How Should Entrepreneurs Approach Investors

I’ve always wanted to write an article on business and decided to give it a shot. Hopefully, this post gives you the 411 if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur.

Over the years, the subject of money has elicited a slew of opinions from various people. Some love it, while others hate it. The profound few might tell you that they seek happiness from the little things where money holds no place. Some intellectuals go a bit further by stating that they appreciate the efforts undertaken to earn it and so on.MoneyMoneyMoney

Now, what if you happen to mention these statements to anybody from the cutthroat corporate world?

You are most certainly bound to become a laughing stock.

Money is the lifeline of any type of firm, be it profit-oriented enterprises, charitable organizations, SMEs or huge conglomerates. It’s the blood which flows through the veins of the firm, thus allowing it to function well.

However, it proves to be much more for the wide-eyed entrepreneur who seeks funding to materialize his/her vision.

The art of approaching potential investors is very much like the game of Minesweeper. The repercussions of a single misstep bring about some heavy casualties. Which is why this article will guide you through the dos and don’ts of this process.

What should you do before approaching investors?

Various measures need to be taken to ensure full credibility and transparency on your part. Start off by knowing your business’ credit history and keeping track of your personal finances. Backers usually need proof that you can handle your money responsibly and pay off your debts on time. You can obtain credit reports from a reputed credit-reporting agency for this purpose. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your credit score, too.

Lining up the team is another important activity. Investors need to be assured that you and your team can execute the ambitious business plan laid before them. Elucidate about your vision for the firm’s future, the various phases of the firm’s growth cycle etc.

Speaking of business plans, ensure that you create a detailed one. It’s easier said than done, especially when investors are concerned. Be realistic by considering your burn rate, breakeven point and the amount of money needed. Know your numbers like the back of your hand. Create an estimate of your gross-margin, costs to be incurred, and first-year requirements. Identifying the types of customers, you’re planning to acquire is a bonus.

Do your research on your potential investors. Matching your business strategy and financial needs to the right investor is of the utmost essence. Learn about the way they conduct business and their various criteria. After all, knowing is half the game won. Create a wish list of potential investors and choose each of them carefully. Choosing an investor is a step towards commencing a long-term symbiotic relationship. Define yourself and your firm. As time goes by, the wish list will have drastically reduced to those investors who are on the same page as you regarding time, strategy, funding, and goals.

When should you approach investors?

The quote “strike while the iron is hot” couldn’t be more apt for this situation.

The idea of approaching investors when you’re running out of funds and are close to desperate is a badly thought-out one. Instead, you need to make a pitch when you’re in top form i.e. bringing in the money alongside some eye-catching metrics to back you up. For better chances, start holding the conversations before the need for money.

Apart from the ka-ching, this approach rakes in other benefits. You get the opportunity to reach out directly instead of cold calling later. The backers get to witness your progress which increases your credibility. You get the opportunity to branch out and build connections, irrespective of the outcome. These connections could be of future use. And lastly, you get to pick the investor who’s right for you.

How do you connect?

Always stick to warm leads when you’re starting out.

Reach out to a connection who’s a credible friend or investing partner. He/she could introduce or recommend you to investors who will be good for you. Try to attend conferences where these investors might be present or even try branching out through your connections on websites such as LinkedIn.

Executives would prefer to not change

These investors might be board members, industry influencers or even founders of portfolio companies/VCs, the list goes on and on.

Because investors get so many inquiries, you need to create a great first impression by standing out as someone who’s valuable and worth paying attention to. Once that’s been taken care of, the momentum is set.

Now that you’ve got a brief idea about how to approach your backers, step back and analyze. Think about building the vital path to investors and be smart about it. This is just the beginning, so be persistent. And when an opportunity does finally knock on your door, grab it with both hands.

Copyright © 2017 by Shamika Lal,  all rights reserved.

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When Fashion Befriended Food: AKA Bistro

A long year of seemingly never-ending examinations, assignments, and hectic schedules had finally reached its end. I craved for an outing. So, what better way to go about with it than to dine at a new restaurant with my family.

Amidst the tortuous and cobbled lanes of Fort, stood a newly set-up restaurant called “AKA Bistro”.  Upon our arrival, I couldn’t help but notice how spacious and airy the property was. In a city like Mumbai, acquiring such properties is a rare feat. I could only imagine how bright and well-lit the restaurant would be in the morning. (P.S: My hunch proved to be right when I checked out the photos on Zomato!)

