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Whisky Lady – Just July

July was honestly just a lot of fun. Just as June was full of travels, July was very much Mumbai focused.

Glenkinchie, Clynelish, Jura, Cardhu, Ardbeg

Our original club and Bombay Malt & Cigar club took a break, however no mere monsoon could hold back our intrepid Whisky Ladies who tackled 5 whisky regions with:

Togouchi, Nikka, Yoichi, Kavalan

A long pending invite lead to a lovely evening sampling Far East whiskies with:

Tomintoul Trilogy

I also had a chance to crack open a miniature trio of Tomintoul 10, 16, 27 year 40% – think spring (10), summer (16) and fall (27)!

2016-06-28 European Tour

Plus the usual catch-up of the previous month’s tasting sessions with the Whisky Ladies European Tour:

Winnipeg Whisky bar + ladderBeyond tasting notes, also shared a:

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Marginalized to Mainstream – PM marching with Pride

A terrible horrible thing happened in Orlando this summer. That 50 people lost their lives and many others were injured in a shooting at a gay nightclub is beyond a tragedy. However the outrage and condemnation of the attack was a small sliver of shinning light in a very dark moment.

As I walked through the heart of Toronto’s financial district in June, everywhere were signs of support for pride month. The aftermath of Orlando brought an enhanced push to the usual preparations for pride.

2016-06-23 Happy Pride Month 2016-06-23 Inclusion makes us stronger

Bankers, insurers and pride – oh my!

2016-06-23 Sunlife Pride

It was no surprise then that the Toronto pride march had Canada’s Prime Minister, Ontario’s Premier and Toronto’s Mayor all marching.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves a flag as he takes part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on Sunday, July 3, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves a flag as he takes part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on Sunday, July 3, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

One day, I hope, my adopted country India will reach the stage where those marginalized today simply for loving someone who happens to be the same gender will be be completely embraced by the mainstream.

Trudeau has given a wee wake up call to PMs around the world…

“It shouldn’t be a big thing that the PM is in a pride parade.”

CNN on Trudeau at Toronto’s Pride

Related posts:

“And she’s back!!”

I’ve lightly alluded to a pre-occupation with changing over my visa which has impacted the entire way I’ve approached continuing to keep India my base.

Do you love Mumbai too?

Back to Bombay / Mumbai…

Short answer – I am now the proud holder of an Indian work visa! (and there was much rejoicing!!!)

Even better, I am very fortunate to partner with a company that enabled the best of both worlds – primarily support their growth while not closing the door on relevant consulting assignments in India that can be routed via their firm.

Even more remarkable, the actual submission and obtaining was relatively painless. (more on that later!)

It was all the angst and preparation (may I admit over preparation) that was nerve wracking.

What I realized is that I’ve clearly become too ‘desi‘ as I anticipated the most bizarre arbitrary and absurd possible documentation requests. My luggage was  bursting with papers providing certifications, notarizations and more of practically anything and everything that could evidence my 13+ year life journey from Canada to India.

The ground reality in Canada? Easy peasy.



I was gobsmacked to get it in one day when heard horror stories of friends getting stuck for weeks… nay months… with the shortest visa successfully obtained in 5 business days. It was all those stories that gave me sleepless nights as I kept hearing of challenges after challenges… and prompted my paranoid over preparation!

Now that I’m back, I have a date with the FRRO (aka Foreigners Regional Registration Office) which will likely utilize all of my earlier efforts.

Just figuring out how to upload the properly sized photo was an indication that I’m well and truly back in India – same requirement that worked fine for the Indian visa is completely rejected with multiple permutations and combinations and manipulations yet to be accepted by the FRRO website?? (insert merciless laughter!)

A promising start - FRRO (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Back to the FRRO (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Wish me luck for the next step in the continuing saga and hope any others out there who were required to change their status in India (or elsewhere in the world), have a smooth go of it!!

Related posts:

Whisky Lady – June Jaunts

June was full of travels! Which just so happened to prompt a few whisky adventures with:

June featured three tasting sessions!

2016-06-28 European Tour

Whisky Ladies European Tour with four completely distinct whiskies:

Irish Night (Photo: Ashok Gulati)

Irish Night (Photo: Ashok Gulati)

Alas I missed the Original’s Irish Night which featured:

  • The Wild Geese Rare 43%
  • Knappogue Castle 14 year 46%
  • Teeling Small Batch 46%

The Cabinet Whisky List

However it was ably substituted by a fabulous Peat theme with Winnipeg’s The Cabinet!

