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"To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

My little sweetheart #Bloglove

On this Valentine's Day we peeps of Blogchatter have decided to shower love on our dearest blogs with a day long chain of blog posts!
I take on the baton of Blog Love from Reema

Relax-N-Rave is a tiny toddler, a little over year old and I am amazed at how she's grown! It's a she of course, this little baby of of mine!

And like a proud mommy, I am watching her grow everyday. Every day is a revelation, every post awakened by a new stream of thoughts, every comment from a visitor is like a tonic boosting her morale! This little baby was conceived from fleeting dreams and a love for words. Her mumma is whimsical, switching genres with every post, but I think she likes it! Oh, yes...that's her punchline by the way - Always Expect the Unexpected at Relax-N-Rave! From a handful of posts, this little girl has come a long way with 125 posts and going strong!
Whoever said raising a child is no child's play was absolutely right! I understand how much time and dedication one needs to make a blog grow and so yes, I try my level best to nurture her with TLC and loads of time! 
I love my little girl and she is making me realize with every passing day, how much I am growing with her and how much I need her! When I see my thoughts echoed through her, I feel a quiet sense of accomplishment that my words are reaching out to so many people across the world, simply because of my little blog! 
Indeed 'Child is father of the man'! My little girl teaches me the virtues of patience, perseverance and sheer dedication. Unless I give her all that, she refuses to budge
She has also instilled in me a sense of gratitude and mutual love. Every time you visit her and drop encouraging comments, I feel invigorated and grateful for the thoughtfulness and that in turn makes me reciprocate the love! 
We are practically inseparable, I have to see her at all times and know how she's progressing. And like a truant little one my blog plays havoc with my time schedule, I never understand how time flies past when I am indulging her! 
At times when my mind is stuck and on a writing block, I just skim past older posts and comments, that are like memories of a my little blog taking her baby steps and I feel rejuvenated!
Many folks tell me to move my girl to a self-hosted site, but we, mum and daughter are still contemplating that....we are wary of new places, we are actually quite cozy in this little nest in cyberspace that we've built for ourselves! But only time will tell, as my girl grows bigger, I'll do what's best for her.  
I hope all of you, my dear, dear readers will continue to shower your love on my darling, your love makes Relax-N-Rave grow!
Stay blessed and loved, all you wonderful folk! 

I now pass on the baton of Blog Love to Vikram

Image source: Pixabay

­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Monday, 13 February 2017

Happy Times with #BergerXP Indiblogger meet

It was my first ever Indiblogger meet and I was thrilled to receive an invite to the #BergerXP Indiblogger meet at Taj Vivanta, Mumbai. I was looking forward to meet so many Mumbai bloggers, some whom I knew online through social media but had never actually met them! It was a pleasant surprise to see a couple of dear blogger friends who'd come to the event all the way from Pune, after all Indiblogger did mention a chance to meet bloggers within a 400km radius! 

We got our Indiblogger badges with our own twitter handles and registration was just a savvy QR code scan, cool!! 
We early birds got clicking selfies and groupies while the Indicrew recorded video bytes from the invitees. 

In due course the venue started filling up and we had a perfectly wonderful time welcoming known faces and getting acquainted with new ones. A buffet lunch was waiting for us and that done, we were ready for the action to begin.
Indiblogger host Anoop pepped up the atmosphere with his cheerful welcome and though the veteran bloggers promised to rag newbies, Anoop wasn't that mean; just a few new bloggers were invited to introduce themselves and speak about their blog. 

To get us warmed up we had a quirky version of musical chairs and I was one of the winners, yayy!

All through the day, umpteen gift vouchers were given by Berger Paints India for the best tweets, best pictures tweeted during the event tagging #BergerXP and I must tell you that sure motivated the bloggers to go trigger happy with their phones!

This was followed by a presentation by Mr Chandranath Banerjee, Services Head, Express Painting of Berger Paints on their newly launched Berger Express Painting service.

Being an Interior Designer, I was very keen to know more about the service. I must commend Berger Paints for their in-depth client research. Very rightly, they have analyzed the reasons why people shy away from regularly painting their homes. 
More than the monetary aspect
  • People are wary of the mess, the time spent and ultimately after enduring all that, they may not get the desired finish.
Berger Express Painting's service mantra is all about being:
Mr Banerjee explained the importance of having trained and skilled painters for the operation.
Berger Express Painting's USP is uplifting the traditional painting technique with some breakthrough tools that take the sweat and hustle out of painting. Berger Paints is in fact a pioneer in the country to launch this kind of a service.

