Marriage is never the answer.

27.5 – that “tender” age when people around me are either getting married or having kids. And I am still living with my parents, basking in Mom’s love, working like a maniac, writing regularly for my blog and a few other tasks which I would rather not mention.

“How can you marry her off, she is still a kid,” – scoffs my younger sister when my Mom raises the question.

“So when are you getting married? You look not more than 25, but you will get older and there will be fewer men for you. And even if you get married at 30, you need to have kids within two years, otherwise you will face problems.” This is the statement I get to hear a gazillion times – one of the many reasons I avoid talking to people about my personal life. I would rather not write about my dating or marriage plans but I will write about my views on this hot topic.

Yes, I sometimes wish that I was married and had kids. I look at kids a la Monika Geller and sometimes ache for them. But then the Robin Scherbatsky in me ponders over the things I would not have done if I was tied to a man and kids. A few years back, I used to think about getting married by 25, but now I thank my destiny for getting me off that track. Why? Because I would not have started my passion for writing food reviews. I would not have explored different types of cuisines and relished those experiences. I would not have met so many wonderful people who have motivated me to be my best. I would not have travelled to such exciting places and soaked the warmth (and the cold) there. I would not have become clearer in my mind about my ambitions. I would have been pre-occupied with my new family and the responsibilities it brings. I would not have become more independent, would never have travelled solo and would never get to network so much.

And alas there are so many things to do in life! So many new things to do, so many books to read, so many dishes to try and so many places to travel. This world is a big place and I would love to visit as many places as I can and relish my stay there. I would love to meet new people, get embroiled in their culture, learn about their cuisine and write my experiences here. I wish to visit Coachella and experience my favourite heavy metal bands. I want to do snorkeling and scuba diving again at some beautiful coral island. I want to hike a few treks and see the valleys from there. I want to see Eden Hazard (bless him!) live even if he leaves Chelsea. I wish to progress so much more that I can buy without a blink. (I already do that but hey, that Ducatti!)

And I have just started running. Seven hells, I want to run a marathon!

And I want to keep doing all this independently without being tied to anything or anyone.

When I was a kid, I decided that I will never bow down to anything which brings down my ambitions. For some time, I did yield but then I remembered my true self. And I do not want to disappoint that girl.

I will marry when I meet a man who shares my ambitions and passion for life, who does not want to be tied to anything and is mature enough to let me be independent. That man knows his shared responsibility in a family but refuses to accept the drudgery that comes with it. There are few men who have this sense of maturity about life and are willing to explore new aspects.

“Don’t you want to feel loved and taken care of?” Another idiotic question for a woman whose Mom has given her enough love and attention to last a few lifetimes. Yeah yeah, all Moms do that, but hey, after receiving so much from her, I do not “seek love.” I am already full of it. Blink blink.

I can take care of myself. And every person can. You do not need a lover for that. Period.

And to put it dreamily and a bit humorously, that man is charming, sarcastic and humorous like Damon Salvatore and Chandler Bing, utterly idiotic and slightly kid like similar to Barney Stinson, as nerdy as Sheldon Cooper and as ambitious as Frank Underwood. I will stress the most on Damon and Frank because they let their ladies be independent and treat them as equals. Maybe I can enjoy a few activities with him the way Robin enjoys laser tag, scotch and cigars with Barney. And maybe I can have nerdy and intellectual discussions with him the way Amy does with Sheldon.

Marriage is not the answer to your loneliness and your yearnings for love and care. It is never the answer to getting a second hand in managing expenses. You settle down when you meet your other half and develop an understanding with him/her. Till then, keep exploring life because it has so much to offer.

“Ohh Amy, you clever vixen…”

I would die to hear that!

And age…..I will be young, sipping Sangrias till the end!

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Leaping Caravan, Gurgaon

The well known Leaping Caravan does not need a lengthy introduction. We all have binged on the plethora of in house delicacies offered by their cloud kitchen in Gurgaon and Delhi. The best part is that these dishes have been curated by Chef Ravitej Nath who received the National Award as the Best Chef of India.

The order arrived well in time but I was disappointed with the packaging. The seal of the raita bowl had broken and it was spilling all over the other boxes.

Moving on to the food, here are the reviews:

Chicken Tikka Masala: The first bite will force you to think whether to binge on it or not because the flavours are very different. But the subsequent bites will leave you flabbergasted with the complexity of the recipe. The chicken pieces are no doubt succulent here but the gravy is something to ponder upon. The maelstrom of green cardamom, caraway seeds (kalonji), cumin, tomatoes and God knows what seems like a volcano of flavours. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Paneer Butter Masala: Slightly sweet but paradisiacal! The overuse of cumin seeds has paid very well here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Chicken Dum Biryani: I somehow did not relish this one. I like my biryani chicken or mutton pieces to be drenched/immersed in spices and here, the herbs had not penetrated to the insides of the chicken pieces. Add to it, the rice was dry and not moist.

