Thursday, May 5, 2011

A trip back home and some gifts for you!

Indian Simmer is a finalist for Best Regional Cuisine in Saveur's Best Food Blog Awards. Winners are chosen by reader vote. Please click on the icon to the right, sign up and vote for Indian Simmer at Saveur.com by May 12.

You must be thinking where the heck did I disappear after showing my  face for a little. Well, we are packing again. Mmm hmm.. again! I returned a week back, got a few good news and boom! back to reality. Back to the trips to Home Depot, brown boxes and measuring tapes and to a room full of things most of which I never used but still packing them. You may have heard me say this before but I am going to say this anyway - "packing sucks and packing to move sucks even more!" I'm doing all this staring at the light on the other side of the tunnel where I'll be moving back to California. Not that I don't like Charlotte but California is where my heart belongs I guess. That's where we made our first home as a new couple and created a new life for us thousands of miles away from our real home!

Trip back home

Our recent trip back to the real home a week back was great too. Its always good to see family and seeing them after years and specially after some of the most defining years of life, it was amazing and emotional!

These things have take place of doodhwalas in India now!

I was surprised to see how much has changed in these few years though. Tall buildings have taken place of the open fields. These funny milk machines have taken place of doodhwalas (milkman) who would come every morning to give milk and mom would complain everyday that he's added more water to the milk today!

Old grandpa's fan!

But some things never change. Like my grandfather's century old table fan, which now doesn't even work but still has a reputed place in the house.

Fresh breads selling by the street

Like the smell of freshly baked breads by the local baker sitting in his stall by the street.

Bangle store in India

Like the sparkling, colorful bangles of chooriwala (bangle sellers).

Yup, that's me :-)

Like the smell of henna (Indian version of temporary tattoo).

An Indian shop

and like the mango leaf toran (garland hung on the doors, considered sacred) outside every Indian house and tiny shops.

They never change and they never fail to make you nostalgic even with the mere thought of them! This trip turned out to be all we had expected it to be! But what we never expected was how well the little one took all the changes she had to adjust to in a month's time.

Little one off for a walk in the park :-)

She loved morning walks with her dadu (grandpa).

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The cousins met and kinda got along!

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Although the gatekeeper was not as happy with her but she couldn't care less. This trip was supposed to be all about her and she made the most of every opportunity she got. Ate cookies for breakfast, chocolates for lunch and ice cream for dinner! Do I still need to say that she had a good time? So now I and A are detoxing her and keeping her away from all the "good" things and closer to all things "green" as much as possible.
I have so many stories and memories from this one trip and I'll keep sharing them with you but I have something else that I want to share with you too. Some gifts I got for you from India. Some tiny little tokens of love and a few bits of India for you. Consider this my Mother's Day gift to you!

Rudhraksha

First thing I got for you is something that is considered sacred and can be called a rosary for hindus. It is called Rudraksha beads. You can learn a little bit about it here. It is believed to have medicinal benefits too and it is claimed that wearing rudraksha beads is good for heart.
P.S - I tried my best to get the best rudrakhsha beads that I could find but I don't claim them to be real bead since I am neither a jeweler nor an astrologer. I've bought it as an accessory and not a medicinal cure.
Then a food blogger needs to get some kind of food right? Due to strict custom rules I couldn't bring all the delicacies I tried there but still managed to sneak in some Indian version of peanut brittle for you. We call it chikki in India and I promise you'll love it!

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Then I found these coasters with beautiful carved metal on them. They looked cute so I got one for myself and one for you.

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The last thing I got for you is this cute little ethnic Indian decoration on the right. You can hang it on your door or find a tiny little place in your house to decorate them. 

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Every time I give something away I tend to neglect the lovely supporters of Indian Simmer on Facebook and Twitter who have slowly become close friends of mine. So this time I thought I'll organize a giveaway for everyone. Please read the steps carefully to get a chance to win what you really like out of the three items.
  1. If you would like to win the Rudraksha beads and a box of Indian style peanut brittle, then please leave a comment here stating that.
  2. If you "like" Indian Simmer on Facebook then leave a comment here stating that and get a chance to win the 4-piece coaster set with silver carving on it.
  3. If you "follow" Indian Simmer on Twitter then leave a comment here stating that and get a chnace to win the ethnic Indian decoration.
  4. If you already follow Indian Simmer on facebook, twitter and subscribe to its emails then please leave a comment stating that to get a gift of your choice.
Entries are open until 10th May 11:59 pm EST. Winners will be announced on 11th May. This giveaway is open only to US addresses, so if you have an address in the United States or a friend with a US address then you are eligible.

