Take a sad song and make it better

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This line from the famous song “Hey Jude” strikes a chord with me. Love how it inspires to improve whatever it is that’s not good.

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2017 so far has been an eventful year for me personally. It started with bringing in the new year in beautiful #Thailand. In case you have missed out on that post, you can check it here. I’ve even completed my swimming classes, have learnt enough to enjoy picnics at water parks and resorts. There’s still room for improvement though. Then, I’ve moved into a new challenging role on the work front. It’s something that keeps me occupied 12 hours on weekdays (which is why my blogging has taken a back seat, sorry).

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Call it growing up, getting mature, caring a damn or anything you’d like.. But I’ve even become calmer in my ways of dealing with life and it’s pressures. There used to be a time when I’d get hyper at the drop of a hat, but now I’ve learnt the art of letting go or simply ignoring all unwanted mess. ‘Keep calm’ is my new mantra.
In fact I’ve even reduced my social media usage altogether.

The travel bug has definitely bitten me and in fact I’m even open to exploring places as a solo traveller. Can’t wait for my next trip whenever and wherever that is.

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Of course l enjoy writing and that’s why this blog came into existence in the first place, but lately I tried my hand at getting poetic too. Here’s something I had recently put up on my Instagram account. In case you aren’t already following me on Instagram, follow @franchuadsouza now!
The intention is to get better at whatever I do and improve the overall quality of my life.

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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead. Stay happy always.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer,
Franchua D’Souza.

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Take me home, to the place I belong

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Hellooo everyone!

I may be a little late, but wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! Let’s make the most of 2017!

Firstly I’m super excited writing this post as I have recently returned from my Thai holiday. I’ve had the opportunity to see some wonderful places there, and I’ve soaked in everything I could. Can’t wait to share all the details about my trip.

In Thailand I covered Rayong , Pattaya and Bangkok. Each of them were visibly different from each other and most of the time I had some lovely experiences. Two things that I can happily cross off my bucket list now are Zip lining and sea walking. Both completely differ from each other, One had this whole adrenaline rush taking over while I was zipping through and the other that needed me to be calm under sea  while I walked in it and fed fishes. In  Bangkok, I felt all those happening city vibes and it reminded me of things back home (minus the pat- pong shows). Something I’ve gone a step further in, is eating Thai food. I did not experiment too much with street food but managed to try and enjoy the food at a few restaurants here and there (unlike Singa..).

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Of course I enjoyed my holiday and everything but the one thing I missed besides my loved ones was the food! The first evening after arriving in Bangkok, while walking down the Phloen Chit road, I decided to stop for dinner at this Indian restaurant Bawarchi Indian that served authentic North Indian food. Located at the Intercontinental , I knew there were fewer chances of disappointment. Plus, I really craved Indian food by then.

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It’s funny how when I introduced myself to the VP Mr. Vinay Chawla , he mistook me for an Indian girl who was to come in for an interview that evening. It did seem a bit off with the kind interview questions he put forward, until he realized his boo-boo. 🙂
*good luck to all those that interview here- I hope Mr Chawla doesn’t intimidate you*
Trust me, he was way too kind after that.

Now talking about the restaurant.

Firstly I felt at home, looking at the Indian staff around to greet us and offer the best service they could. The walls, painting, decor, ceiling, the swing, the music set up, the instrumental hindi music that played – everything made me forget that I was actually in Bangkok!  The staff (mostly Indian too) were quick on their feet right from our cocktails to dessert.

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The papadum cones itself along with their dips already set the quotient high. For starters, out of the Tandoor Jhinga (tandoor prawns), Stuffed wild mushrooms, Ajwani mahi tikka (red snapper- again the tandoor way), and murgh tikka (chicken tikka), my favorite was the huge Tandoor Prawn and the mushroom. The spices they used for the tandoor were mouth watering. Loved how it was very Indian, yet had an interesting twist.

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As a mushroom fan, I went on to try the Cream of Mushroom soup. As rightly described in the menu ,it is pretty much a classic creamy soup tampered with some Indian flavour. Don’t be surprised when you find some tadka to your soup.

When you’re in a restaurant that tells you straight that they’re full-on into North Indian kind of food, you must try the Biryani. Exactly the next dish I’m discussing.

