Beauty and the Beast: The #HexaExperience

One fine day, the home page of Indiblogger flashed the Test Drive of the new TATA HEXA in Hyderabad. I was excited and applied keeping my fingers crossed. To my immense happiness, I was shortlisted among 60 bloggers from all over India to experience the TATA HEXA! My joy knew no bounds!

Delhi bloggers at the airport all set for the #HexaExperience!
Day 1:
We all Delhi bloggers assembled at the Delhi Airport for our flight to the city of Nizams. Our flight was at half past twelve and we reached Hyderabad at around 3pm. It was my first time in Hyderabad and I loved the vibes which I got after landing at the Rajiv Gandhi International airport. We were taken to the Novotel  Airport Hotel and it was just ten minutes away.

As we entered the hotel, we rushed to the Square restaurant for lunch as the buffet was going to close. 
We were greeted by this beautiful room with surprise gifts by Tata Hexa waiting for us (power bank, macaroons and cute stationary)
Poolside facing beautiful room
The lunch was super delicious and I had a generous serving of everything.  I am usually not a fan of Biriyanis but since I was in Hyderabad, it was a mandate.  After a heartfelt lunch, we registered ourselves and filled up the Indemnity form. Then we went to our rooms to rest and change. Our beautifully made rooms welcomed us with a gift package from Tata Hexa. Later on, the Tata people pampered us with Power Banks and a box of macaroons. Then at 6 30 we all assembled at the Ballroom for the Orientation Session.
Intercity bloggers getting to know each other

The presentation begins: What makes us choose an SUV over a sedan?
The real fun then began. We were introduced to the macho Tata Hexa by Richard, Ravinder Jain and Vivek Srivatsa as they unfolded fascinating features one by one about the Tata Hexa. Then we were also made acquainted with our drive trail. We were supposed to drive 85kms one way so it was 170 kms in total. I was dying to take it out for a spin.There was also a Q and A session where all are queries were solved.

Why the name HEXA?

. First it was supposed to be a six seater but then it was turned to a 6+1

. There are six airbags (front, Side and Curtain)

. There are six gears and a reverse gear.
The first glimpse of the manly Tata Hexa at the launch party
Beautiful ambiance at the cocktail party
After  the session it was time for  the cocktail party. There was food  and drinks galore and entertainment in the form of a stand up comedy session by Mr Biswa Kalyan Rath. He left us in splits. Then there was caricature painting which had us in splits. We slipped into our beds as it was an early day the next day.

Social media handle cupcakes

Day 2:
We woke up at 5 in the morning (eyes popping as it was a Sunday) and had breakfast at 5 30. At six, we all got to see the line up of the Hexas. There were sixty bloggers who were divided into twenty teams; three in each. So there were twenty cars standing. Ten in Tungsten silver and the other ten in Arizona Blue. I particularly loved the blue colour. The fleet looked fantastic.
Its six in the morning; I may a bit sleepy but am all set for the long drive

My team got the M9 car; M for manual transmission. The manual ones were blue while the automatic ones were silver.  Our team’s captain started the car. As we soon as we started, I knew we were for a special ride.

The drive up (Manual Transmission)

It was a 85 km drive to the Hills and Valley Resort through the outer ring Road of Hyderabad.  The car has an excellent pickup.

We took a wrong turn and ended up here. However the drive on this highway was mindblowing!

Interiors:  Macho black. There is a small shelf like space above the glove box on the dashboard where you can keep things and they won’t fall off.  The vanity mirror has lights on its sides which I loved. There are enough cup holders in the car for your drinks.
The vanity mirror has lights on both sides!

The Infotainment System:

The Hexa allows seamless smartphone integration. The vehicle boasts the new Connect Next App that features various applications such as NAVIMAPS App, Juke Car App, Tata Smart Remote App and Tata Smart manual App
Gorgeous interiors. I particularly love the smashing Infotainment system. Right now it is displaying the navigation map. You can connect with with your smartphone and use various Apps. The music is simply mind blowing!

