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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

New Trend Setting Wedding Venues

It is always beautiful when you hear stories of two people finding each other and deciding to spend their life together as a couple. Be it love or arranged, either ways, it is a new beginning for the two souls and their families as well.

Even though I am single, I have numerous friends and cousins who have gotten married over the years and have attended almost all of them, barring a few. Infact, for a few we have travelled quite a bit to the destination as well. It is fun watching the two get close to each other, discover each other and come to the decision of tying the knot.

A decade ago, weddings were fairly straight forward, find a good hall among the range of marriage halls in Chennai, hire someone to handle food and that was that. But today, weddings are so much more. They are all about finding the right place, not necessarily a wedding hall. Many a times weddings happen at Hotels and Convention centers as well. Then comes the details- decor, food, accommodation for not just the bride, groom and their families but making arrangements for those coming to the location/city for the wedding.

The wedding venues in Chennai have changed over the years, given the changes in demands. There are wedding planning companies and event management firms that handle end to end when it comes to a wedding. They start the planning months ahead of the big day, and take charge of pretty much everything. Oh and there are a few who love doing it outdoors [when the weather is good], so its a fun experience alright!


Decor at the entrance...

Traditional elai sapaad..all veg

Some of the things that wedding parties look for when choosing the right place are,

1. Space and capacity-
The big question is whether the place can hold the number of guests they have in mind. And this includes taking into account those who might stay longer than others. If the wedding is on a weekday, then many might make an appearance and leave. The place needs to seat all the guests.

When holding the wedding at a big hall, you can divide the seating and separate them so it seems spacious. Similarly, set up chairs near the main mandapam for the immediate family and close friends. During reception, have a table on the side to place the gifts at.

2. Location -
The place chosen needs to be accessible, it cannot be remote. There may be a few who come by public transport or cabs, therefore needs to make sense for all. It is typically close to either the bride or groom's residence, unless they decide to stay over at the hall the previous day to avoid chaos.

Some venues offer indoor and outdoor spaces. So depending on the client's desires, you could pick one.. But do keep in mind the Chennai weather, it can get hot even if you just serve food outdoors.

3. Vendors-
There are a few marriage halls that come with their own decorator or caterer. If that is the case, then clients will be restricted and might not suit them at all times. It is best to clarify this aspect before finalising the space.

When roping in light, sound and other such external elements, you need to make sure the vendor works well at the space. There is enough room, and possibility off adding extra lights, or setting up a DJ console in the corner and so on...

4. Food-
There are a few halls in the city that are particular about serving only Vegetarian food. So, if the bridge/groom wish to serve non veg they will not be able to, and so it is best to get information on these elements as well.

Plus if the families wish to do a sit down lunch, does the space have a dining hall big enough to hold the guests [ in multiple seating], or will it be a buffet style.

5. Power back up-
Given the way power fluctuations attack us when we least expect them, it is good to check if the wedding venue has power back up. Also check on the cost for the same [in some places they will insist you hire the same, pay for it irrespective of whether there is a power failure or not]

6. Cancellation cost -
If the client [bride/groom] has a change of heart about the venue, or if there is a mishap in the family and wedding needs to be postponed, what are the cancellation charges levied by the hall. This plays a major role when planning the budget.

When choosing a wedding venue or a planner, it is good to have a list and work from there. There are many planners who will handle everything - starting with the decor, backdrop, food, seating arrangement, organising the welcoming committee, to rooms at nearby hotels, make up for the bride and even photographers, they do it all.

Chennai Convention center- different wedding venues at the space...


About two years ago, a friend got re-married at this beautiful convention center on ECR- Chennai Convention center, adj to VGP Golden beach. Another friend had come down from Dubai for the same. A wedding planner was roped in, who coordinated the finer details with those involved in the wedding. This ensures the bride and groom are stress free [ well, if there is such a thing] and can focus on enjoying the day, instead of running around or being hassled about little things.

