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

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)

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

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

Pinoy Gourmand!

The monotonous procedure of eating the same kind of food daily is often drudgery. At times, to rejuvenate the taste buds, a change becomes the need of the hour. Changes are inevitable, especially for the chawal eating mankind in the great subcontinent.
While the palette rejoices the fervent cravings with a dash of international cuisines like Italian, Arabic or Chinese, little explorations were done on the other gourmets of the world.
And little did I know that my need for change would land me up in a Filipino joint outside the hustle and bustle in the great Arabian country, Kuwait.
The eatery looked like it was lifted out of a pre-industrial revolution setup, with dim white light creating halos over the food behind the counter. While my knowledge of non-Indian cuisines is pretty amazing, the things behind the counter looked like I was gazing into a crystal ball of an alien fortune teller.  
While the lady behind the counter told the names of the dishes, all I could figure out was some myriad mis-orchestrated nasal music notes (like Himesh Reshammiya’s songs, but better)
The laid out spread had a few fish dishes, one chicken and a vegetarian item. I guess I could see a slight flapping of fins and shudder in the gills as the counter staff picked up a whole fish for the person in front of me. I am sure that I saw the fish’s eye roll in agony and plead for mercy as the person walked to his table, lips smacking. 
Being a righteous vegetarian who indulges in chicken once in a blue moon, I thought it was the best choice and second safest bet to choose the vegetarian dish.  The primordial safest bet was to walk out, as my imposing figure entering the place, had woken up the people enjoying their afternoon ambrosia. The time had passed for that.
I seated myself in the rickety chairs. The table had variety of sauces and pickled jalapenos for helping yourself. People around me were looking at me with awe, like I had wandered into a fine dining restaurant and seated in a table-for-1 on Valentine’s Day.   
The lady served my food- rice and some curry. The rice was sticky but was not that bad. The curry was some green vegetable cooked in a not so spicy broth, but was sharp in taste due to the citric acid. This was topped with fried tofu. Accompanied with the tangy jalapeno pickle, which had occasional chilly and onion to go, make it a revelation of citric acid and more citric acid.
The food was a no nonsense affair, simple and elegant, but apart from who likes experimenting new thing, I highly doubt whether the DalChawals and Thayirsadams of the country would live up to like the cuisine of this side of the world.
After getting back to office, I googled up the mental image of the dish and the closest resemblance for the same was something called ‘Ampalaya Guisado’ which was sautéed bitter gourd. And good heavens, it was nothing close to bitter.
While my monotony of chawal did not bring out any particular benefit, I could get to experience a whole new cuisine and get to know a civilization. (ahem, ahem, a simple yet powerful punch-lie to end an article)

Why did I start watching Game of Thrones?

Why did I start watching Game of Thrones?

Sheer boredom could sum it up as an answer. 

The next question could have been why did I start binge watching GoT? Could I have stopped watching it at any point in time?

I have stopped watching many a TV show because the whole idea of entertainment becomes botched up. I stopped watching Two and a Half Men shortly after Charlie Sheen was chucked off. With his exit, I guess a huge chunk of viewership also got chucked off. 

With regards to watching GoT, well, you could probably guess why.
The gripping story line and the effortless acting led by the ensemble cast made the series worth every moment of sleep lost. Every moment of the show, I could feel my heart beating against my Anand’s apple (damn you, Joey Tribbiani)

Since I didn’t bother to read the books, I guess each frame brought out a novel viewing experience for me. 

From the first minute in the first episode of the first season, I was blown away by the sheer amount of talent in the show, intertwined by the amount of macabre and nudity in the show. 

With almost each episode ending in a cliffhanger, I bet each one of the many million viewers would definitely be counting days till the 24th of April 2016. 

With the numerous talents behind the scenes, I would personally vouch for Lena Headley and Peter Dinklage as the better of the lot. 

Queen Cersei, a manifestation of cruelty and malignance within the whole plot leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the protection of her children and their father (ahem. ahem!) Every single frame of Cersei had a myriad set of emotions ranging from joy to authority, from hatred to pity, from lust to nonchalance, she was absolutely a delight to watch. 

Tyron Lannister, a dwarf always subjected to rebuke from his father and sister, was an amazingly effortless performance by Peter Dinklage. The facial facade of this marvelous casting is guaranteed to leave you in awe. 

In addition to them, the characters Jon Snow, King Joffrey, Arya Stark, Ned Stark, Catherine Tully and the ensemble makes it more likable and hateworthy, depending upon the inclination of the character. 

While the audience prayed for the death of some characters, their ends came in as a bit of a surprise with the ends being slightly off-putting. King Joffrey, for example, was a loathsome character, who had his end, in a not-so-the-way-we-thought-of manner. The murder of Robb Stark was at a juncture that was totally uncalled for. The sacrifice of Stannis Baratheon’s daughter cemented his position in the minds of the viewers as a uncouth insane human. 