The 10 speaker JBL System ensures that you don’t have a single dull moment during your ride! We blasted our car with mind blowing music!

Sun Blinds: The rear door sunblinds kept the scorching Hyderabad sun at bay.

We took a wrong turn in the beginning and ended up driving an extra twenty kms.  It was ablessing in disguise as we got to drive even more. The drive was butter smooth. 
There are four drive modes:

Auto Mode: The car is optimized to adapt itself automatically to all surface conditions. It provides a reassuring drive regardless of the road conditions.

Comfort Mode:  This one is for long drives. The engine provides precise power allowing constant cruising speeds on the highway.

Dynamic mode: In this mode the HEXA achieves maximum power and acceleration. It performs well during extreme handling maneuvers on curvy roads or while drifting. It ensures safety in adverse conditions.

Rough Road Mode: The best part about HEXA is that it allows you to explore…in true sense. You don’t need smooth highways for a smooth ride. You can take the road less taken (rocky, rough and slippery terrain) and still your ride is going to be smooth like butter!
The Hexa is awesome off road!
There were various potholes and rough patches during our journey but we did not feel a thing! Our Hexa cruised smoothly as if the road was normal!

We reached The Hills and valley Resort and had quick refreshments while our next car got ready. Since we drove the M9, it was time for A9. I was super excited to drive the Automatic one.

The drive down ( Automatic Transmission)
All set to take the Automatic car for a spin
Our car was off to a super start. The pickup was even better than the manual one.  It was a six km stretch from the resort to the main road and it was a bumpy route. But we never felt a jerk in the TATA HEXA .

The sun was at its scorching best but the AC was super effective. There is an AC vent on Floor console for the rear seats. There is an automatic temperature control too. There is independent fan speed controls for front and rear.

As we came to the highway, we accelerated. The maximum speed which we reached was170 km ph but still the ride was butter smooth. We stopped at various points on the way to absorb the natural beauty all around. I drove the last segment of the drive. I had never driven an SUV before leave alone automatic. But the car was so smooth and so easy to drive that even an SUV Newbie like me felt confident. I loved every second of my time behind the wheel.
Almost at Hyderabad
Like all things come to an end, our drive did too. It was one hell of a drive. We reached the Novotel Hotel and had lunch. The most exciting part was still left: The Off Road Experience.


The best part of the TATA HEXA is that it’s a lifestyle vehicle. Its for long drives, its for adventures. You can take it anywhere you want regardless of the terrain or weather or landscape. We were taken for the thrilling off road experience.

The driver was an expert who acquainted us with the car’s special features. The hill descent function is for steep descents which would switch off automatically as you come to a level road. Hill Hold Control prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards on uphill drives. There are anti skid features to drive over water and snow.  (Traction Control System)  ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution optimizes braking distance and enforces vehicle stability.

This video will give you a fair amount of idea what the TATA HEXA is capable of off roads!

It was one helluva of a twenty minute roller coaster ride!

So to sum up, it was an exhilarating #HexaExperience! I plan to look forward to its launch next year. Thank you Tata Motors and Indiblogger for this AHmazing opportunity!

Some more beautiful moments during the road trip:
Soaking in natural beauty

Met fellow bloggers on the way and started goofing around

Fall Essentials

Which is you favourite season? For me, its definitely fall! Although we do not experience 'Fall colours' here is Delhi but the rest of the things are Fall like! THe mornings are chilly and so are the late evenings and nights. The air is filled with fragrances of frangipani and Nyctanthus. Also its the time for my favourite festivals...Durga Puja and Diwali! The moment I start feeling the frangrance of Nyctanthus, I know that Durga Puja is just around the corner!

When it comes to fashion, Fall is my absolute favourite. This season signifies deep colours which ooze warmth. Burgundies  and Bordeaux, deep blues and navy, leather and leopard, everything reflects richness and warmth! While browsing the web for latest fall essentials, I came across which had everything I wanted!

I wanted to shop so many things but I finally narrowed down to these four.