 Leaping Caravan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nariyal Café, Adchini

If you are bored with the food that you have on every outing with your family/friends, Nariyal Café is your saviour. The restaurant serves some delectable Andhra, Kerala, Goan, Thai and Continental food. So the next time you are craving for something different, give this place a try and you would not be disappointed.

Flavoured Nariyal Paan – This is what anyone will desire in this sweltering summer. I had strawberry flavoured one and it was really nice. The sweetness of strawberry is delightful and surprises you as well. Best part -they even carve your name on the coconut shell.  RECOMMENDED

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Malay Laksa in Coconut Shell – So given the fact that I am not a huge fan of soups and I found this utterly amazing should count for something. The soup is made from coconut milk and vegetable stalk and is served with peanuts, cucumber, mint leaves and radish. The crunchiness of peanuts in the soup delights you and the spiciness of red chilli hits you at the right moment making the experience extraordinary. The soup is perfect for those who love their food a bit spicy and the soup still remains delectable even after getting cold. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Forgotten Grains Curry Leaves Salad – The reason behind the naming is that people forget the grains that are used in this salad. It is a healthy salad consisting of jowar, barley, pomegranate, onions and tomatoes in apple cider dressing but was really bland.

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Chicken Gongura- A perfect starter for all the chicken lovers where the chicken is cooked in Gongura leaves and Andhra spices. It wasn’t too spicy and had juilens of ginger providing  flavours from time to time. The chicken was extremely juicy and had black pepper on it as well. If you are bored with all the chicken starters out there, do try this one, its lip-smacking. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chettinad Dum Biryani- The biryani is served with chettinad salan and Andhra raita. The raita was good but the salan was quite bitter. I had this kind of biryani for the first time and absolutely loved it. The chicken was juicy and was cooked to perfection. The spices had penetrated the inside of the chicken pieces taking it on a whole new level. (something which doesn’t happen with the biryanis I have always tried). Even though the chicken was perfect, the biryani was a little dry. RECOMMENDED

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Murugan Chocolate Bomb – The BEST dessert I have ever had!! It consists of a chocolate dome structure sitting in the middle of the plate surrounded by crushed brownie pieces and dry fruits. Then they pour hot chocolate over the dome and voila, the outer chocolate covering melts revealing coconut icecream inside. The amalgamation of the hot chocolate with the cool icecream and the soft brownie pieces with the crunchiness of dry fruits is just divine. Hats off to the chef!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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The Hidden Hour, Gurugram

In the age of mobile phones and laptops, when people prefer staying indoors rather than venture outside, Hidden Hour comes as a source of relief for the ones who loved playing with their family/friends outside. The Hidden Hour is a “Real-Life Escape Game” where players end up getting locked in a room. The objective is to accomplish the mission in 60 minutes by finding hidden clues, answering riddles and solving puzzles in a room full of mystery.

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I went there to find out what all the buzz was about with 5 of my friends and we all came back with major adrenaline rush. There are two escape games they are providing as of now- Magic Show-A Treasure Hunt and Hijacked NCR Metro Bomb Diffusal. I got to try Magic Show-A Treasure Hunt and it was absolutely amazing. So they have a perfect storyline to make this escape game believable. In this one you have to find a long lost masterpiece by solving all the clues given and plan your escape as well in just 60 minutes. Nothing is virtual in here, all the objects are real. They locked all of us in a room and there were so many clues, hidden puzzles in that room which you had to piece together. The game certainly requires out-of-the-box thinking and make the rusted clogs of your brain work. The game is thrilling, exhilarating and mind boggling at the same time. The timer compels you to solve things fast. This is precisely what action movies or those finding-hidden-objects-in-a-room games are made up of. Every team mate plays an important role and this game would be good for corporate team building exercises. The 60 minutes fly by and you are left wanting for more.

If you are an adrenaline junkie, this is a perfect place for you. Magic Show-A Treasure Hunt did cast a spell on all of us.

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Bueno Café, MGF Metropolis, Gurgaon

This was not the first time I explored the varied dishes from the Bueno Café. Being an employee resident of Gurgaon, I have ordered quite a few times from this wonder of an outlet and have never been disappointed. So when the opportunity came to visit their outlet in MGF Metropolis, I could not keep my gluttony cravings in control!

Puneet Jain, Corporate chef of Bueno and the co-founder has curated the menu here and I am pretty impressed by them. All the breads, compote, shakes and even pita chips are made in house with no added flavouring agents and preservatives. The chef believes in keeping his dishes subtle and wants the customers to savour every ingredient in the item – hence you are assured that you taste the best of the lot.

