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business india businessman of the year award 2009 goes toooooooo aditya puri


we were invited to the above awards function organized by business india, a leading monthly, at royal western turf club, mahalakshmi race course.

i joined anand in his office in bkc and we took the bandra worli sea link to reach the venue. the cool breeze and the lights on this latest sealine of mumbai already felt like it was going to be a pleasant evening. and it was.

as we entered all the guests had a red carpet welcome with the magazine hosts lined up on both sides of the red carpet till the cocktail arena. lightly fragrant white and peach flowers, tinkling of wine glasses, welcome hugs and hushed conversations amongst the who’s who of the finance and banking industry, pretty much summed up this hour.

then there was an announcement that the chief guest for the event – dr shashi tharoor – our minister of state for external affairs, had arrived and people started taking their seats.

early birds

there were honest and interesting addresses by mr oberoi – last year’s businessman of the year, pheroza bilimoria – managing director business india and most important – aditya puri, the award winner and CEO of HDFC bank, who was announced in the previous edition of the magazine itself. they showed a small movie clip about what his friends and family had to say about him. the ceo of state bank of india had something nice to say about him “there is so much work to be done on the indian banking scene that there is no time and space for any destructive competition. aditya thinks like me and hence i like him.” 🙂

u can see more the event here.

shashi tharoor as usual enthralled the guests with his witty sense of humour. he opened his speech saying “foreign affairs ministry in india was previously like two elephants making love. it was at a very high level, it made a lot of noise and it took two years to see any result”. but he also assured that things were changing fast and indian politics was getting more modern.

dinner was good continental fare. desserts were nice.

it was time to go back home and we remembered two longingly waiting eyes of our baby as we drove back.


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an exotic afternoon

sunday afternoon, was an impromptu long drive to the yeoor hills in thane district. abhijeet and amruta were nice company together.
the city clutter starts getting left behind as upvan is crossed and gives way to the ghats patch.. this by the way was also a part where leopards were dreaded to be on the prowl once upon a time.
yeoor hills are characterized by cool temperature and many resorts all over the place. bikers keep zooming in and out.
we went to this resort called exotica. you can see the board as soon as you enter the protected forest area and take the first right turn. the place lives up to its name. all the interiors are wooden and have a look and feel like a malaysian sea side restaurant. exotica4 there are long passages covered on your sides by dense flora and fauna leading to open air buffet arrangements or roofed ethnic lounges inside. the entire thing was a good four five feet from ground level and the ground was a nicely maintained pool. as we walked over to connecting lounges etc, we could see fish, violet coloured lotuses et al in the water beneath… there were huge brass urns that had floating flowers and candles.
the forest they had created inside was very equatorial… dense and myriad varieties of shapes and shades of green.
we took the first lounge we saw. exotica21
wooden ceilings had coloured lights. they had a quiet bar in the far corner with all wooden furnishings too.. we remembered pondicherry.
our menu was luckily chosen well too.. chilled mocktails. an exotic starter with mushrooms, grilled babycorn and broccoli. the sauce the bound this all was tasting great.
then followed a heavy lunch with sabzis n rotis et al.
later we took an entertaining walk around the place amidst chit chat.
it was a great afternoon.

maxan’s

after a really loooong time, we took off for a relaxed drive cutting through the lively city lighting and attention grabbing neon signs on the eastern express highway from thane towards mulund. this patch is specialised by spaced out eateries like mantra, royal challenge, and a couple of malls. after having attended a friend’s mehendi ceremony, we were kind of full with mithai n snacks n sherbet. but there was apetite for little more.
since there was a meeting with the interior guy again late night, we had an hour to go..
so we found ourselves at maxan’s – at the food court of eternity mall. this is a ‘fine dining’ restaurant as they call themselves.one section is the formal setting – probably that’s where you get the mexican menu as he name of the place suggests. we went to the dhaba part – and… it was a soothing surprise!!
the ambience was very dhaba-ish with low indian sitting and furniture made to look like its straight out of a village home. the old world décor types. walls, structure painted to go with the rustic look. lighting out of cane lamps.
the best part that created all the difference – the live ghazal show and the enchanting tabla.. n they were taking ‘farmaish’ too.. (my personal favourite is hazaaron khwahishen aisi)
we gorged a lot on starters. they have mughlai,punjabi, kashmiri, malvani. and they were tasty too.. helpings were enough for one person one starter, or maybe we were too hungry. anand’s sixth sense that chicken here should be tasted went of well .. looked like.. in the end, we needed fresh lime soda to help digest it all!

my rating : must visit, for all three – food,ambience, music.

anand and his iim campus

yeah, just like the very predictable post title, we were in bangalore this weekend. 

anand, is an alumnus of indian institute of management (IIM) bangalore, a business school which is ranked amongst the top 100 in the world. in india its ranked second. they had invited him over to speak to the new batch of students who just came in a week ago after thoroughly competitive rounds of selection process – speak about his life at the campus, what approach to have, what to focus on, how to get good grades / exchange programs, what kind of work was he doing right now etc etc… later they presented him with a sandalwood sovenier for gracing the occasion..