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Served in cute little kadais, the portion is just right for 2.  The aroma itself screamed yum! The long grains, the fried onions, the spices in the biryani masala, the earthiness from that chicken in there were bang on! I’m glad this wasn’t a fusion kind of dish.
There cannot be a bigger compliment to a restaurant than for a person who is on holiday, staying at a hotel , is ready to take the food home and eat it the next day for lunch/ dinner, cold if need be, but will have it anyhow. Yes, I took the parcel, err 2 of them- chicken and the Lamb biryani (they get the lamb especially from Mongolia I understand). Did I say it’s yum??

It’s strange and funny how even though I claim I’m stuffed after eating a-lottt of food, I have plenty of space for dessert. It’s like I have a separate compartment within my tummy for it. Indian sweets are mostly extremely high on sugar and rasmalai is no less.But who’s complaining? I had it all. 😀 nuff said.

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I dined here on a Monday evening, the only day there’s no live Indian music. I strongly suggest if you plan on visiting this place, make sure you get to listen to some Indian music too.

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Hope you enjoyed reading my take on #bawarchiindian
If any of you have visited or plan on visiting this restaurant or any place in Thailand, give me a shout in the comments below! I love reading what you’ve to say.

Until my next post..

Lots of love,
The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

I have a dream

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A dream to travel. Travel to countless places, both big and small. In order to start making that dream come true, I started off with my recent trip to Singapore. You must read the gist of it here. In today’s post I’m sharing my trip in detail.

For starters, as much as Singapore seems like a small country, it is not! Even if you argue that it is, it’s definitely not one of those Asian countries that can be covered on a 5 day trip. There’s loads to do and many tourist attractions. I tried covering most of those places on my trip, yet there were a few I missed out on. It was like a fight against time.

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Tid bits about tourist attractions visited:

Night safari: If this is your safari debut, it will amaze you. Sitting in that beautiful animal printed tram, you get to look around at the animals that are just a few metres away. For you to understand more about the animal you’re looking at, there is a pre-recorded audio set in the tram to give you an idea and some interesting bits.
Like, did you know Snakes aren’t really sticky and wet? They just appear glossy but are completely dry.

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The Night safari is all about the experience. If you’re looking to bring back photos to show your dear ones back home, probably this isn’t meant for you. Flash Photography is strictly prohibited as it scares/annoys the animals. You don’t want to take a chance with them now, do you?

Universal Studios: Having heard quite a bit about the movie based rides here, it was obligatory to visit the USS.
On entering USS, you are transported to another world altogether. It’s difficult not to stop and take pictures as you walk through to the actual rides. Interesting looking little buildings, Workshops, candy stalls, meet and greets with movie characters, street dances, restaurants, chocolates and souvenir shops etc will catch your attention.

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You need an entire day to explore the USS. The movie based rides are the highlights. Also while you’re at it, might as well visit the Sea Aquarium which is just across the USS.

Sea Aquarium: It’s crazy not to get impressed looking at more than 100,000 underwater animals from 800 species, swimming in 45 million liters of water. Fish lovers, you will want to live here.

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If you’re lucky you will get to see the Octopus go through a whole maze. It’s outstanding!

River safari, Singapore zoo: Though they are 2 different attractions, they can be done one after the other.
The Indian Gharial is worth all the attention it gets.
The river safari depends on your luck as sitting on a river cruise you can’t do much but just hope the animals/ birds appear into sight. The amazon quest ride passes through some interesting species that are just at an arm’s distance away.

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Singapore zoo is a huge spread. There’s a lot of walking to be done, so it’s best to wear sneakers/ walking shoes. It’s easy to lose your way here and hence remember to carry a map of the zoo.

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Do not leave the zoo until you spot the Panda (there are 2 of them – Jia Jia & Kai Kai), the Polar bear and the white tiger.

Merlion Park: This isn’t really a park. Coming to Singapore and not seeing and posing with this fish-lion statue is like having an unaccomplished trip. You can spot the mighty Marina Bay sands Hotel, The domes of Gardens by the bay and even the Singapore Flyer from here. All these places look marvelous at nights, they’re well lit up and stand out.

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China town: In Singapore this is the street you need to visit for souvenirs. The cute buildings, the bright colors everywhere makes this market attractive enough for you to spend some time here. Shopping is an advantage.

