Guest post by Carole of Carole's Chatter- Garlic Prawns Indian Style

Hello Buddies. Today I am posting a guest post from Carole of 'Carole's Chatter' from NZ. Carole's blog is one of my favorite all time reads. She writes about food and recipes, book reviews, music as well as travel and art. Here is a very first guest post from Carole. I am sure you all will love it.

Garlic prawns Indian style!

Hi everyone, this is my very first ever guest post so I hope you will enjoy it. Carole's Chatter is a blog on food and books mainly with side helpings of cryptic crossword clues, art, music and travel.  I have a weekly themed food link up and a monthly book link up. Click here if you would like to visit Carole's Chatter.

These Garlic Prawns are an adaptation of a Madhur Jaffrey recipe from her book Curry Easy. I didn't follow her recipe exactly (constitutionally unable to follow recipes).

Ingredients used:

Pottle of raw prawns – peeled and de-veined – You can leave the little tails on
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper (ground)
1 tsp finely chopped green chilies (more if it isn't a really hot chili)
¼ tsp yellow mustard seeds
2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped or smushed
10 basil leaves (fresh and torn or roughly chopped)
5 tbsp of grated tomato (I will explain below)
Some peanut oil or vegetable oil (I used a mixture of Canola with a few drops of sesame oil)

Wash and pat dry your prawns. Mix them in a bowl with the cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and chilies and set in the fridge (this can be done well ahead of time).

When you are ready to cook, have all your other ingredients ready, it is all going to take about 2 to 3 minutes once you start.

Heat your oil in a pan or wok, it is hot enough when you drop just one mustard seed in and it pops.  Then put all the mustard seeds in, give it a swirl, add your garlic, another swirl, then add the prawns and basil.  One more stir and then add your grated tomato.  Turn down the heat to moderate and fry for no more than a couple more minutes so the prawns are cooked through.

And that's it.

Oh, I almost forgot to explain the grated tomato. This was a completely new thing to me. I was a bit skeptical but Jaffrey tells you just to use a coarse grater and to press hard at first to get a start and then grate away.  The skin doesn't get grated and the result is almost a cross between a tomato foam and puree. A great sauce base! I will be grating tomato again.

Things to do before going on a vacation

The last minute hustle and bustle is inevitable before leaving your home for a long awaited vacation. You would definitely not love to have the sinking feeling of something being left undone while you are on your way to the airport. You think you have forgotten something- but you have already fed your dog, turned off the main switch, locked the front door. Then it strikes you that you forgot to lock your garage door!

Things are lot more easier when you plan out the activities beforehand and maintain a checklist of things that need to be done. Here is a list of things you must do before you leave for your vacations and get a peace of mind.

It is very necessary to put all the newspaper and mail subscriptions on hold for the time you would be away. A pile of newspapers outside the main door signifies that the house is empty. It is an open invitation to incidents like theft.

Leave your pet dog/cat at the pet care center a couple of days before you start off. You will be sure whether or not your pet has adapted and is comfortable staying there.

Inform someone in the neighborhood whom you trust that you won't be in town. Give them a spare key to your house and request them to visit once in a while. Keeping an eye on the house is the least they can do.

Unplug your television, stereo, computer, toaster and other appliances. Also turn off the water heater so that your electricity bill doesn't go up unnecessarily. Turn off all the taps and showers. Pour some anti-freeze solution in the toilet if you're travelling during winters. This will prevent the porcelain to crack from the frozen water.

Get an interior timer installed. Set it to turn a couple of lights on every evening.

Empty your fridge of anything that will go bad soon. You don't want to come home to a stinking fridge.

Pay all the outstanding bills before you go on a trip. Buy prepaid recharge vouchers and international roaming cards for your cell phones so that you stay connected to people back home.

Close all the doors, windows and pull the curtains so that no one can see inside the house from the outside.

Make sure there is no wet laundry in the bathrooms or washing machines. Take out the garbage. Water your plants.

Talking about the important documents like passport, visa, tickets and travel insurance policy, make sure they are in place well in advance. Check if your name on the ticket matches the one mentioned on your passport. If not, get it rectified as soon as possible. Make photocopies of these documents and keep them along while you travel. Keep the originals and photocopies in separate places just in case you lose any set. You can also upload and save scanned copies of these documents online or in your mail box.

Make sure your travel insurance policy covers the places you're visiting. Some European insurance companies do not cover Turkey under the travel insurance policies they have to offer.

