Tuesday, December 05, 2006

indian empress & calendar girls



A hot Sunday afternoon in Mumbai at Ballard Pier, the mercury spiralled way way up when
charming actor Preity Zinta unveiled the hottest bods in India - the six calendar girls of Kingfisher.
Actually, the girls were all covered up at the launch and only their pix had them in bikinis.
check it out at the www.kingfishercalendar.com

Yet another beauty demanded equal attention - the Indian Empress, the 5th largest super yacht and the latest toy acquired by the King of Good Times Dr.Vijay Mallya . This 2 tiered yacht even has a jacuzzi on the deck at the first level and bars on each deck.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Casa de Mendonca– offbeat Goan retreat



We were looking for something different to do in sunny Goa, we wanted a break from the thick of tourist action, to live like natives of this lovely state. To slow down, breathe easy and yield to the novel experience of an idyllic rural retreat in South Goa.


So we set about lovingly restoring a small house to the full glory of its Portuguese heritage. Renamed Casa de Mendonca, we created a picture postcard pretty house in Velim. Completely furbished with modern amenities, it exuded warmth and serenity.










Time moves at a different pace here in this little village.  We woke up to birdcall and feasted our eyes on green rice paddies.








A trill of cycle bells heralds the arrival of fresh
baked ‘pav’ and ‘poi’ breads that we dunked in
our morning cup of coffee/ tea.








In the cool air of the morning,we strolled down to the lake and watched lotuses bloom and ducks waddle.














If we chanced upon the local toddy- tapper, he offered a swig of the fresh brew straight off the tree.










Hopping on our bikes, we rode down to neighbouring Assolna and right on to the ferry. Chugging across the River Sal and in 10 minutes, we were at the peaceful Mobor beach.









Swimming and sunbathing on the softest of sands;  parasailing over the waters or riding water scooters.










We visited a different beach day, each beautiful, tranquil; and unspoilt. Less than a half hour drive  had us soaking up the sun at Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim, Dona Paula and Palolem










We beat the heat with a glass of chilled beer or the heady cashew or coconut ‘feni’ over lots of lime and ice. It’s a seafood gourmand heaven with prawns, lobsters, crabs, calamari and a variety of fish – bekti, mackerel, kingfish and pomfret. And of course, the famed sausages and pork vindaloo. There are plenty of fresh vegetables that are cooked in unique local masalas.

Come evening, we could join in a game of football and worship at the Francis Xavier Church at the village square. Chewed on spicy hot onion and chilli 'bajjis' as we mingled with friendly neighbours.















The stars shine clear and close at nightfall; the terrace or the garden are best to sit back and marvel at nature's beauty and harmony.

When we felt the urge for bright city lights, we drove down to the commercial capital of Madgaon that is 15 minutes from Velim and continue down to Panjim, Calangute and Baga that are just 30 minutes away.





Casa de Mendonca was at first a whimsical indulgence; each time that we went to stay, the house took shape and became a home that radiated warmth and peace.








We don't own it any more but the memory of the house we built and the time we shared there sometimes by ourselves, at others with friends and family are indelible.



















Friday, September 29, 2006

horsing around in bangalore

this article has been published in the Sept 15 - Oct 15 issue of Darpan, the inflight magazine of Alliance Air; it is also available on all Indian flights.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Allen Mendonca to anchor Knowledge Summit

InfoVision 2006- the Knowledge Summit, September 28-29

The International School of Information Management and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing a two day programme 'Infovision2006 - the
Knowledge Summit' on 28-29 September, 2006 at the Le Meridien Hotel, Bangalore.

Allen Mendonca, Journalist and Director, Raintree Media,will be anchoring the session on ‘ News and Media ; Convergence and disconnect’ scheduled from 11 am to 12.30 pm September 28. The Session will begin with a keynote By Ms. Shoba Purushothaman, Founder and CEO, The Newsmarket, USA and will be followed by a panel.The two panelists are – Mr. Ajit Balakrishnan Chairman & CEO, Rediff.Com and Ms. Abi Sekimitsu Editor, Reuters, Bangalore.

This summit is a platform for visionaries and leaders in academia and industry to articulate their visions of the emerging knowledge society. The event is expected to facilitate debate that will provide directions to knowledge initiatives at the global and regional level.

The participants at the event will be professionals in leadership positions across the academic, research and corporate organizations – Information officers, Librarians, and Information Centre heads,digital library architects and others.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ithaca Times


The shiny new Chancery Pavilion has a couple of fine restaurants and this time we are rooting for its Mediterranean restaurant which doubles up as a coffee shop. Last Tuesday, the hotel hosted a lavish lunch: champagne flowed with bluesy music by Raman on the sax had us forgetting about work for the rest of the day. well, almost. Check it out on Page 3 of BT.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

garden of jewels


Delicate green tendrils, dainty posies of flowers - this is a garden with a difference. Check out the Le Jardin collection at Ganjam's flagship store on Infantry Road. Dazzling diamonds set in pink and yellow gold, precious pink stones and pearls have been crafted in a contemporary international style for the modern Indian woman who can swish her way through the glass ceiling in a sari or a suit.