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Space: A big deal in Mumbai.

The first word that came to mind when I soaked in the ambiance, was “quirky”. Why so?

On closer inspection, one would notice that the objet d’art, displayed proudly against an elegant backdrop of sky blue, were mannequins.

That’s right, mannequins.

So you can see where the fashion part comes in play. In fact, situated right next to our table was this particular relic.

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Do you see it?

Seems like an ordinary dress to you, doesn’t it? Other than the eccentricity of displaying dresses on hangers, nothing comes across as unusual, no? Well, I beg to differ.

Let’s take a closer look.

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Now, you do.

You’d have probably figured out by now that the aforementioned dress is made out of pasta. To be specific, conchiglie or shaped pasta.

And it doesn’t stop there. I came across other wonderful curios as well, some of them being:

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A fashion magazine hanging from a night-lamp. (Hi, Lisa Haydon!)
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A unique take on a chandelier (minus the lighting).

Okay, I’ve talked quite a bit regarding the decor and feel. We need to get down to the real deal, food.

We commenced dinner with the “Soup of the day”, which was Cauliflower & Sage. The mildness of the cauliflower complemented the peppery hit of the garden sage perfectly. A side of toasted bread served as the final touch. Needless to say, a lovely way to start off our meal.

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Cauliflower & Sage Soup

The quantity may seem rather measly by the looks of it. However, take my word for this. It was enough. Not too much, not too less. Just the way I like it.

Alongside the soup, we placed an order for a salad as well. Yes, a salad! My taste buds were feeling quite adventurous that evening. Or maybe the recent health fad rampant among my peers finally got to me.

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Duo of Quinoa & Cauliflower Cous Cous

Our salad for the evening was a “Duo of Quinoa and Cauliflower Cous Cous”. Apart from the glaringly obvious ingredients, added to mix were baby spinach. feta, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds. The cauliflower was crisp and well-seasoned.  The feta and pine nuts added some great depth in terms of texture. The quinoa was well cooked. The pomegranate seeds added a much-needed pop of flavour to the dish. Overall, a really refreshing dish.

For the main course, we decided to go with two dishes which followed two different routes. The first being Spanish and the second, Italian. We placed an order for some “Vegetable Paella” (Spanish) and some “Aglio Olio Pepperoncino” (Italian).

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Vegetable Paella

The Vegetable Paella is typically rice cooked with saffron which gives it a vivid colour. Very reminiscent of the colours of a typical biryani, but a few shades darker. Various bell peppers and other vegetables are also added. To top it off, a dash of aioli. Aioli is basically a sauce of Mediterranean origin, which is a mix of garlic and olive oil. The dish was very well cooked, spicy and flavoursome. The vegetables added some crunch and the aioli, an unusual but very welcome hit.

The Aglio Olio Pepperoncino is a spaghetti pasta dish drizzled with some olive oil.

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Aglio Olio Pepperoncino

Various vegetables are mixed with the pasta. It was like a breath of fresh air when we tried out a pasta which was not soaked in any type of sauce, whatsoever. The focus was solely on the quality of pasta, and it delivered. The pasta was al dente i.e. it had a bite to it. However, I felt that the olive oil drizzled was a tad too much, which made the dish a lot more oily. Nevertheless, a really tasty dish on the whole.

To end our dinner on a sweet note, we ordered for some dessert. Who doesn’t make room for this part of the meal?

The restaurant has a mini-confectionery stand with various delectable treats on display. Apart from this, there are some desserts on the regular menu too. I think it’s safe to say that the customer is spoiled for choice as far as desserts are concerned.

I decided to go with the Cream Cheese Brownie. It reminded me of cheesecake, which is my favourite dessert. That, in itself pretty much sealed the deal. Anything involving cheesecake, and I’m in.

 

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Cream Cheese Brownie with Vanilla Ice-Cream

The brownie was served with a scoop of Vanilla ice-cream garnished with a basil leaf. The warmth of the brownie against the cold of the ice-cream made a really interesting case of hot & cold, which worked very well. The brownie had some gooey chocolate in it but also a good amount of cream cheese, which did not make it overpoweringly sweet. The ice-cream was smooth, creamy and delicious which is exactly what you expect from a good ice-cream.

My experience at AKA Bistro was a good one, and I definitely plan to drop by again. Soon.