Visit your bank to inform them about your trip, so that they do not think that your cards are stolen while you use them to withdraw cash in London. Buy foreign currency from your bank to get a better exchange rate.

You can save a lot of money if you book a parking at the airport well in advance rather than at the last moment. Also check out if any cheaper alternative is available. Such services also offer pick-up and drop facility.

Check if you are carrying excess baggage. You may need to pay extra charges for the weight exceeding the limits prescribed by the airlines.

It would be really wise if you take some time out to do a research over the internet about the customs prevalent at the places you are planning to visit. This will help you avoid troubles and embarrassment. For example, people in certain conservative countries do not like women wearing shorts and tees. So carry suitable outfits.

You definitely don't want to sour your trip by getting sick. So get yourself vaccinated against rabies and malaria, especially if you are planning to visit Asian or African countries. In some countries it is mandatory for you to get certain injections and show the proof of the same, before they allow you in the country.

So this is all about the things that need your attention. I hope you find these tips useful next time you plan your vacations. Thanks for reading. Bon Voyage!

P.S.- Check out these useful links for online cell phone recharge

Go 'Fro Yo'!

Frozen yogurts (FroYo) can be a great dessert after a hearty meal. It's healthy and probiotic because it contains yogurt and milk. Unlike ice-cream FroYo does not contain cream which makes it a favorite low fat dessert. FroYos taste a little sour from the yogurt.

If you are a frozen desserts fanatic you must visit 'Fro Yo' to give a cool fruity tickle to your taste-buds! 'Fro Yo' is one of the best gourmet food stores Mumbai, dedicated to serving frozen yogurts, smoothies and milkshakes. While in Mumbai I had been to FroYo a couple of time and the desserts swept me off my feet! It uses natural and freshest ingredients, most of which are imported from USA, NZ, Belium etc.

Fro Yo can infuse any delicious flavor in to a frozen yogurt, right from coffee and chocolatey tiramisu to fruity ingredients like mango, watermelon, blueberries, and so on. They also have to offer a variety of toppings like fresh fruits, sprinkles, choco chips and lot more.

Not only the desserts but also the ambiance will make you go WOW! The place is fully air-conditioned with a vibrant atmosphere and comfortable seating. Here are a few pics of decadent desserts served at FroYo.

Mango FroYo

Tiramisu FroYo

Watermelon Smoothie

Blueberry Bliss

Fruity smoothies

Fruity FroYos

Here are the details of Fro Yo.

Category- Frozen yogurt, Ice-creams, Milkshakes

Address- Fro Yo, Silver Pearl, Shop no. 7, Opp. Harley Davidson, Waterfield Road, Bandra (West), Mumbai

Contact details
Landline- 022- 26443020
Hand phone- 982088960

Monday to Thursday- 11 am to 11 pm
Friday- Sunday- 11 am to 12 am

Price range- Moderate

Desserts for two (Average)- INR 150-200

Satisfaction- Priceless!

Payment- Cash and all major cards

So go ahead and treat your family and friends with delicious desserts at FroYo!

P.S.- Checkout these useful links for shopping items for your daily needs online.

Rituals in a Sindhi Wedding

Dear Bloggies, we all know an Indian wedding is a big, fat and grand affair. There are certain ceremonies and rituals that are performed across all the castes in a Hindu Community. Today I wish to give you all an insight of what goes into a Sindhi wedding to make it a lavish and grand event.

My cousin got married last month. This is the first time that I've been a part of a Sindhi wedding from start till the end. I came to know about many rituals, and their significance.

My cousin (right) and Brother-in-law

Here are certain important rituals that are performed in the homes of the bride and the groom. Give-and-take of gifts, prayers, etc, to show acceptance, wishing happiness and a bright future to the couple, and celebrate every moment of this joyful event with enthusiasm.


Janya is a sacred thread ceremony, wherein the groom wears a yellow thread and guru mantra is whispered in his ear by the Mehraj (priest). This ceremony is supposed to be conducted in adolescence. If not, then it can be conducted a day or two before the wedding. Without performing this ritual a Sindhi wedding is considered to be incomplete.

Kachchi Misri

Kachchi misri is an informal engagement between the bride and the groom. Both are given coconuts and misri and it signifies that they have been accepted as a part of each other's family. The two families exchange Shagun (Token gifts), which generally consists of 5 types of fruits, 5 coconuts. The bride's family gives 5 kilos of sweets, basket-full of fruits, kana prasad, and a small token of money.
Semolina sheera is prepared and later served to everyone as prasad. The groom's sister or mother covers the bride's head with a red dupatta (stole) and feeds her the sheera. After this all the relatives present feed sheera to the bride.

