Feel Good

From Cleopatra’s Spa Treatment to Green Porn, we bring you the best ways to feel good in Mumbai

English & Hindi Classes For Expats & Foreigners
Monday, 20 October 2014 09:41

After a few crazy years in the advertising industry, Isha Pahuja decided to go from being tense, to minding her tenses.

Armed with a professional language teaching degree, Isha launched Travlearn- English and Hindi classes exclusively for foreigners, expats, tourists and NRIs in Mumbai and Delhi.

bpb's Big Transport List
Monday, 20 October 2014 09:30

Win 1 of 3 exclusive Chandon Diwali boxes today! See our Twitter feed at 11.30 am to participate.

bpb’s latest list, a logistics directory of sorts, helps you transport everything from yourself to your St. Bernard, your gold fish and even an elephant (in the room) across the city, country, world. Plus, how to transport expensive paintings, jewellery, money and wine, and the best things on wheels! Go on, zoom in.

Objects of Your Desire: Moving Stuff Around

Art & Sculptures

International auction houses and art galleries swear by these companies when it comes to shipping their valuable art pieces within the country and internationally. Nouveau reach? G4S security company (http://www.g4s.in/), Siddharth Logistics (www.siddharthalogistics.com).

Plants and Trees

Vriksha Nursery can move your plants – even if you didn’t buy it from them – anywhere in the country. They recently relocated 18,000 plants, shrubs and even large trees within 48 hours, from a building that was going into redevelopment. Their trucks come with gardeners and plant care equipment. Hoe bags!

1 Ganga Apartments, Irla Railway Society, Vile Parle (W), call 9820704069.

Join The Robin Hood Army
Thursday, 16 October 2014 11:09

Join The Robin Hood Army

Join The Robin Hood Army

Every Sunday night, a band of merry men and women dressed in Lincoln green shirts, collect food from restaurants and distribute it to the homeless and hungry all over Mumbai. Borrowing their moniker from the English outlaw, the Robin Hood Army “takes from restaurants which have plenty and give it to the poor, who have only a few,” the fearless co- leader Anand Sinha tells us – only this operation is legal, and woefully devoid of Kevin Costner brandishing a bow and arrow.

Launched recently by Delhi-based entrepreneur Anand and a Zomato operations professional Neel Ghose, Robin Hood Army is modeled after Hunter Halder’s Re-Food program, an initiative to help end both hunger and food waste in Portugal. After spending some time volunteering in Portugal, Neel came back to India with the idea of starting something similar with his friends in Delhi; few weeks later, they launched Robin Hood Army. "We sat down and discussed the idea and spent the first few weeks just scouting,” Anand tells us.  After identifying clusters, they reached out to their contacts in the food and restaurant industry to help out with initial rations of food.

Now, never short of volunteers and food, the army functions like clockwork. “We meet at my place, divide ourselves into groups and distribution starts at 8 pm every Sunday evening,” Anand tells us. The food, once collected, is distributed by volunteers to people who are homeless and hungry or in any other condition that leaves them without the means to secure the food they need.

Besides leftovers, some restaurants and late night delivery places in Delhi, provide additional services, including cooking and packing special wholesome meals like vada pav, dal chawal, khicchdi, aloo parathas and more. In Mumbai, it is still in a very nascent stage. They are currently sourcing their own food, but are in talks with several restaurants including Persian Durbar, Ideal Corner and Ayub’s.

Feeding 1,600 people a night across the country, Robin Hood Army has approximately 50 volunteers in the city, mostly professionals from companies such as Google, Zomato, McKinsey and law firms. As they grow and expand, they share with bpb that they plan to start their own kitchen, as they “don’t want to depend on collections alone.” With winter a few months away, the Robin Hood Army also plan to start collecting blankets, bedding and warm clothing for distribution, along with the food. Plus, they also hope to get more organized and increase their base of volunteers and partner restaurants, so they can start operating on a daily basis.