The sanding machine with inbuilt vacuum function is one of the best innovations to cut down the dust and mess inevitable during the sanding process. Other tools include the multipurpose mixer for paint mixing, the fantastic airless paint sprayer, auto roller and high pressure washer. These gadgets will honestly be a boon to complete painting projects well before time, with less mess and with better precision and finish.These tools were all on display at the event.
Berger Paints assures you of the following: 

You could read more about it at Xpress Painting.

Following the very impressive and extempore presentation by Mr Banerjee, including a couple of videos showing the service in action, the floor was thrown open to a Q&A round. The questions were deftly and clearly answered. 

For instance I was keen to know,
1) Was Berger Paints conducting training workshops for painters and contractors regarding the new service and tools?
2) Could the tools be made available for hire?
I was informed that Berger was already covering this aspect by training small groups of painters city to city, reaching out to retail outlets and was finding good acceptance in the markets. Training centers across the country are also being set up. 
Also the tools are not too expensive, kind of like a one time investment that would help the contractor/painter break-even pretty soon; simply because by using these tools they would be able to save time and thereby labor costs - Labor costs comprise 50-60% of the overall estimate in traditional painting.

Berger's express painting service is just an SMS away: XP to 56767!
No mess, No fuss, On Time, Perfect Finish guaranteed! Awesome isn't it?
The Berger Paints website has some really smart painting help like Virtual Painter, Paint Calculator, Color Horoscope and lots more!

Well, after that eye-opening session it was time for some actual work!
Teams had to gear up to treat some prepared boards to some sandpaper action and boy did we kick up some dust in record time!! If a small board could generate this much dust, imagine how much dust would be generated while sanding the entire house!!
Paint doctors in action!
After this, it was time for some tea and refreshments. But no gain without pain...so we were busy plotting and planning for the next round! The Art Attack - painting contest!
Our team - Shade Yantra decided on the theme: The Spirit of Mumbai and we racked our brains for a creative take on the theme.

With ideas buzzing we were ready to take on the challenge, while Mr Banerjee explained how to mix/dilute the paints and stainers for our challenge.

And what happened next was the most fun I've had in a while! Getting my hands dirty and working in unison with my super team was so much fun!

Our team worked end to end, seamlessly and I am proud to say we created a fantastic kaleidoscope of the Spirit of Mumbai in just 35 minutes
All of us couldn't stop beaming ear-to-ear at our handiwork
The other teams had created awesome pictures too. 
It was soon time to present our painting and I think we did pretty good. 

At the end of presentation from all the teams, the winners were announced. 
It was also the end of a wonderful day and amidst much bonhomie and cheer we queued up for the groupie, hurr-hurring and waving with big smiles all the way!

The lovely hamper from Berger Paints was a kit comprising some wonderful catalogs, detailing all one needs to know about interior/exterior painting, color, texture schemes and more.
I left the venue bidding farewell to my blogger friends, happy to have struck many new friendships and reveling in the good time I'd had that day! 
Happy Times with Colors of Fun!!
A big thank you to Indiblogger team Anoop, Renie, Nihaal, Avantika and others and of course Berger Paints India for making this such a learning yet fun experience for all of us!
And now after that colorful experience, the walls of my home beckon my attention! 
I assure them of some Tender Loving Care and pampering as I've made up my mind to try out Berger Express Painting service for my home!

Image source: Self, Saumy Nagayach and Indiblogger

Product images and details: Berger Paints India media kit

I am happy to announce that the above blogpost won the blogging contest sponsored by BergerPaints and the prize was an Illusions special effects wall makeover!! Woohoo!
Here's my Illusions wall!! Aint't it wow?