Pakki Misri

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This is the formal engagement ceremonies. The couple exchanges engagement rings in the presence of a priest.  Ganesh Puja is performed followed by an Ardas. The groom's family gifts the  bride with a basketful of fruits, new clothes, jewelry, cosmetic, etc. These gifts signify that the  bride has been accepted my the groom's family. The bride's family too gives 5 kilos of misri in a clay-pot. The groom's mother opens the clay-pot. Seven married women draw Swastik on the clay-pot with vermilion and pray Lord Ganesha to bless the couple.
The ritual of Varmala is performed where the bride and the groom exchange garlands. The groom's family then gives a verbal promise of marriage and feed misri to the bride's family, hence confirming the engagement.


It is a satsang held in the name of Sindhi God Jhulelal. This signifies the beginning of the ceremonies of the forthcoming wedding. This is usually organised a week before the wedding.

Dev bithana

In this ritual, a chakki (stone grinder) is installed installed in the homes of bride and the groom. Family members apply vermilion to it. After this ceremony, the bride and groom are encouraged to stay at home. Ainars (marriage guards are appointed) which are generally their brother-in-law, and sister-in-law.


Google Images

It is also known as Sangeet Night when all the ladies of the bride's and the groom's family, and the ladies in the neighborhood gather at the bride's home for an evening of fun and merry-making. They sing traditional wedding songs, sindhi songs and dance at the beats of the dholak.


This ceremony is performed a day before the wedding. The bride's family sends a priest over to the groom's family with a small bag of rice, cardamom, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, 21 sweet nibatas or sugar candies and a skein of green silk yarn. The priest performs puja along with the groom, to pay obeisance to Lord Ganesha and all the nine planets.


This ceremony is performed at the bride's and the groom's home separately, a day before the wedding. The priest ties an anklet around the right foot of the bride/groom. Seven married women pour oil in the center of the head of bride/groom. The are made to wear new new shoe on their right foot and try to break an earthen lamp with it, which when broken is considered as a good omen.


Google Images

This ceremony is performed by both the families. The family pours oil, milk and turmeric mixture all over the bride/groom's body. This signifies the act of purification. After this ceremony the bride and the groom are supposed to stay at home until the wedding. 


Google Images

The mehendi night is the occasion of merry-making where the ladies of the bride's family beautify the bride. Professional mehendi artists are called and intricate designs in henna are drawn on the hands and feet of the  bride and other ladies.


The bride wears a silk saree and the married sisters, cousins, children from the groom's family adorn the bride with jewelry made up of jasmine flowers. Similarly, the bride's family adorns the groom with garlands.

Ghaari Puja

This ritual is actually a pretty long procedure and needs to be performed simultaneously at the  bride's and the groom's home. The priest conducts a prayers using rice, wheat grains, betel nuts, turmeric and many other spices. The married women in the house grind the wheat as it signifies the home will always be prosperous.

Navgrahi Puja

This ritual is conducted in the morning of the wedding day, first in the groom's house, then in the bride's house. This ritual refers to worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi. This is followed my Omkar puja and Kalash puja, and prayers are offered to the nine planets. Gods are welcomed into the home as guests and are offered food, water, milk and light.

Gaaro Dhaago

A red thread id ties around the wrists of the groom, bride, their parents, and the other family members who would take part in the wedding ceremony later on.

Preparations of the groom

A ribbon is tied to the groom's hair by the priest to protect him from the evil eye. The priest puts a red cloth around the groom's neck, with coconuts tied at both te ends of the cloth. Another white cloth containing rice, cardamom, and kharchi(lucky money) in a bundle at its end, too is put around his neck. A female member from the bride's family goes over to the groom's home and accompanies them to the wedding venue.

Baraat and Swaagat

Google Images

The groom rides on a horse, with he wears a sehra that is tied to his forehead. The groom's mother holds a lamp lit for Lord Jhulelal. The entire family and relatives set forth towards the wedding venue along with the band of musicians.

Google Images

Google Images

Swagat refers to welcoming the groom and his people. The bride's family welcomes the groom and his family by putting vermilion on their forehead and adorning them with garlands, showering flowers and sprinkling rose-water. The bride comes to receive the groom. The groom places his foot on the bride's foot to signify his dominating strength in their life-long relationship.

