Categories
Thoughtful Insight

Randomness

After a 14 month hiatus, up from the mundane and on the blog.

And I have moved my blog into a more professional setup- a WordPress blog.

I have been jotting some random thoughts throughout the year and hey presto, here they go:

  • Gone are the days where the people who used to talk aloud with no one in sight was being called mad. Now you see people, talk with actions on the roads and no one bats an eye under the assumption that they are talking on their AirPod or the likes of it. Tucked under the ears (hidden if you have untied long hair that falls over your ears), this serves as a deterrent for vague conversations and a causative agent for mental assumptions (assuming a screw or two is loose)
  • Your loved ones are hearted- the heart sign is a universally accepted symbol of love. But Malayalam calls the dearest as ‘karale‘ (liver). Is this an ignorance that just caught up or a paradigm that signifies our affinity towards alcohol and the unabated importance of liver?
  • Greeting a fellow Malayalee in the Gelf usually is thought to culminate at ‘Naatil Evdeya?‘ (which part of Kerala are you from?). A cliched question, if you were to ask me. This cliche has circumvented its perimeter and has moved on to the next question- ‘Ini enna naatilek?’ (when are you going to Kerala next?)A common question, if you were to ask me? Then comes the funny part, ‘Ethrayayi?‘ (How much was it?). The question that gives you jitters and the answer that makes you swell with pride if you paid a penny less for the paramount thingamabob that unravelled this communique- the air ticket. The lower the fare, the bigger your ego.
  • Have you ever thought that you were born with a limb too less? I have!! Imagine born with 3 hands. Casting away the oddity of an imbalanced torso, just imagine the uses. Eating at a crowded restaurant, unable to keep your phone in viewing mode to watch the YouTube video or a bittersweet season finale of your favorite show on Netflix- picture this scenario with a 3rd hand. While you hold the burger with both hands and the occasional cola swig, your 3rd hand keeps the phone intact and hey presto, you have shod the awkwardness of eating alone and the convenience of watching. If ever in a fight ( I hope not), you can pin down the person with 2 hands and beat them black and blue with the third (voila).

These are just some random thoughts that I’ve had.

Love to hear about your random idiosyncrasies too.

Categories
Thoughtful Insight

The Barbershop Ordeal

I have always loved evading crowds. Seldom does it work on the roads on the way to the office, but otherwise I hate crowds and will go to the extent of giving an arm and leg to not crowd in a crowd.
 
And that is exactly the reason why I don’t go for a haircut on weekends. Not only are all the salon chairs full, but all the chairs in the waiting area are too. There are people queuing for a chair in the waiting area behind the people queuing for a chair with the hairdresser.
 
That day too was a dismal day in my records of evading the crowd. The barbershop/ salon/ saloon/ hairdresser whatever your part of the world calls it, was full. 5 chairs were occupied and all the seats in the waiting area were too. I was the lone one standing. Signalling the crowd on the sofa to scooch a bit, I sat.
 
To talk about my salon, it is an old world shop which prides in its regular customers. With my 3 year bond with them, they were familiar faces for me and knew what exactly had to be done to my colossal head. This was an old time shop who never ceded to the beats of English songs but would either entice you by playing nostalgic Bollywood songs or would test your patience by playing some dubbed Bollywood movie.
 
So back to today, everyone who was not on the salon chair was glued on to the 5 inches in front of them, swiping and sliding to get that panache moment, but never getting to it. 
The ingress and egress from the barber chairs continued like clockwork, no one cutting the line, everyone was in a hurry yet no one hastened the flow.
 
And then my turn came. And I was assigned to a new guy- (he was just another guy who had never ever cut my hair)
 
The haircut and beard trim went fine. My usual routine of head massage and face scrub was the one that was eventful and even today, sends shivers down my spine. 
Like a potter moulding clay, his hands went all over my hair. That monstrosity of a human being had squished and squirmed my skull. I could hear my cranial bones pleading to me in anguish while each of his arm movement let out a creak, a squeal and a howl from the head.
 
