Life has an interesting way of getting you out of your complacency. I have been a blogger for many years now. My first contribution to virtual world of literature happened in the good ol' days of DesiBaba, in the form of poetry, but then life happened and my writing became very sporadic.

Heading a start-up, raising a daughter, excuses got easy and writing tough. I hardly met new people then outside work and it was doing no good to me as a person! As I said in the beginning, life decided to spice-it-up a notch for me. I won the BlogAdda contest to attend the exclusive experience or Renault Lodgy in Goa being part of a 40 strong blogger contingent!

To read the winning post and more about Renault Lodgy, check this.

Being a travel-blogger even a remote idea of travel is exciting to us. Goa has always been on our list, for some reason or the other, never happened. Thus, I traveled to the land of fun n' frolic with a whole gang of fellow bloggers from Bangalore. Tiger, Madhu and I traveled together to airport. When creative people meet, conversations are easy. We all were happy and excited and talked and giggled like never before.

As part of the events, we were required to participate in various activities, which started right from our check-in. Then I met Ankit, my teammate for this event apart from Jobo & Ayan.
We reached Goa (no pics as photography at defense air-ports is not allowed). We were led to our coach with other bloggers who were assembling from various places. Ankit, Jobo, Ayan & I were part of a team. We named our team - PenDrive.

We met at the airport! Our coach took us to the hotel - The Leela Kempinsky resort.

We had a smooth checkin, courtesy BlogAdda's efficient team.

It might just be providence, but I could not help noticing that the Leela staff helping us in the checkin were named Vasudev & Arjun

What an amazing start I thought :) Leela is an amazing property, more about it later. Here are few pics just as teaser!

Went to room, took little rest and headed to beach. Weather was amaaazing, wind was strong, overlook of the beach surreal! See Prateek battling hard to hold the umbrella!

And few pics of surrealism!

Returned from the beach for the evening opening session where the new Renault Lodgy's feature, Renault's legacy and features were unveiled for us. There was short introduction of bloggers.

This was followed by a treasure-hunt. And of-course our team PenDrive won the treasure hunt which involved collecting alphabet from #LiveLodgycal and piecing together the hashtag. After socializing with fellow bloggers over dinner, it was time for calling it day and being ready for the main event the next day!

Here are few evening shots from my room -

Next day started with early morning pic activity, here are my captures -

Got ready and it was time for breakfast.

After a sumptuous breakfast, we were ready for our drive. Plan was to drive from Leela to Lalit Ashok, participating in a tweet-fest where we were supposed to spot stuff on the way. Our Lodgy was slick and shining was waiting for us in all its glory and off we went on our quest!

Lodgy is a comfortable MUV, it is very comfortable, so much so that I took a short nap! As we drove along, we took pictures along the way and had a true gala time! We also had Shreyas for the company. We used his ProCam to shoot interesting videos too. It was truly a fun filled ride, trying to spot stuff being live tweeted by BlogAdda team. And Lodgy was our trusted friend, ferrying us from one spot to another comfortably. We were supposed to spot a lady with pink umbrella, a man with red shorts, fish, mango tree, yellow house, among others and here are few pics.

The red car we had to spot -
Lady with Pink Umbrella -

Man (child) with Red Shorts -

And thus we reached Lalit Ashok. Weather again was surreal, see pics :)

Too bad, we did not have time for Beach Shack and had to head for lunch.

And this pathway led to our sumptuous meal -

Bloggers cannot miss a chance for group discussion, can they?

Our Lodgy waits for us for us.

 The 10 Lodgy cars, ready for the cavalcade back -

We had lunch at Lalit Ashok and it was time to drive  back.

We drove slow this time, savoring the beauty of nature.

When Goa calls, how long you can shy away from temptation. Well team wanted to have some Jolly time and we spotted Jolly bar, just the place for interesting conversations.

And we were back to hotel in time to be ready for evening session. There were interesting stories shared and we had a good time.

And finally the event concluded with cocktail party, dance & dinner! Forefront - a truly wonderful Goan band gave us company and all the jazz required to make it a truly memorable evening! We danced, and danced, and danced to our hearts content.

Next day, slept late and it was time to checkout and go back our lives in another world! Thus having lived a truly #Lodgycal Weekend, we were ready to take the world head on. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet really cool people, make new friends, have interesting conversations and feel truly alive.