Paon Dhulai
The bride and groom are seated with the screen between them so that they cannot see each other. The bride's brother then washes their feet in a bronze thaali with raw milk. This is done because it is considered that due to all the prayers and ritual performed prior to the wedding day, the groom becomes and embodiment of Lord Vishnu on this wedding day.

The wedding ceremony

Google Images

The bride and the groom sit facing each other. The white cloth that was put around groom's neck is now put around bride's neck. This white cloth is now tied to the red cloth that is still around groom's neck. Their right hands are tied with a sacred thread. The holy fire is ignited. The priest starts chanting holy verses, and prayers to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Laxmi and other 64 deities.

Google Images

Then the couple walks around the fire. Sindhi wedding has only four pheras. Kanyadaan is performed wherein the holy water flows from the hands of bride's parents to the hands of groom, signifying they are giving away their daughter to him. The groom applies vermilion on the bride's head and puts the Mangalsutra around her neck. Saptapadi is performed wherein the couple places their right foot on seven small heaps of rice. Then they bow to touch the feet of elders to seek their blessings.

Post Wedding rituals


Google Images

After the wedding, the bride's brother is entrusted to take care of the bride and the groom. The baraat leaves for groom's home. The women in the groom's home receive the bride.


This ritual begins with washing the bride's feet by groom's parents at the threshold of her new home. The bride enters her new house, and sprinkles milk in every corner of the house. She then places a handful of salt into her husband's hand, that he passes back to her without spilling. This ritual is done three times and then the bride repeats it with all the family members.

Dev uthana

This ritual performed a day after the wedding, involes removal of chakki, which was installed during Dev bithana prior to the wedding. The couple offers prayers to Lord Jhulelal, and are fed seven mouthfuls of rice, milk and sugar. 


The groom's family organizes a reception party. After a short visit by the bride's father to her in-laws' house, the couple, at an auspicious time fixed by the priest, pays a visit to bride's paternal home.

So this was what goes into the making of the Sindhi wedding! Hope the readers enjoyed it!

She's is a big girl now!

I am sure the blogger buddies who had joined me soon after the inception of this blog remember about Shagun, the cute baby who lives next door. When I look at her I now realize that time indeed has wings. The baby who was just 7 months old filled my home with happiness and laughter, is now 3 years and 3 months old. Here are a few pictures of the little princess.

She joined playschool a few months back. She looks super-cute. Her wit and smartness is something that is very rare for a 3 year old. She knows alphabets and numbers. She can recite nursery rhymes along with gestures and expressions. And she talks smart in general.

(Check out clothing for kids for special occasions)

Shagun (4th from left, top row)  in her green and red costume, during the fancy dress competition at her playschool . I guess she dressed like a tree.

I am sure, one day the little girl will grow up to be a smart and confident woman! God bless dear Shaggy!  :)

P.S.- Checkout the best collection for baby clothes!

Shopping at My experience

Hello dear buddies. I've shopped online a lot online in the past couple of years, right from electronics and kitchen appliances to apparels and accessories. So far the experience has been amazing. But I'm writing about it for the very first time.

I am very enthusiastic about online shopping because of the range of products the online shopping stores have to offer that too at the best prices. Most of the products are not available here in my city. But online stores have taken my craze for shopping to an all new level. Not to forget the convenience offered by 'cash on delivery' option. Like any other woman I too love to shop. I avoid mindless and impulsive shopping because such habits can ruining in the long run. So I'd put a lease on mindless shopping from a very early age. Today I'm going to write about my first shopping experience at This is not a review or appraisal. It's just me sharing my honest opinion with the readers.

There was a sale on last month and the discount rates went up day by day. I always wanted to try suede ballerinas but was not willing to spend a lot because I was skeptical if ballerinas would be good for my broad feet. I have been a fan of loafers since a long time. I got these gorgeous pairs of velvety loafers. So I also wanted to try leather loafers.

I ordered a pair of cherry red suede ballerinas and a pair of white leather loafers in the last week of February at 70% off. I was expecting the delivery of my package in the second week of March. But I was glad to receive the same in the first week itself. I loved the red ballerinas a lot. They are adorable and look so good. They are also very comfortable.

(Know more about First Data merchant services)

However, I was disappointed with the quality and fitting of the loafers, in spite of ordering a right size. They were damaged too. Zovi's customer care service is fantastic. They resolved my problem in a matter of minutes and arranged for a free pick-up of the package and refunding the amount. It took a couple of days to get all these things done.

(Know more about credit card merchant account)

Suggestions for Zovi

1. The range of products (I'm talking about the women's footwear) is very limited as compared to competitors like Jabong and Yepme. Range must be increased so as to provide more options.