  • RoseBank 21 year (1990/2011) 53.8% as a ‘starter’ – Increasingly rare discontinued lowland whisky
  • Ledaig 10 year 46.3% – Excellent easy drinking entry to Islay peat
  • Talisker Storm 45.8% – Sea breeze and smoke
  • Paul John Peated 55.5% from India… guess who introduced that whisky!?

Do check out The Cabinet‘s post “Peat” on our evening too!

Paul John Distillery, Goa, India

Paul John Distillery, Goa, India

One of our intrepid whisky ladies while on  a film shoot in Goa took a little detour to visit Paul John distillery!

This prompted my Revisiting the Paul John Bold 46% – currently my smoky ‘go to’ dram.

I also had fun comparing a Laphroaig 10 year with their PX Cask.

2016-05-17 Great King, Starward, Smoky Goat

Caught up with tasting notes from May with:

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Road trip anyone?

Whisky Lady

An exciting development with my Canadian trip is an opportunity to go on a whisky distillery tour.

After a year of writing about whisky many folks are surprised to learn that I’m a distillery tour ‘virgin’. Yup!


I received confirmation the tour is set up and they shared a wee list of ‘guidelines’… which sounded vaguely familiar to Inver House’s global marketing head Karen Walker’s fashion advice to Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies!

  • Close-toed shoes
  • No skirts
  • No large pieces of jewelry
  • Please bring your ID
  • No photos are allowed on the tour

As for where we are going?

Let’s just say I’m proud to share that my first tour will be in my home province of Manitoba, Canada… and delighted to be hopping in the car for a little road trip from Winnipeg…

Gimli (Photo: Clarina Taylor) Gimli (Photo: Clarina Taylor)

Those who haven’t figured it out yet don’t know their whisk(e)y!

PS Photos all courtesy of a…

View original post 35 more words

Travel time…

Not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a bit pre-occupied the last while.

Lots happening behind the curtain with the upshot that in just a few hours I will be on a plane from Mumbai to London… enjoy the weekend there catching up with my partner, seeing him perform, hopefully meet a few friends!

Partner and I at BAFTA

Partner and I last year at BAFTA

Then hop on another plane to Toronto. Hope and pray everything goes smoothly with my Indian visa submission.

Hop on another plane to Winnipeg to spend some much needed time with family and friends.

2015 family reunion

2015 family reunion

Then hop on yet another plane back to Toronto where my sincere wish is that a lovely new visa will be ready and waiting for me. Pretty please!

And then, yes you got it… hop on another plane back to London then home to Mumbai.

Do you love Mumbai too?

My adopted home…

Won’t bore you with the details but this is a big change for me. Til now I’ve been terribly spoilt in the visa department. With a flourish of a pen all that changed. So now… my fate is in the hands of some random stranger. Just as it is for many people. Wish me well!!

Related posts:

Whisky Lady – May missive

Whisky Lady sampling remained strong in May with four whisky sessions!

2016-05-22 Westin Whiskies Cards

It kicked off with a special “Gourmet Affair” whisky and food pairing by The Singleton and TheWestin Mumbai featuring:

  • Glenkinchie 12 year with asparagus and burrata
  • Caol Ila 12 year with stuffed morels and mushrooms
  • Talisker 10 year with seared scallops and prosciutto or corn fed chicken
  • Lagavulin 16 year with Australian lamb loin or Indian lamb shank
  • Singleton by Glen Ord 12 year with mignardises

Bushmills contest

Our Bombay Malt & Cigar (BMC) invited the Whisky Ladies over for a sociable evening of Irish malts! With tasting notes from a few of the lovely Whisky Ladies!

2016-05-17 Great King, Starward, Smoky Goat

Our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai had a theme of “I like the label!”

20160527_Talisker, Laphroaig, Inchgower

Our original club explored unchartered territory with:

*Tasting notes coming soon in June!!

Then the usual catch-up of posting reviews from April’s tasting sessions with:

Pssst… with upcoming travel, much needed restocking will take place! However posts will likely be less for a few months.

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find even more Whisky bits ‘n bobs on:

Rules are meant to be broken…

It doesn’t take anyone long to realise that in India ‘rules’ are not really unbreakable ‘rules’ in the strictest sense.

They are often more like ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’ sorta aspirational guidelines.

Or something put on paper so long ago no one actually has a clue why it is there.

Or it is a deliberately placed reason to extort… I mean monetarily punish hapless ‘rule’ breakers.

