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Archive for January, 2008


when i came to chennai, i had a positively biased opinion. i loved their kinda food already, since long ago, n i was enthusiastic about learing the language, getting a feel of the life here and most importantly separate chennai from ‘south india’ as that’s how we maharashtrians classify the three-four states down here..

though lot of people around me, talk strictly in tamil and even if conversation starts in english, after some time, it goes back to the dominated mother tongue… but i’ve made some really good friends at work, who always opened up, and cared and didn’t make m feel i was new… from the maid to the local grocery store owner to autowallahs, and lady who sold flowers, and so on… i’ve constantly made an effort to talk in the their language, learn it, paste printouts on my fridge that translated necessary words for me et al…

there are a couple of incidents here though which shook off the acceptance i was wearing of the city…everyone seems to take the language problem for granted…

one such incident… i went to a jewelry store. a big n professional store. i was selecting some earrings… it’s a well documented fact that women in chennai wear more volume n weight of gold on them than anyone else in the world… so when i was trying earrings, i said, oh these ones are are a bit too large for me, n immediately the shopkeeper was like – you don’t look like you are from chennai… where are you from ? i said mumbai… n there he went … ‘oh no wonder, women customers from mumbai aren’t used to such standards of gold jewelry… looks like there you don’t wear all this’ ouch – it hurt! what did he mean ?? and whatever he meant did he have to say that ??

somewhere in between i also faced problems with my vodafone mobile account (a post in this blog – ‘customer…care??’) and the real reason was that, everyone on the vodafone helpline spoke to me in tamil, the automated menu, customer care agents, who said they knew english but just said blank ‘aahh ??’ to lot of things i was asking…

yesterday was the most frustrating of all… i had to get some important bank stuff done, the bank helpline female sent an officer to do it… the guy on his way called me from his cell phone, but he could not speak/understand ANYTHING other than tamil… did so-claimed ‘globally’ functionaing banks think such ‘officers’ were a good fit ?? whatever… i was trying to fix up some time with him but he got so confused n kept repeating something in tamil, hung up n made his office representative call, who too is a tamil n together both of them created so much confusion, that he visited my office twice, but till the end of the day the task for which he came wasn’t done! we did it today morning, when i just was listening to him blankly and handed over what he wanted, i mean i still don’t know wether he’ll do (and understand) things i wanted!!

i don’t want to get into age old arguments here on why the city never taught its kids the national language atleast…

but i just wanted to say something… people, pls come and have a look at mumbai sometime, attitudes are much more accommodating n progressive.. there ‘are’ lot of varieties of languages, n cultures n people in this world, and making outsiders feel they are, doesn’t help to protect your so called culture, looking at north Indians and exchanging ideas only helps you make chennai some better… times have changed way head of you… wake up !!



a friend in anand’s office gave him a copy of frappe magazine, his wife had found our photos in it ! we’re published .. hurray !!!promptly the page was scanned n mailed to me, n hence putting up the photo here,otherwise my history in following up with snaps, upload n share after certain event is very commendable… J 

the page in frappe

it was an evening celebrating a cause, n theres a post about it here John standing with us, is the vice consul for american embassy.Jayraj is the ceo n managing director of JWT, who was the host.the last photo is the crew, and the miss jack sparrow of the play is in the center. 

it wont be a bad idea to say cheers with a cup of frappe n celebrate…. wat say ?

thanks to shuchita n vishal…. 

rangoli – the episode

so you already know by now, we had been to cunnoor.

once late evening we decided to walk to this restaurant called rangoli, as we saw it on the way earlier day… no one really recollected the way to it, but venturing is as much fun, so plan was to trod on.

we walked to the market n then asked a few people there… they couldn’t tell us … they didn’t seem to know rangoli… well ok… we walked toward the brookland tea factory as it was somewhere in that direction…likely.

but we kept walking, slowly the sparsely populated noisy market road was left behind – and that was the busiest and noisiest the town could ever get, we realized that later as we walked up slopes of the nilagiris in the form of winding roads with houses on either side, which were quieter than a mumbai library or examination hall probably!!

as it started getting dark, we realized there were no street lights, and no one walking around to ask the way and only noises were rustling of leaves and birds. it was getting scary and everyone stopped talking as each one was a li’ll worried now and maybe tired too. we had come so far that the way back was equally long, dark n lonely. there were tall pointed mountain trees on either side of the road and through the narrow gap above, that opened up to the sky  we could see the moon n stars… it was really late now for dinner too. the worry was – is rangoli going to be reachable ? if not, some auto stand or anything that’s called habitat ?

but we kept walking n walking n walking. it was chilled weather and all were shivering.

finally we saw some lights at a distance. it was another part of the cunnoor town.and there it was! grandly and beautifully lit… the rangoli!!… it was really a campus called ‘the orchid square’ and there were couple of restaurants in it and a boutique. it was lit up like diwali… lights in hanging earthen pots, colourful ethnic pictures and designs on floors and walls, cane furniture, dark coloured, glass n wood decoration… a part of the campus had look n feel of a castle… stairs leading to a terrace garden open eatery, etc etc… the whole place was very well lit up and was shining in and around the area.

