Are you lost and looking for a tiny cinema that serves wine and Philly cheesesteak in New Delhi? Is it a restored rice mill in Mumbai that houses cutting-edge design that you seek? Or are you in the mood for a boutique hotel in the Mussoorie hills with the best sticky toffee pudding this side of England?
Our favourite online magazine-meets-directory has undergone an extensive design overhaul, and now combines great navigation with up-to-date leads on exciting and offbeat encounters, from alternative shopping and nuggets of local information to great new cafés and bars that span the country.
The India Tube is part of the Guardian Travel Network, a selection of the best travel blogs selected by the Guardian.
We took ten minutes of Vandana Verma’s time, our shiny new editor of The Indiatube and discovered why she’s quite a cool lady to hang out with.
So, ten of your favourite things?
Oh. Is it ok if they’re all about food?
(She’s already popular. We emphatically say ‘yes’!)
Ok. Wow. I feel like this is going to be the most boring list ever. I love…
Holidays, because they sound very cosmopolitan.
My I-pad. I’m the most technologically-retarded person in the world, so the fact that I now know what to do with it is such a revelation that I spend every waking minute with it. That’s four.
No, it’s actually just three.
Hmmm…this is harder than I thought it would be.
Diving. On a recent trip to Bali I went diving and I was absolutely terrified but it ended up being great so that’s new.
I’m a huge fan of any sort of pink, sparkly wine champagne-y drink. A lot of things I like are slightly embarrassing because of all these obvious girly connotations.
Also, I’m a huge fan of gin and tonic. I actually have this entire geeky blog post up about how it should only be this gin and it must be this tonic. Gin is a very big deal in my life. The water bottles in my house are all Bombay Sapphire bottles. It’s quite a daunting thing actually because there’s this army of blue bottles when you walk into the kitchen….that’s ten surely!
(Yeah yeah sure (we say). The gin counts as five.)
Ten things that we should know about you?
What else do you need to know about me? Nothing much really. I’m a writer. I’m a little neurotic about planning so I don’t do anything without an excel spreadsheet to back it up. So even for The Indiatube, I have a colour-coded spreadsheet down to what’s edited and what’s not. That’s everything about me. How sad, I feel such a uni-dimensional character. ‘She plans, she drinks pink drinks and she writes. About food.’
I have a blog that I just started. It’s the only thing I’m excited about, aside from joining W+K (quick save). Go to it – singforyoursupper.in! Because I have Google analytics to keep track and will know if you don’t.
This neurotic-ness is interesting. Tell us more.
I have to make a to-do list on a daily basis. Scratch off stuff on the day before to-do list and if it isn’t done, then transfer it to today’s to-do list. I do it everyday. It’s the anchor around which everything else oscillates.
So what are your plans for The Indiatube? What are the ambitions?
I’ve actually been following Indiatube since it launched. An interesting mainstay for Indiatube I think is food. But I also want it to be slightly more functional from a traveller’s point of view and turn it into this place where you could genuinely fashion an itinerary for yourself. So I think it’ll be cool for it to continue to be, much as it began, a cool bunch of shit for people to do, as recommended by another cool bunch of people. A trusted recommendation.
Do you like music a lot?
I like music as well. So that blog that I was talking about is a way for me to tie in the two things that I do, which is listen to a lot of music. But you just don’t want to be that person sitting down saying ‘but you know, I think this band is shit because’ or whatever…(laughs). The blog is a slightly self-indulgent way for me to do that without being a douche.
So songs on your iPod right now?
Do you own an iPod?
I do own an iPod but I’m using this guy (her iphone) as my ipod at the moment.
So, what are you listening to?
Right now, I’m listening to a lot of this act called Quedo who I’m a huge fan of. I’m listening to a guy called Jay Paul, who is neither Jay Sean nor Sean Paul. He’s really interesting…and a lot of BLOT just because their debut album drops next month. It’s a good album. Weird, diverse album.
What are the ten ‘spots’ for you in Delhi?
Errrmmm… It’s so hard to answer questions when you’re actually asked them. When nobody asks then I’m brimming over with this stuff…
Anything is fine. No pressure.
Thugs! Thugs is a bar with Mogambo. It’s at the Hotel Broadway near Dilli Gate.
Thugs? Never heard of it.
It’s this really weird space because it looks like an Irish pub but all over the wall are just sketches of thugs. There’s a rogue’s gallery that has every Bollywood bad-ass that’s ever been. So you sit there with your 40 rupee things of beer with all the Bollywood baddies staring down at you. It’s the most ridiculous bizarre place and its super cheap.
Food-wise…Delhi or Mumbai?
I think Delhi is currently the most exciting city in this country for food by a country mile. Mumbai will always be Mumbai with Gajali and Trishna but I think it’s much more exciting in Delhi at the moment.
It’s the fact that Indian food is so much better treated I think in Delhi. I remember, as a kid growing up in Mumbai and Chennai, the one thing you could never get were kebabs. And when we moved to Delhi it’s like everywhere. You can walk into some chut-phut thela and the kebabs are excellent and you take it completely entirely for granted. It wasn’t until this time when I was in Mumbai that someone said ‘you’ve got to try this place, the kebabs are excellent.’ They were trash!
So ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
That’s a tough one. I was going to say something about running a website because just two weeks ago I didn’t know much about setting up a blog or the backend of how a website works and then met some great people who sat me down and walked me through it. Now my new deal is that I’m just all about online. So who knows. I don’t know what I’ll be doing ten years from now. I barely know what I’ll be doing ten days from now!