Already Robin Hood Army has become so popular that Neel and Anand have replicated the model in four other major cities after Delhi: Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata; Chennai will follow soon. Additionally, they will also be launching a website to make volunteering easy. Until then, if you’d like to help out, please connect with founding volunteers on the Facebook page here.

You can do good, and also maybe rock some tights. We hear they’re making a comeback.

Getting there: Get in touch with the Robin Hood Army through their Facebook page, call Neel at 8826468651 and Anand at 9717270961.

bpb Gift Hamper On TV!
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:21


bpb is happy to announce that we are the official gift partners for Zee Café’s celebrity talk show, Look Who’s Talking With Niranjan Iyengar, putting together the hamper for them filled with all our favourite treats! See below for the lovely list of vendors we featured in the goodie basket that went out to Karan Johar, Sonam Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Kajol and others!

Tea Trunk Tea

With an aim to educate tea lovers across the country about ‘tea as it should be’, Snigdha Manchanda’s teas come in flavours that are anything but usual, and most certainly lovely.

We love her vanilla black tea, lemon green tea and the rose oolong flavours. Look out for the newly launched Marigold lemongrass tea this festive season!

www.teatrunk.com, Rs 800 for a box of vanilla black tea.

Indian Bean Coffee

Just so that coffee drinkers don’t feel left out, the good guys at the Indianbean.com gave us their "robust, aromatic and persuasive" blend of Appa’s Coffee that’s picked from estates in South India and Nepal, packed in Mysore and shipped, right to you!

To order view their website here, the Facebook page here, starts at Rs 300 for 250 gms.

The Table

A bpb favourite, Colaba’s The Table contributed to the hamper with their signature ketchup and hot sauce bottles, that is part of their made-to-order service.

Kalapesi Trust Building, Apollo Bunder Marg, Colaba, call 2282 5000, see their Facebook page here


Ever since we sampled Anurita Ghoshal’s home baked treats, we haven’t stopped dreaming of the giant smeary chocolate chips in her cakes. Fittingly, Anurita gave us her special biscotti and chocolate pound cakes for the hamper, that we’re pretty sure were well received.

Eighth, flat no 4 , Mudheshwari  Building , YMCA road,  off Carter Road , Bandra (W), view the Facebook page here, call 9820267003.

Sweetish House Mafia We’re over the moon that we finally have a steady stream of SHM’s crater sized cookies, with the launch of her first outlet in Lower Parel! Adding to the sugar overdose in the hamper, Neha Sethi gave us her decadent chocolate chip cookies.

Next to Café Zoe, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, call 24988740.

Nordic Kandie Magic Marzipan

Launched early this year in India, Nordic Kandie Magic is Thea Tammeleht’s line of premium handmade marzipans. Made with mamra almonds sourced from Iran and coated with edible gold, silver and Belgian chocolate, these are definite must if you’re a Marzi-fan.

Nordic Kandie Magic Marzipan, place an order here or via whatsapp to 9699641112

The Good Juicery

To wash all that down, we also added juice from The Good Juicery, that contains no preservatives, artificial flavours or colours. Slurp’s up!

Visit http://www.thegoodjuicery.com/

Sula Wine

Sula also sent us a pint of their wine to go with each hamper. Hic Hic Hurray!

Visit http://www.sulawines.com/

The Coup Card

And finally, bpb’s super culinary card that gets you 15% off at Mumbai’s best bars and restaurants!

Visit www.coupcard.in

Bring A Band To Your Living Room
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:00

Just ahead of Diwali, we found two aces for your next card party!

Musicians Anurag Shanker (Slow Down Clown, Caesar’s Palace) and Sankarshan Kini (Whirling Kalapas, ex-Hipnotribe, Kailasa), of the guitar duo The Bombay Acoustic People or BAP, are now open for bookings to play in your living room!

Attempting to ‘break the barrier between the performer and viewer’, Malini Hariharan, the band’s manager and one half of Culture Grind, says that the band is looking to encourage and build informal settings for people so they can connect and appreciate music.