The season 5 finale leaves the major stars in tantrums, Jon stabbed, Arya blinded, Theon and Sansa plummeting to the grounds and everyone else under a veil of verbose uncertainty. The season 6 teaser is shown with quite a lot of kick-on-the shins for the viewers. 

The fight for Iron Throne and mistimed murders of the characters makes Game of Thrones a TV show never to be missed. Not to mention the locale, casting and costumes (or the lack of it), the factors contribute to making its season 6 premiere highly desirable and most sought after. 

Valar Morghulis
Valar Dohaeris

Game of Thrones Season 6 Teaser

The Tall Man Tales

Being tall is a wonderful thing. 

Within any crowd, the tall man’s head wobbles over the preening eyes of the mob. In a crowded abbey, while everyone suffocates with the closest neighbor’s sweat strewn clothing, your head acts as a viable receiver for oxygen for your sustenance.  Often regarded as the weather man and being mocked upon the weather enquiries up there, life being a tall person has its fair share of perks and liabilities. It is always the head that needs attention while you walk down that goddamn narrow lane, strewn with branches of trees that encroach their way into the lane. Every bump on the road whilst in a crowded bus brings out a rhythmic beat of the thud of the head on the headboard, each syllable born out of the poor head’s peril.  Not to mention the woes of sitting in a crowded bus, the knee cap cracks with the pressure of the impending braking in the hectic city traffic.  

Can you find proper clothing that you fit in? The shirt that you fit in properly is short for the arms and torso.  Go one size big and you find yourselves wearing a baggy one. No jeans or trouser requires alterations in the bottoms. You are good to go just like that.

Can you find a car that you can comfortably sit in the driver’s seat? If you can, can you seat a normal human being behind you? If you can do that, man, you have got some serious disposable income to buy that big burly SUV.

And then, the privilege of being tall kicks in. Have you tried being in a temple where you have lunge up to see the deity? Well, it is just a breeze if you are tall. You can communicate with Him, eye to Eye, man to Man.

People look up to you. Literally, figuratively and yeah physically too, craning their neck to see you in the eye.

The best part of being tall is that you are tall. In the world of burly and petite midgets, you are the Gulliver. Despite the Lilliputs trying to pull a sling on you- (read ‘pull your leg for the stretch that you scale’) it often is just the byproduct of jealousy that spews from them for not being able to see the world from up here.

So, the weather is fine up here, you puny earthlings, strewn on the roads like pebbles by the brook. Take care. 

S Cross- India bound

While the nation blindly trusts this brand, Maruti has taken its image a notch up by going all premium, First, it was with the Ciaz. The full size sedan took the well-populated segment by storm and is now the highest selling sedan in that price bracket after the Honda City. 

With the world raving all about crossovers and SUVs, Maruti too follows suit is on the way to launch its cross offering- the S Cross

Built based on the SX4 platform, the S-Cross shares little resemblance to its Indian version of its sedan sibling. 

S-Cross comes in 2 engine options- the tried and tested Fiat sourced 1.3L Multijet that powers the Ciaz and Ertiga, churning out 89 bhp of power with torque of 200Nm. The second engine on offer is the all new Suzuki’s VGT engine that produces 118 bhp power with a 320Nm torque. 

The variants are badged differently this time with the LDi, VDi and ZDi giving way to the Greek naming conventions- Sigma, Sigma (O), Delta, Zeta and Alpha. The 1.6L engine would only be on offer on the top variants. Th interesting fact is that twin airbags and ABS with all disc brakes is standard equipment. Top variants get touch screen infotainment system with Sat Nav, auto AC with climate control, auto headlamps, cruise control, push button start and the likes.

At 180 mm ground clearance, S Cross will stand slightly lower than its competitors-Duster, Terrano, Ecosport and the soon to be launched Creta- all towering north of 200mm. 

Likely to launched at the end of the month around the time its head-on competitor Creta is launched, this beast will cost you between 8-13L ex showroom. 

Stay tuned for the first drive report.  

It’s raining SUVs

In those days, SUVs were known for their sizes, ruggedness, macho looks and for being a fuel guzzler. The major attribute of a SUV is that they would possess a size that would directly divert the road’s attention to them. Its impeccable off-roading ability, the high ground clearance and the traditional looks were the flagship of any SUV known to mankind. As time progressed, technology seeped into the crevices of obsoleteness and they evolved to become mean, huge machines of power.

Gone are those days when an SUV used to be huge and massive. People wanted the ease of drive of sedans and the looks of an SUV which gave rise to a specific class of vehicles called the crossovers. With the over the top fuel prices and the slurry of vehicles on the road, SUVs were not the car aficionado’s discerning choice. Their bulkiness was not easy to be tamed and along came the class of baby SUVs. The utility of a SUV boxed in the size of a sedan and frugal like a hatch is the USP of the entire baby SUVs in the market.