For more details on AKA Bistro, go on:

https://www.zomato.com/mumbai/aka-bistro-fort

Copyright © 2017 by Shamika Lal,  all rights reserved.

If You’re Wondering Where I’ve Been

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The last time you heard from me, it was April 2016.

I was rambling on about submissions for writing internships and decided to share them with you guys. I’d promised that I’d keep y’all updated which was exciting and seemed totally fine.

That is until I pretty much left you guys hanging. No explanation, no posts, nothing.

Just give me the title of Procrastinator/Promise Breaker already!

So I’ll give you the brief gist. I did get a writing internship after all! I started out as a content writer and got promoted to editorial intern within a span of 10 DAYS ! YAY!

How I got hold of this internship and the experience as a whole, is a story for another day.

It isn’t often that travel blogs let interns take over editorial content and post travel articles online. However, Trodly (where I was hired as an intern) did give me the freedom to do so.

So, I want to share with y’all the articles I wrote during my stint as an intern. I owe y’all some good reads anyway.

Now without further ado, here are the links:

The Ultimate Guide to Nepal

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Sri Lanka

15 Best Places for Team Outings Around Bangalore

I hope that they’re detailed and lengthy enough to whet your appetite for reads from this blog. Don’t forget to check out the description at the end! 😀

Go right ahead and comment here to let me know what you think about them!

For now, I’ll be lying low. What with it being my final year of graduation and the exam season currently going on, it’s gonna be quite difficult to post more frequently.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on some terrific content and have several ideas swirling in my head. Also, I’ll try to take up the challenges and quizzes y’all gave me ages ago, whenever I can.

Lastly, I’m really sorry for this late post.

Cheers,

Shamika.

Copyright © 2016 by Shamika Lal, all rights reserved.

The Quintessential Travel Junkie-cum-Foodie’s Survival Guide

I’ve been applying to various firms for some writing internships lately. And luckily enough, I did get positive responses from some to send a few articles as per their requirements. This happens to be one of those submissions, and I thought that it’s only fair to share it with you guys. As I’ve been getting responses from travel based firms, this is my first post solely related to travel. Hope you guys like it!

12 years old. That’s how young I was when I went overseas for the first time. The destination was South East Asia, and my first stop was Thailand.

You’d probably laugh and say, “Jeez, what could a kid tell me about Thailand? She’d barely remember anything!

Turns out, I can tell you quite a bit. I can ramble on about the adventures I had while out there. The memories I made whilst vacationing, range from a scale of amazing to mortifying.

Of course, I remember the latter, all too well.

A downright embarrassing memory of mine includes not being able to hold my breath underwater whereas everybody else (including a 71-year-old grandma) managed to do it. Meanwhile, I panicked and got my face splattered with seaweed.

Ah, good times I tell you.

But all jokes and umm, mortifying memories aside, I had a ball of a time in Thailand!

However, one thing bothered me.

As a kid on a group tour, various families along with mine had to visit a slew of landmarks as per the schedule for a number of days. The day always started with a rushed breakfast, and we’d simply make a dash for the attraction. On reaching there, the routine was pretty much the same: take in the sights, click tons of pictures and get out. Soon after, we’d head out to a restaurant and eat.

Sounds alright, doesn’t it?

But, what if I told you that after visiting the tourist attraction, we’d head out to a restaurant which was way too far off or totally off course? So much so that it would end up being a complete waste of time? Not to mention that we’d end up scarfing down non-authentic food. Our time for exploration was cut short in a jiffy and there was no good food to even give us an ounce of comfort.

I can assure you that it ends up being nothing short of a total bummer. Nobody would like their mood to be ruined this way. I would not wish this upon anybody, even my worst enemy. And that’s saying something.

But that’s where my guide comes in handy: to save you from ghastly situations like these!

After a lot of careful thought, I’ve actually compiled a list of places perfect for travel junkies. But it doesn’t just stop there! To save your time, energy and palette, I’ve also suggested notable restaurants near the concerned attractions so that your experience becomes all the more memorable. Moreover, these restaurants serve authentic & delicious Thai cuisine!