But when The Bombay Acoustic People (their new album is set to release in a couple of months) come over for a special live performance, they’ll insist on your full attention while they’re there. The idea is not for people to have a background score to their evening, but to create an additional dimension and experience to a regular event, Malini tells us.

While costing for these performances will change as per duration, location and other requirements, The Bombay Acoustic Peoplepromise they aren’t too picky, and will be open to playing in any Mumbai apartment (as long as it’s not a compartment).

With organic and breezy acoustics like these, we’re guaranteeing some relief from the firecrackers outside.

Getting There: To book BAP for a private performance, get in touch with Malini Hariharan on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 09167405489/9008017386

Is Urdu the New French?
Thursday, 09 October 2014 10:42


“Fir mat kahiye. Phir. Arey, phir se aapne fir kaha.”

A light chiding with an almost rap on the knuckles now amounts to a regular Saturday morning, as Ashraf Saab teaches me Urdu in my living room, with the patience of a priest and the wild eyes of a poet.

We read Ghalib and fill the dotted lines in Standard I grammar work books, and I feel supremely happy that I can finally read and write the word ‘aadaab’ in the seductive, curvy Urdu script.

I posted this ‘hello’ to the new language on Instagram – of course I did – and it resulted in a flood of hellos back, messages and emails asking for Ashraf Saab’s contact details. I was a little surprised that so many people, people like me, people who you would picture at Alliance Francaise or Max Mueller Bhavan (judgy me) were interested in learning Urdu.

But Arwa Mamaji and Priya Nijhara are not.  They run a blog called Urduwallahs in an attempt to make Urdu more accessible to you and me, using English language as a connect. “We receive inquiries from young people like that all the time. Not college kids, but people in their 20s and 30s. Just in my friends circle I know ten people who are learning Urdu,” says Priya, talking about how the blog went from 100 visits a day three years ago, to 1,000 today.” Interestingly Arwa pegs this on young people looking for something more meaningful. “We have become so anglicized in the way we think, that certain parts of our brain and avenues of literature remain under utilised and people want to fix that. Today, as many of us return from study and work abroad, we are looking for something more meaningful and rooted. Urdu with its many layers offers just that,” she says. “Ten years ago, studying French and Spanish was cool. Today, Urdu is.”

It’s encouraging to see also that online resources have seeped into offline gatherings, with Urduwallahs’ Mehfil at Prithvi every second Tuesday evening, where different translated works from Urdu writers like Manto, Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz are read. On October 14 at 7 pm, you can join the Mehfil too, for free, and learn all about Premchand.

Then there are others too, like Malini Hariharan of CultureGRIND, who has organized poetry Urdu readings with lyricist Javed Akhtar at city venues like Bandra Base. “The place was packed, and not just with 50+ people in kurtas. Young people turned up from all over the city and we had to turn some of them away because there just wasn’t enough room,” she says. Requests to do more such events in contemporary settings resulted in Urdu poetry sessions combined with band performances.

Urdu – On a Screen Near You

When Zee TV launched Zindagi, a channel that airs TV shows from Pakistan in June this year, a study buddy of mine joked that Urdu is now getting “too commercial”. Commercial yes, but also convenient we found, as we no longer have to hunt for DVDs or YouTube links to watch the popular shows like Zindagi Gulzar Hai – a great way for anyone learning Urdu to familiarize themselves with phonetics and gawk at actor Fawad Khan at the same time. And as of two days ago, there are also other ways to bring Urdu to a screen near you. Tata Sky recently launched a service where for Rs 99 a month, you can subscribe to watch Javed Akhtar recite shayaris and dohas, and even use an interactive bit to improve your vocabulary.

Vikram Mehra, Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Sky told us that “The objective behind launching Actve Javed Akhtar is to educate people on how relevant some of the most revered genres of poetry like dohas and shayaris are, in the modern day context. In this current context where we are struggling to sustain the existence of the old world charm of the poetic culture, this will be a pleasant change.”

Film festivals and classes and dedicated blogs and poetry readings and video on demand – these aren’t just a ton resources but also each a really pretty reason to make the next foreign language you study, Urdu.