After he ensured that oil had seeped as deep as my medulla oblongata, he tried straightening my spine. What started slowly had escalated to full-blown punches. I was in half a mind to sue him for physical torture. 
 
Once that self-imposed torture was over, he started off with my face scrub. He started off with a moderate pace over the contours of my face with a cream. Once the almond scrub was out of the pack, he again started to show his true colours. I could bet my face was two tones fairer by the time he was done. Or was it just a mirage due to the lightheadedness he had gifted me a while ago. 
 
But something wonderful did emerge from this ordeal. My deviated nasal septum, after all the torture it subjected to, became less deviated making my breathing a less laborious affair.
Walking back to the place a month later, breathing better yet shivering a bit, I really did let out a sigh of relief not seeing him. My usual guy did his usual thing and got him usual pay and an unusual tip, all just like clockwork. 

 

  
Categories
Uncategorized

Going Nuts over Coconuts!

TLDR: A long overdue post, delayed by my insipid routine. 
We are not normal people.

We are crazy.

We love being loud.

We love the intense fervor in life. We love our country, our religions, our festivals and everything that is associated with being Indian.

We love cricket, not only the gentlemanly game, but also the one with masala and mayhem. 

We are divided by our thoughts and actions, but come an outside farce questioning our integrity, then cometh the force with which we retaliate.

We are Indians first, then classified as a Malayali, a Tamilian, a Punjabi etc. etc.

Our festivals are something that always remain close to our heart. Be it in any corner of the world, your heart travels miles to feel at home. Supermarkets stock up festival items to ensure that the craving of the body, heart and soul is appeased despite the fact that you bear the groveling heat and bone freezing cold to fend for yourself in a foreign land. 

As a Malayali in the Gulf, a so called cliché adrift in the lands down south, we seldom find it difficult to celebrate our festivals, be it Vishu, Onam, Eid or Christmas.

Thronging in big crowds in the supermarkets during the festival eve, walking the aisles specially earmarked for the festival items, people load their trolleys with the festivity items. 

A glimpse into the Vishu shopping fiasco at a predominant supermarket chain in the “Gelf”
<< 
She was tall and curvy in all the right areas. There was not a man (and a few women) who did not gawk at her. Her trolley lay filled with the choosiest items befitting a chef in a Michelin 3 star restaurant. Truffles, provolone cheese, apple cider vinegar, bagels and whatnot. She was gliding over the supermarket floor, her trolley inching through the maddening crowd, her estrogen overdose driving them nuts.
The Vishu counter was crowded. She stopped right in front. Lindt chocolates were on sale on her right side aisle. No, she moved left. To the Vishu counter. 
She marked her arrival, her perfumed self had instantly made the crowd part to 2 sides, making way for her into the stacked shelves of banana and jackfruit chips, of semiyas and paladas, of payasam mixes, condensed milk and pappadams. 
Helping herself with all the goodies, the jackfruit chips lay cozy with the provolones and truffles of the world.
>> 
<< 
The “Gelf” offers the Mallus amongst all other Kerala goodies, our ever-beloved coconut, in its rich and varied heritage. Imported from India, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Indian coconuts remain our favorite. To add to our convenience, scraped coconut in small plastic containers are our to-go purchase of every single visit of every single person. 
The coconut stall in this particular supermarket is unlike others. Scrapped coconut is not to-go. You can choose your coconut from the nut sack, and they are scraped in front of you. So now you can figure out what goes on during a Vishu or an Onam eve. Hell breaks loose near the counter and the coconut guy develops his biceps and triceps in a day. 
People run helter-skelter and  with their overloaded trolleys, a child in one hand and a lot of coconuts on the other, it is fun and scary at the same time. 
>> 
How much ever we wish to change, we still have something in us that holds us to our roots. 

Categories
android Apple ios iphone samsung

iOS to Android- The Saga of a Paradigm shift!!

