NINETY SIX

I go on several road trips in our car to nearby places. I have traveled 3000 kms on one road trip which was the longest road trip for me. And while I have been on these road trips, there have been several occasion when I have wished I had known ahead of the trip what all to come prepared for or bring with. Mind you while on the road it is never possible to predict what emergency you might encounter. In fact, not always will the arrangements you make before you start prevent the emergency situation but at least if you come prepared there is a 80% chance you will be able to handle the situations that do crop up on the way and you can be sure that your fun and adventure are not curtailed by fear of the unknown events.

So, without much ado I give to you the list, my checklist, after many road trips, some impromptu, on a whim trips too.

Things to Remember before you start on a Road Trip:

  1. The Car : This is your ride and it is important that you are aware of condition of your vehicle. A well maintained car means less headache before the trip. By well maintained, I mean a car which is taken care off. Sending the car for routine service is important but more importantly ensuring that the car is kept in best shape all year round. Getting the wheel alignment, tyres, break oil, Engine, AC unit , Coolant checked is important. The service people will do that for you but as the owner of the car, you should know how to run some basic checks before you start the road trip. This becomes important when you go an impromptu trip and also while on the road. Make sure your headlights and tail lights are in order, along with your windscreen wiper, without these you will have a tough time negotiating the Indian highway. Ensure the spare Tyre is in good shape and has adequate air pressure. The car comes with a kit for handling your flat Tyre in case you get one. Make sure you check it before you head out. In case you do end up using the spare Tyre, get the flat Tyre repaired as soon as possible because you may need it. On one of my trips I saw another driver use a hand held air pressure checking device along with a foot operated air pump for his tyres. I am yet to invest in one. But in case you are confident with handling such a device you can invest in it. I am strictly against keeping spare fuel. As per current regulations petrol pumps do not allow you to take fuel in canister.
  2. The Destination: First you decide on the destination, that’s the easy part, the difficult part is planning the route and navigation. If this is your first road trip my suggestion would be to take it slow. No need to try and drive 12 hours or overnight. Focus on doing a certain number of kms per day during day light and accordingly plot your stopover and stay. By stopover I mean to suggest pit stops which are very important to keep you from getting fatigued, to relax your muscle, and believe me you will need it for your leg muscles will strain. Even if you are not on a long drive of say more than 300 kms, eventually you will stay overnight somewhere, so plan that stay accordingly. It is a good idea to check online for resources, for example there a re many blog entries by people having done a similar road trip, that may provide you with some inputs. Now that you have zeroed in on the destination and you have the kms chart in front of you and a approximate idea of how long you will be driving let’s get to the part about Navigation.  
  3. Route & Navigation : In this day of Google Maps everyone is reliant upon technology, but when you are in India where 4G network is sketchy in the City, imagine what can happen when you are out on the highway passing through several states. My point is do not depend on just one thing, especially an internet dependent technology. Does it mean you have to buy a map and trace the route on it? No, I only mean to have a offline source of your route and not remain dependent on Google Maps. Google maps has a option of saving a route offline which means even if your internet is not working your Phone GPS will still guide you. Initially when we started our road trips, we used to take prints of the entire route from Google Maps. Along with the description and directions you can easily take prints of the bifurcated sections of the route which gives you better details. While you are plotting your route, please remember to do it before hand, what Google Maps does is it pics up your current location and gives you a route from there, best not to do that, because we have been taken on a wild goose hunt by the map. Also remember the Google maps is designed to pic the fastest route , even if it is faster by 3 mins and 5 kms extra. Don’t go blindly by what the map says, that is why it is important to plot the route before you set out.
  4. Fuel and other consumables: If you have internet, you can figure out stops for rest rooms, eateries and fuel stations but on a longer trip it is always better to do a little research before hand. This means calculating how much fuel you will burn on your trip and around what point on the journey do you need to refuel. Mark these important pit stops on the map. These will come in handy. In consumables I would club everything from Drinking water, Dry food items, medicines etc. Let me break these down for you in case you think these are easily available and can skip them. Drinking adequate water while on the drive is scary because you worry about finding Rest Rooms on the way. It is true in India the availability of clean toilets are an issue. But remember to stay hydrated. Carrying at least 2 bottles of drinking water from home, this will have you covered in case you don’t get any places to buy water, also the packaged water you get in some locations may be locally packed and very dicey in nature. Apart from this, it does make sense to save on cash. I would also suggest keeping a separate bottle of water for washing. This is meant for your dirty windscreen or your self. You never know when you need it. Keep some dry food items like sliced dry fruit cake, biscuits, a few fruits like apple & guava, some chocolate this is to keep your energy high and snack in between rest stops. A small first aid kit should always be there in your car glove box apart from this carry your regular medicines, in case you use some, for other medical emergencies, carry a basic supply of cold, fever, stomach upset medicines.
  5. Miscellaneous:  These are the stuff which no one tells you about and which I have come to realize do come in handy. A USB full of great songs, a small concealed knife to be used for both helping you cut fruit and a weapon, a box of dry tissues, some wet wipes. Remember to pack your car charger, a drained phone is of no use. Bring with you some old newspaper. Why you ask? Because a road trip shouldn’t be only about being on the road, you may want to take a break from the driving and find a meadow and sit down to spent time with nature. Remember while you are planning your trip to remember to keep the driving to exploring ratio balanced. You don’t want to end up only taking the highways and being completely drained by the end of the trip. Take a detour, explore a field, sit at a roadside dhaba and drink some tea. When packing luggage remember to keep a separate bag which contains a change of clothes and a scarf, you can keep this in the back seat while the heavier luggage can be in the boot. Keeping a small cushion handy makes sense, this can be used to support your back while driving and in case you wanna take a nap in the back seat.