If you need help on how to get started, see below our resource list. Fir milenge. Actually, phir milenge.


Ashraf Saab (Urdu tutor): Call 9323284889. You can take weekend classes at Anjuman-i-Islam College at Grant Road. Pass the one year course and you will receive an Urdu diploma from Delhi University. See more course details here.

Tata Sky: Actve Javed Akhtar

Urduwallahs: http://urduwallahs.wordpress.com/

Zindagi TV: http://www.zindagitv.in/

This post was written bpb Scouter Kanika Parab. To swap notes or for other Urdu class queries email her on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Ramsay Brothers Prep You For Halloween
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:19

Halloween Special: Rent A Horror House + bpb's Chat With The Ramsay Brothers

One Dr Syngal’s bungalow in Union Park, Bandra used to be nothing short of a Gaudi-designed home. With amoeba shaped grills and walls covered with shells and oddly shaped beams, this writer used to walk past it everyday on her way to school, fascinated.

Around the same time in the 90s, two other sets of eyes were peering through the same gate, equally intrigued. They belonged to the Ramsay Brothers, the men behind cult Indian horror films like Purana Mandir and Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche. Location scouting for the Zee Horror Show (remember that!), they thought Dr Syngal’s home would be perfect, especially the pool with a see-through wall on one side, that allowed under water shots without hiring underwater cameras. Three stories, and 12 episodes of the horror show were shot here, making it one of their favourite city locations.

Well this pool no longer exists, we learned on Sunday morning when we finally made it inside Dr Syngal’s bungalow. After all these years, the home seems to have decided to be better behaved. Things are not so odd anymore, the windows less crooked. “You can rent out the place for a jaagran or a maata ki chowki,” Mrs Syngal offered. Better behaved indeed.

What about a fun Halloween party given its Horror Show history, we asked. “You could. But no alcohol and no non-veg. It’s the Lord’s house now,” she said.

A bar is to our parties what gore is to the Ramsays. They would get it, we thought, tracing our way to director/producer Tulsi Ramsay’s Andheri home yesterday evening.

The Ramsays Prep You For Halloween

No eerie location. No peeling paint. Not even a pet cat lurking around. The temperature didn’t suddenly drop when we met Mr Ramsay, who lives in a perfectly regular high rise apartment opposite City Mall. We can imagine it all though, when he starts talking to us about filming in Mahabaleshwar cemeteries on cold nights and of real life smugglers in Trombay. “The horror genre always thrilled me. Way back when we were younger, we would wait for the matinee show to play Hollywood’s Count Dracula. If we saw it advertised in the newspaper, we would drop everything we were doing and run to catch the show at Ritz or New Empire,” says Mr Ramsay, while telling us of the 7,320 VHS horror film tapes he has, including all that Hitchcock has made.

Soon after, we were joined by his son Deepak Ramsay and a loaf of cake. Both had only just returned to Mumbai from Pune. Deepak snapped his father out of the reminiscing and took him into the future, but couldn’t resist an “I started directing Zee Horror Show at the age of 19, while still in college.” Now, Deepak and his father are working with a “big Bollywood production house” – the name is still a secret – to resurrect their genre in a slick, more “today” fashion. Deepak will direct the film and it should be out in 2015. “We didn’t produce or direct anything for a while and a lot of people wrote us off. But I always say that we are like the Living Dead. We will keep coming back,” says Deepak.

The Ramsay Halloween Trail: Mr and Mr Ramsay take us through their Halloween list of things to check off. 

1.The Nawab’s Palace or Purani Haveli in Murud Janjira: This place would make for a great party rental and actually has a haunted room below that’s off limits. We’ve shot many films here, including Veerana.

2.The Cemetery in Mahabaleshwar: Never mind the night, you won’t even be able to set foot here in the day. The location is so creepy. This is where we found an actual skull while shooting Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche. There’s also a 4,000 year-old temple here that has served us well.

3.Essel Studios, Trombay: This studio has some scary niches where we used to cheat cemetery scenes.