Marina Bay Sands: Even if you want, you can’t miss it. This building stands 57 floors tall and it’s infinity pool is a dream! As if the view from the top isn’t enough, imagine swimming like you’re at the edge. It’s quite a high.. pun intended.

The hotel puts up a brilliant light and water show in the evening. It’s approximately a 11 minute show that will have your attention at the water.

Gardens by the bay: Walking into the flower dome, you will be greeted by a thousand plus different flower speicies from all over the world. Nature lovers will want to make this their home.
Besides the Flower dome, the Cloud dome is a surreal experience.

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The best time to go to these as well as walk the OCBC skywalk is during the light and sound show in the evenings. Standing amidst the supertrees is unexplained.

Alive Museum: Situated at the Suntec city mall, this museum will bring out the child in you. It’s 3D art is not just to be admired but makes you one with the paintings. It’s meant for people of all ages.

Hoping this list has given you a gist about the places you should visit while at Singapore.

Food in Singapore:

While I loved my fancy meals at The Black Swan, Loof, Me@OUE, Ce La Vie and KPO cafe, for the times I was out and about exploring, I preferred sticking to Mc Donalds/ KFC/ Burger King etc. The local Singaporean food seemed too strong for my taste buds. Although I went with an open mind to try out local delicacies, the use of fish oil in everything changed my mind. 7/11 was like home when there weren’t any of the above fast food joints available.

 

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Everything mentioned is from my personal experience and I encourage you to have your own. Do share them with me. Reading anything about Singapore makes me happy and brings back good memories.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer,
Franchua D’Souza

 

 

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra#DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

A thousand miles

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Hi all,

I’m so glad you’re back to know more about my Singapore Ventures!

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Starting from where I left off..
Singapore’s Changi airport is really big, bright and beautiful. It’s so big that when we made stops around to check for free WiFi, and at some duty free shops, we lost track of where we needed to collect our luggage from. While asking authorities around along the way, we still stopped here and there to take a few selfies.. ( err.. Why not? Who goes to Changi airport everyday right ?). After getting our deserted luggage from the luggage claim area, we were on our way to exploring this beautiful Country.

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The MRT! Our first and most widely used local transport for our Singapore trip. This is where that International feeling started creeping in; seeing the locals, and the tall city buildings everywhere. The one thing that immediately caught my attention was the locals’ Fashion sense. Singaporean women love dressing up, filling-in their eye brows and even wearing fake eye lashes.. Even their daily casuals are just so chic and comfy, I actually complimented a lady on the Mrt metro about the cute top she was wearing.

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Not wanting to waste any of our International time, we started exploring the place the very first evening itself. For the days we were there, we visited almost all tourist attractions, something I’m so proud of. We used to start our day at 7:30am and call it a night only after 2am! Night safari, River safari, Singapore zoo, the famous Universal Studios, the sea aquarium, Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands – the light & water show and the observatory deck, Gardens by the Bay and Altitude 1. We certainly made the most of our time and didn’t want our stay to come to an end.

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The Silent Hummer observations :
Singapore is a clean place. It’s maintained very well by the people. No question of pollution or litter.
Singaporeans love dressing up, and they do a good job. Women’s staple clothes are shorts and tees/tops.
They’ve got some amazing modern world architecture which makes for a fantastic evening skyline.
To relish the local food one will have to acquire it’s taste (something I didn’t quite adjust to).
The transport system is excellently connected. You’re literally shopping in a mall, the next thing you know you’re walking on the MRT Platform. It’s a safe country. As a woman you can walk alone on the street in the city at 1am and no one will bother you.
Most of the places – whether restaurants / parks / hotels / Gardens / airport etc have free WiFi.
Traffic rules are followed strictly. People wait for their turn to cross the road. Also no one eats / drinks / smokes in the MRT or at the stations.
Surprisingly, the locals aren’t really sure of directions or how to get to places. We depended on Google maps because people working in stores couldn’t even guide us to the famous Gardens by the Bay.
For souvenir shopping, China Town is excellent. Things are affordable and they’ve got great deals on. It just looks like a tourist place.
Don’t fall into the trap of those sweet old trishaw riders, just take a taxi. They’re cheaper and faster.

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Hope you enjoyed reading this post. As and when I compile more Singapore posts, they’ll definitely be shared here.