The above list is not all inclusive there maybe several things which you may require to add according to your requirement. But the most important non materialistic things to carry on your road trip is your confidence, intelligence, common sense and sense of adventure. So, what are you waiting for, plan that road trip and go for it, don’t forget to enjoy the views and click pictures.

Psst#12

Psst#12

Summer fruit tips!

Watermelon: use an ice cream scoop to make balls of watermelon. Use them in a tall glass of juice, freeze them to eat with ice cream.

Taal Shaash or Jelly seeds of Palmyra Palm: Freeze them, makes peeling the brown skin easy. And its like biting into a natural popsicle, sweet and soft.

Jaam Black Plum: wash well, slice off the sides, add chopped green chillies, rock salt, leave it out in d sun for a few hours. Tangy, spicy, salty snack.

Try them at home.

TWENTY

I went into a makeup induced coma yesterday evening. The H. & me were out for our evening stroll through the local market when I chanced upon a new shop full of makeup. The shop housed everything from nail enamel,  eye make up, foundation and liquid makeup, lip liners and lipsticks, glosses, eyeshadow palettes and more. It boasted of brands I recognized,  V.O.V, Faces, L’Oréal,  Inglot, M.A.C to name a few.

The moment I stood amidst the trays bursting with nail colors I went into a makeup induced coma. The surrounding sounds faded and my mind was filled with colors, pops, pastels, glitters, nail art…. and more, the glass bottles held varied colors and they glittered under the lights and beckoned me like gems in a treasure. To me this find was like the Dwarfs laying their eyes upon the lost gold. My eyes glittered with glee. I felt like a kid who wanted to grab all the colorful toffees in front with both hands.

Slowly my senses returned as I began my research into this hoard of treasure in front of me. The basic problem facing me was no tester policy. So nothing can be tested. Although I found women surreptitiously doing it anyway. But that only meant there were more used products on the shelf. The other thing that put me off was they wouldn’t allow photography.  The prices were dirt cheap, which made me very suspicious of the origin of these products.  But I like my discounted stuff anyday. Why buy at full price? I wait for sale season, I can admit that without any embarrassment.

The H. suggested staying away from the skin products like foundations,  lipstics and compact. Instead I went on to buy some nail color and a nail paint remover. Both of which I needed. As I believe a woman can never have enough nail color, lipstick, shoes…. and… ; the list is long.

I am fairly impressed by the nail color and the remover- an acetone free one. Both are not imported and made locally. But with a discount tag of 70% it’s a steal. I am looking forward to picking up some pastel shades for summer nail color from the shop. The nail color I picked up is a pop pink, the texture of the polish is creamy, not dry. It spreads evenly, if you follow the 3 rules of nail color application, it gives a medium glossy finish, leaving no ugly bumps or brush stroke lines. I used a top coat to add shine and protect the color.