2. As far as the quality is concerned, it does not justify the price of the product. Thank God I bought it at a discount sale. So either the quality should be raised or the products should be reasonably priced.

My ratings

1. Range- 2 on 5
2. Quality of product- 3 on 5
3. Customer service- 5 on 5

Will I shop at Zovi again?

Yes, may be when they have a sale going on.

P.S.- Also look out for merchant account providers for online businesses and 

The new found joy...

I have always loved studying and learning. School days were the best part of my journey of learning. I am also cool with my college life. I stepped back into it in August last year after an educational gap of 2 years due to a PG Diploma and a full time job in Mumbai. I was and am very happy since I got into the best MBA institute in my city. (Check out for financial modelling in practice) Fortunately my childhood friend who also happens to be my best friend is also in the same institute and class. We are together all day long since morning till late evening. Travelling together, studying together, having a fun time together and enjoying every bit of it is such a bliss.

It never crossed my mind until today that I should share a glimpse of my college and new found joy on my blog. Better late than never! So I'm doing it today! JJJ

Know more about Online PMP exam

The view from the corridor

Me (centre) and my buddies

The rangoli at the entrance of the building

I will try clicking more pics and post them here more often..Till then..Stay tuned..Ciao!

P.S.- The benefits of CFA practice exams.

Picture perfect!

This pic may look funny to some...especially to the students who can relate...
There is a popular saying among the student community that- If you cannot sleep, open up a book to study...You will start feeling sleepy soon :p
It's true in my case :) My sis clicked the pic while I napped away merrily...

I dozed off while studying Business Law. No wonder I have backlog in this particular subject in 1st Semester of my MBA. I hope to clear it off this time. 

The Google Chrome extension for Android-based payments

Modernization and continuous improvement is imperative in the mobile payment market. Mobile credit card processing is becoming increasingly handy day by day. The scenario until last year was that the merchants wanting mobile card processing solutions would need to lighten their pocket by several hundred of dollars to buy a cordless credit card processing contrivance. To top it up, they also needed to shell out for set up fees and monthly charges.
Companies like PayPal and Google are working their way out to include sensibly priced mobile aids to their product lines.
Google has lately come up with an extension for Chrome which hopefully will be admired by users of Android phones. Merchant connected to a computer system will have a new method to execute Google Checkout dealings/transactions by way of their Android phones. This new extension allows the merchants to create a QR code image on the checkout webpage of their online store, which in turn provides apposite details to the Android device to permit the transactions. This method may not be ideal for all kinds of situations, but further innovations are bound to take place.             
PayPal and Google Checkout both have their own set of admirers. However, some people still think of traditional merchant accounts as a superior choice, especially for small businesses. PayPal had been having issues associated with customer service causing many merchants to estrange it. Google Checkout is not a low-priced option. There may not be initial set-up fees, gateway fees or even monthly fees, but the charge per transaction is significantly high, as follows.

Amount of transaction
Charge per transaction
Less than $3,000
2.9% + $0.30
$3,000 - $9,999.99
2.5% + $0.30
$10,000- $99,999.99
2.2% + $0.30
$1,00,000 and above
1.9% + $0.30

Fees for merchant accounts lies between 1.5 percent to 2.1 percent depending upon the type of transaction and level of risk involved, as well as the type of card- debit, credit or prepaid. Merchant accounts need the merchants to incur initial set-up fees, cost for buying or renting the device and its maintenance charges. Online alternatives like PayPal and Google Checkout do not entail hardware fees.

What’s so good about online certification courses?

Now-a-days online certification courses for managers are quite in vogue. And this because of the convenience and quality they offer. These certificate courses are available for various specializations across electives for engineers as well as managers.
One such course is PMP online certification training course. PMP stands for ‘Project Management Professional’. It is one of the most favored certification for managers globally. The credentials are bestowed by the Project Management Institute to the managers who successfully exhibit their knowledge and skills to lead demanding commercial projects. It shapes up the managers in the field of project management making them proficient in the task, thus opening doors to better opportunities both job profile-wise and remuneration-wise.
The program includes live webinars with expert trainers, free mock tests, enlightening blog posts by industry experts as well as online exam groups and discussion forums. It is a blend of online learning and classroom training.
With the demands of industry going up day by day, such correspondence specialization courses are of great help in grabbing the opportunities in the market.
Also look out for- Prince2Practitioner Training and ITIL foundation exam cost, to explore more prospects.

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