People often consider the iPhone as a lifestyle upgrade, a statement of a person who has arrived.
The social status symbol it has often been perceived, does using an iPhone speak volumes of what you truly stand for?
An Apple fan myself, having owned 3 iPhones and 2 iPads in the last 5 years l, I did the unspeakable.
I went and bought myself an Android phone.
Not just any phone, the much acclaimed Samsung Galaxy S8.
Having used the ever-famed Samsung Galaxy S2 in the past, I knew the ins and outs of an Android but found myself a teeny-weeny wobbly while using the new phone.
From the cool exuberance of the iOS to the practical cloak of the Nougat, the change was a vast stride.
Everything from having to unlocking the phone to the updates, a paradigm shift that undertook in the spur of a moment love for the bezel-free screen of the S8.
I miss the Mail app and Safari browser from the iPhone, but I have gotten used to the ease of typing in numbers from the same screen on the Android keyboard ( I wasn’t a big fan of 3rd party keyboards on iOS)
I miss the fingerprint sensor on the front of the screen, now I don’t have any buttons at all in the front. Unlocking the screen has been a hassle, having to lift my phone everytime to do so but the sheer brilliance of the infinity display lighting up makes it worth the lift.
Homescreen access, mail, browser, chats, and whatnot, everything has changed.
My phone charges from 0-100 in less 100 minutes. They drain off in less than 10 hours. Where is my strategic advantage?
Pairing to the Bluetooth in my car is a pinch. Every time I get a call on any app apart from the regular line, I need to go over to the phone to answer/cancel the call, while my ex-allowed me to do it directly over from the steering.
The change over was difficult, I agree. But the quintessential question that remains: are we connecting with people the way we were meant to? Technology has made it easy but we have taken it for granted.
What did I start with, where I ended and the short path I traversed? I am lost for words, literally and figuratively.
Yours truly.
Categories
Uncategorized

Food Trail-3- Beriani Flames

Soulful biriyani, vibrant packaging and sinful cravings- if a biriyani that gets delivered to your place can check all the boxes, yes; it is bound to be a delightful experience.

A delightful experience sans all its glitz, Food Trail trails Beriani Express and the faring of its beriani. 

The folks at office decided to try out Beriani Flames, a newly opened biriyani (read beriani) joint in Riggae, the latest business venture of the company’s star salesperson and an astute businessman, Mr. Manoj.  

The orders were placed and the delivery was on time, as promised. With a plethora of beriani options to choose from, the folks ordered chicken, mutton and vegetable beriani.
As a vegetarian, biriyani has always been a harrowing experience, good just enough to scrape through the plate, nothing to cherish. And then there was beriani that took me by surprise.

With the packaging befitting a cake, the beriani take-away packs arrived on the dot. The packaging had packed in all the goodness of the beriani along with an ambient temperature. Just as I opened the packaging, the strong aroma rose through the pack and wafted through the room.

The rice was cooked to the right consistency. The vegetables were properly sautéed and infused to the rice. The spice infused masala, drizzled with rose water and a few sprigs of saffron, struck the perfect chord between taste and smell.

The accompaniments: the raita was real bliss; pure curd blended with host of herbs and had bits of cucumbers floating on the top. The side gravy was the only let down with a thin film of butter on the top making it tad too heavy for the arteries. The pickle on the side, well, was a pickle.

The non-vegetarian berianis were also packed with goodness: ample pieces of protein, which were very well balanced with the spices.  

Biriyani, in Kuwait, for me, a vegetarian, has always been rated on the scale of 1 to disappointing. Beriani Flames is a realization that good biriyani is just stone throw away, well, a colleague away.  




Categories
Uncategorized

The Way the World Works!

I am an Indian, a proud one. The beaming pride of being one shines on you the moment you step out of the country.

As I type this, I am traveling enroute Colombo from Kandy in Sri Lanka, sitting in the crisp chills from the air conditioner made in China, fitted in a Japanese car while the scorching sun sets the outers ablaze in its fury.

Truly, the world would cease to exist if country to country coordination and association takes a road bump or a bottleneck. If countries can, why people can’t?