Peri peri chicken sandwich: Fresh multi grain soft Panini breads sandwiching chewy and mellow chicken along with the firm cheddar and topped with peri peri spices and some gherkins for tanginess – explosion of flavours! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Ham and cheese sandwich: Lovely Brioche breads enclosing firm cheddar and chewy chicken ham with the addition of fresh mustard sauce – what more can you ask for? The Brioche breads are heavenly soft because of the presence of butter. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Belgian Chocolate Shakes: Ahhhh, such denseness and the bitterness of real Belgian chocolates! Add to it, the freshly prepared compte and you are in for a creamy and slurpy goodness. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Blueberry shake: I really admire those chefs who use the natural sweetness of fruits to prepare shakes and desserts. This shake was fresh, as expected with no extra sugar and made with in house compote. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Baked blueberry cheesecake: Prepared wkith natural blueberry compote (blueberry pulp used), diet conscious dessert lovers will adore this. It has three layers – top blueberry pulp resembling jelly, middle layer of soft and subtle cheesecake and the base layer of pulverised biscuits. The combined effect of all the three layers in indescribable. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Smoked veggies Italian Ciabatta: Ciabatta is actually a French bread which has a crispy exterior. The sandwich was one of a kind enclosing smoked vegetables – zucchinis and bell peppers, cheddar and a thin pesto layer. The high point of this sandwich was the maintenance of the juiciness of the vegetables in addition to the pesto layer which was not too overpowering. Though the sandwich was a bit dry and hence difficult to eat from the edges.

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Gooey chocolate brownie: The heart melting warmth and remarkable fluffiness of this soft and gooey brownie will leave you asking for more. The best port is that only unsalted butter is used here with no signs of grease. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Orange and cranberry cake: I thought that Chaayos was one outlet preparing their cakes with fresh fruits and retaining their natural flavours. But Bueno proves me wrong. The characteristic sweet tangy flavours of orange and cranberries is well defined here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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 buéno Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spice Wok, Sector 50, Gurgaon

Their site mentions myriad cuisines and the pictures from every type are drool worthy to the core. Without much ado, I will start with my reviews for their Chinese dishes:

Fish in hot sauce: Soft lightly fried fish drenched in a thick sweet sauce and topped with spring onions, caramelised onions, carrots, bell peppers and crunchy peanuts – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Schezwan Dimsums: Artistic! Such softness of the dainty skin enclosing light minced chicken in a spicy gravy – mesmerising. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Fish in butter garlic sauce: If heaven is a dish, then this is it. Very lightly fried fish tossed in butter along with finely chopped garlic and peanuts is sure to melt in your mouth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Orange chicken: A very novel concept of pairing chicken with a citrus fruit – hats off! Small blobs of chicken fried to crusty perfection and tossed in oranges and sesame seeds – a plethora of flavours to serenade you. The sweet and sour refreshing flavour of orange coupled with  fine crunchiness of the sesame seeds is a winner for me. However, the chicken was slightly dry from the insides and the whole ensemble tasted too sweet sometimes. RECOMMENDED.

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Kung Pao chicken: Ahhh, the king of the Oriental main course. Those crunchy peanuts working their magic on soft and chewy boneless chicken pieces and the thick gravy lending the typical sweet flavour of vinegar – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Hakka Noodles: One of the best I have tasted – not too oily or dry and pretty thin and fine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Chicken Hong Kong style: Diced chicken again in a sweet sauce with chewy shiitake mushrooms – RECOMMENDED.

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The Spice Wok Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Grill Kitchen, Malviya Nagar

Food, food and sometimes too much of it. Don’t we all get bored of the same chicken tikka or daal makhani? It is cooked at our homes by us and our parents and served at all the north Indian restaurants and weddings. Sometimes, I wonder the sheer monotony of the same dishes.

To break this drudgery, The Grill Kitchen has come up with a novel taste to the same old dishes. A slight twist in the recipes and boom, you have a different conept. Not like serving the old wine in a new bottle and not overhauling the traditional recipes.

The food explorer in me was delighted to savour their lovely preparations:

Prawn dimsum: Who says that dishes fashioned out of smelly prawns need to have a strong whiff of sea? Subduing that unwanted aroma is where the skill of the chef is tested and if he/she is able to achieve this, then hats off! These prawn dimsums tasted like prawns but did not smell too much like them. The thin skin enclosing excellently flavoured minced prawn is a paradisiacal dish for prawn and dimsum lovers. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Bhatti chicken: It was way too tangy and dry. There was rum added in it but that should have made it a bit bitter not tangy.

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Galouti kebab: Mellow and melt in the mouth made with the finest mutton mince – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Kadhai chicken: The dhaba style chicken served here is pure love. The medley of juicy chicken pieces drenched in a thick gravy of green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cumin seeds is sure to entice you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Daal makhani: Decadency at its best! A hard core non vegetarian like me does not drool over daal makhani but this one forced me to. The daal served here was so flavourful, hot, creamy and spicy with every aspect in balance. Once I started having this with their chewy maida naan, I could not control myself. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Roasted chicken in herbs: This one should be on your priority tasting list if you love the sort of chicken in which the juicy flesh falls off the bones. This one was a s succulent as a chicken can get and was roasted in tangy Zaatar herbs and Indian spices. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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The Grill Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato