Sunday, October 13, 2013

Adlabs iMagica - a review

The two words I have for Adlabs iMagica, the theme park near Khopoli, are - ‘Distinctly Indian’; and I mean it in a good way.
Every ride/attraction at iMagica, I have seen before at one theme park or the other. But never before have I seen it with a beautiful Indian touch. Mr. India reminded me of The Simpson’s ride (Universal) but the fact that we were helping Mr. India fight evil Mogambo made it so much more appealing. If Soarin (Epcot) made me proud to be associated with California, ‘I for India’ based on the same lines, gave me a bird’s eye view of My India. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari it covered the beauty of my country, making me so proud I had goose bumps at the end of the show. The ‘Wrath of Gods’ reminded me of ‘Songs of the Sea’ (Sentosa) – the elements of nature working in harmony – this depicted in a mesmerizing show with water jets and pyrotechnics.  Rajasaurus is Jurrasic Park (Universal) in Hindi. Then there were the usual roller coaster rides with Nitro being the scariest of all; it made me scream even when I watched it from a distance.  For the real dare devils the Scream Machine is a must-do. There are many rides for the little ones too – like the favorite ‘Dumbo the elephant’ - they call him Tubby here.  But I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘paisa vasool’ experience for them. Also some of the rides can make you pretty wet, so pack some extra clothes if you don’t want to stay wet for long.
The Park:
It wasn’t just the rides; the entire park had so much to offer. The location of the park was breath taking, a vast open area with the Sahyadri’s in the back drop. The landscaping in the park was also lovely – a lake with artificial lotuses, bridges built over them, water jets for the soak-enthusiasts,  Alladin’s city, a castle that resembled Cinderella’s castle, a dash of the Wild wild west, simple rustic huts in the Africana region –all spotlessly clean! And here’s where it passed the real test - plenty of restrooms and all pretty clean.  Also found in every nook and corner, souvenir shops that sold everything from fridge magnets to soft toys.
Wait times:
There’s something else I cannot help but compare with theme parks around the world.  I have stood for almost 2 hours for a ride in Universal. Here, it might be due to the fact that we went on a Friday or due to the fact that the foot fall is still low, there was no wait time at all. In fact for some rides we had to wait because the minimum requirement was not being met. J Now that’s a first time experience in India! I have heard weekends are slightly busier with wait times up to 15 minutes, but don’t bother to pay more for the Express Pass (front of line pass to escape the lines).
Nothing can give you more content than a cup of Masala Chai on a rain soaked evening in a theme park. You will realize the significance of this if you have had to manage elsewhere with dark coffee that’s turned cold after, in an attempt to make it potable, you’ve poured huge portions of creamers! The food court had a variety of choices, even a special Jain Thali. The American Diner had everything to satiate your International taste buds. And then there was the usual sandwich, salad place too. Note, as expected, you cannot carry any food items inside the park.
Keeping in mind that rain could be a frequent visitor, the park provides big umbrellas for free use in the park. Use it while you want it; keep it in one of the umbrella bins available near every attraction when you are done. Helpful park representatives are also available around every corner to provide all the information we need.
The future:

All in all it was a fun experience for the entire family. Glad something like this came up close to Mumbai and Pune. I hope that Adlabs keeps up with the standard that they have started off with. They are working on more attractions and I heard from one park member that a water park is also coming up next to it.  Grab your tickets before the crowds gather and the ticket prices rise. Just remember to bring an open mind; I promise you’ll leave with aching legs and a full heart.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

7 reasons why I can feel my 7 year old is no longer 7

1.  She no longer whines and wins, she argues and wins.
2. She thinks all boys including her brother but excluding her dad, grandads, Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir Kapoor are STUPID.
3.  She thinks Disney princess and Barbie Tees are childish. But she's still not gotten any interest in the Hannah Montanas or Justine Biebers
4.  When she sings Gangnam style she lowers her voice between the words 'Hey' and 'lady', almost muting the S word. she then tells me she thinks this is a 'cheap' song.
5. She has a pair of high heel shoes in which she walks comfortably.
6. She watches the  'Sound of music' with me and enjoys it. And then we sing 'raindrops on roses' together.
7. When I am driving her to school, she turns off the radio and says, "mumma let's do some gappa-tappa (chatting) ". 