As a tourist whose country’s border is just 32 kms from this country, I am often appalled by how we see each other. Being the face of a country, you expect people to reciprocate the compassion in brotherhood while the same ceases the moment I desist flipping out my wallet.

Being an Indian is hard outside India as much as it is in India. For people, any tourist is just a walking stack of notes, easy enough to manipulate.

The moment I turned down a tour guide, cold eyes and contempt follow me down the halls. The moment I don’t tip, smiles beguile.
The moment I step into a shop, price tags become least selling prices.
The moment I don’t buy, I get cursed in their language.

A taunt is a taunt in any language.
A deceitful look is the same in all places.

You, being the face of the country, show me an attitude belittling your already small island nation, guess what, I do care. I am not just a wary tourist pumping in my hard earned money to boost your economy, I could probably be a loggerhead for your country’s economic development. If I can stop one person from coming to your country, if I can stop one dollar from being spent, I am definitely one to watch out for.

Wait.

Doesn’t this malady happen in India by an Indian to an Indian in an all Indian context?

Well, yeah. It does.
And that is the sad state of affairs. Our affairs.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Nuances of the Webbed Life

Life is becoming wicked
As our thoughts are becoming crooked
The rapids sweeping you through
Into the world of lies
The world we call the web
Beneath the veils of obscurity and insecurity
Lies the person, scared to bear
The scars of being unnoticed
Gone are the days where we made peace
With gizmos to make our life at ease
Thus begins the nuances of life, in and out
Just like the duck face pics with a pout
Gone are the days you walk in tall
To any place or a mall
Now should you forget to check-in
Oh the trip is so in vain
Gone is the peace and quiet of a meal
Must post the pic of your veal
Measuring your worth on the world
Is the hearts on the instant gram?
Gone are the days you see a good hearted glee
Now all you see are pics shot awry
With the intention to go atop the web
Humans are in, humanity ain’t
A beggar gets a coin and you get a like
With this shall you preach your philanthropy
The world sees you for what you did
He who sees all shall turn a blind eye
With this shall I conclude my thoughts
In girdle of the mind, molded and wrought
The social world is a requisite
May it be free from your soul
Let the web and thy life not intertwine
Alas, it all may be over without a whine
Categories
Uncategorized

Call me Old School!!


This has been a thought for a while.

This has been a known fact for a longer while.

People like you have known this all this while.

What I meant throughout this while is not our increasing dependency on technology and social media, but our entrapment in the clutches of it.

All this brewed as a result of getting a wedding invite from a friend over Whatsapp.

Dude, it’s my wedding on at . Please do come

I am sure that a lot many of you would have received something of sorts. Where has the element of interpersonal relationship and personal touch gone?

Call me old school; I still prefer the touch and feel of wedding invites by post. At least the painstaking process of fitting in your address on glossy finished cover has an input from a friend, meaning he/she wants your presence while he/she gets hitched.

Creating an event on Facebook, checking the names of the people you want to invite and mass sending the invite- despite the intent being good, the personal touch involved is not present.

While even the online marketers are using our browser cookies to generate ads based on our preferences, the kith and kin do not take so much of it being a minuscule task of taking the pains to putting in a personal feel. A telephone call would suffice with the same message spelled out; you know that he/she wants you there.

Call me old school; I still prefer reading news from the good ol’ paper sipping a cuppa coffee.

Call me old school; I still prefer the ATL promos that are beamed over all the media space.

Call me old school; this is just my point of view.


(checks iPhone and Samsung Gear S2 for updates and continues reading on Kindle)

Categories
Food Review

Food Trail- 2- Anjappar Restaurant, Farwaniya, Kuwait

Ever had a meal where water was the best of the delicacies?
That was what was unveiled at the Anjappar Restaurant in Kuwait.
A vegetarian is almost always a downtrodden sect in food cycle, be it in the class 5 science textbook or in any restaurant for that matter. Vegetarian food lacks variety and is often a lackluster course. While the only vegetarian restaurants do justice on the aspect, the others are a letdown.
 
