The occasion was special. Khun Runjuan Tongrut, the Director of TAT New Delhi was heading back to Thailand after completing her stint in India. I wanted to take her out for lunch. We settle on the Indian Accent Restaurant by Chef Manish Mehrotra.
I am sure a lot of their clientele will not take the metro to reach there, but like me if you want to, Lajpat Nagar on the Violet Line is the nearest metro station. The auto drivers know the name of the hotel, The Manor, much better than the name of the restaurant.
I reached the venue a little ahead of time and I was seated comfortably in the lobby area. They gave me the drinks menu but I decided to wait till Runjuan ma’am arrived.
With a little help from our server, we decided to go with the Chef’s Tasting Menu which is a six course meal. Looking at the menu I now realize that each course has its own half glass wine (price extra) but we took our drinks separately. Ma’am went with Mojito and me with white wine.
The ambiance of the restaurant is peaceful, you can happily sit there and chat for hours. There is an indoor seating area and there are a few tables on the porch too. We took the porch as it was a bright and sunny day.
We started with a small serving of soup and bread. Both were excellent. We actually protested that six courses would be too much for us but the staff convinced us that the portions were small and we would enjoy it. They were right.
Soup was followed by burratta papdi chaat which once again tasted out of this world. The twist of cheese in chaat worked well for me. The presentation of the food was excellent too.
That took us to the next course, baigan bharta cornetto and moong daal. This was the only dish in the entire meal that I am not sure of. I was warned about the baigan bharta beforehand and yet I decided to go ahead with it. It was alright but it was not wow like everything else.
Baked aloo methi chilla came next. That too vanished in no time. It was only later that I wondered about the calorie count and then decided that a few hours later it was too late anyway.
Then came something that once again I am not fond of, beetroot. But the beetroot and peanut butter tikki was awesome. It was right there with the burratta papdi chaat.
This was followed by kulfi sorbet. The presentation was great and I liked it.
Then came the main course of kathal podimas. It was served with wild mushroom kulchas, daal and raita. By now I was truly stuffed but the dessert still remained. The wild mushroom kulchas were amazingly good.
We had gajar halwa crumble and walnut chocolate brownie. For once in my life I could not finish the desserts!
The mouth fresheners looked and tasted amazing too. They strongly reminded me of my childhood!
It was my pleasure to take out Runjuan ma’am for lunch and to see that she enjoyed it!
PS. The price ensures that I can go to Indian Accent only on very special occasions!
PPS. The entire photo shoot happened with OPPO F1.
Art often intimidates me, don’t ask me why for I don’t know why. It is maybe because I was hopeless at art in school. Still when I got an invite from Asian Paints, I agreed to visit the ST+ART WIP (work in progress) Show at ICD Concor near Tughlakabad in Delhi. The ST+Art India foundation is a non-profit organization that works on art projects in public spaces. Asian Paints is supplying the paints for the event.
I agreed to attend the event because of the unusual venue. The venue is ICD Concor Container parking lot. They are painting the whole containers, containers after containers! And that caught my fancy.
At the logistics end, the nearest metro station to the venue is Govindpuri on the violet line. There is art work on the station too. The auto guy will ask for anywhere between 80 to 100 rupees to the venue. There are signboards all along the road. The auto drivers know Tughlakabad Depot and you can follow the sings from there to the event. The event will run from 1 to 28 February. It is open to public from every Thursday to Sunday.
I was not sure how isolated the container depot would be, but the venue is bright and cheerful. All my doubts vanished once I reached there.
I quite liked the philosophy of the ST+ART Foundation which says:
The St+Art India foundation is a non-profit organization that works on art projects in public spaces. The aim of the foundation is to make art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in – making art truly democratic and for everyone.
The containers looked truly stunning! I bounced happily from container to container admiring what I saw. And then I spotted him!
I asked if he would have a chat with me. He agreed. He is Ajit from Bihar and his story fascinated me. He said ( in Hindi) “We live nearby in the jhuggis. Some people came one day and started looking around. There was a commotion so we also came to see what was happening. He pointed out to one person standing on a lift and continued, I asked him if there was work. He said there was, can I bring in more people? So if a container is to be painted entirely black, we do it, then others paint it. I have work for one month now.” I saw Ajit later sitting on a wall, and he looked happy with his nice turban.