i have no words to express how proud i was to be there in the front row and watch him speak,  students gathering around him later to ask questions and asking for his visiting cards.. i mean, he is one person who never ever discusses many self praising things, i never knew many things about his insititute, campus, alumni  in the last couple of years… it was only now when i visited that i got to see him this way, got to meet some really genuine students/ alumni/academia and got an opprtunity to feel the essense inside the campus ecosystem… and why everything about it is so special to the rest of the world.

they really treated us warmly… we were put up in the campus guest house of very good quality, had a car to pick n drop us, n were asked to provide our travel tickets to be re imbursed, it seems it was the norm when someone came over as a guest speaker… but anand told them, wherever i am and whatever i do is because of the institute, i am not crazy to get things re imbursed!

for him it was exhilarating to be on the other side of the story, and not be the representative of some committee to coordinate on walky talky for the guest coming and staying over 🙂  we spent long time taking walk in the campus, which has a complicated structure, stairs from somewhere lead somewhere else,  we go round library building n something unexpected comes up which you think you had left behind.. etc. but all in all it’s a magnificent enough to make minds staying within think bigger and forget the smaller… had a good time seeing his favourite (and dreaded) places, as he relived through his memories again…

i am really happy to have a hubby like him, not only qualification-wise but in terms of genuinity and the cream of society he fits into.. it only encourages me to do better on my career and education front..

i have one thought to share. i have met quite a few people from good b-schools, institutes. but some of them are really very genuine people who let their personality and work speak for them. they re humble and respect  everything else too..  there is a certain quality to their attitude and body language which has that subtle edge above the rest.

however there are some who might have got into these institutes with lot of hard work and intelligence but display sheer ordinaire. they forget that the journey has just begun once you are in the outside world, its not over once the course is over. by letting out, self praising facts in every other conversation or trying to show off  humility, only highlights mediocrity..

be good, life will always offer the beautiful.

diaries again…

we had a long weekend this time… it was nice. friday we had anand’s uncle from pune visiting us for breakfast so we had made sure that breakfast was as heavy as lunch if not more.

it was holi festival that day. hindus believe that you have to burn all the evil intentions in a fire – that had once burnt the not-so-well-wishers of young prahlad, but kept him in tact due to his purity. friday was also one of those rare days when i was really cooking for that long n made some delicacies like puran, bhajjis etc later in the day. it was raining cats n dogs with heavy thunder n lightning here in chennai so god literally poured water on our plans to lite holi – i told myself, we are already very pure human beings, theres nothing to burn. 

evening we saw the new movie – race. it was surprisingly kewl!! hummable n foot tapping songs, good looking n well dressed guys n gals, amazingly gripping story. the cinematography needs special mention – the word is suave. there is scene focusing on a fast black porsche from high up and the scene moves upto 180 degrees till the car moves from behind beneath you to ahead and farther away from sight… too good. the race course, lights in the background, beaches of south africa, give the whole thing a larger than life look. definitely worth a watch in theatre – don’t miss the impact on dvds. now thats what a thriller is supposed to be- jam packed with entertainment.

next day, on rangapanchami, we hosted the celebrations and a gang of friends had come over. since we have a bigger courtyard to our house (50meter  x 50 meter). before they came, we had arranged outside  samosas, mithai, fruits salad, chips, cola drinks etc, chairs to sit and color dirty 😉 balloons filled with water, some decoration , a handpainted poster of happy holi (nothing is bad – its amateur .. ok next) a water pipe connection, had stocked loads of oil, shampoo etc for people to recover from colours et al… i know now why they say sometimes that the jouney is more fun than destination… but here both was! we all had lots of fun that day. ordered pizza for lunch at 4 pm.  

hey when i look back it looks like quiet some action… evening friends left, but came back again 7-8 ish, we watched and discussed mtv roadies. then they left their vehicles and we all walked down to don pepe the restaurant – food was excellent as usual. don pepe is known for its sizzlers. this time i didn meet bump into anyone from office there, so no coincidences.

sunday was quiet, recovering from tiredness, intermediate sleeping, eating, watching the heavy rain, chai. anand played chess, i watched friends season 10 till rachel and ross’s baby’s birthday episode.

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.

murugan idli factory

just yesterday, there were two visitors from pune here in chennai… they were inquiring about places which they could see in three four days…

first thing i suggested was… you should have dinner in murugan idli before going… as that’s the essence of this city…  this place makes some of the most delicious, spongy soft idlis i’ve ever had on any other place on this earth…they serve you plaintain leaves to eat on (big sized banana leaves) and since its always crowded, they want you too eat soon and leave 🙂 so the waiters are fast, and before you know or order anything.. there are three – four varieties of chutneys on your plate and two steaming idlis briskly and accurately hurled from a small distance, but they are soooo amazing, you can easily pardon the rest.… you have to be fast here… eat fast and think about the next dish fast too… you can order onion uttappams, sweet pongal which is also a speciality…  a heavy meal for two consisting of idlis, uttapams, dosas, pongal costs you around 80-90 bucks ! i wonder how they manage that… 

rating : * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 🙂