Breaking the Dubai monopoly over Season Two, we take off from Dubai to land in Singapore for a meet up with “The Ramble Roundup” Travel Expert – Mandira! I met Mandira, yes you guessed it – Online .. and on The Marina Mums Group! She had posted asking for moms to give first hand review of the hotels we have stayed in. I replied like the enthusiastic travel junkie that I am and then we caught up over coffee when I was in Singapore last month. Although I am really embarrassed to admit that I am yet to send her my reviews *** Hangs Head in Shame *** Sorry Mandira! I shall get to this ASAP – or like we say in this region – Inshallah! For now, over to Mandira!
Hey Mandira, so nice to finally put a face to the name! So, do you have one word to describe Mandira!
Hey! Yes! Perks of Social Media! We meet people without even meeting them! So, Mandira is a Mother, wife, daughter and yes, now (wait for it!) a writer too!
There is more there right!
Well Yes, I currently am nursing my third born – http://www.withmandy.com – a site that brings together comprehensive reviews on luxury family-friendly hotels from all over the world. And oh, my work has been frequently published in leading media internationally, right from Conde Nast Traveller to Harper’s Bazaar 🙂
It’s funny but in my growing years, only people very close to me lovingly called me Mandy. Now, even strangers automatically assume that Mandy is my name and everyone is calling me that! Ironically, the whole idea behind calling the site With Mandy was that I’m a very private person and I didn’t want my real name out there. But life, as we already know, is kinda funny like that!
Sounds so exciting! How did It All begin?
Not many people know but my husband was standing under the world trade centre in 2001 when the planes struck. So when one of my professors at the London School of Journalism asked for an interview of a famous person as an assignment, for the sheer lack of knowing anyone famous, I decided to interview my husband and send it in. Shortly after, I had a lot of newspapers trying to buy the piece of me. The piece was bought by a national newspaper in Singapore and shortly after, I landed up with my own column there too. Guilty as charged – it has been rather smooth sailing thereafter!
And “WithMandy”?? Where does that come in?
Putting together this site feels like I’m constantly connecting the dots between my many loves – family, travel and luxury hotels. It’s easy because I work from the house and am always there for bus stop pick-ups, play dates and mid-week birthday parties. It’s tough since there is no weekday or weekend – I work whenever the house is quiet and everyone is asleep which often means that work only begins at 11 pm! What time do I finish? That is anyone’s guess! Irrespective of what time I sleep, school runs always begin at 6:20 am the next day. It is also very challenging, as it’s a lot of content to churn out day in and day out. But I am very fortunate to now have many fabulous mums from all over the world (Harshika you’re included) helping me scour the globe and sending in their reviews. That really is such a blessing; it really makes the site so rich!
At the cost of sounding like such a cliché, I really do feel I have the best job in the world. And of course, two of the world’s best bosses (wink wink).
Now I am more embarrassed than before! Nothing works like guilt does, so next on my list is to do the travel feature for you! But that’s me. What is next for Mandira or Mandy as you are more famously known?
In my daily conversations with myself (yes, that happens a lot and sometimes embarrassingly loudly) one question that comes up almost everyday is direction. Where is this going? Am I just wasting my time? And then I remind myself that loosing a father to cancer overnight was tough – this is just easy peasy.
Lots of excitement to unfold over the next few months! I’m ecstatic. I jittery. I’m happy. I’m scared. But I’m loving it!