Update: The nail color proved to have less than normal staying power. It didn’t lose the shine and color because of the top coat but it started chipping from the tip. Of course my usual avoidance of household work has been put om hold for now, so this may be an effect of the cleaning, cooking washing activities.

Just in case you were wondering what the 3 rules are for nail painting.  Here they are:

1. Always use base coat to protect nails and top coat to protect color and make your nail color long staying and chip resistant.
2.  Nail color application requires patience. Never do it in a hurry, unless you are addicted to express finish nail colors. Always apply the coat of nail paint in three strokes starting from the middle. Do not use excess polish. Do not use a polish that has thickened, it will look messy. Use a thinner to dilute the polish.
3. Let the coats dry between application.  Usually to get the best color application of 3 coats is recommended.  But depending on ur choice you may restrict it to 2 coats. Never rush the drying process with blow dryer, dip ur nails in cold water instead.

After the initial drool inducing moment I thought The H. may have to drag me away because I sure as hell didn’t want to leave the shop. But I reminded myself, everything in small doses keeps things interesting.  I will be back soon to check out the shop again. My eyes are on the glitter range of nail polish this time.

Tell me about your makeup induced coma moment, in the comments section.

THE END

Psst#11

Psst#11 5 tips to dress to beat the heat in Summer

  1. If you spend a lot of time out in the Sun for your work wear full sleeves they protect your skin better. Same goes for covering your legs. Unless you are willing to lather yourself up every 2 hours with sunscreen it is better to wear covered bottom wear. Choose loose bottom wear instead of skinny fit.
  2. Carry a Stole/Scarf/Hat/Cap to cover your head and face to prevent heat exhaustion. Wear shades or sunglasses to protect your eyes. Stick to lighter colors, whites, pastels and shades of blue, yellow and green. Don’t be afraid to try patterns in your garments. Try wearing Shirts with lighter shaded Chinos which will be more comfortable in Summer.
  3. Wear Cotton garments instead of other materials. Linen also works very well for Formalwear in Office.
  4. Change your socks everyday if you wear formal shoes. Air your shoes after your return home. If your feet sweat use a foot spray to keep them odor free. If you wear leather shoes use a colorless cream polish to keep the leather from drying out and cracking.
  5. Don’t forget to wear deo before leaving home. Do not spray the Deo on your cotton clothes, it will leave a patch and weaken the threads of the garment. Try to wear citrus notes in your perfume or cologne.

I hope these help.

Do write in for any tips you may have in the comments section.

 

Psst#10

Psst#10

10 ways to beat the heat this Summer.

1. Shower – Take a shower as early as possible in the day. Take a shower when you return home. Try taking a shower before you go to sleep. If you have sensitive hair use a shower cap.
2.  Bath – Use a bath oil in your bath water, try to use a similar fragrance for your other products like body splash.
3. Soap – Clean away the dirt and sweat with a mild anti bacterial soap. Don’t forget to use face wash for the excess oil and sweat on your face. Try using a foaming face wash to reduce oiliness.
4. Drink – Have a small bottle of water with you at all times so you can sip it. Avoid chilled water, carbonated drinks and alcohol. Try some fruit juice like mango or water melon with some ice cubes.
5. Greens – Try to increase the intake of salads, with lettuce, onion, cucumber etc.
6. Sunscreen – Never miss wearing sunscreen.  Don’t forget about your feet and legs. Carry a travel pack for re application.
7. Wipes- Carry wet facial wipes for instantly refreshing your face. Use non alcohol based wipes. Carry refreshing facial spray that can cool you off and leave a lingering perfume.
8. Fragrance – Layer your fragrance with bath oil, after bath spray, moisturizer,  perfume. Avoid deodorant with alcohol, it dries your skin.
9. Moisturize – Don’t ignore moisturizer in summer,  your skin still needs it.  Don’t use the winter product in summer.  Get a light and fragrant moisturizer meant for summer.
10. Cover – Carry umbrella or hat. Use cotton stole, scarf etc to protect hair and face from the Sun, heat, dust and pollution.

And don’t let the Summer get the better of you.