Happy 8th birthday daughter-turning-dear-friend Tanisha.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Pole Star

I’m angry, I’m upset. I want my ‘adhalpad’ (Like Druv, the Pole Star’s, ‘Permanent and indispensable position’ in the sky). I feel like the unfortunate fool who stood near the door in a busy Mumbai local train, being pushed out onto the platform when it wasn’t his destination yet. “Stop, wait, I don’t want to get down here,” he said, but no one heard. So he took the next train. “This time, I’ll go and stand safe at the other end,” he thought.  Little did he know that at the next station, the platform was on his side. And fate was not. He was at the door again, resisting the force that heartlessly pushed him down. The force was stronger and he had arrived - at the wrong place again.  He was a hopeless optimist though. “This is not such a bad place, you know. You could stay here,” said a stranger on the platform. But he just smiled and walked away. He did not want to be there. He wanted to get back on the train; some train. But there was no train. He ran from one platform to the other but there was none. And then just when he was about to give up, one came along. This was his chance to get back to where he wanted to go - his final chance. He didn’t look twice. Like Incy Wincy he climbed inside again. He stood in the middle this time. He looked at the others sitting way inside – playing cards, laughing, reading newspapers, pompous in the seats they had reserved for themselves after years of travelling. He was envious. “I will be there one day,” he dreamt. But something felt wrong. He looked outside. Something was definitely wrong. He looked out again and realized he had boarded the wrong train and was going in the opposite direction. In a few minutes he we would be back on the same platform from where he had started.  He didn’t like it. Who would? But he had no choice. He had to get down.  

One time he had been a novice, one time unfortunate, one time anxious. But what he had always been was an optimist, a smiling one. And that would never change.  And he knew what he wanted was just around the corner. He just didn’t know how far ahead the next cross street would be.  

Well, my story is different. I am glad I didn’t have to sweat my day travelling on a hot day in a crowded train. My day has been more pleasant, more memorable. And for that I thank Him.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Random thoughts on a spring cleaning day.

I was cleaning up my kids’ wardrobe; segregating their clothes - winter clothes, Goodwill clothes, play clothes - when I started observing.

  • Only about 40% of clothes had been utilized a 100%. No surprises that these were the ones that were easy to iron or needed no ironing at all. And they were all dark in color. 
  • Also ironically, the least utilized ones were the ones that looked really good on them.  These were the save-it-for-special-occasions clothes that had eventually ended up in the uselessly-outgrown stack. 
  • The hand-me-down pile going out of the house was really small. Most of my boy’s old jeans were ripped near the knees. Most of my girl’s jeans, though 3 sizes smaller now, she still wore – as Capris.  Talk about forever size zero!
  • The girl’s side of the wardrobe had encroached onto the boy’s. (Who hasn't gone to get a blue shirt for their son and bought three new dresses for their daughter along with it?) 
  • For the girl, the intersection set of the clothes that I liked and approved of and the clothes that she liked and wanted to wear seemed very small.  And this set was getting smaller, I noticed, with each passing year. 
  • And weren't they potty trained now? Did they really need that many under wear? 
  • And what a hopeless optimistic I am, keeping all those solitary socks!

Spring time is good. It makes me clean up the space and get rid of the things I no longer need. I wish I could do that exercise for my mental space. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Men, men, men, men

Valentine’s Day, Mother’s day, Women’s day - men and women are pouring their hearts out on how great being a woman is. Unfortunately for men, there is no such day. Here on Women’s day I pen six reasons why I feel sorry for men. My women friends would agree and say “I know”. My men friends would say “So?” (They wouldn’t really care).
1. No one talks about how great they are, how wonderful they are. No man ever inspired a poet. Even the lyricist of a sitcom who had two and a half men to write about could come up with nothing more than just “Men men men men, manly men men men” .. repeated 5 times. What’s more to write?
2. Men are always under social pressure. They can’t cry their hearts out, they can’t ride a Scooty Pep, they can’t wear baby pink. 
3. They can’t be scared of spiders or roller coasters.
4. They can’t eat a bucket of ice cream or shop till they drop and feel better.
5. They can’t be a ‘mom’. 
6. They can’t say “It hasn’t turned out like mom’s” and still get another serving.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Vegas memoranadum