Now that’s what I call killing two birds with one stone.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 suggestions:

When the Emerald Buddha had Green Curry 

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Wat Phra Kaew: Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The name Wat Phra Kaew is rather difficult to remember let alone even pronounce. But the sights it offers are far from forgettable. It is the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand, but is famous for being the home of the Emerald Buddha. Located within the provinces of the Grand Palace, this site appeals to one, aesthetically. And why wouldn’t it? It has so much to offer: elephant statues, a library, ornate carvings and sculptures, Cambodian temples, lively yakshis and more! A must visit for every travel junkie to get an insight into this nation’s history. Don’t forget to take note of the various rules and regulations involving dress code before dropping by!

 

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Thai Green Curry: An instant hit!

Once you’ve satisfied your thirst for knowledge, you can always head over to Jin Chieng Seng by Inn A Day. A cosy restaurant with a hip décor, this restaurant is located merely 0.7 km away from the Grand Palace. And it guarantees you a sumptuous meal, most notably  Thai Green Curry. Thus you get your share of delicious local cuisine.

 

 

Modernism befriends Unconventionality

Before you start grumbling as to why I’ve suggested you another temple, allow me to explain. This is not an ordinary temple. Rather, it’s an unconventional one. Have you ever come across a temple which has its entrance surrounded by a sea of hands wanting to grasp and touch you? Or one where predators emerge from the grass? Or one where heads hang from trees? Clearly not.

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Ethereal Vision: The White Temple

Wat Rong Khun, otherwise known as The White Temple, owned & built by the artist Kositpipat was opened in 1997. It is actually an art exhibit designed in the form of a Buddhist temple. The intricate designs and outlandish concepts are reasons enough to convince you to visit this temple/exhibition.

Now, this site doesn’t have notable restaurants nearby. So I suggest you go to Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House which is one of the best in the Chiang Rai region. Located 13.8 km away, this coffeehouse not only serves European and Thai cuisine but also puts a modern spin on it, a great example being Tofu Steak!

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Thai Tofu Steak: Surprisingly satisfying!

 

Walk the Line

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Sunday Night Walking Street: Let’s bargain!

Indians are known for a lot of their mannerisms, the most notorious of them being bargaining. Which is why Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Walking Street is bound to be a hit amongst all of us. Chiang Mai (Rose of the North) is well known for its laid back culture, numerous restaurants, Buddhist temples and an active nightlife. Sunday evenings often see several people, citizens, and visitors alike, giving the street market a visit. Everything you could possibly think of : jewelry, clothing, Thai silk, shoes, DVDs, arts, crafts and so on, are available at dirt cheap prices. So if you’d like to collect some souvenirs for yourself and your family, this is the place to be!

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Khao Suey: Never gets old!

The evening market also marks the arrival of various street food stalls offering varieties of Asian cuisines. Notable street food dishes would be Suki Yaki, Khao Suey, Som Tam and so on.

Under my Umbrella

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Umbrella-ella-ella eh eh eh eh eh

I hope you read the title in Rihanna’s voice. Anyway all jokes aside, the Bo Sang village is a must visit for those interested in arts and crafts. This village, situated a 30-minute drive away from the east of Chiang Mai, is known for its handmade bamboo umbrellas. Aptly nicknamed as the Umbrella Village, visitors get the chance to observe the entire process of production and choose the designs as per their choice.

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Look at the glaze on that Pork Knuckle!

Located just 0.9 km away from Bo Sang is Aroy Garden, a restaurant which specializes in Thai and German cuisine. Along with its hearty portions, it is well known for its Pork Knuckle.

Right Back in the Water

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Phang Nga Bay: I saw this in a James Bond movie!

No, your eyes do not deceive you. As unfamiliar and strange as the name Phang Nga Bay sounds, you’ve seen this place before. Thanks to many films of Bollywood (Kaho Na Pyaar Hai) and Hollywood (Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach”) being shot here. And who could blame them? With its lush beaches, sparkling waters and peculiar limestone rock formations, it never fails to catch your attention. It also proves to be a perfect atmosphere for a boat tour. And why wouldn’t it? This bay has so much to offer in terms of lagoons, deep blue waters, and seaweed laden hidden coves.

It’s also good for swimming conditions all round the year!

The best way to explore this place would undoubtedly be a boat tour. This serene atmosphere leaves you calm and at ease, at the end of the day.

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Prawns: Ultimate guilty pleasure

The boat tour I’d recommend you would be Captain Mark’s Alternative Tours. Mainly because they make a stop at Koh Panyi fishing village where the tourists get treated to a walking tour and a lip smacking seafood lunch!

Hopefully, my guide ends up working in your favour and ensures that you make some lasting memories with your loved ones in Thailand.

And lastly, Bon Voyage.

 

If you have other suggestions, then do mention them in the comments section below!

 

Copyright © 2016 by Shamika Lal, all rights reserved.

Unapologetically Bawa: SodaBottleOpenerWala

Before I go ahead and give you my review, we really need to get a few things cleared up.

You must be wondering about two words in the title.

If they’re “Bawa” and “SodaBottleOpenerWala”, then I have guessed rightly.

Allow me to familiarise you with these terms.

The word “Bawa” is an Indian synonym for members of the Parsi Community. Now although this word has, at times, been used in a rather mocking way for these members of the Zoroastrian community, people don’t care to find out its actual meaning. Which just shows the extent of ignorance present among our generation today.

So all jokes aside, the word “Bawa” actually means “old gentleman”.

And I firmly stand by this meaning whenever I state the term “Bawa”.

Now, “SodaBottleOpenerWala” is actually a surname. Don’t be too surprised, there are lots of surnames like these in the Parsi community. I actually know quite a few people with the surnames “Soonawalla”, “Daruwalla” etc. Quite often their surnames end with “walla”.  It is how it is.

“SodaBottleOpenerWala” is located in the swanky locality of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). Its ambience stems from Iranian and Parsi influences. There are a lot of things to take notice of while you’re dining here. There’s definitely no monotony when it comes to aesthetics. It is unmistakably Bawa and wholeheartedly embraces it.

 

A lot of things will definitely catch your eye. Right from the ancestral portraits and various other paintings (this includes a faux Mona Lisa!) haphazardly arranged on the walls, to the hilarious list of Bawa resolutions for the year. A special mention goes out to the mini toy train running around the whole time and the Jukebox!

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Take a closer look at the resolutions, you won’t be disappointed!

Jokes on the Bawa culture prove to be a running gag here. They’re present everywhere: the menus, the tables and even the walls!

For example:

It’s not potato.

It’s not batata.

It’s pateta!

120,000 Bawas agree with this, don’t tell me they are wrong!

This just goes on to show that it never hurts to laugh at yourself!

Heading straight for the kill, I’ll talk about dinner now.

Firstly we placed an order for some drinks, namely Raspberry Soda and Sekanjabin. The former (Raspberry Soda) was fruity and refreshing. Not too much soda was added to the pulpy raspberry juice, which gave it the right amount of fizz. The latter (Sekanjabin) is actually an ancient Iranian drink which comprises of vinegar and honey. It is a summer drink, which is at times seasoned with mint and served with some chopped up lettuce. The drink intrigued me in terms of taste and presentation. It’s very different from the other mock tails that I’ve had before. It was minty, with the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

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Raspberry Soda
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Sekanjabin

Soon after, we placed an order for a few starters. All of them were delicious and memorable in their own way.

The first of these starters would be Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlet. To clarify, there’s no person called “Aloo Aunty” in this world. At least, to my knowledge that is! The Hindi word “Aloo” means potato.

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Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlet

This starter comprises of vegetable cutlets with a hearty filling mainly composed of potatoes and spices. These deep fried cutlets appear as rounded spheres with a golden batter. The cutlets are served with some onions and meethi (sweet) chutney. The cutlets by themselves are so tasty with the right hint of potato.The chutney is mainly tamarind sweet chutney which works so well with the cutlets. This chutney is what helps the dish become right on the money. No wonder it’s a hit amongst the diners!

In quick succession, two other starters followed suit. They were Spicy Mushroom on Khari and Kolmi Fry.

The former was a delectable appetizer. It had sauteed mushrooms with a coat of melted cheese placed on light khari biscuits. Khari biscuits are savoury Indian biscuits which are neither sweet nor salty. The mushrooms were well cooked and blend very well with melted cheese and biscuits.

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Spicy Mushroom on Khari

However, my favourite appetizer of the day was Kolmi Fry. It was a combination of two of my favourite things: deep fried prawns & onion rings. At first, its appearance surprised me because it definitely seemed like deep fried onion rings to me. Only after taking the first bite did I realize that it is stuffed with some juicy well cooked prawns too. And boy, does it pack a punch! The mint chutney served alongside is tasty too. The dish had the right amount of heat and did not go overboard on the spices. Highly recommend this one.

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Kolmi Fry

For the main course, we chose Vegetable Berry Pulao and Bheeda Par Eeda.