we ordered punjabi food… soups, starters, subzi, rotis et al.

it was royal – in taste n experience.

we took an auto back home. it was chilled cold n flaps on either doors were dropped to protect from cold winds like the way they do for rains.

cunnoor or coonoor ?

it was the first time i experienced such a long pongal vacation, in mumbai we never knew anything more than its name! mom n dad (the ‘in law’ suffix doesn’t make much difference in my life, yeah they are as loving as my parents) are visiting us, and we wanted to make the most of  the weekend… hence coonoor… generally travelogues start with how we started n which bus we took and where we stopped etc etc, but unless you are planning to go there like next week or something, you really don’t feel like reading all that… so with a li’ll fast forward, we are in coonoor… its as picturesque as dreams can ever get!! we are put up in a pretty citibank guesthouse (anand is a citibanker). overlooking the taj garden retreat, this is in upper cunnoor.. just very close to the marketplace…  the first day was spent lazying about and taking long walks, and playing golf in the mini course, the cooks in the guest house put together really tasty and simple food… the next day we took a coonoor tour in a tourist cab and like a typical hill station we were shown few places like dolphin’s nose, suicide point (theres one in every hill station i bet!! 🙂 ) , water falls etc etc. we have a fresh stock of  snaps  n videos now, will upload on the photos link here tonight.. the third day we took an ooty tour, which is half an hour away from coonoor. its bigger n more commercialized tourism, pretty place though. 

in the daytime we used to freak out, eat in some very good places, evenings would bring in cold with them and gradually chilling breeze, and then was time to retreat to the guest house, gather in front part near the porch n play cards next to the heater, all four of us sitting under different corners of the same blanket.. 🙂

 i am glad we breathed in more of the essence of the place than from a tourist point of view.. the whole place is full of tea estates, all the hills are laden with neat carpets of tea plantations… walking down the hills, seeing the sky change colours, having a hot cuppa chai at a local stall is life. there are tiny government transportation buses that take you places if you’re tired walking… 

this was pretty much my version of our trip. cute n crisp holiday ‘twas..


“you either have to be first or best or different…… “ 

thanks prashant for this thoughtful one 🙂

lunch in cascade

sameer kaka from mumbai, came down for a day’s work visit to chennai.he was to leave today evening and hence couldn’t come to see our home.i went out to lunch with him to this place called cascade.

this is a good place to take someone out, whos new to chennai.

unfortuntely though, it was a short notice, we could have arranged for a better plan, i felt, anand could’ve metup too…

 they make some amazing crackling spinach. almost every dish i have tasted in my many visits so far, everything has been good enough to recommend and crackling spinach is the common favourite starter. the ambience is classy, spacious and comfortable seating, and theres lot of natural sunlight, makes it a good lunch location…they have bigger helpings of the dish you’ve ordered, and they serve you portions in your plate, as you eat, so you can say, its good service. 

rating : tasty variety food. people (like me) who aren’t fond of chinese can start from here.

taare zameen par

par excellence – is the word… aamir khan is just a cut above bollywood… he has proved himself again….

the movie is about a small kid about 8-9 years old and a li’ll below average performance, owing to

improper care and unsufficient communication and understanding on the part of parents and teachers. how differently and cutely he observes every tiny thing around him. he turns stubborn to hide his inefficiency, and is not able to match upto his elder brother’s performance, is left behind in the other classmates’ competition.

his parents drop him in a hostel to counter this problem but this leaves him feeling that they don’t care for him and he totally loses his confidence and interest in everything … that’s when a new painting teacher (aamir) enters his life and changes everything. makes him look at the world differently and makes everyone else look at him differently.with new found confidence and vigour, the kid performs well above his classmates next term and emerges as an excellent painter too..whats extra ordinary about the movie is, they have taken care of every li’ll detail in everyday life and presented it in a very touching  way..  and every situation is sooo real… . i mean you have seen such kids in your class.. maybe in your family, sometimes maybe you have closely tried to find out how they think.. and now you know how miserable they feel when the world treats them the way it does.

after the show, there was silence in the theatre and, people with tear-filled eyes in lifts and parking lots… the movie shall help parents be better parents, teachers become better teachers, and its not about only kids, it’s a generic message i feel…everyone around you is trying to communicate something, verbally or non verbally,everyone has a point of view, and we can be better human beings only by being sensitive to others.

there are lot of people who give attitude, to prove they are important, they critisice others, find faults in others to hide their mistakes, pick on a meek friend in public,etc. i think this movie changes  your attitude completely and finds that matured and sensitve self within you…


sorry no rating : i think trying to rate it shall be disrespecting the fact that its doubtlesly one of the best movies ever made.