Sunday, July 27, 2014

A weekend in Goa with awesome bloggers and Tata Zest at the Zuri Hotels and Resorts

It is 12:40 pm and the weekend stay in Goa is coming to a close. It was a truly  wonderful event, 24 hours of great ambiance, a pampered stay with great food and even greater company, new friendships forged and old ties renewed.

Pic courtesy Nirav Thakker. Please do not republish without permission
Sharing my room with the awesome Seema Rao aka Indian Homemaker and test driving Tata's new Zest mid-sized Sedan (featured above). My co-driver Nirav Thakker clicked this pic while we stopped to enjoy the view during our test drive. Isn't it a beauty? For more information and a quick review please read this blog post.

So we did find some time for relaxation - a leisurely trip to the beach to watch the sunset, cocktails and  and some really beautiful conversations.

As we flopped down on the beautiful grass to watch the sunset by the sea!
 Naren Karthikayen made a surprise appearance and took us through the features from the Zest that he particularly appreciated. He has been working with the Zest team on the performance and other futuristic design features for this awesome car. It was definitely wonderful hearing him endorsing this car!

This morning, I stole some early morning time off and hotel staff Oliver and his lovely wife drove me down to Varca church for the 6 am mass. I am so glad I woke up early...the church was beautiful, both inside and outside!

Our Lady of Gloria Ch. Varca
Pic via

Here's a pic of me that  Seema clicked - caught me unawares, she did!

Here's to the bloggers I met and exchanged notes with, especially Vidya Suri, Shailja, Shilpa, Ritu, Siddhartha Joshi, Nirav Thakker, Arun Prabhudesai, Roshan, Seema, Rekha, Christine, Aseem, Harish and Ankita!

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The Tata Zest Review {Live blogging from Zuri Hotels, Varca} A decor blogger's perspective

A big hi from Goa, where 50 bloggers from India are with me live- blogging about our just-finished test drive of the new Tata Zest which promises to #zestupyourlife

pic via Zuri
The Tata Zest is a game-changing new car from Tata Motors. Driving it in Goa amid the greenery, the gushing rivers and the awesome hide and seek between the sun, the clouds and the rains was refreshing.

I test drove both the Diesel ATM and the petrol versions and I was floored!

This car is a winner with 29 first in segment features for the sedan category in India!

This car will stun you with its clean lines and path breaking design.  A new signature grille, power bulge, strong shoulder lines, rear sling shot line, projector head lamps LED tail lamps, and chunky alloy wheels are all the outcome of a design initiative that TATA undertook across 3 design studios in Pune and abroad, including one in Turin, Italy.

I had the pleasure of interacting with the car's interior designer Shilpa Bandhopadhyay, and on an extremely informative one on one session she took me through her design ideas, and the way she chose the beautifully fitting upholstery that speaks of both class and comfort.

Designer Shilpa Gangopadhyaye talking about the car's interior details like
the careful selection of upholstery fabric
" A bit like home interiors, but not so complicated," says Shilpa.
Shilpa, who is an NID graduate enlightened me on quite a few facets related to her job. She told me that a car's upholstery usually comes in shades of grey, black or cream. And the designer always aims to zero in on fabric that is durable, attractive yet not overly distracting. Hmm food for thought!

Rajiv from the design team explained the exterior design process and took us through the design blueprints for the car's exterior. Easily one of my more interesting accounts with an auto designer!
Brilliantly talented Rajiv spoke about the actual design of the car's body, and shared his ideas
from inception to finish on a sketch pad! How awesome!

The company also revamped its engineering ideas and the performance of the car is true to its promises. The multi-drive modes were what I was looking forward to experience the most during the test drive. From the default City Mode I switched onto the EcoMode and enjoyed the smoothest drive of my life! The engine seemed incredibly harmonious and zesty, and my co-passengers had the time of their lives in Goa's dreamy monsoon weather.