94 comments:

  1. Nics pics ...looks beautiful ...like u in fb

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  2. wooot! good luck to everyone joining this contest! hope to win the bead and brittle :)

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  3. Such a beautiful post.. you making me miss home! LOL on the milk man .. my mom had the same complain and at times I used to ask them straight on their face :P
    Those goodies you got from India are gorgeous and would love to win some ;)
    I liked your blog and followed you in twitter long back .. did in FB too :)

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  4. Thatnks for sharing those wonderful pictures with us! A great giveaway. Unfortunately, I live in Europe...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Wow...that's so sweet of u.....lovely read...took me back home....i really liked the way lil one was pampered....i like that cute cap stitched on elephant...:-) in the last pic...

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  6. all the pics look gorgeous prerna..

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  7. This is a great post. That milk thing looks so weird, I haven't seen them anywhere.

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  8. A beautiful photo recap of your trip. Congratulations on your move back to CA. No matter where you live, you'll always be in inspiration to me.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos! Would love to win the beads/brittle :)

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  10. Love the post! Makes me want to visit India. I read your blog all the time and follow you on fb as well. Would love to win anything :)

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  11. Gorgeous, gorgeous, and more gorgeous! I would love a chance to win the Rudraksha beads and the brittle. Love! And congrats on your Saveur nomination- that is wonderful =)

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  12. I follow you on fbook and twitter, and I receive your emails. Love your site!!!

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  13. Thanks for the generosity and for sharing yourself and your pics from your trip. I follow you on FB!

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  14. Loved going thru ur wonderful blog ...each n every pic is a work of art !! Congrats on ur nomination too !!

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  15. Beautiful pictures. My trips to India were always so memorable! I love the food. Thank you for your naan recipe it is the best! I am now following you on Twitter.

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  16. You make me miss home, Prerna! So so much! I used to eat biscuits and chocolates for any meal thanks to my aunt (who I called Yummy Aunty because she would sneak us yum yums)...and I miss seeing the dhoodwalas come to my relatives house to give us milk, and I miss the mango tree I would climb every day behind my aunts house where we spent almost every day after school. I loved hearing about your adventure back home and seeing all the beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing, welcome home and congrats on the big move!

    I follow you on Twitter, already like your page on Facebook and get your emails and read your blog daily! Any of the four items you brought home would be amazing to win, but, I love the coasters, so I'm going to pick those :)

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  18. Have been following your blog for quite sometime now and have tried your recipes. Love the way you taught me to heat up the pil with ginger-garlic/ masala so that the flavors seep in. Just "liked" you on facebook...love the coasters...;P!!!

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  19. I really loved this entire piece and the pictures!! lovely!!

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  20. So gorgeous! It looks like such a wonderful trip. How great that your daughter got to visit and get to know your family.

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  21. I'm overwhelmed by the beauty in this post. Such love so wonderfully presented through your eyes.

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  22. Beautiful photos! I especially love the one of the bangles and of you getting henna. So pretty! I'd love to win those beads.

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  23. Magical trip. Thanks for sharing your photos, and the chance to receive such precious gifts! I follow on Twitter. Love that Indian decoration.

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

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  24. I found your blog via the sauver blog awards and am so glad I did. The beads are beautiful and I'd love them, but what made me smile was the toran and the notion of a welcoming home looking in on itself.

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  25. Oh the beads are so beautiful! I would love to win them! (And who doesn't love some peanut brittle) Glad you had such a lovely trip.

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  26. Prerna,
    Home is the best place in the world, no matter what. And the pictures reflect both you and your li'l monster had an awesome time while it lasted!
    Welcome back and Congratulations on being a finalist in Saveur's Best Blog Awards!
    Well deserved indeed. And wish you good luck for the final results.
    Need I say again I follow you both on twitter & FB ;)
    Any gift will do. Hope my lucky charms work..

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  27. Beautiful pictures and seems like you had lots of fun..Obviously,you were in India!Home sweet home!!

    I would love to win these Beautiful Coasters.
    Of course I am following you on FB, Twitter and Even subscribed to your emails :))

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  28. simple little things shown so beautifully and good to see you back and gud luck with the competition!

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  29. You are liked on facebook, the one place I always forget to add my favorite blogs. There, now it's fixed.