4.Mukesh Mills in Mumbai: Everyone knows Mukesh Mills in Colaba, but the crumbling walls and seaside vicinity makes it a beautiful location for shoots, horror or otherwise.

5.Dr. Syngal’s Bungalow: For a home with history. Next to Candies at Union Park, Bandra West. (They prefer that you walk in to discuss details rather than call).

6.Golden Lights Hires: These guys have all the lights and equipment to create thunder, lightning, storms, fog, and more to create a spooky scene at a Halloween party. Visit http://goldenlight.in.

7.GA James Make Up: Is great for scary make-up. Today, he also works with action heroes like Hrithik Roshan to create fake wounds and injuries. Call 28699407.

8. Christopher Lee’s Dracula: Rent the vintage Dracula film series starring actor Christopher Lee.

9.Zee Horror Show Ring Tone: Download it. The tune is legendary.

They were almost humming it at the end, father and son, while promising to return to a screen near us. No fog, no peeling paint, no cats. But the “we’ll be back” set against the backdrop of this tune is all the eerie we needed.

Do This: Art Restoration With Node Workshops
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:33

What: Art restoration workshops by Node Workshops, see their Facebook page here, fees range from Rs 250-Rs 1000.

Why: Can you tell rosewood from well-varnished wood? Will that antique table you bought from Chor Bazaar end up fetching you a packet? Learn how to spot true antiques, repair heirlooms and more at Node Workshops. Started by Shonali Mahajan and Priyanka Manikeri, each session will be dedicated to promoting art, design and traditional crafts with the aim to educate people about preservation. Their next session involves tips from an industrial designer and the chance to design your own block of wood! Teak performance?

When: You need a Nod(e) of approval.

New Library At The Hive
Friday, 26 September 2014 12:31

What: Bombay Underground sets up a library at The Hive, Huma Mansion, opposite Ahmed Bakery, Chuim Village Road, Khar (W), call 09820998790, membership fee to be decided on October 1.

Why: We’ve always romanticised libraries in our heads – stacks of books, spines aligned, hand holding under tomes. And post these musty daydreams, we’ve whined about how they don’t exist in our neighbourhood.

Well, the one at The Hive isn’t going to be grand, but it will still be cute, stocked with books from Bombay Underground. Remember them, the guys who bought books from the Fort vendors when they were taken off the pavement? On the shelves will be pretty much any genre you’re looking – from Sci-fi and fiction to education and crime novels.

When: Library opens on October 1, but now’s the time to be foreword thinking.

What Everyone’s Saying About MOM & Mars
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 16:27


How glad are you that all cleavage debates on your newsfeed have now been replaced by talk of ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) successfully entering the Red Planet’s orbit. We are too.

And to keep the conversation going, here’s a quick round up of what everyone on the web is saying about MOM.

Economic Times: MOM communicates - says ‘howdy’ – with NASA’s Mars Curiosity on Twitter. Red letter?

Times of India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates ISRO, says ‘MOM’ never disappoints. It’s a Bharat Mata thing.

New York Times: In international news, NYT calls the PM “ebullient” and talks of “well-timed” triumph in connection to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit. 

FirstPost: Read for more on how the Mangalyaan success has silenced Mars critics. How do you do the I-told-you-so dance in space?

Scroll.in: Meanwhile, these guys make a playlist for the Mangalyaan mission with songs that have ‘Mars’ in it and also round up the Internet jokes that came out of this feat. No Yo MOM-a jokes?

Wall Street Journal: Want to know how India managed the cheapest mission to Mars? WSJ does a cost comparison with the US, Japan, Europe and Russia. So space crafty!

BBC.com: Their science writer traces ISRO’s journey from the start.

Faking News: And Faking News is light years ahead of everyone else, saying ISRO was disappointed to learn that Pratibha Patil had travelled more distance than Mangalyaan. Tee hee.

As for us, we’re inspired to plan our next mission – at work and at vacation. Both are akin to conquering new planets.

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