So, if you are tying the knot anytime soon, think of all possible things that could go wrong and plan ahead... Above all, enjoy the experience and the day! 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Battle with the body - XVI -- Compliments and reactions...



Incident 1

You are waiting for your friends, walking up & down the mall....
They message saying 5mins...
And then you see them walking towards you, you  proceed to walk towards them with a big smile, excited to be meeting them after the gap..

You get a quick Hi in... one of them bursts out "Oh wow, you have lost a lot of weight di", the other nods her head and agree...you smile and say "Oh please, nothing of that sort" followed by Hugs and hi hellows yelled out as you start walking towards the coffee shop to sit down & catch up..

Incident 2

This girl is walking down the street towards home, when she passes by a bunch of stores, including the salon she visits. A salon staff steps out, smiles at the girl and comments " Oh hi, you look lovelier than usual and have lost oodles of weight.. what are you doing? "

The girl smiles back, "thanks, nothing major, just eating home food and being happy.. See you?"

Incident 3

Two girls meet up, and here is a bit of the conversation....
Girl 1 [G1] - Hey G2, how are you doing, hows the little one... and btw, you look like you have lost some weight...
Girl 2 [G2]- Thanks.. really? Dont feel it though and *sends a glance to the husband*[hasnt said anything... :P]
G1 - well, it shows..
Few hours later, G2- yes you are right.. I do think I have lost some weight.. Though I am not doing anything.. You atleast walk & do yoga, I dont do nothing....
G1- Well, i have realised our body/health gets better when there is peace of mind.. I mean it.. I have made peace with the world and don't let it affect me like it used to and people have been commenting on my appearance left right center..
G2 -hmmm..*smiles* true that...




  • What would your reaction have been to any of the above incidents? 
  • Would you have smiled, grinned and thanked the person for the compliment or shied away and shrugged it off? 

I used to belong to the latter kind, who would infact go further and make the person wonder why they even paid the compliment... But things have changed over the years.. 

Infact these days I don't mind much if people comment on appearances before anything else. 

It doesn't bother me if someone was to tell me am big, or even if they say things like "Oh but did not expect you to be this tall and big, it is intimidating".. I just reply "well, this is me... deal with it :-)"

I spent nearly 20years of my life listening to people and their comments, cringing and recoiling.. But then things changed, I started caring zilch about the world and only about what I thought about me... 
I noticed that my mood changed, my temper was gone, I was happier and more at peace...  

I used to wear frumpy dresses [ frocks as they were called], and salwar that was loose and shapeless, like a pillow case... While it did work in keeping me hidden and letting me bottle up my desires and dreams, but then something snapped... 

Have realised that a lot of what we do today is related to conditioning of the mind, especially during our childhood years. I was told I was big and fat by none other than family from an early age, that I needed to cover myself, sit, stand, do only certain things etc... So we grow up with that embedded in our minds and it affects everything that we do and feel. 

It takes years of unlearning to get over this, and to change the way you think/react/ look at the world.. I know this as I have spent years on myself, changing everything. Today I walk with my head held high, confident in what I do and say, giving the world the middle finger if it dares comment/criticise without reason... So, while validation and positive comments about my appearance and overall personality are more than welcome, it will not influence my thought process or change the way I do things...   

If I do a quick run through starting with my growing years to today, I welcome comments by people - men & women with open mind. When a guy tells me I am sexy, I smile /blush and say Thank you! Having come across many who say that just to flatter you and then get you to say yes to sex, I press the STOP button and tell them to bugger off.. Yes, it does affect the way I react to guys in general, not just me but all of us women.. We tend to wonder "why is he being so nice, what does he want, does he have an ulterior motive".... even when the guy is being genuine and honest with no motives... :-) 

Sigh.... how times have changed... OK, am gonna stop now... Do tell me how it feels when someone pays you a compliment?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Never a dull moment around friends..




When a group of friends meet up, there is talk about everything under the sun. Ranging from relationships [whether you are in one, yearning to be in one, or confused about the one you are in now], the weather, the latest movie you saw and even a new technology you came upon.