1. Deep Purple Coat: As the season progresses, so does the chill. You need a coat which would keep you not only warm but in style too. This shade screams autumn in every way!

Shop this fabulous coat here

2. Bordeaux Bodycon dress: Not only I am crazyabout this colour but look at its silhoette and fit! The dress is here

3. Faux Leather: Fall is incomplete without leather right? Faux because I am totally against animal products. Animals are to be admired from a distance right? And not to be worn!

Faux leather gives warmth and can be easily paired with a long cardigan or coat or worn under a dress.
Find it here

4. Navy Blue Cape: For those nights which are nor too cold but still need layering, this is the perfect outerwear. It covers your arms and adds that much needed dose of style and warmth.

So stock up your fall wardrobe right now from!

Plaka, Athens, Greece

The Plaka is the second most famous part of Athens that I was familiar with’ after the mighty Acropolis of course. Plaka was a dream to not only me but for even Americans too! If you have followed Gilmore Girls, then you would know. In one of the seasons Rory’s grandparents travel to Greece and when they come back, Rory wants to hear about Plaka! Hence I was very excited for Plaka but my husband was not. For him the entire city of Athens looked like that. I however begged to differ.

Welcome to Plaka!!
I had high hopes from Plaka. However our excursion started on a rather unsatisfactory note. You must have read our Mall of Athens fiasco here. That was a sheer waste of our precious hours. And just because of that we lost the daylight. We deboarded from the metro at Monastiraki sation and the ambiance there was rather festive.
The Monastiraki metro station
Everyone enjoying the Sunday..

It was a Sunday and the people there were in full celebratory mood. There was music and dance in front of the station. There was a bunch of African guys who were collecting money for some religious thing. The flea market of Monastiraki is worls famous. However when we came out of the sation, the flea market was almost shut. The reason? First of all it was a Sunday. (the mall closed on Sundays and not perceivable by Indians) So the shops had shut down pretty early. Secondly it was half past eight. Just because we were basking in extended daylight that did not mean that the businessmen did not have a family of their own. So we shopped a few souvenirs from the ones which were open (of course) against my husband's will. The items were terribly expensive. A souvenir baby tee (for my daughter) for 12 euro? It was too much. But somehow we managed to hunt a cheap one (kudos to my perseverance for buying my darling a gift). I got a magenta tee that read 'Athena..the Goddess of Wisdom'. Then I bought a lot of fridge magnets for my loved ones (replicas of Acropolis, Hercules, etc).

Street art with a street hooligan!!
By the time we eneterd Plaka, it was pitch dark. I was crestfallen. I had dreamt of capturing those iconic Greek balconies with hanging flowers in the broad daylight. Well what had happened was irreversible. I started enjoying the beautiful ambiance in the dark itself. The atmosphere was infectious. There were the most beautiful restaurants I had ever seen in my life and the most melodious of folk songs. At least thousands of tourists were having dinner at different cafes. Some of the places had a vintage decoration while some had grapevines hanging over them. The streets were of course cobbled. Candle lights were twinkling all over.

The famous Greek cat!
There was this huge reastaurant whose decor attracted me and we went inside. We were amazed to see what was inside. There were pictures of famous personalities who had dined there among which there was a picture of Indira Gandhi, the first prime minister of India. We asked the restaurant owner as to what he knew about the photos and he actually knew it! We felt really nice.
The first Female prime minister..Indira Gandhi

The owner knew who all were there in the photographs...
After roaming around more on the cobbled streets, we decided it was time to go back. The metro had a definite closing time and it be a nightmare to miss the last train and take a cab instead.

We took a ride to the Syntagma Square. We went to the Parliament just in time to witness the change of guards; a phenomena in itself. It was indeed glorious.

The changing of guards at the Parliament House..
The Parliament House beautifully lit up at night!

We then spent some time around the Syntagma Square watching the beautiful fountains againts the lit city. I did not want to go back. It was after all our last night in Athens. But good things come to an end. So we had to part and gear up for our next adventure Paros Island!
The Syntagma Square looked spectacular at night!