The pulao was brilliant! Well cooked vegetable rice topped off with dates, berries, nuts and green chillies makes for a very memorable dish. I scraped every morsel from my plate.

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Vegetable Berry Pulao

The other dish  Bheeda Par Eeda  is mainly Parsi style baked eggs with spicy okra. This was equally good too. What makes the dish work is when the egg yolk is mixed with the okra which gives it the right blend of sweet and spicy.

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Bheeda Par Eeda

Although these two are separate main course dishes, we decided to have them together. And guess what? It worked out really well for us! Having a scoop of rice alongside baked eggs gave us some astonishing results. Either ways, stand alone or with a combination of the two, these dishes are a must try.

Lastly, we ordered for dessert which was some good old Parsi Dairy Farm Kulfi. Creamy, milky and firm, it’s everything you’d expect from a product of Parsi Dairy Farm. Thus, dinner ended on a sweet note.

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Parsi Dairy Farm Kulfi

Do take note that all the desserts and confectionary items are provided by the restaurant’s bakery counter called “The Irani Bakery”. There are a lot of delicious treats to check out. There’s a well equipped bar as well. The service is quick and efficient & the staff is courteous.

Other notable dishes, popular amongst the frequent diners would be Eggs Kejriwal Breach Candy Awesome Okra. Do check them out.

Overall, my time at SodaBottleOpenerWala’s was a cheerful and memorable experience. Their modern take on Irani cuisine makes me want to go back for more.

I can assure you that this is not the last of my visits to this diner and I eagerly look forward to my future visits.

For more details on SodaBottleOpenerWala, you can go on:

https://www.zomato.com/mumbai/sodabottleopenerwala-bandra-kurla-complex

Copyright © 2016 by Shamika Lal,  all rights reserved.

 

 

 

The Starlight Blogger Award

I’m well aware that I’ve been a major procrastinator when it comes to blog award nominations (and blog posts in general).

I pretty much have more than 22 drafts on the go and I simply can’t seem to organise myself! 

Flustered me.

So to bring 2016 to a good start, I decided to acknowledge my acceptance and nominate a few others for these awesome awards! 

Let’s dig in.

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This is my first ever blog nomination.

*cue the applause and cheers*

I actually came across Matt’s blog by accident and I’m so glad I did. This guy is awesome and you HAVE to check his blog out! Thanks Matt, for nominating my blog.

To know how this works, here are “THE RULES”:

1. Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.

2. Answer the 3 original questions and then the 3 new questions from your nominator given to you.

3. Nominate your 6 favourite bloggers! In your nominees I would like for you to think of the light emanating from the stars, the ones that truly touch your soul with their work, the ones that are the light for you, a true STARLIGHT Blogger.

4. Please pass the award on to 6 or more other Bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated by you.

5. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your Blog, please never alter the logo, never change the 3 original questions answer that first then answer the 3 new questions from your nominator and never change the Award rules.

6. Please don’t delete this note:

“The design for the STARLIGHT Bloggers Award has been created from YesterdayAfter. It is a Copyright image, you cannot alter or change it in any way just pass it to others that deserve this award.

Copyright 2015 © YesterdayAfter.com – Design by Carolina Russo”

THE ORIGINAL QUESTIONS:

1) If you could meet anyone from throughout history, who and why?

There are so many people who actually made it in my “Desperately Wish To Meet” list. But after thinking long and hard, I finally chose Freddie Mercury.

As a kid, I was never into old Bollywood songs and detested the singers even more. One can imagine my horror, whenever I found a fellow peer or even a young kid singing these songs. I used to scoff when others admired those who sang Lata Mangeshkar songs. Freddie Mercury happened to be a global icon throughout his life, but very few people know that he spent much of his childhood in India. As a kid, he was drawn towards music at a young age. And he loved singing Bollywood songs, Lata Mangeshkar songs in particular. He was also trained in Indian classical music.

Suffice to say, Mercury was once the kid who I never admired.

On acknowledging this fact, I wonder how the transition from Bollywood to English Rock took place. How fascinating must this process be! I would give anything to have a chat with him about this and ask him for free piano lessons. With this, Mercury surely taught me something.

Never underestimate an Indian classical singer, the possibilities are limitless.

 

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2)  What is your favourite book and why?

That’s a really tough one. I basically adore all of Roald Dahl’s books.

But my favourite book of his would be “Matilda”!

