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Monday, 26 September 2016

What Women Want from their Cars

I've been driving my car for quite a few years now and I confess, I am totally addicted to driving and really fond of my car. But often I wish my car could have something more! And so, after all these years of being behind the wheel, I finally decided to make a list of 'What Women Want from their Cars' 

I haven't done any statistical survey but I am sure the urban Indian roads have a decent percentage of female drivers at the helm.

But have car manufacturers even considered this percentage of their clientele? I don't think so! 
After all, the automobile sector is a male-dominated one, both from the manufacturing and consumer angle.

The two-wheeler, low cc bikes/scooters/scootys till date have been what a woman could aspire for as her own mode of transport. These have been tweaked around in terms of color, push-button start, under-seat storage etc, dished out and endorsed as ideal female-travel modes by Anushkas and Priyankas!

With improved standards of living, easy car-loans, affordable EMI's, poor public transport and heavy monsoons, we are seeing an increasing number of households with more than one four-wheeler. 
It is not uncommon to see homes with a sedan for the 'sir' and a convenient hatchback for the 'madam'.

Let's consider the profile of a lady car-owner-driver.

The lady may be a working professional, having finally decided to go in for her own transport after a hefty bonus from office, tempts her. Wonder why? After years of being relentlessly thrown about in auto-rickshaws or scootys on pot-holed roads, shoved and trampled upon in the local trains, groped and suffocated in buses, she feels it is high time! She knows she's in for harrowing traffic snarls, unruly and rude co-drivers who will wait for the chance to make fun of her driving skills, but still it will be an improvement from the existing scenario.

On the other hand you have a lady home-maker, handed down the Mr's old one, just because the second-hand car rates are a joke. Of course, she is eligible for a new car but always a smaller one.....one must consider those weekend family trips through heavy traffic for easy navigation and parking; obviously the Mr's big sedan cannot be dragged out for such occasions! 
The lady at home is practically a chauffeur on call, all through the day! Dropping and picking up kids to and fro, to school, extra-classes, shopping.....she does it all with help from her trusty four-wheeler!

So whatever the profile, the working lady or the home-maker, they both have a daunting task ahead, since they have decided to be on their own four wheels!

So what exactly do women want from their four-wheeler?

Well, besides better comfort and back support in the seating, here are some aspects we'd like to have worked upon in our cars!

1) For Ladies' sake, please do not make the seat-belts so skin-biting!

Ladies, I am sure you have experienced repeatedly adjusting your upper clothing, saree or duppatta to protect your exposed skin below the neck, from the rough abrasion of tight seat-belts! We know seat-belts are for safety, but they don't need to dig into our skin to do that!
Men wear high collared shirts/T-shirts so they don't know what we are talking about!

Car-makers take a note: Seat-belts to have a more plush and softer texture for ladies.

2) We need separate, nifty storage spaces to keep our numerous paraphernalia, that are within handy reach.

In addition to water bottles and lunch boxes that end up getting dumped on the back seat, we carry essentials such as hand-bags, purses, goggles, vanity pouches and perfumes for last minute touch-ups! Can we have a secret compartment to store all these must-have emergencies? Not to forget that secret stash of candies and treats to munch secretly on the go! 
NO, not the dashboard locker - that's for car papers and stuff!

Men, I know what your paraphernalia includes...your laptop and mobile!

3) We don't want larger rear-view mirrors for vanity-sake, no, no that would only distract! But how about a pull-out mirror from the car-roof, just above the driver's seat, replete with lights? We wouldn't mind that!

4) Can we have more sophisticated car colors or how about custom colors? Not the cliché pink or the canary yellow please! 
And what if we had a say on car interior colors?

5) Factory-made upholstery works best and cheap we know, but can we have upholstery that caters to our personality and requirement? No, no we don't mean pretty flowers and polka dots, though some of us may be partial to them! How about upholstery that is stain and moisture proof? We do ferry pissing and puking babies or soft drink guzzling, fast-food grubbing teens around!

6) How about a pull out trolley system in the dicky/trunk/boot that operates with a push button? And of course we would appreciate larger boot-spaces!
Wouldn't it be a blessing to load your groceries and shopping into a waiting pull-out trolley/drawer instead of leaning into the boot, especially when you are straddling your cranky baby along with a bunch of shopping bags?

7) Mandatory automation, child-proofing, navigation, parking assistance and fuel alert in all female-driven cars.
Yes, we admit, some of us find it difficult to navigate with pesky kids, parallel-park into tight parking niches, repeatedly change gears in heavy traffic and sometimes we are just too harried to tank up...so help us get better! 
We like all things faithful, so how about a voice recognition in the car music system?
So when I say PLAY, it plays my favorite track-list! The music HUSHes as the baby is off to sleep and when I want to take a call, I call out MUTE!

8) More than higher CC's and torques we want better suspension deals!  
Some of us are pregnant, some of us have jerk-sensitive sleeping children and at times we are chauffeuring bladder incontinent aged ones, so pay heed to this need and make us cars that cushion our bumpy rides!

9) We would like to have good safety features, maybe one touch locking, burglar alarm, SOS to police help-line - features that make us feel safer in our cars especially while driving alone.