The flurry of the new entrants was fuelled by the demands of such a niche segment. People wanted something that was a part of both the worlds, easy on the pocket and less frequented to the fuel stations.

In India, the start was Premier’s Rio which flunked mainly due to the lack of showrooms, service outlets and a lacklustre design. But soon, Renault launched the Duster which, even though, followed a crude interior design, drove through the hearts of the people. Ford went for the kill with its amazingly designed Ecosport. The futuristic designed mini SUV locked its dimensions at 3999mm length to get the tax concessions making it even easier for the pocket. Along came the badge engineered Nissan Terrano which was a pricier makeover of the Renault Duster. Even though it had a design that looked dated, Renault’s offering had value was the best seller in this segment.  

The likes of these SUVs are gaining good traction in sales volumes. To engage in this fierce competition, the other car makers too are entering this arena. Hyundai’s Creta and Maruti Suzuki’s S Cross are the first ones to join the party.

Hyundai Creta: Launching on the 21st July, Hyundai’s latest offering is a sure shot head turner. At 4.2m length, Creta is the first diesel automatic SUV with a 6 speed offering (borrowed from the sibling Elantra) in this price belt. Touted to be priced between 8-12 lakhs, Creta’s range would be offering a host of safety and luxury features. With 3 engines on offer, Creta would come in 4 variants from the basic S to the top SX(O).    

Maruti S Cross: Unveiled at the IIFA awards on 7thJune 2015, this Maruti offering would be a powerful offering if priced right.  Based on the S Cross platform, this muscular cross would be coming in both petrol and diesel, the latter being Fiat sourced. The Ciaz inspired cabin and a host of other safety and luxury features, along with the legendary Maruti trust would make the S-Cross a discerning choice. 

Lets just say that the spite is going to get even more powerful. 

Stay tuned for the test drive reports!! 

The Busride Chronicles

The scorching heat had unveiled its wrath to the fullest as the fifth bus overtook me without a whiff of guilt. The expanses on either sides of NH7 lay barren with a few strays wandering limp and dehydrated.

The mirage of seeing many a bus made my hopes soar and dampen on understanding the truth of the eye’s magnificent mistake. 
The yearning for momentary pleasure of clutching the handle bar of a bus and feeling the icky plasticky seats had reached its peak. Finally the oncoming rickety old bus slowed down for testing the incoming passenger reflex. There is just a moment to get in the bus. And failing to sync the right moment with the driving would mean dangling down the handle bars or even worse, kissing the mud on the ground. 
Well, the yearning to get in stops, kickstarting the desire to get out. The never lasting host of desires is a characteristic of the common man. While the battle of desires wages war, I sit on the dilapidated seats of bus whose legroom was set eyeing the dwarfs and midgets. The suffering of the leg to squeeze in numbs the blood flow to the lower part of the body, giving the upstairs copious amounts for quality thoughts. 
The conductor enters asking people for tickets. The folded notes and bundle of tickets in his hands, he goes squealing ‘tickets’ in a baritone. Buying tickets and the horizontally folded balance from the balding man whose eyes hinted remorse or last night’s hangover, I surveyed the surroundings. People were ingressing and degressing the bus at regular intervals. The naive innocence of the village folk and nonchalance of lives lighting up in the way they talked made me realise how much filth has piled up in the city mouse in me. 
The bus stops at a make shift tea stall where driver leaves the bus idling while he stands out stretching and puffing away rings of acrid cancerous smoke. The tea shop boy brings him a plastic cup of piping hot tea. Caffeine and nicotine pumped him side by side, awakening and rejuvenating him after a supposedly hectic monotonous day. Ready to take off, he got in and chugged the key. The rackety engine rose to life with a groan. 
There were hawkers plummeting into a bus everytime it stopped at a big junction. There were samosas, pineapples, cucumbers, water melons and many more. The aroma of those went in and triggered a gastronomic response making people go for buying. Rummaging their money sources for coins and loose change, they bought their item of desire and started indulging the momentary pleasure. As the bus kicked off from the junction, the hawkers would make haste in collecting money and jumping off the bus. Some unlucky ones would run behind the bus for the cash till it reached an unsurpassable speed. Weary eyed and having lost a potential sale, they would walk back. The freebie wielding man would gobble the succulence of the fruit which would house in it a curse of a common man. 
The winding village roads and occassional entry to the highway was in a  way a fun journey. The unpolluted air brushing against the face was one of its kind in this part of the country.  
People were getting down at their destinations and moving to pursue their daily activities of life. As the cycles of the clock moved, I too stepped down and made my way through the blazing sun.