We were four of us , catching up after a few months , the chat moved from whatsapp to the phone and we finally decided to meet at a coffee shop midpoint to all of us. After the initial round of hi hello, how are you, hows your mother-in-law, dog/kitten, wife/ husband, child, divorce proceedings, etc etc, we settled into a rhythm and began yapping about other fun aspects of life. One guy was telling us about his not so new job [it was nearly a year since he joined the company] and moved to a different city.. He was telling us how crazy life had been the past two months. Trying to find a house seemed to be have been top of his crib list, but then his tone changed and he shared with us news about his new found apartment and how awesome it was...

He was working for a leading IT company and had just moved from HR to handling ops, CRM specifically. He said this Salesforce platform was the coolest one he had seen, considering he had endured a full day session on it. But he was yet to use it and was quite worried about how he would be handling the same.

Since I had done some reading about it recently, I gave him some insights to the same. Also suggested that he sign up with a Salesforce CRM training in Chennai since he was going to be working from here for a month or more...

From what I have read, Salesforce is a cloud based CRM platform that infact has some similarities with the social networking platforms.. Being cloud based, it allows users to manage and stay connected with their customers at any given point of time. Today, with so much competition around in every possible aspect of the business, when it comes to CRM systems, it is best to take on one like Salesforce as it adapts to all needs and preferences. The most important of it all being user friendliness.

I told my friend about how the information gathered about customers can be fed into the system, changes can be made online and one can stay connected from anywhere in the world. He could be in Antarctica reaching out to his customers, or pulling out some data, it would be possible.

He was telling me how his company had a meeting few days back where they were told the business has been growing but slowly, and they need to work together to ramp it up. I agreed... Today businesses want to grow, does not matter if they are small or large sized, and so having a good & effective cloud-based data management system that can provide real time data is most crucial. While the company had only recently shifted to using Salesforce platform, the employees were given time to get a hold of it and figure their way around it.

Once again, I stressed on how important it is to sign up for a course, a Salesforce developer training in Chennai, become a certified developer or even a consultant and get hands on experience using the same. Went on to tell him that the platform can be used to
1. Compare and study how the company is faring as against the competition.
2. Manage & Maintain customer data from anywhere in the world
3. Plan migration and transition
4. Monitor and manage orders or product enquiries
5. Automatic report generation that allows you to track your own progress over a period of time..




We were so lost in our discussion that we forgot two others were sitting at the table. They were staring at us with a funny look, as if to say "woah, what just happened here..." Luckily our coffees arrived and we resumed chit chatting about other aspects of life, including a quick chit chat on a trip we have been meaning to do. We wound up and bid good bye, promising to stay connected and to give updates on whether we were in for the trip or not... I walked home, with one thought on my mind "damn, i got real lucky in the friends department... "




Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Where did basic etiquette and courtesies go?



I got off the cab & said "Thank you" to the cabbie before shutting the door.... 
My friend looks at me in wonder and exclaims- "what was that?" 
Me- What was what?
Friend- Why the "Thank you"?
Me- Well, he drove well, and got me to my destination without any hiccups.. I always say Thank you at the end of a ride.. Heck, I even say this to auto drivers, or anyone who does anything... the cook, the maid as well
Friend- Hmmm... Interesting
Me - It is basic courtesy 
Friend- *Shrugs shoulder and walks ahead* 