10) What with so much air pollution, the air inside a car has an excess of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and do-not-know-what oxides that are suffocating us and the precious tiny cargo we ferry! Indoor air purifiers, ozonizers or car air purifiers -We.Want.Them pronto! 

11) And if I know anything about business, I am sure car-makers are probably going to jack-up the prices for a ladies-special version!  
Well, we demand you throw in UV-protected window and windscreen glass!

Actually now that I have started listing, I am getting more and more brainwaves on what I want from my car! But I am stalling the list here for now ;)

Okay car-makers, I am handing you this list of what women want in cars, right on a platter! 
Some of the aspirations may seem a trifle overboard, but then consumer is queen!
If you're trying to carve a niche in this segment, which I personally think would be really profitable, you've got all the ground material you need to make a Women's Special Limited Edition Series!

So ladies, hopefully this Karva Chauth, and if not now wouldn't you feel super pumped if you received your own Women's special car as a gift for Diwali or the next Karva Chauth perhaps?! 

Dear Ladies and also Gentlemen, please feel free to drop in your comments and suggestions on What Women Want from their Cars.
Till later, adios :)

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This post has been published on Women's Web!

­­Copyright © 2016 KALA RAVI

Monday, 19 September 2016

#DIY Moroccan Wall Decor

Hello folks! I've always been intrigued and awed by beautiful Moroccan patterns and designs. I've wanted to have something in my home in my favorite Moroccan pattern forever! 
So I finally decided to give in to my whims and jumped into a,
DIY Moroccan Wall Decor project

My Moroccan patterned wall!

I'll take you through my journey step by step, so if you like what you see, you could DIY!

Okay, lets start at the very beginning, shall we?

I had this ramshackle old dresser that was in too much of a bad shape to be sold second hand/OLXed. Only the central mirror was of a good quality and I wished I could recycle it somewhere in my house.

The old dressing mirror
There was this wall next to my bathroom that was an eyesore after a poster on it got torn off. I had no plans of painting the wall anytime soon!

The damaged eyesore-wall

Both these separate agendas coupled, gave me an idea! 
I decided to decorate the damaged wall with my long-lusted Moroccan theme and launch the old mirror on this new wall! I hoped to cover the traces of the old adhesive and paint on the wall adequately with the artwork and the mirror respectively!

Pronto, I got the mirror removed from the dresser and fitted a bracket on the reverse at a glass shop so that it could hang freely on the wall.

Next came the design. I researched the net and came up with the pattern I liked, drew it on CAD and got four printouts of the same. I am sharing the print here, so you could use it directly if you want. 
The pattern "A" I made is  6" height and 5" width. When you place 2 units of "A", one over other, a central pattern "B" emerges, beautiful isn't it?!

Once you have the printouts, take a sharp pair of small scissors or a cutting blade and make your own stencils like this. I made 4 such stencils.

What comes next is probably the most boring and time consuming part of the whole deal -

Transferring the design onto the wall.
I used a wall tape to fix the stencil in position and laboriously started outlining them with a pencil on the wall. This is how it progressed....

Whew! I almost gave up on ever completing this, but I finally managed it! If you have better, less tedious ideas on transferring the design onto the wall, please do share them here!

Now time to get your hands, clothes and whatever else dirty....actually you could don an apron, now why didn't I think of that when I started the painting work?!

I used Fevicryl metallic gold and copper (it comes in powder form) in equal quantities and mixed it along with the Medium that comes with it. Make small batches, since the medium evaporates quickly. Take a good flat brush - I took a no.6, dip into your palette and have a ball!

 This is how I went about it, from top to bottom.

Painting the outlines in a coppery-golden
Progressing with the painting

I left out the spaces in the middle since they would anyway get covered up by the mirror.

Next comes, filling in the blanks! I found these delightful craft sheets online.

Or you could just use colorful paper, some pretty wrapping paper or some stuff from glossy magazines. You'll see by my choice of papers, I am partial to chintz patterns and English colors!

Again dig out the stencil and trace the patterns on the colored papers you want to use. 

Snip, snip, snip.....and snip some more, also very time consuming! As you can see, I cut equal number of pattern A and pattern B.
Well, I finally got it done!! It looked so pretty, I felt it was worth the effort!

Grab some fevicol or whatever good adhesive you have and transfer these cut-outs randomly into the golden outlines. Don't worry if the cut-out shapes are a tad big/small or irregular, the overall big picture turns out well, trust me! 
I tried to cover as much of the damaged wall portions with these cut-outs. I've left out a lot of spaces blank to give it a more lighter look and also to well, make things easier for myself ;)

And here you go...

More progress...

Now the mirror goes up, so I know exactly where not to waste my efforts! 

 Winding up the end with square mirror pieces

Aaaannnnd done!!

Now since I don't have an electrical point overhead, I decided to use my favorite fairy-lights alongside.....Ta-Da!!

The mandatory Before/After comparison!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and I also hope it inspires you to take up this idea and incorporate it in your home. 

Go get your own Moroccan Wall Decor, try other patterns, color combinations, I am sure they'll turn out really cool!
You could even use this idea in a smaller version, to make a collage that you could frame or as a journal cover! 

Do share your inputs and suggestions in the comments below.
Would love to hear!
Till later, keep decorating :)

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­­Copyright © 2016 KALA RAVI