When my husband planned to go on a all-guys trip to Vegas this is what he had to sign- 

1. iPhone should be switched on and in your pocket at all times. The ‘Where am I’ app should be active at all times.
2. What happens in Vegas cannot stay in Vegas. A complete account in direct narration or video recording format must become available on arrival.
3. Though 5 shots of tequila may make you think otherwise, remember and act your real age.
4. Know when to stop – drinking. And otherwise too.
5. Always remember there’s a wife at home who loves you more than anything else in the world. Ok, cut the crap. Always remember there’s a wife at home taking care of the children - children who are capable of driving her crazy to the limit that she is capable of murder – your murder!
6. Remember that all your credit card transactions will be monitored. So don’t act smart!
7. This home is run using uncountable coupons, deals and trips to the Dollar store. So remember that the money in your pocket is not for squandering at casinos. $20 gambling limit applies.
8. That said, I definitely encourage you to enjoy your stay in Vegas. Recommended attractions – Fountains at Bellagio, M&M world, Eiffel Tower experience at Paris.

Please sign the bottom (that’s the only one you promise to see) and return –


Friday, January 18, 2013

The Chess Mess

I thank my kids for bringing to life the otherwise boring game of chess. I have never been a chess fan; I don’t think I can do both- think and keep quiet- for minutes together. My little one had already ‘learnt’ how to play, thanks to an eBook on the iPad.  Two weeks back at a store when he forced me to buy the game I was terrified that I would now have to play. But this is when going through 2 labors pays off. Having 2 kids who can now play with each other is a big advantage when you want to escape the scene. I convinced my elder one that Chess was a wonderful game and soon she was on board.  Since then playing chess has become their favorite pass time and watching them play, mine.

This is how the game looks like (Mr. V. Anand please do not read).
  • The game starts with a mini fight on who gets White and who gets Black. Tanisha acts the big sis in most cases and accepts Black. 
  • Kapil starts aggressively with all his pawns charging forward as if they were all Sunny Paajis from ‘Border’. There is no strategy, just ‘Attack’. 
  • He then tries to coax his sister to bring a piece to a desired square. “Please bring the queen here. I promise I won’t kill.” He looks at me and gives an evil wink. 
  • He gets immense pleasure toppling the opponent’s piece. When he gets a chance, the poor piece is knocked off, in style with a ‘Tok’ or “Tadyaaa” sound effect. This most often also displaces at least 4-6 other pieces from the board resulting in another mini fight regarding what was where. 
  • Tanisha is more caring, she feels sorry when Kapil places his piece in danger. Whenever he makes a dumb move, Tanu confirms “Seriously?”, “Are you sure?” But don’t go by the sweet looks. Sometimes she also takes advantage of this to avoid the perils of a smart move. The moment she asks “Seriously?”,  Kapil becomes nervous – starts looking everywhere with a Joey face (Friends) and pleads for an answer “Where?”, “What?” , “Tell me.” 
  • Kapil’s knights are as confused as he is. They know they need to go in a ‘L’ but sometimes it’s a short L, sometimes it’s a long. He prefers to move them only after all other pieces have been lost. 
  • While the pieces kill each other recklessly, the kings are completely ignored. It amuses me to see the king go in check, come out of check multiple times in a game without the knowledge of any player. Then sometimes Tanisha has a Eureka moment when she realizes Kapil's king has been lonely and unprotected all the while and puts the 'check'.
  • Generally however the game ends in a stale mate since while trying to kill each other’s pieces the kings are the only two pieces left.
I know you’ll say this is not how you play the game. Where’s the strategy, the rules, the intelligence, the diplomacy? I don’t think that’s necessary – yet. If not now, when else can they play innocently like children, without the rules, without having to worry of the consequences?  This is not life. This is their childhood. They are having fun and that's all that matters. Don't believe me ? Take a look (