Blog Event | Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Café Day, Delhi

“If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.”
Jimmy Wales

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, DelhiI am a HUGE fan of Google, of how dynamic it is; creative and interactive too. In  many ways I know I don’t speak for myself alone as Google marches ahead making life online simpler and simpler. Google India hosted a Google Café Day in Delhi showcasing the search experience for Indian users: English Voice Search in the Indian accent, The Knowledge Graph, and Google Now.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, DelhiThe demo driven event reflects Google’s continual effort to improve the search experience that will help Indians users find answers on the web more quickly and efficiently. Sandeep Menon, Head of Marketing Google India, led the demo. From asking Google where you can watch the latest movies to finding out cricket scores at the touch of a button,  help is just a click away, or rather just a shout away! Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi I came home and shouted into the Google Search App of my ‘smart phone’  … “SMS Rohan to have a bath now”. Smartly enough, hand in hand with Google, it first went to SMS, then asked me which Rohan from my phone book … and seconds later the message was sent!! Minutes later a curious Rohan emerged to ask about the unusually cryptic message. Once explained, he was pleasantly surprised and actually went to have a shower!! That explains the magic of Googles Voice Search for mere mortals like me.

customLogo.gifGoogle Café Day was informative and interactive, something that Google India has consistently done. From g|india in September 2012, where Google engaged with the Indian community of developers, business leaders, IT professionals and entrepreneurs who are as passionate about technology as they are …

World Photography Day … to World Photography Day  the Google+ Way in August 2013 in Mumbai, when professional photographers and photo enthusiasts were invited to step into Googles dynamic world of photo sharing. Google invited photographers to embrace technology with its easy to use features, once again showing how dynamic they are as a company.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi The Knowledge Graph is Googles growing model of the hundreds of millions of people, places and things that make up our world. Using ambitious technology and massive google-scale computing, The Knowledge Graph attempts to give you relevant information based on this sophisticated database.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi The third innovation introduced that day was Google Now, an anticipatory feature within Google Search that brings you the right information even before you ask!! The days weather, traffic en route, traffic hot spots and even alternative route suggestions, flight status, movie listingsGoogle Now brings it all to you proactively when you opt for Google Now in the Google Search App.

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi The event was interactive, engaging and entertaining with a few special guests. Singer and model Shibani Dandekar, Indian footballer Baichung Bhutia, and Chef Kunal Kapoor were part of the demo team out to make each session fun! Appreciation must be given to the team that set up the stage for the event… attention to detail, excellent creatives, and a lovely play of Google colours made #GoogleHouse fun and imaginative!

Search Out Loud #GoogleHouse, Google Cafe Day, Delhi A down to earth, approachable team, interactive demos and engaging sessions are trademark of Google India. It’s interesting to see how they progress, how much they enjoy sharing their milestones with users across the spectrum, how ethical and focused they are! For a layman like me, I came back inspired as always. Thank you Google India.


Cooler | Phalsa Berry Sharbat – ‘Blendit’ like Vikas Khanna #summer #cooler #inseason #kitchenaidindia

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Phalsa ka Sharbat Phalsa Berry Sharbat … the much dreaded ‘loo‘ or hot summer winds, dry and dust laden, sweep across the plains of North India. Summer here becomes intolerable at times, with ‘fry eggs on the sidewalk‘ like temperatures threatening your very existence! Then along come some of the best fruit that nature has to offer … and life becomes worthwhile again! This Phalsa Berry Sharbat helps you survive…

Phalsa ka Sharbat With a slew of summer fruit now being offloaded by the truckloads, we could not have asked for more. Red, luscious, juicy cherries, mangoes falling off hand carts, watermelons piled sky high on roadsides, peaches just about beginning to surface, Indian java plums too. And then the phalsa berry, a beautiful, tangy, astringent much awaited native Indian berry!