Sometimes I wonder if I am born in the wrong era.. I believe in basic etiquette & courtesies, I believe in thanking people, apologising  and saying Please when I want favours... But then am surrounded by those who don't seem to follow these norms and that irks me. Yes, call me a prude or weird, but that is me! 
  • When am in the movie hall/play/concert/performance space, I do not take calls, I will send message and call them during Interval, or get out of the hall if it is an emergency.
  • I also don't check my phone when on a date... infact, the phone is away in my bag in silent mode... 
  • I don't watch videos or listen to music aloud, it is always with a headphone [be it on the phone or laptop].. especially when in the metro train, or in a space with others in it. 
  • I also hate gossip and back stabbing.. Infact, that is one reason why I quit my corporate job and did not climb up the ladder as fast as few others did.. 
  • I am never/rarely late to a meeting, be it work based or catching up with a friend. I would rather be early and wait than be late and tardy..
  • I keep my word- I will never ever leave a person hanging after making plans. Even if I am just not in the mood, will send them a message and tell them it isn't happening. 
  • When heading out somewhere I always keep people posted about my timeline.. Giving them updates on my location and how far off I am.. 
  • I mutter an "excuse me" when I sneeze/cough.. cover my nose/mouth.. Dont pick my nose or fart/burp/barf in public... 
I guess I am one of those who grew up developing these habits and manners with time and expect them from others as well. I believe in the whole "treat others the way you would want to be treated". And so I don't understand the whole "Me" behaviour these days. 

It pisses me off when people make plans and then flake out without a word. And they dont apologise for it later as well. Dont they understand that people have lives, might have plans and they hold them back? 

Recently, someone I connected with made big plans- lets go watch the match together, and then go out for ice cream. He had said he got tickets through a friend! So, the next day I waited for him to message about where to meet, or what the plan was. But nothing till 5ish.. And then came a message that said "If Dhoni isn't playing we chill at home, else go watch". I replied saying "Dhoni is playing, just got update" ... and that was it.. Silence from his end... I even called, but no answer to the call. Anyways, after a few minutes I gave up and got into watching the match from home...  

I got a response from him next day around 10am saying he saw the message at 5am, had slept off cos he was tired. 
I told him -"well, wish I had known, could have atleast picked up the ticket and gone to watch the match"... 
He- "I get no notifications , only when I open message app will I know you have messaged". 
I said "Well, I have notification for select few who matter..."
He - "I know its weird, but that is me.. cool na?" 
I said -Yes, very cool... 

How would you classify this behaviour? Is it being cocky, or aloof or just "I don't care about anyone but myself" or am I reading too much into it?!

It is perfectly fine to do what you want, when you want provided it involves none but you. But the minute you involve someone else, you should keep them updated.. Agree or no? 
Am the kind who does things on my own 90% of the time- eating out, movie, concert, travel, shopping, cricket match etc etc.. There have been days when I would be done with work, look for some events, and just up & go. I have had friends tell me "you should have told me, would have come".. "Oh you sneaky you... went off and watched it ".. I am not being sneaky or selfish, it is just that I am so used to it, I just do it out of reflex.

Many a times, I ping friends telling them of my tentative plan.. They come back with a "oh no, cant do it today, maybe on friday or monday...".. But then if that works for me, we make plans together, however if otherwise I just do what works for me. I might redo it with that person when it suits them [more to give them company] 

That is me~! 

Even at home I follow these rules. I thank our maid, driver, cook, paper delivery lady or whoever else comes to do repairs when they are done! It does not matter if they were rude, shody or incompetent... I thank them before they leave the premises...

So, today when family/others just assume am gonna be doing something cos they demand it or when a friend just sends a msg asking for x amount of money or a favour, I hesitate.. I think twice, and then take a call. I have turned down people cos they just assume am gonna be available at their beck and call. Even if am just home chilling, with nothing to do I tell them otherwise. 

We need to learn to respect each other, value each others' time and be appreciative when people take the time out/ do things for us! Say what you will, if you don't do these, am sorry the respect I have for you goes down a notch... 

I guess when the parents don't know these basic etiquettes , how are they going to teach them to their kids? Or why would the child follow even if taught at school or by others..? They see their family/parents doing something inappropriate and getting away with it, they are gonna follow suit.. and hey, you cant shout at your kid later on that what they did was wrong!! It wasnt, according to them!! Hmpfh... 

Am sorry if this post was too long and I kept you from whatever you were doing!! Have a fabulous weekend and week ahead.... 

Toodle doo...
AK