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  30. Thanks for your beautiful pictures and writing, as always! I'd looooove the Rudraksha beads and the box of Indian style peanut brittle please!

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  31. I like you on facebook as well!

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  32. Hi Prerna!
    Your photographs from the trip to India are gorgeous. Kinda makes me miss home now. Hope you had a fulfilling trip back home. I follow you on Twitter and Facebook already. Given a choice, I would love the 4-piece coaster set or the ethnic decorative piece. Good luck with unpacking!

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  33. I am so inspired by your blog and just started following you on facebook. i don't understand twitter so won't go there. glad you're back and thanks for the gift-away!

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  34. Next time you go, please take me with you Prerna! Stunning photos.

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  35. I follow you both on Facebook, Twitter and your blog! This is the best giveaway I've ever encountered so far and would be honored to get the chance to receive the Rudraksha beads. I have been doing yoga and have always been personally inspired and nourished by Hindu spirituality for years, and have always wanted to be given something tangible to pray with. I've heard a lot about these beads but never really felt like buying it off of some random new age shop. Knowing that these came from India gives it even more meaning, and I would be honored to have them and use them and be blessed by them every day :) Thank you for these gifts and sharing about your lovely experience in India!!!

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  36. Wow wonderful pictures prerna :)

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  37. It's nice to see your other side of photography, those not on the food thing. ;D And I like all the angles and colors contrast between the usual daily objects that we saw for granted everyday. My wife bought similar elephant decoration (except that ours is not arranged in circle) and hung it in our living room, but to have it outdoor and pictured with that green backround of yours makes them stand out more.

    Great pictures, great story!

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  38. Lovely photos. Good luck with the Saveur award.

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  39. Usha Food and Sweets Sweets, sweets online, buy sweets online, sweets online New York, Buy Sweets online Indian, Sweets of NY, Send sweets online, Send sweets New York, online sweet store NY, Indian sweets

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  40. I love reading your tid bits from your trip. Sounds like many beautiful memories were made :) Please count me in on all giveaways. Love 'em all! The prayer beads would be put to good use. xo

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  41. I follow your tweets too :)

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  42. If it helps - I submitted this post to stumble too.

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  43. These photos are beautiful, and it really touches me to read such truths about "the more things change…" and also finding your true home(s). I hope your move is a wonderful and easy one.

    I'm so glad I've stumbled upon your blog, and I really can't wait to read more and more.

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  44. lovely post prerna...looks like you really had great time during your visit....got to get back to you soon.....haven't been able to find time to write you back....still busy with setting up the home & that too at the most inappropriate time!!

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  45. Hello, I just discovered your blog via "Cooking for my Family" and absolutely love it. I'm originally from India, but have never cooked Indian food but love it. I recently tried your saag paneer recipe and my husband and 2 year old daughter loved it. We also just recently moved to southern CA and I'm looking forward to testing out more of your recipes!

    I'd love to be considered for the elephants. Nadia

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  46. Hello Indian Simmer, I have 'liked' your website on Facebook and would like to be considered for the metal/wood coasters.

    hb_pencil2004@yahoo.co.in

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  47. I would love to win the Rudraksha beads and a box of Indian style peanut brittle! I have made many of your recipes in my free time, and my parents are enjoying the variety of cuisine!

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  48. enjoyed your post the little things that makes all the difference :) glad to hear you enjoyed regards

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  49. Pretty beads! For me, too, they'd be an accessory, not a medicine!

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  50. I follow you on Twitter! (And that elephant decoration would match an Indian tapestry we have on our bedroom wall with similar elephants!)

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  51. Very nice pictures,Nice carving on the Rudraksha beads...really awesome....Well I live in the Netherlands..no change for me to win:-(
    But love the picture;-)

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  52. Beautiful pictures! I love the one of all the colorful bangles and the bright blue wall.

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  53. Lovely beads, and who can resist peanut brittle? Thanks for the giveaway!

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  54. @saladgoddess already following you on Twitter!

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  55. Wow you're such an amazing blogger to get your readers all this amazing stuff! I know exactly what you mean about things changing so much in just a few years but yes some things stay the same fortunately (China is the same). By the way, how adorable is your baby girl. Love the photos!

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  56. Beautiful photos! I would love to win Rudraksha beads and a box of Indian style peanut brittle!

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  57. I'd love to win the Rudraksha beads. It was very thoughtful of you to bring something back for your readers, thanks for the giveaway!