In the meanwhile, I’ve become super active on Instagram and Twitter. Follow me there and you will get to see all that is happening in my life.

Lots of love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza.

Dont worry be Happy

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Either I’m getting old, or life’s stress is catching up with me. For all you know it might just be the heat. Remember how I told you about the heat here in Mumbai in my previous post?

Anyway, since a couple of days my body’s been signaling to me that I need to slow down a little, maybe take a weekend trip or just simply relax and pamper myself. Keeping work in mind, telling my manager I need to slow down would not be a feasible option, and I’ve planned my next trip in June already. The other alternative left? Relax, and pamper myself. Sure, why not!

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Ideally I would have loved to get me some pampering done over the weekend, but the procrastinator that I am, I knew there were high chances that I’d just sleep and stupor, cancelling all appointments. Instead of letting that happen to myself, I decided to fix an appointment on a weekday itself after work at the Four Fountains De- stress Spa, Bandra. Why the Four Fountains De-stress Spa? Well, I’d been there previously (at the Pali Naka branch) and it was a lovely experience. Also, since I was heading there after work, it seemed close by and convenient.

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About the Four Fountains De-stress Spa:
They are India’s largest chain of affordable day spas with over 20 spas and 300 employees. Their mission is to create stress-free and healthy India. They’re operational in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Pune.

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Branch:
Bandra, Mumbai. (Note the nearest Station is Khar, not Bandra)

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Summer Splash:
This is the season’s refreshing massage with Lime extracts in Aloe-Mint gel. As the heat is getting to me, this particular type of Swedish massage seemed like what my body exactly needed. It’s a 60min massage that does not just help the body cool down, but also helps in replenishing lost moisture and leaves the skin supple.

Price of the Summer Splash massage:
INR 2,699/-

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My review of the overall experience:
My appointment was scheduled for 7pm on a weekday. About 45 mins prior to the scheduled time, I received a call from the spa to confirm my appointment. Knowing some last minute work had come up, I did inform them I’ll be about 10 mins late. As soon as I was on my way, I tried calling them to get directions but hung up due to the long hold time.
The spa looked alright. The man at the reception was courteous. Within 5 minutes of reaching, I was introduced to Urvashi, my masseur of the evening. Urvashi was sweet and polite while interacting with me. She was presentable in her uniform and during the massage I observed the well painted ox blood shade on her toes. Although I read about
the Summer splash massage, I asked her which oils were used, to which she explained these weren’t oils but extracts of lime, mint and aloe. Knowing mint’s cooling effect, she asked me to let her know when I’m feeling cold so that she could switch off the AC. Right enough 15mins later, I asked her to switch it off.
The instrumental music and the Summer Splash massage definitely kept me relaxed. I’m glad that the spa scored well on the hygiene factor as the room I was in as well as the attached Bathroom (although tiny) were in perfect condition. Brownie points for Urvashi as she got me a hair band and tied my tresses in a bun and later a shower cap as I didn’t want to wet it.

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A picture with Urvashi, after she was done with her shift

Negatives:
The common washroom at the spa could be better maintained. Also, I don’t like the idea of sitting on a pot and seeing a urinal less than 1 foot away from me.
A lesson I learnt was, if anytime during the massage you feel that the pressure of the masseur’s fingers is too strong for you or you’re not enjoying the cracking of your bones, you should speak up. Other wise, like me, you will end up with an ache that wasn’t even there before. Here’s hoping that my shoulders stop aching soon. Thankfully I’ve got the weekend to rest.

The Silent Hummer’s overall rating: ★★★☆☆

And now this is why I didn’t want to wet my hair. Just the previous day I had a haircut and my hair was falling so well, I didn’t want to touch it!
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Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Let me know how do you de-stress yourself? Is spa your ideal way too? Also, how do you like my haircut? Waiting to hear from you guys!

Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza

Note: This post is in association with Four Fountains De-stress Spa. However, the review is given in complete honesty. If you too would like me to review your product/ service on the blog, you may contact me thesilenthummer@gmail.com

Karma Chameleon

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It’s summer here in India and it gets crazy hot during the day. I remember how last year it was impossible to shoot this post without perspiring which was a total put-off .