Friday, September 01, 2006

a passion for cashmere is pashma



we have been looking for just this kind of fabric for winterwear - stylish, elegant and one that will that can keep us warm without adding bulk. Soft & super luxurious, Pashma cashmere drapes very flatteringly(there is not even a hint of lycra, so you can avoid the snughug of unsightly handles).

From ready to wear cardigans and tops to accessories like wraps, scarves and foulards, Pashma also has pure cashmere throws and cushion covers.Just right for cuddling up in front of the TV. There are also garments blended with linen and silk that work around the year.

It's retailed at Le bon Marche, Galleries Le Fayatte, Bloomingdales, Henri Bendall,Takashimaya & Mitukoshi and in India, at Delhi and at ffolio@ the Leela Galleria in Bangalore.

Pashma is made from the wool shed in the spring by the Pasham, a breed of sheep in Kashmir.

Monday, August 28, 2006

panini with citrus & asparagus salad @aqua

  Posted by Picasa

poolside cabanas in the soft glow of candles @ the Aqua

 Posted by Picasa

Our guest the golden voiced Ram Nagraj with Chef Saha @ The Park

Posted by Picasa

Cool Aqua

An outdoor lounge that's decidedly glamorous - Aqua by the pool at The Park is the place that can
turn a meal into something special. Chef
Abhijit Saha , who is now also the Director - Food and Services, is rated amongst the top 10 chefs in the country. the menu has gourmet choices including succulent grills, while sensuous music makes for much langour.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

sacred games


am deep into ' sacred games' - vikram chandra's 3rd book.

i found his 'love and longing in bombay', which good ol' prof loaned me, v readable. last week, the author and his wife, melanie (on the left, allen in his brown jacket is in the pix with them) were down for the launch that was like a movie release - right down to the press kit: ' are you ready for the games to begin' or something like that, the book cover on a picture post card et al.

not surprising, given his filmi lineage. his sister tanuja chandra is an offbeat film-maker and he himself has co-written the script for 'mission kashmir'

anita nair was sitting next to me and just before the launch, she introduced me to vikram and i told him i appreciated the razzle-dazzle for a book launch. unless writers crow about themselves, no one will buy their books.

chandra is of modest height and looked a little shy at all the hype. he didn't read v well and i found it hard to concentrate on the story. but i found them both to be very likeable and charming.

i started reading the book on monday night and i've been finding it hard to put it down. when i do sleep, my dreams are full of police chases! 'sacred games' says nothing new but says it exceedingly well.

chandra has spent nine years writing this book and am sure nine years in which he has done a lot of growing up himself. how else would he have obtained the sensitivity he reveals ?

as for the story itself, at times i feel it is one of the bollywood films, perhaps 'satya', made in to a book; all that mumbaiyya dialogue and tapori stuff. am sure, chandra will make a lot more money than the huge advance he's received from his publishers when one of the new breed of film makers grabs sacred games and gives it celluloid shape. - sandhya mendonca

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


victor has worked his magic on my portuguese style house in goa  Posted by Picasa

gaga over goa

my modest portugeuse -style house in velim in all its new glory Posted by Picasa

the velim house with the previous occupant and victor the architect Posted by Picasa

the house in velim, goa when i bought it Posted by Picasa

go goa

hi,

goa is a slow happy smile, starting from the heart, reaching to the mouth and lighting up the eyes.

it is an escape from crushing deadlines, P3Ps and deathly pressure of wannabe big citiness that is the mood of namma bengaluru.

goa is where hair gets frizzy, yes but skin clears up. one eats too much and drinks far too much but heck, no ever gets hungover in goa.

last year, i gave in to whimsy and bought an old house in south goa. everyone was aghast.
our son said: "ugh, it looks like it will fall down"
sisters said: " how are you going to maintain a house so far away?"
others said:" why in the south? north is the most happening"

owww, i don't go to goa to be happening. i go there to reconnect with myself.

victor, a national award winning artist, has a passion for restoring goan homes and i trusted him instinctively. but it's been a long 12 months since victor took up the restoration. i agonised over the money that seemed to seep away, fought bitterly with victor who refused to
compromise his artistic sensibilities. several times, i mentally christened it 'sandy's folly'.
but hey, this story has a happy ending.

i went there last week and found it like this: picture book pretty, adorable and welcoming.