Phalsa, Grewia asiatica Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this humble little berry, Grewia asiatica, brings alive childhood nostalgia. Back then, almost 40 years ago, the silent afternoon would be pierced by the shrill cry of the ‘phalsa wala‘. You’d find him with a wicker basket, topped with a very wet gunny bag which he gently peeled back to reveal the precious little berries. The very fragile and perishable phalsa would change hands for a few pennies. Washed gently and tossed in rock salt, we would hungrily suck them, trying to extract the most from the almost impoverished looking fruit.

Phalsa ka SharbatSometimes if we were lucky enough, we would be rewarded with phalsa ka sharbat! It was pain staking to make and a special treat. Life is a little easier now, with gadgets that make life in the kitchen a breeze. Just one sip of this amazing cooler, in colours that uplift the soul,  memories of a quintessential part of Indian summer comes alive! Sharbats or ‘fruit and flower based coolers‘ are the answer to the beat the heat!

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This takes me to the launch of the KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender in association with Masterchef Vikas Khanna in Delhi. The launch is a part of multi city #Blendappetit Tour spanning across India starting from May 20, 2014. While, the cordless blender is a unique, first of its kind, versatile product, it comes with an ultimate experience of ‘anytime anywhere’ blending.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This new blender from Kitchenaid India is a magic machine, ergonomically designed, a thing of beauty. It comes equipped with a rechargeable 12V lithium ion battery which gives it the power to perform efficiently. The super blender can blend, mix, whisk, chop, froth, puree, shred and whip up anything in a flash.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The very sweet and charming Vikas {I was fortunate enough to shoot with him recently} blended a lip smacking good kiwi smoothie from his new book.  The chef was affable as ever; entertaining, engaging, humourous! He connected instantly with the expectant crowd and soon had the gathering mesmerised. Ripples of laughter flooded the studio in Gurgaon with Vikas holding court, spinning out one anecdote after another. Stories of his home, his mother & grandmother, his inspirations, his journey from cooking a Rs 20 meal in Punjab to a Rs 20 lakh meal for Obama … yet humble and grounded as ever, a philosopher at heart!Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The afternoon witnessed the launch of his book- .Hymns from the Soil, his first book on Indian vegetarian food and a tribute to Mother Earth. It is full of nostalgic tales of his childhood, and in many ways ‘our childhood’. The ‘mitti ki khushboo‘ or the smell of the wet soil, planting his own vegetable patch, the vegetable vendors with fresh vegetables, seasons that spelt fresh produce {unlike now when you almost get everything round the year} … a touching evocative connect with the soil of the land. The book is beautifully written, with stunning pictures and recipes that call your name.

Phalsa ka Sharbat With so much talk of the connect of the earth, including the shrill call of the vendor that pierced the afternoon silence then, it’s a good time to share this recipe. I make the Phalsa Berry Sharbat every year, changing the recipe as I evolve, always in panic like the berries might disappear or go out of fashion. The phalsa season is a short one here just through May and June. Juicing these in my Thermomix is a breeze … which is why I make this quite often.

Phalsa ka Sharbat 6Phalsa ka Sharbat Not sure if taste buds change as the years go by, or the flood of flavours available and sugar laden options in packaged juices snatch simple pleasure away. Maybe it’s the slightly astringent aftertaste, but unfortunately, this isn’t the kids favourite sharbat. The boy loves his aam panna or raw mango sharbat, the daughter her cranberry juice. Thankfully both also love the daily fresh watermelon juice & smoothies.

Phalsa ka SharbatThe Phalsa Berry Sharbat takes the summer heat away, refreshes the soul, gives you a generous dose of vitamin C and antioxidants … what more can you ask for in these ‘oven like’ months? Oh yes, and if it takes you on a trip down memory lane, that’s even better! I’m loving it!!