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  58. I just found your weblog, and I'm really excited about reading the whole thing. Since I'm sick in bed, I think that's what I will do. Thanks for the opportunity to win something from your heart. That is so generous, so count me in your new fan club.

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  59. I Liked you on Facebook and I love the coaster set.
    lyndaclark@yahoo.com
    My Facebook is the same as my name.

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  60. I would love to win the Rudraksha beads and a box of Indian style peanut brittle. I have eaten Indian peanut brittle and it is really good and the beads are lovely. Thank you so much for the giveaway.

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  61. I am following you on Twitter @lyndacooks
    I love the Indian decoration, it is so bright and colorful.

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  62. Prerna, this was such a lovely post. I loved all the images, especially those with your little girl in them. Now I can't wait to meet you even more. Hurry up with the move...please. :-)

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  63. The vibrant colors in your photos are amazing! I also love how you captured the light in your photo of the bangles. I've tasted the chikki peanut brittle before and LOVED it... and a second opportunity to enjoy them would be great as well :) The beads are beautiful too - are those the same as "mala beads"?

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  64. Hi, I'm following on Twitter @FanyaFang and "like"-ed the blog on Facebook under Chujiao. I'd be fine with either the coaster or the decoration if I win. =)

    I LOVE Indian food and just found your blog recently. I also love how there's non-Indian food that are still delicious (the orange souffle is bookmarked. Palak Paneer is my #1 fav and I got the recipe from a friend, but I still haven't found a good one for Samosas, so I'll be checking out your guest blog recipe) =D

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  65. I love the coaster set! I have recently become a 'world traveler' and want to fill my home with treasures from abroad. This would be perfect!

    P.S. I 'liked' you on Facebook. :)

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  66. All the pics ar3 stunning and it seems this was a profound experience too with a lot of lovely family reflections. Good luck in the move.

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  67. Wonderful photographs! It is so nice of you to host a giveaway. Unfortunately I don't qualify because I am in Canada... But goodluck to the participants and congrats to the lucky winner :-)

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  68. Hey Prerna - Lovely blog .. I have entered the giveawy for the coasters and have liked the blog on facebook :)

    Take Care,
    Vindya
    (vnarsian@gmail.com)

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  69. hey lovely post n giveaway...welcome back...i m a happy follower of ur blog and like u on fb too..all r great gifts but i loved the coaster set...fingers crossed...
    and u look gorgeous with the mehndi and who is tht adorable angel...amazing pics dear...
    hugs
    sanyukta
    http://creativesanyukta.blogspot.com/
    creativesanyukta@gmail.com

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  70. i subscribe to your rss feed. i would like to enter to win the Rudraksha beads and the peanut brittle. lovely photos!

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  71. I would love the Rudraksha mala and peanut brittle.

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  72. I would like to win the coasters.

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  73. I liked on FB and subscribe to the emails and would love to win anything! ;) I'm so glad to find you!

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  74. I liked on Facebook- cannot believe that I have not done it this long! You Rock- been a fan of yours!

    abbhi

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  75. I am a new follower, but so far I love your pictures and recipes! The stories bring something to special to each recipe as well. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    I liked your page and this post on Facebook.

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  76. These are all so glorious, I don't know how to choose! I follow you by email, Twitter and Facebook (does that make me a stalker?). I would love the beads. They are stunning.

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  77. I am a follower on your page on FB already! Love your blog! Your recipes and photos rock!

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  78. Man, I don't want to win anything but I've got to tell you that I still love your photos so much and you make me miss India more than ever.

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  79. I just loves looking at your pictures and reading your story!! You are really very good at both. also you are excellent at choosing gifts!! Adored all of them. Hope that your packing goes well.

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  80. Beautiful photos Prerna - makes me nostalgic for India. Congrats on your Saveur nod - I voted for you!

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  81. Touched my heart. Thank you.

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  82. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing!

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  83. i'm a huge, HUGE fan of Indian Simmer and have absolutely loved seeing India thru your eyes - am following your every move girl - facebook, twitter and everything else in between!!

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  84. fantastic photos, its not just about the techniques, the vibrant colours, the composition or angles that seem to matter, its the love that shines thru - thats fascinating. Each photograph means something and its lovingly taken. Evokes memories of childhood Bengal. Congrats, thanks and good luck.
    greetings from Brussels

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  85. I loved your choice of gifts, I am already a follower on Facebook since quite some time..

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