I also managed to do some small talk with Borondo, an artist from Spain. I first saw him perched high up on a lift engrossed in painting. I later saw him standing and staring hard at his painting. After a while he came out from his trance like state and we got chatting.
And instead of chatting about his art all my questions were directed at what he saw in India, if this was his first trip to India and the like! He said he was on his first trip to India, he would be painting for five days and then go back home. He doubted if he could see much outside the container lot!
I also interacted with student volunteers who were there either out of interest or their colleges had volunteered. One of them was doing a BBA because his classes got over at 2.30 and then he was free to pursue art!
But imagine the amount of paint required to paint containers after containers and that is where Asian Paints come in. Mr. Amit Syngle, President Asian Paints said in a press release (can’t link as I don’t have an online version)
As the largest player in the industry, it is our utmost responsibility to add colour to create vibrant and happy environment in India. In the tenure of the association with St-Art foundation for the last two years in Mumbai and Delhi, we have worked on various street art projects across the two cities with a mutual hope to bring art to public. We support the foundation and the artists with every requirement possible. We are extremely proud to be associated with this initiative. We believe this will bring great change and will transform the cityscape drastically with the invincible power of art.
While I was walking out a student gave me a marker and asked me to write something on the wall! I happily did. I actually want to go back to WIP Show at ICD Concor with Chhavi so that she could enjoy it too!
We actually devoted a wall at the back of our home for art after I came back. And for the first time in my life I really enjoyed picking up a brush along with Chhavi!
The sleek phone you see in the picture above is of OPPO F1 and they call it the selfie expert. But if you would ask me it is much more than that! I went to the launch event of the Selfie Expert OPPO F1- Bright and Beautiful. I was given the phone at the launch on a returnable basis.
The launch was held at JW Marriott Sahar, Mumbai. OPPO F1 #SelfieExpert is a mid range camera phone priced at Rupees 15,990. I shared the launch with about 200 fellow bloggers! However what makes me happy is that I am not the only one who thinks that after voice, camera is the most important feature in a cell phone now. Quoting from OPPO F1 press release:
Signifying the growing importance of mobile photography globally, OPPO Mobiles, a leading global technology brand, is targeting for a year of rising in India. The strategies include emphasizing its continuous focus on mobile photography via “OPPO Camera Phone”, and the launch of the “Selfie Expert” F1 priced at Rs. 15,990.
And I thought I was the only nut who thought camera was the most important thing after being able to make a call!
The main camera is 13 MP and the selfie camera is 8 MP. The main camera supports HDR and Ultra HDR. However, a little later in the post, I will let the pictures speak!
The phone has a 3 GB RAM and it is an android phone. If you need more specifications, please visit the product page.
Now let me talk about the camera of the camera phone through the pictures I clicked with OPPO F1.
My kid developed a strong allergy to SLR for getting her pictures clicked! She likes to click pictures with the SLR though! However I have noticed recently that she is not as allergic to cell phones! She happily posed with her doll here. The front camera comes with ‘Beautify’ feature for selfies.
I met this young student at an art event, we started chatting and then took a picture together! He handled the camera as a pro, never asked me once for anything while using my phone!
I have often felt that the kind of details my SLR captures, the cell phones can’t. I am not so sure any longer. Don’t get me wrong I won’t trade my SLR anytime soon, but you know how clumsy it is to lug it around everywhere. With OPPO F1 I dared to shot two events exclusively with the cell phone and left my SLR behind.
As I do not click a lot of selfies I was quite keen to try the main camera and I am actually quite happy with the results! I clicked a lot of HDR and Ultra HDR shots, it is easy to get those settings on the camera.
While most of the pictures I clicked were in the bright light, this one certainly was not. The lobby was pleasantly lit. But the camera still gave me a good picture!
I have been quite happy to click with #OPPOF1, I would have actually liked to use it longer, but I got to use the phone on a returnable basis! I was informed by the company that #F1HotSale is going to start from 4th to 6th Feb where celebrities will visit the stores.
For me OPPO F1 will always have fond memories as Chhavi happily posed for most of the pictures! I certainly like the camera of the OPPO F1 phone, the main camera as much as the selfie cam. But in the end the pictures probably speak better than my words?
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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