Not only I made friends, I also took an impromptu lesson in photography from Giri of Phonelicious fame. Murtaza helped in testing my newly polished skills -

Not too bad I guess. Giri, did I make you proud?

And thus came the time to say Hasta la vista to our newly minted friends. Until next time folks -

The Lodgycal Gang -

Thank you Renault India & BlogAdda for giving us this opportunity, what a #Lodgycal weekend it was!

Need I say we are already ready for the next :)

While you are at it, you may want to take a look at our impromptu skit we did for showcasing how spacious Lodgy is:

And if you are still hooked, here is another one :)

 I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by in association with Renault India
I have been gifted with extra-ordinary olfactory skills. I can smell a rat, literally, from far off. Needless to say that this has not been a particular gift to cherish in our country effervescent with odors of all kinds from all corners. The nearby garbage, that stray dog who has the right to every pillar, those cattle who are left rampant on our non-suspecting roads by their owners who consider sitting in the middle of the road as their right - anyone and everyone is totally unselfish when it comes to bestowing their hallucinating scents out in the open for gullible us to cherish.

And come monsoon, the lingering wetness of cloths, molds growing in damp areas, masalas spraying their tanginess and spice in all their pungent glory, the smell of fritters and teas, the reek of wood and paper - all makes for a soul-stirring whiff for the unsuspecting guest.

I have lived in an old town house for major part of my child-hood. On top of everything I just described, our house was home to a zillion variety of flora which required manure to sustain. Needless I say that the amalgamation of smells was quite over-powering for one's senses. The pleasue and reek all mixed to create a miasma of its own. The effluvium thus created was truly surreal in its negative connotation.

Those were the time I used to wish for something which could counter all these smells of all flavors and fervor. Something which not only is pleasant to nose, but also is strong enough to not get subdued by the attack of the stink. And god-forbid the visit of a guest who removes shoes without remembering that they have not put on their most fresh pair! My personal defense against the might of stench was an unusual solution - my faithful balm. Balm while traditionally used for aches and cold, I realized, was a very effective remedy against strong reeks of all kinds. A little touch to the nose and you are subjected to the strong fragrance of menthol and other oils.

But this was a painful solution, for while balm did overpower the stench, it also caused twitching in the nose and hurt with its strength being applied to soft skin of the nose.

Other counter measures which we used were using incense sticks, but those had the problem of smoke and ash. We also used the newly introduced air-freshners, but some of them were too strong to be pleasant, and rest did not last a few minutes of determined effort of the smell to defeat the freshner. Net result was still the same - us searching for another counter measure, yet again.

I guess the new freshner from Ambi Pur - Air Effects is a big step forward in the war against stench. Being with a toddler can subject you to unpleasant smells of all kinds, any time. Just yesterday, when that happened, I sprayed a quick dose of Ambi Pur. Not only I was pleasantly surprised with the mild fragrance, the duration it remained effective made me a fan. After all, world is meant to be a pleasant fragrant place and this one from Ambi Pur is our weapon against the dark world of unsavory odors!

What's in a fragrance, a rose is still a rose?
Well what is rose without its aroma - an empty body without its soul.
A chance encounter with sweet smell makes it a good day
A whiff of fresh perfume keeps bad odors at bay
Without the beautiful scent of things fragrant,
The world is a dreary place, land arid and vacant
Embracing the joy of sweet smells is what heart favors
Spreading the aroma of love is what it savors!

I am blogging for #SmellyToSmiley activity in association with Ambi Pur.
Life is an interesting puzzle, unraveling itself slowly. It is a matter of wonder for those who have patience, and a subject of ponder and puzzle those who don't. But either ways, life makes it a point to pique your curiosity every once in a while.
In the market thus strolling they went
A knick-knack here, another there - everything they dreamt
Father, father, cried the child
I want this and I want that exclaimed he open-eyed!

Being the wise man, father asked
What is that you want, as they passed
Tell me o' dear son, what is that you crave
And tell me reason 3 why you do, my son brave

Dad, I want that toy so shiny it is
I think when I have it, it will be bliss
Son, your eyes can't see, they are dazzled
But the shine won't last, you'll be frazzled

Okay, but those pastries look delicious
Said the child in tone mischievous
But, you threw away food your mother made
Pastries look lovely, but mom's food was worth a jade

I got it dad, said the young boy
I understood valuing stuff gives joy
I will be careful and will not waste
But just a little boy I am, a bit of luxury can I taste?