­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Friday, 10 February 2017

To Gift or not to Gift

"Tis the wedding season,
And if you're a lucky one,
You get invited to more than one!" 
Nina hummed merrily.
"Can you believe it Nik? We have three wedding invitations! Jolly good I say!" Nina couldn't hide her glee! "You know Nik, I am partial to winter weddings as they let you deck and doll up in heavy wedding-worthy gear without breaking into a sweat. The same affair becomes a Herculean task to pull of in hot, humid summers. And Monsoon weddings? Spare me the horror!"
Nik was frowning while reading the invitations. He said,"So here we are, with three wedding invites, spread across our absolutely travel-nightmarish Mumbai city! Did you notice, the invitation cards are getting jazzier, heavier? I mean its like you've got to throw your weight around, starting from the invites! It's all good with this wedding frenzy but I do wish the invites wouldn't impose rules on Dress codes or Gifting or RSVP! And guess what? Our invites have all three impositions"
"I see what you're saying" Nina replied peering over Nik's shoulder.
"A formal dress code in this invite along with a No Gifts please
The next one vehemently says: No Gifts, not even Bouquets
While the third one says: Only Blessings, Reply with no. of persons attending. How do I know how many, the event's a month away! Thoughtful no doubt, but it does confuse people," Nik complained.
"Take me for instance, if the invite said, 'No Gifts', obviously I'd be delighted that I was to be spared the expense and time of seeking out the perfect gift. All I need to do: Toss on a clean shirt, attend the event, stuff myself at the buffet and have a good time, right?" Catching Nina's glare, he added,"And yeah, wish the couple of course!"
"Gosh Nik! Do you remember that wedding gift fiasco we had, long back? Seriously, how could we be so gauche?"

At their first ever, 'No Gifts' event, Nina and Nik are happily standing in the queue to wish the couple after indulging in the buffet fare.  
Aunty 1 (standing in front of Nina): The food was really below standard no?
Aunty 2 (with a snide smile): Hmm, what did you expect? It's a 'No Gifts' affair!
Aunty1: I hope the 'Return Gift' will be decent.
Aunty2: Or at least forward-worthy you mean!
And they set off cackling! 
Nina (noticing Aunty 1 & 2 flaunting envelopes with the one rupee thingy stuck on it): Excuse me aunty, didn't the invitation say 'No Gifts'?
Aunty 1: The invite said 'No Gifts', obviously they'll accept envelopes! They are giving 'Return Gifts' you know? You didn't bring an Envelope
The last line delivered in a loud stage whisper, makes everyone in the queue throw looks at Nina ranging from incredulity to shock at her audacity to land empty-handed at the function! Looking around frantically, she sees everyone in the line clutching onto 'The Envelope'.
Nina (urgently whispering to Nik): You got cash?
Nik (smiling triumphantly) : You bet! I have 200 Rs in 10's and 20's, easy for the parking fees you know!
Nina: Go run out to the ATM and get 1000 bucks, then go to the nearest stationery shop and buy a bloody gift envelope. And don't forget a pen, a tape and scissors!
Nik: But the invite said 'No Gifts'.
And Nina is stuck explaining to that irate, unreasonable, ill-informed man, the ingenuity of the invitation card and their own simple-mindedness! 

"After that episode, I have always been wary of seemingly pocket-friendly invites!" Nik chuckled.
"You know what Nik, I have an idea, actually it's Varun's idea. He adamantly dismissed my suggestion to add a 'No Gifts' clause to his last birthday party invitation. He simply asked me, "What is the fun of a birthday without gifts?" He went on to say, lets add 'Yes Gifts' to the invite!! The innocence and childish glee of receiving gifts! I quite agree! 
Any event hosted by us shall carry a no confusion clause: 'Yes to all Gifts'! What say?
Sophistication take a walk!"
"You could also add,'Wear what you want'," Nik supplied.
"Come on hurry up guys, let's deck up and carry all our gifting ammunition and march on to wedding no. 1!"

Nina's Guide on To Gift or not to Gift?
If the invite says: No Gifts
What it means: Envelopes with cash, vouchers accepted. Anything except gifts of your choice or forwarded gifts for that matter!

If the invite says: No Gifts Or Envelopes
What it means: Tricky isn't it? No fear, just carry bouquets; preferably without name tags! They won't matter; the family probably has tie-ups with some florists to whom they ship all the stuff!

If the invite says: No Gifts, No Envelopes, not even Bouquets
What it means: Trickier. With my past experiences interacting with ingenious wedding guests, I have a solution for that too! You slip 'The Envelope' surreptitiously to that 'mausiji' or 'mamaji' standing off-stage waiting to collect the goods, just ensure your 'With best compliments from...' is clearly legible!

If the invite says: Present by Blessings only
What it means: I took a while to figure that out! They just want you to convey your blessings via email, SMS, WhatsApp, whatever...you needn't land up in person!

Well, whatever the clause, be sure to carry all the gifting options on person or have 'em waiting in the safe custody of your vehicle. And keep a sharp eye open for the Return Gift counter will you or better still keep track of wedding savvy Auntyji's!
Nina's Fail-safe remedies to your No-Gifts wedding quandary!

Image source: Invitation cards

Read other stories from Nina's World:  

Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's  World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.
The author will not be held responsible for any untoward occurrences you may face after following the ideas suggested in this post!😜

­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI