Uncategorized

Roaming around Hyderabad with Ola Rental

My Ola Rental Cab!
My Ola Rental Cab!

Recently I made a trip to Hyderabad again and this time I took a couple of days to roam around the city solo. While I believe the best way to explore a place is by foot, when it comes to huge cities like Hyderabad that is not really possible. Destinations are far off and when I don’t really know a city that well, I prefer cabs. The thing with cabs though, is whenever I have booked all day cabs with local vendors, I have found them to be very expensive, in any city.

I had noticed #OlaRental on my Ola app before as I use the app daily to commute to work, but never really used it. Decided to use it during my trip to Hyderabad. The best part is that I was able to book the cab on an hourly basis and had a car at my disposal throughout my day.

Ola Rental is a great option for those days when you are out for hours and hours whether it is for meetings or shopping or sightseeing, like I did. My driver Shekar picked me up sharp on time and I headed to my first stop, Shilparamam.

Shilparamam is an arts and crafts village (something like Delhi haat) created with the objective of preserving traditional crafts. There are rural themed museums, sculptures, gardens, sketch artists, an amphitheatre and of course shopping.

Artisans from all over the country are here selling their artifacts in haat like stalls. You will find everything from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, literally! I spent about three hours walking around Shilparamam!

Shilparamam is situated in the buzzing IT area and the traffic gets crazy. Fortunately, I had my Ola Rental waiting for me! After exiting Shilparamam, I headed to my brother’s apartment to pick him up as we had plans for coffee and dinner. I had heard great things about The Roastery Coffee House in Banjara Hills and that is where we headed. I have a thing for cafes that are pretty, serve great coffee and have books, and that is exactly what Roastery is!

I was delighted! While the coffee is amazing, the desserts were incredible! Definitely going back there during the next visit.

After the lovely coffee and dessert, it was time for dinner. Bro and I had been craving sushi for a couple of days. We looked up a few places, and zeroed in on Hashi. Our Ola Rental guy Shekar quickly took us there as he swiftly yet safely navigated the crazy Hyderabad traffic. We ordered Salmon Nigiri and Tuna Maki. Both were oh so good!

And then after a fabulous day we headed home! The ability to keep changing destinations on your Ola app during the journey is such a time saver. No need to book cabs again and again throughout the day.

All in all, had a great day because I got the best car to travel thanks to OLA Rentals.   

With the mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
Travel

[PHOTO ESSAY] Lakes of Ladakh: Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri

A mystical lake, an animated sky.

A love undefined, and I watched time go by.

The way the sun shone on the water,

Making it sparkle like a thousand suns,

How I wish, your love shines on me above.

Just like this lake was once frozen and is now afloat,

Your love might just revive me, my love.

Neha Ramneek Kapoor

One of my favorite memories from the recent Ladakh road trip, is the visit to the breathtaking lakes.

Ladakh, the land of mountain passes. A cold desert surrounded by mountains. When one hears this description, one doesn’t really expect the area to have lakes. Well, Ladakh has quite a few! Tso Kar, Mirpal Tso, Chagar Tso, Kiagar Tso, Kyun Tso, and of course the famous Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. (The word Tso translates to “lake”).

I believe there are a few more, and I hope to spend some time on each of the lakes of Ladakh, but this post is about Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. These are the two lakes where we spent the most time at. We actually camped at both, and that was really fun! Especially Tso Moriri. Our tents were pretty unadorned and modest, and for me that’s the beauty of camping. Also it was really cold!

If you have been following my social media posts you’d have noticed that my recent Ladakh visit was a road trip with Scout My Trip, OYO and some fellow bloggers. After leaving from Delhi and eventually holding #HighestBloggerMeet at Khardung La, we headed to Pangong Tso from Hunder, and on this day the tone of the trip changed for me completely. On this day we crossed Chang La, which is one of the most difficult and hence thrilling mountain passes in the region. Crossing this pass while being in the Thar was quite an experience. The vehicle is perfect for offroading and that’s what this journey was! There are very few roads! In fact one of the SUVs in our caravan decided not to do this route because of the wear and tear the vehicle had already endured, and that was a great call taken by the Scout My Trip team. Throughout the trip they ensured that the safety of the group was paramount. Hats off to Vineet, Deepak and Dada. Unfortunately Vineet and Deepak had to miss Pangong. Hey V and D, hope the pictures make up for it!

The sheer beauty of Pangong Tso is that the lake changes colors as the sun changes its position. Hues of blue, green and aqua appear to dance on the surface of the water.

A view of the mighty mountains, lush green fields and deep blue water, is what Tso Moriri has to offer.

Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are paradise for anyone into birding. In fact I will soon be sharing more pictures of the birds Karan, a fellow blogger and traveler, spotted. He is so good at it! This post has one picture of the Bar Headed Geese, which is quite a rare sighting.

If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, make sure you visit both these lakes and if possible, more of them. It is quite an experience, and trust me the views are so breathtaking that they cannot be captured in pictures perfectly. You gotta see it to believe it. In the meantime, hope you enjoy these pictures.

xoxo

Neha

PS: Thank you Amit and Deepak for help with this post!