Dress: Globus
Purse Aldo
Hat; Accessorize (Malaysia)

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

The Temple of Hephaestus at the Ancient Agora
There are few places which I had been dreaming of visiting since my childhood. That is way long before I actually learnt the entire world map. Some of them I heard from my mother , others I came to know from Discovery kids channel. Those were Venice, Greece, Mexico , Mauritius to name a few. Hence Greece had been over 20 years in my to do list. All I knew about Greece was their civilization, the Acropolis and Hydra Island. Too bad we could not squeeze Hydra in our island hopping tour.

As I grew up, My knowledge about the world increased. Atlas had been my favourite book since I was nine years old. I started adding new places to my bucket list. Everyday. But that did not mean that I fell out of love of my old favourites. I started researching more on them.

For me Greece meant The Acropolis. Intensive history reading made me think so. It was much later in life that I came to know about Santorini and other islands. Greece meant history and history meant Acropolis.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus
It was just last year that I actually came to know that the Acropolis consisted of several structures. When we started planning for our trip, it was through my husband that I came to know that the Acropolis is not one but a huge complex of five structures: Parthenon, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Dionysus (theatre), Erectheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The structure which I used to think of as The Acropolis is actually the Parthenon. The only thing that matched my imagination with reality is its might. No wait! It was thousand times mightier than what I had imagined it to be!
The mighty Parthenon
It was our first morning and second day in Athens. It was a hot sunny day yet the cool breeze sent shivers. We took the metro to reach there. We bought a combined ticket which permitted entrance to various archaeological sites. It cost us 44 euros for 2. It was HUGE! Well we started with our excursion with the Ancient Agoda. It was just then and there that I realised that even ruins can be so picturesque! The Parthenon was visible in the background, on top of the hill. We planted our tripod to take a joint picture with the Acropolis in the background. An official came to us and strictly forbade to do so! The Greeks are so possessive with their soil too! :D

The Peripteros at the Ancient Agora

After an hour there, we walked towards the hill. Acropolis means 'building on a hill'. The plethora of tourists started right from the foot of the hill. It was a rocky climb ahead. I had never seen so many tourists at one place in my life. And the climb? Thank God I was wearing flats. First we braved the rugged slope to reach the Aeropagus. The view of the Acropolis complex on one side and the city of Athens on another side was mind blowing.
It was a rocky climb to the Aeropagus
The view of the Acropolis from the Aeropagus. In the classical times, this place was used for deliberate homicides!!
The surface of the Aeropagus was rather rocky...many people were slipping and falling...However the view from there was unmatched!

The view was overwhelming. To reach the Parthenon we had to brave rocky stairs and overenthusiastic tourists. The entire place was under restoration so there was a lot of chaos and dust. The total area is actually very, very huge. My feet was tired and swollen from the rocky surface and it was just the beginning of a very long day.

The Propyleaea...The entire Acropolis complex was under restoration...You can easily make out how tough climbing these rocky steps were.
Tired after climb after climb as well as the scorching Greek sun..
The Erectheion attention to the huge stone carved sculptures..
The Temple of Athena Nike
The Parthenon
There is a saying in India that wherever you go, you can't miss out Bengalis. Bongs love to travel and hence they are so ubiquitous. Suddenly we heard a Bengali conversation. We approached the elderly couple and had a hearty talk. It feels lovely to reconnect in your language. But we learnt that they were citizens of South Africa. All over Greece whichever Indian couples we found were all non resident Indians. Well they had a son who was a doctor too! We toured the entire place together and then bade goodbye.
With the South African Indian Bengali...Both of his children were doctors too :D
View of the Athens city from the Acropolis...
P.S This post took me way longer time to write than I had imagined! The different parts of the Acropolis are so complicated and the names so unusual that I had to double check the pictures with facts as well as my memory so that all the information I furnish here is 100% correct ;D

Dress: Globus
Hat: Accessorize (from Malaysia)
Purse: Aldo
Jewelry: Forever 21
Sunnies : from Bangkok