I love this book of Dahl’s in particular because it proves to be humorous and dark at the same time. There are instances in the story which would make you roar with laughter and there are those which make you empathize with Matilda. Also, I relate to the protagonist as we are both bookworms! One simply can’t help but root for Matilda throughout the book. It showcases Dahl’s skill to write on subjects dealing with dark humour.

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3. Who is your favourite fictional character from any medium and why?

Severus Snape. ALWAYS.

In the last book of the “Harry Potter” series, Rowling threw in such a major twist for a totally unexpected character. As the truth unveils, Rowling makes you question each of the character’s motives from another perspective. And once the entire truth dawns upon the reader, one realises that Snape, with all his different shades and tones of character, was simply beautiful, complex and human. I couldn’t help but admire Snape due to his various traits of loyalty, bravery and intelligence.

And how can anyone forget his unwavering love for his beloved!

The fact that Snape was portrayed by Alan Rickman (a legend, may he rest in peace), makes him all the more one of my favorite characters of all time.

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MATT’S QUESTIONS:

1. If money wasn’t an issue, where would you go on holiday for 2 weeks?

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New York City.

The energy, the intermingling of various cultures, the cafes, the fashion and just about everything else never ceases to amaze me.

Actually, two weeks would not be enough to explore this sea-facing concrete jungle.

2. If you had the chance, would you live for a thousand years? Only you could live that long and you would never age past 25?

I’d like to say yes. Being a person of varied interests and being young would allow me to pursue so many different things efficiently.

However after having pursued all of my interests, I would be bored out of mind.

So ultimately my answer is Death wins.

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3. What fictional villain do you find yourself supporting, despite knowing they’re bad and you love it?

I love “The Joker”.

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His insanity grabs anybody’s attention. I’ve always had a soft corner for people who are mad but deep down know exactly what they’re doing. The Joker proves to be one of such people. I can’t help but root for him, no matter how cruel the action.

He is mad, conniving, eerily poised and smart. At times, I feel the insanity is depicted to stay true to the character and antics of a joker. The fact that this antagonist is so unlike the others and actually has depth of character is what makes him interesting.

 

Time for me to play quiz master! Here are my questions:

  1. Live to eat or eat to live? If you choose either, then why?
  2. Which cartoon character is your favourite and why?
  3. What’s your favourite hobby? What do you like about it?

 

My Nominees are:

The Theatre of Dreams

Akhila

AwkYoungAdult

Abbie Lu

unbolt

fiddledeedee5

Copyright © 2016 by Shamika Lal,  all rights reserved.

 

15 Words of Hope

It has been a little over a week since the bombings took place in Beirut and Paris, sending shock waves across the world. Such attacks seem to cause nothing but endless grief and terrible memories for the survivors and the kin of the deceased.

People often say that the survivors are the lucky ones to have made it out of there with just mere injuries. They still have years ahead of them unlike the other poor souls whose lives and futures were cruelly snatched away.

I heartily disagree.

Sure, they have their lives to live. But at a huge expense.

Imagine being caught up in the chaos and utter hell. Seeing a loved one or even a fellow citizen lose their life right before your very eyes, when you can do nothing but watch. It’s during times like these that you realize that you’re rendered helpless. No matter how much you try and make yourself believe or even hope against hope that it isn’t happening, it’s of no use. In short, it’s your worst nightmare.

The only difference is that you’re living it.

Apart from being scarred with such memories, anxiety and trust issues begin to set in. People fear for their safety wherever they go. Citizens cast mistrustful eyes on each other.

And that is exactly what perpetrators aim for: breaking trust and faith.

By living with fear and no good faith, we might as well wave a peace flag in their face.

It is during times like these that we must remind ourselves that there is hope. We must remind ourselves that although such incidents cause grief, they bring people together. They unite people of various religions, castes, creeds, races and colors. They serve to remind us that humanity is universal.

It is solely upto us to put up a united front against terrorism.

And let’s face it, terrorism has no religion.

Now, my friend Ananta has challenged me one last time to write these word restricted short stories. I had earlier decided to go with a festive theme, but in light of recent events I felt this would be more apt.

Here’s my story:

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#My15WordStory

The rules remain the same. 15 words only. No more, no less. The topic is of your choice.

The nominees are the readers of this post.

Anyone who reads this post and has lost a loved one in the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut, my deepest condolences. Words cannot express a fraction of the pain y’all must be going through.