With the mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
With the mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
The mystical Pangong Tso, Ladakh
The mystical Pangong Tso, Ladakh
The magical blues of Pangong Lake
The magical blues of Pangong Lake
The mystical Pangong Tso
Aqua hues at Pangong Tso
Walking along the banks of Pangong Tso
Walking along the banks of Pangong Tso
The mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
The fierce Thar at Pangong Tso #LikeABoss
Cairns of stones, at Pangong Tso
Cairns of stones, at Pangong Tso. Previously used as signs and landmarks in unoccupied lands, locals say that they are also known to bring good luck for travelers.
A rare sighting: Bar Headed Geese at Pangong Ladakh.
A rare sighting: Bar Headed Geese at Pangong Ladakh
The mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
The savage Thar at Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso
A riot of blue at Pangong Tso, Ladakh
Chillin' like a bawse at Pangong
Chillin’ like a bawse at Pangong

 

Our camp at Tso Moriri
Our camp at Tso Moriri. It was so beautifully cold there!
Thar aka Thor chilling at Tso Moriri
Thar aka Thor chilling at Tso Moriri
Breathtaking views at Tso Moriri
Breathtaking views at Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri and the adjoining area is stunning
Tso Moriri and the adjoining area is stunning
A view of the snow capped mountains from Tso Moriri
A view of the snow capped mountains from Tso Moriri
The rugged Thar taking a much deserved halt at Tso Moriri
The rugged Thar taking a much deserved halt at Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri

 

For more, follow me on instagram, twitter and/or Facebook!

 

 

 

 

Entertainment, Uncategorized

The rise of VOD – and the top 3 shows I want to watch on OZEE

The far-reaching impact of the internet and innovations in computers paved the way for many cool things and one of the best ones is online VOD streaming. VOD entertainment is one of my favorite things about the internet, and also why I don’t own a television anymore. We live in an era of instant gratification. You know what I’m talking about. We like our relationships to begin with a right swipe, we like our noodles instant and we like our content available immediately on demand. One of the newest entrants in the ever growing VOD market is Ozee, Zee Network’s  OTT platform. Zindagi went digital since July 1, 2017 on OZEE and this has come as a fabulous news for content consumers like me who like to watch their favorite shows anytime, anywhere.

Here are some of the shows I am looking forward to watching on Ozee:

Kuzey Guney: The story of two brothers who are as different as chalk and cheese fall for the same girl. And then their lives take an unexpected turn. Looks really interesting! Looks like this one has romance, mystery and drama. Season 2 is currently running and season 1 is available on VOD. Time to binge watch!

Kuzey Guney

Total Dreamer: This show from Brazil is the story of a young girl who lives on the streets and suddenly finds the opportunity to follow her dreams. She runs into someone who offers her a dream career.  I love a good rags to riches story. Also, this one is also available  uncensored, which is always a plus.

Total Dreamer

Boys Over Flowers: I have always wanted to watch South Korean shows and this love story seems so intriguing! Jan Di, the female lead is someone who enters a new high school. How she responds to the other characters is what will make this so fun to watch. There’s also this notorious group of teenagers who kind of “rule” the high school. What fun!

Boys Over Flowers

Zee network has always brought us the best of international entertainment to us. And oh, who didn’t like looking at them beautiful faces on their channel Zindagi!

 

Media consumption is more and more happening in digital formats. The swift boost in the number of devices capable of supporting digital media along with the increasing internet speed has offered consumers an alternative to access the media content of choice.

Because of popular demand, Video on Demand services are all set to surpass TV viewership. The term “demand” is key, here. It illustrates a sense of urgency and want – an aversion to wait around for one’s favorite show to get on air. If we want to watch our show, we want to watch it now. And that is why online media consumption has witnessed extraordinary expansion over the last few years. Each year, an increasing number of viewers are letting go of expensive TV subscriptions and choosing subscription based VOD services instead.

And why not? Here are a few reasons why I prefer consuming my entertainment online on VOD rather than a television set.

  • Anytime, anywhere: The best thing about Video On Demand, is exactly what the name says. I can watch my favorite shows and programs, on demand, on my terms, at any time and at any place.
  • Binge watching: I am a binge watcher and love to watch tv shows episode after episode, instead of waiting for a day or sometimes even a week for the next episode. No need to break the storyline in your head!
  • No breaks between shows: Often, television shows have a commercial break every 5 minutes. While the internet has ads as well, the commercial breaks are either absent or not that many. And of course, one can get an ad free subscription.

For these reasons and more, it is not surprising that Zindagi has now gone completely digital and the shows are now available on their OTT platform Ozee. This move was made with the intent to develop digital engagement with audiences who love time-shifted viewing.

PS: This is a sponsored post.

