Part two of our monsoon special looks at ways to make the most of staying in — from board games to apps that will deliver food from your favourite restaurant.
Outsource your errands, engage in a round of traditional board games, call in for some munchies, finish a book or two... The options are endless.
Games: Move over, Monopoly. Ditch the usual suspects with these offbeat board games
You’ve probably heard of the ancient game of Chaupar, thanks to the Mahabharata. Like Ludo, it’s a dice game that can be played by two to four players. Each player rolls the die and makes his way towards ‘home’. The first to race all four pawns there wins.
Buy: KEC Green Games (kecgreengames.com), Kids Edutainment Centre, Juhu, Contact: 98334 64080 | Price: Rs 2,100 | Desi Toys (desitoys.in), Viviana Mall, Thane (W) | Contact: 3993 1347 | Price: Rs 599
Aadu Puli Aatam/Bagh Bakri
This is a strategic, two-player game that originated in southern India. One player controls three tigers while the other controls 15 goats. Statistically, both have an equal chance of winning. The tigers hunt the goats while the goats attempt to trap the tigers.
Buy: KEC Green Games | Price: Rs 450 Desi Toys | Price: Rs 599 | amazon.in, flipkart.in, snapdeal.com
The game simulates market scenarios and unforeseen situations. Make decisions and accumulate income to reach a goal. This game will teach you a thing or two about finance.
Buy: chanakyaschakkravyuh.com | Contact: 2430 2587 | Price: Rs 3,000 (available in English, Hindi and Gujarati)
This game can be played by two to four players. Pawns are controlled by cowrie shells, instead of dice. Move all your coins to the innermost square by making strategic moves.
Buy: Desi Toys Price: Rs 599 amazon.in, flipkart.in, firstcry.com
The age-old game from Gujarat roughly translates to ‘nine pebbles’. It’s a two-player alignment game where each gets nine coins of different colours. Reduce the number of your opponent’s coins or block all his moves to win.
Buy: Desi Toys | Price: Rs 599 | KEC Green Games | Price: Rs 500 | amazon.in, flipkart .in
— Manali Shah
The Reading List: Stay in and curl up with some hot chocolate and any of these five new books currently on stands
Grey, by EL James
Fans of the erotic-romance Fifty Shades of Grey series know Grey as a complex, mysterious man whose life turns upside down after meeting Anastasia Steele. What is it about her that evokes a storm of emotions in him? Read Grey to find out.
Killing Monica, by Candace Bushnell
Killing Monica follows the story of Pandy ‘PJ’ Wallis, a famous author whose novels have been made into blockbuster movies. But Pandy wants to kill off Monica, her protagonist. The Sex and the City author's latest promises her trademark humour and style.
The House of Hidden Mothers, by Meera Syal
After 16 years, British-Indian actor and writer Meera Syal is out with a new novel. The House of Hidden Mothers deals with sensitive issues like surrogacy and late parenthood. The book promises to be moving and witty.
Flood of Fire, by Amitav Ghosh
Amitav Ghosh completes the bestselling Ibis trilogy with Flood of Fire. Set against the backdrop of the First Opium War and Britain’s seizure of Hong Kong, it narrates the journey of a variety of characters from India to China.
The Heat and Dust Project, by Saurav Jha and Devapriya Roy
A young Delhi couple travelled across India on a tight budget of Rs 500 a day for bed and board. Their account, The Heat and Dust Project, sees India through its small towns: public transport, rooms by the hour, imposing forts and, of course, its people.
— Manali Shah
App your service: Can't go to the restaurant? These apps bring the restaurant to you
Zomato has been the go-to website for details about food reviews or for contact details. Now, they also offer food delivery via its app, Zomato Order. The interface is easy to navigate, but what makes it stand out is its huge bank of reviews. We called for the Non-Veg Lunch (Rs 229) from Hangla’s. Our order was confirmed within five minutes, but we later received a call informing that the item was unavailable. We settled for Mutton Kasha with Lachha Paratha (Rs 170). The order arrived in time.
Craving home-cooked food but the rain making you lazy? Home chefs across the city are listed on this app, along with they offer. It has menus for lunch, snacks and dinner, and even the items available in the coming days. There are photos of the dishes, so you know what to expect. We opted for the Aloo Fry with Parathas and Peas Pulav with Dal Hari Pyaz by Chef Joel Dsouza (ex-Taj President) (Rs 200). The food was top-notch. On the flipside, they don't cover certain areas or offer discounts.
