Sunday, 29 June 2014

Baggout, A Portal For Shopaholics!

May 2014

It was the tenth wedding anniversary for Rachel and Ross but their daughter Emma was already thirteen years old. :P. The family of three decided to go on a tour of India with their four close friends for a month long vacation. India was on their bucket list and now that the “friends” were in their forties, they sure didn’t want to miss a timely chance. It so happened that each one of them had a window of time in their calendar that one could think it was fate’s work. 

They had planned to go to a number of places such as Goa, Delhi, Agra, Kolkata ending in Darjeeling going in a west-east direction. But they were in for a brutal shock. Although they did know that the climatic conditions in the Indian Sub-continent were relatively hot and/or humid overall, they weren’t prepared for the scorching heat of May. Their clothes added to the burden. The one thing that was of some ‘respite’ was the affordability. Everything in India was affordable, atleast for them. They had managed to obtain decent accommodation at decent prices. The Indian cuisine was confusing for them, since it was different in each city. The experience was both irritating and wonderful. Luckily, the guide who was accompanying them to each place, came to the rescue. He had noticed the foreigners suffering from redness in various parts of the skin due to the sultry climate. Their clothing was totally unsuitable for Indian conditions. And by the way they were showing faces of disgust and irritation, he was quite sure that they would be unwilling to shop in the intensely populated bazaars of Delhi! 

That was when the guide struck upon a 'light bulb'. His wife had recently brought several articles such as clothing, kitchenware, bedsheets, curtains and bedsheets at excellent deals thanks to Baggout that also has a Facebook page. He suggested the same to the foreigners. When they navigated through the website they were truly amazed, aswestruck by the plenty super deals. Especially Rachel who was a shopaholic spent long hours on the website. She meticulously selected light coloured clothes with sunglasses and hats for each one of them. 

She noticed that the e-commerce site was very fluid; selecting products was very easy; basically it sorted different items with the lowest prices; each product has a short description that can be shared in social media such as Facebook etc; there were sections for Men, Women and there was a 'Trending' tab too, which listed the popular products. There was also a separate page exclusively consisting of Hot Deals from various E-Vendors, such as Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra, Homeshop18, Ebay, Amazon and many more. Rachel noticed that one could create a BaggOut account, shop from any of the above the sellers and get some Cashback into the account. Ofcourse, the aforementioned point did really apply for her, as she was here just for a tour. Nevertheless the concept was interesting. 

They got their ordered products on time without any hassles. The clothes were really pleasant to wear for the horrible climate. The sunglasses and hats further amplified the coolness. The rest of the tour was splendid; they saw the magnificent Taj Mahal for the first time - it was indeed a wonder in white. If it wasn't for BaggOut, their tour would have been a disaster!

This was written for a contest sponsored by Baggout - <link>

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Jewel of God's Own Country!

With the dog days of summer coming to an end, my holidays are also going to get over in a week's time. The two and a half month break is the longest I have ever got. And I do feel irritated that it had already come to an end and the fact I have college from the next week. This post comes after a gap of more than a month, truly uncharacteristic of this blog, thanks to my laziness and a possibility of writer's block maybe.

Although this summer was not that enjoyable, what with the inconsistent preparation for entrance examinations and campus placements, it was indeed a memorable one since I got to vote for the first time. It is nice to be treated as an adult. And then there was the IPL, which was not exactly a heartbreak for me.
Come on, CSK did win twice! :P   So it would be a monotony if it kept on winning. Hahaha  ;)  Sure, I can't tell the same thing again, but it does provide some sort of consolation. . .Kudos to the KKR team for winning the second time after a well-fought chase. The comeback was really mind-blowing.

This leads to my present post. Alleppey (Allapuzha) is truly the jewel of Kerala. I wish I could have stayed for more than 4 days at the resort alongside the huge Vembanad lake. It all happened so fast. We came across an attractive package offered by Lemontree Hotels inclusive of some special deals and voila! We booked and it was a pleasant surprise when my brother joined us the next day from the nearby town of Malapuram, wherein he was posted for a job.

Two words I would like to exclaim when I talk about Kerala are: 'GREEN' and 'WATER'.

The Lemon Tree Resort (backside) - (I)
Atleast from where I come from, this sudden, beautiful change of terrain, came as a huge exclamation.

Damn the Western Ghats! If they had only been a little lower in height!

 I won't deny I did feel envious on seeing the unbelievable amount of water resources. 'Water is omnipresent in kerala' -  is not a wrong exaggeration. The landing of the aeroplane in Kochi airport was beautiful. When I looked down from the window, it was like an ideal, painted and customised map - a green expanse with blue curves twisting.

If Kochi is X times beautiful, Alleppey (78 Kms from Kochi) is like 3X times more beautiful.

Primeval. . .Pristine. . .Paradise. . .Lush. . .Luscious. . .Lasting.

The Vembanad lake is the biggest in Kerala. The room we stayed had a 150 degree view of the lake. The atmosphere here was too calm that it felt creepy for me.                                                


Partial view of the lake with a
houseboat in the BG
 that belongs to the resort - (I)

The houseboat in close-

A panorama of the full lake from our room.
(Is this how a panorama looks? Don't know why it curves inward, tried
several times)

The Resort (backside) itself from the lake

Sunrise was exceptionally beauitful. As I said, a painted canvas

The second day we went to the Alleppey town (Resort is 18 km from main town) and visited a few temples, which looked very different than those in Tamil Nadu.

A Murugan temple with typical kerala red-roof arch - (I)
A cute wooden miniature hanging houseboat

In the middle of the lake, facing opposite our resort, there is a lone island


See that black landmass in the distance? We were taken there in a boat ride (one of the deals in the package). That island's name is Pathiramanal. There was nothing special in this island, except for a dilapidated shack of sort.

Dilapidated shack kind of thing
Name board - (I)

Actually we went on two boat rides, once through the resort's deal and the other time we paid for a very worthy two hour ride in a comfy boat that cruises in the backwaters of Alleppey. This was the more fun part. We got to see the calm lakeside (or backwater? - there is so much water that it is hard to distinguish) life lead by the people. Below are some scenes depicting from various instances of the boat ride. We stopped midway for a tender coconut drink. We saw numerous ayurvedic centers along the backwaters. There were unimaginable numbers of houseboats plying the waters.

All of the below pictures were taken from inside the boat

A plethora of boathouses with
Hotel Ramada in the distance - (I)

A stationed boat

A small, narrow boat

A houseboat in the making, I suppose

A houseboat in a routine ride

My favourite - a coconut tree jutting
 into the air magnificently - (I)

Women at work - (I)

The people use this water for all purposes. They use it to wash clothes and themselves and for drinking. It is indeed a fresh water source, so no wonder. 

With this, I end the post, saving the worst for the last. The only thing which disappointed us was Keralan food. Everything about Kerala fascinated us except for the food. It is hard to believe how the cuisine in Kerala, a 'neighbouring state' of Tamil Nadu, is unbearable. You'd think it could resemble in some way or the other! We managed with parottas and bread. However the complimentary breakfast of the resort was worth.

We did not return home before buying the famous Kerala banana chips, spices for our relatives!


The pictures with (I) in the end are Instragrammed pictures, thus the extra saturation and colours.
All the pictures are captured by the author!      



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