In the meantime, take care and be safe.

Sending all the love.

Copyright © 2015 by Shamika Lal,  all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

The Voice of My 25 Word Story

Lately, my friend Ananta has embarked on a spree of word restricted story challenges and has consistently nominated me for these challenges as well.

Yes, she’s the one who nominated me for the 11 word and 13 word story challenges.

The 25 word story challenge happened to be just another one of those challenges. Like every other challenge, I decided to take it in my stride and rise to the occasion.

But something struck me.

There I was, busy writing word restricted stories on tragic love & romance, when I should’ve been writing on topics which mattered. All this time I could’ve been using my talent and skills, to bring light to topics which deserved attention. An impact could’ve been created by me. I don’t know how big or small but an impact nevertheless.

So I decided to tweak the rules of this challenge.

The nominees are supposed to write a comprehensive, impactful story of 25 words. No more, no less. While deciding your topic, think of an issue or matter which is relevant in the world today. Something which matters and needs to be highlighted.

In my case, I chose gender bias & gender inequality.

Although India has definitely given women the opportunity to thrive and flourish, this problem still persists in various states of this nation till today. From wage pay gaps to education, there isn’t any  presence of equality of the sexes. Being an Indian girl, I had to speak up about this existent injustice. And I’ve tried to do so via writing.

Here’s my story, with a voice.

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The nominees of this challenge are the readers of this post. Stick to 25 words, choose a relevant issue, and let your imagination run wild.

But most importantly, don’t hold back.

Have a good day. Hope you liked this post.

Cheers,

Shamika

Copyright © 2015 by Shamika Lal, all rights reserved.

One Lovely Blog Award

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A big thank you to Alex Raphael for nominating my blog, although it’s barely a month old. Guys, you HAVE to check out his blog. He’s definitely worth a follow!

This is my 3rd nomination in a week.

Now allow me to show you how this works.

The Rules

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Give 7 facts about yourself.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)
SOME FACTS ABOUT ME
  1. I’ve always preferred Pepsi over Coke. I don’t know why, I just have.
  2. The last thing I watched on T.V. yesterday would be Castle
  3. I’d hands down choose savoury over sweet. If I had to choose between chilli and  chocolate on my last day on Earth, it would be the former.
  4. I occasionally play the guitar and keyboard & I sing.
  5. I’m originally left-handed. But lately, I’ve become ambidextrous.
  6. Roald Dahl is my favourite author.
  7. I love learning new languages. Recently, I’ve taken up French!

In turn, I’d further like to nominate:

  1. Kally
  2. Brenda
  3. Heba
  4. EsoterX

The Story of My Unlucky Number

13.

Fear, anxiety, sadness and a stream of negative emotions flow through me on hearing it.

You know how they say that 13 is supposedly an unlucky number? That couldn’t be more true for me.

Unlike Taylor Swift, the number 13 has never, ever, ever worked in my favour.

The worst year of my life so far, has been 8th grade when I turned 13. My school tests went terribly bad whenever they were scheduled on the 13th of each month. In college, my least favourite subjects’ lectures were always held on the 13th of each month. As for Friday the 13th? Well, let’s not even discuss that.

Coincidence? I think not.

So when my good friend gave me a challenge to write a story in 13 words, you could probably imagine my reaction.

But what could I do? I love writing. I always have. I couldn’t give a lame excuse for this challenge. For example:

“Hey, can I chicken out of this one? It’s got my unlucky number in it.”

It sounds all the more stupid when said in person, doesn’t it?

So I decided to give this challenge a shot. Despite the unlucky number, it involved something which I loved. So, the odds simply had to be in my favour.

Right?

Surprisingly, I stumbled  to come up with a story which satisfied me. Grammatical errors, lack of ideas, no originality, too many words and small trances of writer’s block were some challenges I faced.

But I persevered.

After numerous attempts, I finally came up with a story of 13 words which worked in my favour.

Here’s my story.


Take that, 13!

You worked for me. Eventually.

The nominees for this challenge are the people who read this post. You’re free to write on any topic of your choice, keeping in mind the word limit.

So give it a shot and set your imagination free!
Hopefully you guys liked it.

Thanks for giving this a read. Have a good day.

(P.S. if you’re a new reader, then check out my blog. It doesn’t hurt! You may like it and if you do, then give it a follow.)

Copyright © 2015 by Shamika Lal, all rights reserved.