* Delivery Chef
Craving something from a restaurant that’s not in your vicinity? Delivery Chef is the most punctual of all the app-based food delivery services we tried. Our order of a Chicken Biryani Box (Rs 239) from Biryaan — The Biryani House came right on time. Menu items are listed in three categories — veg, non-veg and Jain. Again, there aren’t too many discounts.
The app has a really good selection of restaurants, and have the most discounts as well. We found its user-friendliness to be second only to Holachef. The menus are extensive and it offers a pick of popular restaurants. You can also track your order. It promises to deliver within half an hour, but our order of Hummus with Arabic Chicken (Rs 150) and Spicy Chicken Shawarma (Rs 100), took an hour.
One of the oldest food delivery services, Foodpanda offers food from high-end restaurants as well as fast food chains. Our order of Lamb Biryani from Meal Box Café (Rs 265) was confirmed on phone, and delivery happened only after that. Foodpanda offers plenty of discounts, and a choice between delivery and pick-up. Most orders require an hour.
— Soma Das
Couch, potatoes: Don’t fancy wading through water to get to the grocery store? Order them off your sofa
The website ( bigbasket.com ) has an uncluttered design where products, ranging from vegetables to gourmet items and meat, are neatly catalogued. You can choose from a saved list of food items as well. Our order of 16 things, which included fresh vegetables as well as fragile items like eggs, was delivered in perfect condition, despite the rain. While the time slots (you can choose from four-five options) add convenience to the overall experience, we would have liked the delivery boys to give us a heads up.
One of the oldest player in the market, Local Banya ( localbanya.com ) recently started Instantbanya, a service that promises delivery in under two hours (available only in Thane and Navi Mumbai at present). This game-changing feature, if offered across a wider area, can put Local Banya in direct competition with app-based services like Grofers, which deliver within 90 minutes. We ordered 19 items, of which 18 were delivered the next day in the time slot chosen by us. An email informing us about the change in our list was sent a few hours after we placed our order.
One of the best features of the app (on Google Play and App Store) is that each vendor lists individual delivery timings, which means you get to choose what suits you. You can even order from multiple vendors. While the app is easy to navigate, it features very few vendors at the moment. Our order was delivered within 80 minutes and in perfect condition. Grofers could be your best bet in the monsoon, but it needs to increase its options.
— Meenakshi Iyer
Five websites that handle your chores, while you stay home and dry
From delivering medicines and event tickets to picking up cheques and assisting with automobile repairs, GetMyPeon will do everything Ramu kaka does for your dad. They promise same-day delivery service on specific routes, with packages for execution of tasks within two hours. Services start from Rs 200. ( Getmypeon.com )
A La Concierge
ALC offers a range of pickup and delivery services. But they stand out for offering services pertaining to the BMC and the RTO, such as ration card and driving licence application and updates. Annual memberships start from Rs 1,000 a month. ( Alaconcierge.com )
Timesaverz lightens the burden of housekeeping with home cleaning and handyman services. It also offers pet grooming at home. Services Rs 2,000 onward.
( Timesaverz.com )
Need a plumber, or a carpenter urgently, but they are throwing tantrums in the rains? Doormint takes care of carpentry, plumbing, pest control, laundry and house-cleaning chores. Services start from Rs 200. (Doormint.in)
WorkHorse manages all household errands, gadget repair, house painting and beautician services. It handles deliveries, pick-ups, and provide drivers for hire. The minimum cost for any of service is Rs 1,150 for an hour. ( Workhorse.co.in )
— Poorva Joshi
Your Monsoon Playlist: Don't let the weather gods affect your cheer. Here are some pick-me-ups:
* Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson Ft Bruno Mars
* Alley Cats by Madboy/Mink
* Shatter Me by Lindsey Sterling Ft Lzzy Hale
* Bombay Rain by Blackstratblues
* My Favourite Things by Julie Andrews
Brick by Brick
You’re never too grown up to play Lego. A new service in the city recognises your love for the game and gives out Lego sets on hire. Relive your childhood by piecing together Lego sets in various themes. So, apart from the usual Lego city life and automobiles, up your game by creating sets based on movies (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars), Marvel superheroes (Hulk, Spiderman) and Legends of Chima.
Available on rent: funstation.in | Contact: 77389 39020 | Price: Membership plans begin from Rs 700 per month, plus refundable deposit
Also read: The Part 1 of monsoon special