My co-driver later drove and tested the third mode - the Sport Mode which took us beyond any road experience we have had by far! Truly revolutionary!

 The engineering team  who we had the pleasure of interacting with, told us they worked on bringing the amazing vision to life with pioneering safety features, REVOTRON 1.2T engine,  a max power of 90 PS on a 140Nm torque, an electronic brake force, Gen9 ABS,  15 inch Alloy wheels and a Dual path suspension to name a few of their DriveNext engineering features. Incidentally, the Zest will lead a bevy (yes, I insist on saying bevy because the new design makes these cars beauties)of cars to come out of the Tata Stable with the new look, futuristic design and engineering.

How would you like your car, yes your car, to send an "I'm busy now driving", or similar message to your caller?

 The Tata Zest has awesome connectivity features such as the one above, BlueTooth, SMS readouts, FATC controls touchscreen.  A new 5-inch infotainment system designed by Harman/Kardon as well as the audio acoustics system. MapmyIndia has designed the next-generation navigation and location based services for the new cars. Other key features include drive by wire technology for better engine response.

The Tata Zest promises to be a sedan like no other on Indian roads.

Would I buy the new Tata Zest? Yes!
If you knew what I know about the Zest, you would too!

This car is slated to come with an extended warranty period, and several other buyer perks. A little Tata-bird also hinted that they might have an extended annual maintenance scheme, free round the clock road assistance, and more!

When I drove it, I loved the responsiveness of the engine, and as I mentioned earlier the drive modes were fantastic feature add-ons! The interiors were comfortable, roomy and stylish, but not swanky and plush - just the way I like it!

With 2 kids usually in the back seat of my car on long drives and highway trips, I was pleased to hear of the impressive safety measures, the use of baked hardened steel (not all cars use this material), and that the car meets not just Indian but quite a few international safety measures. There are also some futuristic features such as dual SRS air bags.

The Tata Zest price? I don't know for sure but there were definite indications at the event that despite its mind-blowing features never-seen before in an Indian mid-sized sedan model, the car will be priced on par with other cars in this segment such as the Xcent, Dzire and Amaze.

The reports from the car review experts  range from cautiously excited to unbridled delight, and I am particularly happy with the mileage reports they share.And, if Narain Karthikeyan is endorsing it, and has also collaborated with the company during production, I think that's good enough! ;)

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Entertaining with Metal Tableware {class and elegance}

Metals are a great decor addition on our dining and party tables. Nickel, silver and brass, they are all making a come back in the most gorgeous designs. They are far superior than plastic and melamine (especially when it comes to environmental care), a welcome change from pottery and ceramics, and they instantly up your style quotient as hostess!

Have a look at these new products in the market, and you will know what I mean.

Elvy Lifestyle

Founded by husband-wife duo Lovy and Vandana Khosla, I am particularly impressed with their nickel, nickel [plated and nickel with tarnish, etched and engraved products. It is reminiscent of the old days when silver ware adorned the tables of the affluent. 

A tea-strainer 

Dishes and adornment for tea-time/ dessert counters

Spiral Tea Set

For more info visit

Alchemy De-Luxe

Poonam Gupta's Alchemy De-Luxe is a brand synonymous with beautiful silver ware. These especially caught my eye.

Silver tumblers with gold rings

Round dish with decorative handles in blue
For more information visit
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About Me

Hi ! I'm Sharon. I am so glad you are here visiting. The Keybunch is primarily a decor blog, but it's lovingly peppered with lifestyle and food posts. I am most inspired by simple spaces that have evolved, or speak of their owner's creativity. I also adore old homes and antiques, possibly because I am from Mangalore, and my decor sensibilities are highly influenced by the colonial style of architecture that I was exposed to, growing up. Do spend some time reading my posts. I have a search feature right at the top, that lets you search within this blog. I have also made separate drop down lists of my home tours, book reviews and the carnivals that we have hosted here. I would love to hear from you. Email me your home pics, or DIY ideas to

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