This evening I took a stroll along the Bandra Reclamation promenade. Hidden away behind aluminium fence was a sign with the ‘rules’.

I decided may as well test the theory to see how many of the ‘rules’ were broken wittingly or unwittingly during my walk.

2016-04-05 Promenade Rules

Eatable and drinks / Alcohol and drugs – 0.5

  • Remarkably little of this happening
  • Naturally… there is evidence of food and other consumables…

2016-04-05 Litter

Littering, spitting, smoking – 1

  • Seriously? As if there was ANY hope of this being controlled…
  • That said, there was significantly less smoking than anticipated

Loud music – 0

  • Remarkably none!
  • Naturally we were sonically assaulted by the nearby rush hour traffic honking, but blaring music? Nada!

2016-04-05 Dogs

Dogs – 1

  • Clearly the municipal corporation did not consult its local canine residents before making this decree🙂
  • However pet owners parading their precious pound of puppy flesh? Yup. check. You bet they were there on the outskirts

2016-04-05 Bike

Cycles and skates – 1

  • Lost count of how many kids could be found on bikes
  • Personally I applaud there being any kind of space where kids can be on cycles without being run over
  • So as far as I’m concerned for the wee ones, this is a pretty rubbish rule in the 1st place!

2016-04-13 Loitering

Public meeting – 1

  • Um… you mean people are not permitted to meet?
  • Let’s just say this was flagrantly ignored…

2016-04-13 Walking

Indecent / unsocial activities – 1

  • Well, I wouldn’t call it indecent but the moral police would likely be offended by the canoodling couples
  • I’m still enough of a polite Canadian to give them their privacy… so no photographic evidence for your perusal… simply imagine how the folds of a delicate dupatta or burka can deftly be used as an effective cover…

Card games – 0

  • Gosh not one card game spotted!
  • Unless on the mobile phone counts…

Hawkers / beggars – 0

  • Let’s just say there was a wee bit of informal commerce but not the full on in your face hawkers and beggars
  • If anything, parts of the promenade seem to be respite for where folks with limited means can enjoy a little sea breeze and company of friends

2016-04-05 Flowers

Plucking flowers – 0

  • Well… to pluck flowers, you need to have flowers… aside from those next to the sign well before the promenade there wasn’t exactly any green stuff let alone pretty flowers begging to be plucked on one side…
  • The closest to qualifying would be this… bet you can’t wait to get an armful of these beauties as contraband flowers, eh?
  • However on the other side there was indeed some flowers to be found!

Damaging public property – 0

  • No wonton destruction witnessed

Goodness! The rules were more or less mostly kinda in a very desi sorta way followed… pretty much… not bad Mumbai!

Out of 11 possible ‘infraction’ points, this little sample scored only 5.5 i.e. only 50% of the rules were broken / kept depending on whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty kinda person!

What’s the prevailing attitude to ‘rules’ in your parts?

Stop and stare… in Delhi

When running up the steps for a meeting in Hauz Khas village in Delhi… was arrested by the sight of this mural on the staircase wall…

2016-04-18 Delhi Fashion Mural

From office art in Mumbai to stairwell murals in Delhi, any everyday art make you stop and stare?

Other Sunday Snaps:

Office art in Mumbai – Lorenzo Quinn


These days I’ve spent a lot of time popping in and out of various office around Mumbai for a hectic series of meetings.

Every once and a while, I come across something that makes me pause….

Like these two piece by Lorenzo Quinn at India Bulls Finance Centre in Mumbai.

Lorenzo Quinn La Dolce Vita

About La Dolce Vita, Lorenzo shares:

The thrill of living the dolce vita in Rome must have been amazing. My father tried to describe it to me many times as I was growing up. It was a world full of hope and rebirth, a feeling of eternal spring for humanity. For me this sculpture represents that joie de vivre and the total abandonment to the child within.

Lorenzo Quinn Two Sides of Nature

And the Two Sides of Nature, he shares:

We often ponder which road to take. I wonder a lot about the good and evil in the world. There is a constant battle within us between these two. The Ego and the Superego – and in between is the Id. This sculpture symbolises all the parts of the inner self. We hope that what prevails is the Golden part of our soul.

Lorenzo Quinn Two Sides Close-up

Other Sunday Snaps:


Carissa Hickling

Carissa Hickling

Originally from Winnipeg, Canada, has called India home since 2003, working in Asia Pacific and traveling all over! She's also a bit of a 'Whisky Lady' too!

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