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Food Event | Tom Alter & Anandini Himalaya Tea … when poetry & tea created magic in Lutyens Delhi

ime for you and time for me, and time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of a toast and tea.”
T.S. Eliot

Tom Alter & AnandiniIt was when ‘Tea & Poetry’ created magic. In the heart of Lutyens Delhi with Tom Alter and Anamika Singhs Anindini Himalaya Tea, monsoon winds, the 20th floor at Le Meridien, good folk, music too, life was good! So many shades of the uber talented actor, poet, writer Tom Alter and tea, so many!! The event ‘Reflections’ is part of the New Perspective event series, an initiative by the Le Meridien, New Delhi.

DelhiTea was the call and the day couldn’t have begun any better. With Delhi now blessed with the monsoon winds and thundershowers at the blink of an eye, Anandini added deeply to the romance.

Anindini Himalaya TeaThe romance that spells Delhi in the rains …  the smell of wet earth, dark skies, pregnant clouds that threaten to burst,  sudden downpours that catch you unaware, birds taking shelter on ledges … and of course that hot cup of tea! Traditionally chai, but TEA at Anindini created by the effervescent Anamika, tea taster and sommelier.Anamika Singh Tom Alter AnindiniIf you thought it couldn’t get any better, hang on! It certainly did. Thespian actor and poet, Tom Alter, a name we grew up with, who played many a ‘sahib’ in Indian films and Indian freedom fighter Maulana Azad too, blended some evocative poetry with Anindini Himalaya Tea. His deep rich timeless voice made for perfect pairing, the man himself a charmer to boot!

Tom Alter & AnandiniBorn and brought up in India, this son of American missionaries can easily pass off as a local. A brilliant command over urdu and english, the charming Tom held us in rapt attention. Such a beautiful evening. From TS Elliot to Ghalib, from the Beatles and Frank Sinatra to old Rajesh Khanna numbers, the man had us captivated. Absolute pleasure! And to add to the charm, there was Anindini in many different avatars.

Anandini Himlayan Tea“Tea for two or two for tea, me for you or you for me … ” the narrative engaged us as the tea delighted. Tom divided the day into seven sessionss with a special tea blend for each.  From the luxurious morning cup that gently awakens you to the second that relieves you of your sorrows, to the most needed post lunch afternoon digestive, tea came in many flavours …  Rosehip & Chamomile, Rhododendron & Himalayan Tulsi, Rose Petals and Mint, Fire Flame Blush and Mint, Pomegranate Flowers and Himalayan Tulsi.Anandini Himlayan Tea All natural, Anindini presents the finest tea delicately paired with herbs and flowers from the Himalayas. Romantic, intriguing and refreshing. I loved the first serving of tea in tall flutes of cold mint and rose tea. Such a pretty sight to greet you, perfect for the early monsoon evening that we walked in on.

Anandini Himlayan TeaTiny shots of brewed tea followed. You could pick out the slight undertones. We gleefully matched them with the fine print on the pretty containers, all colour coded! Tom Alters deep voice teased, mesmerised, cajoled, questioned the crowd. He held our rapt attention. Every now and then an applause would loudly break out, the gathering so appreciative of his immense talent, an encore heard every now and then!

He ended with tales of his childhood. His eyes gleamed with delight while recalling the memories of  his mum’s fresh cinnamon buns on cold winter days when he returned from school. Those warm buns served with tea were the best thing ever. I knew just what he was talking about. These quick Cinnamon Buns are a favourite in our home too …

Anandini Himlayan Tea & Anamika SinghCouldn’t have asked for a better celebration for this not so humble anymore cuppa. Anindini attempts to redefine the humble chai. Tea that adorns a new garb. Tea, herb & flower blends tease the palette, surprise you with the pairing. Behind the venture, a passionate lady. Anindini Himalaya Tea reflects the depth and beauty that Anamika personifies. She is warm, affectionate, passionate, humble and dedicated. Her passion is what Anindini is about. Try a cuppa and you will see what I mean!

Anandini Himlayan Tea

Thank you Le Meridien for hosting this beautiful evening and for taking the wonderful initiative. ‘Reflections‘, a perfect blend of tea and poetry, made for a great beginning! Thank you Anamika for having us over. And of course, thank you Tom for making the evening magical!

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The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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