The story of a letdown begins here:
Dining at a restaurant chain renowned for its Chettinad cuisine, present in almost 10 countries across 3 continents, the expectations were sky high.
 
A ride of almost 30 kms, 30 minutes into finding the restaurant and a parking, what we had was camaraderie of disappointment and frustration.
 
Our order: tomato soup, veg kothu porotta, appam, veg kofta and coffee.
 
Tomato soup was watered down and a dollop of cream was added on top of it to mask its awfulness. The veg kothu porotta, a traditional Tamil fusion dish was absolute mockery to its ancestry, being too salty and lacking the finesse. The appam had an undercooked center, while the crust was crispy and kind of tasty.
 
The dish that topped the comedy of errors was the veg Kofta. The gravy tasted as if it was made using the second grade Chinese Manchurian masala available in the markets. The veg dumplings in the dish were nothing to complain about, but even if it is a cherry on the top of a pile of garbage, it becomes inedible.
 
The last straw of the meal –coffee, well, nothing good or bad would come out of writing about it.
 
The service was top notch on a scale to 0 to negative infinity. The waiters were throwing plates to the table with a grudge on their faces.  
 
Rewind to a year and a half back: I dined solo at Anjappar in Chennai for lunch. Amazing food it was. The spicy kara kuzhambu complemented the sweltering heat and chilled water. Reasonably priced with pretty decent service, it was a good choice to dine there.  
 
The verdict- if you are vegetarian, avoid the place. If that isn’t a possibility, at least avoid eating, just watch them dine.
 
The bill: KWD 5.100 ($17) for 2

 

 
Happiness: *1/2
Categories
food kuwait restaurant review udupi

Food Trail-1- Udupi Restaurant, Sharq

 

Being a vegetarian in a predominantly non-vegetarian country is kind of an uphill task. The number of vegetarian restaurants are quite a few, hence eating out might turn out to be an experience appalling than appealing.
From a vegetarian whose occasional visits to the shawarma joints are masked by a pretentious veil of notoriety and obscurity, here begins a journey of eating and documenting vegetarian food across Kuwait.
Food, as we know, fuels the body. As for me, it fuels passion more than life.
For a vegetarian, Udupi cuisine is as indispensable as salt in a dish. The most prominent vegetarian food chain in Kuwait, Udupi restaurant serves as the best option for dosas and thalis while the unexplored other varieties seems forgotten in dingy corners of the menu card. What is a more apt way to start an attempt to be a food blogger than to try to review the best vegetarian cuisine of the subcontinent. 
Nestled in a cozy spot amidst the hustle bustle of the city, the Sharq branch of the chain was almost full as we came in for a quick dinner. While the menu listed North Indian cuisine, we decided against it and placed the safest bet- dosas.
Our order was curd vada, masala dosa and onion rava dosa and coffee to wash it down.
The extremely soggy vada dipped in sour curd was a pretty bad start to appease our ravenous hunger. The masala dosa were a fitting reply to the bad setback done by vadas. Eating through crisp outer layers to reach the “highlight”- aloo masala, we dug in with great expectations.
As the saying goes, with great expectation comes great disappointment, this was a classic example. Oddly shaped potatoes mashed with bland masala- something that did not do justice to the looks as well as the palate.
The onion rava dosa was crisp and had copious amounts on onion which were charred to perfection. While the batter had a hint of age, it was far from being a bad choice.
The sambar served was a distant cousin of a dish whose next door neighbor knew the real Udupi sambar. The chutneys were the best of the lot. Something that tasted like gongura made up one chutney and that was mmmmmm….. The other one was a coconut based chutney which had nothing to complain about.
The filter coffee served here was basically like a cheap Chinese rip off of the original- the infamously famous traditional filter coffee. Overly sweet but drinkable, period.
The verdict: Batter matters.
The cost: KWD 2.500 for 2 hungry and crazily food fanatic adults

Happiness: **1/2