Zindagi

Khardung La
Travel

#HighestBloggerMeet at Khardung La, with OYO and Scout My Trip

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from the affable Vineet of Scout My Trip, knocking my socks off by telling me that I am going to be a part of the First Ever Blogger Meet being held at Khardung La, and the Highest Blogger Meet in India. At an elevation of 18380 feet above sea level. The highest motorable road in the world. Woot! I could not have asked for more as I had always wanted to visit Ladakh and being a road trip buff, I jumped on this opportunity.

Our journey began on 11 July and lasted 12 days, the details of which cannot be contained in one blog post. Brace yourself for more! These 12 days have been life changing, as I met some wonderful people who are going to be an inseparable part of my life from now on. And moreover, there’s just something about the mountains. You come back transformed, every time.

The highlight of the trip was of course Khardung La, where history was created as we all collectively made not one but two records. Steering through tough terrains, braving the cold, getting over tire punctures, reveling in the beautiful views and laughing through it all, we made it to Khardung La on 16 July. It was as remarkable as we expected. Blankets of snow on the mighty mountains, cold winds and the thrill of being there.

Khardung La, Ladakh
Khardung La, Ladakh

The cherry on top of the snowy cake was the announcement made by OYO about #OYOnauts. It is a huge step forward for the travel community. What us travelers really cherish, are stories. OYOnauts is providing a platform where travelers, photographers, writers and bloggers can share their travel stories and bag all expenses paid trips. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It is! Go check it out.

IMG_1908-3
#HighestBloggerMeet at Khardung La. Pic courtesy OYO.

After touching the highest point of Khardung La top, we gathered at Tsolding Buddha Park, a pristine little area with a small water body. Almost 30 of us sat there for 2 hours, relished our Maggi and had brilliant conversations! I have to say, this bit wasn’t easy. Oxygen was scarce and the weather kept changing from really cold to really sunny. Records don’t come easy!

#HighestBloggerMeet
#HighestBloggerMeet. Pic Courtesy OYO.

While making the records was such a thrill, the best part about the trip was the people. The immensely talented bloggers, and the gifted scouts. It was an honor being a part of this with them. I will need another blog post to talk about the bloggers, but here’s a quick thank you to the scouts. Because this feat of #HighestBloggerMeet would not have been possible without them.

Scout My Trip
L to R: Pratik, Dr. Amit, Dr. Shakeel, Samarth, Neeraj.
#highestbloggermeet
All smiles after making two records. Pic by Raza.

Vineet, Co-Founder, CMO, ScoutMyTrip. And the literal glue of the group! Sab saath me chalenge!

Deepak, Co-Founder, CEO, ScoutMyTrip. Such swag much wow. PS I like the beard.

Neeraj aka Yayawar aka Dada. The encyclopedia of the mountains! 

Samarth. Fellow retro music buff. Fab dancer. Life of the party. Cheers for the good times!

Dr Amit Nikam. Rescue team leader. Friend for life. #hippiecar core team member. More on that later.

Dr Shakeel Khan. Scientist. XUV lover. Faster than F1 racers. We would still be revving our engines when Shakeel bhai would reach the destination.

Pratik aka Nano Seth. Cutest and funniest. Kaafi nakhre and kaafi swag.

I am getting all senti now so will continue in the next blog post. Missing these people and the mountains. Seems like I left a part of me there itself.

Adios.

Khardung La
Happy happy at Khardung La

 

 

Events, Food and Beverage, Uncategorized

The New Quaker Oats + Milk. Launch Update, First Impressions And Review

If you have been following me for a while on my instagram and snapchat, you would be aware that I am a big fan of finding alternatives for a fit lifestyle, and especially alternatives that fit perfectly in a fast, busy life. I recently posted an oatmeal pancake recipe (which I LOVE) on my instagram so I am clearly a fan of oats.

Serving up something for the busy bee who still wants nutritious alternatives, Pepsico India recently launched the Quaker Oats + Milk, co-created with the God of Cricket Sachin Tendulkar. Sachiiiin Sachin!

Sachin Tendulkar at the Quaker Oats + Milk Launch
Sachin Tendulkar at the Quaker Oats + Milk Launch
Sachin Tendulkar at the Quaker Oats + Milk Launch
Sachin Tendulkar at the Quaker Oats + Milk Launch

The Quaker Oats + Milk is a beverage that has been currently unveiled in two flavors: Mango and Almond. The beverage is priced at Rs 30 and will be rolled out in 17 cities. I was happy to have attended the launch.

Now what did I think about the beverage?

You can actually taste the oats and the goodness of milk. The almond one is delicious and the mango is good too. Just make sure they are cold when you drink them. Did not like the taste when it wasn’t chilled.

This is a good thing to either carry with yourself to work and have on the go, or as a quick breakfast on a lazy morning. It does contain sugar so be mindful of that.

Overall, this is tasty and quick. Good on brands like Quaker that are thinking of such innovative products.

Sachin Tendulkar at the Quaker Oats + Milk Launch
Sachin Tendulkar at the Quaker Oats + Milk Launch
This is a sponsored post. However, as always, the opinion is my own.