was not at her side, but was sufficiently near to hear the question, paid attention to the conversation, sitting up slightly, feeling secure, even filling his chest lightly in pride & hope,  would definitely not publically lower or degrade her husband, would answer affirmatively, since she had always been there for him during their marriage and generally in life.
Nevertheless, to both his & the others' surprise, she replied simply;

"No, no he doesn't make me happy…"

The room became uncomfortably silent, as if everyone were listening to the spouse's response.
There was a sudden coldness in the air.
The husband was petrified.
A frown appeared on his face.
He couldn't believe what his wife was saying, especially at such an important occasion for him.
To the amazement of her husband & of everyone!

Anita sat up firmly & explained in a modest but stern tone to the other wives who were present;

"No, he doesn't make me happy… I AM HAPPY. The fact that I am happy or not doesn't depend on him, but on me.
GOD has granted each of us intellect & discretion to reason, interpret & decide.
GOD made me the person upon which my happiness depends.
I make the choice to be happy in each situation & in each moment of my life.
If my happiness were to depend on other people, on other things or circumstances on the face of this earth, I would be in serious trouble!

Over my life I have learned a couple of things:

I decide to be happy & the rest is a matter of 'experiences or circumstances' like helping, understanding, accepting, listening, consoling & with my spouse, I have lived & practiced this many times.
Honestly true happiness lies in being content"

Relieved & reassured, a smile was clearly noticed on Ajay's face.

Happiness will always be found in contentment, forgiveness & in loving yourself & others.
To truly love is difficult, it is to forgive unconditionally, to live, to take the "experiences or  circumstances" as they are, facing them together & being happy with conviction.
There are those who say I cannot be happy  :
· Because I am sick.
· Because I have no money.
· Because it's too cold.
· Because they insulted me.
· Because someone stopped loving me.
· Because someone didn't appreciate me.

But what you don't know is that you can be happy even though u r sick, whether it is too hot, whether you have money or not, whether someone has insulted you, or someone didn't love you, or hasn't valued you.

Being Happy is an attitude about life & each one of us must decide!

Being Happy, depends on U !

Some more posts on Happiness within:
Excerpt: Road to Happiness

Bye people. have a great Happy Week ahead !
Take care & share the Happiness !

Monday, July 7, 2014

Books:Tornado Giveaway; THE MALHOTRA BRIDE by Sundari Venkatraman

Good day ppl !

You must have read the Book reviews I wrote for my author friend-Sundari Venkatraman' books.
Read the reviews:
The Malhotra Bride
Double Jeopardy

So partnering with The Book Club, they have arranged for a Tornado Giveaways. Yeah right, GiveAways, participate and take them away :) I am sure, reading the reviews, must have tempted you to get these books.
So here is your lucky chance ! Grab it, I say ! All the best !

7th July, 2014

Sundari Venkatraman is the 7th Author in the Tornado Giveaway.She has decided to give 10 copies of her book to 10 lucky winners. To enter the Giveaway, see the bottom of this post. To see all the books that are part of the Tornado Giveaway - Click Here


Click Here

Sunita Rishi’s just turned twenty, having completed her graduation. She wants to fly free as a bird, explore career options and travel the world. Does she have a choice when Mamma & Pappa insist on arranging her marriage? Born in a rich business family steeped in tradition, Sunita has a tough job on her hands. Can she stop the tide?

Tall, dark and handsome, Akshay Malhotra is the catch of the decade. The only son of Billionaire Raj Malhotra, he’s in a strange fix. His father’s keen that Akshay meets Sunita with marriage in mind. He’s too close to his parents to say ‘no’ for the preliminary meeting. And then he comes face-to-face with Sunita….

Will Sunita be falling from the frying pan into the fire when she agrees to become The Malhotra Bride?


Even as a kid, she absolutely loved the 'lived happily ever after' syndrome as Sundari grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. Soon, into her teens, she switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. 

Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. Then came the writing - a true bolt out of the blue! She could never string two sentences together. While her spoken English had always been excellent - thanks to her Grandpa - she could not write to save her life. She was bad at writing essays in both school and college. Later, when it was time to teach her kids, she could manage everything from Science to Mathematics and History & Geography. 

When it came to writing compositions, her kids found her of no help at all. All this changed suddenly one fine day in the year 2000. She had just quit her job at a school's office and did not know what to do with her life. She was saturated with simply reading books. That's when she got home one evening after her walk and took some sheets of paper and began writing. It was like watching a movie that was running in her head - all those years of visualising Indian heroes and heroines needed an outlet and had to be put into words. That's how her first novel, The Malhotra Bride, took shape. 

With the advent of self-publishing, Sundari is the proud author of three books as on today. 

To know more about her :  Blog | Facebook | Goodreads| Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next Giveaway on 8th of July2014: Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed

Click Here to buy your copy of THE MALHOTRA BRIDE by Sundari Venkatraman

Click Here to buy your copy of MEGHNA by Sundari Venkatraman

Bye. Take care ppl ! Have a great week !