You got it right son, value and respect we must show
Money can buy stuff, but peace does not flow
But we are travelling soon to lands unseen
And I will get you luxury in all its sheen

We will fly in #LufthansaPremiumEconomy through open skies
I am sure son, the comfort, the luxury, you'll love the highs
But Dad, aren't flights are cramped, long and boring
Last time you did not want to travel in spite of imploring

That was old story, from long ago, from the yore
The new class from Lufthansa is anything but bore
Let me tell you what's in store in skies
True wonder-list it is in flight's guise

Comfort true it is, this class has redefined
You get double the space, are no longer confined
Extra bag at no extra cost, is what you get
You can carry all your toys and have the fest

But the fun starts even before you board
The lounge is ours to explore
Amazing cuisine in all its glory awaits
And I am not yet done with updates

A refreshing soft drink you will get onboard
And a holder to make it does not go overboard
Little you are, your body will tire
And the seat can lean so much, so you could retire

Your cuddly friend will also have its space
Your teddy bear I am sure you will embrace
Footrest for your feet, armrest for each little hand
All your worries you can surely disband

And when you wake up fully rested and eat your prunes
There is a big screen to watch all your cartoons
The remote is yours to fulfill thy command
And power outlet to pump your phone on demand

Dad, I know you like to do thing with flair
would that not be too costly an affair
No son, this luxury we can really afford
A l'll extra and we will get on-board

That sounds really amazing Dad, it so much excites
When are we going, I can't wait for the delights
Have patience son, the contest is yet to be won, its in schemes
Sure we will go, once they sponsor your dreams...

It will not be wrong to say that we are a money conscious, price sensitive nation. We love to find value for our money, and then a little more! Not that we cannot afford luxury, but the pleasure we derive in bargaining that extra is not possible to explain in the realm of written word. We derive more pleasure in the free item we get than the actual item we bought! That is why fixed cost shops with no bargain depress me, for what fun it is if everything is bought at MRP?

If there is unity in our diversity, I guess, it is this trait of the insatiable urge to find the best value for our buck which unites us. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari our markets adorn the hustle-bustle of our bargaining with the shopkeepers. For a person uninitiated with our way of life, it borders on being a perpetual conundrum. 

We often say in our family that there is very little difference between good and great and we are willing to pay for that delta, for the value derived by that little extra far surpasses the added cost. I guess it runs in our blood to always be on the lookout for the next deal and somehow we never get tired of it.

So, it amuses the cashier, but we find it natural, when my brother asks for a free-gift for having bought lots of grocery in super-market. First reaction is surprise, but more often than not, they oblige by throwing in a knick-knack, a little toy, or whatever. And believe me this little thingy makes the effort of grocery picking seem like fun. I still remember my grandmother quoting 80% discounted price to vendors. And I was always surprised to see that final deal always turned out to be even better!

I guess given this, the new #LufthansaPremiumEconomy class from Lufthansa is true bang for buck addition to the airline's repertoire. International air-travel, especially in economy class, is tiring. There is little leg-space, less recline, little elbow room and all in all, I have always felt it is akin to travelling in a 2x2 bus. And I hate travelling by bus. This new tier of air travel from Lufthansa brings unique value proposition which only Indian discerning mind could possibly decipher - the power of that little delta, by paying a little extra.

Travelling in business class/first class has always been my secret desire every time I travel internationally in economy. However the fare difference between the 2 variants used to be at least 5-6 times and I could never convince the travel department (for I myself felt it was a very steep price for little luxury for couple of hours). This new #LufthansaPremiumEconomy changes all that. Of course, it is priced higher than the economy class, however, the price difference is significantly less. It is less than half the price of business class. I think I can now convince my travel manager to book this for me in my next leisure trip disguised as business trip :) After all a relaxed employee will be ready to take on the world on arrival and which business would not love that?

If you get
  • 50% more space
  • 2x50lbs free baggage
  • More lean back
  • Extra storage space
  • Separate armtest
  • Footrest
  • Free lounge*
  • Travel accessories
  • Excellent food served in china tableware
  • Bigger screen
  • Power outlet so that your devices do not run out of juice
  • And many more...
Isn't it a true "paisa-vasool" deal? Who would not love the luxury you can experience in *LufthansaPremiumEconomy class? I guess that is what being truly Indian means - finding value in skies (thin air literally)!