Summer or not, during the week I prefer wearing tops and dresses with sleeves to work, sometimes saving the sleeveless formal tops for Fridays. While at home, you will find me chilling in the shortest pair of cotton shorts and a tee or a super comfy loose shirt that lets me breathe. I happily borrow clothes from my mom’s closet sometimes just because they’re lose and comfy! She doesn’t mind.

Over the weekend while stepping out to visit a friend, I decided to go the simple yet chic way of wearing a tank top and jeans. Something I could lounge in for hours on end. What was meant to be just a visit to a friend’s place ended up being a photo shoot for this post. I loved the fact that the green tank top matched the environment around me, maybe even camouflaging with the grass and trees in some pics (Hence the post title).

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There really were a lot of pictures, but I’ll share just these for now. I’m sure the rest will see the light of day on the blog soon too.

Lost in thought

Pushing boundaries

Carefree

Wind in my hair

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One thing I’ve come to realize about shooting pictures for my blog is, it’s very important to share a great rapport with your photographer as it let’s you just be yourself, totally natural and candid. There are some blogs I’ve seen online, where it’s easy to tell that the model/ blogger is not at ease as yet with the photographer. You don’t want your blog/ pictures to come across like that. It’s best you find someone you can be comfortable with and then go clickity-click!

OOTD Details:

Green Tank top: Mom’s closet (I said she doesn’t mind)
Denims: Tokyo Talkies
Orange Ballerinas: Zovi
Watch: Gift
Hairband: Hill Road, Bandra

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How are you coping up with the weather out there? What is your go-to for summer? Any blogger/ photography tips?
Let me know in the comments below and follow the blog to stay updated on my musings.

Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Photography: Nolasco Alphonso


Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer.
Franchua D’Souza

Manwa emotion jaage

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As a Fashion and Lifestyle blogger, getting invited to Press conferences and launches is great! It’s obvious that when there’s something great happening they’ll want you to cover it and deliver it to their audience. All that is super you know, and I absolutely thrive on the thrill of being around the who’s who, especially if there are celebrities I follow!

Note to self: For future Varun Dhawan events I should carry a photographer especially to click pics so that I can just enjoy myself looking at Varun 🙂

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Last evening was the finale of #Varunsstylebuddy by FBB, in association with Kara wipes. The 15 contestants from different backgrounds and cities showcased their beauty along with their brains. They had 4 rounds , the first being the ethnic wear round, the second the western wear round, third the Q & A round and fourth the walk to the judges for a closer look.

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The participants were gorgeous and confident. Clearly they wanted to win and made sure they put their best foot forward. Judges Vikram Bawa, Meiyang Chang, Riddhi- Siddhi, and Mayank Gandhi were extremely sweet to the participants which made it easier for them to stay calm and relaxed during the show. Even when one of the contestants blanked out during her Introduction and fumbled for words, they encouraged her to go on.

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The highlight of the evening besides the crowning of the girls was Varun Dhawan! Yes, #Varunsstylebuddy would be incomplete if the man himself wasn’t around. Dressed in ripped jeans and a sweatshirt with keds, he looked his cool self. He motivated the girls, wished them his best, took selfies & posed with them and did all he could to keep everyone smiling! On being presented with a bouquet of flowers, he said he felt old accepting flowers as he belongs to the age group where he should be giving them, and not be on the other end. He immediately presented it to the anchor of the evening (lucky girl, I know).

Varun Dhawan, the brand ambassador of FBB believes that “You don’t have to spend too much to be Fashionable” and said he’s not at all “Brand conscious”. He added that whatever is worn should be done with confidence! He was a thorough gentleman and even though he was in a haste as he rushed out,he posed for a couple of pics with fans.

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While the Jury were doing the calculation of points and deciding who the winners were, Meiyang Chang obliged with singing a line or 2 for the audience. Since the audience requested for yester-year Bollywood songs, Chang sang “Pal Pal Dil ke paas” and “Gulabi Aakhein” and later joked saying he often wondered who has pink eyes 😀

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Here below is a picture of the first seven girls to be out of the contest:

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And here are the winners of the evening! Congratulations to the 5 gorgeous beauties who will shoot with Varun for the next FBB  campaign. Your journey to success has officially kick started.

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Heartiest Congratulations to FBB and Varun’s style buddies!

Lots of Love,

The Silent Hummer
Franchua D’Souza